Machine Head Called Out For Fake Amps

The incriminating evidence

I caught a lot of shit last month when I wrote about the Bronx’s drummer calling out Black Veil Brides for using “fake amps” or “dummy cabs” on stage.

I didn’t realize the practice of using fake amps was so widespread. I see absolutely no need for it. I have never gone to a show and been impressed by the speakers in the background. I never give them any thought, actually.

Who does?

Now, in an attempt to generate site traffic, a radio station in El Paso called KLAQ has posted a story on it’s online home, calling out Machine Head for using “dummy” equipment.

Machine Head, as you know, are on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival.

Machine Head has responded to the article: “While it seems absurd that El Paso, Texas based radio station 95.5 FM, KLAQ Official would choose to go through the effort to post this on their website, we guess in-light of the big hub-bub about Black Veil Brides getting ‘called out’ by the drummer for The Bronx for having ‘fake cabs’ on the Warped tour earlier this month, some ‘brain-donor’ over at the station has decided to drop the ‘newsflash of the century’ and ‘call out’ Machine Head for having ‘fake amps’ too!”

Oh snap.

Calling it “a practice that for over 40 years now has been common-place in rock ‘n roll going back to the days of Van Halen and AC/DC,” the statement says the band “‘back’ ANY band that uses dummy cabs in hopes of giving their fans a better, more impressive show. That includes the Black Veil Brides, who like many young musicians (and Machine Head) use direct-to-PA amp modeling gear like Fractals and Kempers.

“At least Black Veil Brides are playing their instruments, and not waving their hands along to a fucking laptop!! Machine Head have 2 cabinet set-carts in the shape of our diamond logo, we use half of the 4 cabs for live sound, the ones labeled ‘live’ in the ‘smoking gun photos’ are actually that, a real LIVE cabinet, that’s plugged in (as you can see in the photo), that make sound, have real speakers, plug into a ‘real amp,’ and has a mic in front of it that sends our face-melting guitar tones out to the crowd via the PA.

“The ones that our guitar techs labeled (for some reason, in bright green florescent gaff tape) ‘dummy’ are actually real cabs too, with real speakers and everything, but we only have so many amps to power them, and really who gives a shit, because ALL the cabs are REAL!!”

Not hallowed out speaker boxes. At least these dudes could use all of the speakers they bring on tour with them. I still think it’s unneeded.

“Quick history lesson for grizzled 24 year-old heavy metal veteran Lisa Sanchez: Since the dawn of heavy music, bands have used dummy cabinets as part of an often-impressive looking stage design. When Slayer played the Mayhem Festival last year and had 2 giant upside-down crosses made out of Marshall cabinets, that lit on fire, guess what? They weren’t all plugged in!

“When Rob Halford of Judas Priest rides his Harley thru a swinging gate of Marshall stacks, guess what? Those are ‘dummies’ too. In fact, the only ‘dummy’ here is the one taking pictures, taking liberties, while standing on our stage, as our uninvited guest, and writing up the ‘controversial scoop,’ and then Tweeting and Facebooking about it.

“How about calling out someone for something that really matters instead of bands who are only helping people escape for a little while?

“What exactly are you trying to do here? Here’s what, you’re attempting to create a controversy to get hits on your website, and this response should do just that. In fact, we’re already giving you and your radio station website too much traffic via this response. Hope you enjoy the free press.”

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About Chris Harris

Chris Harris is an internationally-published music journalist and writer whose work has appeared on the pages of Rolling Stone, IFC, Revolver, Alternative Press, and Radar. The former news editor for Noisecreep, Harris also served as co-host for the site’s weekly podcast, “Creep Show." Before that, he spent four years writing for MTV News.

  • Mike

    well…Slayer used em on the Mayhem tour , but they were hanging in the inverted cross style, and had fire coming out of them!

  • Spidey

    Pretty sure Lamb of God used ‘legit’ dummy cabs (cabs that didn’t even have speakers in them) back on the Ashes of the Wake tour (as seen in Killadelphia and no one gave a fuck. I don’t see why so many people are getting their panties in a bunch over this.

  • Monsterworks

    I first saw this “news” on Blabbermouth yesterday and no one there or anywhere else seemed to have actually read the original blog post. Lisa Sanchez seemed to just be reporting it as generally interesting and finished the (very short) article with: “So apparently even Machine Head uses the “dummy” amp method. Is this even a big deal anymore? I don’t think so but comment below and let me know what you think.”

    She didn’t think it was a big deal and wasn’t antagonising (“Calling out”) anyone. However, Rob Flynn basically said that they use amp modelling gear which can be monitored from front of stage….so they probably don’t need amps behind them at all. It is all for show, whether it happens to be a real cabinet with speakers or not. Some drummers probably use trigger pads so they don’t actually need massive double bass drums in front of them either. But it is what people expect.

    I once saw Ackercocke play in London years ago and did smile to myself when they used an electronic kick drum pad with no bass drum shell in front of it. Good on them, but it did look weird.

    If a band is happy to lug around truckloads of empty cabinets it probably would be better to use a cool prop instead. If you check out photos of Iron Maiden’s latest tour, they don’t seem to have any visible amps at all.