Monster Magnet Interview: Dave Wyndorf Discusses the Decline of Rock, the Pressure of Fan Expectation, Hot Swedish Girlfriends, Getting Weird Again and More
In transcribing the interview you’re (hopefully) about to read, I tried very hard to capture the rhythm and exuberance in Monster Magnet frontman Dave Wyndorf‘s speaking voice. To quote South Park, “It’s a Jersey thing.” Oftentimes, the venerable vocalist would begin a thought, pause, and pursue it from a different direction. I did my best to keep some of that and still make it read naturally. It’s always a balance with these things.
Monster Magnet‘s Mastermind, their first album for Napalm Records and eighth overall, will see release next week in the US and Europe. It’s an album I have mixed feelings about (review here), but there’s absolutely no getting around the fact that heavy rock would not be what it is today without the stalwart New Jersey act, and more specifically, without Wyndorf as its driving force. Over the course of their 20-year career, Monster Magnet has influenced bands who don’t even know they’ve been influenced by them. Their broad reach has taken them around the world, and their workmanlike approach to making albums and touring has secured a lifelong fanbase that’s always eager to see what they’re going to do next.
That, specifically, was something I wanted to ask Wyndorf about, and as you’ll — again, hopefully — see, he was forthcoming with his thoughts. Below, he discusses working with the current incarnation of the band — guitarists Ed Mundell and Phil Caivano, bassist Jim Baglino and drummer Bob Pantella — writing Mastermind and recording it with Matt Hyde, the differences in the American and European rock scenes, the fine line between what Monster Magnet does and heavy metal, and lots, lots more. The interview was over 40 minutes long and the transcription turned out to be well over 5,800 words. The dude’s a talker and there was a lot of ground to cover. If you have to take it in pieces, I understand. It’ll still be here later when you come back.
Please find the complete Q&A after the jump, and enjoy.
What keeps you going back to Matt Hyde to record?
He’s a friend of mine. Matt’s a friend. He’s got a really good sense of humor, and the working relationship that we created together, I think the first record was Powertrip, was really good. I tend to have all these ideas, and I know what I want to do production-wise, and I know what amps I want to use, what board I want to use, all the stuff I want to use, but I’m really lazy at actually sitting down and doing it. I’m the P.T. Barnum kind of guy that runs around and smokes and yells, “Make it louder! Turn it purple!” And Matt is an excellent engineer. That’s our relationship. He’ll stop me and go, “You’re asking for too much. Physically I can’t do that. We can’t do that.” He tends to clean up a lot of my obsessive mistakes.
In terms of the arrangements of the songs, does he have an input, or is that all figured out beforehand?
Nah, that’s my job.
One of the things I notice in listening to Mastermind is it’s got a thicker tone, a livelier feel than 4-Way Diablo. Was there something specific you wanted to do to bring that out after the last album?
Yeah. I was sitting on a tour bus in England, around this time last year, a little bit closer to Christmas, and when I found out we were going to put this album out on a schedule, I had to write it and all this stuff, and I was like, “I don’t know what the hell I’m gonna write it about, but I’ll tell you one thing, it’s gonna be all Gibsons!” because I know what I’m gonna get, and I think there’s probably only two Strats on the whole record. Poor Ed. He plays a Strat, but not on this one. I’m like, “It’s gonna be thick, ropey guitar leads” – I’m writing it down and I send it to Matt. He’s like, “What the fuck is ropey?” I’m like, “Ropey! Real fucking guitar tones. None of this wang-dang-doodle shit. I want fucking Gibsons, and blah blah blah.” We had a huge amp audition, it was great. We recorded at Shorefire, in Long Branch, the music anyway. And Shorefire looks like it hasn’t changed since 1972. It’s really cool. We had a big amp audition. Old vintage Marshalls, Ampegs, stuff like that. It was fun. Really, really fun. And I was like, “Not ropey enough! Thicker! Thicker!” It was just a lot of fun. I knew even before I wrote the songs that was the sound I wanted. And I wanted a lot of bass. Fuzz bass and stuff like that. So we made preparations in the sound picture to accommodate that too.
