Powertrip: A Celebration
NEBULA and SILVERTOMB
Dateline Red Bank. Also the fourth dimension. I’m out here on Planet Monster Magnet. The first thing you’re gonna want to know is why such a dumb title? Number one, I can’t go my whole life without calling one record Mindfucker. I’d be shirking my responsibility as a rocker! Plus, the way things are going these days stupid is the new smart. Yeah, things are that fucked up. The people who understand my not so subtle reasoning here will get it. How many people will that be? I don’t know.
Mindfucker sure is a fun word to say. It rolls off the tongue quite nicely and it’s totally apropos of the time. Anyone who doesn’t see it is just missing history. You’re right in history now. Look between the raindrops and see how things are perceived and how we perceive ourselves. As the influence of 20th century advertising comes to its ultimate fruition in the 21st, we’ve all learned how to sell ourselves. Or at least our self-perceptions. We’ve got our social media pages. We can fabricate our own profiles. Here’s my tv show! Here’s my picture! Look! Pleeease!
We’re selling our own Kool-Aid and drinking a lot of it, too. And it all comes with this nagging suspicion that we’re going to disappear if we go offline or crash and burn if we don’t get it right. Basically suffering the same life-shortening insecurities as minor league celebrities but without the paycheck. Somebody say identity crisis? It’s a bit of a, well… mindfuck. The second thing you gotta understand is that this a rock album. I had this idea in my head that this would be kind of a “good time” record. Like one of those old UFO or KISS records, you know? But with a real Detroit edge to it. – a 10-song, rock-for-rock’s-sake album. Why not? I’d never done that before.
When writing an album of songs, I always leave the lyrics till last. Well, my timing couldn’t have been worse. I wrote all this music, arranged it, put it together, and said, “Alright, we’ve got all this stuff recorded and I’ll dive in and write the lyrics beginning Jan 9, 2017.” Well that week was Trump’s inauguration. And like anybody else in the world, I watched the information age just completely collapse on itself. Madhouse! Nobody’s at the wheel! And here I am in my kitchen trying to write my “good time” record! My rock-for-rock’s-sake album. Blehhh!
So I’m like, “Fuck me. This is what I get?” It’s not just politics. It’s everything. I tried to stick with the “good time” angle as much as I could, but like they say, “once you see it, you can’t un-see it.” I wrote the songs quickly and of course reality crept in. How could it not? When I began singing them in the studio I saw the word “lie” comes up like 10 different times – “brain” comes up a lot. Ha ha! “My brain hurts!!!” The question “why” is repeated more than a few times, like some existential howling in the woods. And I’m like, this thing has totally fucked my mind, you know?
This is the way you talk when you’re 14 years old. “This is a real fuckin’ mindfucker, man. You’re getting mindfucked.” But we really are getting mindfucked! We’re in it! I feel like I’m 14 years old! It’s like Bud Light nation. Fuck intellectualism. Fuck all that. Fuck it. It doesn’t even pay to think. Facts are for suckers. Just do what you want to do and fuck you. My need gives me my right to lie. They’re gonna look back at this time in history and go like, “Wow. I can’t believe you guys survived this.”
The end result lyrically here is the product of a guy trying like hell to be upbeat but bending towards cynical humor, all-out rage and a touch of despair. Cynical humor is nothing new for me but rage and despair? Not my usual style. But hey, these ain’t usual times. The third (and perhaps most important to me) thing about this album is that it’s totally driven by the band. I wrote this music for these guys to play. This is the best band I’ve ever worked with. I hear it in the studio. I feel it when we’re playing live. These guys are great. And there’s no hassles. And they’re funny, and we have a good time on the road. Simply put, they ROCK. They’re like family to me.
Playing live is so important because it’s the only time you really get to look people in the eye and go, “Alright, this is what we got.” The human connection is more important now than ever. The layers of internet communication we have confuse me sometimes. It’s like looking at somebody on tracing paper. Not a real picture. We make primal rock music. And primal rock music has to have a live audience. I don’t care if it’s two people, 200, 2,000 or whatever. I need to smell somebody. This album was written with that in mind.
Monster Magnet’s been misunderstood from the day it came out, but that’s OK. Music is weird and cool. And being in a band is weird and cool. I’ve been in a band for a long time. I never wanted to be the band that totally sold out. Never wanted to ring the bell of every single shmuck on the planet. I never wanted to be the band that jumped the shark so fucking bad that I was stuck in a position like, “Yes, I’m the shark jumper” and walk around high-fiving myself in spite of it. And the only way to do that is be true to myself. And if that means being misunderstood sometimes, then so be it.
In the end and regardless of my banter, what I hope people will understand about this album, whether they really get the sensibility of the lyrics or not, is that Mindfucker is still that rock-forrock’s-sake record I’ve been talking about. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Rock on.
— Dave Wyndorf, 2018
22 years after their first release and 10 years after their last album, Nebula are back. And you’re thinking “Holy shit!” right now, you pretty much nailed it. Holy Shit is Nebula’s first LP since 2009’s Heavy Psych, and it quickly puts to rest the question that’s loomed since guitarist/vocalist Eddie Glass, bassist Tom Davies and drummer Michael Amster announced the band’s reformation in 2017. Nebula are still Nebula.
It’s there in the inimitable space-grunge of “It’s all Over,” or the take-a-drag-and-be-gone “Let’s Get Lost,” or the way “Tomorrow Never Comes” manages to be so, so heavy and laid back at the same time. It’s in the paradise-psych of “Gates of Eden” and even the snoring you hear before the devilish “Man’s Best Friend” kicks in to open the album (the studio couch became a crash spot).
Since the days of 1998’s Let it Burn EP and the now-classic To the Center debut album, Nebula have always been just a little more dangerous. Just a little more unhinged. Holy Shit shows this front-to-back for the essential part of their character it is, and yet it’s not trying to be anything they’ve done before, whether it’s those early outings or Heavy Psych or Charged (2001), Apollo (2003) or Atomic Ritual (2005). It’s a sixth Nebula album -- something for which even the most ardent of fans could hardly have hoped.
The basic tracks were done in two days, recorded at Mysterious Mammal Studios in L.A. with Matt Lynch (also of Snail) at the helm. Leads and loops and feedback effects were done live by Glass and Davies as they recorded the basic tracks, just the way they’d do it on stage, and overdubs followed after as needed. A glut of material was produced and whittled down to the core of what you hear here. A sixth Nebula album. And when you hear it, you’ll find yourself saying that title all over again.
Formed in the wake of Type O Negative and Seventh Void, SILVERTOMB is the latest musical endeavor of Kenny Hickey (Type O Negative, Seventh Void, Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative, Danzig) and Hank Hell (Seventh Void, Inhuman), this time teaming up with New York Hardcore Veteran Joseph James, (Agnostic Front, Inhuman) on guitar, and Aaron Joos (Awaken The Shadow, Empyreon) on Keys, Guitar, and backing vocals.