Interview With Luke Jones of Iron Beard
IRON BEARD is not the name of an upcoming B-rated flick starring one of the guys from Cheech N Chong. No, this young, upstart metal acts hails all the way from The Rhondda Valleys, South Wales. The band consists of drummer, Richard (Dicky) Mears, bassist Luke Jones, guitarist Nathan Morgan, and Julian Dickman on vocals. They blend a multitude of different heavy music sounds that certainly stays clear of the extreme metal expression dominated by over the top blast beat dramatics and keyboard synth'd out calamity you hear being produced by so many countless metal acts today. No, this band strips it down, much like New Orlean's Down has been doing it all these years and are still kicking everyone in the nuts. They seem to have their heads on straight for the shady and outright scandalous doings of the record business with a positive vibe that emanates from the fact that these cats just like to throw it down for the love it. I'm pleased to bring you all this ever-so-worldly Q&A with their bass player, Luke Jones.
Rocket: Are you a native of South Wales, United Kingdom?
Luke: Yes, born and bred!
Rocket: Noone said anything about makin' a sandwich. Haha! So tell me, when did you first start playing the bass guitar?
Luke: It was around 6 years ago now, Rocket.
Rocket: Okay. Sweet. So who are some of our your biggest playing influences?
Luke: I like a lot of different stuff. I think i'ts a good idea to keep an open mind. Metal and grunge are my favorite genres. I think you can hear that in some of our songs. Massive influences on the style I play would have to be Down and Alice in Chains.
Rocket: You can't go wrong there. Hornz up to Mr. Anselmo, Pepper and the rest of those bad asses out of New Orleans for keeping things on the tracks with that great band, man. With all the shit he took after Dime's murder and that Hurricane that Bush closed his eyes too, a lot of us weren't sure if he and the mighty Down would ever return. Nothing but love and respect for Philip and those who feel different can go find a dark corner and masturbate in it until they blow their own damn minds! Haha. So tell me, what kind of bass guitars are you playing live and in the studio?
Luke: Well about two years ago I purchased a B.C. Rich Beast Bass, N.J. Series, and I haven't looked back. They have a unique sound, perfect for a metal band. They cut through clearly but always sustain a low, dark sound, adding beefy presence to riffs. I like the sound so much that I use it for both Studio work and Live sets.
Rocket: What kind of amp rig?
Luke: At the moment I'm using a Laney RBG400, but its a bit outdated now. It's never been the same since I blew it up and had to have it repaired.
Rocket: Come on though, blowing up a bass amp is like one of those macho moments for a young rocker making their way, isn't it? You hear that loud ass 'pop' and then the smoke starts to come from the unit. I did it once actually to my friend's dad's old Fender guitar tube amp! It was during them GnR years hear in Los Angeles when it was all just gettin started for Axl Pose around 1987-1988, they were everywhere, man. It was like the Beatles to us kids. Everyone had to smoke a cigarette and play their instrument at the same time kinda shit, you know? Haha. But yeah, my friend wasn't too happy when I wasted that amp. He just looked at me and yelled, "Rocket, you fucking asshole!" and ran out of the garage crying. Haha. I know, I'm a lowdown sonofabitch. But the initial 'surprised' expression on his face when it happened was utterly priceless. The funniest part was that he had told me he knew I'd blow it up plugging a bass into a guitar amp. What did I know, I had only started playin' bass that week!
Luke: The main unit I have Rocket, is a Combo and I've added a 250W Cab for fun! It can handle around 500W at a punch, nice 'n' loud, just how I like it. I think that's how I blew it up though.
Rocket: Briefly, tell me how you intially joined up with Iron Beard.
Luke: Our drummer, Richard Mears, and I were in a few bands together before Iron Beard, but none as good! Nathan Morgan, guitar, was in a band called Odious, I think they still got some tracks on a Myspace site. We've all grown up together and on a local night out getting pissed we got talking to Julian Dickman, vocals, and decided to have a jam.
Rocket: What I love about the demo recordings you have on MySpace is some of it sounds like old school Anthrax with even old Iron Maiden in there. I totally love it. Who are some of the other metal bands that influence how you guys approach writing?
Luke: Thanks! I love it when people recognize what we are trying to do with our music.
Rocket: I call them like I see it. Plus, I have been a student of metal for over thirty years now and I do get paid to do what I'm doing here. Haha. It's got to be the most kick ass job a music lover could ever have. I swear to shit. Who wants to be fuckin' dusting off them bins at a retail record store when you could be doing what I am, working directly with all these great upcoming acts, and straight up calling the shots, you know? But yeah, man... I totally hear that old school vibe in there. With some better recording production and a little tightening here and there you guys will be unstoppable. That's why I brought you here in the first place. I have bands from here to China and back that want to work with me at this point. You guys are it! Ha! So be real proud of that. And hold them horns high as we march in the face of the enemy towards our all out re-claiming of the true metal flag in this bullshit music business!
Luke: Oh yeah, Rocket. We are all huge fans of old school. One of the reasons we started this band was because we were so pissed off with metal today. All these emo/screamo bands piss us off!
Rocket: Man, you even got them little pussies where you're at too? Ha! Amazing. They are everywhere! Like cockroaches in Compton!
