January 22, 2015, posted by FotherMucker99

The General Journals: The voice we trust

Machine Head

Happy New Year to you all.


As we let that sink in for a minute. 2015, Twenty-Fifteen!

I hope everyone survived the ‘overload of everything’ Holidaze! I for one am glad they’re over, if I receive one more Group X-Mas / New Year’s text from people and then get barraged by the 10 replies from random strangers, I’m gonna poke someone in the eye with a stubby sausage finger!! Remember when people used to go to the store, buy cards, write in them, put a stamp on them, drive to the mailbox, and then mail them off? The effort involved... Now it’s, group-text. Oy vey!

We had just wrapped up the first leg of the ‘Bloodstone & Diamonds’ tour in time to get home and enjoy the madness. I know, I know, I owe you guys a tour wrap-up Journal, it’ll come!

Before I sat down to write this, I was speaking to our long-time booking agent, Scott Sokol. He was going over the tour routing and he said he’d never booked 42 dates in the US before, biggest tour he’s ever done. This is a guy who’s been doing this for 20+ years!

It’s EPIC!!

I mean we’re hitting places that we have not headlined in over a decade. There’s also a handful of shows in places we’ve NEVER headlined in North America before! Places like Jared’s hometown of Asheville, NC. Missoula, MT., most of Canada like Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, plus Bend, OR. It’s our first times in these places as a headliner, and we’re excited.

A lot of the other places on this run we haven’t headlined in a decade or more like Mesa AZ. (10 years), Austin, TX. (14 years), Houston, TX. (10 years), Orlando, FL. (10 years), Cleveland, OH. (7 years), Des Moines, IA. (14 years), Madison, Wisconsin (12 years), Kansas City (9 years), Las Vegas (7 years), Vancouver (12 years), Boise, ID (14 years). So we’re to make up for lost time and we hope you are too.

But you know what? As much as I’m looking forward to hitting those markets, I also can’t wait to get back to the Chicago’s, the New York’s, the San Francisco’s, and the LA’s of the USA too! The last time we headlined the majors was back in 2012 on our “Eighth Plague Tour” with our friends Suicide Silence and Darkest Hour in-tow. That was a killer run, we had a total blast!

But this tour?... The “An Evening With…” This is way, way different.

I just read a Metal Hammer review of our 2nd London show at The Roundhouse, and it said something that stuck out. He said something to the effect of “it not so much a rebirth, but there’s a huge sense of rejuvenation.” And believe it or not, he’s right. He’s totally right. It feels like a rebirth and it’s awesome. It was cool to see some Internet chatter about the setlist getting mixed up here and there. It’s been a lot of fun mixing up the set as well as pulling out some “gems” like “Struck A Nerve,” “Supercharger,” “Bite the Bullet” …’ and “From This Day.” Hell, the last 10 shows we did in Europe and the U.K. were two and a half hours long, and it was awesome!!

And of course with that praise of internet chatter there is always the complaints, most of which were just hilariously idiotic ranging from such wisdom as “stop wearing the same clothes every night, I want to see something different,” and every band’s favorite “why didn’t you play (name your city) you played 45 minutes from my house, thank for NOT coming to my town!” But those are the norm, the new ones such as people bitching about how “lame we are for doing 'An Evening With,’” and how we’re "not supporting local / other bands,” and “boy, I hope this doesn’t catch on.”... MAN, if I hear one more of those, seriously!, someone’s gettin' poked in the eye with a stubby sausage finger!

But my favorite internet whine has gotta be, “2 plus hours? Big deal, that’s what every metal band plays.”

Every metal band plays 2 hours plus?

In… your …dreams!

I can’t member the last time I saw a metal band play 2 hours, especially if they had openers. Shit, the average set length these days seems to be about an hour and fifteen minutes (1:15). There is maybe 2 other metal bands I can think of who are doing a full two hour show.

