Garrett Harris 4 p.m., April 27
Monsters from Mars
Bob Stencil: Vocals | Scott Jones: Bass guitar, Theremin | Thor Andersen: Guitar (electric), Vocals | Paul Naylor: Drums | Bianca Batti: Keyboards | Alex Jones: Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Keyboards
Sound description: Surf rock straight outta (the garages of) Mars.
RIYL: The Music Machine, the Ventures, Man...or Astro-Man?
- Blurt · April 26, 2007
Inception: San Diego, 2001
Influences: The Creepy Creeps, Dick Dale, Jan and Dean, the Beach Boys, the Groovy Ghoulies, the Fender IV, the New Dimensions, the Atlantics, the Dead Kennedys, Joe Meek, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, the Chantays, the Astronauts, Link Wray, the Ventures, the Lively Ones, the Music Machine, the Sonics, the Mummies, the Phantom Surfers, Man...or Astro-Man?, the Altaire 6, the Surfaris, Mohammed Rafi, the B-52s, the Murder City Devils, Cambodian Rocks, Britney Spears, Polysics, Goblin, Tarantula Hawk
Monsters from Mars are an underground rock band formed in 2001. Originally an instrumental surf rock trio, the band’s current sound incorporates elements of surf rock, garage rock, horror, progressive rock, new wave, experimental electronic music, punk rock, and new trends in underground music.
Sonically, the band’s sound comes from heavy use of spring reverb, tremolo-picked guitar leads, tube equipment, Farfisa organ, synthesizers, baritone guitar, tape-delay effects, and occasional saxophone and prog rock drum solos. Their live show includes fog and colored-light ambiance, not to mention a proclivity for inducing dancing among audience members.
The band is associated with the DIY ethic, self-releasing homemade albums, home recording all their music, creating and working on some of their own gear, and playing venues that cater to independent music.
When Monsters from Mars play their cover of Britney Spears’s “Toxic,” that spacey-sounding instrument is a theremin, an electronic musical device popularized in the 1951 sci-fi film The Day the Earth Stood Still.
“It sure is a head turner,” says theremin operator (and band bassist) Scott Jones. “Ours is homemade, like a lot of our equipment. We try not to overuse it by just making flying-saucer noise with it. We run it through a delay pedal to give a thick psychedelic sound for certain parts, and we actually play melodies with it in songs like the Britney cover.”
The band’s version of “Toxic” is included on their 7 inch vinyl record Surfing through a Creepy Castle.
“It gets requested every gig, and not everyone realizes it’s a Britney song,” says Jones. “We joke that she’s probably getting two-cent royalty checks and saying what the hell. Someday, we’d love to be her backing band and play it, which by the looks of her career could become a reality.”
As of 2010, guitarist Alex Jones and bassist Bianca Batti also play with Little Fowl.