Monster Magnet mastermind Dave Wyndorf took time out of his busy schedule for an interview with ThisIsNotAScene. Wyndorf talked about the re-imagining of “Last Patrol” and its upcoming release, releasing live albums, inspiration, and much, much more…
“Last Patrol” got very good press, did that give you the confidence to release this new version, knowing there was an appetite for it or did you always have this in the back of your mind?
I was just on it, I had the tracks spinning around in my head and thought I can do this in between tours. Living two blocks from the studio for the first time in my career really made this possible. I was always a fan of alternative versions, and really I did it this because I could. It’s fun to do and for me music is always evolving, its never really a stagnant type of thing.
When I first heard of the new version I thought it might be an “unplugged” type of thing, I know you have expressed interest in doing this in the past.
It’s really heading that way, well maybe not fully unplugged, but certainly a more mellowed down version of things, if you know what I mean. These alternative versions are really helping me get to that point, especially in Europe. I tried like 10 years ago to do some unplugged shows in Europe but we just could not make it happen. Back then the promoters didn’t know what the audience would do, I tried to explain they are kids they will figure it out but in the end it just didn’t work. This is really helping me do more of those types of shows in the future.
Instead this “new version” has got extra songs on it – I assume they were all written at the same time.
All of this came from parts of songs, I just have an unending parade of songs and melodies in my head and this is the way I get them out. It’s just fun to add layers and different vibes to things and see what happens.
Are there any other Monster Magnet albums that are getting the same treatment?
“Mastermind” was one album that I did in a hurry and thought the end result was ok. Because of the speed I put it together I never really got the time to add my own personal stamp on it. Living so close to the studio has really let me add my stamp on this one and I can get it done, so yeah “Mastermind” is getting this treatment too.
I assume it’s for a 2015 release as there really isn’t much time for a 2014 package.
Yes, definitely for 2015.
Your previous show in London at Koko was awesome any plans to put that out live?
I have finally gotten around to the point in my life where the shows are really starting to sound good to me. I am so happy with the live recordings and “Last Patrol” in its entirety sounded really good so yes there are plans to get this out as a live version.
I hate to say anything against my all time favorite band RUSH but they are notorious for going back into the studio to enhance their live sound, will you be going in and adding help or will you let it stand on its own.
I know exactly what you mean, and this concept goes way back to bands like KISS on their “Alive” album doing the same thing. This is really the best line up we have ever had, we are all clicking and doing some amazing shows. My goal is to just release the material live.
I thought it was brave and justified of you to come out and play the new album in its entirety, was this always the plan?
I really like the new album. I started listening to again after about a month of not hearing it and started to think it would be better as once piece than just a few parts. Given some of the variation in track lengths and styles of certain songs I had a little bit of a concern but in the end the people really seemed to like it and it really fit for the new albums.
It’s a very angry album at times, with a lot to say. You raise a number of valid points but do you think you have become a grumpy old angry guy.
I guess I am grumpy anyway, I mean I don’t go out every morning shaking my fist and screaming at people to get off my lawn or anything. I am just grumpy enough not to be a fool about things.
You still live in a small town in NJ do you still get enough inspiration from there or where do you draw your inspiration?
I tour all the time so I have a lot of inspirations from all of my road trips. I do get inspiration from small towns but it’s more of a retreat for me than anything. For me, inspiration comes from emotions so I get it from here and abroad. One time I even spent some time in Vegas writing, I mean there you can just watch a full range of emotions, people come in hopeful and leave dejected amongst others.
How much time do you spend in Europe?
A lot of time. More time in Europe than here for sure. Europe is where it’s at for me. I realized this a while ago, right around the time that the “Napster bubble” burst. I noticed that I could not play to an audience that was getting incrementally smaller each time. I cant explain it, it’s almost a cultural thing, where European audiences have a real love and appreciation for live shows. I just decided it was time to navigate the ship towards calmer waters and it really worked out for us.
The industry certainly has changed, I kind of gave up on asking questions about CD sales, streaming music, and about changes in general.
It sure has changed, CD and vinyl sales just really don’t bring in the income like they did in the day for rock music. I mean, if you are a pop star with huge wide appeal sales still bring in a fair penny, but we have to be creative now. It gets frustrating at times, I mean let’s be honest I am a musician first and foremost, having to manage and create merchandise and everything else just gets tough at times.
In my review I mentioned that there were clues that this would be your last album, is this true?
No, not at all. I am always looking for a graceful exit at some point but we are still going strong, maybe next time I will name an album “cancer” or “ebola” and see what happens. “Last Patrol” just sounded cool so I went with it.
Time for the last question. How much input do you have in videos, just take the wide subject content from ‘Space Lord’ to ‘The Duke’, how much control do you like to have?
Sometimes I have lots of control and sometimes I don’t. I used to have a lot of input, I would try to insert as much Monster Magnet into a director as I could to get the right feel for the song. This time around with Phil Mucci I did not have to do that at all, I spent some time with him on the phone and gave him the background and references in the song and he worked his magic, just look at the results.
Thanks so much for your time Dave it’s been a pleasure!
Thank you too!
Editors Note: Due to time and availability of Chris Ball he was not able to conduct the interview himself. He gave me some great questions and Chris I hope I did you justice. Thanks to Dave Wyndorf for taking the time to chat with me and giving some great insights into your music but also the industry as a whole. – Myron