The funny thing is it’s already “caught on.” You have Amon Amarth who just did 2 American tours back-to-back billed as “An Evening With…” Of course Metallica were the biggest Metal band to do it in support of the Black Album. Dream Theater has it done for a long time. Bands like Rush, or U2 have been doing it forever. I just saw Pearl Jam do a 3 1/2 hour “evening with” set and it was life-changing! Back in 2011 I saw Roger Waters do "The Wall," as "An Evening With,” and it was arguably the greatest show I’ve EVER seen.

So get over it!! I hope it DOES catch on!!

And all modesty aside, not every band can even pull off doing “An Evening With.” Truthfully, doing this is almost a necessity at this point in our band’s career. We have the catalog and longevity to mix it up and keep it interesting as well as entertaining. So if it does indeed “catch on”, embrace it, this could be the new way?

For me, I don’t get any enjoyment out of going to multi-multi-band gig or festival. I don’t want to watch bands play for 25 minutes in a fucking parking lot with the sun shining right in their faces. Even the presentation is questionable. The band is playing on some crummy stage with a Hot Topic logo bigger than the bands backdrop all the while the fucking wind blows the sound on that terribly under-powered PA everywhere.

But I'm the type of guy that doesn't like going to the Chinese buffet either, for the same reason. A bunch of "ok" for cheap, ain't for me.

And how did it get to that? That THAT is what we want for metal? Are we so conditioned to it now it seems normal? Have you heard about the new Forum in LA? It has a state of the art sound system, cutting edge light system and was built specifically for modern music concerts. It’s supposed to be the best live experience you’ll ever have, and that’s what metal bands should be striving for!! Not parking lots, and Jägermeister stages in the sun!

We are gonna shoot higher than that. We’ve still got a ways to go, but that’s where Machine Head wants to be. Something other than the norm.

We have Eight [8] albums. We have some 9 and 10-minute songs. Trust me when we were doing the festival circuit, making up a 30 minute setlist sucked!! It was 4 songs. Sure, we always gave our best, and we killed it, but there was no flow.

One of the surprising re-occurring gripes about this “An Evening With” Tour is that were “Doing it to make more money by not paying opening bands." Huh? Nothing could be further from the truth. Our guarantees are LOWER because we have no opening bands. We’re playing smaller places because it ISN’T a package tour. But really, more than anything, this is about us doing our own thing. We want deliver a fucking awesome show for you, an event, and you know what? After 20 years, we don’t feel like sharing. So what!?

It’s about Machine Head, period. Call us self-indulgent artists / assholes if ya want, but if that’s not good enough for you, then stay away, it is for “None But My Own.”

This tour will be amazing on many, MANY levels, but it will also be one of the most grueling tours we have ever undertaken. We’re doing a lot of shows, some 6 in-a-row, a 7 in-a-row, even a fucking 9 in-a-row at one point. For a little perspective, most professional touring bands do no more than 3. So 42 shows in total with a lot of the “in a row’s” being financial based decisions. But I haven’t done this many dates in-a-row since I was in my 20’s and those weren’t two-hour-plus gigs and I wasn’t fucking 47 years old then either!

Oh, believe me; the majority of America’s working class’ grueling week is different than my “grueling week.” I know this, I used to do construction for my Uncle Donny when I was 18, my title was “The Grunt.” So when that flat-bed-semi truck full of 24 ft. long 2”X4”’s came in and need to be carried up 4 flights of stairs…? Yep… “Hey Grunt, chop chop!”

I’m grateful not to do that anymore, but what we do isn’t easy by any stretch. We’re a metal band, we’re not staring at our shoes for 2 hours, we’re not some EDM DJ hitting the space bar on his laptop waving his hands around! We’re not a pop band doing dance moves to backing tracks! We’re playing this shit, singing this shit, slaying this shit!

But we’re chompin’ at the bit to get out there. This tour is just us going all out every night for a full 120+ minutes, bringing high quality sound and lights, it will be full power Machine Head.

But then, here’s the thing...

I just ran into a buddy of mine at Trader Joe’s, he’s a long time Machine Head fan. He had no idea that we were even touring. NO IDEA! And believe it or not, I have heard that so much recently, that they didn’t know we were touring North America in 8 days!

