After a weekend of being beaten down by the weather, Monster Truck were tasked with reinvigorating Download Festival 2016, opening the main stage on the festival’s final day. The band completed the task with great success, using their Canadian Classic Rock to wake up the wet, hungover, and very, very muddy fans. We caught up with lead singer and bassist Jon Harvey straight after the set to talk about the show.

You just opened the main stage – how was it?

It was great, we had a really good time. Anytime we can do anything outside of Canada is automatically a good time to me. We’re quite lucky to be able to do this kind of stuff – a lot of bands don’t get these chances so we don’t take any of it for granted.

You’ve played Download before, opening the second stage. How does this year compare?

It’s crazy. It’s a really big place to play. It’s not comfortable at all. You have to do something a lot to get comfortable with it. You know when you’re a kid and you go to a shopping mall for the first time, you’re completely overwhelmed, but every time you went you got more and more used to it. It’s just getting used to it. Today was a good second trip to the mall.

“A lot of bands don’t get these chances so we don’t take any of it for granted…”

With that, is there anything that goes into a big show like this to try and make it more comfortable?

We don’t really worry about much beforehand. I speak for myself but I’m not really worried about anything. I usually just have a beer and go play. When you’re so used to doing something, like playing music, you have to just not worry about it. I’m not a superstitious person so I don’t have any rituals or anything like that because they wouldn’t have ever helped me. You have to do what you know.

The Video for ‘Don’t Tell Me How to Live’ was filmed on an oil rig. How did that come about and how was it to film?

It was actually like a machine that makes gravel in a quarry. It takes big rocks and makes them little rocks. Our manager was like “let’s do it there, we’ll drone everything else”. We said “yeah totally”, and then we got hit by a snowstorm, so we all freaked out. Our director was losing it. The fog machine ran out and right when that happened it started snowing. Nature had us covered. It was just a case of put us on industrial machinery and make it look larger than life. Mission accomplished, right?

You released your second album Sittin Heavy in February. How have you found the reaction?

It’s been really good. Way better than I thought. We’ll just keep rocking and working harder than before and hopefully the next one will be even better than that!

You bring a serious feel of classic Bluesy Rock – something that’s seen a bit of a resurgence of late with bands like Black Stone Cherry and Rival Sons. Why do you think that is?

I think people are tired of going to shows and not having fun. People are tired of hearing bands be negative all the time. That was a huge thing – it almost seemed detrimental if you weren’t being negative at one stage. The same thing happened to metalcore. I think people are finally starting to realise that there is a positive side to this too. It’s about having a good time. It isn’t about reflecting on your woes or looking at your last therapy session. It’s about getting out, having a couple of drinks and partying. Have a dance! You don’t get many times in life when you are allowed to do that so you might as well just do it when you can.

“It’s about having a good time…”

For those that might not have heard of you, if you could describe yourself in three words what would they be?

It’s a Waylon Jennings saying: Lonesome, On’ry, and Mean.

You’re coming back to Europe with Nickelback in the Autumn, playing a lot of big arenas with that. How does a big indoor venue compare to a setting like today?

As long as there is a lot of people it’s all good. Indoor, outdoor, festival, arena – every show is great. You have to just feel lucky that people are willing to pay money to see you, and that you can put yourself in that position. I feel lucky that I’m allowed to do this for a living. That’s the way we look at it, I think.

Do you have any plans for the next year, other than this Nickelback tour?

Yeah, we’ll do some Ontario shows. Maybe tour Canada a little. Then we’ll take some time off to be with our families, then in January we’ll be heading back out here.

Do you ever find that touring causes issues, with being away from the family?

It’s hard. I have a five-month-old baby. So it’s interesting, but you know people do that stuff all the time. To be honest with you, it is really hard, but it’s bittersweet. To deal with that mentally is a challenge in itself and I’m not even sure I’m there yet. I certainly wouldn’t be doing this if I was selling linoleum tile or something like that. It’s a cool thing to have to sacrifice for.

Liam Fleming

Images Courtesy of Kennerdeigh Scott – Download Festival 2016

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