Robb Flynn: It's our job to hold a mirror up to society

Robb Flynn believes the job of an artist is to hold a mirror up to society and reflect back what is happening - the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Machine Head mainman explains that Black Sabbath's fearlessness in approaching subjects which other bands shied away from drew him towards them in his youth and inspsired him.
Speaking to Full Metal Jackie he says: "I think ultimately the job of an artist is to hold a mirror up to society. It's our job to hold that mirror up, and sometimes what we reflect is beautiful, sometimes what we reflect is love, sometimes what we reflect is joy or sex, or whatever. 
"And I think at other times, what we reflect back is ugly and ultimately we reflect back something that needs to be said that oftentimes people are afraid to say."
He continues: "And that even applies to me, the things that I'm afraid to say. Some of the lyrics in this song I was afraid to say; I knew there'd be backlash, [and] there has been a backlash. And does it make me regret it? No. I mean, if anything, I feel like those things need to be said maybe now more than ever."
Flynn says bands like Sabbath, Discharge and N.W.A had messages in their music which were impossible to ignore.
"The first band that I flipped out over was Black Sabbath," recalls Flynn. "They were probably the band, more than any other, that inspired me to play music and smoke weed and have sex with girls and go just crazy. And I think a lot is made of the more Satanic aspect of the band, but, to me, one of the things that I always loved, and I always respected about them, was that they…. they put their necks on the line and said some crazy stuff. 
"You look at a song like 'War Pigs', which was an anti-war song at the height of the Vietnam war at a time that was truly not a safe time to say the things that they were saying; there could be severe repercussions for saying that. And they pushed the envelope. 
"And then, even later on, pushing the envelope with songs like 'Sweet Leaf' and songs like 'Snowblind' and drug culture and bringing in that kind of an element into the music lexicon, and then take that, and then I got into the thrash metal scene, which was about being as extreme as possible."
He goes on: "Then stuff like N.W.A. and hip-hop, like Public Enemy, where it was even more about standing up and saying something. And whether you agreed or whether you disagreed, you couldn't ignore it. Those are the bands that inspired me. 
"Even the punk rock bands that I got into — bands like Discharge — they stood for something."

 

 

eric@newrocktimes.com