Machine Gun Kelly says he is "done with rock" now

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS)

Machine Gun Kelly has said he is "done with rock" - at least for the time being.

Speaking to Kevan Kenney on Audacy, Kelly dissected his foray into the rock world - starting with the 2019 single I Think I'm Okay which also featured Yungblud and Travis Barker - before hinting that his next album will see him return to rap. 

In 2020 Kelly ventured into pop-punk territory with the release of Tickets To My Downfall, followed by Mainstream Sellout in March this year. Both albums reached No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 charts, with Mainstream Sellout becoming one of the best-selling albums of 2022 thus far. 

Kelly hasn't ruled out a return to rock in future however. 

"I'm going to make a rap album for myself," he says. "For no other reason, no point to prove, no chip on my shoulder… If I keep doing things to prove things to people, I'm going to, one, drive myself crazy and, two, not make a good product."

"I made Tickets and Mainstream Sellout because I wanted to make them. I need to now also make people miss that sound because Tickets and Mainstream Sellout are companion albums, I don't think making a third that's so [similar to those] is going to be exciting unless it's missed."

Kelly's time in rock has been turbulent, to say the least. While he has long had ties with the rock world (booked onto Warped Tour as early as 2010 and Download Festival in 2017, as well as portraying Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee in Netflix's 2019 adaption of The Dirt), some have viewed his genre crossover with suspicion. 

Last month, Kelly was interviewed alongside Bring Me The Horizon's Oli Sykes ahead of the pair's collaboration on Maybe, where he stated that "gatekeepers always lose". 

MGK also courted controversy last year when he called Slipknot "50 year olds wearing weird fucking masks" while playing Riot Fest in Chicago. The comment caused Corey Taylor to bite back in one of metal's weirdest feuds, while his set at Louder Than Life festival in Kentucky saw him summarily booed and almost ended in a fight with an audience member

Not everybody is a hater, however. Kelly's commercial success is testament to his reach as an artist, and his time in rock has also seen him win Favourite Rock Artist at the American Music Awards and gain recognition from the likes of Mick Jagger, who praised him for "making sure there is life in rock n roll". 

Machine Gun Kelly currently has over 19 million monthly listeners on Spotify and is regarded as one of one of the leading forces in the mainstream pop-punk revival. Speaking to Audacy, he remembers that "We all felt like 'we did something, there’s gonna be a wave that follows this explosion'," after working on I Think I'm Okay

“That was always the dream – I’d watch peers of mine create their own moments where you see the generations that come after them want to look like them or make songs like them," he says. "I was the same way, I wanted to make songs like them. Shit, take Travis [Barker] – it’s been documented for many, many years that I love Blink [182].”

Even if Machine Gun Kelly does leave the rock world entirely, we dare say his bizarre behavior isn't going away any time soon - especially given that his fiancé Megan Fox confirmed in a Glamour interview that the couple drink each other's blood "for ritual purposes". How very kvlt. 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.