"The state of rock and roll is pure trend, and it's hard to release an album that's not part of a trend," Wyndorf says. "The music monopoly is almost as big as [it was during] the days of Alan Freed. All the radio stations in the United States are run by one programmer. The difference between today and even a few years ago is that radio is more powerful and there are less choices. When a trend comes around, it's hammered until it's dead. That's the story of pop music.
"It's big business as it's never been before," he continues. "No more regional hits from local bands. It leaves no room for anyone else to break in, and it keeps the big bloated guys in place. Not only is it uncool, it's un-American."
Radio stations can be unresponsive, but sometimes it's hard to get even your own record label to support you. God Says No, Monster Magnet's most recent album, has been finished for more than a year now and was released in Europe last October. Interscope chose not to release stateside at that time to avoid conflicting with the promotion work planned for the Wallflowers, U2 and Marilyn Manson. ("In Europe, we do better than some of those bands," adds Wyndorf.) Since its domestic release two months ago, the album's first single, "Heads Explode," hasn't made its way onto many radio or video playlists, though Wyndorf's unique vision probably contributed to the latter slight.
"It was totally over the top," he says, recalling the first version of the "Heads Explode" video. "Naked women and guitars on fire. It was too fuckin' nuts. I had to cut the guts out of it to put it on TV, and it sucked. The second video was a performance video with us smashing stuff. But unless it's a Top 10 record, you ain't getting it. It's all about the money. If you look at MTV during the day, there's no rock."
Some members of the OZZfest set might see guitars, hear screaming and beg to differ, but Wyndorf doesn't consider the rap-rock likes of Linkin Park and its ilk to be "rock."
"Rap-metal, it's pop," he clarifies. "Boy bands with bad attitudes. It's victim rock, complaining about abusive childhoods. You're supposed to grow out of that, not capitalize on it. There's nothing these trendy bands give to their audience besides knee-jerk affirmations of their rage. There's a void of spirituality, but the spiritual thing will come in big-time. Kids will start to look for answers besides 'break stuff.' Yeah, that's fine, but what about putting things back together?"
If and when this more enlightened wave of rock hits, Monster Magnet will suddenly be in vogue, and Wyndorf is content to wait until the trend comes to him. "The single hasn't hit, but the Monster Magnet battle is far from over," he vows. "We've never done anything directly. I couldn't imagine changing for the trend, because trends die. Victim rock will be gone next year."
As for spirituality and answers, it might seem strange to expect life lessons from a man whose new album contains the lyrical highlight It's time for you to suck the cock of the fire god, but Wyndorf thinks his music is "very positive. I might be exorcising demons, but I'm glad they are gone. You have to live. You can't just wallow in your depression. I've got to sing these songs every night, so it has to be interesting for me. I think in terms of visuals. Bigness is important to me; that just pushes the impact more. Some people think it's cartoony, and I get my ideas from comics." This statement precedes a twenty-minute tangent about comic artists Frank Miller and Alan Moore. "But I'm talking about real issues," Wyndorf says.
Should the music industry ever straighten itself out, giving Wyndorf access to the arenas he was born to fill, expect a stage show that will be nothing less than his imagination run wild.
"It involves people getting up and running, but there's no escape," he says excitedly. "It's gonna be a supergiant nuclear thermo show. If it ever happens, no one gets out alive."