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
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)
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
bonus tracks while Relapse would reissue Stash with the Methods for Attaining Extreme