Machine Head’s Robb Flynn Says Touring With Pantera Made Him an Alcoholic, Was Drinking Up to 30 Shots a Night

Robb Flynn by dr. zoidberg, via Wikipedia.
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It’s no secret that one of Pantera‘s many superpowers was their drinking ability. The Texas band, especially guitarist/drummer brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul Abbott, were famously able to drink most other bands under the table; everyone from Rob Zombie’s guitarist to Nickelback’s bassist has a story about how the Abbotts gave them overnight cirrhosis of the liver. But now, Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn has discussed how Pantera’s drinking affected him while his band toured with them, and it’s unfortunately not the rip-roaring party story you might want.

“I’ve gone back and forth many times in my life with it,” Robb Flynn said while talking to Dream Theater’s John Petrucci on his No Fuckin’ Regrets podcast, as transcribed by Ultimate Guitar. “For the first few years I toured, I was sober as a judge, I wouldn’t even drink after the show, I was paranoid about losing my voice…and then I went on tour with Pantera.

“From that point on, I’m drinking all the time,” says Flynn. “Then I’m drinking between seven and 10 shots of vodka prior to the show, and another three or four during the show on stage. And after the show, if I had a show the next day, I would stop and not drink anything. But if I had a day off, I would probably have another 28 to 30 shots…And probably three or four beers.

“And then one day, a decade goes by,” he continues. “I manage to do it, I sleep terribly but I chalk that up for being on the road – sleeping shitty on the road, bouncing up and down.

“And then I started to measure. Before that, I just poured vodka into a soda cup, and then I had a shot, which almost never happens. I was like, ‘I wonder how many shots am I pre-gig drinking?’ And then I measured it. It was 7 shots. It blew my mind. In my mind, I was having maybe a shot or two. If I’m doing a headliner show, I’m doing maybe 11 or 12 shots prior and during. And it’s vodka!”

Check out the full episode here:


Words by Chris Krovatin