By Machine Head

You read that right, 25 years ago today Machine Head's debut album, “Burn My Eyes,” was released on an unsuspecting world on this date back in 1994. Thus, launching their career in a totally unexpected and unprecedented manner!  While success would be a slow-build in North America, both overseas in Europe and Australia, Machine Head became an almost “overnight” powerhouse in the world of Heavy Metal.

Starting from scratch with a head full of ideas and the will to manifest, “Burn My Eyes” resonated loudly with global Metal fans. Combining elements of Thrash Metal, West and East Coast Hard-Core, and Hip Hop with an undeniable Industrial-influence, the songs on “BME” ran the gamut of underground styles. Most controversially was the rap influence lyrically and visually in the “Davidian" video with Robb wearing his long hair in corn-rows and the boys walking around the city of Oakland with pit bulls, re-creating their favorite rap videos. Some Metal fans may not have approved, but most agreed the combination of styles, musically and aesthetically, it was a breath of fresh air.

And while the boys definitely played up their street/tough guy image (to occasionally comical levels), the gritty lyrics featured on “Burn My Eyes” were reflection of a genuine tension the band was living through at the time, including gang fights, and several members dealing drugs to earn a living.

Listen to "Burn My Eyes" on SPOTIFY


Fun facts about Burn My Eyes:

- The first song written for the album was “Death Church" inspired heavily by the 1989 album “Streetcleaner" by Godflesh

- Started in Oct 1991, Machine Head was a side project while Robb was still in Vio-Lence. But by February 1992 it became his full-time project.

- At one-point Robb was asked to be a temporary guitarist for industrial pioneers Ministry. Asked to provide some reference material, Robb originally asked future-drummer Chris Kontos (Attitude Adjustment, Grinch, Verbal Abuse) if he’d be into helping showcase the 3 tunes Robb had written. The songs were “Blood For Blood," “Block,” (then-called "Fuck It All”), and "Death Church” to be “recorded” on a boombox.  However, at the time Chris’ hands were full playing with both Sap, and Attitude Adjustment. Robb then asked Las Vegas resident Tony Costanza to join on drums.

- The first 3 shows played by Machine Head were a punk rock house party on Woolsey Street in Oakland on August 15th, 1992. Then in Las Vegas, Nevada at The Huntridge Theater on August 29th, and finally a Los Angeles Metalfest at Gazarri’s in Hollywood on October 4th, 1992.  All three shows featuring Tony Costanza on drums. 

- As Machine Head was their first band, these three shows would mark bassist and guitarist Adam and Logan’s first ever live performances.

-  Chris Kontos eventually joined in October 1992 and his debut show with Machine Head was at Mayday Malone’s in Pleasant Hill, CA on November 21st, 1992 supporting Defiance.  His 2nd show with the band was opening for Testament.

- The demo that would get Machine Head signed was recorded by John “Indo” at a friends home studio with amps in the bathroom, and all distorted vocals (such as the intro for "Old") being recorded over the house intercom.

- Then-Metal Maniacs journalist, (and current blabbermouth.net impresario) Borivoj Krgin, was pivotal in getting the band signed to Roadrunner records, convincing a not-so-sure Monte Conner that he should sign them.

- BME was recorded at the-recently-closed Fantasy Studios in Berkeley in Nov 1993 at the same time as Rancid's - "Let’s Go”, Green Day’s - “Dookie" and Tesla’s - “Bust A Nut". The boys often hung out with Rancid and would periodically break into Tesla's recording studio and steal candy from the massive stash Tesla had.

- “BME” was produced and mixed by Colin Richardson.  The bizarre first mix from Fantasy was quickly rejected, it was then re-mixed at Scream Studios in Burbank California. In fact, Machine Head, Rancid, and Green Day would all end up remixing their albums at different locations.

- Colin lived with Robb during this time and slept on his couch in his living room at his apartment in Berkeley, CA

- Drummer Chris Kontos’ drum tracks were recorded with only scratch tracks of Robb on guitar and vocals. Robb sat in an isolation booth, and the 2 could only hear each other, not see each other during the process. The drums were recorded over 5 days. 

Find "Burn My Eyes" merchandise HERE

- The marching drum snare line on the verses of "I'm Your God Now" was played by Chris Kontos' friend and drum tech Sean "Gagutz" Hill. Schooled in marching band, he was able to play the part effortlessly in two takes. Unfortunately, Sean's efforts went un-credited as the band failed to inform the record label of his performance in time and the album artwork had already completed. 

Sadly Sean passed away in 2016.
R.I.P. Gagutz!

- “Burn My Eyes” was original called “Davidian” and proposed artwork was created featuring their logo on a TV screen. Thankfully saner minds prevailed...

- The “Davidian" video was recorded throughout parts of Oakland, and San Francisco, culminating with a show at the Rock On Broadway featuring a then-unknown Sacramento band, Deftones as main support.

- The live photos of singer Chino Moreno for Deftones debut album “Adrenaline" are from the “Davidian” video shoot show.

- “BME” charted at number #25 in the UK after the “Davidian" video received a substantial reaction on Headbanger’s Ball.

- With Headbanger’s Ball cancelled in America, and no outlets to play the video, “Burn My Eyes” sold 1,100 copies in its first week in the US.

- The first tour for the album was opening for then-label-mates Obituary who co-headlined with Napalm Death. MH and Napalm Death shared a bus together.

Listen to "Burn My Eyes" on APPLE MUSIC


- On the back of their runaway success in the UK and Europe, Machine Head were invited to support the mighty Slayer in Europe in the Fall/Winter of 1994. A dream-come-true for the guys as life-long Slayer fans.


Machine Head played their first headline shows overseas directly after, headlining 2 shows in the UK, the London show ended in a stage-invasion/riot, and the venue shut the power down ending the show.

After the success of Europe, the tour dates continued by opening the Slayer/Biohazard US Tour in January/February 1995.  

On the last night of the US tour Robb and Chris were honored to join Slayer onstage for a cover of Venom's "Witching Hour.” 


Only a few months later, the boys would return to Europe to headline the exact same venues they had just played with Slayer!  They brought future-The Haunted singer Perter Dolving out with his previous band Mary Beats Jane, and invited a young, unknown band named Meshuggua (whose EP "None" was blowing their minds), to open what would be their first tour ever.  Martin from Meshuggua played guitar in Machine Head for 2 shows when Robb injured his hand on this tour at the venue below.

- Machine Head and Stuck Mojo would headline in America in October-December 1995.  While it had several highlights including Chicago at The Thirsty Whale and New Mexico, most of the tour would average 100 people at most venues, and was dubbed "the disastour!” In the south, they played to 35 people regularly.

- 18 months after release BME had sold a staggering 500,000 records worldwide, and a respectable 80,000 albums in the US. It would become the biggest debut album on Roadrunner.

Do you have any recollections of this album?
Did you catch MH on tour then?
How does "Burn My Eyes" stand the test of time for you?

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Listen to "Burn My Eyes" on SPOTIFY

Listen to "Burn My Eyes" on APPLE MUSIC

Find "Burn My Eyes" merchandise HERE