The General Journals: Diary Of a Frontman... And Other Ramblings

30 Years Ago Today...

By Robb Flynn

30 years ago today Machine Head played our first show at a house party on Woolsey Street in Oakland, CA. House party, Isn’t really the right word, our friend / man-of-many-hats Mike Scum was getting evicted, so as a fuck you to his landlord it was a “destroy-the-house-party “ with Machine Head as the soundtrack

House parties and kegger parties weren’t anything new to me at this point. Back when I was in Forbidden all the early shows we ever played were backyard parties, living room parties, community centers, VFW halls.  There was always an insane vibe doing shows like that, and I wanted to recreate that feeling, especially since a couple of my guys were green AF and playing their very first shows ever. It was Tony Costanza on drums, Logan Mader on guitar, Adam Duce on bass.

Can’t remember the order, but set list would’ve been “death church”, “a thousand lies”, “blood for blood”, “nation on fire” maybe “rage to overcome”(?), “fuck it all”, and Cro Mags “hard times”, possibly Poison Idea “Alan’s on fire”.  "Davidian" wouldn't be written for almost another year.

Across the street from Mike was an infamous punk rock house, called The Woolsey House, and all of them came over and gleefully took part in the destruction. Many a hammer was punched into the walls. We bought several kegs, and raged HARD. When the police eventually came, I proudly walked up to his glass front door sporting my “fuck the police“ shirt, and refused to let them in since they didn’t have the authority to enter.

It was a hell of a way to start this journey all that time ago…

Kinda blown away that I’m about to drop a new album in 2 weeks, and that anybody still gives a shit about the band.

If your still here all these decades later... thank you from the bottom of my blackened heart for going on this wild ride with me.

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15 YEARS...

By Robb Flynn

15 years ago… Just read a DM from a fan, explaining how his country was ravaged by war back in 2007, how his family had to flee, how this record documented so much of the pain and loss he was feeling. 

And here we are in 2022, with another horrible war happening, perpetuated by yet another madman, war-monger and tyrant. Watching innocent civilians, women and children killed. 

Innocent people are still being lost daily to gun violence in America… even if it’s not on-stage… and I hope they still burn in hell.

People are still struggling with depression and suicide.

Religious zealots and extremists are still trying to force their gods down our throats.

But the fight goes on. 

The courage, power, and urgency to “fight for all that you love“ while watching corrupt politicians dismantle democracy and freedom remains strong in our bones.

We will not trade humanity for pearls of our slavery.

Our fists forever clenched in dissent.

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Exodus in the streets of Oakland

By Robb Flynn

What a night.  

Beyond honored to be asked to sing one of my favorite songs of all time “A Lesson In Violence” with one of my favorite bands of all time.  Absolutely EPIC Exodus show tonight in the streets of Oakland as part of the Oakland Metro's street fair.  Pure mayhem! 

Seeing Tom Hunting alive, cancer free, and kicking ass is one of the greatest things on earth. Watching original H-Team guitarist Rick Hunolt slay up there right alongside the mighty Lee Altus, paying tribute to Paul Baloff was amazing. Long-time scene-veteran Brian Lew has produced some Paul Baloff action figures which frankly, are simply awesome, Zetro up onstage hoisting it in the air for all to see was a fantastic sight.

This was some dream come true shit for me. Exodus was and always will be a more-than-words-can-express-inspiration to the music I write.  It was a leave-it-all-on-the-stage-moment for sure

So many friends to hang out and sing-a-long with including Sean from Vio-lence, Sven ex-Mercenary, Lars from Rancid, ALL of Death Angel, Wayne from Hatebreed, Chris Kontos (sick stage dive!), and so many other friends, plus took Wyatt to his first Exodus show to see the thrash carnage firsthand. 

Gary Holt you da man!🙏🏻🖤👊🏻

Watch the video HERE





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Genevra 30 XXX

By Robb Flynn


30 Years…

From the moment I saw you at The Forum bar in El Cerrito… laid your incredible eyes on me… flashed the brightest smile I’d ever seen… I was yours.  

Genevra… what a name.

Fast forward to Paradigm Studios in East Oakland… white leather jacket, ripped up blue jeans tucked into square-toe motorcycle boots, a shock of red hair with blonde streak… you left me breathless.

I was so embarrassed when you noticed me singing Soundgarden’s - “Holy Water” under my breath, but then you joined in… who is this person?

11 dudes trying to pick up you, and somehow you decided to hangout with the one guy who wasn’t trying to pick up on you.  I made you laugh.

Kissing your neck under the black light in the hip hop room upstairs at the Floppy House… a memory burned into this brain forever.  Eternal.  One of the greatest memories of my life.  When I die it will be one of the last/best thoughts going through my mind.

