Don’t tell Monster Truck that Rock is dead. Rock isn’t dead, it’s alive and burning a trail across the globe. Don’t fuck with the Truck. We caught up with Jon Harvey to have an in-depth analysis of the new album, ‘True Rockers’.
ANTIHERO: Where are you at the moment? Are you out on the road or are you back home?
Jon Harvey: I’m at home right now in Hamilton.
ANTIHERO: That’s a bit unusual for you to get some time off.
Jon Harvey: Yeah, it’s been a little while actually. We finished our record a while ago but we’re just kind of waiting for the touring segments to begin. Then we’ll get back, but it’s been really lovely. We’ve had a great, great time off. Usually, we don’t get this much.
ANTIHERO: I understand that this time around you actually recorded the album a little bit differently, in that you did it on the road?
Jon Harvey: Yeah, well we recorded some of it on the road. We went to this church actually in North Carolina and finished it all up. We demoed a lot of it on the road. I think that it is very beneficial. Definitely gives you something to do every day.
ANTIHERO: Yeah, I mean did you do some stuff on the bus? Was it between sets?
Jon Harvey: We had a dressing room rigged. We were mostly on recording in the arenas because there’s always a roof. Yamaha lent us an electronic kit. We grabbed our recording interface and the computer, we’d all plug into it and then we’d just jam in the dressing room every day. We started writing songs that way and it turned into something we did really religiously. It turned out a bunch of songs on the record.
ANTIHERO: How do you feel about the way it turned out? You’ve got to be pleased with it.
Jon Harvey: Yeah, I love it. It’s the baby, right? When I make a record I’m just like, “This is great. This is exactly like we wanted” and I am in love with it because I think to do that with your own work, I don’t know, that’s a bad sign. I’m pretty content with what we have. I think it’s a fun record which is exactly what we were trying to do. I’m pretty pleased.
ANTIHERO: What about the actual recording, you say you demoed some stuff on the road, what about the actual recording itself?
Jon Harvey: We recorded it in Asheville, North Carolina. At a place called Echo Mountain. It is beautiful. It’s an old converted church, beautiful, lots of space and ground and they have all the best gear. They have a, one of three in the world, Marshall prototypes. Which is the craziest amp I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s basically the offset Marshall, which is one of the most famous ones that you use all the time. Beautiful town, so much beer. Like the brewing capital of America. It’s ridiculous. There’s like 100,000 people and 10 breweries. That’s outrageous. Lovely place. We went to the south and did it and then we recorded some stuff in Toronto as well. It came out like how you got it.
ANTIHERO: Yeah, it sounds pretty good. I wonder if you could take me through just track by track and tell me a little bit about each one. Where it was recorded, maybe the idea behind the songs? If that’s okay?
Jon Harvey: “True Rocker” is the first one, right?
ANTIHERO: That’s correct.
Jon Harvey: Okay, with “True Rocker”, we did that one in Asheville in the church. Had a lot of fun. We wrote that song just as kind of a joke. We didn’t know it was going to be the title track or anything like that. We just kind of, I thought it was fun. I thought it was like a Twisted Sister type thing. Which led to Dee Snider himself who came along and ended up being on the track because he’s a gracious person and he and I wrote another track that he did. It was really awesome. The song is basically about being a rocker and having a good time.
ANTIHERO: Sounds like a great song to open a live set?
Jon Harvey: Yeah, I think we hope that all of them are. Yeah, it’s a good time. We really have fun playing it too. It’s really fun, it’s got a lot of attitude to it and I really like that.
ANTIHERO: Next up is “Thunder Truck” then?
Jon Harvey: Oh yeah, with “Thunder Truck” it was actually a song we wrote for Sitting Heavy, that we demoed before but it wasn’t there. Then we went back at it and Darin and I wrote a really good, or what we think is a really good verse and chorus. Then, yeah, it’s basically about wanting to get a listen to thrash metal and have a good time with your friends. It’s probably the first time we’ve had such a prominent organ lead, which I think was missing in our band.
ANTIHERO: That brings us to track three, it sounds, well… “Evolution”, sounds a little bit different to my ears for something that Monster Truck normally do in terms of sound and style.
Jon Harvey: Yeah, we decided that we should probably take the chances and why not go for it, toss our hat in the ring of modern rock. It was just a fun experiment kind of thing to see how it would go over. It’s pretty different, but why not? We’re not interested in same standards and we’re not interested in being that band that just always sounds the same. That cuts the same record every time. I think, for the most part, it was a great experience in everything else. We might never do it again, who knows? Definitely different, definitely fun. We did that one in Toronto with Gavin Brown and I did it, kind of after the fact. The track itself-it relates to … how people in the world are already so corrupt that the devil doesn’t want to buy your soul. So, it’s one of those things where it’s like, there’s a line in the song that says, you can’t sell your soul if no one wants to buy it. And it’s like, that’s how I feel about it. It’s one of those things where people like to blame things on the devil, but I mean, you have to take some responsibility for your own evil every once in a while.
