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Published: Friday, 12/10/2004

Hard-core rock fans drawn to powerful Monster Magnet

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With their thrashing guitars, thundering rhythms, and throttling vocals, Monster Magnet doesn't make any pretense at subtlety. Instead, these unrepentant rockers shout at the devil and laugh at convention in creating music that has been compared to the raw energy of such rock anti-heroes as Alice Cooper, the Stooges, and Black Sabbath.

Led by New Jersey native Dave Wyndorf on guitar and vocals, Monster Magnet made its recording debut in 1990 with a self-titled EP on the Caroline label, followed by "Spine of God" in 1991, which attracted the attention of A&M Records.

The band's lyrical mix of psychedelics and decadence, matched with raging guitar power chords, have built Monster Magnet a strong following among hard-core rock fans, particularly in Europe. The band released four discs for A&M, Superjudge" (1993), "Dopes to Infinity" (1995), "Powertrip" (1999), and "God Says No" (2000).

In writing the music for "Powertrip," Wyndorf said he booked a room outside of Las Vegas, which he calls "the heart of the failed American Dream," and wrote a song each day before heading into the gambling mecca. "I would watch Vegas from the balcony of my room," he said. "It looked like a big nuclear sunset in the distance."

Wyndorf describes today's American music scene as "a really hard sell these days" for bands that don't fit the mainstream mold. "It seems as if the mass audience is not looking for poetry in their music," he writes on the group's Web site, www.monstermagnet.net, adding that the record and radio industry don't hesitate to promote "one-dimensional, artless" music.

Monster Magnet split with A&M in 2001 and the group's latest release, "Monolithic Baby!," came out in May on SPV Records, a label that has become a haven for such musical outcasts as Skinny Puppy, Sepultura, Molly Hatchet, and UFO.

Meanwhile, Monster Magnet's Wyndorf, guitarists Ed Mundell and Phil Gaivano, drummer Bob Pantella, and bassist Jim Baglino are enjoying the rare experience of getting one of their songs, "Unbroken (Hotel Baby)," on mainstream rock radio stations across the country.

Monster Magnet will be in concert at 7 p.m. Monday at Headliners, 4500 North Detroit Ave., with PB Army and Slunt opening. Tickets are $10 from Ticketmaster. Information: 419-269-4500.



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