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Fireworks Magazine Online 78 - Interview with Monster Truck
19 March 2017
MONSTER TRUCK hit the road
Interview by Carl Buxton
Monster Truck have been touring again throughout February and the beginning of March in their Canadian home country as support to Billy Talent and, just as this issue of Fireworks hits the shelves, will be bringing their show over to the UK and Ireland before continuing across Europe. A very hard working band, the amount of touring is paying off as their profile is ever increasing, culminating in the prestigious opening slot on Nickelback's arena tour last year. The latest album, 'Sittin' Heavy' came out a year or so ago now, so Fireworks was invited to talk to guitarist Jeremy Widerman about how well all this touring malarkey is going.
Definitely very well, yeah. Trying to follow up 'Furiosity', which has opened the door for us in the UK and Europe, was going to be a bit of an undertaking but we kind of ran the same game plan with 'Sittin' Heavy' as we did with 'Furiosity', knowing full well that the process we had before worked for us and we kept the dream rolling with the follow up.
I was watching some videos of you guys touring Germany, with the video blogs, and I must admit they're quite amusing in some places. There was one backstage where you were saying one of the worst things about touring is having to do interviews, so let's wrap this up in the next five minutes...
Yeah, chaining together six or seven of them in a row where you're getting asked the same question in each one and making sure that you still sound enthused the fifth time that you're getting asked that question... I much prefer doing them piecemeal like this where I'm only doing one a day, and typically for some reason or another, you don't seem to get the same question over and over again when you do them like this. I don't know why that is.
I guess the shows in Canada will pretty much sell out because you guys have got such a high profile now?
Yeah, although at the end of the day we're opening for Billy Talent and they're the main draw on the tour, so that will enable us to go into those arena size venues because we aren't quite there yet in Canada. But yeah, we're definitely going to be helping the bill and adding a draw to those shows.
Prior to the Billy Talent tour you did the arena shows with Nickelback – how did that go?
Fantastic! Yeah, really a lot of fun and kind of a real introduction to us as far as getting used to playing on the arena stages on a consistent basis, which is something we've only done in small doses before. Just kind of learning what worked for us on those big stages, and interacting with the crowd and taking the show that we're used to doing in the clubs, and putting it into that arena scenario which was something that was a little weird for us - took us about a week and a half or two weeks to get it really working well. Now we've kind of gotten the feel, we've got that. It was actually really nice to be able to do that now and bring it back to Canada where we feel pretty comfortable in those bigger arenas and it's not going to be such a shell-shock when we come out on that first stage on the upcoming tour with Billy Talent.
With the European tour, and watching some of those tour blog videos of your escapades, I was wondering how much down time you had between the shows to go out and visit the city you were playing in?
With Nickelback we had loads of time because due to the size of the stages they were putting together and the massive amount of trucks that they had travelling to build their set up we were given usually about a day off after every show. So those of us in the band that didn't want to explore and see different sights in the city that we were in, we were able to see that set-building because there was all this downtime between each show. So there was a lot, a lot more than we were used to in fact on this tour. To the point where I think some of us even felt it was a little too much because we like to be in that groove playing back to back to back so that we can get some kind of momentum building. So it was also an experience for us too, to be able to just do the one show and to have a day off and then another show and finding alternate ways of keeping that momentum flowing and keeping the vibe of a live show up.
You got sick with a throat problem during the German leg of the tour several years ago? How did you cope with that?
What you're hitting on there is really kind of an example of what I've been able to avoid, based on the experiences I gained from those tours. Being in those foreign countries, being in the cold in those tough conditions, and in that case, me getting strep throat on a really long European run. That's something that was a horrible experience and something, when I got home from that tour and started to investigate why that happened and why it took so long to get over, I kind of modified my diet and my lifestyle a little bit to ensure that it didn't happen again. It was like the removal of a lot of sweets, generally taking care of myself a lot more, which is something that I've been able to do in the last year or two and it's kind of minimised those sicknesses and allowed me to stay at the top of my game for the tours. Which is obviously extremely important when you're doing runs with Nickelback in arenas.
Exactly, and would that same attention to detail apply to Jon (Harvey), Brandon (Bliss) and Steve (Kiely) as well I take it?
Yeah, I mean everyone's gotta find their own way, right? For me I was finding that I didn't realise that sugar was having such a massive impact on my immune system and kind of causing me to get sick and stay sick for a lot longer than the average person. For other people, maybe drinking less, for others, exercising more. Our singer Jon, he's just lucky enough that he can keep doing the same thing he's always done and he stays as healthy as an ox. Everyone's got their own kind of method to their madness and it allows us to kind of learn from our experiences and find ways to keep our crew and everybody as healthy as possible.
The new European tour is in March and April. You have five dates in England, one in Scotland, one in Northern Ireland, including one in Eire but none in Wales – any particular reason or was it down to promoters?
A lot of those little one-offs over there, outside of the UK and the German runs was a lot to do with what we saw kind of happening on the Nickelback run, where we had a better reaction in some places than others, and it was up to us to kind of bust the timeline down into a way that makes the most efficient use of our travel time and our expenses. So that was just kind of our hunches that we had, based on the reactions that we were getting on those previous opening slots, and making sure that we returned to the places that gave us the best responses so that we can maximise the exposure and efficiency of the touring.
The UK tour starts in Bristol on March 15th with many dates selling out fast.