IRON GUTS KELLY
Kansas City Old School Hardcore
Hey guys, what's up in the IRON GUTS KELLY camp these days?!? Everything alright?!? First of all let me send you a honet and big THANX for doing the interview.
Hey Andy, thanks for the interview. Everything is great in the IRON GUTS KELLY camp. Right now we are finishing up the writing process for our next full length release which should be out by year's end. (Great thing to hear guys!!!)
What I first would like to know from you is, if there is something like a deeper meaning behind your name, I mean, damn, what means or for what/who/etc. stands IRON GUTS KELLY?!? Ah, and what is the story tom your 'Skull-Shamrock/Cloverleaf' logo, any irish roots in the band or what-so-ever?!?
I (Shawn, bass player) came up with the name from an episode of M*A*S*H. I love the show and we were looking for a new band name. I was watching M*A*S*H while eating breakfast one morning, and saw the episode featuring General Robert "Iron Guts" Kelly. Based on the fact that we all have some Irish heritage it seemed fitting. We have had the shamrock and skull logo in some form since we first started.
I think you're still something like a pretty new band to a lot of the (german) readers (shame on them), so yes, please introduce yourself to the readers and me: name, age, jobs, hobbys, family, musical taste, any bands you've played before IRON GUTS KELLY in, which instrument is played by which guy in the band, etc., some inside look into the insides of the band?!?Okay, the band:
Shawn - bass guitar. I am married and I have four children. I have been a police officer for 15 years. I love most forms of Hardcore, Punk and Metal. I am Straight Edge (the only member who is). My kids range in age from 16 years down to 3 months so that keeps me busy. In the late '80s I was in a Straight Edge band called SECOND CHANCE.
Josh - guitar, vocals. Josh is a single father of three kids. Josh has been a Police Officer also for 12 years. Josh is into all kinds of music from Hardcore, Punk and Metal to Classic Rock.In his spare time Josh is an amateur Power weight lifter.
Sean -drums. Sean is a single father of one child. Sean has been a french teacher for about 15 years. Musically Sean is influenced by everything from Hardcore to Old School Hip Hop.
Robert 'Boj' - vocals. Boj is a single and has no children. He is the owner of the Brass Rail Tavern in Topeka, Kansas. Boj is a gun collector and is influenced by Hardcore, Metal and first wave Ska.
Like I've already said, I think that you're still a pretty unknown band to the majority of the (german) readers (once again, shame on their heads). So tell us please something about the bandhistory of IRON GUTS KELLY so far. When and where have you tarted the band, any position/personal changes, etc.?!? And yes, how many releases have you already put out, is the "AXE TO GRIND" record your first release?!?
Back in 2002 Sean and I were playing in a Punk band (THE BLIVITS) and I missed playing a more 'hardcore' style of music. Sean and I have been friends and been playing music together for over 20 years. Sean wanted to play Hardcore again also so we started writing and our new 'hardcore' band was going to be a side project to THE BLIVITS. We needed a guitar player and I was working with Josh and had known him for a few years. He was into Hardcore and Metal and had played guitar in area bands in the past. I asked him if he wanted to join. He agreed and IRON GUTS KELLY was born. Boj is a childhood friend of Josh and after afew months we asked him to try out on vocals. It all worked well and we are all best friends. IRON GUTS KELLY took off and THE BLIVITS were no more. There have been no personal changes since we started.
2003 - "PITBOSS" EP (self release, "PERFECT UNION RECORDS")
2004 - Self titled CD (self release, "PERFECT UNION RECORDS")
2006 - "STATEMENT" CD (self release, "PERFECT UNION RECORDS")
2008 - "AXE TO GRIND" CD ("H-8 PIECE RECORDS"/"PERFECT UNION RECORDS")
We have toured around the U.S. 5 times over the past few years. We really want to come to europe someday!!!
(Damn, I want you to come over here, too, so bookers, here's your chance to do a tour or at least a row of concerts with a great and stand-alone band, so come on and hurry up!!!)
Hm, I could imagine that you guys in the band are already quite a while around in this whole world of subculture/underground/D.I.Y. music/scene, so could you tell us please when, where and how it all started for you. Which bands, records, songs, lyrics, etc. had been the reason for you to practise and play music, write songs, start a band, etc.?!? How and with which bands/records/music genres you've gotten into it?!?
