Don’t fuck with the truck!
Hello Jeremy how are you?
Jeremy Widerman (guitar): I’m great I’m happy to be here. I love Paris and we’re excited to know that we’re getting some popularity over here because it’s such a fun place to visit.
Still a long road before the release of your second album “Sittin’ Heavy“.
J: Oh shit! (laughs)
Confident about it?
J: I’m confident. I like it which is always a good sign. I always felt confident about the others records and it’s also the case this time. It has been such a long process and we’re looking at it this close, eight months you know. It’s was hard to have a good perspective of it. So far the reception is very good and people seem to be liking it. Our first single is doing very good in Canada so everything’s good so far and just see how many interviews: it’s a good sign!
First can you introduce the band for those who barely know you in France.
J: The band kind of started as a side project just for fun, a party band in Canada and I think because it started in such a pure place people gravitated towards it and were really receptive and encouraging for us to keep going, go further, and do more… It’s just pure rock n’roll. Guitar, bass, organ and drums. Loud vocals. We just kind of stuck to that idea, expand on it and we’re at a point now where we reached our strong idea of marrying all those ideas together.
As said your second record is ready. Is it a kind of evolution comparing to “Furiosity”?
J: Yeah with “Furiosity” it was rock song/rock song/rock song/ballad and this time we wanted to mix it up a little bit more. It’s one of those situations where we’re going to play longer shows too and we need to have those down tempo moments because we need to take a breath (laughs) and get into a groovier space.
Due to the huge touring you did those past two years, how did you manage to write and record it?
J: We started very early even now we’re already working on the next record right now and I think that’s part of the process that makes us more careful. We’re always thinking about the next record, having guitars in the dressing room. It’s fun so it’s easy for us to work because we like to write music, rehearse and jam. At the end of the day it’s just rock n’roll. When we have an easy song we try to put it together when we can and sometimes we have longer sound check so sometimes we’re just try on some new stuff.
The first single is “Don’t Tell Me How To Live” why this choice and what’s its meaning?
J: That’s one of the songs we had worked really early on and it was just one of those we felt it’s going to be a single. When you get that feeling early on you kind of base your refinement around the ideas making sure the chorus is really good, lots of vocals harmonies. The idea behind the song is really just a sentiment that a lot of people understand for lots of different reasons whether your boss telling you what to do or your parents or your girlfriend, wife, boyfriend, husband… whatever! It’s a situation where people can relate to and it’s something we had to deal with coming from ranks of indie bands when we were young. In this case our singer sitting on the couch smoking pot and playing guitar and having his girlfriend “what are you doing? Playing guitar and smoking pot all day? That’s what you’re gonna do?” “This is my job! Don’t tell me how to live!” (laughs)
The press release states that “it would be a steadfast refusal to be beaten down”. Can you explain us what’s it about? Does it concern the band or someone especially?
J: I think it concerns the whole world. It’s the general idea that there’s a greater divide between the rich and the poor and yeah it’s just that feeling that you can’t let you getting down even if you feel you’re at the lowest, that is the point where you need to fight back and that’s when you need to stand up for yourself. It’s a general idea of the attitude and the feeling of the whole world right now where we’ll have to do something or we’ll be in despair so.
Like your two EPs and “Furiosity”, it’s a high energy and groovy rock n’roll record, which bands influenced you guys making this kind of music?
J: For me and Jon it was a lot about Grand Funk Railroad and we united in the fact that they were underrated so we took a lot of influences of that but there’s also a lot of new rock influences like Rage Against The Machine, Soundgarden we really love those bands and I think it’s important to include everybody because there’s been so much great rock n’roll music that you would hate to kind of omit something just because you want to be a classic rock band.
As a guitar player do you always intend to search for THE riff that’ll tight the whole together?
J: Yeah but it finds me half the time and I think that the most of the best ideas came from me not paying attention. I’m not trying to write a song, I’m not trying to write a riff. I’m playing, I might be stoned so I’m very kind of out of it and just having fun. It’s about having fun and about having that vibe that you even can’t notice but once you’ve noticed it “holy shit that’s good!” and next thing it’s grabbing your phone and recording it ‘coz I’ll forget it ten minutes later “what was the thing I was working on?”. (laughs) I record everything, it a gift to myself.
That leads to “The Enforcer” the second track you unveiled. Any link with hockey? Referring to the patch.