Did that play into the songwriting too? When you were coming up with parts?
Yeah, sure, because you get a vision in your head of what it’s gonna sound like and there’s certain stuff that matches that sound. There’s bands that match that sound. Black Sabbath. Or, the even more fun thing is, “What would Hawkwind sound like if they played through Black Sabbath’s gear?” “What would The Stooges sound like?” It’s all just wish-fulfillment as far as that’s concerned. It really hasn’t changed much since I was a kid. “What if this great guy played through this guy’s gear?” and that kind of sets it off. It finds its own way too, because it’s impossible to replicate that stuff, but you can use it as a guide.
Are you a gear-minded kind of guy? Does that often play into the sound of Monster Magnet albums?
When it comes to recording, yeah. It’s really important. It’s really important you have the right gear. Probably more important than most of the boards and recording equipment that you have now, because recording equipment’s been pretty standardized with computers and stuff. But the gear – the right guitar is hugely important. It’s amazing what happens if you take a wrong turn when you’re using distorted guitar. You take a wrong turn and you sound like some metal piece of shit. It sounds way too metal. It’s gotta sound rock.
It’s a fine line sometimes.
It’s a fine line that I cross all the time unintentionally, my friend. I’m like, “Argh!” It’s crazy. We get so gear-centric in there, it’s nuts. Phil Caivano, the guitarist for Monster Magnet, is a total what we call a chudder. Chudder. A chudder is a thing he made up. It’s a person that’s so obsessed with gear that it’s all they talk about day and night, and that’s all he does. So we wound up using 90 percent of his own collection of stuff, because he’s just such a nut, such a crazed maniac over this stuff, he’s got all the best stuff. We played a lot through old, really old amps. Lot of really small amps. Always surprised by when a 12 inch old Gibson amp, little 12 inch speaker, sounds as big as a house. All this big stuff, sometimes a lot of stuff gets lost in all that wash. You just really need a punch against that microphone. It’s only a little microphone. You punch it hard enough with a little speaker, some great things happen.
You mentioned Phil. How has it been putting this album together with him back in the fold?
Awesome. I couldn’t have done this record the way I wanted to without him. It would’ve been too much for Matt. Matt’s a more modern guy. Matt’ll always go for something modern and dependable, and I always go for old and undependable, because of the character. I want the character of the amps. Matt can be pretty stubborn sometimes. I’ll walk out of the room and he’ll do something to make it easier to record, basically removing the troublesome thing with character to replace with something more dependable. It’s a big fight we have all the time, and Phil was totally on my side. The record never would have been made if it wasn’t for the combination of us three guys.
At what point do you bring the band into the songwriting process?
Pretty early on. What we did on this one was what we do most of the time. I’ll go home, “Okay, it’s time to write a record.” I’ll stay in my house and write on my four track or eight track, whatever it is I’ve got here, little piece of crap. I use a drum machine, or just a click track, or bongos, which are really good for fills. Set up a beat or a riff, whichever comes first, write a verse and a chorus over it, a couple hooks, guitar hooks, all mockup things. I play pretty much like an eighth grader, like a garage rock guitarist. I try to do these leads, but I really can’t do it. I can make the noise. I know what sounds I want, so I make all the sounds I want, the noise, and sing over it, melody lines. And then, if it’s got a chorus and a verse and an intro, I can bring it to the band. That’s what I did this time. I didn’t spend a lot of time finishing all the demos. I just did a chorus, intro and a verse, bring it to the band, and we worked it out. Then I’ll sit there and just give direction as we put it together. If anybody’s got ideas on the fly about their parts and stuff, I’m just like, “Sure.” If anybody’s got an idea, it’s fine. We’ll work out the parts and then I’ll just arrange it on the spot when we record it. This one was relatively easy. Those guys learned 12 or 13 songs in about six days, which is amazing. But they’re good. They’re really good. You can’t do that with everybody (laughs). And Phil actually played all the bass on this record.
Jim had a family emergency and couldn’t make it. I was like, “Phil, you gotta go in on the bass.” He’s like, “You sure?” We played together in Shrapnel, years ago. Our first band. He was a bass player then, and he fuckin’ dove right in.
