Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn recently performed at a benefit for retired baseball player and manager Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, California. He tells the whole story behind the event - which began when La Russa's wife approached Robb while he was grocery shopping! - in a new diary entry on the band's site, MachineHead1.com. You can also see photos there of Robb with a variety of other famous folks, including comedians Dana Carvey and Robin Williams.
At the show, Flynn performed the cover of Black Sabbath's "Die Young" that he had first played at the benefit/memorial for the late Suicide Silence vocalist Mitch Lucker, and also played "Darkness Within" solo and acoustic for the first time ever, to a crowd that he describes as "a 40-to-70 year-old audience that I was certain had no fuckin’ clue who the hell I or Machine Head was. I cracked a couple jokes about it and definitely broke the ice; I was nervous, surprisingly so, irrationally so. Every time I do these acoustic things I'm nervous, I kept telling myself "dude, you headline festivals in front of 100,000 people, and don't even blink an eye, why are you nervous?" I guess the idea of sitting, just me and an acoustic, and just being in the moment, connecting to the lyrics, connecting to the emotion and the place where I wrote it, and the idea that I couldn't rely on my old bag of tricks is... well, scary. I both like and hate that feeling. I feel like I need to do more of it just to get past this weird... I dunno, fear?
"Tony La Russa's intro BLEW ME UP!!" he continues. "Dude RULES. After that intro I could have farted for 10 minutes and people would have at least politely clapped. Did 'Die Young' first, went down good, I sang the end a lot better than at the Mitch benefit, and then came time for the debut of the acoustic version of 'Darkness,' just me and an acoustic, no sing-a-longs, no band to kick in The Heavy; a new version I had never played live. It worked, it totally worked, I nailed most of it, was a little flat in some parts at the very end, but overall it felt good, and I was proud of myself for taking up the challenge."