MONSTER TRUCK as part of EDGEFEST JINGLE BELL CONCERT SERIES at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Friday and Saturday (December 14 and 15), doors 9 pm, $16, RT, SS, TM, UE; and opening for ALEXISONFIRE at Sound Academy (11 Polson), December 28, doors 7 pm, all ages, $40. LN. See listing.
Jeremy Widerman, guitarist for Monster Truck, is feeling overwhelmed. His band is attempting to record its much-anticipated debut full-length album of rollicking, infectious 70s-tinged rock while also playing a ton of shows.
"That was a horrible idea," says Widerman from his home in Hamilton, amusement in his voice. "It's not working at all. It was a mistake. The good thing is that the tail end of the record came just as the shows started. So it's a balancing act between keeping our vocal cords in decent condition for the shows and in tip-top condition for the record."
But an on-the-rise band's gotta do what it's gotta do. Monster Truck have had a year that could best be described as, well, monstrous. Two singles from their 2011 Brown EP charted in the top 10 on Canadian rock radio. They won a CASBY for best new band, opened for Slash and Deep Purple and toured with the Sheepdogs.
Their label, Dine Alone, and fans want a full-length - and the four-piece is trying hard to make that happen. Back in the spring they recorded and mixed one at an L.A. studio. But the producer's overly old-school approach (he used analog tape but didn't have enough of it to splice together takes) meant the band had to nail songs in one go.
"It ended up sounding like a demo," Widerman says. "But we learned a lot from the process of failing. When we went to do it again" - partly at North Carolina's Echo Mountain and the rest at various Toronto studios - "we'd had the chance to test out the brand new songs at shows and also write more. We spent a lot of time making the drums sound more live and getting gnarly guitar tones as opposed to a big, slick rock sound."
Those sessions only began in early November, yet the band is aiming to release the record in early 2013. Are they feeling pressure to get it out fast?
"No, I refuse to bend to pressure at this point, especially since that's kind of what went wrong with the L.A. stuff," says Widerman. "I felt like I was getting manipulated in a few different ways. It ended up destroying my confidence for, like, three months until I finally realized I wasn't standing firm on things the way I used to. I wasn't following my gut.
"As soon as we recovered from that mistake, we started over and came at the record with newfound confidence. It's funny. We're all 30 now, and I'd thought I'd already learned those music industry lessons. But there was still one left. Actually, there are probably a few more coming that I'm not looking forward to."