Monster Truck, a heavy riff-rock band from the city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada, found a future in a name.
“As soon we came up with the idea to call it Monster Truck, after our drummer’s big old van, everything took off,” guitarist Jeremy Widerman said.
After the band named itself after Steve Kiely’s van, it wrote lyrics and music based upon the titles of songs that had yet to be written.
“That happened with ‘Sweet Mountain River’ and a bunch of songs,” Widerman recalled. “We named a song and then we wrote it.”
Widerman sees Monster Truck’s writing process as an example of the group’s solidarity.
“It says a lot of about the members of the group all being on the same page,” he said. “As soon as we say something like ‘Sweet Mountain River,’ we immediately know what that means and what the outcome should be. That works because we’ve all had that grand vision from the beginning.”
Monster Truck consists of veterans from the Hamilton scene. They got together strictly for selfish reasons: To play music they loved.
“Sometimes it feels a little cosmic, like it was meant to be,” Widerman said. “But there were tangible forces at work, too. We’re all from Hamilton. We all knew each other. Acquaintances and friendships were there already. Jon Harvey (bass and lead vocals) and I had known each other more than a decade, but we’d never been in the same band.”
Before Monster Truck, Widerman, especially, held a militantly negative view of the music business.
“The band, at least from my perspective, was meant to show a middle finger to the music industry,” he said. “I was sick of record labels, booking agents, promoters, other bands. Everything about the music industry made me sick.
“I just wanted to do something for myself, something I really loved. Not everyone in the band was so aggressively against the music industry, but everyone was looking for something they believed in. It was really about us enjoying it, having fun.”
Fun being infectious, listeners caught on to Monster Truck’s on-stage joy.
“People noticed it right away,” Widerman remembered. ‘ “Hey, these guys don’t care. They’re doing it for themselves.’ And that’s something we’ve not forgotten about. We stay true to that to this day, maintaining the fun factor.”
Along with the good time Monster Truck has, the group’s inner politics are far from the familiar formula of singer-songwriter-leader and backup musicians. Everyone in Monster Truck counts.
“Very few bands are like us,” Widerman said. “And it really is the main strength of our group, four members who are all equally important and all contributing to the greater good. And people see that on stage. It’s exciting to see four people who’re coming together on the same page, cut from the same cloth.”
Monster Truck is unleashing its new album, Furiosity, May 28. Widerman believes it’s the band’s best work as well as his personal best.
“I recorded a lot records with a lot of bands,” he said. “I’m one of those guys who’s never happy, always thinking it can better. I always want to revise and edit and change stuff.
“But I can say, honestly, for the first time in my career, I’m completely satisfied with what we’re putting forward. Furiosity is exactly what I wanted and a great representation of the band.”