Robb Flynn

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Robb Flynn
Robb Flynn in 2012
Background information
Birth nameLawrence Matthew Cardine
Also known asRobb Flynn
Born (1967-07-19) July 19, 1967 (age 51)
Oakland, California
Genres Heavy metal, groove metal, nu metal, thrash metal, rap metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, keyboards
Years active1985–present
Associated acts Machine Head, Vio-Lence, Forbidden, Roadrunner United

Robert Conrad "Robb" Flynn (born Lawrence Matthew Cardine; July 19, 1967) is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the heavy metal band Machine Head. Flynn formed the band along with Adam Duce, Logan Mader and Tony Costanza after leaving Bay Area thrash band Vio-Lence. [1]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Machine Head (band) American metal band

Machine Head is an American heavy metal band from Oakland, California. The band was formed in 1991 by vocalist/guitarist Robb Flynn and bassist Adam Duce. The band's aggressive musicianship made them one of the pioneering bands in the new wave of American heavy metal. Machine Head's current lineup comprises Flynn and bassist Jared MacEachern. Duce, guitarists Logan Mader, Ahrue Luster and Phil Demmel and drummers Tony Costanza, Chris Kontos and Dave McClain are former members of the band; Mader and Kontos are currently touring with the band as part of the 25th anniversary tour for its first album.

Adam Duce American musician

Adam Duce is an American musician, best known as a founding member and former bassist of the American thrash/groove metal band Machine Head. He played in the band for over 21 years before his firing in 2013.


Life and career

Flynn was born as Lawrence Matthew Cardine in Oakland, California. He was adopted after being abandoned by his birth parents. He has since stated that he does not wish to find his birth parents, with the Machine Head song "Left Unfinished" describing his feelings about them. Flynn cited Black Sabbath as his biggest influence and the reason he plays guitar. Other influences include Bay Area thrash metal bands like Exodus, Metallica, Slayer and hardcore punk/crossover thrash groups such as Dead Kennedys, DRI and Suicidal Tendencies. [2]

Oakland, California City in California, United States

Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in California, and the 45th largest city in the United States. With a population of 425,195 as of 2017, it serves as a trade center for the San Francisco Bay Area; its Port of Oakland is the busiest port in the San Francisco Bay, the entirety of Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States of America. An act to incorporate the city was passed on May 4, 1852, and incorporation was later approved on March 25, 1854, which officially made Oakland a city. Oakland is a charter city.

<i>Through the Ashes of Empires</i> 2003 studio album by Machine Head

Through the Ashes of Empires is the fifth studio album by groove metal band Machine Head. The band moved away from the nu metal genre featured on their previous two albums, and towards the style of their debut Burn My Eyes and their second album The More Things Change... It was released in the UK, Europe and Australia on the Roadrunner Records International label on December 16, 2003. At this stage, Machine Head still did not have an American record deal, having parted ways with Roadrunner Records US after the Supercharger album was released. Through The Ashes of Empires was such a success that Roadrunner Records US, in an unprecedented move, quickly offered Machine Head a new contract and the album finally reached North America on April 20, 2004. This album was also the first album to feature guitarist Phil Demmel, until his departure in 2018.

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

He joined the thrash metal band Forbidden (originally Forbidden Evil), while in his graduating year at American High School. He played in this band from 1985 to 1987. He wrote four songs which appeared on their debut album, "Chalice of Blood", "Forbidden Evil", "As Good As Dead" and part of "March into Fire," but left before an album was released to join local thrash metal rivals Vio-lence, alongside (now) past Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel. Flynn then went on to form the present-day band, Machine Head, whose debut album Burn My Eyes made Flynn a rising metal star.

Forbidden was a thrash metal band from the San Francisco Bay Area. Formed in 1985 as Forbidden Evil, the group was founded by Russ Anderson and Craig Locicero, who were both ever-present members. Since their formation, Forbidden have broken up and reformed twice with numerous line-up changes. The most recent line-up of the band comprised Anderson (vocals), Locicero (guitar), Matt Camacho (bass), Steve Smyth (guitar) and Sasha Horn (drums). After breaking up for the first time in 1998 and briefly returning in 2001, Forbidden reunited once again in 2007 but has been on hiatus since 2013.

