Q&A: Monster Magnet's Dave Wyndorf On Big-Budget Videos, Being "Highly Unfashionable," And Getting The Stoner-Rock Tag
Monster Magnet frontman Dave Wyndorf is a talkative guy. What was supposed to be a 30-minute interview to preview his band's performance of the 1995 album Dopes To Infinity at Music Hall of Williamsburg this Friday stretched into 90, as he took off and ran with subjects like how his band has been pinned down as "stoner rock," his experience with the heyday of big-budget music video excess, and the time he took the stage with his old pal Marilyn Manson. It would be journalistically negligent to leave out any story involving "BB machine guns," so here's a compilation of some of the interview's best outtakes.
How have the songs on Dopes To Infinity aged for you over the years?
I'm happy to say that they're better. The way they're played live is with a bit more muscle, because you don't have the subtleties that you have when you're making a record, nor do you want that kind of subtlety. The kind of subtleties you'd need for something like that would be pre-recorded shit, and I'm not about that, weird keyboards and stuff. When you bring them out live, it just washes out, so I tried to make this an all-guitar affair. The mellow stuff is as mellow as it ever was, but I think it's better, it's got more life in it. Some of the stuff has been rearranged, some has been lengthened for maximum psychedelic impact. If I had to do it over, I'd do these versions on the record.
You've been performing the album out of order. It seems like the album's opening track would be the most obvious place to start, but you've bumped it back a few spots.
I have arguments with the guys about that. "We have this fucking heavyweight here, what are you going to do with the heavy hitters?" The reason it went so far down the line is because of the tuning and the vibe at the beginning of the set didn't lend itself to going into that one just yet. Nobody seemed to complain, though.
"Negasonic Teenage Warhead" was the album's one stab at a radio hit and has remained one of the band's most popular, yet you've admitted to having a difficult relationship with that song.
The less I play it, the more I like it. We haven't played it in a long time, because I was sick of it, and we're playing it now and it sounds great to me. I think the reason I didn't like it is the record company tried to push it as a single, it was brought into that whole world where you have them pushing it as a single, so you hear it a lot. I hear all the Monster Magnet songs 1,000 times before it comes out, and this one I had to hear 2,000 times. Now that I've left it alone for a while, it's fucking full-on rock, and that sounds really good.