I hadn’t heard that. Obviously just a scheduling thing.
It had to be done. Jim had a family emergency, and it was bad news. I always look it like making an album is like playing the World Series. You don’t go, “Oh, that guy’s always been the second guy up.” Not today. It’s the World Series, I’m changing the lineup. It’s important. I’ve done it in the past where we’ve switched members around. I’ve had Ed play bass, I’ve played bass on a lot of records. Whoever’s up for the job at that particular point gets in the hot seat.
How about your songwriting process personally? Has that changed at all over, let’s say, the last decade?
It’s gotten shorter. It probably hasn’t changed enough to suit me. I should probably change it because I think it’s starting to show signs of abuse. The process for me has gotten shorter. I know what I’m gonna get, and especially when I play with guys that are this good, especially Jim Baglino on bass and Bob Pantella on drums. Those guys are amazing. Really, really good. I don’t have to explain myself through a demonstration. I used to have to write a whole song to explain to the old guys, and do the exact fills that I wanted on a bongo, and those guys listened to it like a zillion times. With Bob and Jim, and Phil and Ed, I go in there and in an afternoon it’s done. And they usually add stuff to it too. So the songwriting process, the shorthand has gotten better. And for mellow stuff, weird stuff, that’s really up to what the song tells me. That’s starting to change now. It’s not on this record, but probably on future records, it’s starting to branch out into weirdness.
How do you mean?
Dirges. Ballads. Stuff like that’ll probably be on a solo album. Stuff that’s got a funny time to it. It’s still hopefully cool, but it’s outside the comfort zone. It’s good for you to work outside of that. I’m gonna work with piano and stuff.
Toward the end of Mastermind, you get into that kind of moodier territory.
Yeah. It’s all about the mood. Even with the rock songs, it’s always been all about the mood with me. For Monster Magnet, I think it’ll always be on the loud side. We’re at the point in the band’s career where it’s not really up to us anymore. It’s up to the fans. There’s a point where you’ve been around for so long and the people expect something of you, and while I would never go against my nature and release something as dictated by the fans, there’s a certain energy, a certain thing from Monster Magnet that they always want that I’m always gonna give them. And I’ll throw them some surprises. So the ultra-weird stuff, the stuff I’m talking about that is demented lounge music and all that stuff, that’s going to have to come out on a Monster Magnet-related project, but maybe not with the name Monster Magnet on it. It’ll reflect a lot of the moody stuff that you hear on some of the Monster Magnet records.
Do you ever feel limited by what’s expected of Monster Magnet?
Oh yeah. Sure. How could you not? I didn’t really plan on Monster Magnet to be around this long (laughs). It was a total shock to me, and I still wake up like, “How long has it been? It’s like 20 years? This is insane!”
Hey man, Hawkwind’s 40.
That’s when I ask myself these questions. I look at someone like Dave Brock and go, “Okay, I get it.” I look at Lemmy and those guys and go, “Yeah, I totally understand. It’s become some sort of a minor institution.” Say what you want about institutions and doing the same thing. If you’re around for more than five minutes in today’s world, you’re old hat, so you have to gird yourself. Either you want an unsteady yet consistent life in music, or you want one giant, brilliant flash and you’re gone forever. Body of work is way more important. While I feel limited sometimes in my head about Monster Magnet, I’ve never actually written stuff that I didn’t want to write. It’s not gotten to that point, where I’m like, “Time to make the doughnuts. Here’s your rock!” It hasn’t gotten to that point, and if it does, I’ll just stop. But truth be told, playing heavy rock music in the styles that we play it in is really fun. It’s not something I hear all the time new, so I still think it’s got a place. If somebody was out there like, “Hey, we’ve got a band that sounds like Black Sabbath and The Stooges and Hawkwind and early ‘70s rock and some Grand Funk and all my favorite stuff and Strawberry Alarm Clock and ‘60s garage punk,” if they were doing that, I wouldn’t be doing this. But I don’t see anybody doing it, so I still have a lot of fun doing it.
