GETTING DOWN AND FUZZY WITH A BRAND NEW RECORD, UNIVERSE, AND A SPRING US TOUR!
By Robin Linn
Last summer I was introduced to Truckfighters when German filmmaker and friend, Joerg Steineck, warned me to be on the lookout for them. In the few weeks they were here in the desert, I took in three live shows, watched a documentary about them(Truckfighters Fuzzomentary, produced by Joerg), and put them up at a friend’s place here in Joshua Tree when they found themselves homeless on the West Coast for a night. We went out to breakfast with them before sending the desert stoner rock band back home to Sweden. No…..that is not a typo. The band who found inspiration in the music created by Kyuss and the earliest versions of Queens of the Stone Age classify themselves as a desert stoner rock band. The Coachella Valley couldn’t be a more polar opposite than Sweden, yet it was here they found a kinship with desert music that would push them forward through four records, four European tours, two US tours, and three drummers.
During the past several years, the band has twice undergone changes in drummers. They lost a drummer who had been with them since the beginning, and the loss was nearly debilitating. It took years to permanently replace him. While stoner rock is huge in Europe… in their little town in Sweden, they are IT as far as the genre goes. So, finding a drummer that saw their vision and was willing to commit and travel was far more difficult than they had expected. They finally found a new drummer, but he injured his wrists, and they soon found themselves missing a piece to the puzzle all over again. Meanwhile, the shows and tours kept coming and the records kept selling. They continued searching for the right drummer to complete the lineup, and last year their prayers were finally answered in the form of Andre ‘Poncho’ Kvarnström. Andre is a young and very accomplished drummer. He was only twenty-years old when I met him last summer. He is devoted to TF and ready to take on the highs and lows of world-wide touring. This isn’t a band with a huge record contract touring on a major label’s dime. It is a band that is focused, serious about their music, and out to carve a place for themselves in the international music marketplace. Their third record, Gravity, has earned them critical acclaim in the press and fans by the droves, filling rock festivals and concert halls when they perform.
The guitar driven fuzz-tones that is a huge part of their sound and their persona is actually what drew me to them at first. Then, I saw the live show, and WOW!!!!!! When guitarist Dango begins jumping about on stage, it is hard rock ballet, a decathlon of physical perseverance that defies gravity. He is truly athletic. If ever he should take up basketball….watch the hell out! He also told me that because the physical performance is so demanding, it has gotten him in really good shape and forces him not to overdo the trappings of the road. When jumping around the stage, he catches air in time to the deep fuzzed out grooves, and the energy it transmits literally fills everyone in the audience with a sense of euphoria. Bassist Ozo and his fuzzy deep bass tones coming up through the floor gets you right in the core of your being, leaving nothing to separate you from the sound. If it is called stoner rock….there is a reason. It absolutely gets you high. The writing may be inspired by bands like Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age…..but the resulting music is ALL Truckfighters.
Over the years, the Truckfighters have continued to hone their own unique sound, and their live show is electrifying. Now, with the US release of their brand new record, Universe, the band is off and running. They have just finished up an extensive tour of Europe and they have just weeks until they are off again and head for the United States. They will be in our general neck of the woods in March (see show dates and links below) and they plan to stay in the states and tour through May, which may bring them closer to the desert. Those dates are not quite solid yet, though will be available soon on their website. I will keep you posted as they solidify.
With the new record, Universe, the band has gone for a more refined product with commercial appeal. Universe offers a cohesive and finely produced collection of songs with nuances of grunge, prog rock, and pop. I hear a lot less of the desert stoner rock influence typical of a TF record. This time around the material seems more firmly centered around the vocals and lyrical content, and a little less fuzzy and in your face then in records past. Songs like “Mind Control” and “Prophet” seem to set the tone of the new release, while “Chairman” offers dramatic highs and lows and overdriven punch lines that I have come to expect from TF. It will be interesting to see how they blend the broad range of material into their live set.
