How Did TRUCKSTOP, A Hardcore, Yet Lovable Metal Band, Take Over Sheetz?
The West Virginia metal band hosts pre-show Meet ‘N Sheetz sessions with fans at area stores.
My favorite part of a road trip is stocking up on snacks at a gas station before hitting the open road. Does Pittsburgh have open roads? Asking for a friend who is still stuck in Taylor Swift concert traffic.
Baked Cracker Pepperoni Pizza Combos, Slim Jims, Haribo Goldbears and a MTN DEW; that’s my go-to fuel for a long drive. I wouldn’t think of consuming this “meal” outside of a moving vehicle though. Gross.
Windows down, popping gummies and munchies, snappin’ into Macho Man-approved beef sticks and sippin’ green magic while blasting hardcore tunes is the only vacation I need. Or can afford.
TRUCKSTOP gets me.
I met the West Virginia-based thrash metal band at Sheetz in Bethel Park. It was a few hours before their show at the nearby Crafthouse Stage & Grill, where they were getting pumped to open for thrash legends Death Angel.
This wasn’t a chance encounter in the checkout line; TRUCKSTOP regularly hosts Meet N’ Sheetz events to sit and snack with their fans.
Imagine sharing made-to-order Shwingz, Pickle Fryz, Hushpuppyz and Hotzarella Sticks with your favorite musician. What I wouldn’t give to split a Gamer Battle Pack with Motorhead!
“Sixty to 70% of my diet is Sheetz,” says Nash Morris, TRUCKSTOP’s lead singer and guitarist. (Refresherz work wonderz for the vocal chordz.)
His uncle, Justin Ewing, plays bass and their longtime friend Jerry Larew Jr. shreds on guitar. The trio live together, but drummer Austin Erb — the self-confessed obsessive-compulsive one of the bunch — has his own place. I found Erb expertly organizing the merch table before raining blows upon his drum set.
“We appreciate TRUCKSTOP’s meet-and-greet events with their fans and our customers before shows,” says Nick Ruffner, public relations manager for the convenience store chain. “Sheetz is committed to supporting the communities we serve through charitable organizations such as Sheetz For the Kidz, an organization making the holidays brighter for children in need, Special Olympics, and our Made-to-Share program that provides financial assistance and food donations to local food banks.”
TRUCKSTOP formed during the pandemic when Sheetz was one of the few places open around the clock. It became a second home to the artists, who describe themselves as “a modern thrash metal band with some goddamn melody.”
After numerous online jam sessions, they found their in-person groove and started playing gigs. They’ve rocked bars, clubs, laundromats and even a storage unit while amped up on Nerds Rope, bite-sized Starburst and Boom Chicka Mac.
The Meet N’ Sheetz idea started with a TRUCKSTOP social media post inviting fans to chowdown with them at the store. It quickly grew into a routine and is a fun way for fans — especially ones who wouldn’t get past the bouncer — to have a front-row seat to the show.
On and off the stage, TRUCKSTOP are a trip. And that’s coming from a 44-year-old chick with the maturity level of a teenage boy buzzed on an endless stream of Red Bull Smoothies and Jalapeno Popperz.
Taking a page (sheets?) from my high school diary, TRUCKSTOP are influenced as much by slasher flicks as they are by Judas Priest, Megadeth, Green Day, Linkin Park and Guns ‘N Roses. Their song “Call of the Void” appears on “The Barn II” soundtrack. This earns big points in my book as I, too, am a fan of “The Barn”. And so is my kid.
The music video is a mini-masterpiece featuring horror’s biggest icons such as Doug Bradley (“Hellraiser), Linnea Quigley (“Return of the Living Dead”), Ari Lehman (“Friday the 13th”) and Diana Prince from “The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs”.
I almost choked on my Combos when I heard that all-star line-up.
TRUCKSTOP rocked the delightfully rowdy Crafthouse crowd with wicked licks, throbbing beats, machine gun-fire drumming and vocals that ranged from satanic to angelic. It brought a tear to the eye of this Gen X metalhead. Or maybe I just had the Slim Jim sweats.
With a belly full of artificial flavoring, I stood in the crowd, raised a devil horns salute to TRUCKSTOP and promized myself I’d get a nice Turkey Deli Sandwich and a Veggie Snack Pack next time I patronized Sheetz.
That night, despite ringing ears, a throbbing head and heartburn, I listened to my first very heavy metal album, Twisted Sister’s “Stay Hungry”; a fitting title considering my bottomless-pit stomach and profession.
Speaking of which, I am hungry.
Is anyone up for a road trip to the next TRUCKSTOP show?