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Ed Mundell - guitarist, Monster Magnet / Atomic Bitchwax
2000 - On the phone with David Lee Wilson

I have read books that detail the drunken debauchery of bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones and still I never really believed the things people would do if just given the opportunity and expense account. Today I am a far more experienced man and I shouldn't give a second of doubt when told of some new fetish that is all the rage at post concert backstage parties and I have The Atomic Bitchwax to thank for it all. The Atomic Bitchwax is, of course, best known for its members also being in other better known bands and that is just as well because The Bitchwax has existed exclusively as the pure pleasure release for the three guys that make up the group. Ed Mundell of Monster Magnet on guitar, Chris Kosnick of Godspeed on bass and vocals and Keith Ackerman from Slap Rocket on drums finally managed to record an albums worth of material after having spent the better part of the last decade jamming on whatever got them off. The bands' self-titled debut disc is the best evidence that if you remove all of the pressure to come up with a radio hit you can actually produce a far superior piece of music in less time and for less money. Live, the group channels Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath with occasional blasts of The MC5.

To be honest, I am not sure which was more pleasurable, the all night party complete with booze, drugs and some incredibly loose women or the hour long set. Me thinks that I should experience the scene again a few more times before passing final judgment, I suggest you do the same and bring your own fish, Vaseline and tissues, you'll be needing them! In the most drunken state that my tape recorder will ever be able to help me recall, I did manage to ask Monster Magnet/Atomic Bitchwax guitarist Ed Mundell a few questions of some pertinence and here they be.

DAVID LEE: Seeing you play out there tonight it is really obvious that this is still fun for you.
ED MUNDEL: Oh, yeah. This was a great pick-me-up.

K2K: While everyone else in Monster Magnet is taking a rest from that marathon tour that you did you opted to go out with this band, do you not like to rest?
EM: Well, yeah! (laughs) I am going to get fucked up anyway so I might as well play a show and get fucked up while I am playing.

K2K: It never occurred to you to stay home for a while?
EM: No, I would go out of my mind and we, (The Atomic Bitchwax), are always playing shows in New Jersey anyway, between Monster Magnet tours and stuff like that. We like to get together as much as we can, and then our record came out so we figured we might as well go out and play. We got the offers so here we are.

K2K: I have had the record for quite some time so I would have to believe that this (the tour) was something that you had been anxiously awaiting for at least a few months?
EM: I guess, kinda, I mean it is another whole side of my brain type of thing really but we (Monster Magnet) have been really, really busy. We got off of the road about five weeks ago and I only played three Atomic Bitchwax shows and two special Monster Magnet show and, jeez, all that time off! What was the question? (laughs) If I talk for more than like a minute, minute and a half, you have to remind me of the question because I will just be wandering off in some kind of dream, that always happens whether I am fucked up or not! (laughs) I am just warning you right now, if I start rambling, you can remind me! I really don't know names of tunes either so, you might have to remind me of that.

K2K: At this point I am very fortunate to still be conscious myself, what a host you all have been! I can't wait to try and transcribe my slurred speech! We are in this together dude! I am not sure if I could even manage a "Spacelordmotherfucker!" yell right now! (laughs)
EM: (Laughing) Yeah, that was so bizarre last night when somebody yelled that! It was so bizarre because we are playing an Atomic Bitchwax show, we are not playing any Magnet stuff at all. It shouldn't even be mentioned really, but I guess it is cool, it is just another branch of heavy rock but we are not going to play any Monster Magnet stuff because we don't play like that. It would be really easy to write songs like Monster Magnet and to go out on tour but I already do that so why do it again?

K2K: Monster Magnet has been quite successful and that is what you, personally, are best known as being a part of so it shouldn't be all that surprising when things like that happen?
EM: No, I guess but it is a totally different thing.

K2K: Because Monster Magnet has become such a success and it, I would imagine, is your main "professional obligation," is this (Atomic Bitchwax) pretty much just a diversion for you right now?
EM: No, this is fun and we are like a true band. We have been jamming together for years in basements before we were even in other bands. Kris, our bass player, was in Godspeed for a couple of years and did tours opening for Black Sabbath and all of that but through it all, between tours and whatever, we have always just jammed. We always just connected so, you know, it works and we have fun.

K2K: The material that ended up on this first album, was that the culmination of all those years of jamming or was it, "OK, we are going to make a record so lets write some songs?"
EM: No, no. We wrote like thirty songs, there are still like fifteen, sixteen or seventeen songs still left over. We did five songs tonight that were not even on the album and we would have done more but there were microphone problems and other problems, there are always problems in these small clubs! (laughs) We don't have a crew, we do our own gear and we keep ourselves in check and we don't get too fucked up until after the show. We have one person tour managing and doing sound, Diane, and she is really cool but sometimes there will be problems but tonight, we did five tunes that were not on the record and we did five or six that were on the it. We have so many songs and we just want to make it a consistent set. We have so many songs that we have written over the years that we could never do it all. That didn't answer your question at all, did it?

K2K: Yeah, it did, I think. What was the question? (laughs)
EM: (Laughing) I don't know! You can make up stuff if you want, if you see where I am going with something just make it up for me! (laughs) I am not even sure of the questions anymore after a couple of seconds.

K2K: Detroit is a great town for both of your bands because they have a great feel for local legends like The MC5 and Ted Nugent.
EM: And The Stooges and The Frost.

K2K: Is this a strange time for you now that you have basically achieved the same status of those bands? I mean, you are today's Ron Ashton (guitarist for The Stooges).
EM: That is great, actually, one great compliment that I got was that somebody wrote that I played guitar live like James Williamson and that was really cool. I don't really play like Ron Ashton at all but I do dig his style but James Williamson, that is pretty cool because "Raw Power" is a fucking awesome record.

K2K: You have been more than gracious and I am going to let you go so that you can get on with the party and I can sleep in the backseat of my car until I am sober enough to drive! (laughs) Thanks so much, I know that you have a lot of people who want to "be with the guy who is in the hot band" and your time is valuable. . .
EM: I am just some scumbag from New Jersey that's all! It doesn't have anything to do with bands or anything anyway, at least to me. (laughs)

Written by David Lee Wilson

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