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A Dirty Dozen with NATHAN GRAY from THE IRON ROSES – October 2023

| 12 October 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “The Iron Roses are a passionate, unique, and beautiful group of people making music that we hope will change the world. Fueled by the injustices of our current times – their songs are the kind of protest anthems that only a group of seasoned musicians could make. Still angry, still driven, and still screaming – this is a band that will never give up the fight. It takes serious talent to write and sing songs that sound angry whilst the music lifts your spirits. So much of political punk is abrasive and unpleasant. No hooks. No melodies. But other times passionate and irate words sound incongruent with emotionless and insipid music. The Iron Roses manage something rare and commanding with music that lifts the heart coupled powerfully with lyrics that express fury and resentment of the current world.” We get vocalist Nathan to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest single releases from the upcoming self-titled album.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

One of the cool things about this album is that there is nothing hidden within. It’s all out in the open and presented fully. We are a punk band that finds inspiration and influence in diversity and exploration. We let shine what moves us. We love music with a message that draws folks in with ambitious honesty.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

The second I realized that music was my language. From a very young age, I learned that the best way for me to communicate was through music, and when I didn’t have it, I found it hard to express myself.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

As often happens, it started by listening to my parent’s albums. Folks like Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel and musicals like Les Miserables, West Side Story, and Man of La Mancha… I then started listening to the radio with Prince, Michael Jackson, Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper, and Pat Benatar. That propelled me into New Wave music which intimately led me to Punk Rock… The Clash, Bad Religion, Black Flag, Alice Bag band, the Avengers, X, and Husker Du to name a few.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would have to say either Joe Strummer, Annie Lennox, or Alice Bag. Sadly, it would be impossible to contact Strummer, but working with Alice Bag or Annie Lennox would be a dream come true. Two absolute icons for me.. both in their songwriting and drive.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Honestly, I don’t have much down time hahaha. I don’t prefer to be unwound. I always feel like I’m missing something I could be doing whenever I’m in a relaxed state.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I would tell them that The Iron Roses are a socially and politically-minded melodic and dancey punk band who draw influence from reggae, ska and hip hop. Perhaps if they dig The Clash or, hell, even old Chumbawamba they would dig us. Worst review ever would be anything calling anything I do “Americana” or having anything to do with that title. Ugh… our track called “Rebel Songs” got that a lot and I HATED it hahaha.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Usually Becky and I cook and none of us do a lot of drinking. We try to keep that to a minimum… and if the acoustic comes out it’s because we are practicing.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Becky could probably tell the story better than me, but it was probably the time we hung out with my ex-boyfriend haha. She teased me for months about that. I don’t usually get starstruck over the usual folks. It’s always folks I care about or love… people who make my heartbeat a little faster because I know who they truly are.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

If I wasn’t a musician I’d be a corpse. True story.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

If I never answer another question about my other band while I’m trying to promote The Iron Roses, I’d be very happy.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Of course. Like 500 of them, but I don’t think I’d do them over because for better or worse, they led me to today. I’m stronger, wiser, and in a much better place because of my missteps and failures.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

If I could have just sat in the studio and watched London Calling be born… whew… that would be it. Easily. I can’t even say it’s my favorite Clash album, but what magic had to have transpired making it!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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