Phil Demmel

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Phil Demmel
Demmel performing in 2009
Demmel performing in 2009
Background information
Born (1967-04-02) April 2, 1967 (age 53)[1]
Dublin, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1985–present
Associated actsMachine Head, Vio-lence, Torque, Technocracy, Slayer, (freelance) BPMD

Phil Demmel (born April 2, 1967) is an American musician who played lead guitar in heavy metal band Machine Head between 2002 and 2018, making him their longest running member in that position. He has also performed in other bands such as Vio-lence, Torque and BPMD, and briefly joined Slayer as a fill-in guitarist in December 2018.


Demmel joined Machine Head shortly before the recording of the 2003 album Through the Ashes of Empires.[2] He began touring with Machine Head in 2002. He is long time friends with Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn, either since or before they both played in Vio-lence.

In 2007 Demmel appeared as a guest on the album DDP 4 Life with Chuck Billy's and Steve Souza's Dublin Death Patrol.[3]

Demmel has suffered from a loss of consciousness and fainting several times whilst playing live with Machine Head. At first believed to be a side effect of dehydration, Demmel has since spoken out stating that an existing heart condition was the cause. On the subject of his collapse whilst playing in Bristow, Virginia:

"I've suffered from episodes of Cardiogenic Syncope for the last 17 years or so but (doctors) ran a series of tests that came up inconclusive. I hadn't had it happen for a while until last December in Italy, when I passed out roughly about the time my father passed away back in the States. The incident in Virginia felt similar to what has happened in the past"[4]

Demmel announced his engagement to Bleeding Through keyboardist Marta Peterson in January 2012. Before that, he had two children.[5][6]

Following Demmel's departure from Machine Head in November 2018,[7] musical outlets reported there were rumors that he would reunite with Vio-lence, who planned to do shows and possibly release new material "in the not too distant future."[8][9] A reunion of the band was officially confirmed on January 8, 2019, and they have been performing occasional live shows since then.[10][11][12][13][14]

In December 2018, Demmel joined Slayer for a few shows on their final European tour, filling in for his friend Gary Holt who left the tour to be home with his dying father.[15]

In the summer of 2019, Demmel joined forces with Overkill vocalist Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth and two-fourths of Metal Allegiance (bassist Mark Menghi and drummer Mike Portnoy) in the supergroup/cover band BPMD, who will release its debut album American Made on June 12, 2020.[16][17]


Demmel performs with Machine Head in 2011

Demmel has always used Jackson guitars, since his days with Vio-Lence. He first used Randy Rhoads models, then later in the 90's he began using a white King V. When he joined Machine Head he had his white V and a Jackson Warrior which can be seen in the videos for Imperium and Days Turn Blue to Gray. Around the time of The Blackening's release he had his own signature V with Jackson, named The Demmelition King V.

The Demmelition King V has the line's classic sharp V-shaped alder body, with a more aggressive edge thanks to its additional cutouts and set up for the low-tuned brutal player. Its through-body quartersawn maple neck features a bound compound-radius ebony fingerboard (12" to 16") with 24 jumbo frets, mother-of-pearl shark fin position inlays and black-bound headstock with an inlaid mother-of-pearl Jackson logo. The barrage comes from an EMG 81 bridge pickup and an EMG 60 neck pickup, each with its own CTS volume control and both controlled by a three-way Switchcraft® switch.

Other features include a Floyd Rose Original double-locking two-point tremolo bridge, black hardware and die-cast tuners. Available in red with black bevels, black with silver bevels and white with black bevels. In 2010, Jackson released the PDX Demmelition King V. The guitar is a lower-end model of the pro series, featuring EMG-HZ passive pick-ups, a licensed Jackson Floyd rose, a bolt on neck and a rosewood fretboard.

For amplification, he uses Peavey 5150 and 6505 Amps with Marshall 1960BV cabinet in the studio. Live, he has recently turned to the AxeFX preamp for practical reasons.


  1. ^ Phil Demmel about forgiveness and the future of MACHINE HEAD, March 15, 2010
  2. ^ "Through The Ashes Of Empires". Road Runner Records.
  3. ^ "REVIEW: Dublin Death Patrol – DDP 4 Life". August 15, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  4. ^ "Machine Head | Heart Condition Caused Rocker's Collapse". Contactmusic. August 21, 2008. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  5. ^ "MACHINE HEAD Guitarist Engaged To BLEEDING THROUGH Keyboardist". Archived from the original on January 8, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  6. ^ "Machine Head's Phil Demmel Engaged to Bleeding Through's Marta Peterson". January 2, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "VIO-LENCE To Reunite For One Show In Oakland; 'Eternal Nightmare' To Be Performed In Its Entirety". January 8, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  11. ^ "Vio-lence Announce Second Reunion Show". January 10, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  12. ^ "Resurrected VIO-LENCE Announce Second Reunion Show, Rumored To Be Opening For OVERKILL Later This Year". January 10, 2019. Retrieved January 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "Reunited VIO-LENCE To Play Exclusive European Show At Belgium's ALCATRAZ HARD ROCK & METAL FESTIVAL". February 16, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  14. ^ "SACRED REICH And VIO-LENCE To Join Forces For Special Los Angeles Concert". February 27, 2019. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  15. ^ "GARY HOLT To Miss Rest Of SLAYER European Tour; Ex-MACHINE HEAD Guitarist PHIL DEMMEL To Step In". December 2, 2018. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  16. ^ "BOBBY 'BLITZ' ELLSWORTH, MIKE PORTNOY, PHIL DEMMEL And MARK MENGHI Join Forces In BPMD: 'American Made' Album Due Soon". January 31, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  17. ^ "BPMD Feat. BOBBY 'BLITZ' ELLSWORTH, MIKE PORTNOY, PHIL DEMMEL And MARK MENGHI: 'American Made' Album Details Revealed". April 15, 2020. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
Preceded by
Ahrue Luster
Machine Head guitarist
Succeeded by

External links[edit]