Monster Magnet’s Dave Windorf Talks Influence, Hawkwind’s Cosmic Ritual, and Summoning Lightning
Monster Magnet founder Dave Windorf speaks to Under the Radar as the legendary space/stoner rock band returns to Europe for Croatia’s Bear Stone Festival in July
June 14, 2023
“Universe” is a word that applies in many ways to the story of Monster Magnet. Not just as part of the myriad descriptions of their music, but also the idea that they really fit into none, musically or otherwise.
space rock? stoner rock? Alternative metal? Hard Rock? Where do monster magnets fit? Since their debut in 1989 and playing in the orbits of some of the biggest grunge, metal, stoner and hard rock bands, they’ve lived side by side, but they’ve never been “the same”. . A little too clean for outright stoner rock, too fuzzy for simple hard rock, and too garage punk vibes to be downright metal, Monster Magnet has carved out its own shape.
Dave Windorf, frontman and the only surviving original member of the band, explains “I never really thought of Magnet as a metal band at all. All my influences were 60s and early 70s garage punk, psych and hard rock. I couldn’t sing as high as a heavy metal classic, and I couldn’t pull off the compelling “Cookie Monster” growl that was popular at the time. Haha! I was stuck with what I had and had to make it work, and maybe that made a difference for listeners. “
Indeed, what Magnet has achieved, especially when they achieved cult popularity in the early 1990s, is a band with a directness and playfulness that no other band has, with elements of the greatest rock genre. It is to bring a “difference” to the listener who felt it. . 1998’s groundbreaking classic by his album power trip They arguably perfected their sound, a “sound” that music writers and fans have been vying for the right definition ever since.
Certainly they have an obvious “heavy and spacey sound”, but they codified the new stoner rock sound of the early 90s with Cuse and others, and while performing with Soundgarden, they still had a psychedelia tint and It has the cosmic wonder of space rock giant Hawkwind. There are direct lineages to primordial metal Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult and Black Sabbath to bring the classic riffs, all with a no-nonsense punk energy. Yes that’s all!
As with much rock music (whether most people realize it or not), Hawkwind’s influence is huge in Monster Magnet. About the 2021 cover album better dystopia They even made a powered-up, faithful version of “Born to Go,” a staple of Hawkwind’s mind-shattering live album Space Ritual (9:56 epic).
The live album, which turned 50 last month, is arguably the greatest live rock album of all time, but it’s rarely talked about in the same vein as many of its contemporaries. “right! Not disrespecting Pink Floyd, Space Ritual has always ruled the dark side in my mind. ” Windoff explains.
“I came of age right after Flower Power, and many of the new bands that came onto the scene were louder and weirder than anything that had come before. Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, The The Stooges were among them, and, of course, the mighty Hawkwind, who to my 14-year-old mind was the ‘weirdest’ of all. Their sounds, lyrics and album covers all seemed to have been created in a completely different world. Yes, Sabbath and the Stooges sucked, but Hawkwind is from outer space! And they rocked hard! “
The band took another band’s love of music and put it into a tribute album. better dystopiawas born when a global pandemic restricted the nature of their band (playing live).
“We were in the middle of a two part tour when the pandemic hit and had to cancel part two. We were all in the mood for the show and thought it would be more fun to just go into the studio and have a blast than sit down and write songs. ” Windorf talks about how their covers album came about.
“We recorded together in[Monster Magnet drummer]Bob Pantera’s small local studio. I didn’t have one, so I decided to take a chance.”
Give artists such as The Pretty Things, The Scientist, Table Scraps, Poover, JD Blackfoot the treatment of monster magnets, better dystopia A magnet to look back on where they came from and why they love music. And it sounds like that. With the coronavirus cloud clearing, the band was able to tour and record again. New Monster Magnet music coming soon?
“I’ve written some, but haven’t recorded anything yet. It seems the time has come again!” Windorf says.
Next month, the band will take to the Croatian countryside at the new stoner-focused rock festival, Bear Stone Festival, with an excellent line-up of Orange Goblin and excellent fuzzy rock. Trippy visuals and cosmic sounds in a stunning natural setting sounds like the perfect place to see a band like Monster Magnet, but where else can you find memories of a gig in a unique setting? Is not it?
“Oh, there are so many! But one of the coolest things that ever happened was when we played a small festival deep in the woods of Germany many years ago. ” Windorf says. “It looked like it would rain all day, and by the time we got on stage in the late afternoon, I was pretty sure the rain would break the set. It was getting dark and it was like night, and at the end of the song I shouted out the words “Center of the Universe!” And at that very moment, a huge bolt of lightning lit up the sky, creating a web of electricity that covered the sky. It was the best stage effect I have ever seen, and the audience wholeheartedly agreed. Within a minute, it rained heavily, thunder roared, and we were off the stage. Best ending ever! “
Monster Magnets can literally harness electricity directly from nature as well as channel space. What could be stronger than that?
Play Croatia’s Bearstone Festival with Monster Magnet: https://bearstonefestival.com/