Taking an old sound and injecting it with a contemporary feel, Monster Truck are on course to make some serious damage in 2016 as they plan to venture to new territory in the name of Rock n’ Roll! Guitarist Jeremy Widerman, chats confidently about the bands experience in recording “Sittin’ Heavy”, as well as the bands intentions to take their music to as many places as they can on this album! So step inside the world on Monster Truck, where everything is loud and it’s always Saturday night!
OD – Let’s talk about this new album of yours and when the writing process began?
JEREMY – It basically started on the last tour. We started working on what is now “Sittin’ Heavy’ during the entire touring cycle of “Furiosity”, so I guess it’s safe to say that we were writing from around 2013 through to 2015 or thereabouts. When we came off tour, we had pretty much half the album written and we then just started working on the stuff like arrangements and melodies with our producer Eric Ratz.
OD – When you were coming up with the name for the album how did “Sittin’ Heavy” come about?
JEREMY – It was really just an inside joke. We had just finished a show and we were back in the catering area. Steve (Kiely, drums) has just finished eating three plates of food and was looking kind of green under the collar and I asked him “hey how you doing there bud, have you had a little too much?” and he just responds with “yea man, I’m sittin’ heavy” and I just immediately just thought to myself, “that would be a great album title”. Even though it’s a pretty stupid story, the title is just so on the money, if you know what I mean.
As soon as I mentioned it to the rest of the guys, they all agreed that it would be a great name for the record. At that point I knew that we just had to call it “Sittin’ Heavy” because in this band, when everyone agrees on something so quickly, it means that it just has to be done!
OD – Overdrive first heard of Monster Truck back when you released “Don’t Fuck With The Truck” back in November 2012 and we’ve been hooked ever since. The music you guys create is just so satisfying when looking at the spectrum of the Hard Rock genre. The new album just solidifies the fact that you have an inept ability to write catchy as hell, Saturday night style, hard-rockin’ bangers! Is that the intention when you are writing new music; to just keep it steady and deliver that hard-rock punch?
JEREMY – Well when we started the band we had a really clear idea of what we wanted to be and how we wanted to sound. The formula for our songwriting came to us very early, so when we did that and saw how successful things were, we just continued that mandate and decided to just stick to that design. I think sometimes that bands try to much to evolve from record to record and they can lose sight of what they are. That’s something that I’ve never really enjoyed very much and when I find a band that I really dig and then they bring out the next album and it’s a completely different sound, it’s really disappointing.
Monster Truck have really just stuck to our original blueprint but at the same time adding little tiny screw turns here and there to kind of evolve one or two songs on every new record to show that we are moving forward and not just resting on our laurels. There is a really fine line to walk there, as we have to be careful that we are not alienating the fans that we already have but all the time we need to show that we are growing and maturing.
OD – How did you record this album, was there anything out of the ordinary that you hadn’t tried before with Eric Ratz?
JEREMY – Well on this album we went about doing things the way that we have always approached laying down a new record but we also used many different tactics throughout the recording process, which we haven’t really done before. We were demoing all together at first but then on occasion we were laying down separate tracks for the organ and the drums and the guitars on some songs and on other tracks we were laying down some live jams also.
There’s a bit of everything on there and I think that it really adds to the diversity to the album and gives the listener a little bit of that “live sound”. Half the record was tracked all together because we really wanted to give people that sound. That “live” sound is a very important part of who Monster Truck really are.
OD – You have rarely been over to Europe apart from the odd festival appearance and that tour with Slash, can we expect more dates over this side of the pond?
JEREMY – Always! It’s the mandate of the band to get as far and as wide as possible. Being that we are still kind of unknown in many parts of Europe, it’s really up to us to get over there and start doing the work. The places that we have already played have proved that people like us and want us back! There is a demand for Monster Truck and we hope to deliver to where ever that demand is. We are planning to venture into new territories this year and hopefully play before more people who have never seen us before.
OD – So there is nothing iron clad in terms of a confirmed European tour as of yet?
JEREMY – Not as this point. We have a small run of dates in Germany, Netherlands, France and the U.K. but hope to return later in the fall.
OD – This is the first album with Mascot Records, how does it feel to share a home with label mates Black Label Society and Joe Bonamassa?