I was surprised. So when I left the store I did an about face and went back in. I was a little irked that he hadn’t even HEARD about the tour. I found the dude and I asked him “hey man, how do you hear about Machine Head tour news?” He said "the website.” I said “Facebook?” He said “no, the main one” ( I asked if he went on FB, and said he never got on FB, he never got on any social media, because he said "it always made him feel left out.”

It was interesting and perplexing all at the same time.

And it is the question of every band? How do you reach your fans these days? There is no longer a central hub, there is no longer a voice we trust to go "this is awesome, buy or die” type stuff. I remember for me, that "central hub" was The Record Vault in San Francisco, Metal Mania fanzine by Ron Quintana, and Rampage Radio also by Ron Quintana on Saturday nights from 2AM to 6AM! Everything he played was gospel; everything at the Record Vault was killer! And trust me they didn’t exactly LOVE everything! I remember when the people there thought Slayer sucked and they clowned them mercilessly. But obviously Slayer rose above; it separated the wheat from the shaft, the real deal from the pretenders.

That Central Hub is gone now, and for the foreseeable future it is not coming back.

But there needs to be that.

And so, I’ll end with this.

I KNOW you want Machine Head in your town. I know you want to go to a life-changing concert. I know that music means more to you than just about fucking anything else, and you know in your heart that we feel the same way. I’ll say it until I’m in the ground, but music can save your life, and when it’s done right, it can make you feel more alive and free than anything else out there. And I know you want to do it with people who feel the same way, because we all want to “belong,” we all want to feel part of something.

So help us.

We need YOU to be that central hub. We need you to be that “voice we trust.” We are not going to trust “one of them…” They don’t GET Machine Head. They never have and they never will.
Our people know what I’m talking about.


An FB “share" isn’t enough! Lots people have moved on from FB, (or like Mr. Trader Joe, never got on at all), and people are so fucking barraged with a million things on social media now, that it is way too easy to get lost in the ocean of chatter.

It takes sharing and tweeting, and texting and emailing, and calling and grabbing motherfuckers by their goddamned shoulders and shaking them saying “HEY FUCKER, YOU NEED TO GO SEE MACHINE HEAD!!!”

That is all!!

Go forth and plunder my friends!!!

See you on tour Head Cases!!!


1/16 Mesa - Club Red Theatres
1/18 Farmington - Top Deck
1/20 Austin - Red 7
1/21 Dallas - Gas Monkey Live
1/22 Houston - Fitzgeralds
1/23 New Orleans - House of Blue
1/24 Orlando - The Beacham
1/25 Atlanta - Masquerade
1/27 Asheville - Orange Peel
1/28 Baltimore - Baltimore Sound Stage
1/29 Philadelphia - Underground Arts
1/30 New York - Irving Plaza
1/31 Allston - Brighton Music Hall *SOLD OUT*
2/3 Montreal - Corona Theatre
2/4 Toronto - Phoenix Concert Theatre
2/5 Buffalo - Town Ballroom
2/7 Pittsburgh - Mr. Small's
2/8 Cleveland - Agora Ballroom
2/9 Pontiac - Crofoot Ballroom
2/10 Chicago - House of Blues
2/11 Des Moines - Wooly's
2/12 Madison - High Noon Saloon
2/13 Minneapolis - Mill City Nights
2/14 St. Louis - Fubar St
2/15 Kansas City - Riot Room *SOLD OUT*
2/17 Denver - Summit Music Hall
2/18 Salt Lake City - The Complex
2/19 Las Vegas - Vinyl/Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
2/20 Los Angeles - The Regent Theater
2/21 San Francisco - Regency Center Grand Ballroom
2/24 Seattle - Neumos
2/25 Vancouver - Rickshaw
2/27 Calgary - Flames Central
2/28 Edmonton - Union Hall
3/1 Saskatoon - O'Brians Event Centre
3/2 Winnipeg - Garrick Centre
3/4 Minot - The Original
3/5 Billings - The Pub Station
3/6 Missoula - Stage 112
3/7 Boise - Knitting Factory Concert House
3/8 Spokane - The Knitting Factory
3/10 Bend - Domino Room
3/11 Portland - Hawthorne Theater

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