Riding on your motorcycle back to your apartment, grabbing 40 ounces of Mickey’s beer, talking til 9 AM, watching the sun come up through your window overlooking the Bay.

You were/are so amazing to talk to.  Who is this person?

We’ve lived ten lifetimes since then.

30 years later, yours is still the brightest smile my eyes have ever seen, still lights up the sky… my world.  

30 years later, you still leave me breathless.

To 30 years more my Sugar Pie



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RIP Malcolm Dome

By Robb Flynn

Great article from Kerrang! main-man Phil Alexander on the passing of legendary music journalist Malcolm Dome.

And another by Metal Hammer UK

Malcolm was a huge champion of Machine Head from the get-go and always had some thing funny and witty to say.  But my favorite memory of him, is hanging out at an insanely packed night at London’s infamous Crobar, (which is one of the very best dive bars in the entire world). We were just sitting crammed in a corner by the front door talking about all the artists from the 70s and 80s that he had a chance to meet, drink, chat with. 

He had gotten many opportunities to hang out with Bon Scott from AC/DC, and I just sat there mesmerized listening to him tell a story after story. He said Bon could “drink any man under the table, and get any woman that he wanted. His charms were irresistible”. 

I don’t know what it is about the story that stays with me, but Malcolm was genuinely one of a kind. As a religious reader of Kerrang! magazine in my teenage years, so much of the early thrash bands that he championed would lead me to the path where I stand today

RIP Malcolm Dome

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Took my kids in their first circle pit.

By Robb Flynn

Took my kids in their first circle pit yesterday. 

To say that this would be a “proud dad” moment would be the understatement of the year.  I wanted to do this for so long, really since they were both born. In the past they were just a little too young, or Genevra was feeling a little over protective at the time, and it just didn’t happen. Now at 17 and 14 they were literally the perfect age, especially now that my 17-year-old is a giant musclebound galoot!  

Both of my kids very first favorite songs when they were young were System of a Down songs. Zander‘s was “waiting for my girl" (aka: "Hypnotize") and Wyatts was “old school Hollywood” ("Tony Danza cuts in line"). We were there with their forever-friend Braeden who is a gigantic fan of both bands as well, but in particular is bananas about Korn.

So my friend Deen and I grabbed all three kids and made our way from the soundboard to the edge of the circle pit. From there, Braeden just bolted into it, zero fucks given. We quickly followed suit, and man, we had the BEST fucking time. 

It’s been a looooooooong time since I’ve been in a circle pit, I think Gwar when we were on the Sounds of the Underground tour in '06 was the last one.  It was a blast for me, but it was thrilling as fuck for the three of them! The excitement, the danger of getting knocked down, the vibe of everybody screaming along… man, it was so much fun.  Maybe it was the two years off from live music, but it was exhilarating in every letter of the word.

Getting the opportunity to share that moment with my kids was fucking priceless.

Eventually Zander and Braeden got super close to the front row, and Wyatt and I stayed in the pit for “Bounce“ by a System which was absolutely bonkers.  

It’s wild watching the kids grow up, it goes so fast.  

And having been a metalhead dad that knew what a blast this was going to be, to literally watch this dream come true was truly special.  I wish I could’ve hung out with the Korn and System dudes some more, but unfortunately I was having too much fun in the circle pit with my boys at their show!

Shout out to Shavo, Brian and Munky for the epic hang.


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By Robb Flynn

Women’s March for abortion rights, Martinez, CA. Oct. 2nd, 2021.  Powerful signs, and even more powerful speakers detailing frankly horrific scenarios.  

One older lady spoke about being gang raped in Ohio when she was young, and after finding out she was pregnant, not allowed to get an abortion in the pre-Roe V Wade world.  After being denied by multiple doctors, she had to go to Mexico where the operation was botched and she bled for 3 weeks and nearly died. Only then was she able to get an emergency surgery, and she survived.

Another older lady (who had never told her story publicly), gave a powerful speech about having her baby die inside her during her 3rd trimester, and 10 different doctors insisting she carry it for 3 more months until it came out. Finally she convinced a retiring doctor to help her remove the dead baby from inside her.

Even after all these years her voice trembled with emotion. 

The wisdom and courage of these elderly ladies was moving.  They despised the pre-Roe V Wade world, and begged all the young ladies to fight like hell for their rights, and how important this moment is. 



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Touring During A Pandemic

By Robb Flynn

The real-time story below is fucking disturbing, please read it.

To all my touring friends, crew members, crew friends, former crew, and bands.  If you are currently touring and exposed to a risk uncomfortable with you regarding Covid, I want to hear your story.  I plan on sharing your story in a follow-up Journal (as the person below has shared his), and will assume that you request anonymity unless you say otherwise.  I will not post your email or name.

