Interview by Robert Cavuoto
A brand-new series from Gibson TV called Metal and Monsters has emerged from the darkest depths of Matt “Count D” Montgomery, bassist for Rob Zombie and Todd Harapiak’s imaginations! Conceived during the pandemic, the duo had plenty of time to think and plan how they would unleash a high-quality show to their loyal fans. A collaborative effort of herculean proportions taking over two years to schedule, make, and bake.
The show is part interviews, part music, part monsters, and 100% entertainment. Their debut episode paired Don Dokken, vocalist for metal band Dokken with Robert Englund of Freddy Krueger fame to discuss their involvement in Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and hosted by none other than monster and horror aficionado Count D. Together, the three discuss how the merger of the song “Dream Warriors,” coupled with Freddy’s image helped propel the success of the film making it an instant classic. To add to the excitement of the show, the episode was filmed on stage at the haunted Los Angles Theater in California, making it must-see TV.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Count D to discuss the creation of Metal and Monsters, his vast knowledge of monsters, insights into the first and future episodes of the show, the release of The Haxans new album Dead and Restless, which comes out October 7th and their tour this April with John 5. Please be sure to follow My Global Mind on Facebook and Twitter and subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Watch and share Episode 1 of Gibson TV’s Metal And Monsters with guests Robert Englund, Don Dokken, and more https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPuxfPgsvmg
Robert Cavuoto: You do a terrific job hosting Gibson TV’s Metal and Monsters. How did the show come about, and the opportunity for you to host it?
Count D: It’s oddly romantic. I went to see John Carpenter two years in a row at the Hollywood Palladium on Halloween night. If you live in LA, you don’t go see John Carpenter if you are that kid, you’re a jerk [laughing]. I did, and the second year I went by myself at the last minute. As I’m leaving the show, this guy taps me on the shoulder; he introduces himself as Todd Harapiak and tells me he works at Gibson Guitars. We stayed in touch and became friends. He called me up one day and asked what I thought about creating a show where we cover monsters and music in some format? It took about two and half years of kicking the idea back and forth. We couldn’t get things scheduled during the pandemic because people weren’t leaving their houses, and everything was shut down. So, we had this great gestation/fermentation period to hone in on the show and its intent. It would have been easy to shlock it together, but we took our time and ensured we weren’t making some puff piece of television. We wanted the love and celebration of the art to come through! We took our time scouting a location and probably went to the theater at least five times. I was frustrated because every time we thought we were going to get off the ground and get the production fired up, we couldn’t. In hindsight, I’m so grateful it was a slow burn. It allowed us to trim the fat and dial it in.
Robert Cavuoto: It comes across as well thought out with great production values. The segments flow nicely together, even with the fun commercials, particularly the one for the KISS Mego Dolls.
Count D: [Laughing] It hits some of our demographics right on the head! I’m looking at all four of those dolls in a glass case right now. If you had those dolls when you were a kid or inherited them from your brother, you’re our customer!
Robert Cavuoto: I have the set of four in the boxes!
Count D: Oh, you’re that guy! [laughing] That’s next level!
Robert Cavuoto: I’m a John 5 level.
Count D: Well, that’s serious business.
Robert Cavuoto: Have you always been enthralled with monsters growing up as you come across as quite knowledgeable on the subject?
Count D: Thank you, and yes. I saw Scooby-Doo when I was a kid. It was the greatest gateway drug for monsters being a child of the 70s. It was better than I could have ever asked for. They were colorful and sometimes scary. Some were so weird, and I still find a few of them unnerving. I fell in love with Daphne, so I would show up to hang out with my girlfriend when I was five years old. Then here would come whoever was the villain on the show, like the witch or the zombie. My brother was babysitting me one night, and this black and white movie came on, and it was Psycho. I didn’t know what it was about until I was about 12 years old. I watched it then all the way through and was able to understand it. I remember seeing Vera Miles turning Mrs. Bate’s face around in the basement, with no eyes in the sockets and the light bulbs swinging from the ceiling. It just melted my brain. I never forgot that image. Another aspect of television from growing up in the 80s was the UHF stations. They would run Sunday marathons of Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy, and one day they ran all the Frankenstein movies, which they tinted green. I stared at the TV from nine in the morning until six in the evening until my eyes fell out of my head. I had sympathy for Frankenstein from a young age. I connected with him. I grew up in Texas, and if you wanted to play outside in the summer, you could but only do it for a few hours because it was so hot. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I spent a lot of time inside. I was raised by television and connected with the loneliness of Frankenstein. Also, the repulsion of him, he was sewn together and never asked to be there. There is something psychologically that connected with me. As I grew up and found Fangoria magazine and later Famous Monsters. I knew who all my friends were; they were fictional characters! I was arts and crafty when I was a kid. My mother would take me to a drug store, and one of my favorite things to do was get a package of construction paper, paste, and markers. I would cut up arms, legs, shirts, and pants to make monster paper dolls which I would hang all over the house [laughing]. This was year-round; I would drive my mom nuts as scotch tape would be all over the windows.
