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In New Murder in the Front Row Book, MACHINE HEAD's Robb Flynn Recalls Growing Up in SF Thrash Metal Scene

October 6, 2011

MACHINE HEAD guitarist/vocalist Robb Flynn joins Gary Holt of EXODUS, Alex Skolnick of TESTAMENT, and other Bay Area thrash metal luminaries contributing written material to the deluxe upcoming photo book Murder in the Front Row: Shots From the Bay Area Thrash Metal Epicenter, by Harald Oimoen and Brian Lew. This massive volume is due December 2011 from Bazillion Points Books, and sneak peeks and preorders are available at this location:

In the book, Flynn recalls his initiation into the local scene via highly-energized gigs like RAVEN, METALLICA, and EXODUS at the Berkeley Keystone; Texas transplants D.R.I. at the Mabuhay Gardens; and EXCITER at the Stone. “I became totally obsessed,” Flynn writes. “I punched a kid and broke his nose at an ANTHRAX show at the Kabuki for saying [EXODUS guitarist] Gary Holt sucked. Yes, I was a thrasher, willing to fight and bang and bleed for my thrash metal gods.” “It was an incredible time. It was violent, it was dangerous, it was drug- and alcohol-fueled, you had to learn to tell the wolves from the sheep, and girls suddenly thought I was cool. I became completely and utterly enamored with this world. We had no idea that moment was so special, happening right here in our own backyard. Our musical leaders captured the fears of teenagers growing up in the nuclear age, harnessed the hearts of the rebellious, and taught us to ‘fight! For what you believe to be right! Crush it with all your might!’ That is the moment that we now know as thrash metal.”

Flynn is pictured in the book in very early promo photos of FORBIDDEN (then FORBIDDEN EVIL) and later live shots of VIO-LENCE. The book runs the gamut of Bay Area history metal history, capturing METALLICA, SLAYER, and MEGADETH’s earliest shows; sacred moments including Cliff Burton’s first rehearsal with METALLICA and the very first meeting of METALLICA and SLAYER; the violent excess of hometown heroes EXODUS; the infernal adolescents POSSESSED; and much more with over 400 photos in all. From the beginning, Oimoen and Lew fought on the frontline of a war for individuality, snapping frame by frame as thrash metal was born, along with stagediving, crowd-walking, and countless other magical moments filled with the key local personalities that made thrash happen.