Matt “Piggy D” Montgomery Talks “Metal And Monsters” In An In-Depth Interview

April 6, 2022

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely - Horror Fuel CEO & Executive Producer Email: [email protected]

Mathew “Piggy D” Montgomery, aka “Count D,” is known for his musical talents, serving as the bassist in Rob Zombie’s band for the past 16 years, along with other bands. Montgomery is now serving as the host for Gibson TV’s new series “Metal and Monsters,” a fantastic show that explores the history of both metal music and the horror genre. Each episode features two guests, for example, the premiere episode (watch here) sees Montgomery sit down with Robert Englund and master of metal, Don Dokken to talk about A Nightmare on Elm Street and Dokken’s band.

 

I sat down with Montgomery, who is incredibly down to earth and friendly, to talk about “Metal and Monsters,” his music, and so much more, for what is one of my favorite interviews in years.

 

 

McNeely: “There’s a lot of overlap between metal and horror. Why do you think that is?”

 

Montgomery: “I think it’s because people who are fans of one or the other, think outside the box a little bit. And if you’re a fan of a band like Iron Maiden versus a fan of … I don’t know, I’m just picking in a random band, Mumford & Sons or something like that, you’re painting with a little bit of a different color palette as you’re kind of walking through life. There are historical elements in metal music. There are fantastic ideas in metal music. There are dark exploratory themes in metal music. And the same thing goes for horror. I mean, how many Frankenstein movies have we had over the years? But it was a book before it was anything. You had to learn how to read to learn who Frankenstein was originally before we had the car lot movies. And I think it’s just a bigger field for a lot of people to kind of expand their imagination if you’re so inclined to that. You can suspend disbelief in the world a little bit more than the average person if you’re a fan of horror or you’re a fan of metal.

 

It’s almost kind of a line in the sand for the population. Right? If you go back to the old days, if you think dragons exist or existed at one point or you think aliens exist, then you’re willing to believe in fantastic things that are maybe bigger than what your reality is perceived. And I’ve been having this conversation with people this week about if you’re the guy or the girl that’s watched all the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, you made it through all of them, you’ve gotten past the subject matter. By the time you get to the seventh one or the eighth one or whatever, you’re going, “Oh. I think I like Freddy’s makeup better in this one than I do that one.” You’re already there. Right?”

 

McNeely: “Right.”

 

Montgomery: “You’re not going, “This is stupid. Does he talk to you in your dreams? Baloney.” You’re already our customer, we already got you. Now if you want to nitpick anything, you can nitpick the direction or the acting or the script or the makeup or something like that. But you’ve already committed to the idea that you’re going to go along for the ride with this story, and metal music is very much the same thought process. You don’t want to just hear a 4/4 time signature pop song talking about the weekend or love or your truck or whiskey, you’re listening to Iron Maiden singing songs about The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and historical songs like The Trooper and Aces High talking about pilots. It’s just all over the place.”

 

McNeely: “Right.”

 

Montgomery: “And you’re allowed to explore different subject matter through those outlets, and I think that’s why they work well together. They’re kind of the peanut butter and jelly of pop culture if you have an imagination.”

 

McNeely: ” I get it. A lot of the time, some songs aren’t just something stupid. It’s something, it’s a story that you can invest in.”

 

Montgomery: “Right.”

 

McNeely: “It’s like Enter Sandman (I’m a big Metallica fan). There are also the costumes and the makeup in metal, it has a horror feel. You, know,  I think heavy metal and horror are like brothers. They may be a little different, but they are family, forever connected.”

 

Montgomery: “They really are, and Metallica is a great example. Because even on early Metallica records, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, there’s a song with horror roots on both of those records. You’ve got The Call of Cthulhu on Ride the Lightning and you’ve got The Thing That Should Not Be on Master of Puppets. And then you also have songs from For Whom The Bell Tolls, which is a classic piece of literature, a historical piece of literature. So they weren’t just beer-drinking, reckless kids. They read books.”

 

McNeely: “Right.”

 

Montgomery: “They studied in school a little bit and learned about literature and learned about history, and then that influenced the music, and that’s what’s cool. So I consider metal and monster fans to be some of the most intelligent people in the population. Because they’re usually genuinely interested in those things, in history, science fiction. I mean, where would we be? You can’t look at your iPhone without thinking about Star Trek. Right? Where would we be without science fiction?”

 

McNeely: “I agree with you totally. And I love that the new show, Metal, and Monsters explores all of that. And like I said, I’ve seen the first episode. I really, really enjoyed it.

 

What has been your favorite part about making this series? I know that’s a big question.”

 

Montgomery: “It is. It is. It’s the most honest thing I could possibly do. Because for me to have a job where I can sit and talk about seeing Frankenstein when I was a kid or seeing Alice Cooper when I was a kid. I was wearing a jacket last night that has my t-shirt from the first time I saw Carcass cut up and sewn onto it, and I’ve been wearing that shirt in some form now for like over 25 years. It’s 100% of who I am. I love all kinds of music and I love all kinds of films.”

 

McNeely: “It’s your passion?”

 

Montgomery: It is my passion. Yeah.  I was telling my producers the other day, that this is the most honest band I’ve ever been to. Because it’s like I just have to show up and the rest kind of does the work for me, and the first episode’s really proof of that. Robert got there early that day, there was no traffic, and Dawn got stuck in traffic. And I had two hours with Robert in the green room just to hear him tell stories. And I was sitting there with my stack of Fangoria magazine, and I’ve got Freddy poster magazines that I’ve had since I was a kid. I’ve got a magazine when he did Phantom of the Opera with him on the cover. I was sitting there with these magazines I’ve had across from the guy that I grew up thinking Robert Englund is the Vincent Price of my generation.”

 

McNeely: He is. I’m a huge fan of Englund. Freddy is my favorite horror character. He just has so much charisma.”

 

Montgomery: “And I’ve always looked at him like that. So to be sitting there across from him and he’s talking to me like he’s my uncle, this is for two hours before we rolled the camera. He’s telling these stories, not Nightmare on Elm Street stories, but he’s telling me old Hollywood stories. I was just like, “This is exactly it. I’m in the right place. I can’t think of anything else, any other place in the world I should be more on a Wednesday than right here. I’ve been preparing for this my whole life.”

