November 7, 2014, posted by Crumbs.

The General Journals: An Evening With...

Machine Head

Greetings and salutations from tour pre-production-ville in beautiful Vienna, Austria. Tomorrow we officially kick off the Bloodstones & Diamonds era and a lot of stuff is going on in my mind.

The first thing is were on the eve of a new album (and the world that a new album creates) and that in itself almost feels like a miracle. Its been quite the three years since Locust came out in 2011. But those three years brought us to this, and THIS is where I want to be!
The full album stream came out yesterday on YouTube, check it out here:

Reaction has been amazing and polarizing. Extremely positive on one end and surprisingly negative on another, but I love it. Thats what makes Metal so great, that people are passionate about, they fuckin CARE, one way or another. We dont need to be loved by everyone, in fact when some people dont like it I know were on the right track.
But man, the folks who love it, holy shit friends have sent me some fan reviews that literally welled me up.
Its a nerve-racking yet exciting time and were all feeling pretty damn proud right about now.
Lotsa folks pondering whether were going to do it, if were gonna crossover. Wondering if the mainstream is gonna latch on and were gonna have an amazing first week success story. Its weird to have people ponder that about us. Thank you for the votes of confidence. But nah!

Were 8 albums deep, its gonna do decent first week, itll be a slow-burner, itll marinate, and then transcend.
This is about the long haul.
Think about it, Machine Head itself is all about the long haul and this album is no different.

The tour starts in Strasbourg France and first leg of the Killers & Kings" Tour will have us in Europe until we head home for the holidays. We then re-charge the batteries and hit the US starting in January. No rest for the wicked... or crazy... you tell me! But seriously January could not come fast enough as were really looking forward to doing something a little different than usual.
Were doing An Evening With Machine Head.
Meaning: itll just be us, folks.

We are really excited about the idea, playing longer sets, throwing in some deep cuts, and just having our own world. Promoters in the US seem really stoked about it, some have said it feels like an event.
Venue space permitting we might do a video montage (we're gonna need a MON-TAGE!) beforehand. Well see.
Another thing to look forward (?) to is were going to do touring a little differently this time around, were going to stop doing all summer festivals.
It looks weird to see that, to type that, let alone say that
But thats right; were going to stop doing festivals.

As it stands now we have passed on a headline slot on Wacken, Soundwave Festival in Australia, Download UK, Sonisphere UK, Knotfest, Hellfest, and a plethora of other festivals throughout the world. In fact, we have made a decision to not do ANY festivals for the entire Bloodstone & Diamonds album cycle.
So yeah, if you want to see The Head, well only be headlining the shows we play in support of the new album.
Well its long story, ya got a minute?
If you dont, feel free to ignore this, cause there gonna be a bunch of whiners e-mailing me and commenting saying oh god, your blogs are sooooo long.
Theyre not for you. Theyre for a different breed.
So, where was I at? Oh yeah, why no more festivals?

Well... were burnt out on them.
Weve been doing festivals since 1995. The first festival we ever did was the Dynamo Festival in front of 130,000 people. Not a bad way to start right!!?? It was crazy and fun and chaotic and the nerves were occasionally nauseating, and it really felt like it meant something, like we were a part of something. A month later we did Donington and it was in front of 70,000 people!! But then again, 70,000 saw us suck. From fill-in drummer issues to brutal food poisoningswe werent part of shit that day!

Since then we have pretty much done festivals every summer, mostly in Europe, but back in 97 we did Ozzfest in the US and starting in 2008 weve been a part of the Mayhem Festival 3 times now.
But there are now more festivals than ever! In 2012 we did 3-months-straight of summer festivals in Europe, but summer in Europe doesnt really start until September. So for the most part we were playing outdoors, to a lot of people, yes, no doubt, but these people are watching Machine Head at 5PM in the freezing rain with bitter winds ripping across the festival grounds and dont forget the occasional fatal lightning strike, too. Half the time both the band and the audience are in cold/wet survival mode and to be honest, when its like that, no matter how awesome the first Black Sabbath album starts, its the lamest environment for a heavy metal show!

