July 1, 2022 Interview – Piggy D Talks Metal and Monsters, Music, & More
It is true what they say, sometimes dreams really do come true. Proving it is Matt Montgomery, known on stage in the Rock-n-Roll world as Piggy D, the longtime bassist of Rob Zombie’s band. A passionate individual, due to hard work, he found himself working with a list of recognized acts through the years, from Alice Cooper to Wednesday 13.
Humbled and gracious for each opportunity given to him, in recent times, a new one came knocking at his door when Gibson TV offered him a chance to host their new original series Metal And Monsters. Ecstatic, he took on the name Count D as Metal And Monsters’ master of ceremonies.
So, what is this new show really about? Metal And Monsters is a series that unifies the concept that Metal and Horror films often go hand in hand. An interesting phenomenon, the series finds Count D sitting at a round table in a relaxed setting with various individuals who have made an impact in this realm. Pretty much everything a Metal/Horror fan could wish for, the lively Count D recently sat down to chat about his career in music, Metal And Monsters, and a whole lot more.
Cryptic Rock – You have been involved in music professionally for 30-plus years. You have worked with Wednesday 13, Alice Cooper, and been a fixture in Rob Zombie’s band for over 15 years. First, tell us, how would you describe your incredible career thus far?
Matt “Count D” Montgomery – I’m living proof that the universe is an echo chamber. Whatever you think, whatever you say, the t-shirt you wear, or the tattoo you put on your arm…somebody is watching and listening, even when you think they’re not. The things that you celebrate the most in life always find a way to reward you if you’re celebrating them loudly. I’ve literally lost count in my life of the things I’ve been obsessed with either in my youth, or even adult life, that eventually come knocking on my door. Sometimes I’m trying to get them to knock on my door, but most of the time, I’m not.
I have to tell you, sometimes I start to believe those crazy conspiracy theories about the glitch in the matrix and we’re all just living some synthesized dream. Sometimes I really think it’s true, just based on the accidental happenings in my life and career. Alice Cooper was the reason I got in the music business; I saw that show when I was 14 and it cracked my brain open. If you told the 14-year-old me that when he’s in his thirties he’s going to direct videos, make album covers, and write records with Alice Cooper, I would have told you you’re fucking high! My junior year art final I randomly picked the bass player of White Zombie as my final; I did a pastel drawing of Sean. I wasn’t even a bass player, I was a guitar and horn player my whole life. I’m telling you, to sum it all up, you are what you eat, one hundred percent. I’ve lived a lifetime full of that, to the point where I kind of start to call bullshit and say, okay, Alexa is listening, there’s a microphone in this room; I’m being bugged!
Cryptic Rock – It’s pretty wild how things happen that way. You can say it’s luck, but a lot of it is attributed to hard work and passion, as well.
Matt “Count D” Montgomery – I think so. I think that enters the equation, for sure. I really do believe that whatever your intent is in whatever you are doing matters; energy matters. Positivity and negativity all matter. I learned a lot about music, art, film, and television growing up. Yeah, there is some hard work that goes into it, too. At one point I didn’t quit and become something else. I tried lots of things and not all of them I was great at, but I tried them.
I think we, as humans, sometimes forget that it’s okay to try to paint and suck at it, it’s okay to try and be a filmmaker and suck at it, just play something else! You’re not good at drawing flowers, draw something else! Not everything in the world is a failure even when it seems like one. I think that’s a trap that we fall into as humans because we are constantly holding ourselves up to some example or some comparison. Sometimes all you have to do is walk out the door, be who you are, and the rest kind of falls into place. I think this especially if you are a good person and your intent is in the right place.
Cryptic Rock – Agreed completely. It all has paid off for you. As mentioned you have been a part of Rob Zombie’s band for over 15 years. That is a really long run. What has it been like?
Matt “Count D” Montgomery – Honestly, I can’t believe it. I joined that band when I was 30and here I am 46. (Laughs) That’s where I really feel it, and I go, oh my god, that’s the longest I’ve ever done anything. Besides being the guy that I am, I’m still kind of the same kid I was when I was 14 in a lot of ways; only now I have a kid and adult responsibilities to go with it. I think I’ve been able to stick around as long as I have because it’s kind of like the show; it’s a very honest place for me to be, at least one part of my personality.
Rob and I have a bit of an age difference, but we grew up on all the same stuff; we both like KISS, Alice Cooper, monster movies, sewing our own clothes, etc. We’re very much cut from the same weird cloth. I think there are different levels to that and how loud that is for some people. Some people just kind of like Horror movies, but they aren’t obsessed with Horror movies. They just kind of like KISS, but they weren’t obsessed with KISS at one point in their life. I think we all eventually find each other. When you find people that you can vibrate with on those wavelengths, it’s great.