 

McNeely: “And I understand that. I call it a fangirl moment.”

 

Montgomery: “It’s totally a fangirl moment.”

 

McNeely: “Because I’ve had a few. They’re rare, but I got on the phone with Bruce Campbell one time and I swear to God. I hadn’t stuttered in years, it came back. I couldn’t function for a few minutes [laughter].”

 

Montgomery: “He’ll make a dude stutter. Yeah. Yeah [laughter].”

 

McNeely: “Mm. But I know that’s got to be a wonderful experience. Robert is at the top of my dream list to interview.”

 

Montgomery: “I met Bruce in the late nineties, early two-thousands, and I stuttered too. You’re not alone [laughter].”

 

McNeely: “Yeah. It took me about 10 minutes to be able to control myself. And I almost fainted when Tom Savini walked past me in a convention so.”

 

Montgomery: “I love it. You’re that kid too.”

 

McNeely: “With metal and movies and stuff, what do you think makes movie soundtracks so important?”

 

Montgomery: “It’s funny. I feel like in some ways it’s a dying art form because of the way the music has been devalued. What was so cool was seeing that the producers of the last Halloween movie bothered to tie a Ghost song into it. That right there was some of the most thoughtful metal and monster type of tie-in that I’ve seen in years. And the song is on their new record anyway, but the fact that was the first place we got to hear it, was so cool. And I don’t think it happens often enough. I wish it happened more. Because I think it’s a great vehicle to connect people. And like we were saying at the top of the call, they’re often the same customer. Nine out of 10 times, it’s the same customer. The kid who would listen to that song or buy that record back in the day is the same kid who would watch the movie.

 

It’s not a metal song, but I’ll give you an example. I remember when it’s kind of a weird example, but Dream Theater is very hard rock. Right? But when Halloween VI came out, I went to see it on a weekday. I think it was the day it came out actually, I went to an early show. There weren’t a whole lot of people in the theater. I sat, and I always would watch the credits and there was this song in the credits and it was a rock song. Not a metal song, just a rock song. And I was listening to it and I was like, “Man, I really like this song.” It didn’t have a whole lot to do with the movie, it was just kind of a general statement about humanity and people.

 

On the way home, I stopped by the record store and I bought that record, and it was a band called Brother Cane from Alabama, a Southern rock band. I fell in love with that band because of Halloween VI. And here they come on tour, I went to the show. Oh, they had a record out before this? They even had a single on the radio, and then that song from Halloween VI became a single on the radio, like a top 10 single. And all these years later, I’m still a fan. The band just got back together a couple of weeks ago. So horror films, a film in general, has always been a great vehicle for music to enter your life, and horror fans are no different.”

 

McNeely: “I think that’s one of the reasons I like the eighties and early nineties horror movies so much because they all had great soundtracks.”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah, that was back when the industry was supportive. There were record companies actively trying to shift physical products. Producers and studio executives would go, “Hey. We need some music for a movie.” Robert tells the story about Asphalt Jungle and the Bill Haley song in the show, Rock Around the Clock, and how kids reacted when they heard that song loud in the theater on the big movie theater. People were freaking out. That’s a reaction.

 

And when I heard Dream Warriors when I went to see Nightmare on Elm Street III, as I talk about in the show, and I was like, “Wait. This is Dokken? This rules.” And because it was tied to those visuals, it was a song about the movie, which, again, didn’t happen often enough. Where somebody said, “Hey. Go write a song about the movie we’ll open and close the movie with it.” I mean, what a cool thing. Right? And it’s just so thoughtful. It was another side of the art that someone thought about and you could take it home with you. You could buy that record or that cassette and play it in the car and play it at home, and so it’s kind of you always had a little piece of that movie with you, even if you didn’t own the movie yet. Back in the day, you’d wait 100 years for video cassettes to come out.

 

So it was just that, not just from clever marketing, “Let’s sell some records,” standpoint. But I love the fact that people were thinking about the audience so much at that time.”

 

McNeely: “Right. Things are a little different now.”

 

Montgomery: “They really are.”

 

McNeely: “It’s unfortunate.”

 

Montgomery: “We’re all too busy to sit down and really listen to a song.”

 

McNeely: “Yeah. I hope that changes.”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah.”

 

McNeely: “What are some of the movies and bands coming up that you’ll be talking about in some of the new episodes?”

 

Montgomery: “I can’t give too much away, but I can say this. Now that we’ve kind of established what the intent is of the show, what the formula consists of, we are already feeling like we can slide around within that backyard so to speak. We can move things around. So sometimes the historical segments in the show, the Terror Trek or the field trip of the show, will be about monsters and sometimes it’ll be about music. Sometimes the guests will be both music people and then the monster segment will either be somewhere else. Sometimes the guests will be movie people and then the music segment will be somewhere else. So it’s really kind of shifting around a little bit. We’re putting a lot of thought into the elements that we’re putting together. We took two years, or really two and a half years, to really think about this. It’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but we really thought about the bread. And is it crunchy? Is it creamy? What kind of jelly is it? We sat and thought about all of that.”

 

McNeely: “You can tell that a lot of effort goes into Metal and Monsters It’s a very deep show. It’s not shallow and I think both metal and horror fans will really love it.”

 

Montgomery: “It’s a show about emotions. It’s a show for those people who really wear their interests on their sleeve. And maybe they’re not now, but maybe they did 30 years ago, maybe they’re older now. Maybe they’re still young, but they don’t even know what that feels like. Because they’re not growing up with the era that we grew up with, where there was a soundtrack and a band in the movie and the video and the whole thing. That’s a foreign concept to audiences today.

 

I mean I remember when the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack came out a few years ago and had Pixies songs and all this stuff. I mean most of that stuff was music that had already been around for a while. It was just collected for the listener for the fan of that movie to take home. That was Zach Snyder he’s like me. He’s thinking along the same lines going, “No. I want to connect to emotions. I want to connect that listening to music that sells that story.” And I think that that’s really the intent of the show. It’s not about marketing. We’re not trying to push a product on you. We’ll talk about new bands, we’ll talk about new movies, but we’re not trying to sell you.