Vio-lence is an American thrash metal band formed in 1985 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Throughout its existence, they released demo tapes, one EP and three studio albums. Vio-lence is best-known for their association with the 1980s Bay Area thrash metal scene, and often credited as one of the leading lights of the second wave of the genre, along with Pantera, Sepultura, Sacred Reich and Dark Angel as well as their Bay Area counterparts Testament, Death Angel and Forbidden. Their most stable line-up was Phil Demmel and Robb Flynn on guitars, Deen Dell on bass, Perry Strickland on drums and Sean Killian on vocals; this lineup recorded all their studio albums. After breaking up in 1994 and reforming for occasional live performances from 2001 to 2003, the members of Vio-Lence reunited in January 2018 for a benefit of Killian, who was battling with liver cirrhosis. The band announced their third reunion in January 2019.

Phil Demmel American guitarist

Phil Demmel is a musician, who played lead guitar in American heavy metal band Machine Head between 2002 and 2018, making him their longest running member in that position. He was also a founding member of Vio-lence, which also included Machine Head guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn. Demmel was also a member of Torque.

In January 2005, Flynn was selected as one of the four team captains of Roadrunner United, an act to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Roadrunner Records. [3] Flynn wrote, produced and recorded guitar on four songs, these were The Rich Man, Independent (Voice of the Voiceless), Army of the Sun and The Dagger and on the latter he sang and wrote lyrics alongside Howard Jones of Killswitch Engage.

<i>Roadrunner United</i> project by Roadrunner Records

Roadrunner United was a project organized by American heavy metal record label Roadrunner Records to celebrate its 25th anniversary. It culminated in an album released worldwide on October 11, 2005, entitled The All-Star Sessions. Four "team captains" were chosen to lead 57 artists from 45 past and present Roadrunner bands, and produce and oversee the album's 18 tracks: then Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, Trivium frontman and guitarist Matt Heafy, Fear Factory guitarist Dino Cazares, and Machine Head frontman and guitarist Robb Flynn. The unprecedented project was the brainchild of Roadrunner UK General Manager Mark Palmer and Roadrunner USA VP of A&R Monte Conner. The album project was coordinated by Lora Richardson and was mixed by Colin Richardson and Andy Sneap. The All-Star Sessions spawned one single and music video. The DVD included with the CD purchase is a documentary of the "Making Of" the songs. It features the sessions of the four team captains making their songs.

Roadrunner Records is an American major record label that concentrates primarily on heavy metal and hard rock bands. It is a division of Warner Music Group and is based in New York City.

Howard Jones (American musician) American singer

Howard Jones is an American metalcore vocalist, best known as vocalist of the bands Killswitch Engage and Blood Has Been Shed, and as the current vocalist of Light the Torch, formerly known as Devil You Know.

Machine Head's album The Blackening (2007) climbed to #54 on the US Billboard after appearing on the charts only two weeks previously; it was also nominated for a Grammy Award, making it by far the band's most successful album. On June 11, 2007, Robb Flynn received the Metal Hammer 2007 Golden God Award. [4] In honour of Debbie Abono and Ronnie James Dio, Robb Flynn recorded and released for free online a cover of Black Sabbath's "Die Young". [5] Abono managed Flynn and Phil Demmel when they were members of Vio-Lence. [6] Flynn had a break-in at his house in which several items, including guitars, were stolen. One guitar, the Washburn 333 or "Dimebolt", was given to him by Dimebag Darrell. [7] In 2016, the "Dimebolt" guitar was returned to Flynn. [8] Machine Head debuted at #22 on the Billboard 200 chart, with Unto The Locust the band's highest performance. They also debuted at #5 on the German music chart. The album has sold over 100,000 copies in the United States.

<i>The Blackening</i> 2007 studio album by Machine Head

The Blackening is the sixth album by American groove metal band Machine Head. Released on March 27, 2007 in the U.S., The Blackening sold 16,000 units in its first week, and became Machine Head's second highest charting release at number 54 on the Billboard 200, and charted in the Top 20 throughout many countries in the rest of the world. The Blackening has been certified silver by the BPI for sales in the UK in excess of 60,000 copies.

