“I’m never gonna work another day in my life…”. These lyrics!!!! It was this exact part that, towards the end of 1990, made my ear attach like a leach onto the speaker!!!! So direct, yet so simple and revolutionary at the same moment!!! It was the reason why I ended up noticing this group from New Jersey named Monster…what??? Monster Magnet!!!! What’s that you say??? It’s the feeling of overturn that was missing from the rock scene during these years. The Seattle scene grew stronger every day and metal in general had it’s own characteristic poise it seemed. You see, stoner wasn’t so popular back then, there wasn’t nearly many bands that played stoner as well. And there came these dudes from the USA that struggled to fit in (musically, I mean)…It’s rock alright, but other than that, what is it exactly? And there were those video clips, overproduced, with these girls dancing and this outlandish singer guy standing in the middle, all dressed up in a funny way…meaning: fringes made up of cassette tapes, lamé suits covered with string lights (that even lit!). So I was kind of wondering to myself: “Could this band be something like the new Metallica or Nirvana of it’s age??” Hell no, I said. Their sound was way more sophisticated for them to become ear worms…And what where they after all?? “It’s a satanic drug thing that you wouldn’t understand”. Dave Wyndorf, the band’s heart and soul, is a guy with too many inputs in his brain it seems. He started kind of sketchy with a band called SHRAPNEL, punk with a militaristic look. But with these young fellows the stage was set for what was about to become the phenomenon we know of today. From then, the world came to know Wyndorf’s second favorite thing after music, which is comics of course. Fascinated by them, a well known Marvel fanatic, he still writes in his lyrics about far away places and spaceships roaming the deep ends of the universe. Sharpnel also was the perfect start to a long lasting partnership that holds ‘till today with the guitarist of the band Phil Caivano, a key member of the band. Even so, Wyndorf continued on his own experimentations with music. He formed a trio with John McBain-guitar and Tim Cronin on the drums, trying out all kinds of names that would properly shock a parent, so he ended up with what became known as MONSTER MAGNET. MONSTER MAGNET was actually a vintage children’s toy back from the 60s that, for some reason, Wyndorf loved as a child. Their first release attempts, around ’89, was the demo cassettes ‘Forget About Life, I’m High on Dope / We’re Stoned, What Are You Gonna Do About It?’. The subject matter, then, was almost entirely about drugs, their sound super trippy as well, with what made the band what it is being in some way pretty obvious (even at that early stage of its development). Despite the fact that the first official release of the single ‘Lizard Johny / Freakshop USA’ happened in the US, no major interest was shown on behalf of any record companies. This only came from Germany some time later, by the independent Glitterhouse Records. Their self-titled EP which followed, featuring ‘Snake Dance / Nod scene’, is also known as the Glitterhouse EP. It suggested, perhaps, a stronger bond with Europe and not the States, which actually still holds true ‘till today. Maybe Dave Wyndorf is more likeable amongst the Europeans. His childhood’s influences consist of Black Sabbath, Hawkwind, Blue Öyster Cult, Iggy and the Stooges, Sir Lord Baltimore, MC5, Captain Beyond, and, of course, the so beloved and praised amongst the whole band, David Gilmour. Their journey continues on bigger labels, with ‘Spine of God’ and ‘Superjudge’. It’s easy for one to assess that the band has found its way, progressing into a colorful kaleidoscope of sounds, lyrics and ideas, overall: Space rock, psychedelic fuzz, metal elements mixed with some garage ones…and the lyrics that cover the whole spectrum (drugs, comics, fantasy) and seem to decry and/or take political stances, recount personal experiences or emit eroticism. Their best music moment follows with ‘Dopes to Infinity’ I think, and, three years later, with ‘Powertrip’, being their most commercially successful one. Since then it’s been 20 years or so and 7 albums have been released (‘God says No’ 2001, ‘Monolithic Baby!’ 2004, ‘4-Way Diablo’ 2007, ‘Mastermind’ 2010, ‘Last Patrol’ 2013) with the band being at its best. Till today, until the most recent ‘Mindfucker’, MM proved the old saying that either you got it or you don’t (you’re a natural, in other words) when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll!
At the end of it all, without any doubt, Monster Magnet seem direct, like they don’t hide behind the image of an unapproachable superband, always take account for their mistakes, turning down record companies and strict policies to try out their own ideas and spend their time on the road, close to their fans!!!!