Tag Archives: Machine Head

Machine Head: Darkness Within Video


I was editing, of course, the other day — well, yesterday, in fact — when I caught the Tweet: Machine Head had released the video they’d finally made for The Darkness Within. (Here’s the site that was linked to. That’s some enthusiastic fan writing their copy. Umm…wow.)

I’ve gone on record before about my love for guitarist Phil Demmel. Love? Okay, fine. Crush. And about the song, about what it evokes from my own musical past. It wasn’t that long ago; surely, you remember. I’m not the only one who seems to have loved the song. After all, the band’s CD containing the song came out in 2011. And here we are, in 2012, and there’s finally a video. Dare I say this song could break Machine Head out and bring them a whole new audience?

A LOT could be hinging on this video.

So I dropped the work I was doing — who needs to get paid when there’s Machine Head videos? — and went to watch.

Utter disappointment.

It’s not that it’s not a good video. Well, maybe it’s not. It’s full of images of religion and darkness and maggots and girls cutting themselves and torture and kinky nuns and … yeah. I had to yawn. Some of those images and ideas are OLD and TIRED.

Not to mention there wasn’t a single image in the entire video that meshed with my interpretation of the song. It’s a long song!

Oh, I know. I’m hardly the be-all, end-all guru whose wise words are listened to and who sets fashion trends and all that — although, of course, I should be. But this seems like … a cop-out. All those cliched images and not one tie-in of music and religion.

Did the director not get a copy of the lyrics? Did he (or she, but I’m pro-woman enough to hope a woman wasn’t behind something so lacking in vision and innovation) miss the part that goes, “Music my savior/Save me” over and over again? Or “Mystery’s forgotten chords/I strum in vain to please the Lord”? Or “Music, it will set you free”?


The worst part is that the band did the heavy work for the director. They did the innovating, with the music-as-religion theme. All the director had to do was follow along. It shouldn’t have been that hard. The climax, the epiphany… it’s all right there, in the music. That song — and one of the reasons I love it — has a serious denouement in it. Not many these days do.

Missed opportunity.

And I ain’t talking about the lack of Phil Demmel in the video, either.


Mmm. Phil Demmel


I’ve had a crush on Machine Head’s Phil Demmel since the first time I met him, back in the early ’90s. Back when he was in Bay Area band Vio-Lence. What a classy dude, always kind to the cool-assed radio chick. My sort of hot, too.

I’ve also totally been jamming to the new Machine Head single, Darkness Within. LOVE, love, LOVE that song! It’s about music as religion and it reminds me of an essay I wrote in college (that was good enough, my prof entered it in the college-wide essay-writing contest. The winner? Something with some long, dry, academic title. Of course) about the first time I saw Alice in Chains. It was the Limelight in New York City, a long-since-shuttered nightclub that had a long and fruitful previous life as … a church. Layne Stayley up on that old altar…

Yeah. In a setting like that, you get the idea of music as religion.

I’ve also been drooling on this here blog over the wordsmithing magic that is Joel McIver.

Phil Demmel + Joel McIver = Susan in HEAVEN.

If you can’t figure it out, Joel’s penned the first-ever biography of Machine Head. Okay, so Phil shares the spotlight with the rest of the band. I can deal.

What I can’t wait to do is read.