Music is our religion. We all grew up in the mid and late '80s which in our opinion is the heyday for all good music. I grew up in a very small town and was into New Wave and Heavy Metal music. I met a friend in high schoolwho introduced me to Punkrock in 1985. He had three Punkrock cassette tapes. "NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS" by the SEX PISTOLS, "FRESH FRUIT FOR ROTTEN VEGETABLES" by the DEAD KENNEDYS and "SID SINGS" by SID VICIOUS. He let me hear them and I was instantly hooked and could not get enough. We were the only two people into Punkrock in our school so we took a lot of shit. I met Sean around that same time. We had an all age's club located in the middle of a corn field during that time and we started going to shows there. I was heavily influenced by 7 SECONDS, WARZONE, BAD BRAINS, BLACK FLAG, S.O.D., THE CLASH, SICK OF IT ALL, CRO-MAGS, SHEER TERROR, AGNOSTIC FRONT, BOLD, YOUTH OF TODAY, and VERBAL ASSAULT just to name a few. We were fortunate enough to get to see a lot of those bands live which was a huge impact on us when we were young. The first time I felt the enery of seeing BLACK FLAG live I knew I wanted to play in a band for the rest of my life.
Now let us come to your music, respectively to your truly great "AXE TO GRIND" record. When I listened to it the first it really knocked me out off my boots. It's like a harsh and brutal, stormy tempest, that comes without warnings and truly takes no prisoners. damn, from where do you get all of this pissed off attitude and all this harshness, brutality and aggression?!? It's impressive!!! But, I truly hope you're not like this all the time in your private life, haha;-)!?!
Thanks a lot, I'm glad you like the latest CD. We put a lot of work into it. We are all a bunch of dorks who sit around and make fart jokes. We channel our anger we have into our song writing and are all very passionate about what we write about. When the four of us get together it's like we are all 15 years old again as far as having a good time or picking on each other. Our music is angry and aggressive but it's a creative outlet for us. We are all a bunch of sweet hearts!!!
In the review of your "AXE TO GRIND" record I've described your music as a mixture out of very much influences of brutal Hardcore/Trash Core the old school way of sound (like M.O.D., or the eraly PRO-PAIN), old school Trash Metal (like SLAYER, or the old METALLICA), (mainly) british Hardcore-Punk (remember THE EXPLOITED, G.B.H, or TOTAL CHAOS- okay, they are coming not from britain, haha;-)...), some MOTÖRHEAD inspirations, and some very, very few Oi! inspirations to cultivate it and melt it together. Did I go totally wrong with this description of your musical style?!? Then you have now the time and place to set things right, haha;-). By the way, what would you say are your influences, paragons, and/or what-so-ever, and how would you describe your music by yourself?!?
It's an honor for us to have a review that says we sound like all those bands listed. IRON GUTS KELLY is our way also of paying tribute and respect to all the great bands who have paved the way musically for us. Hardcore is at the root of all our influences. We all bring other influences to the music as well. We are just as inspired by THE CLASH as we are SLAYER. Somehow I think it all works together.
How do you write songs?!? Do you rehearse the traditional way, or do you interact more by way of the so called new medias like the internet, to write your songs?!? How do we have to imagine your rehearsal sessions, some alcohol fueled feats, or very well focussed work on the songs?!? ah, and who is doing what, who is acting which part when it comes to writing songs?!?
We all have such busy schedules taht we are only able to practise once a week. it's a very focussed practise and usually no one drinks during it. All the music I write starts out in my head. I come up with ariff while driving around then I go home and try it out on guitar or bass. Our studio is at my house so I sometimes record stuff I've written on a 4 track recorder we ave. I hate writing lyrics but sometimes I get so pissed off by wha I observe in the world that I have to write about it. Josh also brings riffs to practise. We try to not bring fully finished songs to practise. Josh and I like to bring few parts of a song that way we all can have a hand in how it ends up. Boj and Josh are always writing lyrics also so we always have lots of choice of the direction we take a song. Our writing process is very simple and old school. We play a new song several times and just remember it or so we hope!!!
Now let us come to your lyrics. I don't know if you would call yourself an political band (respectively I don't know if you do call yourself a political band), but I think you are very outspoken to a lot of different political, social, and religious issues. For example your song "TERMINUS", a very apocalyptic picture that you draw with the lyrics through this song. Is it 'only' meant for this islamofascist scumbags, or cover the lyrics to "TERMINUS" a wider distance?!? Ah, and what do you think in general when it comes to the case or relation of music and politics?!? And in general: From where do you get your inspiartions to write lyrics in large parts in general?!?
