Swedish trio returns to Dayton
By Allyson B. Crawford
Photo: Swedish fuzz-rockers Truckfighers return to Blind Bob’s Aug. 22; photo: Torsten Curdt
Sweden is a long way from Dayton, Ohio. For acclaimed fuzz rockers Truckfighters, Dayton is nearly a second home. The Swedes will visit the Miami Valley once again, performing at Blind Bob’s on Thursday, Aug. 22.
For singer and bassist Oskar “Ozo” Cedermalm, Blind Bob’s is the definition of a perfect rock venue. “It’s always a lot of people, great atmosphere and great people who work at the club, superb sound tech and sound system. Hey, even the food is great. Blind Bob’s has all those things that a good rock club is all about.”
Despite the Truckfighters appreciation for Dayton and America in general, Ozo is resolute when he says the band will never migrate here, like so many other bands looking for fame or fortune.
“We love the U.S., fantastic country and such great people, but we also love our hometown Örebro. [It’s] such a perfect place to live. It’s a small town compared to a lot of cities in the U.S., only 100,000 people, but it has everything you need … and Sweden is such a great place; a small country, but it differs a lot depending on where you are.”
Perhaps that appreciation for both home and abroad has influenced the band’s music. They are at once true to their roots while consistently looking to keep their sound fresh. Lineup changes have helped the Truckfighters’ sound evolve organically and Ozo doesn’t deny that the band is moving toward a more traditional progressive-rock sound. This isn’t to say the next Truckfighters release will sound like RUSH or even Dream Theater, but all signs point to some sort of hybrid of fuzz and prog.
“We never had a plan to move in a certain [creative] direction,” explained Ozo. “I think when you start thinking too much when you’re in the creative business, you will fail. You need too listen to your instinct and simply just do things you enjoy and like listening to yourself.”
Trying to pin Ozo down on the band’s sound is hard. Getting a firm answer on the band’s next album release is near impossible. The Truckfighters like to keep their fans guessing and Internet message boards remain abuzz with chatter about the band’s next, seemingly imminent, release. While an official album announcement will come in due time, for now Ozo and the rest of the Truckfighters are enjoying the guessing and waiting game happening among fans. Still, a little pushing reveals a few choice tidbits about the band’s plans for the next few months.
“Just like Christmas, you don’t know what you’ll get and you don’t know exactly when Santa is coming, but when he does you’re over exited, just like when the new Truckfighters album will be out!” laughed Ozo. “I can tell you one thing, we will release a brand new single on a 12” vinyl in October, on the B-side we have a live version of ‘Desert Cruiser’ recorded in Sydney, Australia earlier this year.”
The release marks the first time Truckfighters will self-release live material. Fans who purchase the upcoming single via iTunes will also have the chance to buy a couple other previously unreleased live tracks.
With more than a cult following, an upcoming album release and constant touring, it seems like Truckfighters are about to break into the mainstream. They’ve been going for well more than a decade and their dues have been paid. While mainstream success often presents musicians with a whole host of new problems, Ozo says the band will take any new level of success in stride.
“We will not change at all,” Ozo asserted plainly. “We’ve been doing this for over 10 years and for us to be able to do what we love has been something that has been increasing every year. Every time we play somewhere it seems like there’s more people and we sell a little bit more merchandise and so on. For people who just got to know us, it might look like a lot of things have happened in the past year. But for us, it’s a constant climb.”
Constant climb or not, Ozo hedges his bets just a little. In past interviews, he has mentioned a desire to get more mainstream media coverage. While a big splash in The New York Times could be career-changing for the Truckfighters, Ozo says that over the past few months the band’s fan base has settled a bit to include a broader section of the music landscape.
“I really do think we could have more ‘ordinary’ listeners,” Ozo explained. “Nowadays, I think we have a bit more fans from crossover genres, but in the beginning there where only stoner fans and we don’t consider ourselves to be a stoner band. We want to do great music that a lot of people can listen to and like without sacrificing our musicality or our own vision. We will never sell out and try to do something on purpose that is more mainstream.”
Truckfighters will perform Thursday, Aug. 22 At Blind Bob’s 430 E. Fifth St. Valley of the Sun and Grand Mammoth open. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $10 for 21 & up. For more information, visit truckfighters.com.