Monster Magnet are a seminal Stoner Rock/ Stoner Metal
band (technically slightly different things, but Monster Magnet count as both), second only to Kyuss
and Sleep in terms of influence on the genre. They're also one of the most commercially successful and popular of Stoner bands (only Queens of the Stone Age
are more successful and well-known). They're most well-known for the semi-hits "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" and "Space Lord".
Their music combines 70s-style Heavy Metal
and Hard Rock
with Psychedelic Rock
and Space Rock
, as well as Doom Metal
influences. They're known for their rather nonsensical lyrics
, as well as their loud, grindingly heavy (and memorable
) riffs and Wyndorf's wailing
Formed in 1989 by main man Dave Wyndorf, John Mc Bain
and Tim Cronin, after releasing a demo and a single, they then expanded to a five piece and produced more demos and their self-titled EP (on an obscure German label, oddly enough). Cronin left shortly after, though the next couple records credit him as a "creative consultant" in various hilarious ways
. They released their cult classic first album in 1991 on the slightly larger Caronline Records. After this, they went on tour with Soundgarden
, which got them signed to Soundgarden's label, to boot. Their final release on Caroline was Tab, a 50-minute collection of long jams
that the band calls an EP for some reason.
They released a strong of 4 albums on A&M that expanded their fanbase significantly and helped them come to be known as a key band in the emerging Stoner movement (alongside Kyuss
and Sleep). Of these, Dopes To Infinity and Powertrip were the most successful, spawning the minor hits "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" (with a video memorably spoofed on Beavis And Butthead
) and "Space Lord" (the band's breakthrough song), respectively. Just before the recording of Powertrip (the band's first gold record and best-selling album), they added another guitarist, Phil Caivano. However, after just one more album, they found themselves dropped from A&M due to their inability to follow "Space Lord" up with another similarly large hit. Calandra and Kleiman quit shortly thereafter.
In spite of the setbacks, Monster Magnet managed to replace the lost members (with Jim Baglino and Michael Wildwood, though Wildwood was quickly replaced by Bob Pantella) and even managed to record the theme song of WWE superstar Matt Hardy
. In 2004, the new lineup released Monolithic Baby! on SPV and had another (minor) hit with "Unbroken (Hotel Baby)". In 2005, Caivano left amicably. This was followed by Wyndorf's near-death in 2006 due to a prescription drug overdose. Thankfully, he got over it.
The band released 4-Way Diablo the next year and Mastermind in 2010, the latter on Napalm Records (another new label). Mundell left (on good terms with Wyndorf) in 2010, and was replaced by Garrett Sweeny. Also, Caivano returned
in 2008. The band's apparently working on a follow-up right now.
Bandmembers (past and present) include:
- Dave Wyndorf, vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, theremin (!) (1989-present)
- Tim Cronin, additional vocals, bass and drums, credited on later albums as a creative consultant of some sort (1989-1991)
- John Mc Bain, guitar (1989-1992)
- Tom Diello, drums (1990)
- Jon Kleiman, drums, percussion and bass (1991-2002)
- Joe Calandra, bass, guitar (1991-2002)
- Ed Mundell, guitar, bass (1992-2010)
- Phil Caivano, guitar (1998-2005, 2008-present)
- Jim Baglino, bass (2002-present)
- Michael Wildwood, drums (2002)
- Bob Pantella, drums (2002-present)
- Garrett Sweeny, guitar (2010-present)
- Monster Magnet EP, 1990
- Spine of God, 1991
- Tab EP, 1991 (also known as Tab 25 or 25 Tab, long enough to be an album but called an EP by the band)
- Superjudge, 1993
- Dopes To Infinity, 1995
- Powertrip, 1998
- God Says No, 2001
- Monolithic Baby!, 2004
- 4 Way Diablo, 2007
- Mastermind, 2010
Tropes that apply to Monster Magnet:
- Alternative Metal
- Badass Biker: Dave Wyndorf seems to be going for this. He mostly pulls it off. Some of the other members have affected the look as well.
- Cool Shades: Wyndorf seems to never leave home without his.
- Echoing Acoustics: Quite often. Dopes To Infinity is perhaps the most notable of their albums for this, but it pops up all over their records.
- Epic Rocking: Pretty often, but Tab (from the EP/album of the same name) takes the cake- it's OVER 30 minutes long!
- I Am the Band: The Magnet is Wyndorf's baby, for sure.
- Long Title: "Look to Your Orb for the Warning." Also counts as a Non-Appearing Title.
- Metal Scream: Wyndorf does this a few times. "Crop Circle" has a pretty good one ("C'MONNNNNN!").
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Most songs average around 6-7, some go down into the 2-4 range ("Blow 'Em Off", "Your Lies Become You", "Baby Gotterdamerung") and a few up to about 8 ("I Control, I Fly", arguably).
- Non-Appearing Title: About half of their songs.
- One of Us: Dave is, if the comic and sci-fi references are anything to go by...
- Stoner Metal
- Revolving Doorband: Just look at the list above!
- Rule of Cool: a particularly drugged-out version of this trope is what fuels their entire existence.
- Shout-Out: Many, mostly to various comics (Dave lists Jack Kirby as his favorite comic artist) and sci-fi works. In return, there's a Marvel comics character named Negasonic Teenage Warhead after the song (someone there was a fan, apparently...
- The band's name is also inspired by a toy Dave liked a child. And there's a song on their first album named after an old air freshener from the 70s ("Ozium", in case you were wondering).
- The Stoner: their fanbase and overall image, though Dave Wyndorf actually averts this, oddly enough (see What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs? below).
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: They have a few. "Black Balloon", "Blow 'Em Off" and "Your Lies Become You" are all good examples, but they have others.
- Take That: "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" is one both to Grunge and any rock stars who dwell on (in Wyndorf's opinion, anyways) negativity. Not that it's obvious...
- Trope Codifier: Arguably a somewhat under-acknowledged one for Stoner Metal/Stoner Rock.
- Word Salad Lyrics: To be expected from a band who writes vaguely-druggy songs...