 

We’re trying to hang out in a clubhouse where you feel welcome, where you feel like you have a seat, and where you feel like you can join the conversation. And one of the things that have really blown us away in the last seven days in the comments on the show. Not just what’s on YouTube, but the phone calls I’ve gotten, the emails I’ve gotten from people that are like, “Oh my God.” And half the time they don’t even talk about the show, they go, “You know? I saw Dokken back in 1988,” or, “I saw Nightmare on Elm Street IV in the theater.

 

They just want to share a story, and what a cool space that is where someone can just write you out of the blue, not knowing you from Adam, and go, “You know? I saw Hellraiser in the theater and it scared me. Alright, have a nice day.” They didn’t even mention the show, but the fact that they took the time to share a memory that’s a happy memory even though it’s something kind of dark and fucked up. The fact that they stopped out of their day and said, “You know? I’ve got a funny story. My dad wouldn’t let me watch Nightmare on Elm Street either.” That means the world. That means that the intent of the show is read through the screen to everybody else and that they feel they’re in a safe space. They want to just share their story, and that’s a beautiful thing. That’s really all I want.”

 

 

McNeely: “I can honestly say the metal community and the horror community are the best in my book.”

 

Montgomery: “They really are. They really are. They’re some of the most honest people. They’ll tell you when they don’t like something too.”

 

McNeely: “Yes they will. I love that music and movies connect so many different classes. Some guy wearing a tie can tell you a story similar to one from somebody that’s got everything in their face pierced. You know?”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah. Yeah.”

 

McNeely: “I love it. Can about your music and movies for a minute? You have an amazing talent. tell us about your role in Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem?

 

Montgomery: “I’m actually in there twice. I’m in the black metal band. There’s a scene where the singer of Leviathan The Fleeing Serpent is being interviewed on the radio station, and I’m in the video. I’m the bass player of Leviathan The Fleeing Serpent. I’m Olaf the Butcher or Butcher Olaf. Thank you very much. And that was my big-screen debut. I’m also the ambiguously shaped guard demon guy on the right when you see the bigfoot devil guy show up.”

 

McNeely: “Badass.”

 

Montgomery: “There are two guys holding pitchforks, they’re kind of shadowy and they’re wearing loincloths. I’m the odd-shaped guy on the right.”

 

 

McNeely: “I know you play with  Rob Zombie. It has to be incredible to be on a stage and have that experience. And you’re also a member of another band?”

 

Montgomery: “I have another band now, that I’ve had for about seven years now called The Haxans, which is me and Ash Costello from a band called New Year’s Day. But so I have another band called The Haxans and we’re a two-piece. We’re kind of like Sonny & Cher if you remember Sonny & Cher, but we’re a Sonny & Cher for kids who like spooky shit.”

 

McNeely: “[laughter] That’s a great description!”

 

Montgomery: “It’s sequins and fringe and old showbiz razzle-dazzle, but we’re singing songs about monsters and sometimes playing a misfit song and sometimes playing something else. We’re just all over the place. We have a lot of fun so.”

 

 

McNeely: “When is the next time somebody can see you on stage?”

 

Montgomery: “Good question. Well, Zombie is going out this summer for something. We’re doing a summer run. I think we’re coming to Atlanta. I’d have to check the date. It’s Zombie, Mudvayne, Static-X, Powerman 5000. Talk about nostalgia. So that should be a fun summer tour, sweating to the oldies down south.”

 

McNeely: “That’s awesome. So here’s a tough question for you, What are your top three horror films?

 

Montgomery: “I’m a bit of an old soul with horror as much as I’m a child of the seventies and I grew up with Robert Englund and Michael Myers. If you made me choose, the original Frankenstein, the Carlisle Frankenstein, was an early lure for me. That, and Scooby-Doo. The old UHF stations, I grew up in Texas and on Sundays, they would play marathons for movies. You didn’t know what you were going to get because you got the TV guide in the paper the week before, and it was Bruce Lee movies all day or it was Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy movies, and occasionally it was monster movies.

 

One Sunday they played all of the Frankenstein movies, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, and House of Frankenstein, all in a row. And they tinted them all green, put a green filter over all the movies, and I was glued to the TV for about 10 hours until my eyes fell out of my head. And as soon as I could get a tattoo it was illegal, I got it before I was supposed to get it. But my first tattoo was Frankenstein. It repelled me because he was kind of scary, but I also felt sympathy for him because he was misunderstood. He didn’t ask to be there. He was a dead guy that was sewn together, an arm from this guy and a brain from this guy. He was kind of born into a world he didn’t want to be in. And oddly enough, as a child, I kind of related to that. So Frankenstein is on the list.

 

There’s a film called Black Sunday, which I reference in the show, that’s by a director named Mario Bava who also made a movie called Black Sabbath, which Black Sabbath took its name from. Mario Bava was a pioneer of a certain genre of Italian-style horror film in the sixties. And Black Sunday was a black and white picture, but it’s so atmospheric and creepy. The sets are deep and beautiful and the costumes were great. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful movie. It’s all about the devil and vampires and witchcraft, all of the crap you like, but it’s just so beautifully done. That’s one of my favorites.

 

And the third one is also a black and white film called Horror Hotel with Christopher Lee. It was made by this guy named John Moxey, also in the sixties. There are some odd parallels to Psycho, and it was made around the same time. If I had to pick a fourth one, Psycho would be it. But Horror Hotel is such a creepy movie. It had two titles, City of the Dead and Horror Hotel. I think the British title was City of the Dead and the American title was Horror Hotel. But if you can ever find that on Amazon or something, watch it because it’s messed up.

 

It’s this movie about a college student who travels to a town like Salem, Massachusetts to study the history of witchcraft. Things don’t go well. But again, a movie made on a tiny budget with just a lot of fog and dim lighting. But man, is it cool. Every time I watch it, I just go, “This is the coolest movie.” And it’s kind of gnarly in a way, especially for the time. But it just really always spoke to me. I think it echoes some past life I had or something. I think I was a kid growing up in the sixties watching all of these movies before I was reborn in the seventies. Because every time I watch them, they’re just like old friends to hang out with.”

