måndag 8 november 2010

Intervju med Dave Wyndorf!

Fredagen före Halloween hade jag nöjet att få ringa upp Dave Wyndorf i New Jersey. Jag intervjuade honom för första gången 2004 och han visade sig vara lika trevlig och tillmötesgående den här gången.
Bandet är just nu aktuella med senaste given "Mastermind" och de spelar på Klubben i Stockholm nu på fredag den 12:e november.

How ya doin´?

DW. Good, good! I´m tired from all the work but I´ll be able to relax when I get on tour, if you can believe it? That´s how busy it is around here when I can actually say that the tour is more relaxing.

So, you´ve got any trick or treating coming up this weekend?

DW: Oh, hell yeah! It´s for the kids and I´ll go out and buy a ton of stuff. Halloween is a great day, it´s a triumph for children! It´s a day where they get to do everything they want to do. I´ll do my thing.

Yeah! How´s New Jersey these days?

DW: Good! For what I see of it, it´s good! I don´t really get out much. Working this record to the bone, so it´s practice at night, press during the day, practice at night. Studio 13 which is like an extracurricular Monster Magnet project after that. But New Jersey is looking good. Nice weather!

What´s the music scene like these days? Any cool bands?

DW: It never was that good! It´s one of those places that gets a big reputation around the world, but I´m telling you man, it kind of sucks. It´s like we live in the shadow of New York City and I think it really makes people a little bit nervous. When I was a kid, if you were really serious about doing it, you went to New York City to do it, so the people that were left over would do it here. There´s lots of cover bands, bands that play other guys material and lounge stuff. There is the Brighton Bar and some of that stuff, but there hasn´t been… there´s a band from here called Solace that´s really good. They´re awesome! And Atomic Bitchwax, this old band, that´s still playing and… there must be something else but the place I practice in over there, there´s a lot of bands coming through but I haven´t heard anything that sounds outstanding. You would think with so many people in one place that it would be a fountain of music, but sometimes it´s not. I think it´s intimidated by New York.

Right! The new album then? I read that that you never wrote songs when you were on drugs, because I thought if there was a big difference writing songs now that it´s all in the past?

DW: No, I never released… I mean, I tried writing songs on drugs in the early days of Monster Magnet. I did tons of psychedelic drugs when I was a kid, so I tried it, but it never works out. It´s what I call the “Iron Butterfly Syndrome”. It´s like “This sounds fucking great!” and then when you play it the next morning it´s a bunch of shit. It´s like, people who smoke pot should listen to music and people who don´t smoke pot should make music! You should remember what it´s like to be high, but you shouldn´t necessarily be high.

Still, I think of the bands from the 60´s and the 70´s and The Doors and Joplin and Hendrix and all that stuff. You kind of got the idea that they wrote a lot of music being either drunk or high and that kind of expanded their minds.

DW: (laughs) Well, that´s the notion that´s great to write about, but I think you can pretty much figure out what´s going on here. When you look at the bands that actually did really, really get high a lot, most of the records back then… if you look at Hendrix stuff, the higher he got the worse his records got. The best shit is the first couple of records and then his just drugged out noodling. Listen to it! Out of tune… I think the whole thing about getting high in music is, you are who you are and how you´re affected by drugs that has an effect on how you´re perceiving things. I can´t see how that would expand your mind, it distorts it! So if you can get something cool out of distorting your perception, that´s great! Awesome! But let’s not call it expansion. It´s the complete opposite of expansion, it´s distortion. Me, I would much rather when I´m writing, remember being high and go “Wow!”. You have to do this thing twelve times, because when you´re that high, you´re not even gonna begin listening to that part until six of them has gone over. I used to write music for people who got high and in my mind when I first started Monster Magnet, that´s why the songs were so long. I remember sitting on the couch and I wouldn´t even hear this part unless it went twelve times. I was stoned and it would really get there by count twelve and the after a while of course I just got bored with it. It was like “C´mon let´s pop this shit up!”, but now I like events to happen rather quickly.

How much stuff was recorded? Was it just the songs on the album or did you have like a ton of stuff and you picked from that?

