ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 12, 1998
By Steve Newton
Dave Wyndorf likes the company of Zombies. As the songwriter-vocalist-guitarist for New Jersey hard-rockers Monster Magnet, he spent many nights on tour with White Zombie; now that that group has split up, he’s spending many nights on tour with Rob Zombie. But a Zombie’s a Zombie, right?
“It’s pretty much the same deal,” relates Wyndorf from a Wisconsin tour stop, “except there’s less people to hang out with after the show. You know, I used to hang out with Sean [former White Zombie bassist Sean Yseault] a lot; she was a good friend of mine. But the Rob Zombie show’s bigger than White Zombie was—it’s like a big production deal—and I don’t really see those guys too much. They kind of keep to themselves.”
Wyndorf—whose band opens for Zombie at the PNE Forum on Monday (November 16)—did some withdrawing of his own when it came time to write tunes for Monster Magnet’s current CD, Powertrip. He flew to Las Vegas, booked a room 10 miles outside of town, and forced himself to complete one song every morning before heading out for seedy inspiration amid the neon excesses of Sin City. As the Gods of Math decreed, Wyndorf’s three-week sojourn in Vegas resulted in 21 songs, most of which leaned toward the raunch-rock of his old Motor City faves, the MC5 and Iggy & the Stooges.
“At the time [of writing Powertrip], the market in the States was for all this clever Weezer-type music,” he relates, “and I was like, ‘This is really not my scene.’ So I just decided to go completely the other way and rock out. We’d made psychedelic records in the past, and this time I wanted to make a real rock ’n’ roll record, right in the face of all that stuff that I was hearing.”
Back in Jersey, Wyndorf hammered out the new tunes with his band, producing the sessions in collaboration with Matt (Porno for Pyros) Hyde. Then his quest for the ideal mixing engineer began. After firing five different ones, Wyndorf finally acquired the talents of Vancouverite Randy Staub, who wound up mixing Powertrip at Bruce Fairbairn’s Armoury Studios near Kits.
“Staub is awesome!” enthuses Wyndorf, who feels that the mixing process is a crucial stage in the creation of a good-sounding record.
“It’s very important for me,” he explains, “because when I produce an album I lay down plenty of tracks, plenty of options for me to go in different directions if I want. So when it comes down to mixing it, if I was gonna do it by myself, I would probably lose my focus. What a person like Randy does is use his experience in modifying or enhancing sounds to make the whole thing cohesive and album-ready. So between the two of us—what I want and what Randy can do—we pull it off.”