It’s interesting to hear you talk about it, because although there’s obviously been other factors over the course of the last three or four Monster Magnet records, there are parts where it feels like, “This is Monster Magnet being Monster Magnet.”
(Laughs) Yeah. It probably is, because it is Monster Magnet being Monster Magnet. I think that’s a perception of time. I listen to my favorite old bands. Say, if I listen to like five Deep Purple records in a row, I often say, “This is Deep Purple being Deep Purple.” I don’t find anything wrong with it, except for to say, maybe from a band standpoint, it’s time to turn this record over to another fan who’d be more into it. But you know something? I always go back to those records. So I don’t know. The concept of Monster Magnet is built around a certain sonic picture, and I like different sonic pictures and stuff, but these guys would hang me by my fucking neck if I changed it too much. I think they want the same thing. It’s just a matter of timing with a band like Monster Magnet. Like with all bands, like rock and roll in general, it gets weird when the band’s been around for a while. Rock and roll was created to be thrown away right away. I don’t think anyone planned on rock and roll lasting as long as it did. There was no grand plan. The longer you’ve been around, the more you introduce yourself to new people, the more the people who found you first or liked you first are going to say, “Well, I liked them better then.” Not necessarily because the band was better, but because their life was better then. Maybe they got laid the first night they listened to their favorite band. Maybe that was the time in their life when they were woken up before they went to their job and they got into their life and realized they’re not in the band and, “All rock sucks after I was 21.” I think it’s you suck after you’re 21. Music is like that. Any band runs the risk, by staying alive and staying around, of running into those kind of assessments on them. There’s been a couple times – more than a couple times – where I’ve stopped and said, “This again?” but it feels good doing it. Rock, to me, is like the blues. It always feels good to play the blues. It always feels good to me to play rock. I’m never embarrassed about it. Is it similar? Yeah. Is that a bad thing? Not by me. Eight albums. That’s a lot of albums. Way more albums than I thought it would be. So we’ll have to see. Ultimately, it’s up to the people who like the music. If they like it, they buy it or they go to the shows. Those guys are the real judges here. Not me, certainly. The person who actually writes the music is no good judge on their own music. It’s terrible. They’re the worst. I haven’t been happy with making a record, ever. I don’t think I’ve ever walked away with a record saying, “That was great!”
I don’t think you’re supposed to.
No, no. I’m just like, “Look at all the stuff I could’ve done!” and blah blah blah. The one thing I’m sure of is when this thing is fired up and those sounds come out, the sounds I liked when I was 12, the sounds that I liked when I was 29, the sounds I liked when I was 39, the stuff Monster Magnet does always makes me happy. It never makes me unhappy. I’m never like, “Ah, I never want to hear a wah through an echo again!” I love a wah through an echo! It’s fucking cool. And believe me, like I said, if I heard a million bands doing this stuff all the time, I wouldn’t be doing it. But I don’t.
I’m a big fan of songwriting, of a structured song. I think a pop song gets a bad reputation, as a thing to be avoided, but writing a song with structure is fucking hard.