I am interested in knowing the "on the ground" version of events.  I've seen A LOT, read A LOT, but I'm curious as top what you guys have to say.

I've also heard that some U.S. promoters are specifying that bands are required to sign a certain type of insurance waiver that indemnifies the promoter and band from getting sued in the event of covid, and that there is no pop-up to alert the fan that they are agreeing to this when they accept terms.

If anyone can clarify if this is true or not would be very helpful.

Again, just trying to get an "on the ground" version of events, and if you are questioning what is happening, please share your story.

Shared via Bob Lefsetz blog The Lefsetz Letter;

Touring during a Pandemic: My Breakthrough Covid Infection Story

I embarked on 2 month long tour through the US in early July and this week, 3 people took the rapid test and tested positive for Covid. Today is Saturday the 31st, and all members of the band and 16 crew members tested positive for Covid-19. All members of the tour were fully vaccinated.

I took a PCR test on Tuesday and the results came back with my worst fears were confirmed. The test the prior day revealed I have Covid. I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on May 4th and tested positive for Covid 19. So far, I’ve had a bad headache, muscle aches and nasal congestion. I’m day 3 since testing positive.

I’m sharing this story because I am watching my peers prepare for the return of national music tours. Many of my colleagues are overconfident that the vaccine will protect them from the virus. Furthermore, tour promoters are operating under the assumption that their backstage protocols will keep the venue and traveling crews safe.

Since our tour started in early July, many of the policies put in place by Live Nation were not being followed by local venues and touring staff. We have played four indoor concerts, and three of these venues did not require that concert attendees wear masks. On Sunday, July 24th, we played a show at the an indoor theater - the touring crew was not temperature checked upon arrival, catering was open, and catering staff were unmasked, and none of our tour members were required to mask up while backstage.

The music touring industry is operating under a risk assessment model issued at the beginning of the summer that is no longer accurate. In late spring 2021, live events opened up under the assumption that the vaccine is effective enough to protect people as they interact with the public. Now midway through summer, tours are playing shows in areas of the country experiencing surges of infection rates while local venue staff, touring crew members, and artists are testing positive.

Millions of people are under the assumption that attending a concert indoors, without masks, with other fully vaccinated concert attendees is perfectly safe. Even when following the CDC guidance, the Delta variant is outmaneuvering the vaccine. 81% of our fully vaccinated touring crew came down with breakthrough cases.

If you’re working at Lolla or Rolling Loud, mask up and exercise as much caution as possible. Delta is causing a lot of break through infections and the CDC has not been tracking these numbers.


I’m almost a full week into my self isolation. I’m feeling much better but I do lot want to get on a plane and return home if I am still shedding virus. The worst scenario I can think of is spreading this disease to my family.

After posting this, I received numerous messages from people confirming that there are other tours with positive cases. I don’t understand why every large tour doesn’t have a CCO on staff to conduct daily tests. A friend who is a VIP rep for Live Nation tells me it costs $200 per test per person and I can see employing a full time CCO would be expensive. However, is that cost higher than the cost of cancelling an entire tour and paying for 10 days of hotel rooms?

We need stricter guidelines if we want to return to our jobs full time. Sadly, my story is not unique.


I am still locked down. The people who tested negative were able to return home.

I’ve been symptom free for 12 hours: no more muscle or headaches, my congestion has cleared up, and my cough is almost gone.
I am scheduled to leave at the end of the week. Thankfully, I am symptom free but my biggest fear is that I will still be contagious when I am sent home. All the literature I’ve read from MIT and the NIH suggests that people with Delta carry 1000x the viral load than the original covid strain. My worst nightmare is bringing this disease home, infecting my family and anyone else I come into contact with.

I’ve received a disturbing amount of messages from touring crews who are in similar situations. They are reporting crews that are testing positive despite being fully vaxxed, venues not following covid safety procedures, tours not conducting daily testing or traveling with a Covid Compliance Officer, and tours being grounded without any explanation to the public.

I don’t have a solution for this, I just push buttons. But I do know that information needs to be shared between touring crews, with promoters and the public. This Delta surge is going to cause an untold amount of infections as every concert is now a potential super spreader event. People are so excited to return to live shows but without accurate information, ticket holders cannot make an informed decision.

I got through 16 months without catching Covid and I became infected within the first month of our tour. I followed the rules and I still couldn’t protect myself. The amount of people in my orbit who are vaccinated that caught Delta in the past week is making my head spin.

Bottom line: if you’re on tour, being extra diligent, especially if you’re traveling through hot spots. Make sure your tour has a contingency plan if and when someone tests positive (our tour did not). Make sure people on your team are following guidelines. Wash your hands and don’t forget to mask up.
Most importantly: If you are on tour and someone on your team tests positive, let people know. The lack of transparency is causing the virus to surge unchecked.


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