Born from the Red Bank of New Jersey, the early days of Monster Magnet were a cosmos away from the major-label, alternative rock boom that would suck the band into the shiny MTV world of the early to middle 90s. Originally formed by Dave Wyndorf, John McBain and Tim Cronin, Monster Magnet lysergic oozed into the world in 1989 with two demo tapes – Forget About Life, I’m High On Dope and I’m Stoned, What Ya Gonna Do About It? – making it perfectly clear from the start where they were coming from.
This was a band revelling in bad trips and the death of the hippy dream with a Manson Family stare, playing squelchy lo-fi psychedelic music with a rabid punk rock sneer, like The Stooges terrorising Hawkwind at the most unpleasant free festival imaginable. There were tales of entire audiences at their gigs being spiked with LSD. It didn’t matter if this was true or not, it all added to the mystique. This was indeed a satanic drug thing, you wouldn’t understand.
Those two demos formed the base of what would become their pivotal Spine Of God album from 1991 and the ’25…Tab’ EP, which featured the mesmerising 32-minute opus itself, ‘Tab’. Long considered to be the true essence of Magnet’s early psychedelic voyages, ‘Tab’ is finally returning to earth’s stratosphere with the release of Test Patterns: Vol.1, available November 11 via God Unknown Records on 12” vinyl.
Test Patterns: Vol. 1 features a 2021 remix of ‘Tab’ by John McBain, alongside the original demo, recorded in 1988 and then released on the aforementioned Forget About Life, I’m High On Dope in 1989.
“When Magnet started, John and I worked in record stores in Red Bank and Dave worked in the comic bookstore and we made a lot of tapes for each other,” recalls Tim Cronin. “A lot of ‘check this shit out’ kind of stuff…Hawkwind, early UFO, Amon Duul, Can, Skullflower, Morgen, Loop, Crystalized Movements, early Alice Cooper, Walking Seeds, Butthole Surfers, Spacemen 3.
“When we recorded the first demo and got to TAB, we just beat the shit out of it until it became heavy, noisy, weird, mean and either too long or not long enough, depending on your mood. Everything we wanted in a song (at least everything I wanted in a song), punishingly psychedelic. Jersey Shore krautrock.”
Test Patterns: Vol. 1 will be available in two 12” vinyl editions – a deluxe gatefold sleeve with acid blotter inner sleeve and a special Rough Trade Super Deluxe edition with gatefold sleeve, limited to 300 copies with four postcards, blotter inner sleeve, ‘orange sunshine’ coloured vinyl and alternative cover artwork.
You can pre-order Test Patterns: Vol. 1 HERE