I’m very much a musician when at home: I’m playing instruments and I’m making records where I am playing all the instruments. With the Zombie band, he’s very much a solo artist. My job is as an entertainer, I’m a cheerleader on stage. I’m playing an instrument live, etc., but I’m dressed like Dracula. I’m dressed like Dracula because it’s just an extension of who I am. I happen to be dressed like Dracula playing “More Human Than Human.” It’s just an honest place for me to be, it’s an honest place for all of us to be. We all feel like we found a safe clubhouse for all us weird, misfit kids to hang out in, and it happens to be the Rob Zombie stage. (Laughs) It’s just honest. It’s moving through the world going, “This is who I am, for better or worse. I dress like Dracula, sometimes in pastels, deal with it.” (Laughs) I’m sorry not sorry: I’m going to be myself if it kills me.
Cryptic Rock – It’s great when you can find that place. Many of us are still looking for that place, which leads us to Metal And Monsters. This is a perfect place for you and many others – it has Metal music, ’80s culture, and Horror movies. Curating it, how did Metal And Monsters come about for you?
Matt “Count D” Montgomery – Again, there are no accidents. One of the beautiful things about living in Los Angeles is shit like this happens. For two years in a row, John Carpenter and his band sold-out The Palladium on Halloween night playing all the music from his movies. I went both years in a row. I was sitting at home the second year thinking, I’m an asshole if I don’t go do this again. My wife even said, “We went to it last year.” I said, “Yeah, I know.” She said, “He’s going to play the same set list.” I just said, “Yeah, I know. I gotta go. It’s John Carpenter: he’s above ground, playing the Halloween theme on Halloween…this is where you need to be.”
I went again, took a Lyft there. As I was getting in my Lyft, this guy taps me on the shoulder and says, “Hi, I’m Todd and I work for Gibson.” They were starting to get into content, but it wasn’t in full swing yet. He gave me his card and said let’s stay in touch. We stayed in touch for about a year, and one day he called me up and said, “What do you think of putting a show together where we talk about Horror movies and Rock bands?” I said, “What do I have to do? Lets go!” (Laughs) Again, it was the most honest thing I could possibly do; I am wearing my own clothes, t-shirts I had since I was a kid, talking to people I’ve looked up to since I was a kid. This was a no brainer.
For two and half years during the pandemic, we toiled over every hair on its head to make sure that the intent of the show came through. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t just a puff piece of clickbait bullshit to just try and get someone to watch our show so we can sell you a product or someone can sell ad space. That was the last thing we wanted to do, we don’t want to sell anybody anything. We just wanted to create a place for kids like us to hang out for an hour that’s a safe, fun space filled with love. The show really is about love. I know it’s about dark, weird shit, but there is so much love in that room.
The accidents that happen when you get those people together are really magical. As much as we sat behind closed doors and said, “Wouldn’t it be great to get so and so with so and so in the same room?” You consider what they could possibly talk about, but you don’t know until you do it, though. As soon as you get those people in the room, I ask the question, and I shut up and get out of the way. I’m a fan. I’m there to see these guys interact with each other, and what happens is magical. You learn stuff you had no idea about. I wasn’t there the day they filmed the “Dream Warriors” music video, but when they are telling you about eating pizza and Robert Englund’s face falling off because of the olive oil, it puts you there. You tap into the kid who saw the movie in the theater and say, “I didn’t read that in Fangoria in 1987!”
Cryptic Rock – That is awesome. You can tell it is real and not put on to sell something. It’s great because, as a viewer, we also get to see you as the host give a little of yourself. What can we expect from future episodes?
Matt “Count D” Montgomery – I think one of our biggest tasks was to create the formula for the show so that we can slide around within them. Without giving anything away, there will be moments on the show where things swap. You might have two musical guests on the show, but the field trip section will be a Horror segment or vice versa, there will be two Horror guests, etc. It’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that can take different shapes. I wish I could say more, but we’re really going far and wide with it. There isn’t really anything within the context of what we’ve already created that’s off limits. That’s really cool and the show is really a celebration of art.
Cryptic Rock – That makes sense and it will be exciting to see future episodes. And hopefully, it’s something that goes on for a while. It seems like Heavy Metal and Horror movies go hand in hand. It’s very interesting.
