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Phil Demmel (MACHINE HEAD): Thank you for the support for Machine Head

Phil Demmel (MACHINE HEAD): Thank you for the support for Machine Head
BANDS : Machine Head

Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel, was kind enough to answer some questions for Metalfan. Discussion topics were Machine Head, Vio-Lence, Phil's influences in music, but also the fresh concert the band played in Bucharest at Rock the City Festival. Result in the lines below:

Metalfan: Hello Phill, and welcome to! How’s it going?

Phil Demmel: Really well. we've had a few days off in Athens Greece and ready for a few more tests this weekend!

Metalfan: This being the first time we get to chat with you, let’s start by introducing yourself to our readers: when did you begin to listen to metal music, how did you become a guitar player, what artists/bands influenced your playing?
Phil Demmel: I got into KISS, AC/DC and Aerosmith when I was about 10 or so. I really liked Angus Young and Joe Perry, but it was when I hear Randy Rhoads, it made me really want to pursue guitar.

Metalfan: Not many people might know that back in the 80s you in played in thrash band Vio-lence alongside Robb Flynn. You were actually a founding member of that band. Vio-lence released 3 albums and then disbanded. What can you tell us about those albums and about Vio-lence? Do you think it got the recognition it deserved?
Phil Demmel: It was so long ago, we were just out of high school and learning how to be in a band. Learned a lot from those days.

Metalfan: Robb Flynn left the band in 1992. Wikipedia mentions “a physical fight between the band members and a local gang” as an incident that might have prompted his departure. What was going on there? Were you trying to live up to your bandname?
Phil Demmel: I don't really recall anyone other than Robb from the band being in that fight.

Metalfan: Following his departure from Vio-lence, Robb Flynn founded Machine Head, the band in which you are playing together now. They released the debut album – Burn My Eyes - in 1994 which was a huge success. What did you think of that album at the time?
Phil Demmel: Loved it. Followed them and what they were doing. Very fresh and cool. Always wanted to be  in this band.

Metalfan: Torque was a band that you founded after the breakup of Vio-lence. Besides playing guitar, you took up vocal duties as well. The band released an album and then stopped. Was it just a solo project of yours or a real band? Why did you end it?
Phil Demmel: It was a real band. It was basically the previous band I was in that had lost the singer. i just took over singing.  I was done with music, it seems like the end of the road for me. I had a very lucrative job and I loved playing basketball, golfing and going snowboarding. Relatively easy transition.

Metalfan: You re-united with Robb Flynn and joined Machine Head in 2003. How did it happen?
Phil Demmel: In the summer of 2002, Machine Head had parted ways with their guitar player and needed someone for a 2 week fest run. I offered to temporary fill in. It worked out well.

Metalfan: You joined the band just in time to take part in the recording of their fifth album Through the Ashes of Empires (2004), an album that brought the band back to their original style, a heavier style. Have you had any influence on this change of direction?
Phil Demmel: No. they had already made an effort to write more in line of what they wanted hear instead of trying to write radio singles and more mainstream-type stuff.

Metalfan: The Blackening (2007) has equally been welcomed by the fans. This time you had a hand in the composition process as well. The album filled with amazing guitar solos. Is it just you doing the solos or was it Robb as well? Did they take a lot of time to write and record?
Phil Demmel: I did write a lot on that record and started helping with lyrics as well. Robb and i split the solos pretty evenly although i tend to play the more spotlighted sections. I did take us awhile to write. Robb had taken mime to do the Roadrunner united record, so that stopped us in the middle of it. And we just write slow in general. the recording was quite a chore too. Lots of problems. but it came out great and we're so proud of that record.

Metalfan: In January 2009 Machine Head embarked on a short tour, opening ten shows for Metallica. Any memories of that tour that you’d like to share with us?

Phil Demmel: Just being a part of something so big, watching them every night. We learned a lot from watching how they operate. Very inspirational.

Metalfan: Moving on to your latest album, Unto the Locust, we’ve got a question about the title: what inspired you to get this locust-metaphor?
Phil Demmel: It's something that came up with based on past experiences in life.People coming into my life and taking whatever they can under false pretences and guises.  Remind me of the devouring and damage the locust swarm does.

Metalfan: The children choir in the song Who We Are has been reckoned by some online reviews as an influence from the band 30 Seconds to Mars. What are your comments on this? Are you familiar with their music?
Phil Demmel: I like their 2nd record. Not sure of the relation between the 2 bands though. There has been kids singing in rock music for the past 40 years. No shame in that.

Metalfan: What is the message of This Is the End? Should we expect that your next albums will go on different musical line?
Phil Demmel: It's about moving on and not being stuck in one era/time so that you can't grow and learn. Not being stagnant and letting go of the past. All our future albums will be growth in one form or another.

Metalfan: A video has been filmed for the song Locust. How was the shooting, how did you get along with the director? Did the band have a say in the making of the video, the script, etc?
Phil Demmel: We shot the video on a day off of the Mayhem tour in america in Philadelphia. All shot against a green screen.  we had input, as always, and Mike Sloat did an awesome job.

Metalfan: This summer you will play in Romania for the first time, at Rock the City festival. Is there a difference in the band’s performance when you play in a new place? Do you have any expectations of this show? Have you gotten any feedback from your fans in Romania?
Phil Demmel: We were excited to play in your country and you did not disappoint!!! Great show and response. We'll be back for sure!! Fireworks going off!!!

Metalfan: You will share the stage with Black Label Society, Godsmack, Soulfly and Saxon. What do you think of the bill? Have you played with any of the bands before? Are you fans of their music?

Phil Demmel: Great bill!! Played with most of these bands in the past and are fans of them. What happened to Godsmack? Was really curious why they weren't there?

Metalfan: Thank you for this interview, I look forward to seeing you in Bucharest. Do you have a special message for your Romanian fans?
Phil Demmel: Thank you for the support for Machine Head!!! See you next time we come through!!!

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   July 16, 2012  | 0 Comments  | 6161 Views « BACK

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