This week, Monster Magnet announced a new album, coinciding with their first US Tour in over a decade. This puts Monster Magnet somewhere around ten records, a pretty respectable number for a band that reached its peak about a decade and a half ago and promptly sped down the incline. For me, there’s something a bit exciting about any band doing something they haven’t done for a decade, especially one of the most consistent hard rock bands out there. Monster Magnet albums are always exactly what you expect them to be, for better or worse: crunchy riffs, sci-fi lyrics surrounding cock-rock bravado, at least a couple sludge-slow tracks, but also a couple of classic devil-may-care rockers. There are very few bands that can reliably scratch the itch that a good MM track can soothe for me, so I’m actually fairly excited for them to come around, especially since I know not to make the same mistake as Mitch Hedberg (at around 2:20).
While this is a perfect time to re-introduce you all to the band, I feel that it is worth talking, instead, about a more controversial topic. Namely, I’d like to introduce you to the fact that Dave Wyndorf, lead Spacelord, is Dave Grohl’s evil twin. The evidence of this is pretty unimpeachable. Both are named Dave, for starters. They have had a history of parallel hairstyles and alternating goatees (proving that at any given time, one is the Bizarro clone of the other). Their bands, while decidedly different, seem to mine similar sonic territory. Both are multi-instrumentalists. As far as I know, the two have never been spotted together. All it takes is a glance at their album “Powertrip”: an uneducated eye couldn’t tell you who’s hiding behind those mirrored glasses, but whoever it is, there’s a serious cover-up going on. How do you know if that man in the leather pants is a friendly musical legend or an interstellar deviant? How can we be sure the two aren’t even the same person? Grohl did, after all, announce a short-lived hiatus for Foo Fighters recently, leaving him in a perfect position to tour briefly as the hard-rock Tony Clifton to his more innocent Andy Kaufman. And while the ex-Nirvana drummer has been pretty guarded about his own connections to space adventure, let us not forget that the first album with his new band featured no less an item as a futuristic ray gun. Eerie.
So, how do we protect ourselves from this sleaze-rock barrage? Arm yourselves with knowledge. I recommend picking up their seminal “Dopes to Infinity.” Besides being less likely to offend sensitive sensibilities than later albums, you can pick up a lot of dirt on these guys, from Wyndorf’s origins on Venus to his plans to conquer Mars, to the classic rock musical quotes that pepper the album and point to the band’s influences. Be sure, however, not to miss what might be the cornerstone of the whole work: “Look to Your Orb for the Warning.” Perhaps this is the Rosetta Stone for the band, as it details an abduction waiting to happen. It might be a literal warning, to give us a fair fight when the spaceships DO come, or it might chronicle the creation of these two Bizarro twins. Whatever the case, study the sludgy crawl of this lengthy track for evidence, as well as for a primer in everything the band represents. From there, immerse yourselves in this, their first charting album, and prepare yourself for what may come on the others. Just be aware of the dark world of deceit that you may be entering: to paraphrase the band, when you go to bed with Lucifer, you can’t cry when you don’t greet the day with God.
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