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A hard rock band, considered to be among the cornerstones of the musical movement now called stoner rock. Critics like to compare their sound to those of seventies bands like MC5, Hawkwind, Blue Cheer and inevitably Black Sabbath. If they do combine all of those influences, the result is brand new: sometimes psychedelic and self-indulgent, frequently downright weird; always heavy, guitar-driven, acid-fueled and testosterone-drenched.


Monster Magnet was formed around 1989 in Red Bank, New Jersey (more famous as the stomping grounds of Kevin Smith and his fictional pantheon). The initial lineup consisted of singers Dave Wyndorf and Tim Cronin, guitarist John McBain, bass player Joe Calandra and drummer John Kleinman. The band's self-titled debut EP was released on a German label in 1990, after which Wyndorf became the primary vocalist and songwriter (Tim Cronin was henceforth credited with "special effects"). The independent label Caroline Records released Magnet's first full-length album, Spine Of God, in 1992, followed the year after by 25...Tab, a truly bizarre collection of psychedelic jams recorded during the same sessions.

The band followed their debut with months of touring around America and Europe in support of Soundgarden, and by 1993 the major label A&M Records was interested. At the same time, guitarist John McBain suddenly quit, and Ed Mundell joined the band to record Superjudge, followed by more tours with the likes of Raging Slab. The album Dopes To Infinity produced the minor radio hit "Negasonic Teenage Warhead" in 1995, but neither Dopes nor its predecessor made a major dent in the charts – due in part to the grunge movement that was in full force at the time.

At the end of yet another world tour, Monster Magnet found themselves burnt out and nearly broke, thanks to their record company. Dave Wyndorf seemingly disappeared, to Los Angeles and later Las Vegas – where, he says, he began writing songs about the disintegration of the American Dream, under the influence of strip clubs and casinos and sleaze. The songs emerged on the 1998 album Powertrip, which gave the band their long-awaited breakthrough on the strength of the single "Space Lord". The band added Phil Caivano on guitar for the subsequent tour, which included an opening slot for Marilyn Manson and brought still more recognition.

Just as Monster Magnet were rising to new success, a revival of the stoner rock sound was emerging under the radar of the music mainstream, including a growing number of bands on the New Jersey scene. This inspired some of the members to start side projects, such as Ed Mundell's successful Atomic Bitchwax, and The Ribeye Brothers and Gallery of Mites with Tim Cronin and Jon Kleinman. The Magnet's output continued with 2000's God Says No, but, perhaps inevitably as the scene they helped start became an entrenched part of the music underground, the band split with their label in late 2001.


Sources: www.stonerrock.com/magnet, cdnow.com, mtv.com and assorted interviews and reviews.

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