BUT, the money is almost too good to pass up so for years now weve just done what we always did, because its "what we always did". But every once in a while you gotta step back and examine if what youre doing works for you. And thats what we did.

On that 2012 tour we earned more money than we had ever made, some shows were great, a lot were kinda meh, but because of fly-dates galore, days-off galore, and some mind-bogglingly bad budgeting we spent all the money we made. Imagine working your ass off for 3 months and not coming home with anything to show for it? It was an exhausting run yeah, but it was also a demoralizing run. Financially and mentally it was one of the toughest blows we have had to deal with in a long time. It was frustrating beyond comprehension.
And it would have been all worth it, if it did what it was supposed to do which is dun-dun-dun turn people on to Machine Head, both as a musical act as well as a live band.

That is the whole idea of playing festivals or opening for other bands that youre reaching a bigger audience, outside of your own fan base. With that knowledge, you then hope that youre going to draw more people next time through that area, sell more merch, expand your fanbase and make all that went into that particular festival worth it, right?

But it doesnt
At least not for Machine Head anymore it doesnt.
It used to be delivering a killer festival set could be a game changer. But I havent seen that happen in a while. For most bands it used to mean, slaying the huddled masses would pack em in next time the band headlined. And ya know what? Maybe it does happen for some bands (though I havent heard that recently) but it just isnt working for us anymore.

Its not a terrible problem to have. We love headlining. If the Killers & Kings tour taught us anything, its how much we enjoy headlining and playing these over-packed clubs. In Europe and in the US everywhere we played was so fucking awesome and truly inspiring. It was as close to a religious experience as Ive ever had. Instead of worrying about an opening band or their crew or this and that, there was none of it. We were completely focused on Machine Head. It wasnt 30 minutes then some other band, or for fucks sake 10 other bands! It was our own little world and we really, really liked that.

It felt like us and our people, not us and a bunch of random rockers who might get into you.
Dont get me wrong, festivals are fun, you get hang out and drink with your band bros, there is a cool camaraderie that happens (though also a clique-y-ness), and lets face it, there's a bit of a "cock-stroke" to play in front of 10,000 or 20,000 or 100,000 people.
You come off stage and think to yourself, yup, they were all there for us
...but theyre weren't.

I remember when we opened for this HUGE German band called Bhse Onkelz back in 2008, we played in front of 100,000 people, it was nuts! And 100,000 people just stared at us for 45 minutes, no circle pits, no sing-a-longs. I think people liked us, it was a big crowd but it didnt touch the vibe or energy of 500 packed-to-the-rafters MH lunatics in Toledo on the Killers & Kings Tour, or damn near every show on that summer tour we just played.
And thats the way festivals feel for us lately. Like its just a bunch people staring at you, out to get drunk, stoned, and laid, and have a good time! AND HEY, theres nothings wrong with that. I mean, my life is a perpetual hunt for a good time like that!!

And truthfully thats what most Machine Head shows are too!
But after all these years, we only want to have those drunken, stoney, on-the-hunt good times with the people who are already down with us.
Does that make sense?

Were not trying to have a good time with a bunch of people who dont know who we are. If Machine Head throws a party, big or small, we dont want a bunch of strangers there.
This is about us and you guys, the die-hards! The Fucking Undesirables! We dont care about the others out there. Were here and were not going anywhere, if those people want to be a part of this, they know where to find us. So for the time being, and maybe forever were done reaching out for them.
The silver lining in this, and theres ALWAYS a silver lining in EVERY situation. Is that its a plus for the fans. Machine Head fans, a lot of you Head Cases have been begging us to stop doing 30 minute sets, sick of having to stand in the rain and mud through 25 bands just to see us, and you are now getting your wish. We'll likely bring opening bands in the future, but for now, its new and fresh.

Frankly, we are beyond excited to do this. SO fucking excited to just get out there and create our own little world on our terms, our way, not someone elses.
And not with people whore just a bunch of Looky-Loos, but with motherfuckers who live and breathe this shit!!
U.S. Dates coming next week!!

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