We caught up with Machine Head front man Robb Flynn last week at Green Day's Jingletown Studios, where he was putting the finishing touches on the Grammy-nominated Oakland group's upcoming seventh studio album, "Unto the Locust." There was just one problem. "We can't seem to write a damn song under six minutes," he said. Flynn wasn't kidding: The band's latest single, "Locust," clocks in at over eight. Machine Head, by some estimates the second-biggest heavy metal act in the Bay Area, plays the main stage at the Mayhem Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre next Sunday.
Q: You're recording your seventh album at Green Day's studio. Does Billie Joe Armstrong ever drop by and offer advice?
A: I think he's got better things to do than offer us advice. It's a good studio. We've been in a bunch of corporate spaces with Art Deco couches you can't really sit in. It's cool to be in a place that's world-class but has punk rock posters on the walls and pictures of the Avengers and the Clash and the Beatles. It's also got Martin Luther King's mug shot in the bathroom.
Q: I'm sure Billie Joe would have told you that, at eight minutes, "Locust" is probably six minutes too long to get on the radio.
A: Yeah, we're not exactly trying to reach the Alice crowd with this one. It's got a solo section that's over two minutes long - most pop songs now aren't even that long. We're conditioned that everything needs to be three minutes or it's not going to connect. I think music should take you on a journey. Riding a train is cool, but riding a roller coaster is more fun.