Retro-rock visionaries Monster Magnet spent much of the 1990s struggling against the prejudices imposed upon image and sound by alternative rock fashion nazis. In fact, it wasn't until that movement's late-'90s decline that the band's dogged persistence finally paid off, when their fourth album, Powertrip, catapulted to gold sales status on the strength of its massive hard rock hit, "Space Lord." In the meantime, Monster Magnet had managed to become one of the most successful and influential bands associated with the so-called underground "stoner rock" scene. And yet, their influences span much further than that scene's foundations in '70s hard rock and metal, delving into space rock, psychedelia, and beyond.
New Jersey native Dave Wyndorf was already a rock & roll veteran by the time he formed Monster Magnet in 1989, having cut his teeth with little-known punk band Shrapnel (also featuring future punk producer Daniel Rey on guitars) in the late '70s before retiring from music altogether. But, after teaching himself guitar, Wyndorf began assembling Monster Magnet with a handful of fellow New Jersey natives, vocalist Tim Cronin, guitarist John McBain, bassist Joe Callandra, and drummer Jon Kleiman. Fusing their metal, punk, space rock, and psychedelic influences, the band developed a sludgy, feedback-heavy hard rock sound that helped them stand out from the era's burgeoning retro-rock movement -- also counting the Black Crowes, White Zombie, and many others. After releasing a self-titled six-song EP through Germany's Glitterhouse Records, Wyndorf assumed all vocal responsibilities, while Cronin retreated to a behind the scenes "conceptual consultant" position -- much like that of John Sinclair for the MC5.