DW: I wrote like fifteen songs when I got back from England last year. We were under a deadline of course, the mystery deadline that I didn´t know. “Yeah, you can make the record whenever you want!” And I was like “Sure, ok!”, so in 2010 “Well if you want to have it out in 2010, you have to have it done immediately!”. I was like “What are you talking about?”. “Yeah, you can make it whenever you want, but if you don´t mind it coming out in late 2011.” And I was like “Fuck that shit! We´re gonna have a record out in 2010!”. I went in and wrote as fast as I could and it took about a week. Between Christmas and New Years. It was quick! I kind of knew what I wanted to do, so that made it easy. I was like “I´m gonna take very cool riff that I´ve ever learned and just turn it backwards!”. What I wanted to do was make a record that we could play live real easily. You look around you and go “What do I have to use here?”. I´m really enthusiastic about making a record and trying to make it sound the best ever and come up with hairy bass lines and I want fuzz bass and I want old school Magnet shit but I´m gonna put a Strat band on the record, it´s all gonna be Gibsons.”. All kinds of weird ideas like that! It´s like from the mind of a teenager “It´s gonna really sound cool!” (laughs). That´s what I was saying and it was almost like the material was second. That was the last thing I had to worry about. When we got in there we did it really fast and we met the deadline and wrote the songs really fast and made demos of them. Two minute demos. Intro, verse, chorus and maybe a mid section. Melody lines, no words. Brought it to the band and just sat there, “Try this three times, try this four times!” and everybody was just great. There are no dummies there and we got it together and those guys learned all the parts in six days and I was freaking out, so we moved to it right into the studio, recorded it, made some minor changes inside the studio, but really most of the time was just about getting sounds. It took about a month, but for all the time we were in there it was more nailing down specific guitar sounds. When you try to make a record and try to make a hard rock record that has so many different kinds of fuzz on it and you try to make that audible, it´s one thing to make a cool rock record with all different fuzz, but I wanted people to be able to hear “Look, there is a Yardbird fuzz! There´s a Sabbath fuzz!”. Yeah, I want people to hear it. It´s harder than it actually seems. But those guys played their ass off and it turned out pretty cool.

Yeah, it sounds awesome! There are some really heavy riffs in there. Who came up with this kind of mascot that you have? The head.

DW: That was something that I had come up with. I took… the very first Monster Magnet release, I took this toy that I had, this bull god. It was from a "Masters of Universe" action figure. Dumb looking toy and I just loved it because it was so pig. This pig and bull worshiping god idol or something. Put it in front of a psychedelic poster, took a picture and released it on a seven inch, “Lizard Johnny”! “Lizard Johnny” and “Freak shop USA” and ever since then I thought it would be great just to bring him back as kind of a mascot, so he kept evolving and the with “Spine of God”, I asked this young artist from Redbank, Rob Leecock, to come in and I described it to him. “Put the Bullgod in a circle, almost like a… not a pentagram, but a circle, to represent all these different psychedelic elements. Like a tab of acid, a third eye and all this kind of stuff. All mystical bullshit and I asked him to do that, I just drew it out and he did it and did it fantastically and then I´ve been doing that ever since. “How are we gonna use him this time?” and we finally got up to here and here he is looking like Mark R painted him.

Looks great! I actually read in the latest Sweden Rock Magazine that you´ve spent a lot of time in Sweden and that you had a girlfriend here. Was it Örebro?

DW: Mmmmm.

That city is kind of known as… in the US you have the Bible belt and Örebro is part of what we call the Whiney belt.

DW: (laughs)

It´s because of the dialect. They always sound like they´re whining and complaining about stuff.

DW: (laughs) She wasn´t from there originally. She came from a small town about 100 miles outside of Gothenburg. She was going to school there.

So what do you think of the city? Did you like it+

DW: I loved it! It´s like a college town to me. It´s cool! I love Swedish cities! I like the smaller cities, you know. For the longest time the only places I knew were Stockholm and Gothenburg, so when I went out with her I discovered the whole inside of Sweden. I love the countryside. I think it´s awesome!

