Interview with Monster Magnet Guitarist Phil Caivano By Jesse Striewski

Monster Magnet have always been one of those bands (from my home state of New Jersey, nonetheless) that I’ve always admired. While seeing the band live may still be one thing that alludes me, I couldn’t help but jump at picking the brain of longtime guitarist Phil Caivano once the chance to interview him presented itself to me, just after his debut solo album – simply titled Caivano – reached my desk.

One of the first things I wanted to ask Caivano was what made him decide to release solo music at this junction in time. He responded; “I finally had the time to explore the option of doing it. With Wendigo Productions involved it all started moving. I had some riffs and a few songs together. It was a matter of just committing to the process.”

I asked Phil who else performed on the record with him, and if it were fully recorded in New Jersey. He informed me; “[Monster Magnet drummer] Bob Pantella played drums and mixed. He’s the only other person involved with it. So fun working with Bob. Yes everything was recorded in NJ and Bob’s Freakshop Studio, and my Studio 13.”

I asked Caivano in his opinion which would be the go-to song for someone who had not yet heard the album, and he replied; “I’d say “Now Is Forever;” it’s the first song we released, and the first one I recorded with Bob.”

As far as taking the songs out live he informed me; “I’m thinking about doing it live if it makes sense. Some people have reached out to me to play if that’s the road I’m gonna go down. I have some people in mind as well.”

I was also curious as to how he felt the music on the album compared to his work in Monster Magnet, to which he stated; “Nothing really compares to Monster Magnet because Dave is so special. Such a great artist. The comparison is my guitar work. I play the way I play. I tried a few different things but my playing is how I do it.”

And as far as future touring with Monster Magnet goes? “Dave (Wyndorf) and I are talking about that now. Hopefully we can tour the USA and get back to Europe by 2024.”

I was always curious how Caivano originally came about the job as Monster Magnet guitarist back in 1998, and how familiar he was with their music at the time. He explained; “I was very familiar. Dave and I were friends long before Monster Magnet. I was at a lot of the early shows and around some of the records. Dave asked me to join after Powertrip was finished. I was living in LA when he made the record. I was back in NJ visiting when he asked.”

Lastly, I wondered if there were any obscure Monster Magnet songs that he’d want to pull from out of the vault, which ones they might be. He told me; “I love “Black Balloon” and “I Control, I Fly.” We’ve played them in the past. Always loved those songs.”

And with that, Caivano left with these parting words; “Thank You as well! Hope ya enjoy the record!! Rock ON!!!”