Robert Cavuoto: Is there a period of horror movies or genera of horror movies that resonates the most with you?
Count D: Yes, I love the silent films and early-early Frankenstein, but I also love the Universal era. I love the RKO Val Lewton movies he made in the 40s, like Body Snatchers, Cat People, and Curse of the Cat People. He had no budget or time, and it was about shadows and the things you didn’t see. It was more about what was insinuated. That’s my favorite stuff! I have studied Mario Bava my whole life, like Black Sunday, which I mentioned on Metal and Monsters. There is a weird old movie with Christopher Lee called Horror Hotel that I love. At the beginning of Rob Zombie’s “Dragula,” you will hear Christopher’s voice saying, “Superstition, Fear, Jealousy!” In the early 80s, there were all the Nightmare on Elm Street and the Halloween movies that were still being produced. I saw Halloween 4; The Return of Michael Myers, A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, and I think it was Friday the 13th, Part – IV, The Final Chapter all in the theater. I would ride my bike to the video store, and that is where I would spend my money. I discovered The Exorcist and The Omen. I couldn’t make it through the first Evil Dead movie. I made the mistake of watching it when I was home by myself at night. I had to stop it, thinking, “this was too much!” I was fascinated with all the Chainsaw movies living in Texas because I liked its folklore. I was in the right place at the right time for a lot of that stuff. The black and white classics spoke to me. I’m not sure if it is a past life thing like I’m hanging out with friends? Most times, I can do without the gore. There are artful ways to do it, but I don’t need to see it to be entertained. I just need some shadows, good lighting, and a story.
Robert Cavuoto: As a kid in the 70s, I recall seeing commercials on TV for The Exorcist and Alien and having nightmares for weeks. It wasn’t until I was older that I enjoyed them.
Count D: I grew up in a religious household, and the fact that I was allowed to watch that stuff still blows my mind. The first time I watched The Exorcist, the religious horror spoke to me. I don’t think I ever told this story to anyone before. When I was a kid, I recorded the movie through my stereo onto a cassette, and I would listen to The Exorcist on my Sony Walkman on the bus going to school [laughing]. I would be walking into a class in middle school at 8:00 am listening to The Exorcist. [laughing]. I don’t want to repeat that again [laughing]!
Robert Cavuoto: That’s hardcore!
Count D: That’s what I had for breakfast, Pop-tarts and Regan!
Robert Cavuoto: The first episode pairs Don Dokken with Robert Englund of Freddy Krueger fame, which was well done. There was a great interaction between the three of you. Was there anything that surprised you during that interview?
Count D: Off-camera, yes. Robert didn’t hit any traffic getting to the show’s taping that morning, but Don was stuck in traffic, so Robert and I had about two hours alone in a room with my Fangoria magazines. I asked him question after question. To say that someone means a lot to you is something people in the entertainment industry always say, but it’s really true in this instant. Robert is the Vincent Price of my generation. If the most villainous character Vincent ever played was Dr. Phibes, which I rate on a five of villainous, Robert was an eleven with Freddy. My generation was desensitized enough to swallow his character and turn him into an action figure. Freddy became an American icon, and it took a special person to do that. It was the perfect storm of make-up, Wes Craven’s creativity, and Robert’s classically trained talent. I have the utmost respect for him. I love his Phantom of the Opera. I loved him on V, as I was a big science fiction nerd and never missed an episode. I celebrated him my whole life and have so many Freddy t-shirts, magazines, toys, and posters. To have alone time with him was one of the most special moments of my adult life. The more energy you give somebody or something, the more it bounces around out there, and like a boomerang, at some, it’s going to come to find you. You just have to be ready to receive it. For two hours, he told me things I probably should know, and I kept thinking, “How the fuck did I get here?” [Laughing] Todd, my partner in the series, took a photo of us shooting the shit, and the look on my face is like Santa Clause explaining to me how he makes the toys at the North Pole! For us to wait two and half years to shoot the show, and knowing Robert would be on the show, God bless him for hanging in there with all the schedule changes. For me, sitting there after all those years was a great reminder that you are what you eat [laughing].
