Monty Buckles lives in Los Angeles, CA. He works in video production, lending a capable
hand to the sets of numerous music videos you’ve probably flipped past. He is a music
journalist, writing in-depth, obsessive articles on his favorite bands (Drunks With Guns,
Brainbombs, Cramps). He plays guitar, sings, and recently picked up the drums. His
apartment isn’t too far from Glenn Danzig’s house. He keeps meticulous order of his
iTunes. He drinks beer and eats Mexican food. He is single. He is a unique character
in a world of stereotypes. And most importantly, Monty Buckles is a Lamp.
It’s just Lamps, right? Do you get annoyed if people refer to it as The Lamps?
Nope. I guess it would supplement someone already being annoying if they did that,
but other then that, not really.
You’ve lived in LA for nearly a decade, if my sources are correct. What’s changed
the most in that time?
Very good question. But in a kind of perversion of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle,
I can’t really tell what’s actually changed and what is my perception changing. Echo
Park got a lot trendier, Amoeba greatly improved record shopping, and you see a lot
What’s the worst job you’ve worked since living in LA?
I spent the worst year of my life working for a guy whose name I won’t repeat. He’s
balding, pale, his eyes are too close together and he has the horrible personality
combination of being extremely insecure and off-the-charts arrogant. He had (and has)
no friends because his he refused to alter his awful behavior, and over compensates
by being even more of a piece of shit. He is a dishonest, unpleasant, unamusing person
who only talked about how great he was or why someone victimized him for no reason.
My tenure with him was enough for me to learn the basics of what I do now – even if
said person was a horrible teacher – but he was such a cloud of horror that literally
had NO GOOD QUALITIES, that the year or so I spent around him was the worst in my
life. He would call at all hours, send me on many pointless errands, and pretty much any
time I spent around him, no matter how otherwise okay the surroundings were, he would
ruin it. I know a few other people that used to work with him, and the day he dies is
going to be the most joyous day of all of our lives. I am not exaggerating this in the least.
Has his existence played any factor in the music or lyrics of Lamps?
Christ, I hope not, I wish all evidence of the guy’s existence would disappear. I never
actually sit down and think to myself “today I am going to try to write a song about
such and such subject,” and grabbing a pencil and writing a song about how much you
hate your boss would be a little ridiculous for someone my age. More then anything else
I tend to fixate and get in morose moods or some little, unimportant thing can send me
spiraling off into a prolonged depression or period of embittered self-pity that probably
informs my outlook. I think like a lot of creative endeavors – especially pre-internet –
came from unhappiness and dissatisfaction during formative years. For me at least, since
I wasn’t out having fun or having girlfriends, I had to do something else to occupy my
spare time, like read crime novels, listen to obscure records, and watch foreign films. I
still like all that stuff, but I arrived at it through NOT BEING COOL AT ALL, which is
probably another reason I am in a band.
Recommend me a crime novel, an obscure record and a foreign film, please.
‘Night Of The Jabberwock’ by Fredric Brown, the self titled Life In General record, and
Would you prefer working on the set of a mainstream hip-hop or country music
video? And why?
Mainstream country tends to be pretty organized, (relatively) well-paying, and the people
tend to be nice. Hip Hop is more of an extreme, but, even though it pays low, its
unorganized, and every person working on it is in a bad mood the entire time, its often
crazy enough, or the people are interesting enough, where its more worthwhile. Master P
and Tec-9 are total gentlemen, and in the unlikely event either of them called me up to
borrow money, I would open my wallet and ask them how much they needed. I am not a
big fan of Redman, but I worked with him for 16 hours. He was smoking giant blunts the
entire time and had an assistant with a plastic bag that would be rolling for him. When it
was his chance to preform, it would go like this, the AD would yell, “roll camera!” (followed
by the camera rolling), “roll playback!” (followed by the music rolling), “background!” (the
extras would start dancing), “action, Redman!” and Redman would pull the blunt out of his
teeth, hand it to his assistant, start rapping, and when the AD would call cut, he would
snatch the blunt back and put it in his teeth. I’m happy I can see absurdities like that.
You ever spot any drug usage on a country video shoot?
No. I’ve heard many racist jokes. I hear from old-timers on set how they used to be able
to drink beer all day and girls would come along with mirrors offering free cocaine to the
crew, then they’ll go on to say how blah blah blah they’ll never allow that nowdays – and
its such a shame, yadda yadda yadda… It is hard to feel sympathetic to someone that
thinks they are entitled to free drugs at work. Crews go and party, for lack of a better
word, especially when you’re traveling, but I bet it is no different then the people that work
at the tire store or Junior accountants. I really wish you could still drink beer on set, I
think I could really flourish in that atmosphere, but production companies are reluctant to
even give you free beer at wrap, because they don’t want a tired, drunken crew member
running over a little girl on a tricycle on their way home and then suing the company.
Do you see yourself ever leaving the entertainment industry? Could you ever
see yourself selling linoleum flooring or something, if the health insurance and
bonuses were right?
Yes. But it would have to be a golden opportunity that fell from the sky on a little
parachute, because I am far too much of a chicken to leave my rut.
What is it that makes something like the Baby Geto Boys appealing?
Musically, it just hits that reptilian part of the cortex that switches the binary from
“no groove” to “groove”. I have nothing against great lyrics, but it seems secondary
to the phonetic sounds – I remembering hearing ‘Et Moi, Et Moi, Et Moi’ on the KDVS
record station when I was driving past Sacramento from Reno in the late 90′s, and
instantly being hit by how great of a song it was even though I didn’t have the slightest
fucking idea what Dutronc was singing about. But Baby Geto Boys are so ridiculously
offensive that I gotta tip my hat.
Why do you think a smart guy like yourself is drawn to offensive or moronic music?
What’s the appeal?
I dunno. I like really smart people doing stuff that sounds stupid, like the Fugs (“I don’t
wanna go to Vietnam, I just wanna stay right here and screw your mom” – genius) and
there’s a purity in a stupid person doing something stupid, but a dumb person trying to
sound smart is the pits. I think rock, to an extent should be offensive – granted, there
are many exceptions even in an art form that is only 50 something years old, but its
such a egalitarian medium where anyone can do anything, including a certain amount of
nose-thumbing at the squares. Otherwise you might as well shop at the turtleneck store
and start listening exclusively to jazz.
Do you feel like Lamps are part of any particular musical tradition or lineage? Have you
ever considered Lamps place in the history of guitar music?
Not really. I don’t mean that to sound glib, but I haven’t. I really don’t know what I am
doing, so I have to do my best to take my tiny bag of tricks and just ride that horse until
Are there any Los Angeles bands you feel a particular kinship to?
I started playing in Wounded Lion, so its kind of unfair for me to say so, but I feel a kinship
with them. They kinda don’t really fit in real neatly anywhere, and think the Cramps were
the all-time best – good on them.
Your guitar tone, at least live, has pierced my ears in the same manner as the finest
Confuse flexi. You ever listen to any Japanese noise-core?
Nope. I got that Acid Eaters record and after my initial excitement, I erased it from my
iTunes the other day.
Who do you look towards for six-stringed guidance or inspiration, then?
I like guys that keep it real simple, like Steve Cropper, Bruce Gilbert, or one-note Brian
Gregory fuzz. I also love noisey type folks like China Burg, & Bill Orcutt… I think Ben
Wallers is really underrated as a musician and arranger. Right now I think Chris Gunn,
Dave Shannon, Chris Woodhouse and Bradley Fry (have you heard of him?) are the
best things going.