November 16, 2014, posted by FotherMucker99

The General Journals: From the gutters to the mountains

Machine Head


The wait is over! ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ is finally out worldwide! There were many times over the last few months that felt like this day would never come. But it has and let me tell you it couldn’t have come any sooner!

Releasing a record is nuts. Seriously, it’s just fucking nuts! The setup (the press, radio, tours, and video) of a record is nearly as much work as the record itself. I made mention in the last journal of the “world” a record creates and there is no doubt we’re fully ensconced in the ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ zone.

The week of release is yet another journey in and of itself. When the music finally hits it feels like EVERYONE has something to say about it. From band associates to friends, family and even people at Target! Then all the “journalistic” reviews start coming in. And while you never take too much stock in these, of course, as the creators of the music, you HAVE to look and see what’s being said.

I said in the last journal that I feel ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ might be a polarizing record. It’ll separate the men from the boys. The latest batch of reviews have been good, no doubt. Kerrang! magazine gave it top marks with 5K’s and called it “a bonafide classic", The Guardian gave a 5 out of 5 calling it "the finest mainstream metal album of 2014 by a huge margin", Metal Hammer called it “indisputable evidence of a band on world-beating form”. But for every great review there are an equal amount of reviews that are just shredding it. Which is all part of the game, believe me, I understand.

But the weirdest thing is, so many of these reviews are more about “not understanding our popularity" or "why (or how) people actually connect with Machine Head" than anything. There are plenty of reviews out there that are complete head-scratchers, but again, this is not our first rodeo and we’ve been through ALL of this before.

I don’t know if there’s been this much debate about a Machine Head album since ‘The Burning Red.’ I’m serious, the reactions are so strong (good or bad) and people feel empowered / compelled enough to voice that opinion. I’ll be brutally honest here as I always want to be when I write these, but at first some of the reactions (both positive and negative) were a bit surprising. But the more I’ve thought about it, I feel like this is a good thing.


Because I’m grateful we can even put out a new record that is loved or hated or anything-ed. I’m grateful that we’re still making music 20 years after our debut album was released. I’m grateful to be playing Barcelona, Spain tonight after playing 4 sold-out shows in France and Belgium. I’m so, so grateful to be able to play music that inspires me for a living. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the things I’m grateful for. Now it doesn’t mean we don’t work our asses off for it, we do, but we know being in Machine Head is far from the worst job you can have. But all of it means we’re “lucky” to be able to do what we do, and to acknowledge it, to say it.

Two years ago I never thought this feeling of releasing a new album would ever happen again.

On Dec 14th we played the last show on Dethklok tour at the Roseland Ballroom (RIP) in New York City. It was a disastrous day and a disastrous ending to disastrous tour. At that point in time the tension in the band was so thick you could’ve tried to cut it with a knife, but the fucking thing probably would’ve broke your hand. Dave McClain walked off stage and said to me, "that’s the last show I ever play with Adam Duce.” The tour ended and we went home and we didn’t speak the whole time we were home. I buried myself in a bottle amongst other things.

It was over.

Machine Head was over.

And I had reached this exact same place 4 years earlier in 2008 halfway through a European Slipknot tour.

And here I was contemplating the same thing again… quitting the band. Quitting the band that I had started (none of this co-founding shit) with a couple of dudes who lived in my apartment building. At the time I started MH, I had been “around the block” a bit. I’d already released a few albums on different labels (Mechanic/Megaforce/Atlantic); I’d done quite a few van tours etc. These dudes from my building? Well, they had yet to even play a single show in their lives.

So yeah, the band, the band that I had named, drew the logo for, wrote the songs for, and had the contacts for...

I was quitting it.

My lost weekend turned into a lost few weeks. A high point was in late December 2012 when, at my wife’s birthday party I blacked-out bad. Yeah we were at home, the kids were in bed, but it was bad. The next morning (or afternoon) I woke up a fucking mess and decided to get sober.

Jan 2nd I got sober. A week later I started a Master Cleanse, I told Genevra I had to get away, who unhappily agreed, I told Phil and Dave I had to get away, and within 5 days, I booked, and was playing on, a solo / acoustic tour, driving my 4-Runner up and down the highways of California to play a set consisting of half cover songs and half reinterpreted Machine Head songs, in bars, to 100 to 200 people.

I had to strip myself naked, and do something that was frankly terrifying to do. I had to figure this out, and music was the only thing I knew how to do it with. My 2 choices: If I was really going to quit and throw it all away, or if I could (once again) stomach the unbelievable negativity that I was faced with on a daily basis from a quarter of the band. There’s just no room for negativity when at times you’re already in shitty situations. But you’re in it as a band and you should “band” together to get through it.

Or there was a third choice: Parting with a person who at one point, a lifetime ago, was like a brother to me. This person, who at the time of our brotherhood I would’ve (and damn near did) take a bullet for.

Those were my 3 choices.

Life gives us so many complicated problems, but when it boils down to the moment of truth, sometimes, it’s as simple as “stay… quit… change...”

So I quit Machine Head.

I quit, because I was too much of a pussy to part with this person. I decided to tell everyone the next time we were all together.

A week later I was talking with Dave and our manager Joey, and at one point Dave threw out that he was serious about New York, he “wasn’t playing with our bassist ever again, or HE was quitting the band!” Joey laughed and said "oh no you’re not, cause I’m fucking quitting the band!! I laughed and said “fuck you guys, cause I’M quitting the band.”

We all laughed for a minute… laughed that all 3 of us had just quit the band… and then we stopped... because really... there wasn’t anything funny about it. The three of us had all decided independently of each other that we were quitting the band because we couldn’t take the situation we were in anymore. The 3 of us were going to walk away from this, because of someone who didn’t even want to be there.

You all know the rest of the story.

But what you don’t know, is that in the chaos and aftermath of it all, Phil quit the band for a day. What you don’t know, is that Dave and I began fighting like cats and dogs. What you don’t know, is that all the problems between the three of us, that we’d swept under the rug in order to deal with a far bigger problem, now came to the forefront, and it’d be a good 9 months before we could work through them all.

So being able to have this moment now, to know that Phil, Dave, myself, Joey, and Jared can still make music, can still tour the world, can actually enjoy being a band again for the first time since I can remember, that we can put out a new record that’s loved or hated or anything-ed…

We are so beyond fucking grateful.

We are so beyond lucky.

I appreciate all the folks that have gone out and grabbed the record these last few days, especially from a guy who’s been Mr. Spotify. But the fact is my life is transient, it’s convenient for my life because I live out of backpack. And the fact is you can’t convince folks that love CD’s to go Spotify, and you can’t convince folks who love Spotify to go back to CDs.

Whatever you’re preferred method of consuming music is, it’s all good with me, just know that if you do choose to drop your hard-earned cash on a hard copy of Bloodstone & Diamonds (CD, CD/media book, box set, etc.) it’ll be damn worth your while. An EXTRAORDINARY amount of effort went into it. Nuclear Blast went the extra mile, and it shows. It’s fetish-worthy.

So I gotta go onstage soon, but to close this out, I know the people who love this band have already done us proud by showing their support, we thank you.

The turmoil we faced and ultimately overcame did something to this band. I cannot deny it. It’s all over ”Bloodstone & Diamonds” which is why we’re so proud of it. This is what Machine Head sounds like in 2014. Why would a band, any band, conquer a huge obstacle just to go backwards? This is a Metal record written through life, death, and life again.

It’s written for OUR people, I cannot say that enough.

If you love this record, fight for it, scream it from the gutters of the streets, to the tops of the mountains.

Drown out the haters.

Fuck the world.

Dent The Universe!

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