Did you ever get in touch with any Swedish musicians or tried out something?

DW: I´ve talked to people a couple of times. I have a huge matter of respect for Swedish rock. Those guys made me happy for a very long time. I remember in ´89 here and Union carbide and I was like “What the hell is going on there over in Sweden?”. It was really awesome! And then there was Backyard Babies, The Hellacopters, The Hives and Caesars Palace. Just on and on and on and great records. Something about the American Detroit rock and roll thing that the Swedes have got, almost better than the Americans got. But I´ve never really talked to them for too long because I´m over here. We did do a tour with Union Carbide in the 90´s which was awesome! And we played with The Hives in England a couple of times which was equally awesome. I would love to work with them! With one of those guys.

That would be great!

DW: Yeah, it would be!

I was reading an interview with Vince Neil and he was talking about his new book and he said that the reason for getting into music is “getting laid and drinking free beer!”. When you got into music, did you have those thoughts or was it just trying to be creative? When you´re young, is that the main reason?

DW: Yeah! What he´s really saying is acceptance, you know. He´s trying to be funny with the girls and the free beer, but yeah, totally! As a teenager you want girls to like you and you need an angle. I was a nerd, so I didn´t have an angle. I basically think you want people to like you on your own terms and if you can´t fit in traditionally with the terms that the school offers or society offers and you kind of have to go the rock and roll route where you can kind of make your own rules as you go along to find yourself. You redefine yourself, it´s always been the biggest power in rock and roll, is that people can redefine themselves after the time that most people would give up on you. “This is who you are!” and it´s like “I´ll show you!”. “I´ll go in like a mad scientist to reinvent myself!”. The whole thing with girls and stuff was huge and has been huge my whole life with rock and roll. I always remember not being able to talk to anybody. I was completely shy and a complete nerd, but the rock and roll thing was like “Ah, I´m meeting women!”. “It´s the best!”.

I talked to you in 2004 and we talked about you putting out a book with your lyrics.

DW: I know and I never got around to it, but there´s still time and I´m actually thinking about doing that in a comic book style and I´ve been trying to get together some artists to do that.

Alright! These days it seems like every rock and roller is writing their autobiography and all kinds of guys are coming out with their own stories, have you ever thought of doing that? I mean, you must have led an interesting life so far?

DW: Well there´s a couple of things that have kept me from doing that. One, a lot of people would come and kill me if I did it. If I´m really gonna tell the truth, it´s gonna be some bad stuff and two, I didn´t want to embarrass my family and my daughter was really young. But now my daughter is 19, so I don´t think I´m gonna surprise her, so I´m getting closer to actually writing the book. The other thing is that I want to do it well. I wanna learn how to write, so the past couple of years I´ve actually been learning how to write. Practising myself and I don´t think anybody´s good at anything unless they do it for at least five years or ten years. So the last five I´ve been practicing and at one point I will do it.

Ok. You´re coming to Sweden soon and you´re playing on the 12th of November in Stockholm. What can we expect? Are you gonna mix it up and bring out a lot of old stuff that you haven´t played for a long time?

DW: Yeah, it´s actually a combination. We´ve got the new record and all that stuff sounds great live, so we´re gonna do a bunch off the new record and we´ve truned the set around since the last time we played there, so we´ve got a lot of old, weird stuff that we haven´t played in a long time. A lot of space rock stuff like “Look to your orb for the warning” and “Dinosaur vacuum”. Old weird stuff and all mixed up. The set´s pretty awesome! We just played it last night and I said “Man, it sounds fucking good!”. I´m psyched! Monster Magnet is basically a celebration of fuzz pedals and wah-wah. It´s psychedelic hard rock, man!

Finally, what´s the plan after Europe? The States?

DW: Yeah, we do six weeks in Europe and then we come back and we´ll play in the States some time in February and then we´re off to Australia and do this Soundwave stuff with Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age, Slayer. It´s like an awesome festival!

Nice! Well, I thank you Dave and I wish you all the best with the album and the tour!

DW: Right on! Thanks dude!