Matt “Count D” Montgomery – It really is. I have theories on that. I think if you are someone that can listen to a Metallica or Iron Maiden record and can watch the A Nightmare on Elm Street or the Friday the 13th series, you’ve suspended disbelief as a human being walking through the world. For an hour and a half, or however long your record is, you’ve gone, “Okay, take me somewhere else.” You’re listening to this music or you’re watching this film, you want to go somewhere else. Not everybody wants to go to a fantastic, uncharted world. Not everybody wants to go to nightmare land. However, for those of us who do, we are expanding our minds and using our imaginations. We’re allowing ourselves to dream outside of the box of normal human existence.
I think the subset within that, particularly with a band like Iron Maiden, you have these fantastic themes about mythical things or historical things. Another great example, with Metallica you have “The Call of Ktulu,” which is based on H.P. Lovecraft, then “The Thing That Should Not Be,” which is a song about a sea monster. Horror fans and Metal fans are some of the most intelligent, well-read, educated people. It’s so cool when we all find each other because we have stuff to talk about. Our lives aren’t boring, beige colors; we’re allowing ourselves to dream and think other things. That’s what makes life interesting, right?
I think that’s why the two go hand in hand. You have to be the type that’s allowing themselves to have fun. The most the non-Horror or Metal fan ever thinks about things like that is, “Do aliens exist?” Yes, probably. Will you see them in your lifetime? I don’t know, maybe! I can tell you one thing, every time I look at my iPhone I think about Star Trek. Look at what we’re doing in outer space. That’s because some kid once said, “I think we should go explore Mars.” It’s because somebody had the imagination to think it and do it. I think that’s what fuels some of the most interesting parts of life.
Cryptic Rock – Agreed! What is also a good relationship with music and Horror movies is with soundtracks, and you are opened up to different artists. For example, in 1985’s Return of the Living Dead, we all remember the classic scene with Linnea Quigley’s dance in the graveyard to “Tonight (We’ll Make Love Until We Die).” You learn it is a song by a Synthwave band called SSQ, and then you learn the lead singer of that band is the famous popstar Stacey Q who sings “Two of Hearts.” It is moments like these that open your mind to other music.
Matt “Count D” Montgomery – Right! Talk about a movie that cracked my brain open. I blame that movie for just as many things I celebrate that movie for. That was my early foray into Punk Rock. I blamed that movie for years for falling in love with Punk Rock.
Cryptic Rock – Yes, that is one of those films from that era that sticks with you. You also go into toys with Metal And Monsters, and that is something fans of Horror and Rock love. They are into the tangible – the LP, the CD, the tape, the toy. It is not about just buying a product, it’s part of the art. It seems like the digital world has sort of ruined all of that. Do you think that will ever come back or will it just be niche?
Matt “Count D” Montgomery – That’s a really good question. I guess, in a way, it’s kind of already here. Look at what Super7’s doing. That’s why we were so excited to go talk to those guys because they get it. My first Megadeth record was Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? (1986). Someone gave me a cassette that their older brother had and they said, “Take it home, copy it, and bring it back to school tomorrow.” When I heard that album I said, “Okay, this is witchcraft, this is nuts!” The next day if you had put the Vic Rattlehead action figure in front of me with the Peace Sells box, I would say, “Okay, it’s Star Wars all over again.” You mean I can watch the movie, play the soundtrack, and then put him in my pocket and take him to school?” You think how many times Super7 has done that. Now they are bringing back Transformers and G.I. Joes, but also King Diamond, Lemmy, Eddie, Vic, the demon guy from the Slayer album cover? What? Mind blown!
To answer your question, I feel like there are people like Super7 who are thinking about you and me. In a weird way, it’s kind of more here now than it was then. I think one of the things Metal And Monsters serves is…I miss the day when television connected people. I am talking about before the cable television era, when someone would say, “Frankenstein was on TV last night, did you watch it?” We used to all do things at the same time. As a human race, we used to move on things together and do things together at the same time even. I miss that, I miss it greatly. I felt like there was more hope and love in the world when we did things together. Even something stupid like watching Thursday night television in the ’80s, whatever, but we were doing it together. We all came to work or school the next day and talked about it. We used to be able to do that. As Republican and Democrat as we are all running around now pretending to be, it gave us meeting points and common ground then. Within that common ground, we were able to find acceptance for each other.
One of the services Metal And Monsters has already provided, at least for me, is that campfire for all of us to get around. Even if it’s for an hour, and even if it’s about King Diamond or Black Sunday (1960), it’s still a meeting point. I love that there is that safe space in the world again. Even for us nerds. (Laughs) It’s a small demographic, but it’s a demographic that matters. That’s the intent of the show: to bring us together.