Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 28
In the reissue process of the albums, did
you gain a new appreciation for the tracks?
They all mean something to me. I like the
little ones a lot, like "Zodiac Lung" and "Lord
13," just 'cuz they're, for lack of a better word,
subtle. And I also like them because they were
recorded basically on my four-track at home,
then I just transferred them to the 16-track.
So, it's like the ultimate cost-saving device - a
Tascam four-track that's on an album!
How was it working with guitarist John
McBain on those albums?
John was great. Him and Tim Cronin were
big parts of early Magnet. They had a band
called Dog of Mystery, and I had joined that
band; it was kind of an experimental/noise
band. Just all kinds of weird stuff, no particular song structure. Then we changed our
name to Monster Magnet, so they were in on
it in a big way. McBain was one of the most
talented guitar players I know, mainly because
of what he doesn't play. He doesn't over-play.
Which guitars, amps, and effects did you
use back then?
Tab of God
n the early '90s, a handful of bands were
trailblazers in the realm of "stoner rock";
Kyuss, Sleep, Fu Manchu, Clutch, and especially Monster Magnet. Led by singer/guitarist
Dave Wyndorf, its two 1991 albums, Tab and
Spine of God, are now considered classics of
the genre. Both were recently reissued by
Napalm Records, so we asked Wyndorf to
take a look back.
While writing the songs on Tab and
Spine of God, did you have any idea that
they'd be special?
Not to anybody else, but they were special
to me. I was completely freaking out on loving the fact that I was recording something.
I learned to play guitar about two years
before, and started writing songs by myself
on a four-track. But there I was, in a studio.
It was local, but it was a big deal to me. I
had no clue that anybody else would like it.
Given the term "stoner rock" is so
often applied, some may wonder what
role drugs actually played in the creative
Just in memory, really - especially Spine,
which is really a story of my teenhood experience. I thought it was funny to celebrate a big
part of my '70s childhood and how I loved
the drug culture more than the actual drugs.
I loved the music. My first band was punk,
so I didn't get a chance to express any of that.
When I started playing and writing, it started
coming out - the teenhood stuff, all the drugs
did. Acid and pot, in particular. There was a
certain "dumb glory" to it, and that's what I
wrote about. So, drugs played a big part, but
I wasn't on drugs when I wrote it.
And what do you use today?
Lately, I've been playing SGs. On the new
record, I have a lot better choice of guitars -
early/mid-'60s SGs, Gretches, and Danelectros
for certain things. Not a lot of Fenders these
days except for maybe single-coil lead stuff
through fuzz boxes. The single-coil seems
to work better through fuzz - keeps more of
the original "fuzz sound." And lately, trying
to go for more natural amp distortion on
the rhythms, and save the fuzz for the leads.
What's the story with the new Monster
It will be out in the top of the year. It's just
a straight-ahead rock album, more along the
lines of old Detroit style. It's almost punk in
a way - fast, Stooges-style uptempo thing.
It's a little less psych than the last couple and
more in-your-face. I dig it. We had a really
good time making it. It's guitar heaven, I'll
tell you that. We used every kind of guitar. If
you like guitars, you'll like this album. The
album is called Mind F***er. - Greg Prato
Dave Wyndorf: Svenja Block.
It was all pretty low-tech. I remember
John was playing a Squier Strat, and I think
it was an old blackface Fender amp. I can't
remember exactly what it was. It wasn't a
Twin... I think it was a Super Reverb. And I
was playing a Washburn guitar through an
Ampeg solidstate amp with the midrange cut
out of it completely because I thought it would
sound like Sabbath. It sounded like hell, but
it sounded good - had a cool thing to it. And
we used old Echoplexes, original '60s/'70s
Big Muffs, Cry Baby wahs. It was definitely
on the cheap.