D.R.I. at The Mab 1984

By Robb Flynn

The second show that I ever went to was D.R.I. on their "Violent Pacification" EP record release show at the legendary punk/metal club Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco. Up until then my friends and I had been listening to punk and hard-core, in particular Discharge's “Hear nothing, See nothing, Say nothing", Suicidal Tendencies debut, Fang, Dead Kennedy’s discography, the Attitude Adjustment demo, as well as the legendary D.R.I. album “Dirty Rotten Ep/LP”

At the time D.R.I. basically drew nothing but San Francisco skinheads that all seemed like the size of linebackers. Terrifyingly huge and scary, violent fucking dudes. Before the show, the punk rock girls that took us to the show, took us to some of the squats where the punk rockers and skinheads were all living … Burned out, abandoned shells of buildings in the then-run down North Beach area.

Inside during the show, it was just basically a 50 minute long fight, all played out to a soundtrack that was the fastest music I’d ever heard at that point… and even though for the most part no one was really fighting, these dudes were just beating the shit out of each other relentlessly. At one point one of the skinheads jumped up onstage with D.R.I. with a broken beer bottle, stabbed it into his forehead and just started smearing the blood down his face, smiled a bloody-toothed smile, and stage-dived back into the crowd.

To say this show had a profound effect on me would be an understatement.  And the thing that hit me the most, was that Kurt from D.R.I. was singing about the streets. He was singing about homelessness, he was singing about what the police were doing, fuck authority… he was singing about what was happening right in that very moment in politics, the Reagan-era. None of the metal bands that I was listening to were singing about that

I never forgot it.

I’ve never considered us a punk or hardcore band, but it’s part of Machine Head's DNA.

30+ years later I’m singing about the politics of this moment, singing about what’s happening in the streets of June 2020, along side with my brother in arms Jesse Leach, and I couldn’t be more prouder of him standing alongside me... taking the hate, taking the heat, yet plowing ahead.

Stop The Bleeding.