Dave Wyndorf, 2009.
October 28, 1956 |
Red Bank, New Jersey
|Genres||Hardcore punk, stoner rock, heavy metal, hard rock|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, bass guitar, theremin, mellotron, organ|
|Labels||Elektra, Glitterhouse, Caroline, A&M, SPV|
David "Dave" Albert Wyndorf (born October 28, 1956) is the lead vocalist, guitarist, pianist, trombonist, and songwriter for the American rock group Monster Magnet. He is the frontman and only remaining original member of the band. He is also an occasional guest on the podcast "Tell 'Em Steve-Dave!".
Born October 28, 1956, in Red Bank, New Jersey, "Dave Wyndorf is the lead singer of the stoner rock band Monster Magnet. He is one of eight children from a lower-middle-class Catholic family. Early in life, he was influenced greatly by the record collection belonging to his older brother, seeing a UFO with his mother and two sisters, and going to a Hawkwind concert in New York. He also discovered comic books (and worked at a comic book store for part of his 20s) - a medium that continues to provide ideas for his songs. In 1991 Wyndorf and his wife had a daughter, Betty.
As a teenager, Wyndorf was invited by Phil Caivano and Daniel Rey (Rabinowitz) to become the lead vocalist for their junior high school band Hard Attack. Influenced by Wyndorf's fascination with, and extensive knowledge of, military history, they soon renamed themselves Shrapnel, and morphed into a punk/power pop band dressed in army camouflage and helmets, singing WW II-themed anthems or songs about fighting in Vietnam, and employing military-style on-stage theatrics during their shows, ringing the stage with large missile shells and piling sandbags in front of drummer Danny Clayton's drum kit. In their heyday the group played in such legendary clubs as CBGB, Max's Kansas City and The Ritz in New York, the Ratskeller in Boston, and other national venues. They were managed by noted punk arbiter Eddie (Legs) McNeil and released two 45's on Salute Records - "Combat Love" b/w "Hey" in 1979 (which featured Joey Ramone and Arturo Vega on background vocals) and "Go Cruising" b/w "Way Out World" in 1981. They also added a track called "Come Back to Me" on the Dirt Records compilation in 1982, and released a self-titled EP on Elektra Records in 1984, before splitting up a year later.
First years as a member of Monster Magnet
After the demise of Shrapnel, Wyndorf taught himself to play the guitar. He picked up a fuzzbox and began writing songs in homage to the distortion-filled rock that he loved as a youngster. Wyndorf started recording his songs and releasing them on cassette under the name Love Monster; some of these tunes later became songs for Monster Magnet. Wyndorf discovered a local band called Dog of Mystery, an experimental noise outfit fronted by drummer and vocalist Tim Cronin and guitarist John McBain. Wyndorf was asked to play guitar with Dog of Mystery for some of their live shows. A revolving group of musicians—including a sax player—came and went. The band was finalized with Joe Calandra and Jon Kleiman as its rhythm section.
The band had a few name changes, including Wrath of the Bull God and Airport '75, before settling on Monster Magnet, a name taken from a toy that Wyndorf had owned as a child. Monster Magnet developed a sound that relied heavily on feedback and screaming vocals. While opening for the alternative rock band Jane's Addiction in Trenton, New Jersey, Monster Magnet played a 45-minute instrumental version of a song of called "Paranoid." It remains unclear whether this was a cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid," Grand Funk Railroad's song of the same name or one of their own creation. After hearing the jam, a hippie roadie approached Wyndorf and described their music as "drug rock"; the description stuck.
When Tim Cronin decided to retire from singing with Monster Magnet, Wyndorf became their lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist; Cronin stayed on with the band as resident consultant and light-show technician.
Short-lived commercial success
During most part of the 1990s, Wyndorf and his band struggled for commercial success which they couldn't obtain because of their highly unfashionable retro-rock style. This changed in 1998, when Wyndorf took a 21 day trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, from which he drew inspiration to write the songs for Powertrip, which would be Monster Magnet's breakthrough album. His life following the release of Powertrip was his inspiration for God Says No.
Wyndorf travelled to Los Angeles, California to work for the soundtrack of the movie Torque, which was entirely composed by him. During his stay in LA, he found inspiration for Monolithic Baby!, Monster Magnet's 2004 album.
Drug overdose and recovery
The battle with one’s inner demons is the most personal fight any of us can undertake. The fight is at times a lonely, confusing journey. On the evening of February 27, Dave Wyndorf suffered a setback in his own fight and was hospitalized due to a drug overdose. His full recovery is expected. We ask that all those he has encountered over the years or simply affected by his music to take a moment to think good thoughts of and for him and his family. With the grace of God and those who love him we are all confident that Dave will rebound from this setback and continue to play and make great rock and roll.
More than a year later, in September 2007, Wyndorf spoke to UK-based music journalist Dave Ling about his overdose. He stated that the problems began when he suffered with insomnia while touring. Instead of asking for help from psychologists, he made doctors give him anxiolytics which he began to use regularly. He says his medical help just made his mental problems go away for a little while, after which they'd come back strengthened. Feeling very weak one day, he consumed a full bottle of sleeping pills, causing the overdose.
After his overdose, Wyndorf began working on Monster Magnet's next album, 4-Way Diablo, which was released in November 2007. On some songs on the album he endeavoured to share his recent difficulties with the listener, while other tracks exhibit a more optimistic side to reflect his improving health.
He currently has plans to enter the studio to record an as yet undisclosed album project. Wyndorf has previously revealed that he finds extensive touring increasingly less enjoyable. However, more recently, he has expressed interest in touring again - but only after having released a new album.
In June 2008 Monster Magnet performed at several European festivals, playing six shows in total, and returned to Europe at the end of 2008 to play 35 more dates, with Phil Caivano having returned to the band. No songs from the new album were played.
Monster Magnet played several shows in Australia at the end of 2009. After having worked in the studio the following year for their upcoming album entitled Mastermind, which was released in October 2010,[when?] the band embarked on a lengthy European tour to promote their eighth studio album. Throughout March 2011 Monster Magnet played Australia once more, playing 35 minute sets at the National Soundwave festival.
Monster Magnet toured again in 2011-2012, performing their albums Dopes To Infinity and Spine Of God in their entirety.
Opinion about drugs
Having spent most of his career writing about drugs, Wyndorf now upholds that drugs are not an inspiration for music nor a gateway into creativity. In a 1995 interview Wyndorf stated that legalizing mushrooms in America might be a bad idea stating "Americans have been so suppressed for so long that given that kind of freedom they would tend to abuse it".
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