It’s really, really hard. I agree. This has been going on ever since the whole indie music thing. It’s funny. Ever since indie became pro, which means you can call it indie, there’s been a million guys trying to skirt the issue of both singing well and writing songs. They go crazy going around it, because they know that as soon as they lock into some traditional standard, they’re gonna be judged by those standards, and it’s a higher standard. So they go all the way around. They dance around the issue. “No, I’m so independent that I don’t have a structure in my song. I’m so independent there’s rarely any melody in my songs. I’m so independent that I’m going to leave it up to somebody to write about it and conceptualize what I do and then I’ll sell it back to you.” And it’s like, hey, it works great in the press and it works great for five-minute wonders, but it doesn’t work for a crowd. How many of these indie bands have you seen where it works great in the press and then they go out on the road and everybody hates it? Because there’s nothing there. It’s weird. It’s almost like really cool designer candy. You look at the names of the bands and the covers and stuff, and you’re like, “Wow, this is fucking cool.” Who was the one that Jimmy Iovine signed that was the great name? And They Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. That was a great example of, “Holy shit, it’s gonna be the greatest thing ever.” Nothing. They went out and, immediately, were just doomed, because it was something, but like I said, it’s like designer candy. You set all the bands up and all this stuff, it always works when it’s a big collection of it so you can pick and choose. If it was one band, it’d be shot out of the sky like an enemy aircraft. But that’s the nature of pop, and the nature of indie pop or whatever, because no matter how cool the indie guys think they are, they’re still running a pop game. They just have their own little rules about it. And it doesn’t include bands staying around for a long time, I’ll tell you that. That’s not part of the plan. That’s no fun (laughs). They want new covers and new stuff and it’s all about concepts. I think writers tend to lean towards bands like that, because they can imagine the hidden concept within it. Writers have more imagination than most folks, and they’ll listen to a band and look at the cover, and they hear this noisy stuff coming out, and, “Yeah, it’s a cool vibe, it’s a cool noise, and I hear something deeper in it,” and they write it, and that’s it. When it’s too pinned down, traditional writing, chorus, verses and stuff like that, they can pick it apart in a second, and they don’t want to do that. I think writers really do want to write about stuff they like, but there’s not that much stuff they like today, unfortunately. There’s a lot of stuff, but not a lot of stuff to like.
At what point did you start thinking of Monster Magnet in terms of longevity?
Pretty early on. When people started biting. We went to Europe. I was like, “Fuck it, I’m going to Europe, because it’s just too much fun,” and we started getting bites from majors. We had seven or eight majors coming after us and I was like, “I guess we’re gonna be around for a while.” It didn’t have an effect on the music, but it did have an effect on how hard I worked, because I worked it really, really hard. I wanted to see how far I could push it, because it really cracked me up that there were major labels running after a band that based their whole thing on Hawkwind, Stooges, that whole vibe. ‘60s biker movies. That’s all my favorite stuff, and I didn’t think anyone else was into that. I was like, “This is really funny, let’s see how long it can go.” Pretty much playing by the rules that I set out for Monster Magnet. Then, when it lasted longer than that, I thought the whole thing was going to be over by Dopes to Infinity, and it just got more. I did a record, “Alright, I’m tired of this. We did psych stuff for three years. It’s time to turn up the rock.” And they loved that too. Insane. Somewhere around right before Superjudge, that’s when I was like, “Okay, it’s gonna be around for a while.”
Do you ever see yourself exploring those other sides of Monster Magnet again?
Sure. I just started a record company, my own little record company, called Studio 13. This is all old school recording. It’s Phil Caivano. He’s got a little studio in his house, and we’ll do everything out of there, probably release a series of seven inches to begin with, a release about every three months. The only rules in this thing is it has to be written and recorded in about three days. And that’s the rule. You gotta do it. Sorry. No grabass, you gotta just put it down, bam. Track it, overdub it, do whatever you have to, but it has to be out. As an example of this, I’m doing it myself for the first bunch of singles. I’ll sing my own songs. Some of them are dirges, weird. On the first one, we did a fuzz version of “Superjudge.” I thought I’d throw something out to get some bites from Monster Magnet people, but it’ll quickly change into an oddball kind of place. Old school. Not much attention paid to what the Monster Magnet fans think, except for maybe the hardcore ones that actually do encourage me to do a lot more mellow stuff. On that angle, it’s heading definitely toward the strange and bizarre. Demented Elton John and that kind of stuff. Twisted Tom Waits and whatever you would call it. It’s fun. It’s really, really fun to actually get back into that kind of position and not have to worry about constantly trying to feed everybody through Monster Magnet. Because basically Monster Magnet feeds a lot of people. I have to look at that angle too.
How much is Monster Magnet a job, then?
It’s my life now. It’s a job, but it’s a really good job. It’s the best job I ever had. It’s the hardest I ever worked, but man, it beats working at the gas station. I have lots of responsibilities, but they’re not nearly that treadmill, hamster wheel, fuckin’ grind yourself into the ground, nine-to-five thing, which I don’t think I could survive. It’s good for some people, not for me though. It’s a good job. You change it. I get to do all this different stuff, which is really cool. As soon as you burn out on using your brain in intense focus, you get to basically walk out of your house and walk out of that job and go into the job of screaming and hollering in a different city every night. You go from the cerebral, that ultra-focus, to the pretty much animal. They balance each other out quite well.
