Monster Magnet’s Dave Wyndorf Recalls Opening for Soundgarden: “He Really Looked like Jesus Christ”
When Soundgarden embarked on their 1992 United States tour in support of grunge classic Badmotorfinger, the group took out a young stoner rock band the world hadn’t heard of yet—but they would soon. That band was Monster Magnet, who have since carved out a consistent place for themselves over the last three decades and change. In a new posting on Ultimate Guitar’s website, author Greg Prato shared conversations with Monster Magnet frontman Dave Wyndorf, taken from his book on Soundgarden.
In one excerpt, Wyndorf remembers meeting Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell and hearing his complaints that people compared him to singers like Robert Plant, who he didn’t feel he fit in with. The young Wyndorf’s advice to Cornell? Wear a shirt if you don’t want to be treated like an old-school rock singer.
“What I remember was Chris was like a messianic frontman. Like, old school. Although he was doing it…not with a nod and a wink, but he was almost doing it begrudgingly. He was doing it athletically. He was like a ‘shirt’s off guy.’ And that’s why I couldn’t believe he would come and complain about, ‘Oh…these people look at me like I’m some sort of Robert Plant or something.’ And I remember going, ‘Well dude, why don’t you put your fuckin’ shirt on? You’re sending out signals here!’ When you go out with a mic in your hand and you look at the ceiling with your shirt off, you look like you’re trying to be Robert Plant. They didn’t get it. But I think he was trying to play with it.”
Wyndorf also recalled what it was like to see Soundgarden on the Badmotorfinger tour; his recollections of the band, especially Cornell, portray an almost mythical figure.
“Ben [Shepherd, Soundgarden’s bassist] was a maniac — he was like Spiderman on stage, jumping around, and he would drag his bass on the ground. And Chris just looked like a million bucks, and he would stage-dive every night. The crowd was the most giving to a singer I’ve probably ever seen — they would float him around the crowd to the back of these theaters, up and down stairs. And he really looked like Jesus Christ. I was like, ‘This is amazing.’ And he sounded fantastic. And Kim [Thayil, guitarist] was just doing his thing, just flying. And Matt [Cameron, drummer] is one of the best drummers I think I’ve ever seen. So, it was all there. It was real rock. They were going for it.”