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Interview with Machine Head


After a long day at work and a long drive, I was afforded the privilege of relaxing for a few moments with Adam Duce of Machine Head on the band’s (very nice!) tour bus prior to their set at a sweaty, dive bar called Brick by Brick in San Diego, CA. Adam was very cool, very mellow, and made me feel right at home. The set that followed was all you expected from a Machine Head show; raw intensity and in your face heaviness that blew out your eardrums and left you wishing you could do it all night, every night. Here is what Adam had to say about doing just that…

Dead Lesa with Adam Duce of Machine Head - Photo: Brian May Who do you call when you get homesick?
I don’t get homesick.
Never? Never have?
That’s good though. I mean, you travel a lot so..
Yeah, well you have the internet these days, you can pretty much talk to anyone you want. I don’t really get homesick. I like being in different places every day.

So, you don’t mind the touring thing? It doesn’t wear you out?
No. Well, it wears you out sometimes. After about 7 months straight you’re worn out but then, in the eighth month you’ll get a second wind. (laughs)

What type of bass are you playing and how many do you have? Did you get anything new for this tour?
No, I didn’t get anything new. I’ve been playing Zon Sonics basses for a couple years, three years maybe.

Any endorsements?
Actually yeah, Zon endorses me and Ampeg endorses me, too.

Ever had any really bad injuries onstage?
Yeah. One time I was standing on the drum riser and I stepped off of it and my lead foot hit something slippery and I fuckin’, like, my legs just went out from under me and I hit my head on the drum riser on the way down. And uh… that was the end of the show. (laughs) I got a big, gnarly scar on my head from it. Had to get my head sewn up.
Did you end up in the hospital?
No, I just ended up getting my head sewn up and then I went home. (laughs)

What would you like to be remembered for most?
Uhm, being in the biggest band that ever lived, and being one of the richest men that ever walked the face of the planet. (lots of laughs)

That would be nice. I’d like that too, actually. What keeps you going and keeps you getting up in the morning?

Uh, my back. (laughter) Heh. After I can’t lay there anymore. It hurts in every position I try.
After one of those stage injuries? (laughter)
No, after I’ve already gone back to sleep 7 or 8 times and can’t sleep anymore. That gets me out of bed.
What time do you usually get up on an average day?
On tour or at home?
Uh.. on tour.
On tour, sometimes between 3:00 and 4:00; at home around 12:00.

Adam Duce of Machine Head - Photo: Brian MayWould you consider yourself more of a day person or a night person?
It depends. Like, if I’m on tour, definitely a night time person because I can’t sleep after we play a show. And if I’m at home, I like to try and get up earlier. Force myself to get up earlier because uh, there’s nothing open at night.

Do you find that when you’re at home you get bored?
Yeah. I get bored after being at home for about 4 hours. (laughs)
Right off the tour?

Are you into any sports or stuff like that or what do you do to have fun?
I like snowboarding and wakeboarding. I’m not too big on watching sports. Boxing is good, hockey is good, but the rest of it I can do without.

What’s the most beautiful or interesting city or country you’ve visited while touring?
Probably Australia.
Wow. Yeah, I’ve always wanted to see Australia. Where did you play?
Sydney, Brisbane, Queensland..

Who would you work with on your next recording if you could work with anyone?
I think Trent Reznor would be fun to work with. I don’t know exactly..he’s got kind of a reputation in the studio for being less than easy to deal with. But, I’ve had the most fun so far, working with Ross Robinson.
Yeah. He seems like a really likeable person. He’s got a great reputation!

If you were granted a single wish right now, what would it be?
That the President of the United States would slag Machine Head and then everyone would have to go out and buy the CDs to find out what the big deal was. (laughs)
That’s a very nice wish.
That would actually be my second wish after I already wished for unlimited wishes (laughs)
Yeah, everyone always forgets that once they get that lamp in their hands, right?
(Adam laughs)

How do you feel about doing videos?
Uhm, actually doing them I feel pretty stupid. But, I always like the finished product, so it’s worth it. I like all of our videos except for one.
Which one?
Ten Ton Hammer.
There’s just nothing there. It’s just kinda boring.

How much input does the band actually have on the concept a lot of the time or does it always come from somebody else?
No, we’ve come up with our own ideas most of the time.
Yeah. We finally had a director on this last one that had some ideas but then they didn’t work out anyway, but we knew what we wanted out of it, you know, and that director could totally deliver so that’s why we picked him in the first place.
Do you actually get involved in every piece of the production like the storyboards and camera work, or does the band just say “Here’s our ideas” and let someone run with them?
Well, most of the time, we haven’t had a storyboard, it’s just like, ideas coming from wherever, just this way or that way and then we just put it all together and make a video out of it. We never really have a story that goes along with our videos.

Adam Duce of Machine Head - Photo: Brian MayWhat do you order on your pizza?
Uhm. (long pause) (laughs) What do I order on pizza? (takes a deep breath then rattles it off like it’s one word)Pepperonimushroomslinguicablackolivesandonions …
That’s a lot of stuff on your pizza.
AND.. bell peppers.
He likes the green things!!!! Ewww!
The greeeen things! (laughs)

Do you get really bad tangles in your hair when you play?
Yeah. After a few days it starts to dread up.

Have you considered cutting it like everybody else?
Nope. (laughs)
Cool. That’s cool.
(Adam just smiles proudly.)

What’s the difference between being a signed band and being unsigned?
People that know who you are and you don’t know them. I don’t know. I try not to think about it.

What do you think of Systematic? (Since they’re opening for you tonight..)
Uhm, I don’t really know anything about Systematic.
Haven’t heard them yet?
Nope. Not yet.
They’re really cool.
I talked to one of them on line. Just kinda fuckin’ with them a little bit.
Oh yeah? Are you a chatter?
No, I don’t chat, but I was on my friend’s computer on that AOL buddy list thing, and he thought I was him, so I started chopping on him. He was pretty good at it. He rolled with it and came back with some good ones.

What do you think of the whole mp3 thing?
It can be good for some things and bad for others. I don’t think the quality of it is all that good, so I don’t think there’s that much of a possibility of it cutting into any sales of any real proportions.

There are people that actually say they’d rather give the band members the cash themselves.
Well, if there’s people like that, then you’re all in luck. (laughs) Just go to artistdirect.com and you can deposit the money directly in to our pockets! (laughs)

Adam Duce of Machine Head and Dead Lesa - Photo: Brian MayThat’s a plug!
Yeah, that’s a direct plug!

Cool. All right Adam, we’re done.

Special thanks to Maria at Roadrunner Records and Brad Devins of Machine Head management for their hospitality.

Lesa Pence

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