MONSTER MAGNET have recruited LORD STERLING bassist Jim Baglino to replace Joe Calandra, who was unceremoniously booted from the band last month along with drummer Jon Kleiman. The group, who recently signed a European record deal with SPV/Steamhammer Records, are still looking for a new skinsman and are said to have set their sights on ex-CHROME LOCUST drummer Michael Wildwood. An official announcement is expected soon.
In other news, the unofficial MONSTER MAGNET web site A Tribute To Monster Magnet recently conducted an interview with MONSTER MAGNET mainman Dave Wyndorf in which they discussed Calandra and Kleiman's departures and the band's forthcoming CD (tentatively titled "Radiation Day"), among other topics.
The following are some of the highlights of that interview:
On Calandra and Kleiman's departures from the band:
Dave Wyndorf: "Jon and Joe were let go because of their lack of enthusiasm for the music. MONSTER MAGNET is about energy and creativity and these guys weren't giving either of these. We were together for a long time and it was a fun ride, but the fact of the matter is they just didn't dig it enough. This was not a split due to musical differences, it was due to their general indifference. From the very start, I welcomed these guys to be a part of the band in any capacity they wished. I love this shit and I work fast and furious, yet very meticulously. Jon and Joe either couldn't or wouldn't keep up. I think they thought this whole thing was a goof. That was cool though, if they didn't want to be conceptually involved, I've got enough vision to go around. They never took MONSTER MAGNET seriously until they saw the money. Even then, they rarely had anything to say about musical direction. There was no love for the music. In fact they seemed to have an overall self-image problem going on (fear of rocking). Their motto soon became 'We don't know what's going on, it's Dave's band.' When it came time to make musical decisions, offer ideas and generally be part of the team, they sat on the fence and did nothing, waiting for me to deliver my songs and vision. Again, I had no problem with this because I love to write songs. It's what I do. If those guys wanted to come along for the ride then that was fine, let's rock. I had high hopes that their enthusiasm would grow. Sadly, that was not the case. In my opinion the musical relationship between drummer and bass player is the beginning and end of a good band. If those two can't get it together as a rhythm section, arrangements have to be made to ensure the music doesn't suffer. From the very start, these arrangements were made, from redoing bass parts to supplementing drummers. The music always comes first with me. It is impossible to act as a real band when the rhythm section of that band is consistently ten steps behind. Rock out or get out! This was not an easy decision to make, old loyalties run deep and I really like Joe and Jon as people. But laziness, petty complaints and lack of commitment are not the ingredients of my kind of rock n' roll band. I have a responsibility to Ed and Phil, I have a responsibility to MONSTER MAGNET fans and most of all a responsibility for the music we make. OK, I've said enough. Music is where it's at. If you love what you do and you are proud of your work, good things will happen. I've never had any doubt. I wish good luck to Joe and Jon and hope they find something to be as passionate about as I have with MONSTER MAGNET."
"After the Superjudge tour, Joe and Jon realized you can make money writing songs and all of a sudden wanted to be in on it. So I told them, as I had all along, if you wanna write songs for MAGNET, write songs for MAGNET. They came back with two tunes to my 20, and I put them on 'Dopes To Infinity'. Those two being 'Theme From Masterburner' and 'I Control'. Both songs co-written and arranged by me. Let me tell you something about writing songs. You've got to put your all into this shit, man. This is music! Songs! Rock 'n roll! I live and play music every day of my life. In the early days of MAGNET, I would write songs in my head while at my day job then go home and write for four to five hours more and all weekend. These guys treated songwriting as a chore at worst and a paycheck at best. This shit does not fly with me! Music first, money second. Still, the door was always open for them to contribute, but what little material they did submit later lacked passion. I couldn't do anything with it. What can I say? You've gotta love it and they didn't! Being in a band means contributing in anyway you can. I don't care what anyone says, it's easy! Spiritual support, pride and enthusiasm are major contributions that make for great music, no matter who's writing the songs. No time for crybabies! For the record, every member of MONSTER MAGNET was in for a cut of my publishing just for being in the band. That's fair. Also for the record, all my songs written for MONSTER MAGNET were always delivered in a recorded demo form complete with drum patterns, bass parts, melody lines and arrangements played by myself. It's just faster that way. I was always open to reinterpretation but that rarely happened and never to the extent of rewriting. The slowest process in MONSTER MAGNET has always been in between the writing and the recording. Therefore it always made sense to me to write at my own pace and deliver the songs as a more or less complete record. In many cases, a song that took me a day or two to write would take weeks for the rhythm section to learn. Practice tapes were made and never listened to. That's bullshit and it's no fun. Did I mention that music is supposed to be fun? It is! I am pleased to say that this situation is being rectified as I speak."
On the forthcoming album ("Radiation Day"):
Dave Wyndorf: "The album will be a lot livelier than 'God Says No'. It's full-on rock with garage pysch overtones and was written during a pretty scary yet exciting time in the world's history. It's not a political record but I can't say that world events in the last two years haven't juiced me to a certain extent. My songs are always subject to my environment and that's how it should be."
MONSTER MAGNET, who have yet to secure a record deal outside the European territory, hope to enter the studio this summer to record "Radiation Day" for a tentative late 2003 release. Among the tracks set to appear on the effort are "Master Of Light", "On the Verge", "Slut Machine Mach 2", "Ultimate Everything" and "Little Bag Of Gloom". The band will also be the subject of a "greatest hits" album, to be issued through their previous label Interscope Records (A&M) later this summer.
(Thanks: A Tribute To Monster Magnet)