Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Juno Winners Monster Truck Release Debut Record Riding Major High

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Juno Winners Monster Truck Release Debut Record Riding Major High

Article excerpt

Monster Truck can't believe good fortune

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TORONTO - The four members of head-banging Hamilton rock outfit Monster Truck are not new to the Canadian music scene, having spent the past decade diligently slugging away in bands including Saint Alvia, the Reason and Eaglefight.

But there's one crucial difference already being felt by the quartet ahead of Tuesday's release of their debut LP "Furiosity," and it's one summed up by bassist/singer Jon Harvey with a succinctness appropriate for a band known for no-nonsense chug-and-slug rock.

That difference?

"I'd say: success," Harvey says with a smile.

He elaborates no further as his more garrulous guitarist Jeremy Widerman picks up where he left off, but in this case, perhaps no more information was really needed.

For one thing, Monster Truck claimed a Juno Award, for breakthrough group of the year, at last month's ceremony in Regina, without a full-length album to their name.

And on this day, the foursome is navigating a packed day of press with slight weariness but more appreciation, having encountered enough media indifference with past projects.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons Monster Truck is attracting so much attention. Garnering comparisons to Saskatoon's shaggy retro-minded Southern rockers the Sheepdogs, Monster Truck is a throwback that mines '70s riff-rock and sludge-slinging '90s grunge in almost equal measure, simultaneously inspiring well-earned comparisons to Deep Purple (for whom they opened) and Soundgarden.

And more superficially, the band has a fairly unified sense of style, swaddled as they are in faded denim, dense beards and unkempt manes.

"It's a product of being lazy," Widerman says of the band's hirsute style.

"I don't like shaving. I just don't like it," contributes Harvey.

"I honestly just look like a six-year-old when I shave my beard off," adds Widerman. "There's lots of reasons (for our style). There's definitely that element that we all spend so much time together, there's just a natural unifying trend that happens. It's not really a conscious decision. It just kind of happens naturally as a result of spending so much time together and hanging out together. We shop at the same stores."

The band came together in similarly organic -- even coincidental -- fashion. "Monster Truck" was the group's nickname for drummer Steve Kiely's "loud and crappy" van. They joked that it would be a good name for a band. Two days later, they were having their first practice.

For years, they had mused on starting a riff-rock band, just idle chit-chat while hanging out and "smoking lots of joints." They talked about it more than they meant to do it, but once the moniker emerged, everything else fell into place.

The band would be a "cover band with no cover songs," Widerman explains. It was a lark, and one that they didn't necessarily take all that seriously at first. …

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