The members of Hamilton's Monster Truck are gearing up for the biggest summer of their lives.
Fresh off a Juno nod for breakthrough group of the year, the band's newest single Sweet Mountain River has climbed to number two on the Canadian rock radio charts.
Couple that with a new album dropping this month and tours on the horizon with Alice in Chains and Sevendust, and things are looking pretty rosy for Hamilton's favourite throwback riff-rock band.
"It's a pretty exciting time for us," said bassist and lead singer Jon Harvey. "This is the most success I've ever seen playing music."
That's not for lack of experience. Members of Monster Truck came to the band honestly, after years of slugging it out in popular local groups like The Reason and St. Alvia Cartel. They play a kind of music often reserved for bar bands — tuned down, riff-heavy rock and roll, smothered with shimmering organ lines.
It was a conscious choice to go for that sort of sound, Harvey says. "We'd go to shows and hate what we were seeing, and didn't like what was on the radio," he said. "I just want to play what I want to hear."
And what they want to hear is sincere, classic rock and roll. "There's so much driven by just oversexed plastic elements in pop and rock that it loses all of its sincerity and all its goodness to appease the little desires we have in our subconscious," Harvey said. "I think real enjoyment and experiencing something real is far more valuable than any marketing gimmick."
'Hopefully they don't throw stuff at us'
The band has found increasing success on the back of its live show and two EPs — a self-titled effort and 2004's The Brown EP. Since then, they've played with some big names, from parody hair metal act Steel Panther to Terry and Deaner of Fubar fame — while driving through the streets of Toronto on a flatbed truck, no less.
They've also opened for rock legends Deep Purple, probably the biggest show of their careers to date. Next week they'll hit the road across the U.S. with Sevendust, a nu metal band that's decidedly outside their usual kind of show mates.
"We're not sure how we're going to connect with that kind of crowd, but we'll see, won't we?" Harvey said. "Hopefully their fans like us and don't throw stuff at us," he laughed.
Then it's off to Vancouver on Canada Day to start a tour with 90s grunge icons Alice in Chains. Hamiltonians clamoring for a dose of Monster Truck will have to wait a little while for a hometown show, as nothing has been announced throughout the summer. You can, however, see them at Edgefest in Toronto's Downsview Park on July 31.
In the middle of that hectic touring schedule, the band's new record Furiosity is set to drop on May 28. Harvey calls it a well-rounded rock and roll record with a lot of throwback elements that's "also as current as the music we like — which for the most part is pre-2000s."
"It's basically a good time."
You can buy the record's first single Sweet Mountain River right now on iTunes. The song is upbeat but accessible — with hints of Mississippi Queen's good time groove percolating in the background.
"That was definitely the most — for lack of a better word — radio friendly song we had on there," Harvey said. "But there's a bunch of way heavier tracks on there. We're always going to play heavy tunes."
Harvey says the band is just trying to put out a record with plenty of variety, just like their favourite Led Zeppelin records.
"I like albums that sound different all the way through," he said.
"If I wanted to listen to one song over and over again I'd just keep buying AC/DC records."
For more information on Monster Truck or for tour dates, visit Ilovemonstertruck.com.