MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn and bassist Jared MacEachern, along with "Burn My Eyes"-era MH members Chris Kontos (drums) and Logan Mader (guitar), recently went into Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California and re-recorded the debut album in its entirety. The sessions took place several months prior to the start of the "Burn My Eyes" 25th-anniversary tour during which Kontos and Mader join the band onstage again to play "Burn My Eyes" in full.
Flynn spoke about his decision to re-team with Kontos and Mader during a recent appearance on "The Jasta Show", the podcast hosted by HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta. He said (hear audio below): "I talked to Chris, and he was, like, 'I haven't played drums for five years.' And he started doing BMX and then he got a shoulder injury and got into a wreck. So he hadn't been doing anything. And so I was, like, 'Are you sure you can do it?' And he was just, like, 'I can do it.' I'm, like, 'Are you sure-sure you can do it?' Dude, I take five weeks off and I'm shot; I'm back to square one, practically.
"When he came into the jam room, hearing those songs with him playing it… And it's the same beat that had been played all these years — all the same details — but just with this fucking groove and this swagger," Flynn explained. "I was, like, 'Oh, shit! That's what it's supposed to sound like' — the push and the pulls. It was a trip, man — it was really a trip. It was so fucking cool. I've been playing the fuckings songs — he remembered them better than I did. It was cool. It was really fucking cool. And then Logan came in. Logan didn't remember the songs as good as Chris did. The first day, we were just kind of looking over there, like, 'What's going on over there?' He hadn't been doing his homework. We joked around. It was funny. And he actually got everything down. By the time we got into the studio, which was only a week or two later, we went int and we just re-recorded it. And we were having fun."
Flynn also defended MACHINE HEAD's decision to release the new version of "Burn My Eyes" digitally, explaining that the re-recordings were never meant to diminish the original album.
"A lot of people are, like, 'Oh…' Because EXODUS re-recorded 'Bonded By Blood'; SUICIDAL [TENDENCIES] recorded the first record, and it's, like, not better versions of the other records," he said. "Like, why would you do this to such a classic? This is literally us live in the studio. All of the banter you hear between songs, that's all the shit — we were just joking around and laughing and goofing off. We left all the fuck-ups. Jared kept on forgetting little bits. And I'd be, like, 'Jared, you fucked…' So it's a different thing — it's not, like, 'Hey, we're trying to recreate this thing that we did 25 years ago.' It was just, 'Here's us in this moment.' This is us enjoying this moment, having fun playing these songs for the first time in, in those two's cases, a really long time. And it was just a fucking blast. And it turned out really good, we started putting 'em out, and it was, like, 'Let's fucking do this, man.'"
The first leg of MACHINE HEAD's 25th-anniversary tour for "Burn My Eyes" will kick off in Germany on October 5 in Freiburg, and continue across Europe, wrapping in Dublin, Ireland on November 8. The U.S. leg will take place in November and December.
Building on MACHINE HEAD's "An Evening With…" format, these shows will be a three-hour musical extravaganza, comprised of two parts: Part one will feature a battery of MACHINE HEAD's modern classics, such as "Imperium", "Halo" and "The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears", featuring Flynn and MacEachern performing alongside two soon-to-be-announced musicians on guitar and drums. Part two will feature "Burn My Eyes" played in its entirety for the first time ever, with Kontos and Mader joining in.
Kontos left MACHINE HEAD before the release of the band's second album, 1997's "The More Things Change", and was replaced by Dave McClain.
Mader contributed to two MACHINE HEAD albums, the aforementioned "Burn My Eyes" and "The More Things Change", before exiting the group and being replaced by Ahrue Luster and, later on, Phil Demmel.
McClain and Demmel both left MACHINE HEAD last fall.