How has it been working with Napalm Records?
So far, so good. Nice guys, really nice guys. Go-get-‘em type people. Young. They know their stuff. They know how to sell their records in Europe, and mainly that’s what I’m concerned about. They do good in the States too. I never hung too much faith on the United States as far as Monster Magnet’s concerned. I just always had this weird feeling they would never get it, and every time they did get it, it would be misinterpreted as something else, and sure enough, every record we’ve been out for in the States, it’s been like, “It’s metal, right?” And I’m like, “It’s rock.” “Well, we can’t just say rock.” And well, you can, but they don’t. But Napalm, so far, especially in Europe, they move records, they know what they’re doing. They’re known as a metal company, but they certainly have not promoted Monster Magnet any other way. It helps that Monster Magnet’s been around too. I don’t think anybody’s going to be confused.
Are there any plans for shows in the States?
I’m making them now. There’s nothing set in stone, but you can be damn sure we’ll play New Jersey and New York probably sometime in the Springtime. We’ll play Manhattan, we’ll play Starland probably. The whole East Coast thing. I’m starting to put that together now. To tell you the truth, I’m waiting to see if we can get a little action with our promoters. The States is tough. It’s not a live nation. The States is a stay outside and look at your phone country. The culture has changed quite a bit, and there’s a whole bunch of stuff that just doesn’t work anymore. I think the system’s gonna have to fall down a little more before they can reinvent it, and shit, you’re gonna have to take a bunch of lawyers out and kill them. The laws have prevented people from having real rock shows for a long time. It’s tough. Tough to get kids into a place and an environment where it’s just dangerous enough for them to like rock and roll.
I remember hearing over the summer that Lollapalooza in Chicago had a radius clause preventing bands from performing anywhere else in the city for however long.
Those are desperate moves. It’s headed toward fascism just for survival. It’s weird. I could see that stuff coming for a long time. I remember seeing it back in the ‘90s. I’m watching these old venerable institutions out in the Midwest were famous for breaking bands, and these places sucked. Nobody would update their P.A.s, and everybody would complain about lawyers and stuff, and hey, I know, I can see the problem everybody’s having. It’s getting to expensive. Bands won’t back down on their guarantees, and the laws here have become so stringent that a lot of the elements that make for exciting rock shows and make for very, very dedicated fans for the rest of their lives, are out of it. Volume. Decibel limits. They turned it down. Age restrictions. Times for shows. Getting Djs in later at night. They basically started to set up the system for convenience, which is what America’s all about. So all the elements that made for really passionate rock and roll fans were being taken away, and the music followed. The music followed it. Europe, on the other hand, is still basically set up in a traditional way, the way stuff was set up early in the ‘70s here. Mid-size halls, rock halls. Pretty loose on their restrictions. Some places have decibel limits, but they’re loud as balls. Pretty nice places. There’s hardly any of this PNC Bank Center shit. Because, face it, man. You get a bunch of 14-year-old kids and the first rock show they see is PNC Bank Center, that’s Broadway. It’s not rock and roll. It’s something, but it’s not something you really remember. It’s not like getting hit in the face with a beer bottle (laughs). Maybe that thing is gone forever. I would hope not. I would hope there’d be a way to introduce people to a live experience that’s more vibrant and intense than being 50 feet away from the stage in the front row in a place that was designed for classical music. It just doesn’t make sense.
One more thing and I’ll let you go. Has it ever occurred to you that you’ve gone eight albums at this point and there isn’t a Monster Magnet live record?
