MONSTER MAGNET's DAVE WYNDORF: 'The Whole Leather-Pants, Big-Rock Thing Was A Lot Of Fun'

MONSTER MAGNET's DAVE WYNDORF: 'The Whole Leather-Pants, Big-Rock Thing Was A Lot Of Fun'

John Serba of recently conducted an interview with MONSTER MAGNET mainman Dave Wyndorf. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Are you representing rock 'n' roll as it stands right now? Are you carrying the torch for it?

Wyndorf: It's much more personal with me. I carry my own rock 'n' roll torch… In certain circles in New York in the late '70s, the intelligensia would talk about what was and wasn't cool — ELP wasn't cool, THE STOOGES were cool, blah blah blah. It was a finely honed. It was boiled down to a basket, a small European basket, of stuff, components that made for cool music. It probably was just in my head. But that was a part of what formed MONSTER MAGNET. And the rest was just all the dumb stuff I thought was cool years earlier — the ELP, the AMON DÜÜL II, the stuff I gloried in before I hit New York City and was wizened up by the hipsters. I thought, in my world, that could all go together. That's what I carry a torch for, that little cobbler shop of stuff. It never stops giving. MONSTER MAGNET was a place for me, like a retail outlet of all these concepts. I never thought it would last. I keep it alive, because it keeps itself alive. The music, the combination of that excruciating minutiae — that kind of thing where you go, "What if space rock happened in 1968?" It's the differences that nobody in the world would care about, but I do. "Oh, the guitars would be a little bit cleaner." You know. "They'd probably use an echoplex rather than a…" But it's enough to keep me going, because I think it's badass. I'm listening to the new record, and it's obviously the thing you want to be doing right now. Not to imply that you ever succumbed to larger pressures to write big rock albums, but can you talk about what it was like flirting with the mainstream for five, 10 years?

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Wyndorf: Flirting with the mainstream — let's say flirting with a wider audience. Fist-in-the-air rock is something that I always loved and was a natural progression for us, from the first records to "Powertrip". In my head, bands always did that. They always had a couple of really weird psych records that are amazing. It was like, UFO, they started off as a psych band, and then they made some heavy rock records like "Heavy Petting" and "Force It", and it was all right, as long as they didn't go totally metal. That was part of my whole thing — part of my whole plan with MONSTER MAGNET was to get to that anyway. I didn't expect it to get to the mass audience. I didn't expect that many people to like it or take it seriously. We'd tour all over the world. I'd go somewhere else and put my fist in the air and wear leather pants, and these (expletives) would take it seriously… They're not like, "He's making a joke." It was, "No. You are rock." It was really really cool, but that section of it lasted a little bit too long for me. It's hard to keep that many people happy without really dumbing it down even more. You can't go both ways. I tried to go both ways and have a fist-in-the-air anthem AND have all this little (weird stuff), and the records were so fragmented that they didn't work. They weren't bad, but they weren't great either. They just didn't feel like they were one thing anymore. I used to write these records that were one thing. You can't be all things to all people. You just can't do it. It was fun while it lasted, though. I gotta say the whole leather-pants, big-rock thing was a lot of fun. I don't care what all these indie guys say. They're cowards. They're just cowards. "Oh, let's stand behind art. It's just not cool." Oh yeah, why don't you put on leather pants and stand in front of 5,000 people? You'll change your tune really quick!

Read the entire interview at


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