Luke: It's not what metal's about.
Rocket: Emo is not what music is about. How in the hell can you mix a heavy fucking riff with some 'Spandau Ballet' chorus hooked into it immediately afterwards? Haha. Someone please explain this shit to me. I don't get it. I never will. And now I need a beer!
Luke: Well, we've been influenced by real heavy music from the great bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, Pantera, BLS, Motorhead and Thin Lizzy are what we try to revive through our stuff. Music today needs a kick up the ass and we intend to give it one!
Rocket: Now we're talking, Luke! I understand that Iron Beard was named as number twelve in the top twenty-five unsigned bands of 2006 by Metal Asylum Radio here in the states, which is killer news. I bet that made you guys real happy, right?
Luke: Yeah, that's right. It's an amazing feeling!
Rocket: That's awesome stuff. A little underground metal band out of Whales that's starting to make noise like that. Incredible.
Luke: I mean we've only been going for a year now...
Rocket: Is that all? Good Christ hammered to the upside down cross, I didn't realize that. You guys sound better than most ten year old acts that I scout day in and day out! Haha!
Luke: Yeah, and that was our first a demo CD. To be named as number twelve was great. We're from a small town in S.Wales UK and to be recognized all the way in Connecticut of the Unites States is awesome!
Rocket: Now Iron Beard is working on releasing its debut EP sometime in Summer/07, right? Can you tell us about the content and general feel you are going to unleash on us all with it?
Luke: Well, its definitely going to keep that Old School feel!
Rocket: You better, man. If you go Saliva on me or fucking starting doing them 'Someone stole my fingernail polish' anthems, I'm coming after you muthafuckers the hard way! Haha!
Luke: Haha. We don't want to piss you off, Rocket!.
Rocket: Trust me on this. And actually I won't even be involved. I'll just send out my New York Death Metal hit squad. And they enjoy dishing pain like Tommy Lee enjoys kissing dudes in publicity photos nowadays! Haha. Come on, Tommy. You're killing me, bro!
Luke: Well, one to watch out for is a track we have called 'Burial Ground', Rocket. Its got a real Southern Rock feel to it. When the EP is complete I definitely think its' going to make a mark.
Rocket: Where is the EP being recorded and who is producing it?
Luke: It's being recorded at Notting Pill Studios by Jeff and Ginge formerly of Dub-War and Skindred. They are realy good at what they do, you can hear the great quality of our last recording on our Myspace which was done by them. They realy are good and understand our style.
Rocket: Yeah, that one track 'My Level' makes me want to start shattering jaws on the streets for the hell of it! Haha! Heavy ass shit!
So who are some of the other local upcoming UK metal acts that have impressed you?
Luke: To be honest not many! There's a big Indie movement here at the moment and most metal bands are just jumping on the band wagon of whatever is the flavor of the month.
Rocket: Aarghhh, these trendsters make me just want to projectile spray vomit! As a matter-of-fact, directly onto an old lady who don't see it coming! Haha. I can't take anymore!
Luke: Haha. Sickening, Rocket. You're a madman.
Rocket: That's what they tell me around here. Maybe they're onto somethinig, huh?
Luke: A good band to watch out for is Dead Against the Rest.
Rocket: Very cool name. And you know, Luke, that's exactly how I felt when I woke up this morning! Haha!
Luke: Haha. Yeah, we did a few shows with them awhile back and they were really tight. They're a bit Glam Rock, but they're going to America for a few gigs soon I hear.
Rocket: Glam, huh? Then I'm sure I'll see them here in Hollywood soon! Ha! Those fruitcakes are everywhere on the strip like the 80's never ended! And I'll be Anna Nicole Smith's mortician if they all don't weigh about one hundred pounds soaking wet and wear them painted on tight jeans and bullet belts! Someone shoot me in the head! Listen, brother, I like to have fun with this next one. What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you while performing on the stage?
Luke: We were doing a gig once. We were about to go into a solo and the drums cut out. So I look over and can't see the drummer anywhere! Turns out he'd fallen off the back of the stage with his stool and was flat on his back! That was quite funny.
Rocket: Excellent and you're so proper with your flow, Luke. I love 'quite funny'! But, yeah, that's what I call 'lying down on the job'! What are some of the upcoming gigs for this band that we should watchout for?
Luke: We are busy writing and recording at the moment, but hopefully we should be getting some gigs in London soon. So if there are any UK based promoters reading this, please hit up our Myspace to bring us onto any last minute needs due to a band cancelling out or what have you. We're ready to rock it out up there no matter what!
Rocket: Luke, I really dig you and this band, man. Keep it truckin. Thanks very much for taking the time out on ths, brother. Best of luck in 2007. Go ahead and give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.
Luke: Cheers to Rocket, The West Coast Assassin!
Rocket: Ay, Luke... I'll even second that!! Shit, let's just all stand up and give me a round of rowdy applause. That's only if you're really feeling it though! No half-hearted attempts. Haha!
Luke: Thanks going out to all who love 'The Beard'...
Rocket: 'The Beard'?... you talking about that private spot on a woman, Luke? Now we're rockin it out!! Getcha pull!!
Luke: Hahaha. And please keep your eyes peeled for news of our upcoming EP release!
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