vic du monte

How come you have an alter ego and why is it called Vic Du Monte?

The name Vic du Monte was a nick-name given to me by Mario Lalli when I was in the band Solarfeast.

The title "Bankers and Barons" sounds quite disillusioned, which experiences made you chose that particular title?

"Bankers and barons" was chosen due to the financial crisis which has swept across the globe. I have seen a shrinking job-market first hand in California and have friends unable to make their house payments because of work loss. The American dream is always just out of reach.

What were the most striking changes from record to record as far as VDMPNG is concerned?

On the first record I was doing most of the song writing. In time VDMPNG as a band felt more comfortable, all members began to songwrite as well. This can be heard over the bands discography.

In what ways does the desert affect you as a musician?

In the desert no one could tell you what trend to follow or where you could perform. You were sheltered from big city music troubles. When you wanted to perform you had a generator party outside in the desert and created your own scene. This had an effect on me coming from the desert as a musician.

You've played in KATZENJAMMER, SONS OF KYUSS, MAN BITES DOG, SOLARFEAST, VIC DU MONTE'S IDIOT PRAYER and finally VIC DU MONTE'S PERSONA NON GRATA. Was there legal trouble with the "Idiot Prayer" name because it's a Nick Cave song or why did you change it?

I've had no legal troubles due to band names. The "Vic du Monte's Idiot Prayer" as a band name came from the guys I was playing with at the time. We needed a band name and one of the guys said: "Chris Cockrell's" something…blal..bla..bla.? To that idea I said that my nick name could be used but not my real name. Then the bass player at the time said, "Vic du Monte's Idiot Prayer". So that's how the name came about. By the next record The only members left were me and James Childs. I told James we should change the name to Persona Non Grata after we added 2 new members.

Your style of singing seems to be influenced by Nick Cave, how did you get in touch with his music and what do you like about it?

I have been compared to a lot of great singers. Joey Ramone, Iggy Pop, Stiv Bators, Johnny Cash, Jim Morrison and Nick Cave to name a few. That's not bad company and I will take that as a complement. I listened to Birthday Party and early Bad Seeds. What attracted me to Birthday Party was its urgency in the sound. And Bad Seeds' story-telling is wonderful.

"Autoblond" had many spooky songs on it, whereas today your sound reminds me less of drama and tragedy. Does your songwriting depend a lot on your moods or do you just play a role when you write the lyrics, like an author or an actor does?

"Autoblond" was in the works for a long time. I was going through a lot of changes at that time. Starting with personal troubles and ending with a move to Berlin. Songs on "Autoblond" such as, "Is it Safe?", "The Road in front of me", "Autoblond", tell the story of my moving. The darker songs reflect the problems I was having. So yes, my moods and life experiences have an effect on my lyric content.

Do you, in retrospect, sometimes wonder whether it was business-wise such a good idea to change and transform that often and have that many imprints or do you have a completely different perspective on that? Because to be honest with you, I would have put a KYUSS-sticker on every record until the end of time to get my share. And anyway, everybody knows 'bout it so why not milk the goat?

All the changes I have gone through as a person and musician were important to get me where I am today. And that is being able to sing my mind and play the music I enjoy listening to. A lot of people ask that same question about me using Kyuss as a foundation for what I do. I guess that could be like a Kyuss Lives platform? Stand on it and sell my next project? I decided a long time ago that I wanted to build something on my own and let the music speak for itself. VDMPNG is a rock band, not a stoner rock band. It would have been easy to make a heavy band and tour with a Kyuss foundation but it's not my style. I feel confident with what I'm doing and don't need a coattail ride to get ahead in life. I am still friends with all the ex Kyuss members. Well I don't know Scott Reeder but I'm sure he's a nice guy.

Scott Reeder auditioned for METALLICA a few years ago. Did you know about that and isn't it strange because you founded the band that lead him there?

I heard he auditioned for Metallica, yes. Like I said I really don't know Scott but I have seen him play bass. His bass playing alone got him the audition.I had nothing to do with it.

You were a founding member of SONS OF KYUSS but did you actually play in KYUSS?

Although i played songs live and was involved in writing songs that appear on Kyuss's "Blues for the Red Sun" I never played in Kyuss.

You used to play the bass, now you switched to guitar do you sometimes find yourself giving the bassplayer some advice or does that never happen? Is the band a democratic band or is there a bandleader who dictates?

The band is democratic. We bounce ideas off each other.

Alfredo Hernandez and Duna Records is the remaining connection to KYUSS because Brant runs that label and Alfredo plays in Vic Du Monte's Persona Non Grata can everybody live on the music or do you have dayjobs? By the way, do you have family and children?

Bawhahahah . I have 7 balconys on my flat! Music is easy money! I have a son and wife in Berlin.

Currently many arabic countries ban their dictators. Egypt was the most surprising one and now Libia tries to get rid of Gaddafi and America is not involved having troops there. Do you hear a lot about that on the news?

I'm up on current events and probably see what you see and read here in Germany.

There is a German version of "Running To The Moon" that can be heard as a bonus on the record. How come you recorded it again with German lyrics?

James and I had the idea to give singing in German a try. We figured, some people have tried to sing in English, why not try to sing in bad German. We wanted to have fun and thought Running to the Moon might give us the best chance to pull it off. You should have fun, right?

Thomas Eberhardt