There are plenty of bands around town that are willing to make some noise to try to earn a buck or two. New projects pop up all the time, and some of them aren’t really worth talking about, but this situation is a bit different. Sure, Thundertruck is new to us, but this isn’t their first rodeo.
“Supergroup” isn’t something to be tossed around very often, but this might be the local exception. Not to say that the talent between these four is mindblowing by any stretch of the imagination — it’s just something to take a closer look at while it unfolds. Let’s be honest, this isn’t Cream or the Traveling Wilburys or Broken Social Scene we’re talking about here. It’s Thundertruck. Just Thundertruck.
Comprised of Ben Ucherek (The Beauty Shop) on drums, Aaron McCallister (Tractor Kings) on bass and vocals, Isaac Arms (Withershins, Evil Tents) on guitar, and Tyler Chen (DeathTram) on guitar, Thundertruck can get away with acting like the new kid in town (for now). McCallister answered some questions we had about the new act, their upcoming debut show at The Brass Rail, and what’s next for the group.
Smile Politely: First off — why Thundertruck?
Aaron McCallister: The name actually came from my friend Jake Fleischli. We’re in Tractor Kings, which is mostly alt-country type stuff. Thundertruck was the term he used to describe the heavy, distorted stuff I was riffing on after rehearsal. At first, I was kind of just using it as a code name for the project … but the name stuck so we’re keeping it.
SP: This is a project between a group of guys with a lot of experience around town. Just how different is Thundertruck than those other bands?
McCallister: Extremely different. This project is less structured, heavier, and louder than Withershins, Tractor Kings or DeathTram.
SP: What is the process for making tracks work, as opposed to other projects you’ve been involved in?
McCallister: Different. I’m used to writing parts for other people’s music. This project is my baby, so I’m starting song ideas from scratch and listening to them evolve with the other members as time goes on.
SP: This song you’ve posted on Thundertruck’s Bandcamp sounds pretty rugged. What were you all listening to when you came up with this idea for the group?
McCallister: I was listening to a lot of Mastodon at the time when that song came about.
SP: Everyone has their own projects, and Isaac’s band Withershins is releasing Silver Cities at the end of the month. Where did you all find time to make something like this happen?
McCallister: Mondays. That’s about all the time we have between our other bands, jobs, and kids.
SP: Are you guys doing anything for Record Store Day?
McCallister: Nothing yet. I figure Isaac has probably got his hands in multiple things that day.
SP: Did holding the show at the Brass Rail just kind of, happen? It’s a solid choice and it seems fitting.
McCallister: Correct. My first experiences playing in town and becoming part of the music scene were centered around the Brass Rail. I used to play a lot of shows with Monster Honkey and Tractor Kings there back in the day.
SP: What do you drink at The Brass Rail?
McCallister: Pabst. I used to drink gin and Squirt there a lot on Sundays. Gotta take things easier nowadays.
SP: Do you play darts? I’ve seen some pretty great games of darts go down there.
McCallister: I am terrible at darts. I get more enjoyment out of watching others play. I actually got hit in the head with a dart there once and the guy bought me a drink because he felt bad. Very strange throw he had going…
SP: What’s the plan for this band in the near future? Is there an album or anything in the works? More shows?
McCallister: We’re going to play more shows and try to get the word out. I expect we’ll work on recording an EP sometime in the fall.
Thundertruck makes its live debut with New Ruins and The Cheaper Hits on Thursday at 10 p.m at The Brass Rail.
All band photos by Troy Stanger.