Saturday, 6 December 2014

A Real Chat with a Real Rock Icon. Dave Wyndorf, A View of A True Artist

If you ever have to get staples taken out of your back, see if you can chat with one of the most revered cats in the game, Dave Wyndorf. It will certainly ease the pain and make you feel as if you are in the company of rock royalty.

I was lucky enough to converse with Dave right after getting staples removed and our conversation was not only a pleasure but a medication in itself. Dave was so thoughtful and easy to speak too that you forget you are chatting with a man that has been doing this, and doing it well for way more than 20 years.

So sit back and dig into my conversation with Dave as we talk about everything from Country music to Red Bank, NJ and really good fridges.

Gaff- Hi Dave thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me

            Dave- My pleasure, how you doing?

Gaff- I have been better but I am gonna be good. Congrats on a great album, and also my friend Hari wanted me to let you know that you are the only guy in rock that should be wearing the vest these days.

            Dave-(laughs) well tell your friend thank you

Gaff- So you have a great new album out, are you one of those guys that loves to be in the studio or can’t wait to get on the road?

Dave- The studio and the road are two different animals and I love ‘em both.  They complete each other, I think. Being in the studio is like being a chef cooking up the music and touring is like serving it up to the customers first hand. Touring is real time….alive. It provides certain…..adventures one could only dream about while working in the studio.

Gaff- So in terms of liking both can you talk to me about the preparation of the studio and then going n tour?

Dave- After I’m done mixing an album I’ll get together with the band and we rehearse for a few weeks before hitting the road. Then it’s airplanes and tour buses and one night stands all over the world. Never really in one city for more than a day, Every night is Saturday night, you know what I mean? A very surreal existence.

Gaff- How long has this line up been together?

           Dave- With the exception of new bass player, Chris Kosnik it’s basically been                      the same line up for the past bunch years. Totally cool guys. Talented,                                    funny…
Gaff- You have such a distinct voice, who were your influences as a vocalist

Dave- When I was a kid I was really into Iggy, Alice Cooper, Grand Funk, MC5, Kiss and Ozzy. Then I got into 60’s garage style rock n roll and fell in love with that style of singing. I Guess there’s all that stuff in there somewhere. And Marc Arm from Mudhoney really inspired me as well.

Gaff- Any new bands you like?

Dave- Kadavar!, I saw them in Brooklyn, they had a great sound. Dudes plugging directly intoMarshall stacks and making that huge sound. They’re great. Orange Goblin. Awesome band. Great guys. Ty Segall, White   Fence…pretty cool psych stuff coming out nowadays.

Gaff- I was able to meet Ben from Orange Goblin at Roadburn, very nice and fucking huge guy.

Dave- I just picture Ben holding up a huge glass of grog, up over his head, yelling something   while the beer is flowing up over the sides of the goblet he is drinking from, ha. They should have cast him in Thor.

Gaff- You have been doing this for a long time, do you remember the first time you played in Boston?

Dave—yeah, it was with Zombie at the Middle East. Or was it with Soundgarden at another place?  

Gaff- So in terms of touring, why do you think Europe is such a better time and turn out?

Dave- Europe loves the rock, what can I say?  Such a great circuit of places to play there. More diversity of taste. The music environment is more artist friendly then in the  states. Also the audiences get treated with more respect in way of better production and sight lines. It used to be like this in the US years ago but they seem to have lost the plot for whatever reason at least as far as I’ve experienced. The summer festivals are the best in the world.  If you really love rock and psychedelia, Europe is the place to be.

Gaff- Do you have a favorite Country to play in?

Dave- They are all great but I would have to say Germany. They seem to have the best clubs, best sound systems. he audiences are fantastic everywhere, though.

Gaff- What is your take on why people in the states are not going to shows like they did back in the day?

Dave- Ha! Yeah, it’s true. Could be high prices and shitty production values and age prohibition at venues. Could be the “all access” phenomena. (smart phones and         youtube really take a bite out of anticipation and mystery and live rock was built on these qualities.) Could be that many Americans just don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of   going to a lot of shows. Why bother? There’s tons of other things to occupy their time, social   networking, blah, blah, blah.

But when it comes right down to it, most modern rock music doesn’t have much to say besides “hey look at my band” you know? Metal fantasies, nerd rock and lame indies.. Not to say the sounds are bad but I’m talking about lyrics that capture the zeitgeist, you know?     We live in interesting time but you’d never know it by the lyrics of most rock bands. Without that connection, rock music is just another form of entertainment Not a bad thing, mind you   but not vital…say, the way it was in the past. No wonder less and less people show up for the live event.

The 60’s and 70’s, those times were raw, throwing fresh meat in your face…that’s the spirit that inspires me, now more than ever.  I am just a really lucky guy that has been able to live by playing music and really enjoying it. Music is what keeps me sane and certainly has made my life an adventure.  I am 56 year old man. You know what 56 year olds in my neighborhood are talking about? Buying a new refrigerator and getting gall stones removed! (laughs), those guys think I am a nut but I ain’t complaining…

Gaff- Speaking of having such a long career, what do you attest that too?

Dave- I love the process. Writing and singing honest songs. Trying to get better. Exploring vibe and mood in music and production. It keeps me out of trouble and passes the time. Like 23     years of time! I get lost in it. Next thing I know I’ve had a career. Crazy.

Gaff- This has been an honor having the chance to speak with you as you have been an influence on many singer/songwriters in the game. Congrats on the album and please continue to do what you do.

Dave- Ah man, it was my pleasure. Make sure you rest up and take care of that back,  no more getting staples taking out and thanks for enjoying what I do, it means a lot to me that I can still touch people through my music.

Gaff- Do you find it to be spiritual in a sense?

Dave- Yeah man, very, I am doing what I love and knowing that people such as yourself are digging it is why we keep on going. Take care.

I have spoken with many a musician, but Dave talks to you as if you had been buds for years. He listened to everything and was rather sincere in his demeanour and answers. Some cats can get jaded because let’s face it, rock is a fucking game. Dave has been able to be a rock solid player in this game. Listen to how many vocalists have that Wyndorf sound or try and capture his unreal stage presence.

It surely comes across that Dave is a lover of art, not only of music as his art canvas but his use of prose. Anyone can write a song, let’s face it, just turn on the radio. What makes his art is the way it grabs you and makes you want to dance and have a great fucking time.

Words & Inteview by: Marc Gaffney