ANTIHERO: So, being cool is somewhat overrated? Is that what you think?
Jon Harvey: Yeah. A little bit. Well, I mean, things are a lot different. And I don’t want to say that I’m an old guy, but I’m definitely not a spring chicken. And when I went to shows before, it was a lot different. So, it just feels like what I think is cool is diminishing, and what is actually cool is something I don’t think is cool. That’s basically what the song’s about. Just, you know, okay, I guess what I like isn’t cool anymore.
ANTIHERO: Again, the next one, “Young City Hearts” is again, something, to my ears, that sounds a little bit different.
Jon Harvey: Yeah. We did that in a way different key than usual. And there are some different kind of vocal things. But we just wanted to try to do, like a, you know, like a “Springsteen” kind of anthem type song. So, that was our whole goal with the one, whether we achieved it or not, who knows. But I think it’s a great song. And we did that with Gavin and Maia in Toronto, and it was a lot of fun to do.
ANTIHERO: Okay. “Undone”, then.
Jon Harvey: “Undone” is probably the slow jam on the record. It was a song that I wrote when we were on tour. I have an acoustic recording of me playing it in Switzerland, it’s really great. So yeah, it was great. It came across exactly the way I intended it to. And it’s about people struggling with addiction, whether it be alcohol or narcotics, or whatever. Anything. There are a million things you can get addicted to these days. And it’s kind of one of those songs that talks about the feeling of just feeling like you’re falling apart. And I think that’s a necessary human emotion. And I think a lot of people feel it and don’t talk to people about it, and it’s kind of important that people voice how they feel with their loved ones, and make sure they know if they’re having trouble. So, it’s kind of one of those songs where you’re just calling out for help, and there’s no shame in that. It’s actually the best thing you can do.
ANTIHERO: That obviously then is touching on the somewhat taboo subject of mental illness?
Jon Harvey: Totally. I mean, everything, right? I mean, everyone has mental illness in one point in your life or another. There are hills and valleys. That’s how life works. You know. I mean, at any point you could be totally healthy mentally, then the next week have some kind of diagnosable thing. Do you know what I mean? Our brains are constantly changing their chemistry. So, it’s just something everyone experiences, and people should be more open about. Like, you’re dealing with that. Tell people you’re dealing with it. I mean, no one’s going to be upset about it. If you feel like, you know, you can’t do things right, then talk to someone about that. Because someone will be able to help you figure that out.
ANTIHERO: Is this, then, Monster Truck going all serious?
Jon Harvey: No, no. No. It’s just, I mean, why not tackle some human emotion? Because I can be an authentic man, and if I’m dealing with something, I’m going to write a song about it. You know? I mean, that’s kind of the whole premise behind it. I mean, we like to have a lot of fun-… but I mean, there are times when you should be thinking about, you know, your feelings and what kind of person you want to be, and who you are now.
ANTIHERO: Following on, then. “In My Own World”. Is that something similar?
Jon Harvey: No, that’s just me being a crybaby. No, I was just in a mood that day, I and I wrote that song. And I’m like, ah, these lyrics are a little bit whiny but whatever. And yeah, I don’t know, it was just a fun, kind of punky song that we wanted to put on the record because we like playing it. It’s fun to play.
ANTIHERO: “Denim Danger” is the next track on the album.
Jon Harvey: “Denim Danger” is a fake name that a friend of mine made up in grade school for our bicycle gang. Everyone wore denim jackets. So, it’s kind of like just a story about a fake gang. And you know, it was a really fun one to write. Because I like to write stories like that sometimes, that just don’t really, you know, it’s just a little tale. And I think that one came out great. I really enjoy that one.
ANTIHERO: Just a couple then, the last two. “Hurricane”.
Jon Harvey: “Hurricane”’s just a typical Monster Truck banger. Get out there and go for it, you know? And that song had nothing, there’s nothing deep behind it. It’s just like, you know, one of those tunes that you just rock out to.
ANTIHERO: Final one then. “The Howlin’”.
Jon Harvey: “The Howlin’” is about the supernatural and the spirit world. And whether or not you believe in it or not, I mean, it’s basically, the synopsis of it is basically, you know, about spiritual kind of like, thoughts. And does this thing exist or does it not. Like, do ghosts exist, do they not. I mean, it was kind of like a spooky-sounding riff when Jer wrote the guitar riff, so I was, maybe we should tackle a little bit more fun, you know. And yeah, it’s just a … the song’s basically questioning the existence of different things.
ANTIHERO: Cheers Jon for taking time out of your hectic schedule to chat to Antihero. Hopefully, I will soon get to see and hear you back on the Uk stages playing some of those new songs live.
“I know who I am, A true rocker, I am a true rocker, I feel the music from inside baby, from within, I’m good to go on just about anything, No time for brakes we move full speed ahead, I know who I am, a true rocker” True Rocker