Yeah, I know. Everybody reminds me of that all the time. Because I was such a prick in the old days. I was like, “That sounds like shit, I’m not releasing it.” Finally, because I’ve stopped and had some reflection time, I realized, yes, that’s ridiculous, how could this band that plays live all the time not have a live record? So we’re going to remedy that tout de suite. Sometime in the next year. We’re going to be recording this European tour, and then we’re going to Australia and we’ll probably be recording that too. And then we’ll probably be recording for the length of this tour, which I imagine’ll be a year and a half or two years long. That’s what we usually do for a Monster Magnet record. Just go. Travel all around the world and have all these adventures and stuff. It’s a whacky life. It’s cool. It’s like being in a circus (laughs).
The festival you’re doing in Australia…
What a great festival! You see the lineup of that thing? Why, why, why can’t they get this thing together and bring it to the States? What is it? Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age, Slayer, Rob Zombie, Monster Magnet. The Sword is playing. Melvins! It’s a hard rock lover’s dream. More of that!
I don’t think you could pull it off over here. It’s like Roadburn. You can’t do Roadburn in America.
No, you can’t. You can’t. And you know what’s disgusting? There’s reasons for that, that, if we were to talk about, they’d be so ridiculous. We could go on any internet site and people would say, “No, I would go support it,” but they don’t. That’s what it is. When it comes down to it, America is about convenience. I’ll tell you, the country acts like a bunch of big fucking babies. Ever since 9/11, it’s like “Wahh!!!” You can’t sit there and complain and not support it at the same time. I think it’s time for a rock and roll Branson. You know Branson, Missouri? It is! It’s time for a rock and roll Branson. You can see it. It’s getting that old. Have you seen these shows where Mudhoney and The Stooges play up in the Catskills? That’s what that is. People buy their tickets and stay in the little cottages, and they go over and see the band, and it’s like, “Oh my god, this is what it’s coming down to.” America’s addicted to added value. So the added value for your rock experience is you get to go away, and you get a deal on your brunch, and maybe you’ll take a rowboat out on the lake in the Catskills to see The Stooges. Never in my life could I imagine it would end up like this. That’s why I go to Europe all the time. In Europe, you can actually pretend it’s the glory days of rock, because it is. It’s not just a bunch of Americans tromping through, playing rock star. These people really dig it. Girls come to the show. There’s females! Girls go to death metal shows. They start their own bands all the time. You go to Sweden, and it’s like a dream come true. Beautiful women playing death metal. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m like, “I’m moving here.” I had a Swedish girlfriend for five years. “I’m not coming back!” I love the States, but it’s a pity that the country that invented rock and roll is completely like “Spitooey!” Maybe that’ll change, maybe it’ll take to the cornfields again, but it sure would be nice to see a physical scene instead of, “We have our scene, it’s on the internet.” That’s not a scene. That’s an idea. Put your money where your mouth is. Not enough people looking each other in the eye. I was thinking of doing the hippie circuit. There’s that thing, Bonnaroo. They have those hippie bands. They’re really horrible, but they draw lots of people. I was thinking of maybe trying to do a tour of the States through there. They’d probably kick us out, but at least you could play for a lot of people, and they’re somewhat inebriated, so maybe you could hypnotize them into buying your record. Because touring through the States now and doing the Midwest, it’s like, “Tonight, you’re gonna play Rockies, the oldest club in Cincinnatti,” and you go in, and it looks worse than the Brighton Bar. Shitty P.A., and they’re going, “Well, you should be glad to play here.” “There’s nobody here, man.” “Well, that’s your fault,” and I go, “Yeah, I guess it’s my fault.” Then you look at the books, everybody plays there, nobody does well. They’re just hanging on, and now everybody gangs up and they go do these big shed tours at the PNC Bank Arts Center and stuff like that, but those things, it’s like, “That’s it? That’s what you’ve got to offer?” There’s got to be a better way. Maybe it’s time to get a flatbed truck and play at the mall.
Hey man, people do that too.
You know? Hey, it worked in the ‘60s. They used to do it in the ‘60s all the time. Hmm…
There’s a whole group of people who do that. They make documentaries about it and post them online.
(Laughs) That’s what I’ll do! I won’t even do one, I’ll just make up a fake one and make a documentary about it. And I’ll spend all my time in China, where the people really want to rock!
Tags: Monster Magnet, Napalm, New Jersey, Red Bank