J: It’s exactly what we were intending to do. One of our track from the “Brown EP” got played in arenas and by on the teams in the NHL and “The Enforcer” aired via one of the greatest hockey program in Canada so we wanted to expand upon that and capitalize because we’re such great hockey fans and it’s a good way to expose the band in Canada. “The Enforcer” is about fighting. Basically there’s an unwritten rule that says kind of “if one of your teammates gets injured or hurt by the other team, one of your tougher player comes in and…” takes care of business.
Who did bring the vest and patch idea? As merch but also for the artwork.
J: Jon actually. I got it here it’s the only one right now. We’re gonna be making more. Jon came up with it, having a patch for every song and he just thought it would be fun and we’ll be able to use as a merch item ‘coz obviously people will want the jacket or one patch or their favourite song. It was a simple idea but not as simpler to make. We just love patches just see my personal jacket. (laughs)
Like “Furiosity” the last track is kind of sad, why this way to end the record?
J: I’m mean maybe each person will interpret it differently. The song is about enjoying the time we have, enjoying the moment that we’re in, not taking anything for granted. It’s something that our manager teaches us all the time. He’s been in a band before too and one of his biggest regret is to have not enjoyed the moments where they were having success or lot of fun. He always was looking towards the next thing. We’re lucky to be a bit older, having success around 34 years old, and we do appreciate it. Even this trip that I’m on right now it’s a fun thing to do. To be able to play music and make a living, it’s insane! When I was 18 I remember telling my dad, he was like “what are you gonna do? You can’t do this as a job. No one makes money playing music” “I know! I’m gonna quit one day. It’s crazy etc etc” and here am I doing it. And my dad sitting at home now “oh my God I can’t believe it” he’s so happy for us and all of our parents are very supportive and how lucky are we. Some people don’t have such support from their parents, some live in poverty and can’t chase their dreams. It’s that the song is about. It’s really appreciating the things that you have and enjoying the moments and we couldn’t be happier how the things turned out.
But why do we end the record in this slow tempo mood?
J: Because it felt right. Well it just felt like the best way to end the record and it’s just the juxtaposition of the beginning of the album too. And again if you feel like rocking again you’ll just play the record over again!
Instead of a second guitar there’s keyboards. What do Brandon bring comparing to a six-string? Did you ever think of a second guitar?
J: The beauty of the organs it’s that it can do anything. It can be that rhythm guitar, that electric piano part, that frantic part when you really need an extra gear. Whatever you need, you can have it. It’s a very flexible instrument and it’s nice to have that option in the band.
There’s also plenty of backing vocals. How comfortable do you feel with it? It is something you work a lot on?
J: I work my ass off on it. For me personally it’s very difficult and I’m not a naturally gifted singer. I have to practice especially playing guitar and singing at the same time like “For The People” singing on the top of that is very difficult. Luckily our drummer is pretty gifted with vocals and work on melodies and often sends us the three parts. The files look like a choir of Steeves (laughs) and he’ll show us which part to sing.
You’re using a lot social medias. What do you feel with those direct feeds, fun?
J: No (laughs) it’s nerve braking especially when we’re ready to announce all those things. I know all those information, dates, name etc. so it’s hard because I can’t say this or that and it’s live so if I fuck it up, it’s ruined immediately. It definitely can be fun and it’s cool to see the comments and the excitement around the band.
You already toured with Slash, Alice In Chains and many others; with whom you’d like to tour now? Knowing that you have pretty awesome dudes at Mascot Label Group.
J: Rival Sons, Black Stone Cherry. It’ll be great to tour with those two bands. We met them both already and toured with Rival Sons already. They’re all very nice people. Everyone we meet is nice. All these people are so such friendly people, supportive people. We definitely want to play with Rival Sons because it’s a great combination because we’re not too similar but we’re not too different.
You accomplished a lot recently, what’s the key for it?
J: The key is the magic of the four members working together. You could spend a lifetime trying to find. I can spend a lifetime trying to find people to be in a band with and never find these three guys. As soon as we got together it was instant magic for us, we knew we had something special. At least I did and was vocal about it. I didn’t know if other people would realize it but for me I had so much fun I didn’t care. It was funny to be confident about it but also very surprised when it did very well.
We are “RockUrLife” so what rock Jeremy Widerman’s life?
J: You know what I’d say this is crazy but the record rocking me right now isn’t rock. It’s this artist named Agnes Obel and it’s the softest album ever but it fucks me up when I listen to it and it really takes me to another place. It’s the definition of rocking my life but it isn’t rock n’roll. (laughs)