How would you define Iron Reagan or introduce it to people who don’t know you ?

Phil: We play fast loud music for punks that want to mosh.

Tony: Good music for hardcore kids who like metal and metalheads who like hardcore. We trick hardcore kids in listening to metal and we trick metalheads in listening to hardcore. That’s pretty much our mission.

You are said to be a crossover thrash band. How would you define the “crossover thrash” genre ?

Tony: I would say it’s like punks playing metal. That’s kind of how it is. All those good bands back in the day like Slayer would be wearing like MDC shirts on the back of their records or D.R.I. shirts. Even Cliff Burton from Metallica was wearing a Misfits shirt. Those dudes listened to Discharge and shit you know. It’s like it’s basically like punks that are better at their instruments.

Phil: It fills the gap between simplistic punk music and more technical metal music. It’s in the middle there somewhere.

Tony: Yeah, it’s aggressive and fine but not overly technical.

There is a pun behind the name of the band, would you agree to explain it to us ?

Tony: I mean it’s obviously a play on words with Iron Maiden and Ronald Reagan. I guess it’s just kind of funny cause we’re like. You know Ronald Reagan was such a big thing when punk, metal and crossover stuff was like blowing up. So, it’s kind of a mix of the two. Plus, it kind of fits the band being like the style that we are. It just seemed like the name fit.

And how do people react to the name ? Do they know that it’s a joke and that it’s funny ?

Tony: I mean I think it’s obvious that it’s a play on words. If not, they’re not very smart if they can’t understand that. So, if somebody reacts confused about it, then that means that they’re probably not very bright. People want me to explain the band name and I’m like “really ?”. Maybe that’s a sign of my age. Because I’m in my 40s now, so to me, it makes sense and maybe the younger people it doesn’t make them much sense.

What are your aims behind the music, you know, the objective ? What do you want to tell people ?

Tony: I don’t know. We pretty much had a lot of dark songs. I think the content that are in our songs are pretty dark at times. I mean a lot of times there’s also humour in our lyrics so we kind of try to mix the two together and try to make a light of a pretty dark world that we live in right now.

Phil: I feel like our lyrics run the full spectrum of human emotion you know we have funny songs and we have dark songs. It’s kind of how whoever the person writing the lyrics felt that day. And you know, we don’t try to exclusively focus on one subject matter or anything like that.

Tony: which is cool about this band too is that a lot of people write the lyrics, it isn’t just one person. So that helps a lot with giving a broader spectrum to a lot of what the songs are about instead of just one thing which I think gives it more flavour.

Do you also write the music altogether like for the lyrics or not ?

Tony: Well, Rob, our bass player writes some songs on guitar. He writes the majority of the stuff.

Phil: We’re all multi-instrumentalist and everybody kind of takes a part at different parts of the song writing process and to yield varied results. We don’t try to tell anyone in the band that they can’t do something. Everybody’s allowed to contribute in any facet of the song writing which is good. It gives us a lot of different things riff wise and lyric wise. And when we write as many songs as we do, we have like 30 songs on an album. You know it helps to have so many different brains doing different things.

Tony: Yeah, it’s good to have all the member on your band contributing creatively instead of just one person. We get a lot of good idea some ideas are terrible but most of the time we can take something and even if it’s not the best idea and make something out of it and everyone contributes to that you know everyone’s open minded and that’s fun. It’s a really fun creative process and it makes it interesting and it’s one of my favourite parts to the band.

Where do you find your inspiration to realize your crazy video clips like “Miserable Failure” ?

Phil: We were fortunate enough to work with a fantastic director Whitey McConnaughy who also has done Red Fang videos and Jackass clips and he’s a guy that has a lot of experience when it comes to making really bombastic crazy music video. He was the perfect guy for the job and he definitely did a great job for us.

Tony: He’s a great guy. He loves the band, so he helped us out.

Phil: He’s really mastered the art of music video and I can’t think of any other guy making us entertaining music videos as he has in the last couple of years.

Tony: But for us in general just music videos are a key element to our bands because we also want to have a visual thing there too. That’s what I love about bands. I grew up in the MTV generation where we watch videos all the time. I feel that’s a really important thing that a lot of bands nowadays don’t really care about and don’t think it’s as important as to getting likes on Facebook or whatever. So, they’re just creating a hilarious video or just a creative video, there’s a lot of cool stuff out there but I feel like it’s not as important to bands as it used to be. I wish it was.

What can you tell me about your latest album “Crossover Ministry” ?

Tony: It’s been two years now which is crazy. Yeah, we love it. I’m really happy with that after you know. You can tell when you write a good album that you’re satisfied with if you’re playing a lot of songs live and we’ve happened so that’s a good sign that we’re not just like playing our old shit. You know it’s a form of growth for the band and I think I can see where we’re heading now and it’s good. It’s getting better and better and I feel like the band is still progressing and getting into its own style and the songs we have written for the next record is awesome.

Phil: In the meantime, between albums we’ve been putting out some split Ep’s and we put out one with a band called creeper on Relapse Records and then most recently we did an EP for Pop Wig Records just to keep our music out there between albums but like Tony said before right now we’re writing for a new full length album. Hopefully we’ll get it done sometime this year.

Tony: We have a split 7″ coming out in May but nobody knows that, that is secret…

What are your plans for 2019?

Tony: We’re not going to say yet but there is a lot of big Iron Reagan plans in the works. It’s going to be a busy year for Iron Reagan next year.

What is your favourite place to play small concerts or festivals ?

Phil: Well you never know what to expect when you’re playing either. I mean sometimes you’ll play a big show and the whole audience will just go off and react really well for us and that can be really fun exhilarating experience, of course when you see a giant audience really reacting well to your music you know.

Smaller venues are fun in that sometimes the sound is a little better you know more compact and with playing fast very aggressive music sometimes having the sound very flat in a smaller venue just makes it sound better. That’s just me I’m a musician so, I think about sound.

Audience wise it can go either way with any show. I find that sometimes a bigger audience is a little bit easier because if some guy says “fuck you” in the audience you’re not going to hear him but in a smaller club if somebody says “fuck you” that we’re going to hear that guy, but I enjoy both equally.

Tony: Yeah for me it’s just audience energy. It can be the smallest room or the biggest show the crowds feel on it. We’re feeling it. It’s really about how the energy is and if the sound is good, you can tell it by the way the crowd’s reacting. Yeah, it’s really just for me it’s crowd energy. Either way it’ll be nice to love just playing our shows but now it’s like whatever. It just depends on how the energy is.

What would be your dream concert ?

Phil: We’ve been fortunate to play it with a lot of our favourite bands. You know we’ve played with Slayer we’ve played with Exodus. I mean a lot of our favourite bands, we have had amazing experience living. I suppose it would have to be bands that have broken up or something you know.

Tony: Or somebody that died or something somebody you know there’s something like Thin Lizzy but that’s always a weird thing. I would say Violence but they’re fucking playing again. So maybe we’ll get the play with them.

I leave you the last word of the interview.

Tony: Thanks for supporting us for these six years, it’s been really fine. We love to come back out to Europe, and we’ll be out here in August with an Europe tour and then a lot of big shit in 2019 and so keep an eye out for us. Thanks for having an open mind and enjoying our music.

Phil: Lookout for that split with Sacred Reich.

Tony: Bring us weed to shows please.

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