Machine Head Front Man Robb Flynn Debuts ‘Circle The Drain’ Acoustic Take, Companion Video

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Machine Head front man Robb Flynn has heard the pleas of the band’s fans.

Flynn debuted the acoustic take of the band’s song ‘Circle The Drain‘ Friday along with its video. The debut of the song’s acoustic take comes eight months after the band debuted the full, heavier version as an intentional anti-Valentines Day anthem.

Flynn talked about the creation of the song’s acoustic take in a recent interview.

““When the pandemic hit in March, and all Machine Head tours got canceled, I started doing free Acoustic Happy Hour shows on Machine Head‘s Facebook page to get out the pent-up energy, entertain some friends, have some laughs, and have a few drinks every Friday, “said Flynn. “As we had just released our new song “Circle The Drain” fans started asking for me to play it, so I started messing around with it and came up with a re-imagined version of it. It got a phenomenal response… People genuinely loved it, and were continually asking me to release it, and so I recorded it a few weeks back in my home studio, and here it is.”

The newly released acoustic take of of ‘Circle The Drain’ is a dramatically different take of the original, electric version of the song, and gives the song a completely new identity from that of the full version. The song’s original take presents someone who has been overwhelmed by the anger felt in realizing he has been deceived by his loved one. The acoustic take meanwhile, presents someone who is more torn. It makes for an interesting presentation.

Flynn talked back in February, about the inspiration behind the song’s lyrical theme.

“The song is inspired by an acquaintance of mine who returned from Afghanistan, only to have his relationship fall apart with his girl,” he said.  “She had messed around on him, then got paranoid about him messing around on her, and drove him crazy.  We had a conversation on Valentine’s Day and he said to me, ‘They were just circling the drain…’  The phrase struck me.  A few days later I incorporated it into the song I’d been working on.”

Flynn continued, “It was a strange parallel with my life at the time, having recently had two band members quit, and even more bizarrely, two long-time couple friends of my wife and I, also divorced.  It was breakup season, and it played out with friends taking sides, people not being invited to certain events anymore, social and emotional pressure and all the typical stuff that happens when a relationship goes bad.”

Flynn, referring back to his story about his friend who was in Afghanistan, said hearing the story and writing the song from the story was cathartic.

“Watching this guy pull through it helped me pull through my own upheaval,” he said.  “the lyrics to ‘Circle The Drain’ came out of that frustrating time.  It’s a sad song about relationships gone bad, but accepting that it’s over, and making yourself move on.  I wrote it in a more metaphorical tone, as I didn’t want it to be about my life, but to be about anybody’s life who may be going through a rough time like that.  It may not be a song that connects with everyone, especially those in a solid relationship.  But if the day ever comes when your life goes awry, this song will be a lifeline for you, something to help pull you up out of that dark place.  the irony that he and i had the original conversation on Valentine’s Day, and we are now releasing it on Valentine’s Day isn’t lost on me.  It really is the anti-Valentine’s Day song.”

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The acoustic take of ‘Circle The Drain’ is just the latest song that Machine Head has released. The band also released two other new songs, ‘Bulletproof‘ and ‘Stop The Bleeding.’ The songs make up the band’s two-song single, Civil Unrest. Both songs are available to stream and download here.

‘Stop The Bleeding’ features guest vocals from Killswitch Engage front man Jesse Leach.  While Flynn said in an interview about the song, that he brought Leach on-board because the song has a KsE sound, a close listen also reveals an old school Machine Head sound.  The song’s lyrical content addresses the events that followed the death of George Floyd at the hands of a group of Minneapolis, MN police officers.

Flynn discussed the song’s inspiration in a recent interview.

“I wrote and sang the lyrics on Wednesday May 27th, 2020, the day that the four officers who murdered George Floyd were (originally) not charged with anything,” he said. “This day was engulfed in protests and riots across America. I drove into Oakland, past large demonstrations already happening and, in a fury, wrote down everything I was feeling after watching the horrific footage.  Within hours, what I wanted to say, what I needed to say had been recorded in the song.”

Additionally, Flynn talked about bringing Leach on for the song, noting that the collaboration was in the works even before the events of May 27.

“I had been speaking with Jesse for maybe 6 months about singing on the song, as it always had a little bit of a Killswitch vibe to me,” said Flynn.  “Unfortunately (or fortunately), our schedules hadn’t lined up, but with the subsequent lockdown from coronavirus, we had time to make it work. After what happened to George Floyd, I sent him the lyrics I’d written, and he replied saying he was “100% on board”. Jesse is someone I consider to be a pioneer and, in many ways, one of the men who changed the face of metal. His contribution to this song made it extremely powerful and it’s an honor to have him be a part of it.”

Leach spoke highly of Flynn in discussing the song’s creation in his own comments, adding he was glad to take part in the song.

“Being asked to be part of this song is an honor,” said Leach.  “Yes, because it’s Machine Head, but more importantly, this is a message that needs to be heard and spread. These issues concerning abuses of power and racism are timeless. I have written about these previously and I’ll write about them again. I think Robb really nailed this one, both lyrically and sonically. My hope is this song helps awaken those who hear it. Robb has been a frequent voice of the voiceless in these times, so teaming up with him is a no brainer. We need more of our Metal Community to speak out on social issues and help raise awareness, especially during these crucial times. Music is the soundtrack to our lives, it transcends language and culture. This is the reason we as musicians need to do our part to spark thought and discussion on these types of issues. We can make a difference through music and we can help stop the bleeding.”

Flynn talked about the lyrical theme of ‘Bulletproof’ during a separate, recent interview.

“The lyrics for ‘Bulletproof’ were finished in the aftermath of not only the Ahmaud Arbery murder at the hands of white supremacist, but everything twisting out of control in our world,” he said. “The isolation and craziness of the pandemic, the lockdown protesters storming government buildings with AR-15‘s, as well as the blatant lies and conspiracies pouring out of our political leaders’ mouths, hour by hour, day after day.”

More information on Machine Head’s new single is available along with all of Machine Head’s latest news at:




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