Welcome to the new weekly SPIN.com feature “Name That Band” inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.)
This week: Dave Wyndorf of Monster Magnet, whose Mastermind is out October 26. Plus: hear a song from the record below.
Why Monster Magnet: “The name Monster Magnet was suggested by my ex-wife,” explains singer-guitarist Dave Wyndorf. “We were riding in the car on the way to a gig opening for Jane’s Addiction in New Jersey in 1989. I was giving the band a different name every week in those days. But we were talking about old toys in the car – I love old toys – and my wife mentioned Monster Magnet. I was like, ‘That’s it!’ A Monster Magnet was a real toy made by Wham-O. It’s this big, stupid thing that was in the shape of a horseshoe. At the end is a Demon’s Head with spiky ears and the shoulders and arms of the demon create the curve of the horseshoe. But it’s just a big magnet. Anyway, I loved the name. That was actually a momentous night. At the gig we played one Grand Funk Railroad song for half an hour. It sucked, but people came up to us afterwards and were, like, “That’s art!” That’s when I knew we had something.”
Previously Rejected Names: “I was always coming up with new names because I’d send the same demo tape to record companies but write different names on them – I had a sneaking suspicion they weren’t listening to everything. I called us Heroin Mule; Acid Reich; King Fuzz; Madness Is the Mongoose; Wrath of the Bullgod. Of course, when a record label finally signed us, they were like, ‘We loved your tape!’ I knew we’d sent it to them five different times.”
Best Band Names Ever: “Band names are my life’s sustenance. They make the world go round. I like band names that involve vegetables and food: Strawberry Alarm Clock; Ultimate Spinach. Those are awesome. A great band name is . . . And You Will Know Us by The Trail Of Dead. That name is almost too good. No band can live up to that name.”
Worst Band Name Ever: “Billy Joel. That’s a terrible name.”
About the Song: “‘Dig That Hole’ is about creating a problem with yourself and then making it bigger – otherwise known as fucking up,” says Wyndorf. “It was one of a bunch of songs I wrote last Christmas that are about being addicted to anti-anxiety medication. Coming off that stuff is like wearing your nervous system on the outside of your body. It’s insane. I’ve done all kinds of drugs, and if that’s the new stuff then gimme the good old-fashioned drugs.”