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Phil Demmel was all set to quit the music business, when he agreed to go on one last tour with friend and former band-mate Robb Flynn’s band Machine Head. The chemistry turned out to be undeniable, and the rest, as they say, is history.
That was in 2002, and Demmel has been an integral part of Machine Head ever since. He draws his influences from a wide range of bands across many genres of metal and beyond. Thrash metal and groove metal may be the most obvious, but many of the greats from the 70’s and 80’s have influenced the sound as well. Demmel cites Angus Young of AC/DC as one of his earliest influences, and one of the primary reasons for picking up his first guitar. While Machine Head played for many years without Demmel, he turned out to be a perfect fit with the aggressive and melodic music of the band. From Dublin, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area, Demmel grew up. In the 80’ies when the Thrash movement was blossoming in the area, and bands like Metallica were blazing a trail, for young dreamers with long hair and pointy guitars. “They paved the way and gave us all hope that it was possible,” Demmel has said of Metallica’s influence. Drawn to the aggressiveness and energetic nature of the style, he joined thrash band Vio-Lence right out of high school. They put out a few records and toured enough to assure the young Demmel, that he would spend his life as a musician. Robb Flynn, left Vio-Lence to start Machine Head in 1991, which very quickly became one of Demmel’s favorite bands, though it would be more than ten years before chance brought them together again, when Demmel joined Machine Head. By that point Demmel’s own music career had slowed down somewhat, and going on tour with Machine Head was supposed to be a one time thing. A sort of last hurrah. “It would bring closure to my music career. But the chemistry was just magic.”
Demmel has released four albums with Machine Head since joining in 2002, filling the time between releases with an almost inhuman tour schedule. On their latest album, Bloodstone and Diamonds the TC Electronic Flashback Delay was instrumental in achieving the aggressive sound and the screaming lead lines, that bring metal heads across the world to Machine Head’s shows.
Artist photo by Jason Korolenko
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