By Christine Leonard
CALGARY – Big, bad and mean, Monster Truck is a Hamilton phenomenon with the multi-dimensional clout of a rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut. Since the four-piece released their third studio LP, True Rockers, last September, Monster Truck has been riding high on the momentum along with the testosterone-fueled lead single “Evolution,” featuring Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. Racking up tens of dozens of live shows since their previous album Sittin’ Heavy (2016), the close-knit band has come to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. Who knew that making a homemade meal could compete with opening for Deep Purple? Monster Truck, that’s who.
“I like to do a lot of culinary stuff. I put a fair amount of time into making sourdough bread in addition to doing a lot of Thai cooking. Basically, just enjoying being in the kitchen and trying to find new recipes to make and to liven up the ol’ dinner time at home,” reports guitarist Jeremy Widerman.
Along with breaking out ear-grabbing rock anthems at the drop of a checkered flag, Widerman is also a self-professed sourdough dealer to the stars. Or, at least, he’s trying to be.
“No one really wants it. It’s such an investment of time to get through the entire day of building the dough and then letting it sit overnight, and baking it the next day to have it turn out like shit,” Wilderman says of his efforts that he also tries to pass off to his bands member. “It really was like two or three months of not getting great results for me before I started getting some loaves I was satisfied with. So, I don’t know if people have enough time to wanna put into learning how to make bread. For me it ended up being worth it. But I’m not sure that’s something everyone wants to dive headfirst into.”
For a hot minute there we thought Widerman was talking about making an album instead of baking a loaf.
“You could say that,” he observes. “In the studio it’s a lot harder actually than in the kitchen with the sourdough. The sourdough kind of ends up being a thing where you know it’s good by looking at it the second you cut into it. You can see it from the outside, it’s got an exterior element to it that is crucial to knowing whether or not you did a good job. In the studio you don’t know if you’re happy sometimes until after the fact. There’s even an element to some of the songs on the new album where I didn’t’ realize I was happy with them until the album was out. Sometimes you second guess, or are worried about this or that, it’s really tough. I think some of the hardest things we’ve had to deal with as a band is knowing when an album is done. And it’s been a struggle every time.”
Well beyond the too-many-mechanics in the garage stage of their creative relationship, the foursome made sure to pack True Rockers with a crowd-pleasing array of heavy blues and hard rock tracks that showcase Monster Truck’s affinity for all things loud and greasy. You can hear it in the bouncing boogie of “Devil Don’t Care”, the electric urbanity of “Young City Hearts” and the Sunset Strip hustle of “Hurricane.” And if that doesn’t convince you, the iconic album cover most certainly will.
“That’s exactly what we’ve been going for,” Widerman says of the van-worthy portraits. “That was a very intentional move on our behalf with the cover art in that we wanted something big and boisterous and unapologetic. Kind of unflinching in its obviousness. And that’s what we did. We used a tattoo artist named Tony Sklepic (Sanitarium Studios) out of Edmonton. He does comic book style for the most part, but he’s tattooed a couple of members of the band. We asked him to do this cover and he knocked it out of the park for us!”
The other essential component of Monster Truck’s success lies in their unified vision for a putting on a riveting live show that will have fans reaching for their wallets and their beers.
“That’s definitely a fundamental aspect of trying to figure out whether or not a song is good. And that’s what I most envision when I’m working on a song, a transition, a part or a vocal hook with the band. I always try to put my mindset of how it’s going to feel to play live.”
If you believe the signals, it looks like Monster Truck has a long career of selling the edge of seats ahead of them.
“This is something that we’ve done over 10 years, but we’re the same band as when we started. There are people who are just getting onboard now who are bummed that they missed out eight years ago. They’re like, ‘Where have you been my whole life?’ and we’re like, ‘We’re right here!’”
Start your engines with Monster Truck on Feb. 6 at Capitol Ballroom (Victoria), Feb. 7 and 8 at Venue Nightclub (Vancouver), Feb. 12 at Cactus Jack’s Club House (Kamloops), Feb. 13 at The Palace Theatre (Calgary), Feb. 15 and 16 at Station on Jasper (Edmonton), Feb. 17 at Louis (Saskatoon), Feb. 19 at Pyramid (Winnipeg), Feb. 22 at Maxwell’s Concerts and Event (Waterloo), Feb. 23 at The Opera House Toronto, Feb 26 at Rumrunners (London)Louis', Monster Truck at The Palace Theatre, Pyramid, Station On Jasper