MACHINE HEAD guitarist/vocalist Robert Flynn has posted the following message to the band's official web site, www.machinehead1.com:
"It's time for a long-overdue FYI on the current state of all things MACHINE HEAD.
"Most importantly… After months of negotiations, it was decided yesterday that Roadrunner Records will NOT be releasing 'Through The Ashes Of Empires' in the United States. They WILL be releasing 'Through The Ashes Of Empires' in Europe, the UK, Japan, Australia, South America, and the rest of the world on October 13th, 2003, but starting today, we will be entertaining domestic distribution alternatives.
"Crazy, huh? Well, there's a lot to it. Here's the deal.
"On Sept. 17th, 2001 a joint decision was made between Roadrunner Records and MACHINE HEAD to move forward with the release of our [then] new album, 'Supercharger', on Oct 2nd 2001… in spite of the horrific events 6 days prior. Our [then] Top 5 single and video, 'Crashing Around You', which debuted on Sept 10th, was yanked from all stations instantly because of its potentially offensive lyrical and visual themes (unfortunate, but highly understandable, considering the situation).
"So with 'Crashing' on the bench, we needed to figure out what our new single was going to be. After much deliberation, a joint decision was made to hold off and re-release 'Crashing Around You' again, in January of 2002.
"Fast forward to January 2002, 2 days before we head out on our headlining tour of the U.S…. Roadrunner Records tells us that it would not be feasible to release the single in the U.S., or give us the much-needed tour support for our U.S. tour.
"Out of frustration - from both our record tanking, and our tour support and single being pulled in one fell swoop - we demand to be released from Roadrunner. And they oblige, yet don't contractually sever ties.
"And ya know, in hindsight, Roadrunner made a sound business decision in not re-releasing the single. There was nothing that could be done, the record was over. Releasing a record that most critics didn't like, and most fans felt could have been better, with no single, no video, 3 weeks after one of the worst tragedies in American history was, well… not the best idea. It was a tough decision that was the wrong decision. 'Supercharger' sales in the U.S. were a staggering 2/3 less than 'The Burning Red'… 50,000 compared to 150,000 - which is still respectable when you consider the fact that two of my favorite bands - SHADOWS FALL and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE - have sold about the same amount to date. But you know what… all bullshit aside… 'Supercharger' flopped. Hard.
"Anyways… 6 months later, we're on a surprisingly successful festival / headlining tour in Europe, and every single head of every Euro RR office is pleading for us to work things out with the Roadrunner top brass. The love was genuine, and the respect they had was matched both financially and emotionally. We reconciled our differences with RR, but decided it best to make a clean break and start fresh (as they had already contractually passed on our next record, and things could get messy). We officially severed ties with RR late in 2002 and up until just 2 months ago were essentially unsigned. But, both of us were moving forward with the intention of re-entering a relationship, which we did. First with a European/rest-of-world deal, and then, we were attempting to enter into a new American deal…
"But it was not to be.
"Roadrunner is, hands-down, the best label for MH in Europe, the UK, Australia, and Japan, unquestionably. There is not a single shred of doubt in our minds about that. They are a powerhouse for Metal overseas. Roadrunner U.S., however, has different priorities, and the U.S. staff doesn't feel confident that they can do the best job with the record MACHINE HEAD have made. They want to make huge records and make huge bands. In our case, they feel that they would just be 'putting it out', and only getting maybe 40,000 or 50,000 U.S. sales in return. They don't feel that they can push it the way they know how to push a record, and frankly, that's a completely fair and understandable ideal for a record company to have.
"It's understandable to us as well. We have written a record that is 'unconventional' to say the least. There are no radio singles on this record. There are no video hits. We have written a record that is art for the sake of being art, and there is not one single solitary thing that we would change about it. As far as we're concerned, great music is great music, and great music will reach people. There are a lot of great bands out nowadays that don't have radio singles and video hits that prove that notion right. And there are a friggin' gazillion 'radio rock' bands out now, with million-dollar ad campaigns and fancy singles and fancy videos that aren't selling JACK. So at the end of the day, it's about what you're left with, and what we want you to be left with is a fantastic record. Roadrunner doesn't want to put that record out in the U.S. So be it.
"What ever will we do?!?!
"We will continue moving forward. Everything else is still on track. We begin mixing the album this Saturday, and begin a full-scale 2-month tour of Europe and the UK on November 1st. In the meantime, we will be exploring various distribution opportunities for a U.S. release, however, given the time constraint this puts us in, it may or may not be exactly simultaneous with the overseas release. But it will happen. Sooner than later, no doubt.
"Yes, it's a crazy situation indeed, but even we have to remember that we're still in the thick of it right now… how it will all work out is still technically a mystery, but one thing's for sure, it WILL work out. But we know you guys, and we figured you'd be curious (to say the least) about the situation, so we decided to give you the straight story, as it stands, without room for misconceptions. A little much? Maybe. But hey, we're not embarrassed to say any of it in the least.
"So stay tuned, we'll keep you guys in the loop with all the developments…"