“I LIKE TO KEEP BUSY PLAYING AND IT’S FUN TO COLLABORATE WITH DIFFERENT MUSICIANS AND PRODUCERS.” – SAYS ED MUNDELL, EX-GUITARIST OF MONSTER MAGNET AND ATOMIC BITCHWAX. HE’S JUST RELEASED AN ALBUM WITH HIS OWN PROJECT, THE ULTRA ELECTRIC MEGA GALACTIC. AND THIS IS NOT THE END OF POWERFUL RIFFS FROM HIM THIS YEAR.
Your new recordings sound awesome! How did you come up with the concept for the Ultra Electric Mega Galactic band?
I have always had this feeling inside me that I wanted to play totally free. Without anyone restricting me from playing what I feel. This project allowed me that freedom and I have nothing to lose. It is exactly what I want to do.
Please, introduce the rest of the band.
Rick Ferrante, the drummer I met at a Nashville Pussy show. He is from the band Sasquatch. Rick introduced me to Collyn McCoy, who is by far the best bass player I have had the privilege to work with. Come to find out Collyn has an incredible voice, so you’ll be hearing him sing on the next album. His voice is like Lemmy married with Phil Lynott and Ozzy! His voice is crazy! So there will be vocals on the next album.
What I already know about the compositions of TUEMG is that they were developed when you were jamming with the rest of the band, so it’s a kind of natural music, if I can call it this way. Sounds like all comes from your passion to music.
You got it exactly. You hit the nail on the head! We didn’t intend to make a record, we just jammed and all of a sudden songs came out of our 20 minute jams.
What do all members of The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic have in common? I mean, where do your musical influences, interests and personalities meet?
None of us gave a rat’s ass if anyone liked what we played or not. We played for ourselves and did the kind of music we wanted to hear. We had the luxury of releasing the album ourselves (under Orbit Ulimited) so there was no record label making demands. We are now taping our live shows into pro tools so we can make those available for cheap on the web site, so our fans can see a band evolving.
On many tracks on TUEMG album you explore different musical styles. How aware of music, its structures and its variety of sound artist must be to create so diverse but also coherent music?
Honestly, I just play whatever comes naturally. We recorded the whole album live with everyone in the same room, and then overdubbed on top of the live performance to build the layers of sound with whatever came naturally.
Track no.3 – Get of My World. Who do you want to throw away from this world?
No one in particular! It was the title of a sci-fi book I was reading at the time and after recording a live jam we had no name for it… so the title came in handy. It was the first track we recorded. Actually we were just checking sound levels and did an 18 minute jam. So the song came out of that 18 minutes and really was never meant to be a song at all!
Please tell me more about my favorite title: Rockets Aren’t Cheap Enough. If they were cheaper, would you go to space?
Well, if Richard Branson has his way, we are not too far off from being able to go to space… Sure I’d go! Though once you are up there, it doesn’t sound like much fun or very good food!
What do all your projects – 9 Chambers, UEMG and Space Time… – have in common, except for you? Or maybe why do they have different names if they are all meant to create you as an artist?
I like to keep busy playing and it’s fun to collaborate with different musicians and producers. I did 9 Chambers as I wanted to work with Vinny Appice and Jorgen Carlsson, who I think are amazing musicians. Space Time Employment Agency is a project I have been working on for years and it will come out later this year.
Why did you decide to work as a band, not to record under your name, like very famous guitarists do?
Well, I have solo album coming out later this year, have been working on my solo album, Space Time Employment Agency for years and I have tons of material to edit down. I plan to have friends and special guests/vocalists on it. I am releasing it through my own label (Orbit Unlimited). So really it is down to editing it down and bringing some friends into the studio. But the bottom line is I like working with other musicians and the collaborative process.
The name of the band is ultra long, sounds so … well, ultra galactic – different, space-like. In some ways it reminds me a bit of some themes common for Monster Magnet, but on the other hand I know what your classical hard rock influences are. Where these two things – space, kind of freedom and your favorite down to earth hard rock – meet in your music?
When you listen to Monster Magnet, you hear all the same things I was influenced by when I was a kid: Hawkwind and Thin Lizzy, for example. All of us growing up in New Jersey had the same record collections. As for the band name The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic – it was a name I could guarantee no one else was using (nor would they want to!) but also it conveyed the non-commercial vibe of a space rock instrumental album I was going for.
Have you been a fan of acoustic music already or was this something that you just wanted to explore?
I have always been a fan of acoustic music. I explore open tunings on acoustic all the time. I really enjoy the freedom from the hard rock element and we all love the early Led Zeppelin records where there was always a nice Jimmy Page acoustic break. Plus my wife loves to be serenaded!
I remember you always holding a guitar. What makes you so loyal to this instrument?
I really enjoy playing guitar. When I was a kid in New Jersey, my dad had a left-handed guitar and I could never figure it out! I finally got my hands on a right-handed guitar and it clicked. I am self-taught as I learned playing along with Ted Nugent, Tommy Bolin, KISS and AC/DC records (where everything is in the key of E or A). You can’t fuck it up! I play every day all the time. I just hope people dig the new music I am doing!
Who turned you on and made you want to play guitar?
At first it was Ted Nugent, then it was Jimi Hendrix, and then I discovered Tommy Bolin and that rocked my world. There is still no one else like Tommy. Listen to Billy Cobham’s Spectrum album if you have any doubts.
What was the first song you learned to play?
Stranglehold by Ted Nugent. And it still rules!
What is your favorite guitar model and why?
I play Fender Stratocasters and Strat copies. I also have Gibson SG’s that I use for different layers.
Do you collect guitars? Do they have a separate room at your house?
I have a studio room where I record, but guitars are everywhere. They own the house! I am thankful to have a lovely wife who doesn’t mind guitars everywhere and even had a few Marshall amps when I married her… a bonus!
You moved from New Jersey to Los Angeles – two opposite locations, different people, [maybe] a different point of view. Did it change your view on music?
I met a bunch of great new musicians out here, like Jorgen Carlsson (Govt Mule) and Vinny Appice and his brother Carmine, Keith Emerson… great musicians. You never know who you will run into. It didn’t change my view on music, but having access to so many talented musicians is totally different than in New Jersey. But I am still on the same course musically.
How did Los Angeles welcome you?
I’ve recorded several albums out here so I knew LA from the old Monster Magnet days. Now I welcome the opportunity to do more studio work with new musicians and producers. This city gives me the opportunity to see some of my favorite bands and jam with them any night of the week. Plus, it’s sunny and warm!
When you are on stage, you always look so calm. Were you ever nervous getting on stage playing?
[laughs] That is a funny question! I am always nervous and never know what the hell I am going to play!
It’s been a while since your fans had a chance to see you on stage. Will you get back to us, not only through new tunes but also you, personally?
Absolutely, I don’t see myself doing three month tours any more but I do plan on coming over for festivals and smaller tours. I love playing live. There is nothing like it. So I’ll be back over in the EU/UK in the future. Hope to see you soon and have some of that great Polish Vodka!