Interview: Bob Pantella Talks New Atomic Bitchwax & Monster Magnet Albums

Red Bank, New Jersey’s Monster Magnet are one of stoner rock’s greatest and most iconic acts. With classic tunes like “Spacelord” and “Negasonic Teenage Warhead”, the band ruled MTV in the mid to late 90s and continues to have a huge following today.

Atomic Bitchwax are a “super stoner rock” band from Long Branch, New Jersey and formed in 1992. The band’s sound is influenced by 60’s and 70’s rock as well as modern prog rock bands like Tool. Though they had songs in popular shows such as Jackass, the band never gained the fame that Monster Magnet achieved.

I was recently able to have a brief email chat with Bob Pantella, who shares drumming duties between both bands. The interview was not focused on Monster Magnet but on his lesser known band The Atomic Bitchwax, which he joined in 2007.

On Atomic Bitchwax’s style: Well, we’ve been called stoner rock since 1997 and we always thought it was ridiculous, so we decided to call it Super Stoner Rock which is twice as ridiculous. It was either that or Freedom Rock which we thought was  too redundant… “TURN IT UP MAN”!!!!!

On new Atomic Bitchwax, Gravitron: Well, for this album we wanted to take a different approach. The three of us rented a cabin in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey to get away from our daily routines so we could really focus on the music. We even went as far as fasting for three weeks before hand. When you deprive yourself for that long it leads to a heightened awareness, which culminates in a vision quest. It was like being in a mental and emotional isolation tank. For the first few days we didn’t think we would be able to come up with any ideas at all. UNTIL…. Finn broke out a bag of sweet dank and what seemed like an endless supply of Oreo cookies…… Ok Ok I’m just fucking with you… NONE of that happened. Honestly we just got into a room and jammed together for a few hours and tried to play Sabbath Volume 4 in reverse…. Simple as that. It’s not rocket science.

On new Monster Magnet: Cobras and Fire, a redux of Mastermind, will be released in early October 2015. We’re really happy with the results. I can’t wait for people to hear it. It’s really great working with Dave because he doesn’t let ANYTHING slip through the cracks. He’s such a perfectionist and it’s really an inspiration. As far as touring goes, I believe that there is something in the works for early 2016 in Europe and some east coast shows around Christmas time.

On Atomic Bitchwax & Monster Magnet touring together: Well you never know… anything is possible.

On the modern New Jersey scene:  It’s common knowledge at this point that the three of us share the same Druidic lineage. This Iron Age bloodline offers us a spiritual window most of our contemporaries are sadly unable to achieve. The end result is purely distilled riffs of mathematical precision for all future music to be measured by. With that said “The Ribeye Brothers“of Red Bank, NJ share this vision.

  • Felonious Thunk

    Monster Magnet are fucking DOPE, but it puzzles me why they keep revising their previous albums. It was sort of interesting when they did it to ‘Last Patrol’ last year, but ‘Mastermind’ was five years ago already. Very strange.

    I’m a hardcore MM fan so I’m’a still buy it though