 

McNeely: “I’m a big fan of Frankenstein. In fact, I have a big decal of the Bride of Frankenstein on my back window in my car.”

 

Montgomery: “Oh, that’s awesome. How cool. How cool.”

 

McNeely: “Do you have a website or social media where fans can keep up to date on your projects?”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah. My handle on Instagram is kind of my Rob Zombie stage name, it’s Piggy D Official. And my website, it’s less of a website as it is a playhouse. It’s called Party Monster Club and it links to a web store, but there are some bite-size video games on the site you can play that are kind of horror and monster-themed. We’re always in the process of updating it and making it new. If you want to direct people to something kind of weird, that’s something. Instagram is great. Piggy D Official is great.

 

McNeely: “Where do you draw inspiration from for your makeup, your look, when you’re on the stage?”

 

Montgomery: “I’ll be honest with you, until a few years ago I just kind of put the pen on the paper and I didn’t think about it too much and I just kind of doodle. And I think what it was is it’s all the things I’ve absorbed in my life in my subconscious, and it would influence my clothes. It would influence my makeup. I loved KISS when I was a kid too so I’m sure there’s some of that in there, and Alice Cooper. But I’m very much a musician at home. I played different instruments, I was in high school and junior high band. I studied classical music. I’m very much that guy.

 

But in the Rob Zombie show specifically, I’m an entertainer. I’m not up there to show you how crazy I can play or all the instruments I can play, I’m playing bass and I’m playing Demonoid Phenomenon or whatever is on the setlist that night. And I’m not up there to show my musician chops, I’m really there to connect with the audience kind of in the same way that the show is connecting. I’m just one of you. I’m one of you guys that grew up watching Frankenstein and listening to KISS, and this is kind of what … if my life could have grown up on itself, this is what I look like now. This is what happens to you kids if you watch Hellraiser and listen to Alice Cooper. This is what you could turn into.

 

Honestly, it hasn’t really been that much thought put into it until I cut my hair some years ago, and then I realized that my schtick didn’t work anymore. And I kind of had to go, “You know? Dracula has got shorter hair,” and I explored my inner vampire and I really felt comfortable with it. And I had some masks made for my face that kind of represent my … I’m a little bit flamboyant and I’m an old theater girl. So I love color and I love, like a said earlier, show biz razzle-dazzle. So I’ve made some very theatrical masks and costumes and stuff, and I just have a lot of fun with it. It’s really the way I express myself in that band.

 

Rob Zombie is very much a solo artist, and being able to be in his band for 16 years now, I found my seat in the band. I’m a cheerleader. I mean, I’m playing an instrument and it’s plugged in, it’s life, but I’m very much a cheerleader for the audience. That’s really what I’m doing. And I’m just another vehicle on the stage by which people can connect with the music and have a good time. And being a monster at heart, I feel very safe on stage standing next to the other monsters dressed as a vampire. Every day is Halloween in that band. Every day is Halloween at home for me. But it’s even more fun when you get to go to a party with 10,000 plus people that all want to celebrate Halloween too. That’s really fun. You can’t walk through the mall dressed like that, you’ll get arrested, but you can do it in a Rob Zombie show and everyone is going to go, “Oh, look. It’s Dracula.”

 

 

McNeely: “When did you start getting into music?

 

Montgomery: “My family was a band before I was born. My brother was a drummer, my dad played bass, my mom played guitar, and they would play backyard barbecues. Gospel songs and country songs and stuff. And my brother was into like KISS and Van Halen, but my parents loved show tunes. My mom loved Anne Murray and my dad loved Johnny Cash, so I had all those records when I was a kid. But the first movie I saw in the theater when it came out was Star Wars, and I had the Star Wars score, the John Williams score. It was a double vinyl, all of the music he composed for the movie, and I was obsessed with that.  I played all four sides of the Star Wars vinyl until it literally broke half.”

 

I was obsessed with music as soon as I could hear it, and it wasn’t until … there were guitars all over the house that I would pick them up and I would plunk on them. I played horns in school and played the trumpet and the tuba and stuff like that, but it wasn’t until I saw Alice Cooper when I was 14 years old. Poison came out and he was making this big comeback, and I didn’t know who Alice Cooper was. I saw Poison on MTV and I went, “Who’s that guy? He’s kind of creepy.” I was mowing lawns and I saved up my lawn money and I bought tenth-row tickets or something, I was really close to the stage, and last-minute my brother couldn’t take me. My dad had to take me.

 

And not to sound like a teenage boy, but I’m going to sound like a teenage boy for a minute, when the lights went out I smelled pot for the first time and all the girls started taking off their clothes. And then here comes Alice Cooper out of a big trash can that exploded and there was Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers and Jason running around on the stage. Now think about it. You’re 14 years old, the lights go out, you’re smelling this weird smell, they’re surrounded by half-naked people, and you’re watching this. My brain short-circuited. I was like, “Too much information.” And for some weird reason, from that point on, I knew what I was going to do.

 

That was the bolt of lightning that hit me on the head and I just went, “This is fucking nuts. I don’t know what this is or what I have to do or who I have to talk to, but I’m going to find them and I’m going to do it.” And I kind of strangled it into existence, to be honest with you. My whole life has been like that. The things I wore on my sleeve have eventually come and tapped me on my shoulder and been like, “Hey, you like Alice Cooper. You want to come work for Alice Cooper?” And I did.”

 

McNeely: “Wow! He’s a rock god.”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah, I did. I directed videos for him. I made his clothes. We wrote a record together. We’ve done a lot of stuff together. So the things you celebrate in life will always find a way to reward you, whether you’re ready for it or not. The universe is an echo chamber, and what you say and what you think and what you do are going to come back and bite you in a good way or in a bad way when you least expect it.”

 

McNeely: “I hope that’s true because there are a few things I’d like to bite me [laughter].”

 

Montgomery: “You know what? Here we are having this conversation and you got a Bridge of Frankenstein sticker on the back of your car. The universe is listening. You write for Horror Fuel. Right?”

 

McNeely: “Right.”

