‘Man, That’s A Lot Of Crazy Bands!’ Monster Magnet’s Dave Wyndorf Looks Forward To Hard Rock Hell
The Classic Rock-sponsored Hard Rock Hell festival takes pride in delivering a few big surprises. This year’s bill is no exception.
Returning from a lengthy silence, Dave Wyndorf, founder, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter of the New Jersey-based stoner-rock veterans Monster Magnet, checks in for his flight to Prestatyn, followed by seven other headline UK dates.
Interview: Dave Ling
What’s going on with Monster Magnet? The band’s official website hasn’t been properly updated since 5th October, 2007?
[Laughs]: You’re shaming me now. I’m famously uninterested in stuff like that, but I’ve got someone working on it. The trouble is, once I get involved with anything I spend so much time I wind up not doing anything else. But I’m alive and well. We’ve been touring for almost two years.
This includes an unplugged tour of Australia, featuring songs the band had never played live before.
Well, that was the plan. But in the end it turned out to be a regular tour. The unplugged thing is something we’ll do next time around. We’ll be starting a new record in January.
How far down the road are you with that?
I do this thing where I gather sketches of ideas at my home studio. I write for as long as it feels good. I’ve got about 40 pieces of music; verses, choruses, bridges… but I haven’t looked back at them so they could be total shit [laughs]. Ten per cent of what I write that way tends to be okay.
With no new album to promote, what type of a set should we expect?
I love playing without a new record because it frees me up to pick from everything. It’s a lot easier to compile a really solid set. This time the emphasis will be on the band’s psychedelic side, with some greatest hits thrown in.
After all the label’s financial woes, are you still signed to SPV Records?
Oh no. I fired them nine months ago. Fuck those guys. They were great for us at the beginning, but then they turned all weird and German on us.
So how will you sell the next album; form your own label, maybe?
I don’t even worry about things like that anymore. Ten years ago I’d have been pulling out my hair but now… Aaah, we’ll just make a record. Someone’ll put it out, and if they don’t, I’ll do it myself.
You have admitted battling an addiction to a prescription drug called Benzodiazepine. Is everything now cool with that?
Yeah. No more of those evil dugs. That was a fucking nightmare.
It almost made you give up music?
I almost gave up life, truthfully. I’ve never been so down before. I had no idea of the depths it could bring you to. There I was in my forties addicted to prescription drugs… a real pill-popper. It was three years ago and my mind is still not totally together.
Besides your own dates Monster Magnet also headline the first night of the Hard Rock Hell festival, which co-stars Terrorvision, Sonata Artica, Ratt, Gun and Korpiklaani.
Man, that’s a lot of crazy bands! But it doesn’t bother us because we’ve played with Portishead one night and Mötley Crüe the next. I’m looking forward to seeing all the other bands. From what you’ve said, I bet their combined ages would top over two thousand years old.
• Hard Rock Hell takes place on December 4/5