Seeing as the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival kicks off at San Manuel Amphitheater this weekend, we thought it high time to catch up with Robb Flynn, lead singer and guitarist of veteran Oakland metal band Machine Head. Besides touring in support of band's seventh album (Unto the Locust), he's recently coped with hernias, surgery, and getting hit by a taxi.
Undeterred by 2012's series of unfortunate events, Machine Head are back in the studio working on an album scheduled for release next year. Earlier this week, they announced a new bass player (Jared MacEachern), selected via an open audition process online. We asked Flynn about the auditions, his biological parents (he's adopted), and, you know, his balls.
When you held bass player auditions by email, how many video submissions did you get?
We got well over 500.
Did you watch all of them?
I did. I watched all of them. I'm a masochist like that.
Was this like American Idol, where some people grossly overestimate their abilities, and other people just blow you away?
(Laughs.) I tell you what, the one thing that was really cool -- we actually put it up on our Facebook --was this guy [Frank Memolo] with one hand auditioned. And it fuckin' -- I swear to God -- it made me cry. It was fuckin' so awesome...to see this dude with one hand playing "This Is the End," which is the hardest song of all. I mean, it's a million miles an hour, just super fast, a million notes. This dude was just putting every ounce of his heart out there, and it was so cool. I'd like to put him up onstage. I don't know if he's coming to the show, but I'd love to get him up onstage and have him jam with us. That would be rad.
I was going to ask you where you think your musical talent comes from, but then I read that you're adopted. Do you know whether your biological parents were musicians?
I don't know my birth parents. No one in my adoptive family was musical. We would listen to music. It's kind of funny because I wasn't raised with metal. All of my early musical experience was the Beatles.
Have you ever tried to seek out your biological parents? You never know -- they might be Machine Head fans.
I've really struggled with it, honestly. I've really struggled with it. For the longest time I just fuckin' hated them. Just never wanted anything to do with them. I wrote a song on our record Through the Ashes with Empires, and the song was called "Left Unfinished." And it was just basically a "fuck you" to them. In recent times, I've thought about [trying to find my biological parents]. I don't know. I don't know if they're going to care.