Irontom's Eclectic and Encompassing Path to Rock 'n' Roll
>>“Call Me The West” is the first taste of a potential upcoming album from Irontom, who will also be supporting Bear Hands on a 31-date North American Tour this spring.
The enigmatic and undeniably energetic Malibu psych punk band Irontom have made quite a name for themselves when they emerged in 2012. They became one of the more trusting alternative rock bands of the 2010s to embrace and update the classic aesthetics of rock ‘n’ roll without being clichéd. And their sound is conveyed best at their vibrant live shows, where they get to establish themselves in front of hundreds of people proving that rock is very much alive in the millennial era. Heck, even Charlie Sheen is a fan!
In an 2018 interview from Issue 4, frontman Harry Hayes told us about the extreme live energy he and his band set loose during their live shows and the inspiration behind it.
“When we started the band I realized that I just wanted to react to the music. I really wanted to let what the guys [were] playing hit me and have myself react to that in a way that could go with the performance,”
Hayes said. “The performances are just a moment for me to express myself, whatever I am feeling. I feel things so intensely and they feel good, I just want to share them with everybody. It’s just me saying here’s how happy I am and you should just take it!” The origin of Irontom’s name comes from an old anecdote told by Hayes that involves an old legend. “There was brutal motorcycle accident. My grandfather came on the scene, and the man was alive, but not in a good way,” Hayes said. “He ended up not being able to use his leg anymore, so they jammed an iron rod in the place of his bone. His name was Tom. He’s a legend; he’s invincible. And he plays bass!” When we sat down with the band for an interview in 2017, they had just released their debut album, 'Partners,' a wide-ranging album that would shift from arty post-punk to explosive psychedelic rock with twisty electronics, which also included the grooving lead single “Be Bold Like Elijah.”
Before this, they had just released two EP’s—2012’s 'The Loose' and 2013’s ' The Nitro,' both produced by Alain Johannes, who has worked with bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Arctic Monkeys; clear influences to Irontom. And in 2015, they released 'Irontom Compilation,' an album comprising of standalone singles and songs from those previous EPs, which also featured their intense cover of the Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc.”
In their earlier days, they also landed a r are appearance on 'The Eric Andre Show,' where they absolutely killed it. But when Irontom slowly worked their way up to the alternative mainstream of rock music, not only did they become a driving force in that genre, but they established relationships with leaders in alternative rock.
'Partners' was produced by Awolnation frontman Aaron Bruno and after they finished recording that album, they went on tour in support of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their guitarist Zach Irons, the son of ex-Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam drummer, Jack Irons, has also been an active member of Awolnation since 2015. Hayes grew up playing music with Irons and he expressed how sharing Irons with Bruno in both groups compliments their music.
“We’re like a little family with Awol. Aaron produced parts of our album and after that his own album. We’ve just all been together. Zach obviously played on “Here Come the Runts” and it sounds great!,” Hayes said. “It’s cool to me that our sounds are kind of intermingling. Being out on the road too, we’re traveling with them. It’s just like a rock ‘n’ roll circuit every night! It’s fun to be rollin’ in with guys you love so much and are inspired by.”
A rock ‘n’ roll circuit it must’ve been. But even if Irontom considers Awol a collaborative family, they had to earn playing with the Chili Peppers. Hayes recalls before finishing recording their first album, Irons knew Flea and tried to get with them for a while. And when Flea saw them play in the studio, Hayes remembers Flea saying “When your album’s out, you can come on tour.” Thinking back to that tour, Hayes recalls the experience being fantastic and inspiring.
“It was life-changing,” Hayes said. “They’re one of our favorite bands in the world and they’re so massive. Their songs have inspired us… they’re ingrained in you. Anyone who’s into rock music knows that stuff so much, you know? They were amazing to watch every night. Us getting to play with them is something we talked about for a long time.”
After finishing the last half of 2017 touring alongside electronic duo Missio and influential Canandaian alt rockers Arkells, Irontom saw more touring, but this time reunited with Awol and even played some shows with the UK band Nothing But Thieves in 2018. But there was a brief time when Hayes called it quits from performing live with Irontom to focus on composing and gardening. Hayes was then replaced for a few shows by his twin brother KidHayes (aka Kid Midnight), which “worked out great,” according to Irons. But that all must’ve changed at the start of last year when Irontom released their third EP, 'Kid Midnight' and went back on tour with Hayes as frontman alongside touring mates the Unlikely Candidates.
And in September, Irontom gave us more music with the gut-punching garage rock single “Call Me The West,” a possible tease for an upcoming album later this year. They closed out 2019 touring with Dreamers and Arrested Youth and will now embark on a 31-date North American tour in support of the experimental rock outfit Bear Hands.
Irontom has been doing more touring than studio recording, but that’s what’s been really putting them on the map. When we asked Hayes what direction he sees the band moving in five years from our interview back in 2018, he wanted to keep recording, touring regularly and have people know Irontom’s songs. And that’s exactly what the young band is doing right now. Their adventure to the “rock ‘n’ roll circuit” continues.
You can find or purchase tickets for their tour with Bear Hands here.
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