Hard rocking Canadian outfit Monster Truck are currently on the road across Europe with their fellow countrymen Nickleback.
Monster Truck released their sophomore album Sittin’ Heavy earlier this year and have been touring relentlessly across the globe in support of the record. Following the Nickleback arena shows, the band will continue to tour Europe through November and December as primary support to Billy Talent.
National Rock Review recently caught up with Monster Truck’s guitarist Jeremy Widerman whilst on tour with Nickleback in Germany to discuss life on the road, their latest album Sittin’ Heavy and their plans for the new year.
NRR: We spoke with you a couple of months back just before your new album came out, so we really appreciate you taking the time to speak to us again today.
Jeremy: No problem.
NRR: So you are currently out on the road with Nickleback across Europe, the tour is about to hit the UK in October. I was just wondering how have the shows been going so far?
Jeremy: Fantastic, a lot of fun. They give us a 45-minute set, and they give us access to their lighting rig and their screens. It kind of puts us into the position where we are at a point where we are able to take advantage of all that stuff because we’ve had a little bit of experience in these situations before. Yeah, the first batch of shows have been fantastic, and we are looking forward to hitting Berlin tomorrow.
NRR: Being on the road with your fellow Canadians Nickleback, what do you miss most about Canada when you are on tour?
Jeremy: My bed. You know coming over to Europe and the UK is always a treat for us, we are getting to see a tonne of new places and venues and meet people that we’ve never played in front of before. It’s hard to kind of reminisce about home other the basics of your bed and your family and your friends. When we are out here, it’s one of our favourite places to be, which is saying a lot because there’s a lot of different places for us to be on this tour and so far we have loved them and I’m sure we will love all of them. Hopefully, we will be returning soon.
NRR: I had visions of you guys holding a huge hockey game between the two bands in one of those massive arenas.
Jeremy: It’s what used to happen with the Billy Talent guys when they used to go out on the road in Canada, they would bring their equipment with them, and they would have mini road hockey games in the arena before the show.
NRR: How about the catering, have you guys managed to get ahold of Canadian stuff like Tim Hortons or Poutine on the rider?
Jeremy: I don’t like either of those things (laughing). Another thing that we love about coming over here is the cuisine. We are pretty open minded guys when it comes to all of the different kinds of things that we like to eat; we are always just happy if there is catering at all and usually just about everything that is there is always delicious. Again, it’s another one of the ways that Nickleback has been really gracious with having us out here and giving us access to all of their catering and all the people involved with their crew.
NRR: Obviously, you just mentioned you’ve got a 45-minute set, so you’ve got to pack a lot into the show. How do you go about picking a setlist for a show like this?
Jeremy: We’ve been a band long enough now and we’ve been in this situation enough times that we really know the songs that work well with a new audience. We’ve had a lot of success with a lot of different singles, so we know which songs to lean on. Of course, there’s always the new material which we will probably get out there. We’re just trying to make it as many bangers as possible and maybe throw one or two curve balls just to show the dynamic range of the band. It’s not as hard as it sounds.
NRR: With arena shows, it’s a much bigger space, you are often a lot further away from the audience. How much harder is it to connect with the crowd in large arena shows as opposed to clubs or theatres?
Jeremy: Again it’s just something that is kind of different for us when we are over here as opposed to when we are doing the same thing in America or Canada, which is that the crowds are excited and engaged with the opening band most of the time. There’s always going to be some people in the front row that just want to get to headliner and you are just not going to be able to win them over because they’ve been waiting for two hours, but we just think it’s a lot easier to do what you are describing in Europe and in the UK. We have a lot of fun playing to these crowds, and we find that with the light show, with the cameras and with the songs that we have it’s an easier task than ever to get everyone clapping and singing along.
NRR: Which track has been getting the biggest reaction on the tour so far?
Jeremy: You know we come out of the gates with “Don’t Tell Me How To Live” or with “Why Are You Not Rocking”, which are songs off the new record that are getting a lot of traction. We always finish off with the older songs that have always done well for us like “The Lion” and “Righteous Smoke”, so it’s nice to feel like we have a great arsenal of music to choose from. Again, there’s no real stand out kind of moment, the whole set is pretty high energy and a lot of fun. It’s a slow process sometimes starting out, getting four of five songs in and having the crowd realise that you are serious and you’ve got lots of tunes to play and we find that they all work well.
NRR: Which has been your favourite show of the tour so far?
Jeremy: The favourite show of the tour would probably be Munich two or three days ago. Germany especially is kind of a strong market for us, so we know we’ve got some fans in the audience. Last night in Hamburg was fantastic, we had a couple of fans in the front row, which always makes it a little bit easier to kick the door down at the beginning of the set. Germany in general, I’m just very excited about. I’m sure Berlin will be no different tomorrow.