TRUCKFIGHTER’S FUZZOMENTARY by Jeog Steineck is a rockumentary that artistically tells the story of an up and coming band from Sweden. The trials and errors, hardships of the road, and the character of each Truckfighter is beautifully documented as the story unfolds. Joerg’s own signature is all over this film with lots of humor, artistic backdrops, and tells the tale of a real band who has been greatly impacted by Kyuss, Queens of The Stone Age, and desert rock in general. It is a work Joerg hopes will be well received as the band continues to pick up steam with the new record and constant touring schedule.
LO SOUND DESERT
Before I returned to writing about music in 2010 after a 14 year break, Joerg Steineck found me online to ask about my early experiences writing about the desert rock scene. He was filming and is still editing down 13 hours of film for his desert stoner rockumentary, Lo Sound Desert, a beautiful account of the real desert rock scene. I saw a 30 minute special sneak peek out at The Palms in Wonder Valley last October when Terry McGuinness hosted Dali’s Llama 20 year anniversary show. The Wild Rumpus was also a record release event for DL’s 20 Years of Music Underground. The event brought 13 amazing bands to Wonder Valley which really is in the middle of nowhere. There I saw bands like Green Boar and Undead Cuervo (which both feature Rick Carles), Caveman Voicebox (Graham Wilson), Rise of the Willing (Caveman Kyle Stratton now with Atala), The Freeks (Ruben Romano from Fu Man Chu), Ultra Electric Mega Galactic (Ed Mundell from Monster Magnet), Hornss (Mike Desertt from desert rock band Solar Feast), Mario Lalli’s (Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson) other project, Rubber Snake Charmers, and after DL played the closing set…I turned 53 with my long time desert music friends beneath a star infested sky as we watched Joerg’s film. Lo Sound Desert immortalizes our desert rockers and takes us back to the beginning of the Coachella Valley original music scene. Interviews with musicians like Sean Wheeler (Throw Rag), Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator, QOTSA, The Dwarves, Moistboyz), Josh Homme (QOTSA, Eagles of Death Metal), John Garcia (Kyuss, Slo Burn, Vista Chino), John Summers (Family Butcher), Zach Huskey (Dali’s Llama, Rawbone, Hot Beat Pussy Fiend), Gary Arce and Mario Lalli, Scott Reeder and Dave Catching. So many uniquely inspired desert rockers take us back to the earliest days and track their success as they found audiences all over the world. LSD makes for a nostalgic documentation of a desert rock story still unfolding today. Presently, Joerg is still hard at work finishing up the editing job and preparing the film for distribution in the United States this year. With the major success of bands like QOTSA, Vista Chino, Mondo Generator, Unida, Yawning Man, Fatso Jetson, House of Broken Promises, EODM and Truckfighters, this could be the perfect time for the film to debut here in America. Joerg has also provided TF with an official video which he is quite proud of, “Prophet”. In everything Joerg does there is an authentic and organic approach that allows the true art of the music and the characters that create it to shine through. I credit Joerg for a lot more than his film making. He has become a mentor of mine whether or not he is aware of it. He reminded me just how special the music scene we often take for granted really is.
As the band prepares for the upcoming US tour, they get a bit of time in the cold weather, with time to dream about the warmth of the deserts in California and Arizona where they will be performing in March. Below is a list of show dates, links to the band’s website (where you can order your copy of Universe). I have also included links to the Truckfighter Fuzzomentary, Lo Sound Desert and TF on Facebook where you can find additional show dates TBA soon.
TF official website where you can purchase your copy of Universe:
Prophet is a video produced by Joerg Steineck for Truckfighter’s new release Universe:
Truckfighters Fuzzomentary trailer on Facebook:
Lo Sound Desert trailer
The Chairman is another cut off Universe on Youtube:
TF US show dates are available here:
March 18 show in Los Angeles, CA at The Satellite. Here is the link to the FB event page:
Other TF dates will be added and made available to their Facebook page over the weeks to come: