EXCLUSIVE – MONSTER TRUCK INTERVIEW
Monster Truck have been hanging onto the coat tails of Nickelback across Europe and now they’re breaking new ground in the UK. RUSHONROCK editor Simon Rushworth spoke exclusively to guitarist Jeremy Widerman.
RUSHONROCK: Bring us up to date on the world of Monster Truck…
JEREMY WIDERMAN: In the great scheme of things we’ve been on the road for the last five years – that’s basically what Monster Truck is all about! The last few weeks have been awesome – the set’s been very well received and Nickelback have been very accommodating.
RUSHONROCK: Getting top open up for one of the biggest bands in the world in sold out arena must be fun – how did you bag the gig?
JW: The relationship with Nickelback started last year when they agreed to take us out to Australia for their shows down there. It was a great start – what a place to visit and play!
RUSHONROCK: Is the arena tour with Nickelback part of a long-term master plan for Monster Truck?
JW: I try to look at things with a short-term view. There are a lot of people in and around the band who are thinking of Monster Truck’s long-term future and that’s fine. It’s important to have that perspective. But I don’t want to get carried away. If we can play great every night and write a couple of songs on the road then I’m happy.
RUSHONROCK: And are you happy right now?
JW: Playing with Nickelback is a fantastic opportunity for a band like Monster Truck. The arenas are at least half full when we start the set and usually full when we’re playing the last song. It’s a chance to play in front of thousands of new people every night and we’re not going to waste that chance. I’m loving it!
RUSHONROCK: Canada must be proud of what bands like Mosnter Truck and Nickelback are achieveing on the global stage…
JW: Canada has always had more than its fair share of successful recording artists and in part that’s testimony to the support we get from the public back home. As close as we are to the US, in musical terms we’re a completely different entity. We get a lot of support from local and national government – there’s a lot of attention paid towards the arts back home.
RUSHONROCK: Have you reached the point in your life where music is your life?
JW: I was part of a big punk rock scene growing up but I never really considered music as something I could make my living from. It was – and still is – my passion. It wasn’t until my early 20s that I started to think about taking it more seriously. But every single time I tried to make it my primary job I failed. I suffered a few knockbacks and maybe that has shaped the way I look at things now. Monster Truck is my main job but there are times when I still don’t quite believe it. In reality it’s impossible to consider my music as anything other than my main source of employment. It demands so much of my time but as I’ve got older I’ve understood that it can be both a passion and a profession.
RUSHONROCK: But your profession can become mundane…
JW: Of course and the danger is that you begin to see everything as a job. As a band we know we have to keep the creative juices flowing and remember why we started doing this in the first place. It’s a balancing act in a way. Of course we have to take it seriously but being in a band should still be fun.
RUSHONROCK: You’ve talked about the support you get back home but what’s the classic rock scene like in Canada right now?
JW: Monster Truck don’t really fit into the mainstream Canadian scene. As I said I grew up as part of a punk rock scene and we’re the remnants of the that scene – guys who didn’t quite fit in and came together looking for something different. When we started we couldn’t worry about trying to fit in or about who was coming out to watch us. We just had to focus on being ourselves and creating our own sound. You need to realise that there are a lot of people out there and some of them might like the way you play. It’s just finding those people! There was definitely a hole that needed filling and Monster Truck filled it.
RUSHONROCK: Would you say the UK and Europe is your spiritual home musically?
JW: We’re more at home in the UK and Germany than we are in Canada – at least in terms of music. Back home we always get asked why we don’t sound more Canadian and I guess it’s because we grew up listening to British and European bands. It’s part of the reason why we keep coming back for more.
RUSHONROCK: What can we expect from Nickelback this month?
JW: Nickelback are right at the top of their game and they’re on fire now that we’ve hit the UK. They started this tour having not payed live for some time and I think that was obvious during the first couple of shows. They were superb as always but something was missing. It didn’t take them long to get back to their best and at their best there is no better live band on the rock scene. British fans are in for a treat – believe me.
I’m a journalist specialising in sport and rock music. Can’t play either so I write about them instead.