 

Montgomery: “So you’re living the same dream I am.”

 

McNeely: “That’s a fantastic way of looking at the world.”

 

McNeely: “There’s a lot of overlap between metal and horror. Why do you think that is?”

 

Montgomery: “I think it’s because people who are fans of one or the other, think outside the box a little bit. And if you’re a fan of a band like Iron Maiden versus a fan of … I don’t know, I’m just picking in a random band, Mumford & Sons or something like that, you’re painting with a little bit of a different color palette as you’re kind of walking through life. There are historical elements in metal music. There are fantastic ideas in metal music. There are dark exploratory themes in metal music. And the same thing goes for horror. I mean, how many Frankenstein movies have we had over the years? But it was a book before it was anything. You had to learn how to read to learn who Frankenstein was originally before we had the car lot movies. And I think it’s just a bigger field for a lot of people to kind of expand their imagination if you’re so inclined to that. You can suspend disbelief in the world a little bit more than the average person if you’re a fan of horror or you’re a fan of metal.

 

It’s almost kind of a line in the sand for the population. Right? If you … probably going back to the old days, if you think dragons exist or existed at one point or you think aliens exist, then you’re willing to believe in fantastic things that are maybe bigger than what your reality is perceived. And I’ve been having this conversation with people this week about if you’re the guy or the girl that’s watched all the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, you made it through all of them, you’re not really … you’ve gotten past the subject matter. By the time you get to the seventh one or the eighth one or whatever, you’re going, “Oh. I think I like Freddy’s makeup better in this one than I do that one.” You’re already there. Right?”

 

McNeely: “Right.”

 

Montgomery: “You’re not going, “This is stupid. Does he talk to you in your dreams? Baloney.” You’re already our customer, we already got you. Now if you want to nitpick anything, you can nitpick the direction or the acting or the script or the makeup or something like that. But you’ve already committed to the idea that you’re going to go along for the ride with this story, and metal music is very much the same thought process. You don’t want to just hear a 4/4 time signature pop song talking about the weekend or love or your truck or whiskey, you’re going to … Iron Maiden is singing songs about The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and historical songs like The Trooper and Aces High talking about pilots. It’s just all over the place. And you’re allowed to explore different subject matter through those outlets, and I think that’s why they work well together. They’re kind of the peanut butter and jelly of pop culture if you have an imagination.”

 

McNeely: ” I get it. A lot of the time, a lot of the songs aren’t just something stupid. It’s something, it’s a story that you can invest in.”

 

Montgomery: “Right.”

 

McNeely: “It’s like Enter Sandman (I’m a big Metallica fan). There are also the costumes and the makeup in metal, it has a horror feel. You, know,  I think heavy metal and horror are like brothers. They may be a little different, but they are family, forever connected.”

 

Montgomery: “They really are, and Metallica is a great example. Because even on early Metallica records, Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, there’s a song with horror roots on both of those records. You’ve got The Call of Cthulhu on Ride the Lightning and you’ve got The Thing That Should Not Be on Master of Puppets. And then you also have songs from For Whom The Bell Tolls, which is a classic piece of literature, a historical piece of literature. So they weren’t just beer-drinking, reckless kids. They read books.”

 

McNeely: “Exactly.”

 

Montgomery: “They studied in school a little bit and learned about literature and learned about history, and then that influenced the music, and that’s what’s cool. So I consider metal and monster fans to be some of the most intelligent people in the population. Because they’re usually genuinely interested in those things, in history, science fiction. I mean, where would we be? You can’t look at your iPhone without thinking about Star Trek. Right? Where would we be without science fiction?”

 

McNeely: “I agree with you totally. And I love that the new show, Metal, and Monsters explores all of that. And like I said, I’ve seen the first episode. I really, really enjoyed it.

 

What has been your favorite part about making this series? I know that’s a big question.”

 

Montgomery: “It is. It is. It’s the most honest thing I could possibly do. Because for me to have a job where I can sit and talk about seeing Frankenstein when I was a kid or seeing Alice Cooper when I was a kid. I was wearing a jacket last night that has my t-shirt from the first time I saw Carcass cut up and sewn onto it, and I’ve been wearing that shirt in some form now for like over 25 years. It’s 100% of who I am. I love all kinds of music and I love all kinds of films.”

 

McNeely: “It’s your passion?”

 

Montgomery: It is my passion. Yeah.  I was telling my producers the other day, that this is the most honest band I’ve ever been to. Because it’s like I just have to show up and the rest kind of does the work for me, and the first episode’s really proof of that. Robert got there early that day, there was no traffic, and Dawn got stuck in traffic. And I had two hours with Robert in the green room just to hear him tell stories. And I was sitting there with my stack of Fangoria magazine, and I’ve got Freddy poster magazines that I’ve had since I was a kid. I’ve got a magazine when he did Phantom of the Opera with him on the cover. I was sitting there with these magazines I’ve had across from the guy that I grew up thinking Robert Englund is the Vincent Price of my generation.”

 

McNeely: He is. I’m a huge fan of Englund. Freddy is my favorite horror character. He just has so much charisma.”

 

Montgomery: “And I’ve always looked at him like that. So to be sitting there across from him and he’s talking to me like he’s my uncle, this is for two hours before we rolled the camera. He’s telling these stories, not Nightmare on Elm Street stories, but he’s telling me old Hollywood stories. I was just like, “This is exactly it. I’m in the right place. I can’t think of anything else, any other place in the world I should be more on a Wednesday than right here. I’ve been preparing for this my whole life.”

 

McNeely: “And I understand that. I call it a fangirl moment.”

 

Montgomery: “It’s totally a fangirl moment.”

 

McNeely: “Because I’ve had a few. They’re rare, but I got on the phone with Bruce Campbell one time and I swear to God. I hadn’t stuttered in years, it came back. I couldn’t function for a few minutes [laughter].”

 

Montgomery: “He’ll make a dude stutter. Yeah. Yeah [laughter].”

 

McNeely: “Mm. But I know that’s got to be a wonderful experience. Robert is at the top of my dream list to interview.”

 

Montgomery: “I met Bruce in the late nineties, early two-thousands, and I stuttered too. You’re not alone [laughter].”

