Why Tempe Rockers Truckers on Speed Are Returning to the Stage This Weekend

Why Tempe Rockers Truckers on Speed Are Returning to the Stage This Weekend
Scott Shore Photography

It's yet another tale of "pandemic interruptus": Longtime Tempe band Truckers on Speed were about to go into the studio to re-record their first album, No Sense in Runnin', in honor of its 20th anniversary.

"At that time, we just recorded that thing really quick and we thought, 'Oh, of course we’re going to re-record this when we get a label deal and all that," lead guitarist Chad Hines recalls. "It’s a good album, it’s a fun album, but it was certainly not representative of what we were at the time and certainly what we would end up doing."

The band was rehearsing and had booked a time to go to STEM Recording in Paradise Valley to work with producer and Dead Hot Workshop alumnus Curtis Grippe.

That was the first week of March 2020.

Since then, plans for re-recording the album have been on the shelf, as has performing — Truckers on Speed haven't done a live show in about two and a half years.

But that changes tonight, when Hines, lead singer Dave Wolfmeyer, bassist Theron Wall, and drummer Steve Doerr headline at Last Exit Live in south Phoenix. (Local favorites Sliced Limes and Ghetto Cowgirl are also on the bill.)

Truckers on Speed and Ghetto Cowgirl go way back — the two bands performed on the same night every week at Long Wong's on Mill Avenue. In fact, after being on hiatus for several years, it was the closing of Long Wong's in 2004 that brought the band back together and back to the stage.

We spoke with Hines about the past, present, and future of Truckers on Speed. Quotes have been edited for clarity.

For people who may not be familiar with the band, tell us about Truckers.
So, Truckers on Speed has been around the Valley, the Tempe scene, for a really long time, 22-plus years at this point. We were on the tail end of the Tempe scene heyday, the Long Wong’s heyday. We were fortunate enough to be a part of that scene with Pistoleros, Stephen Ashbrook, and Ghetto as well, which is why this show is kind of fun.

Why come back to performing now?
We came back into it now because number one, it’s fun, because we thoroughly enjoy it. Truckers is just a fun band. It’s a great, great band to play in. We’ll keep doing it as long as it’s fun and as long as people still come out to see it.

Any plans for new music, or revisiting the No Sense in Runnin' project?
That’s still something we want to do. With this first show, it’s really kind of our first step back into getting things going again. It’s so fun to do this again. It never feels like it’s been however much time has passed.

The catalyst of things like this, playing, certainly leads to that, yes. We would definitely like to be doing new music and also revisiting the anniversary release of the first record. The possibilities are endless with new music and new old music as well.

Why do you think people still love the Tempe desert rock sound?
It’s a sound that is unique to the desert. The Tempe sound, whether it was Dead Hot or the Pistoleros or The Piersons, Gin Blossoms, Refreshments, us. Even Tucson bands like Sand Rubies. There’s a desert sound that has a comfortable feel to it. And there were also a lot of really great songwriters, song craftsmen in that scene that just put together some amazing tunes. For people who were part of that scene, those songs, this might sound cliche, but those songs are a backdrop of their lives, they’re a soundtrack of what was happening in those young formative years. So those songs still have a lot of meaning and memories to people.

What can people expect at the show tonight?
What people can expect at the show is a typical Truckers show — we’ve always been known for being loud and loose and raucous and always fun and it’s definitely going to be that. It’s going to be great to be playing with Ghetto again. It’s like old friends getting together. We give it all we’ve got.

Truckers on Speed. With Sliced Limes and Ghetto Cowgirl. Doors at 7:30 p.m., show at 8:30, Saturday, June 18. Last Exit Live, 717 South Central Avenue. Tickets are $10 plus fees.
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Jennifer Goldberg is the culture editor and Best of Phoenix editor for Phoenix New Times.