NRR: Obviously when you are on the road, do you get much chance to see the cities that you are playing and is there anywhere on this run that you are playing for the first time around?
Jeremy: Yeah, Prague and that’s kind of something that we aren’t able to do very often on the road. On this tour, there are a lot of days off just because of the logistics concerned with the headliner, with Nickleback to get all of their stage set up and everything. We’ve had more time than ever to explore, and Prague was one of the places where we spent a couple of days, that was a lot of fun for us.
NRR: Do you listen to much music yourself when you are off stage whilst on the road. If so which bands have been the soundtrack to your tour so far?
Jeremy: In that situation, you could probably assume what we’ve been listening to (laughing). I’m not going to surprise you with anything I don’t think. There’s a lot of classic rock with Lynyrd Skynard, Bob Seeger, Bad Company and Grand Funk Railroad. You know every now, and again we’ve been listening to some hip hop or dance music just to switch things up, but most of the part it’s the bands you would expect to influence a band like us.
NRR: You released your new album Sittin’ Heavy a couple of months back. I was just wondering have you been happy with the response to the record so far?
Jeremy: Yeah I mean for us we were really trying to out do Furiosity, I think we kept up with it, I think it was just as strong of a release as Furiosity was, but in saying that I think we also left ourselves some room to improve.
Something we are really trying to do now is when we have these days off is that there’s time to start thinking about the next record, we definitely feel like there’s some unfinished business that we want to take care of the next one.
NRR: I heard there might be a video on the way for “The Enforcer” is that right?
Jeremy: Yeah I mean we are still trying to work it out because we are trying to go big with the idea for it. That’s something I’m still waiting to hear back from management and the label on. We’ve got big plans for that, and we will hopefully be able to execute them.
NRR: When do you think that’s likely to happen, will that be before the end of this year or into next?
Jeremy: Honestly man, I hesitate to say. Everything being ideal, before the end of the year.
NRR: Obviously this tour is going to take you pretty much up until near enough the end of this year. I was just wondering what plans do you have for 2017?
Jeremy: You know whenever we do one of these opening slot tours with these big bands, we always make it a priority to come back on our own and do headline shows. I think that’s something that we will try and do again with this one, but again it takes a while to figure all of that stuff out, and I think that’s something that you will hear about in the coming months.
NRR: That’s brilliant, and we are really looking forward to catching the show in Newcastle on the 25th October at the Metro Radio Arena, we can’t wait to see you guys over here with Nickleback. Thank you once again for taking the time to speak to us we really appreciate it, and we will see you soon.
Jeremy: Thank you very much, we will see you soon.
Monster Truck European shows with NICKELBACK:
Tue – 06 Oct: Marché Gare, Lyon, France *
Fri – 07 Oct: Le Forum, Vauréal, France *
Sun – 09 Oct: 3 Arena, Dublin, Ireland
Mon – 10 Oct: SSE Arena, Belfast, UK
Wed – 12 Oct: Motorpoint Arena – Nottingham, UK
Fri – 14 Oct: Genting Arena – Birmingham, UK
Sat – 15 Oct: Motorpoint Arena – Sheffield, UK
Mon – 17 Oct: SSE Arena Wembley – London, UK
Wed – 19 Oct: Arena – Manchester, UK
Thu – 20 Oct: O2 Arena – London, UK
Sat – 22 Oct: Echo Arena – Liverpool, UK
Mon – 24 Oct: Hydro Arena – Glasgow, UK
Tue – 25 Oct: Metro Radio Arena – Newcastle, UK
Monster Truck European shows with BILLY TALENT:
Tue – 22 Nov: Volkshaus – Zurich, Switzerland
Wed – 23 Nov: Docks – Lausanne, Switzerland
Fri – 25 Nov: Posthof – Linz, Austria
Sat – 26 Nov: Gasometer –Vienna, Austria
Sun – 27 Nov: Orpheum – Graz, Austria
Tue – 29 Nov: Zenith – Munich, Germany
Wed – 30 Nov: Schleyerhalle – Stuttgart, Germany
Fri – 02 Dec: Swiss Life Hall – Hannover, Germany
Sat – 03 Dec: Mitsubishi Electric Hall – Dusseldorf, Germany
Sun – 04 Dec: Festhalle – Frankfurt, Germany
Tue – 06 Dec: Sporthalle – Hamburg, Germany
Wed – 07 Dec: Haus Auensee – Leipzig, Germany
Fri – 09 Dec: Max Schmeling Halle – Berlin, Germany
Sat – 10 Dec: Emsland Arena – Lingen, Germany
Mon – 12 Dec: Eskulap – Poznan, Poland
Tue – 13 Dec: Progresja – Warsaw, Poland
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