Machine Head is a San Francisco Bay Area metal band that has been around since the 90s. They also just happen to be one of the biggest most successful metal bands of the past 20 years, putting out multiple highly acclaimed metal albums.
When I was contacted to design the cover to their newest live album I of course quickly agreed. Upon hanging up the phone I then listened to “The More Things Change” to have the memories of being 19 wash over me again. Then I high-fived my 19 year old self and got to work.
It doesn’t look like much but a lot of work went into this. The original image was just Rob and fire. I had to drop in all the band members, add on a bass headstock, color correct everyone together, and blend them to look seamless. Then it was round after round of logo/type treatments. It was also done over a weekend.
Beneath the cover I have added a few “in the wild” shots here: a shot of the CD at the merch table, a pic at the show of the promotional poster for the tour, an adaptation of the design to a flier, and the adaption that was done for their website (
This was a great project to work on and Rob and the boys in MH are top notch dudes.
Here is the original pictures sent over to me by the band.
Here are a ton of the different options we went back and forth about starting with the earliest concepts.
Notice the multiple background versions. I started with one pic of Rob (guitar player/singer in center stage) then we swapped to the other pic that we ended with and moved around some band members. The original picture of the bass player I had to rebuild the upper part of the bass and headstock, including his hand, as the picture was missing it. Then we settled on the final pic which only needed slight headstock rebuilding. The drummer was some color correction and then placing in scale behind everyone.
I'm happy with how it turned out because it doesn't look edited at all, which of course is the point.
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