By Will Oakeshott
One of the truest ambitions of an artist is to create a composition which is undoubtedly timeless. A creation that stands the test of time and transcends generations to incite the interest of aficionados of all ages. Honestly, to design such a piece is a rarity, but not an impossibility. As this writer’s seniors often make the accusation that music in ‘their’ day took a lot more expertise and genius, ultimately causing it to be more memorable; there are bands still driving to produce music that is just as immortal in this day and age. For Canada’s Monster Truck their second album Sittin’ Heavy arguably has this exact potential, but not without channelling some of the greats of yesteryear. As guitarist Jeremy Widerman discusses, when being approached by fans of his classic rock band, more often than not these admirers do not subscribe to just any one age group but almost EVERY age group.
“It actually happens a lot but I think the most interesting part about that is with the older rock guys especially, they always hear something different. It’s usually one of their favourite bands, which is an amazing compliment; because you have these individuals hearing their old favourites. Some might hear Creedence Clearwater Revival, but some might hear Led Zeppelin and others Deep Purple. But what they are really saying is they love classic rock music, that is just really inspiring for us moving forward.”
Jeremy adds: “On top of that there are kids even younger than that, around the age of eight or nine years old getting into us. They really have fallen in love with our band and furthermore bonded with their parents over the music we create. It’s absolutely amazing for us, but we did try to create a diverse record with Sittin’ Heavy. That was the plan, to not limit ourselves, we didn’t want to do another Furiosity (the band’s debut album) replica but we also didn’t want to lose the identity we have and what we adore with our art.”
Although it would seem from the excited responses from Widerman that the band were very clear set on their sophomore album with their direction to the point that the whole creative and recording process was smooth sailing, this is not entirely accurate. Matter-of-factly while the quartet was on tour in Australia supporting Nickelback, the four-piece were still hard at work crafting what would become Sittin’ Heavy.
“We were in this situation where we were supposed to have the record completely finished, that was back in August. So we sat down and reflected on what we had and realised we probably didn’t have enough. The material didn’t seem to be strong enough, there certainly wasn’t enough diversity throughout the songs either.”
It would seem that the pressure of timeline, lack of confidence in material and being away from the comforts of home was all the correct ingredients Monster Truck needed. During the adventure down in our fine nation, the creative juices were flowing immensely. One of the results of this was possibly the most striking track on the full-length titled, For The People. An anthem comparable to Creedence Clearwater Revival, it is so infectious that it can literally remain in the listeners’ mind weeks after its first listen.
“Funnily enough I actually wrote the framework for that song, For The People, while we were in Australia touring with Nickelback. I was actually working really hard every day in the dressing rooms of those arenas to come up with some newer material for when we returned to the studio after touring.
“It was just a great time for me personally; I was in a great creative space and I was playing tons of guitar. Really, I was reflecting a lot on our first batch of songs which were on our first EP, especially one called, Runnin’. I think, For The People, captures that early era of our sound and sadly a lot of people will never get to hear those songs because the release isn’t known that well. Truthfully Monster Truck wasn’t known that well back then either, so there is really not a lot of exposure of those songs unfortunately.”
With the aforementioned memories describing the band’s time in Australia, one could assume that Monster Truck have hit the big time quickly and are playing venues most outfits would never dream of. This is not the case at all, if anything the quartet have only just begun the adventure into the role of headliner act and are very aware of the good fortune they have experienced touring with arena acts. But from what Jeremy admits, their progress just equates to more work which they are more than happy to do.
“I wouldn’t call it a reward, more so a graduation. This is the next level of our career, I hope. We are becoming a known headline act to a degree and people are willing to pay between $40-$60 to see us, we want to deliver on that and that price. So we want and need to provide a really well made show and give the people so much that they are almost exhausted at the end of it. It’s gratitude for gratitude if you like and we are giving people their money’s worth.”
Jeremy elaborates: “We are basically playing Sittin’ Heavy in full on our current run of shows. But we have extended our set into the 90-minute time frame, so we can play older material as well. We are just trying to give the people everything we have got.”
Is this a performance Australia will be lucky enough to experience? How was the first adventure down under?
“I would love it if Australia was on our itinerary for 2016, but I have absolutely no clue if it actually is. Obviously our schedule is quite jam packed right now, it’s hard to say, but I really hope so. It was a phenomenal time; we felt we were embraced and that the food was amazing and that the people were incredible. The shows were fantastic and it was a great first introduction for us especially doing arena shows of that magnitude, we felt very fortunate and are very thankful for the experience.”
At this point of Monster Truck’s career, it is basically unknown whether they will be a timeless act; their familiar classic rock formula and work ethic has the four Canucks on the right pathway, but ironically only time will tell. Having experienced both levels of shows and venues on their Australian tour alone (the four-piece did a small sideshow in Sydney last year), a final suiting question for the outfit who could be on the road to greatness became rather apparent: Which type of show does the ‘Truck prefer?
“It’s hard to have a preference man, because you don’t get to choose. You cannot say I want to play a thousand cap venue in this city, or a stadium in another. You just have to love it all, there is always something good about each one, just as there is always downsides got each one. You just have to be open minded and able to shift into different gears when necessary. We want to make it a great show for everybody from every angle. Besides that, the attitude is the same, we want to execute the performance with the same energy and elite level as we would any other night, regardless of the size of the venue or the amount of people watching us.”
Keep on Truckin’, the next destination might be the best one yet. Sitting’ Heavy is out now on Dine Alone / Cooking Vinyl