Grammy Award accolade by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States

A Grammy Award, or Grammy, is an award presented by The Recording Academy to recognize achievements in the music industry. The annual presentation ceremony features performances by prominent artists, and the presentation of those awards that have a more popular interest. The Grammys are the second of the Big Three major music awards held annually.

Debbie Abono was an American manager of death metal and thrash metal bands during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.

On 29 January 2016, Machine Head's YouTube channel published a video entitled, "Racism In Metal," which consisted of Flynn evoking the titular issue and criticizing Phil Anselmo for his controversial statements at Dimebash 2016. [9]

Phil Anselmo American musician

Philip Hansen Anselmo is an American heavy metal musician who is best known as the lead vocalist for Pantera, Down, and Superjoint Ritual. He is also the owner of Housecore Records and has been involved with several other bands.

Personal life

Robb Flynn is married and has two sons. [10] He is also an atheist. [11]


Flynn performing with Machine Head in 2014 Robb Flynn 2014.jpg
Flynn performing with Machine Head in 2014

Flynn used two Ibanez strat styled guitars in the early days of Machine Head, a white one used in 1992 until 1993, and a black one covered with stickers which he used to record Burn My Eyes, which was stolen from his home in 2010 along with a Washburn Dimebolt which Dimebag Darrell had once given to him. For the Burn My Eyes tour he used a Gibson Explorer and a Jackson Soloist, he used these guitars for The More Things Change, after which he switched to a Gibson SG. His Dimebolt and all guitars stolen were returned to him recently by a woman who bought a storage unit which belonged to who stole them, or received it from the person that stole them.

For The Burning Red, he began using a Gibson Flying V, which became synonymous with him after this period. In 2002, just before the recording of Through The Ashes of Empires he began using his ESP SP210 baritone guitar. For The Blackening tour he used a custom ESP flying V which was identical to, and often mistaken for a Gibson V. By Unto The Locust he was using a more modified version of his earlier ESP/Gibson V, with this one having mirror inlays of the Machine Head logo on the fretboard and headstock.

Flynn had signed a deal with Epiphone in which he could get signature models based closely on his designs with ESP. His new guitar for this period was the Epiphone Love Death Baritone Flying V, along with a custom Explorer, which he occasionally used on the Locust tour. For the Bloodstone & Diamonds era, Flynn has so far been using several Epiphone Flying V's, including an alternate version of the Love Death V, with this one having a tremolo bar. Currently he uses both his Love Death models, a satin black V, and a glossy black V with white binding and a white pickguard.

In January 2015, Flynn posted a picture on his Instagram page, showing his red BC Rich Warlock along with his Gibson SG from 1997, announcing that he was bringing them out of retirement and bringing them on the US leg of the Bloodstone & Diamonds tour.

Recent work

In December 2013, Flynn and fellow Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel collaborated with online education site to put together a series of guitar lessons for aspiring guitarists and members of JamPlay. [12]

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  1. "Machine Head – Bio".
  2. "Interview: Robb Flynn of Machine Head". May 23, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  3. Roadrunner Records Archived June 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. Metal Hammer – News Article Archived July 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  5. Archived January 31, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Machine Head'S Robb Flynn Remembers Debbie Abono". Archived from the original on July 23, 2010. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  7. "Kerrang! Robb Flynn offers reward for stolen guitars after break in". Retrieved 2012-03-08.
  8. "Robb Flynn Reunited With Stolen Dimebag Darrell Guitar". Loudwire.
  9. Machine Head (January 29, 2016). "Robb Flynn - Racism In Metal" via YouTube.
  10. Hammer, Metal Hammer 2018-01-12T16:00:00 110Z Metal. "We asked Robb Flynn about using racial slurs on Machine Head's song Bastards". Metal Hammer Magazine.
  11. "Robert Flynn".
  12. "Robb Flynn's Profile on JamPlay". Retrieved 2013-12-18.