JEREMY – It’s unbelievable man! It’s something that we really missed out on with the last record “Furiosity”, as we found out when we were over in the U.K and couldn’t find our records anywhere in any of the stores. It’s somewhat frustrating when you are putting 100% into writing the best music that you can and travelling halfway across the world to promote the band and the kids can’t even get hold of the record!
That was something that we really wanted to rectify with this album and we perused the idea of a European label to help get the Monster Truck word out there and Mascot Records was just a perfect fit for us. Mascot has been so great for us, generating loads of press and coming up with great ideas to help expose the band to these markets that we have had trouble with in the past.
OD – The video for “Don’t Tell Me How to Live”, is pretty epic, who came up with the idea for it?
JEREMY – Our manager was actually the one who came up with that idea. He just sat us down and said, “we should do a video to make you look like that biggest fucking Rock band in the world”, so he already had the idea for this big industrial, grandiose setting. The main hurdle for this video was finding the location and we spent something like a month looking for the prefect place and then when we found it, we raced over to this very un-sexy quarry in Ontario and I remember thinking when it started to snow, “this is just fucking perfect”!
OD – What are your thoughts on the current state of Hard Rock now and it’s future?
JEREMY – I think that it feels really good now. It’s honestly not as much in Canada as it is a global movement, where you’re seeing bands live Rival Sons, Crobot, Scorpion Child and Buffalo Summer, where they are all doing the same thing as we are, which is trying to keep Hard Rock and Classic Rock at the forefront. It’s great to get be on tour and find out about these bands out there doing the same thing we are doing. You kind of feel that there is a kinship of sorts, we have all chosen a path in life to preserve Hard Rock!
That was actually one of the great things about coming over to Europe. Seeing all of these really cool bands hitting the road and being well received by fans, was a really assuring sign for us and I’m sure it as for all those other bands that play the same genre. Just seeing the reaction from shows over in Europe, shows that things are really happening and I feel that Rock music is on the brink of a resurgence of sorts.
People understandably get really excited about the heritage shows from these classic Rock bands who come back to get their retirement money, but you know there is something that really sucks about that! There’s a kind of dangerous line there, as these big shows are sucking the money out of the fans pockets that would normally be spent checking going to shows and buying albums from some new music. You can’t spend your entire time at an arena spending $300 watching your favourite band from back in the day.
I think that some of the best memories for people who enjoy live music, is seeing a band that are giving it 100% in a small sweaty club, which may never happen again! Those are the most epic shows that people usually talk about when reminiscing about their history of live shows. You have to risk a couple of stinker shows, in the hope of catching something really special.
OD – If you were given the chance to jam with any band at all from any era, who would it be?
JEREMY – I would like to jam with Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad and it would be the year 1971! That would be so sweet!
OD – What would be your all time favourite record of all time?
JEREMY – I hate to say it but it’s not a Rock record! It’s a solo female singer / songwriter that I heard when I was in Germany two years ago. I listen to it as much as I listen to anything else. I spend all my time listening to Hard Rock and when I get home I like to chill out to something different. The album is called “Aventine” and the artist is Agnes Obel.
OD – Are Monster Truck a band that are constantly writing, or do you tend to just concentrate on touring when you’re on the road?
JEREMY – No, we are a band that constantly write. For us to get fifteen great songs, we might have written fifty! We are constantly working and keep on top of things. We feel that by just writing all the time keeps us sharp and on point. The longer you work on things the better you become, that ‘s a fact!
OD – At what point in your career did you really realise that you were doing something that you truly loved and felt that things are working out for you?
JEREMY – To be honest, that moment came that day that I plugged in my guitar in the rehearsal studio with the rest of the guys in Monster Truck! That first band practice with those guys was just magical. I have been in bands for the last twenty years and that chemistry was just mind-blowing for me. I knew that this was my calling in life.
It’s what I was really searching for in music and I didn’t even know it. It was the perfect concoction of everything that initially spiked my interest and got me playing music in the first place. I was also very drunk on whiskey (laughs). From that moment on; I just wanted to make that feeling keep going and now it’s been seven years already. I’m happy to say that things are still just as fun and even though we never expected to get to where we are now, I just know that what I’m doing personally and collectively with the rest of the guys; is something really special.
Monster Truck ‘Sittin’ Heavy’ is out NOW! To purchase your copy, just click on the graphic below.
© OVERDRIVE 2016