Monster Voodoo Machine
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|Monster Voodoo Machine|
Formed in Canada in 1991, Monster Voodoo Machine was the brainchild of Toronto musician/vocalist Adam Sewell (brother of TNA Wrestling referee/wrestler Shane Sewell), in an attempt to capture the wall-of-sound guitars and hardcore energy of bands like Quicksand, Black Flag and Discharge and to accent the overall sound with electronic, techno and hip hop influences.
Along with original guitarist Mark Gibson, bassist Terry Landry and drummer Drew Gauley, M.V.M. established themselves within the Canadian underground music scene. Within their first 6 months of existence the band recorded 1 EP (“Burn” – released on Epidemic Records in 1992) and 1 full-length album (“Turbine” – still unreleased to this day) and filmed 2 promotional videos: “3 Year Plan” and “Bastard Child”. At this time the band also collaborated with techno group BTK (“Bastard Child – Techno Storm Mix”) and begin recording sessions with soul singers.
Over the next year the band added second guitarist Dave Rose and keyboardist Stacey Hoskin to the lineup. However, non-stop touring and often intense writing sessions led to a dramatic line-up change that saw both guitarists Gibson and Rose replaced by Jason Cuddy (previously of Mundane) and Darren Quinn. Gauley also left after many tours (later joining Cuddy’s former band Mundane). Eventually, M.V.M. were joined by drummer Dean Dallas Bentley.
In late 1993 the band recorded their second EP and major-label debut “State Voodoo/State Control” (released in 1994 for RCA Records). Produced by Paul Raven (of Killing Joke, and later Prong) the EP title was a play on the popular Discharge track "State Violence State Control". Musically however, the EP saw the band move into heavier and darker territory exploring some of the more traditional industrial-metal areas as more successful artists of the era, like White Zombie and Ministry. The EP also featured remixes from several producers including Danny Saber (U2).
In late January 1994 the band relocated to Chicago to record their first full length album “Suffersystem”. Produced by Critter and Howie Beno at Chicago Trax studios, the album was a wall-of-noise mix of industrial-metal (“Threat By Example”), Sabbath-influenced stoner rock (“Motionless”, “Sunspots”), hardcore (“Bastard Is As Bastard Does”) hip hop / rock (“Inside These Walls”) and techno / dance music (“Defense Mechanism”). The album also featured several guest appearances most notably Roddy Bottum (Faith No More), Leslie Rankin (Silverfish / Ruby) and Wesley Willis.
On completing the album in the late spring, the band immediately set out on a tour schedule that saw the group perform approximately 500 shows. Tours with Carcass, Life of Agony, Skrew, Fight (Rob Halford) saw the band performing mostly to metal crowds who were both extremely receptive and occasionally hostile to the groups liberal use of electronics and drum loops.
However, it was the band’s tour with Marilyn Manson in early 1995 that really helped to give M.V.M. international momentum. The “Portrait Of An American Family Tour” lasted 2 and half months.
While back home in Canada for a short break after the Manson tour, Suffersystem won the 1995 Juno Award for “Best Hard Rock Album Of The Year”. At this time, the band also released many singles and EPs featuring remixes by artists as Biohazard, DJ Muggs, KMFDM and Pigface.
Sewell at this time asked RCA to have the Chemical Brothers or Liam Howlett (The Prodigy) produce the next album, RCA declined asking the band instead to consider Butch Vig. Sewell, disillusioned with RCA’s understanding of the band asked to be released from their recording contract.
Finally in late 1995, the band was “put on hold” for the next year.
1996 saw the band return to action joined by Soulstorm members Nick Sagias (keyboards) and bassist Chris Harris. The band released 1000 numbered copies of “Pirate Satellite”. These new songs saw the band moving away from the heavier roots and more towards a rock-meets-triphop-punk vibe.
Not long after however, the band announced that they were officially breaking up, and on October 4, 1996 they played their farewell show at the Volcano Club in Kitchener, Ontario.
Less than a year later, while on tour with def.con.sound.system. in 1997, Sewell was offered a record deal by Dr. Dream Records (a subsidiary of Polygram / Mercury) who suggested that the group use the Monster Voodoo Machine name. At the time def.con.sound.system. featured Sewell, Cuddy, Sagias, Harris and occasionally Quinn and Bentley, so there was no hesitation and plans were set in motion for a new M.V.M. album.
As the group began demo’ing new material, Sewell rediscovered his love of guitar rock and made the decision to record the album without the use of samplers, keyboards and drum loops. The resulting album “Direct Reaction Now!” features several def.con.sound.system. songs reworked into a rock format, some new more hardcore influenced numbers, and the distortion-laden, country-esque “Rats Eye View”.
The “Direct Reaction Now!” album was released in early 1998 just as Dr. Dream Records found themselves being shut down due to the Polygram / Universal Records merger. The band had just been invited to play the side stage on the Ozzfest Tour that year.
- Burn (Epidemic 1992)
- Turbine (unreleased 1992/3)
- State Voodoo/State Control (BMG/D-Tribe 1994)
- Suffersystem (BMG/D-Tribe 1994)
- Pirate Satellite (45 Revolutions 1996)
- Direct Reaction Now (Doctor Dream 1998)