Monster Magnet are a seminal Stoner Rock/Stoner Metal band (technically slightly different things, but they count as both), who have had significance influence on the genre. They're also one of the most commercially successful and popular of Stoner bands, and are well-known for the semi-hits "Negasonic Teenage Warhead", "Space Lord" and "Powertrip".
Their music combines 70s-style Heavy Metal and Hard Rock with Psychedelic Rock and Space Rock, as well as Doom Metal and Grunge influences. They're known for their rather nonsensical lyrics, as well as their loud, grindingly heavy (and memorable) riffs and Wyndorf's wailing voice.
Formed in 1989 by main man Dave Wyndorf, John McBain 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, Spine of God, 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. With the release of 2013's Last Patrol, the band began fusing the more hard rock-oriented style they had been performing since Powertrip, with the space rock stylings from earlier in their career. The following year, they released Milking the Stars: A Re-Imagining Of Last Patrol, an Updated Re Release of sorts that took the material from Last Patrol, altered the production as well as instrumentation to make it sound like a space rock album from the 1970's, and threw in a few original tracks in the same style as well as a couple live performances. This formula was so well-received that the year after, they gave Mastermind the same treatment with Cobras And Fire: The Mastermind Redux.
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 McBain, 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)
- Last Patrol (2013)
- Milking the Stars: A Re-Imagining of Last Patrol (2014)
- Cobras And Fire: The Mastermind Redux (2015)
- Mindfucker (2018)
Tropes that apply to Monster Magnet:
- Author Appeal: Wyndorf has admitted to thinking that music videos for rap are often cooler than music videos for metal, which is why a number of his music videos feature scantily clad women and the band members dressed in flashy outfits and waving around stacks of cash.
- 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.
- Bowdlerize: "Space Lord" was hit with a case of preemptive bowdlerization, changing "Space Lord motherfucker" to "Space Lord, mother mother". May count as Tropes Are Not Bad since Space Lord went on to be Monster Magnet's biggest hit. The Intergalactic 7 Remix used the original phrasing however, as do most remixes. Also, the line about "I drink from your tit I sing the blues every day" is often censored to "I drink from your tin I sing the blues every day."
- Break-Up Song: "One Dead Moon" off Last Patrol is Monster Magnet's serenade to an exBut you ain't as clever as you think you are
And the fact is I miss your body more than I miss you
Can't be worried bout no wounded pride
Cos for just this once I gotta tell the truth...
- Cool Shades: Wyndorf seems to never leave home without his.
- Cover Version: Many: "Sin's A Good Man's Brother" (Grand Funk Railroad), "Evil" (Howlin' Wolf), "Brainstorm" (Hawkwind), "Kick Out The Jams" (MC5), "There's No Way Out" (Ken Baker, also covered by David Gilmour), "The Right Stuff" (Robert Calvert), "Venus In Furs" (Velvet Underground), "2000 Light Years From Home" (The Rolling Stones) and "Three Kingfishers" (Donovan).
- 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!
- Fanservice: Almost all the music videos feature sexy dancing girls (see Author Appeal above). The video for "The Duke (of Supernature)" didn't have dancers, but it did have the protagonist hallucinating a lesbian encounter between his secretary and the "siren"note
- I Am the Band: The Magnet is Wyndorf's baby, for sure.
- Icy Blue Eyes / Creepy Blue Eyes: Dave Wyndorf, which may be why he wears Cool Shades all the time.
- Intercourse with You: "Ozium" is a particularly trippy example of a song about this.Arms up overhead, a Goddess in the ancient song
Work that mighty world to the mindless groove
They say we got a lifetime but we know that ain't true
I will not be denied, I will not be denied
- 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!").
- His shout of "I talk to planets, baby!" in "Ego, The Living Planet" stands out as well, as it's the only thing he says in an otherwise instrumental song.
- 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.
- Not Christian Rock: The band makes quite a few trippy references to God and Christianity in their music, but they are not a Christian band per say.
- 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.
- Wyndorf has admitted that when he gets stuck on a song, he often just writes a random line about tornadoes or volcanoes. Because tornadoes and volcanoes are cool and lyrics about them tend to sound cool automatically. From "Silver Future"You know the truth and you're so put together
Baby I could stick you on the lip of forever
Even a volcano has a price to pay
- Wyndorf has admitted that when he gets stuck on a song, he often just writes a random line about tornadoes or volcanoes. Because tornadoes and volcanoes are cool and lyrics about them tend to sound cool automatically. From "Silver Future"
- 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).
- Dave sometimes refers to them as doing "Space Rock," a reference to Hawkwind, whom they covered in Superjudge.
- 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? in YMMV).
- 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. For example, from Negasonic Teenage Warhead...I can tell just by the climate and I can tell just by the style
I was born and raised on Venus, and I may be here a while
Cos every supersonic jerkoff who plugs into the game
Like every subatomic genius who just invented pain