Mondo Generator : A Drug Problem That Never Existed

Like anal sex? Drugs? Satan? Come on in...

When you name the first song on your album “Meth, I Hear You Callin’” it’s a safe bet you’re not a member of Chris n’ Gwinnie’s tantric yoga workshop. In fact, it’s a safe bet that you’re Nick Oliveri.

Before you listen to his side-project Mondo Generator‘s second album, you need to understand what this means. Nick Oliveri is a man who was thrown out of depraved LA punks The Dwarves for being “Too sick”, a man who communicates solely in grunts and shrieks, a man who has done things so illegal – there ain’t even laws against them. It’s quite a reputation. Let’s not forget, however, that as one half of Queens Of The Stone Age, Nick Oliveri is responsible for minting some of the finest heavy rock this side of the 1970s – proof positive that if there’s a fine line between madness and genius, you’ll find Oliveri right on the vanishing point.

This record may not be as wild-eyed and rabid as it’s predecessor, 2000’s ‘Cocaine Rodeo’, but it’s loaded with more illicit sex, insanity and glam-punk brilliance than you can shake Satan’s pitchfork at. From the freewheeling rock n’roll of ‘Jr. High Love’ to the out-of-it’s tree ‘Do The Headright’ it’s clear that Mondo have grasped that most important of commodities – tunes.

As with all Queens side-projects, there’s an impeccable supporting cast- a wandering circus of freaks, drug casualties and slumming genius. To name a few, Mark Lanegan, Alain Johannes and Josh Freese all make appearances, Lanegan’s bar-room drawl in particular adding tremendous pathos to album closer ‘Four Corners’ and it’s circling mantra of “Lost days/ Where the fuck have I been?”

It’s the welcome surprises that keep this record fresh and merit repeat visits, though – ‘Detroit’ sounds unmistakably like a late ’60s psychedelic pop gem, while for all it’s cheesy urban outlaw sentiment, there’s something endearing about the acoustic lament (no, you’re not hallucinating) of ‘All I Can Do’.

Ultimately it’s a question of whether or not Mondo Generator can emerge from the not-insubstantial shadow of their main protagonist. The answer? WAARRRGGGHH!! Or, simply, fuckin’ A.

Barry Nicolson