 

McNeely: “Yeah. It took me about 10 minutes to be able to control myself. And I almost fainted when Tom Savini walked past me in a convention so.”

 

Montgomery: “I love it. You’re that kid too.”

 

McNeely: “I think we got off track [laughter]. Speaking of metal and movies and stuff, what do you think makes movie soundtracks so important?”

 

Montgomery: “It’s funny. I feel like in some ways it’s a dying art form because of the way the music has been devalued. What was so cool was seeing that the producers of the last Halloween movie bothered to tie a Ghost song into it. That right there was some of the most thoughtful metal and monster type of tie-in that I’ve seen in years. And the song is on their new record anyway, but the fact that was the first place we got to hear it, was so cool. And I don’t think it happens often enough. I wish it happened more. Because I think it’s a great vehicle to connect people. And like we were saying at the top of the call, they’re often the same customer. Nine out of 10 times, it’s the same customer. The kid who would listen to that song or buy that record back in the day is the same kid who would watch the movie.

 

It’s not a metal song, but I’ll give you an example. I remember when it’s kind of a weird example, but Dream Theater is very hard rock. Right? But when Halloween VI came out, I went to see it on a weekday. I think it was the day it came out actually, I went to an early show. There weren’t a whole lot of people in the theater. I sat, and I always would watch the credits and there was this song in the credits and it was a rock song. Not a metal song, just a rock song. And I was listening to it and I was like, “Man, I really like this song.” It didn’t have a whole lot to do with the movie, it was just kind of a general statement about humanity and people.

 

On the way home, I stopped by the record store and I bought that record, and it was a band called Brother Cane from Alabama, a Southern rock band. I fell in love with that band because of Halloween VI. And here they come on tour, I went to the show. Oh, they had a record out before this? They even had a single on the radio, and then that song from Halloween VI became a single on the radio, like a top 10 single. And all these years later, I’m still a fan. In fact, the band just got back together a couple of weeks ago. So horror films, a film in general, has always been a great vehicle for music to enter your life, and horror fans are no different.”

 

McNeely: “I think that’s one of the reasons I like the eighties and early nineties horror movies so much because they all had great soundtracks.”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah, that was back when the industry was supportive. There were record companies actively trying to shift physical products. Producers and studio executives would go, “Hey. We need some music for a movie.” Robert tells the story about Asphalt Jungle and the Bill Haley song in the show, Rock Around the Clock, and how kids reacted when they heard that song loud in the theater on the big movie theater. People were freaking out. That’s a reaction.

 

And when I heard Dream Warriors when I went to see Nightmare on Elm Street III, as I talk about in the show, and I was like, “Wait. This is Dokken? This rules.” And because it was tied to those visuals, it was a song about the movie, which, again, didn’t happen often enough. Where somebody said, “Hey. Go write a song about the movie we’ll open and close the movie with it.” I mean, what a cool thing. Right? And it’s just so thoughtful. It was another side of the art that someone thought about and you could take it home with you. You could buy that record or that cassette and play it in the car and play it at home, and so it’s kind of you always had a little piece of that movie with you, even if you didn’t own the movie yet. Back in the day, you’d wait 100 years for video cassettes to come out.

 

So it was just that, not just from clever marketing, “Let’s sell some records,” standpoint. But I love the fact that people were thinking about the audience so much at that time.”

 

McNeely: “Right. Things are a little different now.”

 

Montgomery: “They really are.”

 

McNeely: “It’s unfortunate.”

 

Montgomery: “We’re all too busy to sit down and listen to a song.”

 

McNeely: “Yeah. I hope that changes.”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah.”

 

McNeely: “What are some of the movies and bands coming up that you’ll be talking about in some of the new episodes?”

 

Montgomery: “I can’t give too much away, but I can say this. Now that we’ve kind of established what the intent is of the show, what the formula consists of, we are already feeling like we can slide around within that backyard so to speak. We can move things around. So sometimes the historical segments in the show, the Terror Trek or the field trip of the show, will be about monsters and sometimes it’ll be about music. Sometimes the guests will be both music people and then the monster segment will either be somewhere else. Sometimes the guests will be movie people and then the music segment will be somewhere else. So it’s really kind of shifting around a little bit based on … we’re putting a lot of thought into the elements that we’re putting together. We took two years, or really two and a half years, to really think about this and to really plan how to … it’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but we really thought about the bread. And is it crunchy? Is it creamy? What kind of jelly is it? We sat and thought about all of that.”

 

McNeely: “You can tell that a lot of effort goes into Metal and Monsters It’s a very deep show. It’s not shallow and I think both metal and horror fans will really love it.”

 

Montgomery: “It’s a show about emotions. It’s a show for those people who really wear their interests on their sleeve. And maybe they’re not now, but maybe they did 30 years ago, maybe they’re older now. Maybe they’re still young, but they don’t even know what that feels like. Because they’re not growing up with the era that we grew up with, where there was a soundtrack and a band in the movie and the video and the whole thing. That’s a foreign concept to audiences today.

 

I mean I remember when the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack came out a few years ago and had Pixies songs and all this stuff. I mean most of that stuff was music that had already been around for a while. It was just collected for the listener for the fan of that movie to take home. That was Zach Snyder, or whoever, going … he’s like me. He’s thinking along the same lines going, “No. I want to connect to emotions. I want to connect that listening to music that sells that story.” And I think that that’s really the intent of the show. It’s not about marketing. We’re not trying to push a product on you. We’ll talk about new bands, we’ll talk about new movies, but we’re not trying to sell you.

 

We’re trying to hang out in a clubhouse where you feel welcome, where you feel like you have a seat, and where you feel like you can join the conversation. And one of the things that have really blown us away in the last seven days in the comments on the show. Not just what’s on YouTube, but the phone calls I’ve gotten, the emails I’ve gotten from people that are like, “Oh my God.” And half the time they don’t even talk about the show, they go, “You know? I saw Dokken back in 1988,” or, “I saw Nightmare on Elm Street IV in the theater. They just want to share a story, and what a cool space that is where someone can just write you out of the blue, not knowing you from Adam, and go, “You know? I saw Hellraiser in the theater and it scared me. Alright, have a nice day.” They didn’t even mention the show, but the fact that they took the time to share a memory that’s a happy memory even though it’s something kind of dark and fucked up. The fact that they stopped out of their day and said, “You know? I’ve got a funny story. My dad wouldn’t let me watch Nightmare on Elm Street either.” That means the world to me. That means the intent of the show. It reaches through the screen to everybody else and that they feel they’re in a safe space. They want to just share their story, and that’s a beautiful thing. That’s really all I want.”