Robert Cavuoto: Metal and Monsters is versatile and limitless, with artists who incorporate horror in their music or connect with a horror movie. Are additional episodes planned?
Count D: The good news is that we shot three episodes that week. The bad news is I can’t tell you who is on them. I can say this; the show’s format is considered “baked.” Within that framework, it slides around so that you may get two monsters; sometimes, you will get two metal guys. The monster segments are elsewhere in the show. It’s still the same peanut butter and jelly sandwich; we are just cutting it into different shapes. It’s still challenging for people’s schedules to sync up in this post-pandemic world. I’m in two bands and have eight jobs, and there are many moving parts with the location and production. It takes a tremendous effort to do a show like this. We are not just throwing darts at the wall; we are making an effort to dial into each episode to make it unique. You mentioned the synergy between the three of us going on during the interview, and that continues. When everyone is on stage, I just open the can and get out of the way. The rest is magic. The stories that have come out just by putting the elements on stage have been amazing.
Robert Cavuoto: Were all episodes filmed in the same theater?
Count D: Yes, and the theater is absolutely haunted! I’m as skeptical as you can get with that stuff. I asked the guy who walked us through the theater, just as a joke, “I heard a noise, here and there.” He turns and says, “Oh, so you know about that?” He pulled out his phone and showed us a video, and the hair on my arms stood up. I can explain it, but you wouldn’t believe me. We were there for a week, and I would find myself downstairs wondering if anyone else was down there with me [laughing] – a grown-ass man looking over my shoulder. I’m a believer in the unexplained now!
Robert Cavuoto: Speaking of the perfect pairing, The Haxans are touring with John 5; it seems like a no-brainer to tour together. How did this finally come about?
Count D: We have been trying for years! This speaks about my point on schedules. Everyone in this town and the entertainment business are so busy. It hasn’t ever worked. Tickets for John 5 and The Haxans tour went on sale years ago, and it wasn’t all confirmed as managers weren’t talking to managers. It takes an act of God and Congress. It’s been a long time coming. We always thought it would be a good idea. John and I get along well and can survive under unusual conditions [laughing]. Right now, Ashley Costello and I are a small footprint; it’s just us as a two-person show. We are all cut from the same cloth as we are nerds. It’s a cool environment. In our heads, it all works already, and we will see when boots are on the ground.
Robert Cavuoto: Do you have any plans to come out and jam together on a song at the end of John’s set?
Count D: That’s a good question. It hasn’t come up yet, but you never know. We would have to do something pretty cool.
Robert Cavuoto: The Haxans released a new song in February, “All the Roses.” Are you planning to release a new album, and what’s the vibe?
Count D: There is a full album called the Dead and Restless, and it comes out on October 7th. It’s our second full lengthen album, 12 songs with no cover tunes. The first record is a party album with its artwork and flow; “Vampires” was a little different and slower. The rest of the album is fun and sugary. This album is very different yet oddly a companion piece to it. It’s more adult and a little darker tone-wise. All the songs on the second were written and demoed at the same time as the first one. They just sorted themselves into different buckets. The songs on album one found each other and the same for album two. It was one of those weird things that we couldn’t predict or plan. We wrote so many songs when we got together. During the pandemic, we were planning to turn in album two, as we had a tour booked with Wednesday 13. We asked the label if we could go back into the studio and just keep working? They were cool with it, so we finished album three, which is all covers. It’s very eclectic. I think there is some cool stuff on it as it makes its own statement. It shows our collective influences on who we are and where we came from.
Robert Cavuoto: When on a tour bus traveling with Rob and John 5, are you huddled around the TV watching horror movies?
Count D: A lot of the time.
Robert Cavuoto: Who is the most knowledgeable about horror movies?
Count D: Rob does. He knows deep cuts and has a deep knowledge. He also has a few movie-watching years on John and me. I have been in the band for 16 years, and John has been in the band for 17 years, and we are still hanging out talking about Wolfman [laughing]. It speaks to how fun those movies are and what great art pieces they are. They have filled endless afternoons of conversation even when the TV is not on. It’s talked about a least once a day. We are all up on current events; we are not just sitting around talking about Dracula all day. In a way, we are; it never gets old. The other day we were rehearsing, and somebody walked in with a Dracula’s Daughter shirt, and we chatted about it. It tends to come up every day.
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