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Monster Magnet's Dave Wyndorf: "I tried to be a white trash rock'n'roll James Bond"

Monster Magnet
(Image credit: Jeremy Saffer)

No, you're not tripping – we really asked Monster Magnet's chief wizard Dave Wyndorf to answer your questions on rock’n’roll hedonism, why the 1990s were the best years to be riding the waves of the music business, and exactly where he gets those lyrics from.

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If you were President, what drug would you legalise first?

Toby Warren (email)

“Well, they already legalised pot, that’s the obvious one. Heroin! Why not? Maybe LSD because I think most people are afraid of it anyway and it’s not an addictive drug, there’s only a couple of people jumping off buildings every once in a while but fuck ’em if they can’t have a good trip. Do they make a funny drug? A designer acid that makes you funny as shit and the girls love you? That’s what the world really needs now, so I’d legalise a new synthetic drug of my creation that’d enable people to gather actual talent.”

When are you going back on the Tell ’Em Steve-Dave Show?

@AllOutttaAngst

“That’s a good question, I’m gonna call Walt [Flanagan, co-host of the comedy podcast that Wyndorf appeared on] now. It was really cool doing it at the comic store [Secret Stash in New Jersey]. The place would close at 6pm and I only live five blocks away so I’d just walk to the store and they’d be sitting around an old billiards table with microphones, amongst the comic books, doing the show. I don’t know how they get away with doing it every week – how long can you be funny for? I can be funny for 10 minutes and I’m done.”

To the nearest pound, how much mind-altering pharmaceuticals have you imbibed?

Iain Blarno Roberts (Facebook)

“I don’t know. I haven’t done acid since I was a kid, but I bet if I twisted my body right and I squeezed hard, my pancreas would probably exude enough to get me off. Some residual LSD would have me tripping in seconds.”

Dave Wyndorf

(Image credit: Jeremy Saffer)

What’s your favourite post-90s Monster Magnet album?

James Piecer (email)

“Did I make any records post-90s? I don’t know, I’ve been squeezing my pancreas for about 10 years trying to get that residual LSD out! I’d say Last Patrol [2013]. It was really fun and I started writing whole records from my home and friends’ homes. I’d finally taken myself away from the notion that someday I’d be back on the radio. The only thing that bothered me about the 90s was that the only way you could survive was to have a radio hit or you’d get dropped; nobody will remember your band even if you tour your ass off. After that, it’s a pain in the ass because you’re competition to bands you’ve had nothing to do with; my band was never designed to be in competition with anyone except maybe Jimi Hendrix. In my mind, the reason I started Monster Magnet was to pretend it’s always 1972 and I’d always be 13 years old. If I go far enough, I can pretend that Hendrix is playing tonight somewhere down the street and we can jam with him! It’s a rock fantasy that was decidedly set in a fantastic time that really existed but probably existed more in my head.”

If you had a real monster magnet, which monster would you go out and catch with it and why?

Jennie Roberts (email)

“I’d have to pick my favourite monster from the movies, the Ymir. He was from a 1957 movie called 20 Million Miles To Earth who’s a badass monster and not only that, he looks like he could be friendly if you don’t get him mad. Also King Kong because he’s nice... you kids remember King Kong?”

What do you miss most about the 90s?

Moly Emerald (email)

“The money. It was before digital file sharing and you sold albums to people who wanted to buy albums, you didn’t have to hide behind somebody’s paywall and share all your money with everybody. Rock was bigger business then and everything was allowed, it was opening up all the different styles of music and it looked like they were being accepted by the mainstream. It was a good time but it didn’t last that long, the 90s we’re talking about was only the first half before Napster.”

Would you do your own Beatles-themed tribute White Album?

Joe King (Facebook)

“What the fuck kind of question is that? Well Joe, goddamnit, you cut me to the quick; that’s the next thing that’s coming out. You spoiled my surprise! I think the question’s coming from within me because I need to admit to everyone that that’s what I want to do next. From here on, the rest of my life and career is all Beatles all the time.”

Is Walt Flanagan as funny in real life as on the Tell ’Em Steve-Dave Show

Rob Lake (Facebook)

“Yes, Walt is awesome and he’s the real deal. I knew him before the show and he’s the exact same guy. I used to hang out at the store before they had the show, and I stopped hanging out when the show started because it got really weird. They asked if I wanted to be part of the reality show and I was like, ‘Get the fuck out, a reality show is the death of civilisation’, and I disappeared.”

Is your gift writing lyrics that are untethered to the idea that the listener will take meaning from the words?

@JoFleischer1

“I’d argue it is tethered to it, there are meanings in all that stuff. I write in a style of my own invention which is nothing special, I write in metaphors with sarcasm but I’m not opposed to writing seriously and with humour within two lines of each other. I don’t spell out exactly what I mean in my lyrics but it’s all there for people to interpret if they’re inclined to do so. If you’re not, listen to the words and think of them as image evokers to complement the music. I choose my words from my own soul and experience; I express that with the vernacular of science-fiction, religion and sarcasm and I try to use words that evoke as many images as possible. Even if something doesn’t make complete sense to the person listening, they’ll get something worthwhile out of it. Growing up, my favourite lyricists were Marc Bolan and David Bowie – you hear their songs and you’re thinking, ‘What the fuck is this guy talking about? I’ve never kissed a car before?’ I didn’t think of it as nonsense, all I know is in the act of me trying to figure it out, I’ve never been disappointed. If I were to iron out all my words and make them perfectly legible, they wouldn’t be fun to sing. It sounds cool for a punk rock song to say, ‘I broke up with my girl’, but I’d rather say, ‘The universe was ripped asunder.’ Now that’s fucking dramatic!”

Who’s actually managed to out-party Dave Wyndorf on the road?

Dave Shepherd (email)

“Plenty of people over a long time. When I was at my best, I did it with a certain psychotic style that would be unsurpassed. There’s different ways to party: there’s the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. You can emphasise one of them that overshadows the others and my emphasis was on the sex, so I tried my hardest to be a white trash rock’n’roll James Bond. I don’t know if anybody beat me on that because I was very slick, but Motley Crue beat me with the sex and drugs.”

Published in Metal Hammer #349. Monster Magnet's A Better Dystopia is out now via Napalm