 

McNeely: ” That is amazing. I can honestly say the metal community and the horror community are the best in my book.”

 

Montgomery: “They really are. They really are. They’re some of the most honest people. They’ll tell you when they don’t like something too.”

 

McNeely: “Yes they will. I love that music and movies connect so many different classes. Some guy wearing a tie can tell you a story similar to one from somebody that’s got everything in their face pierced. You know?”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah. Yeah.”

 

McNeely: “I love it. Can about your music and movies for a minute? You have an amazing talent. tell us about your role in Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem?

 

Montgomery: “I’m actually in there twice. I’m in the black metal band. There’s a scene where the singer of Leviathan The Fleeing Serpent is being interviewed on the radio station, and I’m in the video. I’m the bass player of Leviathan The Fleeing Serpent. I’m Olaf the Butcher or Butcher Olaf. Thank you very much. And that was my big-screen debut. I’m also the ambiguously shaped guard demon guy on the right when you see the bigfoot devil guy show up.”

 

McNeely: “Badass.”

 

Montgomery: “There are two guys holding pitchforks, they’re kind of shadowy and they’re wearing loincloths. I’m the odd-shaped guy on the right. My other things-”

 

McNeely: “I know you play with  Rob Zombie. It has to be incredible to be on a stage and have that experience. And you’re also a member of another band?”

 

Montgomery: “I have another band now, that I’ve had for about seven years now called The Haxans, which is me and Ash Costello from a band called New Year’s Day. But so I have another band called The Haxans and we’re a two-piece. We’re kind of like Sonny & Cher if you remember Sonny & Cher, but we’re a Sonny & Cher for kids who like spooky shit.”

 

McNeely: “[laughter] That’s a great description!”

 

Montgomery: “It’s sequins and fringe and old showbiz razzle-dazzle, but we’re singing songs about monsters and sometimes playing a misfit song and sometimes playing something else. We’re just all over the place. We have a lot of fun so.”

 

McNeely: “When is the next time somebody can see you on stage?”

 

Montgomery: “Good question. Well, Zombie is going out this summer for something. We’re doing a summer run. I think we’re coming to Atlanta. I’d have to check the date. It’s Zombie, Mudvayne, Static-X, Powerman 5000. Talk about nostalgia. So that should be a fun summer tour, sweating to the oldies down south.”

 

McNeely: “That’s awesome. So here’s a tough question for you, What are your top three horror films?

 

Montgomery: “I’m a bit of an old soul with horror as much as I’m a child of the seventies and I grew up with Robert Englund and Michael Myers. If you made me choose, the original Frankenstein, the Carlisle Frankenstein, was an early lure for me. That, and Scooby-Doo. The old UHF stations, I grew up in Texas and on Sundays, they would play marathons for movies. You didn’t know what you were going to get because you got the TV guide in the paper the week before, and it was Bruce Lee movies all day or it was Three Stooges or Laurel and Hardy movies, and occasionally it was monster movies.

 

One Sunday they played all of the Frankenstein movies, Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein, and House of Frankenstein, all in a row. And they tinted them all green, put a green filter over all the movies, and I was glued to the TV for about 10 hours until my eyes fell out of my head. And as soon as I could get a tattoo, actually, it was illegal, I got it before I was supposed to get it. But my first tattoo was Frankenstein. It repelled me because he was kind of scary, but I also felt sympathy for him because he was misunderstood. He didn’t ask to be there. He was a dead guy that was sewn together, an arm from this guy and a brain from this guy. He was kind of born into a world he didn’t want to be in. And oddly enough, as a child, I kind of related to that. So Frankenstein is on the list.

 

There’s a film called Black Sunday, which I reference in the show, that’s by a director named Mario Bava who also made a movie called Black Sabbath, which Black Sabbath took its name from. Mario Bava was a pioneer of a certain genre of Italian-style horror film in the sixties. And Black Sunday was a black and white picture, but it’s so atmospheric and creepy. The sets are deep and beautiful and the costumes were great. It’s just a beautiful, beautiful movie. It’s all about the devil and vampires and witchcraft, all of the crap you like, but it’s just so beautifully done. That’s one of my favorites.

 

And the third one is also a black and white film called Horror Hotel with Christopher Lee. It was made by this guy named John Moxey, also in the sixties. There are some odd parallels to Psycho, and it was made around the same time. If I had to pick a fourth one, Psycho would be it. But Horror Hotel is such a creepy movie. It had two titles, City of the Dead and Horror Hotel. I think the British title was City of the Dead and the American title was Horror Hotel. But if you can ever find that on Amazon or something, watch it because it’s messed up.

 

It’s this movie about a college student who travels to a town like Salem, Massachusetts to study the history of witchcraft. Obviously, things don’t go well. But again, a movie made on a tiny budget with just a lot of fog and dim lighting. But man, is it cool. Every time I watch it, I just go, “This is the coolest movie.” And it’s kind of gnarly in a way, especially for the time. But it just really always spoke to me. I think it echoes some past life I had or something. I think I was a kid growing up in the sixties watching all of these movies before I was reborn in the seventies. Because every time I watch them, they’re just like old friends to hang out with.”

 

McNeely: “I’m a big fan of Frankenstein. In fact, I have a big decal of the Bride of Frankenstein on my back window in my car.”

 

Montgomery: “Oh, that’s awesome. How cool. How cool.”

 

McNeely: “Do you have a website or social media where fans can keep up to date on your projects?”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah. My handle on Instagram is kind of my Rob Zombie stage name, it’s Piggy D Official. And my website, it’s less of a website as it is a playhouse. It’s called Party Monster Club and it links to a web store, but there are some bite-size video games on the site you can play that are kind of horror and monster-themed. We’re always in the process of updating it and making it new. There’s only a few up there, but that’s … if you want to direct people to something kind of weird, that’s something. Instagram is great. Piggy D Official is great.