We are not a political band but you are right we are outspoken. Everyone in the band has different political views from each other. When I write lyrics I just go with what I feel passionate about. I wrote the lyrics to "TERMINUS" about the constant bombardement you get when you listen or watch the news here in the States. It's one news story after another about people harming their children and each other. I wrote it from the perspective of maybe it should all come to end because of the way we treat each other. The song is not direct at any one particular group of people. The song is targeted at anyone who harms those who cannot defend themselves. I am a huge fan of post-apocalyptic stories and movies. So for me it's fun to write about the topic. The new CD we are working on has a lot of the same 'End Of Days' theme. I don't really want the world to end but it sure is fun to write about.
My absolute favorit, musically and textually, is the opener of your record, the damn great "DEATH MARCH"!!! The music is just bonecrushing, and the lyrics are truly just pure and solid gold!!! First: Who did the lyrics?!? Very, very good job!!! I think you describe exactly what is going on in or with the armies, governments, societies, etc. of the western democracies, and I think that the U.S.A. are even much more affected by it than- for example- Germany. Our boys and girls, brothers and sisters are send to fight, for example in Assghanistan, and then they are goddamn betrayed by the political leaders and traitor bastards that claim to rule the public opinion, no matter if they call themselves 'patriots' or 'leftists', and any support gets deprived. In Germany our elected leaders of the state even don't speak of war when they speak about Assghanistan, they call it armed conflict/-s or something like that. Can you imagine it?!? It's a war, nothing else!!! And, more orse, like you say/sing it, the meaning of this war- and there are some good reasons to fight and win this war, if you ask me- is totally taken away. Fuck it!!! Fuck This bastards!!! What do you think of this, how is the situation in the U.S.A. today (for example when it comes to supporting the troops), has anything changed since Obama is your president, and what do you expect him to do (if anything)?!?
Thanks a lot!!! Boj wrote the lyrics to "DEATH MARCH". Since the dawn of time Government and men in power have always used their armies as pawns. i think that is very much the case still today. That's kind where the idea for the song came from. I think that happens here in the States as well where soldiers are sent off to fight wars in the name of 'defending democracy'. When in reality leaders have hidden agendas. What really sucks is when things go bad during a war the Government turns their back on the soldiers and blames them. It's all very fucked. We as a band are very supportive of our military and "DEATH MARCH" is our tribute to our men and women who are deployed across the world fighting on the front lines. Unfortunately we live in a time where armies and war are a necessity to keep balance. I personally don't feel that things have changed in requards to the r with Obama in power. Democracy is like religion. It looks good on paper and as a theory but once you add a human in control they fuck everything up.
(That's damn true, sad enough, but this words do truly speak the truth out loud!!!)
Another song with very strong lyrics is the bitte "FEEL FREE"!!! Do I get it right, that it's a very big fuck off to the current Hardcore so called scene, to this whole self proclaimed tough guys and this violent dancing stuff?!? How is the scene in the U.S.A. these days?!?
Yeahr, "FEEL FREE" is a shot at anyone who wants to either talk shit from the safety of their computer or assholes who want to come to a show and start shit. People talk a lot of shit on us for various reasons. For us Hardcore was suppose to have no rules and be open to anyone. There is an elitist group of close minded fucks who feel that not everyone should be allowed in the scene. Above all Hardcore to us is supposed to befun, but like everything in this world there is always someone out to run a good time. "FEEL FREE" is a big fuck you to shit talkers and people who come to shows looking for a fight. Come to a show, have some beers, dance hard and have a good time!!! The Hardcore scene in the States is always good. Now with the internet and computers you get exposed to a ton of bands. Here in the KC area most touring bands stop so there is always a show to go to. We have it good here!!!
Ah, and one last thing to your lyrics: Who or what is the "COLLECTOR"?!? I truly have not a single clue, haha;-)!!!
We are all huge movie buffs. We try to lighten up the lyrics with some fun topics as well. Things can't be doom and gloom all the time, right?!? "COLLECTOR" is based on the scene from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" where the 'Dead Collector' is out collecting bodies. The song turned into being about the Black Plague. I guess the plague is not a fun topic after all.
One word to the cover drawing of your "AXE TO GRIND" record. Is there any meaning behind it?!? I ask you, because it seems to me that it's maybe a little bit of 'propagandizing arbitrary law', haha;-)!!! Because of the guy with the military haircut and the selfmade sheriff star, who is sharping his axe in front of the wanted poster of this gangsta style looking guy with the hooded sweater. I mean, it would be all fine with me, but did I got a total wrong impression of it or not?!? So tell us something about the meaning of the cover artwork. Ah, and who did the drawing of the cover?!? Looks pretty cool!!!
