Monster Magnet - Biography



Monster Magnet is an American rock band. Hailing from Red Bank, New Jersey, the group was founded by Dave Wyndorf (vocals and guitar), John McBain (guitar), Tom Diello (drums), and Tim Cronin (vocals and bass). The band first went under the name "Dog of Mystery" and later "Airport 75" before finally settling on "Monster Magnet," taken from the name of a 1960s toy made by Wham-O, which Wyndorf liked when he was a child.

Monster Magnet released two demo cassettes: Forget About Life, I'm High on Dope and I'm Stoned, What Ya Gonna Do About It?. The band's first "official" release was a self-titled EP from Glitterhouse Records of Germany. The EP contained the songs "Snake Dance" and "Nod Scene", (Both of which would appear again on Spine of God), and "Tractor", (which would be rerecorded for Powertrip).

In 1991 the band signed with Caroline Records and released their first full length album, the cult classic Spine of God, in 1992. The album is hailed as one the classics of stoner rock, alongside Kyuss's Blues for the Red Sun and Sleep's Sleep's Holy Mountain. The album contained the single "Medicine", (which would be recorded ten years later on God Says No) and the band's first music video was made, followed with a tour with rising grunge band, Soundgarden. The tour helped the band get a contract with major record label A&M Records.

Their final release with Caroline Records was a bizarre 4 song EP titled Tab which included, among two other marathon length songs, a 32 minute track called "Tab...". McBain quit the band soon after. He was replaced by Atomic Bitchwax guitarist Ed Mundell; who holds the position to this day.

The year 1993 saw the release of the album Superjudge. While the album was released on a major record label (A&M Records), it did not sell very well, due to the rise of grunge rock, which made their hard rock style unpopular. Singles and videos were made for the songs "Twin Earth" and "Face Down", but it did little to help promote the album.

Dopes to Infinity (1995), the follow-up record, was more accessible, and had a hit single in "Negasonic Teenage Warhead", which benefitted from a music video showing Dave Wyndorf travelling through Outer Space that received rotation on MTV. Still, the record was not the success the band had hoped for, partly because other innovative tracks like "Dead Christmas" and the title track, received little or no airplay.

After the Dopes to Infinity tour, Wyndorf moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in order to begin working on Powertrip (1998), a breakthrough hit that earned the band a gold certification. Powertrip saw the band departing from its usual lo-fi, stoner metal fare, and enter into an era with a more hard rock-type sound. Guitarist Phil Cavaino joined the band in 1998. "Space Lord", the first single, was a major radio hit and the band went on tour with bands like Aerosmith, Metallica and Marilyn Manson. The songs "Powertrip", "Temple of Your Dreams", and "See You In Hell" also did successful on rock radio. The album charted at #97 on the Billboard 200.

After a two year tour supporting Powertrip, the band released God Says No (2000), charting at #153 on the Billboard, but was unsuccessful compared to their last release. Standout tracks include "Melt", "Heads Explode", and "Silver Future". After the release, Joe Calandra and Jon Kleiman departed the band because of internal conflicts with Wyndorf, and were replaced by Jim Baglino and Bob Pantella respectively. The band also left A&M Records for fear of being commercialized.

In 2003, Monster Magnet released Greatest Hits, a double CD greatest hits featuring their best songs, some rarities, and music videos from their time with A&M. They then signed to the European label SPV, and in early 2004 released Monolithic Baby! throughout Europe. The U.S. release followed in May on SPV America. The band had a minor hit with the song "Unbroken (Hotel Baby)".

In March 2005 Phil Cavaino departed after 7 years service in a split described as amicable by Wyndorf. A followup to Monolithic Baby! was expected in March 2006 to coincide with their European Tour, along with rereleases of Spine of God and Tab, both featuring new artwork and liner notes, however the tour and album release did not go ahead.

On February 27, 2006 Dave Wyndorf overdosed on prescription drugs. His management released the following statement

The battle with one's inner demons is the most personal fight any of us can undertake. The fight is at times a lonely, confusing journey. On the evening of February 27, Dave Wyndorf suffered a set back in his own fight and was hospitalized due to a drug overdose. His full recovery is expected. We ask that all those he has encountered over the years or simply affected by his music to take a moment to think good thoughts of and for him. With the grace of God and those who love him we are all confident that Dave will rebound from this set back and continue to play and make great rock and roll.

In 2007, it was announced that Monster Magnet would release a new album, 4-Way Diablo, which had been put back for a year due to Wyndorf's overdose. It was released later that year. Later in 2007, another greatest hits collection, 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Monster Magnet, was released.