Monster Truck's Jeremy Widerman: the 10 records that changed my life
Big, greasy riffs are the order of the day with Canadian hard-rockers Monster Truck, and guitarist Jeremy Widerman is the man delivering the goods.
Schooled in the traditions of '70s classic rock and '90s grunge alike, Widerman tears through a host of quintessential rock tones via a classic Gibson SG/Marshall pairing, best showcased on the band's second album, the aptly named Sittin' Heavy.
In the middle of the Truck's UK tour, the guitarist takes us on a journey through his musical upbringing, and it features riffmeisters aplenty…
Monster Truck play the following UK dates this week:
Tue 21 March: Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK
Weds 22 March: Electric Ballroom, London, UK
1. Nirvana - Nevermind (1991)
“I feel like a dick writing about this record since everything that could ever be said about it has been said by people smarter and more successful than me, ha!
“However, it was the first album that made me want to pick up guitar and I did just that. It kickstarted my existence as a musician, end of story.”
2. Grand Funk Railroad - Closer To Home (1970)
“There’s lots to say about this album. It’s underrated and forgotten and totally under-appreciated these days behind bands like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath in the realm of riff rock.
“At one point, they were the biggest arena-rock band in the world, and if you listen to this album you will understand why. It oozes groove and attitude in a way that just hadn’t been seen yet upon its release.”
3. NOFX - Punk In Drublic (1994)
“I bought this album when I was 15 because of the album artwork and because I knew it had double-time beats all over it.
“At the time I had aspirations to play punk-rock music and someone had mentioned to me that I needed to listen to NOFX. They were right, and this is one of the best punk-rock records in the history of '90s So-Cal punk rock.
4. Soundgarden - Superunknown (1994)
“I didn’t realise how much of an impact this album had on me until recently. I had forgotten about it until the new Doom game got released this year. Sounds weird, but I listened to Superunknown repeatedly while I played Doom 2 as a kid for countless hours.
“It crept into my subconscious in a very weird way and I didn’t realize it until I picked up that shotgun again this year for the remake and felt something missing. Soundgarden was missing.”
5. The Black Keys - Magic Potion (2006)
“I don’t like the Black Keys. I mean, seriously, in the history of bands that were unbelievable and then went down the toilet they are almost at the top of heap. Magic Potion was a perfect record to me, though.
“It inspired me to change my guitar playing and embrace a more simplistic and blues-orientated approach, and I wouldn’t be so hard on them if they didn’t repeatedly mention how they dislike this album and never play any songs off it.”
6. In Flames - Colony (1999)
“My favourite metal record. Granted, I don’t listen to a ton of metal. There’s something about this album that is quite different than any of their material before it or after… an almost pop sensibility and probably part of the reason it’s the only In Flames record I listen to!
“It's just a brilliant combination of melody and crushing metal riffs. A near-perfect record, in my opinion. Great clean guitar tones for the lower dynamic parts, too!
7. Rage Against The Machine - The Battle Of Los Angeles (1999)
“I think you could put any Rage record in here. I just go to this one more often than all the others.
“It’s a perfect-sounding album. Just an amazing combination of complementary tones with stellar songwriting and lyrics. One of the best heavy albums ever, with one of the best track #1s in history.”
8. Refused - The Shape Of Punk To Come (1998)
“Who names their record that?… And is right! Jesus, just balls of steel there. As far as production goes, I don’t think it gets much better than this. Any time anyone asks what the snare should sound like, it’s this. Always this.
“In fact, every tone on the record is unreal, and it kinda goes without saying that it was way ahead of its time stylistically. The fact that they knew that and put it right there on the cover is pretty impressive to me, and it will surely stand the test of time.”
9. Agnes Obel - Aventine (2013)
“Off the beaten track now. Whenever I’m not in a loud and aggressive mood I go to this album. It honestly may be my favourite album of all time as far as how often and constantly I listen to it.
“Loaded with moody, passionate, soulful and chilling songs, this album gives me the feels whenever I’m in need.”
10. Led Zeppelin I-IV (1969-1971)
“I don't even know what I can say about these records that everyone doesn't know already. As far as how they were life-changing to me, they were some of the first records I ever threw on my father's turntable.
“I actually started with III and went outward in both directions. I remember being supremely terrified by Plant's vocals and mesmerised by the guitar playing - and still am to this day.
“It was a testament to my father's great taste that I was exposed to such great music at an early age, and these records were only the tip of the iceberg.”