Machine Head Frontman Robb Flynn Reflects On Burn My Eyes

It's been over 23 years since Machine Head released their debut album Burn My Eyes. Many fans regard it as one of Machine Head's greatest records, and given how strong it sounds even 20 years later, we would have to agree with them.

But what does frontman Robb Flynn think of it after all this time? Our friends at TeamRock asked Robb (now in his 50s) about his thoughts on what is now a classic essential of heavy metal. 

How does it feel to think that Burn My Eyes came out over 20 years ago?
“I feel old! It blows my mind. I can’t even think about it. It’s ridiculous. What the fuck? It went by [clicks fingers] like that! It just doesn’t seem real. I remember when we put that record out, I was on a press tour and some guy said, ‘I can see you guys lasting for maybe five years...’ and it wasn’t meant as a compliment, but I thought ‘Five years? That’s a long time!’ I hadn’t even thought six months ahead at that point. So to be here over 20 years later is pretty mind-boggling. I also remember another guy who said we should change our name to Mean Machine!”

Do you still recognise the guy that wrote those songs and made that album?
“No, I don’t really recognise that guy anymore. I hope people don’t take that the wrong way, but [back then] I was a drug-dealing, gun-toting, fighting-every-fuckin’-weekend asshole! I did some pretty shitty things. I don’t regret it, but I don’t feel that I’m that person anymore and I’m happy that I’m not! I guess I romanticise that time and other people do, too. It was real. Was I wading through bullets and hypodermic needles to get to my practice room? No. But it was pretty intense. Crazy times. We were banned from every club in the Bay Area for months at a time.”

Does it bother you that some fans still regard Burn My Eyes as your best album?
“No. The clincher for me, and this rarely happens, is when someone says ‘You should write Burn My Eyes again!’, but it’d be so phony! I’m not 24, fuckin’ running around on the streets. It was real and that’s why it came out the way it did. If I tried to do it now, it wouldn’t be real. Those times made me who I am and affected me forever and I’m fearless because of them, but I’d like to think that I’ve aged gracefully and I hope to continue to do that. How dumb would it be for some 40-something dude to be acting like some teenage gangster? It’d be ridiculous.”

Read the full interview now on TeamRock.