Robb Flynn Says the Las Vegas Shooting Makes Him Wanna Retire Machine Head’s “Davidian”
Machine Head’s most famous song is the awesomely anthemic “Davidian,” which, as any metalhead worth his salt already knows, includes multiple uses of the line “Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!”
In all of my years of seeing Machine Head live, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them not play the song as part of the set, and it never gets old. If you can’t find catharsis screaming that line along with a few thousand of your fellow metal fans, you probably can’t find catharsis in anything.
And yet, during a recent livestream, Flynn admitted that in light of this week’s tragedy in Las Vegas, he’s considering retiring the song from MH’s setlist (transcript courtesy of The PRP):
“I am in favor of gun control. That motherfucker—everybody heard about the horrible Las Vegas, the horrible horrible… That dude had 23 assault rifles in his fucking hotel room—that is fucking insane to me. That is fucking insane to me, you know? It’s a fucking horrible, it’s a horrible thing that happened in Las Vegas. It’s fucking appalling. When I first heard the news yesterday morning, I couldn’t even put it together…
“This morning, I thought I don’t ever want to fucking play ‘Davidian‘ again, that’s what I thought this morning. I straight up was like—I even texted it to the dudes, like ‘I don’t want to ever play ‘Davidian‘ again’, like fuck man. It’s fucking crazy. We probably will, we didn’t discuss it and that’s just how I feel right at the moment, but I fucking… It’s some scary shit, it’s fucking crazy out there right now. What the fuck is going on with people right now? It’s fucking crazy.”
Flynn’s feelings are perfectly understandable, and to a lesser degree, I think a lot of us have experienced something similar after this, and/or any other, mass shooting. Not that all of us have written a song with a specific reference to gun violence — but lots of us love action movies and violent video games and other entertainments of that ilk, and even though we know that doesn’t mean we condone murder, somewhere in our gut, we can’t help but wonder if we’re contributing to the awful gun culture in which we now live. The fact that “Davidian” specifically makes a connection between “freedom” and “a shotgun blast” must weigh especially heavy on Flynn right now, given the views of right-wing assholes like Bill O’Reilly, who called the Vegas attack “the price of freedom.”
That being said, I think the key words in Flynn’s statement are “we probably will” play the song again. Flynn, like most of us, is still reeling from this week’s events… once we all have our bearings again (at least to whatever degree we can regain our bearings when these mass shootings keep happening and our leaders do nothing to stop them), we’ll stop feeling pangs of guilt because we enjoy “Davidian” and Die Hard and Call of Duty, we’ll remember that people in countries that don’t experience these kinds of tragedies on a regular basis also love all of those things, and then we’ll remember that the only way we’re ever going to stop this kind of shit from happening is to stand up to the NRA and enact stricter gun control laws. If we should feel guilty about anything, it’s that we allow gun lobbyists to control this country’s laws and profit from death — not that we enjoy art as a healthy outlet for our unhealthiest feelings.