Drugs: Dave Wyndorf

You’ve been drug-free since overcoming an addiction to sleeping pills six years ago.

What many people don’t know is that I was very chemical-free before that. I have a reputation for drug-rock, but my inspiration for psychedelic music came from the memory of doing drugs – I wrote thinking about what it was like doing mushrooms or whatever in my childhood. Those rare times I tried to write while high, it was a mess.

How much of the group’s music was written under the influence?

Almost none. And I know that disappoints people. When I was younger I played it up – just put it out there – although I would never cop to doing it or not doing it.

Could there have been a Monster Magnet had drugs not existed?

Monster Magnet could not have existed had the sixties and seventies not happened – our music was all about that lifestyle. I was a druggie psychedelic kid, but I was also consumed by the scene’s culture – biker films and Russ Meyer movies.

Did you take drugs because they were cool, because your heroes Hawkwind used them?

No. I took psychedelics because, at ten or eleven years old in 1968, I’d seen it on TV and I thought they’d take me on some weird adventure. Those shows told me I could fly like a bird. I wanted that!

You didn’t take drugs aged just ten, did you?

No. That’s when I started making the plan. I was fourteen when I started smoking pot and maybe fifteen when I took acid.

We’ve lost so many musicians to drugs. Was that element of danger part of the thrill when you started taking them?

Funnily enough, it wasn’t at first. That happened later, as life accelerated and I turned seventeen and eighteen. I was always very careful, but at that earlier age I wanted the trip. And it’s important for me to say that I wanted the trip I’d seen in the movies. And it wasn’t as good as the one I’d made up in my head. By twenty‑four or twenty-five, I stopped.

Most people don’t know that you weren’t actually off your tits all the time.

No. But I said it a million times in interviews. I just don’t think anyone wanted to believe it.

_It seems almost crazy to ask Dave Wyndorf whether we should be making efforts to de-glamourise drug use, but we’re going to do it anyway. _

Why even bother? It would be an uphill battle. Look at the people that do drugs – it de-glamourises itself pretty well. And if you want to go for the romance of it all, read Hunter S Thompson, but remember that the guy killed himself.

There’s no happy ending. I wish there was. I wish I could make a plan to go to an active volcano when I’m eighty years old, set up a beach chair and take LSD ’til it comes out of my ass. That would be fantastic, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen. Meanwhile, I’ll have to use my imagination to make this crazy shit happen.

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.