One Artist at a Time | Jon Harvey



This month’’s interview is with Jon Harvey. He’s a born-and-raised Hamiltonian who is now in a band called Monster Truck (maybe you’’ve heard of them). He is one of the most chilled-out guys I have ever met. When I showed up at his house to talk to him, he was totally strumming his guitar in his back yard… maybe it was staged, or maybe he is just that cool. He is yet another great example of a Hamiltonian who has found his success in life and chosen to stay close because he loves this city.

What’s one weird thing you do on tour?
I sleep a lot.A lot.I try to sleep as much as I can and I like to eat right before we play. It’s the opposite of everybody else I know. Everyone else is like “I’ve got to eat now so it can digest for an hour”. Nope. I want to be full so I’m not worried about eating. I like eating, so if I’m thinking “man, I’m hungry” while I’m on stage I’ll forget stuff. And then I’ll be like “ah, man, I should have eaten!”

What is your favourite venue or city you’ve played?
My favourite venues are weird because they’re in bad cities. The best venue in Canada is the Commodore in Vancouver. There’s a theatre in Syracuse, NY, that is the most beautiful venue I’ve ever played. It’s a rock ‘n’ roll venue but the whole lobby is covered in gold. It’s crazy. In Syracuse — which kinda sucks. But the venue is amazing.

Bulldogs or Tiger-Cats?
I’m going to say Tiger-Cats because it’s more Hamilton. But Bulldogs forever because of hockey. I’m not a Montreal fan, so them not being affiliated with Montreal now is good for me.

Favourite video game?
Street Fighter II. I think every guy my age’s favourite video game is Street Fighter II. There was no other game — at that point that was the top dog.

What’s your favourite food?
Pizza. Forever. It has to be. It’s the best food there is.

Who do you think the next big Hamilton band is going to be?
I have no idea. I don’t know anything about any of this stuff. I didn’t think I was going to be, but here we are. I’m an awful judge. I’m so out of date about what’s new because all I do is go to the studio or jam and come home. I don’t go out, so I don’t know who the bands are anymore. I’m a jaded old man.

What’s the coolest band you’ve opened for or played with?
See, I was never a fan of all the bands we opened for when I was younger. I was a punk kid and we don’t play with punk bands. I was never an Alice In Chains fan but they’re fun guys to hang out with and play with. And we opened for Sound Garden last time and it was awesome, but I didn’t talk to them.

So you haven’t played with anyone jaw-dropping holy-shit-I’m-playing-with-this-band?
No. If you’re opening for AC/DC or Black Sabbath there’s probably a ‘whoa’ moment. People always freak out like “wow, you played with Slash, that’s amazing!” But I was never really a Guns ‘N’ Roses fan, sooo…

What would your ideal backup job be?
Hand-painting letters on signs.

Do you have mad artistic skills?
I’m okay. I like letters. And opening a music store, but I’m on a hand-lettering signs kick today.

There’s a zombie apocalypse. Where in Hamilton do you go to survive?
I don’t go anywhere. I’m not a fighter — they’d pick me off in seconds. I would probably lock myself in this house, it’s solid brick and there’s not many windows. I’d bunker down at home and wait for people to come kill me because zombies won’t get in. You know some idiot is going to come over to your house and be like ‘I want what you have’ and shoot you. That sucks. A zombie didn’t get me, some human being did. And that’s the way I see the apocalypse going.

What’s your shame music? The music you listen to that you wouldn’t tell people about.
Phil Collins. Or Michael Jackson. But they’re not really shameful to me because I love them. People are always like, ‘really, you’re listening to No Jacket Required again?’ Yes. What do you mean? There’s something about Phil Collins in the ’80s. I’m not even big on Genesis, I just like Phil Collins.

Whose roadie would you like to be?
That’s a hard one because everyone’s clean and sober now and all the guys just get off stage and go straight on the bus so it’s no fun.

Is that what you do?
No. No. Sometimes. I like to have a few beers, but I never had a crazy two-decade-long substance-abuse problem, so I’m okay with a couple beers. Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be a roadie for anyone.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Pizza. It’s my favourite thing and the thing that makes me feel most ashamed of myself. I’ll eat the whole thing.

You’re dying tomorrow. What would you last meal be, including appetizer, entree and dessert?
For an appetizer I think I’d go with some kind of stuffed mushroom. For my main dish I’m going to go with spa- ghetti bolognese. That’s the other one — it’s pizza or spaghetti bolognese. Then for dessert I’ll have pizza.

What are your favourite places to be outdoors and indoors in Hamilton?
I really like the Bayfront. It’s nice but it smells — other than that it’s great. To be inside, I like our house. I like our home. I’m not home very much, so when I am I want to be home. Just inside relaxing or in the yard. I stopped going out — it’s easier that way. A lot less money spent in a bar.

(Writer’s note: bars are great…you shouldn’t stop going to them just because some musician says he prefers to stay home. You should probably go to a bar right now.)

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