Pan-Dimensional Amazonian Druganauts

Get in your car, start it up and drive straight into a fucking brick wall …

Not motoring advice likely to ever endear you to your local law enforcement officers, your motor insurer, or in retrospect, yourself.  But there again you’d have to be a fairly strange individual to be taking motoring advice from Dave Wyndorf in the first place, particularly the 1991 model Satanic drug fucker Dave Wyndorf, himself.  Let’s put away any substance more mood altering than peanut butter, hide all sharp objects and swallow the car keys for safety reasons before popping Monster Magnet Tab* onto the turntable.

Monster Magnet Tab 05

Written and recorded before their debut LP Spine Of God, this didn’t see the light of day until afterwards.  I can’t think why, it must have been an easy sell to the record company …

‘Well, the title track is a 32-minute recreation of the biggest trip any mortal has ever undergone.  Not on acid or anything so reputable and pure, more of a heady cocktail of expired cough medicine, methylated spirits and a certain cave fungus unknown to all but the indigenous Enrahappi tribe of Brazil.  We hit a deceptively quiet groove and just riff and jam off that for the duration, until after 30 minutes, Chinese water torture style, the end result has been amplified by simple repetition to such a pitch of volume that your skull just explodes, opening your third eye and forcing you to total cosmic enlightenment against your will. 

All the while vocals and guitars, often so heavily phased, flanged and diddled about with that they are indistinguishable from each other, swoop and soar amongst the very whooshing noises of the galaxy’s death throes.  The vocals are mostly eastern sounding chants and undecipherable spoken bits, from which only single words and small phrases can be discerned, most of which involve gratuitous swearing and advice which, if followed, would be likely to result in permanent physical, psychic and spiritual harm.  I can foresee a minimum of three multi-million dollar lawsuits from the parents of drug-addled casualties in Rear Entry, Alabama – at least.  And gentlemen and ladies I am offering you the opportunity to get in at the ground floor of this exciting commercial opportunity.  We’ll all be millionaires by Christmas!

Monster Magnet Tab 01

That’s the best I can do to sum up the title track ‘Tab’, it really is.  Along with the title track of Spine Of God it is the most out-there Monster Magnet ever got, they became rockier and more focused later on, to brilliant effect (they are one of my all-time fave bands) but they never got this level of barely contained chaos down on wax again.  In the sleevenotes Wyndorf tells us that the band had so little cash that they couldn’t afford to waste any takes of ‘Tab’ and so they had to mark off the studio clock with tape the parts when the band ha to modulate to the next section.  I love that.

‘Tab’ is just a perfect fusion of Jack Kirby, Hawkwind and the primitivism of the Stooges.  Not one for putting on mix tapes for that girl you like from the coffee shop, unless you suspect she may in fact be a pan-dimensional Amazonian druganaut from the future; they are sometimes you know.

Monster Magnet Tab 04

Monster Magnet Tab 02

But this EP** isn’t just a one song wonder, I bought the 2006 Steamhammer re-release with the wry sleeve notes from Dave Wyndorf and a bonus version of ‘Spine of God (Live)’*^, with three other tracks on.  Compared to the monolithic title track, ’25’ is a spry 12:29 and sounds like the Stooges covering ‘Brainstorm’ with a Dalek on vocals, after ‘Tab’ it sounds like a land-speed record attempt.  The whole band really cutting loose, the rhythm section of Joe Calandra, Tim Cronin and Jon Kleiman (did both bass players play at once?) well to the fore, before John McBain brings it on home with some fabulous guitar lines and it all becomes elegiac, particularly in the four-minute coda to the main act.  ‘Longhair’ and ‘Lord 13’ are lesser lights but still excellent blasts of stoner primitivism in themselves.

Monster Magnet Tab 07

I love the fact that throughout Tab the band sound like their ambition is butting right up against their competency/ability – for me that’s always when the best music happens, it’s why I like debut albums so much, you get that striving and roughness, the sheer effort that a more polished crew just don’t have to give to get over that line.  The journey to hell in a handcart always sounds better than one by Pullman.

Get in your car, start it up and drive straight into a fucking brick wall …

Monster Magnet Tab 06
I rather like this picture

524 Down.

spotify:album:1X3awKJQW94uKsVO53Y6vh

*also sometimes known as 25 …. Tab, or TAB.  Take your pick, I’m just going for plain old Tab.

**a puzzling classification since it’s 55 minutes long.

*^taken from a bootleg called Drinking, Smoking, Fucking^.  I struggle to express how much I love Monster Magnet sometimes.

^the track itself sounds like it was recorded on a mic hidden somewhere inside John McBain’s trousers.

10 thoughts on “Pan-Dimensional Amazonian Druganauts

    1. Dopes is one of my fave LP’s ever – the title track is just immense. Every so often I get stuck on it and have to listen to it 5 times in a row.

      This is way more deranged!

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      1. Oh, I do. I was looking at Discogs at they’re not too expensive (though there’s no sellers in the UK). Might just have to make that one of the next purchases.

        Like

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