Background information
Origin Madison, Wisconsin, USA
Genres Stoner metal, sludge metal, doom metal
Years active 1995 - 2009, 2015 - Present
Labels Relapse Records, Howling Bull America, Inc.
Associated acts Weedeater, Buzzov*en, Aquilonian
Website Facebook
Current members Magma
Past members Cooter Brown
Nate Bush
Weed Dragon
Band Logo
Bongzilla logo
Bongzilla are a sludge metal band from Wisconsin. Active in their initial run between 1995 and 2009 with a reformation in 2015 they are considered to be a seminal sludge act from the late 90s/early 2000s and gained notability from their tenure on Relapse Records. They are best known for having all of their songs referencing and directly being about weed in some way.


Early Years and the First Three Albums (1996 - 2002)Edit

Bongzilla formed sometime in 1995 in Wisconsin, quickly composing a host of songs inspired by their marijuana. Very little is known about the early years of the band except for their appearances on a host of split and EP releases between 1996 and 1999, the first being Mixed Bag on Rhetoric Records in 1996. Following a split with MeatJack another 7" EP entitled Hemp For Victory (Named after the vintage educational/propaganda film of the same name) was released on Thunder Lizard. Two more splits followed the same year and eventually Bongzilla was signed to Relapse Records.

The first release on this label was Methods for Attaining Extreme Altitudes released on CD on 27 January 1998. The band at this point made yearly appearances at the Milwaukee Metalfest, notably 1999 and 2000. The band's debut studio album Stash saw it's release on 20 April 1999 to positive reviews. A split with Corrupted, Noothgrush and Dystopia entitled Twin Threat To Your Sanity followed.

The band's second album saw release via Howling Bull America (With a reissue three years later via Relapse). Apogee was released on 11 May 2001 and showcased three new songs along with live recordings from 1998. A compilation of all of the band's EPs and splits to that point entitled Shake: The Singles saw release the next year. The band's third album Gateway saw release via Relapse on 3 September 2002.

Amerijuanican and Hiatus (2003 - 2009)Edit

Bongzilla would begin 2003 as part of the Relapse Contamination Festival, with their performance being released as a live album the next year. The band sporadically played shows and tours, with notable appearances at various festivals.

A lineup change prompted one Dixie Dave Collins to join the band as their bassist, leading them to record the band's fourth album. Amerijuanican was released via Relapse on 27 September 2005 to positive reviews and featured a cover of "Champagne and Reefer" by Muddy Waters. The band toured and remained active until 2009 when the group quietly took a hiatus, their last known show being Forward Fest alongside the likes of Bob Mould, Detroit Cobras and Neko Case to name a few.

Barbarian Records would reissue the Shake compilation as Nuggets in 2007 with three vbonus tracks while Relapse would reissue Stash with the Methods for Attaining Extreme Altitudes as bonus tracks.

Return (2015 - Present)Edit

In April 2015 it was announced Bongzilla was reforming with the Gateway lineup, first announcing a tour of Europe including dates at Heavy Days in Doomtown and Temples Festival along with a single date in NYC.[1] The band followed up with a four-date tour of the West Coast USA, a tour of the east coast USA and an appearance at Desertfest Belgium.[2]

Bongzilla would follow with a tour of the United States alongside Black Cobra, Lo-Pan, Against The Grain and Kings Destroy the next year and make an appearance at Maryland Deathfest.[3] The band toured the USA again that fall with Wizard Rifle and Buzzov*en on select dates.[4]

Bongzilla began 2017 with a local show in Wisconsin before embarking on another European tour, playing the likes of Roadburn Festival, DesertFest Berlin, DesertFest London, KrisionFest (Their first ever appearance in Spain) and have begun working on material for a new album. Bongzilla have also set course for a 2018 European tour with Dopethrone and Sons of Otis. Bongzilla would tour and perform several festivals in 2018 and 2019. However on 7 March 2020 it would be announced that Cooter Brown would retire from the band due to health and family reasons, with Bongzilla choosing to continue as a three-piece.


Studio AlbumsEdit

  • Stash (1999, Relapse Records)
  • Apogee (2001, Howling Bull America, Inc.)
  • Gateway (2002, Relapse Records)
  • Amerijuanican (2005, Relapse Records)

Extended PlaysEdit

  • Mixed Bag (1996, Rhetoric Records)
  • Hemp for Victory (1998, Thunder Lizard Recordings)
  • Methods for Attaining Extreme Altitudes (1998, Relapse Records)

Live AlbumsEdit

  • Contamination Festival 2003 (2004, Relapse Records)


  • Bongzilla / Meatjack (Split with Meatjack) (1997, Pinecone)
  • Cavity / Bongzilla (Split with Cavity) (1998, Rhetoric Records)
  • Hellchild / Bongzilla (Split with Hellchild) (1998, HG Fact)


  • Shake: The Singles (2002, Barbarian Records)
  • Nuggets (2007, Barbarian Records)
  • Stash / Methods for Attaining Extreme Altitudes (2007, Relapse Records)

Compilation AppearancesEdit

  • Painkiller Vol. II (1998, Devastating Soundworks)
  • He's No Good to Me Dead - 74 Minutes of Extreme Pain (1999, Game Two Records)
  • Twin Threat to Your Sanity (2001, Bad People Records)


Current MembersEdit

  • Michael Henry aka Magma - Drums (1995 - 2009, 2015 - Present)
  • Jeff Schultz aka Spanky - Guitars (1995 - 2009, 2015 - Present)
  • Michael John Makela aka Muleboy - Guitars, Vocals (1995 - 2009, 2015 - Present)

Former MembersEdit

  • Nathan Dethlefsen aka Weed Dragon - Bass (1995 - 2001) (Died 2018)
  • Nate Bush - Bass (Unknown Time Period)
  • Cooter Brown - Bass (2002 - 2004; 2015 - 2020)
  • "Dixie" Dave Collins - Bass (2004 - 2009?)

External LinksEdit


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