 

McNeely: “Where do you draw inspiration from for your makeup, your look, when you’re on the stage?”

 

Montgomery: “I’ll be honest with you, until a few years ago I just kind of put the pen on the paper and I didn’t think about it too much and I just kind of doodle. And I think what it was is it’s all the things I’ve absorbed in my life in my subconscious, and it would influence my clothes. It would influence my makeup. I loved KISS when I was a kid too so I’m sure there’s some of that in there, and Alice Cooper. But I’m very much a musician at home. I played different instruments, I was in high school and junior high band. I studied classical music. I’m very much that guy.

But in the Rob Zombie show specifically, I’m an entertainer. I’m not up there to show you how crazy I can play or all the instruments I can play, I’m playing bass and I’m playing Demonoid Phenomenon or whatever is on the setlist that night. And I’m not up there to show my musician chops, I’m really there to connect with the audience kind of in the same way that the show is connecting. I’m just one of you. I’m one of you guys that grew up watching Frankenstein and listening to KISS, and this is kind of what … if my life could have grown up on itself, this is what I look like now. This is what happens to you kids if you watch Hellraiser and listen to Alice Cooper. This is what you could turn into.

 

Honestly, it hasn’t really been that much thought put into it until I cut my hair some years ago, and then I realized that my schtick didn’t work anymore. And I kind of had to go, “You know? Dracula has got shorter hair,” and I explored my inner vampire and I really felt comfortable with it. And I had some masks made for my face that kind of represent my … I’m a little bit flamboyant and I’m an old theater girl. So I love color and I love, like a said earlier, show biz razzle-dazzle. So I’ve made some very theatrical masks and costumes and stuff, and I just have a lot of fun with it. It’s really the way I express myself in that band.

 

Rob Zombie is very much a solo artist, and being able to be in his band for 16 years now, I found my seat in the band. I’m a cheerleader. I mean, I’m playing an instrument and it’s plugged in, it’s life, but I’m very much a cheerleader for the audience. That’s really what I’m doing. And I’m just another vehicle on the stage by which people can connect with the music and have a good time. And being a monster at heart, I feel very safe on stage standing next to the other monsters dressed as a vampire. Every day is Halloween in that band. Every day is Halloween at home for me. But it’s even more fun when you get to go to a party with 10,000 plus people that all want to celebrate Halloween too. That’s really fun. You can’t walk through the mall dressed like that, you’ll get arrested, but you can do it in a Rob Zombie show and everyone is going to go, “Oh, look. It’s Dracula.”

 

McNeely: “When did you start getting into music?

 

Montgomery: “My family was a band before I was born. My brother was a drummer, my dad played bass, my mom played guitar, and they would play backyard barbecues. Gospel songs and country songs and stuff. And my brother was into like KISS and Van Halen, but my parents loved show tunes. My mom loved Anne Murray and my dad loved Johnny Cash, so I had all those records when I was a kid. But the first movie I saw in the theater when it came out was Star Wars, and I had the Star Wars score, the John Williams score. It was a double vinyl, all of the music he composed for the movie, and I was obsessed with that.  I played all four sides of the Star Wars vinyl until it literally broke half.”

 

I was obsessed with music as soon as I could hear it, and it wasn’t until … there were guitars all over the house that I would pick them up and I would plunk on them. I played horns in school and played the trumpet and the tuba and stuff like that, but it wasn’t until I saw Alice Cooper when I was 14 years old. Poison came out and he was making this big comeback, and I didn’t know who Alice Cooper was. I saw Poison on MTV and I went, “Who’s that guy? He’s kind of creepy.” I was mowing lawns and I saved up my lawn money and I bought tenth-row tickets or something, I was really close to the stage, and last-minute my brother couldn’t take me. My dad had to take me.

 

And not to sound like a teenage boy, but I’m going to sound like a teenage boy for a minute, when the lights went out I smelled pot for the first time and all the girls started taking off their clothes. And then here comes Alice Cooper out of a big trash can that exploded and there was Freddy Kruger and Michael Myers and Jason running around on the stage. Now think about it. You’re 14 years old, the lights go out, you’re smelling this weird smell, they’re surrounded by half-naked people, and you’re watching this. My brain short-circuited. I was like, “Too much information.” And for some weird reason, from that point on, I knew what I was going to do.

 

That was the bolt of lightning that hit me on the head and I just went, “This is fucking nuts. I don’t know what this is or what I have to do or who I have to talk to, but I’m going to find them and I’m going to do it.” And I kind of strangled it into existence, to be honest with you. My whole life has been like that. The things I wore on my sleeve have eventually come and tapped me on my shoulder and been like, “Hey, you like Alice Cooper. You want to come work for Alice Cooper?” And I did.”

 

McNeely: “Wow! He’s a rock god. But I can’t picture you singing country [laughter]”

 

Montgomery: “Yeah, I did [laughter]. I directed videos for him. I made his clothes. We wrote a record together. We’ve done a lot of stuff together. So the things you celebrate in life will always find a way to reward you, whether you’re ready for it or not. The universe is an echo chamber, and what you say and what you think and what you do are going to come back and bite you in a good way or in a bad way when you least expect it.”

 

McNeely: “I hope that’s true because there are a few things I’d like to bite me [laughter].”

 

Montgomery: “You know what? Here we are having this conversation and you got a Bridge of Frankenstein sticker on the back of your car. The universe is listening. You write for Horror Fuel. Right?”

 

McNeely: “Right.”

 

Montgomery: “So you’re living the same dream I am.”

 

McNeely: “That’s a fantastic way of looking at it.”

 

It’s undeniable that Montgomery has a real passion for both music and movies and it really shines in Gibson TV’s “Metal and Monsters.” If you’re a fan of metal and or horror movies, “Metal and Monsters” is a must-see! Luckily, we’ve got the first episode below. Be sure to follow Montgomery on social media and visit his website to stay up to date on his projects.

 

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