Iron Reagan dance on the Gipper's grave
Spoiled Indentity EP
April 1, 2014
Radical punk-metal supergroup Iron Reagan have just released a free 13-track EP and are now playing it live across the US. Vocalist Tony Foresta and drummer Ryan Parrish answered some questions for Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward while they were driving to Dallas.
A lot of established bands are now playing complete albums, in order, live. Your new 13-track EP is five minutes long. How does it go down on stage?
Ryan Parrish: It goes down fast! Ha ha... We play five of the thirteen new tracks back to back and so far it's an energetic blast of chaos wrapped up tight in a two-minute rock block!
Tony Foresta: Yeah the songs are really fun to play live. They've only been out a few days and people already seem to know them. Pretty exciting.
You work very hard and are playing a lot of dates. How's the tour going so far?
Ryan Parrish: Tour is going awesome! Right now, we are on a month-long tour with Ghoul and hometown friends Occultist. We've been touring relentlessly for a few months and it's been really great.
Tell us about the concept behind the artwork for your debut album, Worse Than Dead.
Ryan Parrish: We wanted the cover to have a really iconic, nostalgic, old school punk/thrash vibe. I don't think Brent Eyestone, the artist, could have captured that any better. A rotting Reagan vomiting Republican agendas all over a dilapidated city pretty much screams "Worse Than Dead".
And the artwork for the new EP?
Tony Foresta: That was done by my friend, Alexis. She's a local Richmond artist that's been doing a lot of fun and offensive stuff lately. She has a site called Neva Safe. People should check that out. She rules.
Your song "I Predict The Death Of Harold Camping", about the Christian evangelist who repeatedly made failed predictions about the end of the world, was released in March 2013. But your prediction, unlike his, literally came true when he died nine months later. What were your thoughts?
Ryan Parrish: I told you so. Ha ha... If there's one thing on this planet that can't be predicted, it's the death of the human race... That being said, it's way easier to predict the death of a 90-plus-year-old fear-mongering thief. How? Because that's what all people do. Die.
Tony Foresta: Yeah, Ryan called that one. Good lyrics, pal. Ha ha.
When I hear your song "Cycle Of Violence" I think of Barack Obama praising Ronald Reagan. How about you?
Ryan Parrish: That song is more focused on the constant violence and turmoil that envelops our daily lives. From Syria to Egypt, to even here in the ol' USA, our struggles to live peacefully amongst each other are so challenged by religion, money, and government power through corruption, that the preciousness of human life is devalued to an extreme.
How did it feel to sign to legendary label Relapse Records last month?
Tony Foresta: I've always wanted to work with Relapse. Great label, good people too. I think it's the perfect home for Reagan.
Ryan Parrish: What an honour. Home to so many legendary acts, it's a dream to be a band on Relapse's roster. We are grateful and stoked!
You railed against private health care in "The Debt Collector". Somehow, I don't think you celebrated Obama's accomplishment of signing up more than 7 million people under the Affordable Care Act, though.
Ryan Parrish: A country taking care of its citizens doesn't stop at the mere entitlement to said country's nationality after a person's birth. It's a nation's obligation to care for its people. And, like a commitment in a marriage requires those to care and love for one another through sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, it's unfortunate that those same oaths differ when it comes to a government expected to be committed to caring for its people in those same situations. Health care isn't situational. It's necessary and should be provided without cost.
Your song "Bodies" brings to mind statistics that show in the US, crime rates have dropped in line with abortion being legalised, suggesting some "tough on crime" politicians actually increase crime by being anti-abortion. Their supposedly pro-family approach ends up producing unwanted children who are more likely to be abused, neglected and commit crime.
I'll never know what's best for their bodies
But I don't believe this choice is made by fascist laws
You'll never know their hurt so stop trying
And you'll never understand the obstacles, the anguish involved
Want to talk about that?
Ryan Parrish: A woman's right to choose is exactly that. It's ultimately HER choice. Not a doctor, not a family member, not a friend, and most certainly not a religion-fuelled businessman more interested in appealing to Christian voters than the health and well-being of a woman. Their bodies, their choice. If you're against abortion, you have the right to voice that opinion. But damn you if your only goal is to slap legislation on women's bodies preventing them from making an already complicated, emotional, and life-changing decision which only affects them. That's as inhumane as it gets.
What do you have planned for your second album, which is coming out this year?
Tony Foresta: We're so close to having the album finished. Kurt Ballou is mixing it in about a week and everything else is quickly falling into place. I'm sure we will do some tours around it and a million other things. It's all very exciting. These new songs are some of the best stuff I've ever sang on.
Any plans to come to Australia?
Tony Foresta: We've talked about it. I love Australia very much. Hopefully soon.
I haven't seen you asked about your name, but it's a love-hate blend of Iron Maiden and Ronald Reagan, right?
Tony Foresta: I guess you could say that. I just thought it was a great name for a metal punk band to have. Ha ha.