During the writing process of the CD we had a lot of shit talked on us by some young kids in our local scene who hate law enforcement. One band (who will remain namless) wrote a song about how we don't belong in the Hardcore scene simply because of our jobs as police officers. Some of these guys had been friends with us and then turned their backs on us because it became trendy to hate 'Cops' in our scene even though everyone got along with us for years. (Fuckin' jackasses everywhere... that's the problem when you don't question clichès like- for example- "A.C.A.B." and take them for truth without thinking about it... and I also think tthe problem is getting bigger and more bitter when your parents are also brother and sister and you do have too much time compared with a much too little brain, and a great lack of Sex and some too small guts... So guys, fuck these shitalking jackasses and give them what they need and deserve when you meet them!!!) We get along with everyone and respect everyone's views and everyone's right to free speech. When these guys would not let up and continued to talk shit on us and our families we responded with the songs "AXE TO GRIND" and "FEEL FREE". I am also a huge "The Punisher" fan, so I thought the idea of a cover of a vigilante cop taking the law into his own hands would make a good cover. We fully understand that people don't feel that we should be 'a part' of the Hardcore scene because of what two of us are doing for a living. We don't carry those kind of prejudices on the Hardcore scene. We welcome anyone to one of our shows no matter what your race, political view or religious preference is. With all that said there are far more people who actually appreciate taht we are cops. We have helped out tons of people in the 'Scene' who get into trouble. We have stopped fights at shows before cops could come in and start cracking skulls. on more than one occasion we have smoothed things over with cops at a show before things got out of hand. We have also given endless amounts of legal advice to our Hardcore family who needed it. I just thought it would funny to have a cop on the cover who has lost his mind and is going after the scumbags of the world on his own.
I think you are coming from Kansas City, right?!? To be honest with you, I don't know of any other bands coming from there (or at least I think so at the moment...), and I also don't know that much about Kansas and Kansas City at all. Hm, but think that Kansas is always called the granary of the U.S.A., right?!? (Or at least that's the stuff my former english teachers always told me...) For some reasons?!? Hm, can you tell us something about the subcultural underground in Kansas City, any bands, studios, fanzines, clubs, bars, distros, etc. around that we should know?!? And what is to say about Kansas City in general?!? I mean, you really get a lot impressions from the east and the west coast, especially from the big cities (from Boston to New York, from Los Angeles to Seattle, from Washington D.C. to Miami, etc.), but from Kansas and /or Kansas City you do her usually over here not that many, to say it that way. How is life in Kansas/Kansas City?!? So please, give us some impressions!!! Are there any sunny sides we have to know about, and what is to say when it comes to the darker side of things?!? Ah, and what about sports, is there anythig to tell about sports and Kansas respectively Kansas City?!? Just the "KANSAS CITY CHIEFS" are coming to my mind. Are you interested in sports?!?
Josh lives in KC and the rest of us live in smaller towns near there. We play in Kansas City a lot and practise about 30 minutes from there. Josh and I work in the Kansas City area. Having been to both coasts the nice thing is things are not as crowded in KC and you can drive 30 minutes and been in farm country. I've never heard KC called the granary of the U.S.A. but it's defiantly fitting with all the agriculture areas around the city. KC is the self proclaimed barbeque capitol of the world. We know how to cook meat ove a fire and smoke!!! Since KC is located in the middle of the country we have the influence from both coasts which is cool. There are always shows to go to since there isn't much outside KC to stop at. KC has always had a killer music scene. There is a something for everyone. HAMMERLORD and COALESCE are just two of the amazing Metal bands from the area. CIRCLE OF TRUST, HARSH REALITY, SHRED SCARE and K.T.P. are great examplesof the varity of Punk / Hardcore bands from the area. There are tons of cool bars across the city where bands can play and it seems like there is always some type of show going on. Kansas City has many independently owned coffee shops and reatil stores who support local bands and the arts which is very cool. In the past few years our sporting teams have sucked. the CHIEFS just came off a really bad season along with our Major League Baseball team, the ROYALS. We do have a new Minor League hockey team, the MAVERICKS that are doing well. Sean and I live in Lawrence, Kansas which is a fairly small collage town. Its home to the University of Kansas JAYHAWKS who have along history of the game of basketball. Basketball was invented in Lawrence and the JAYHAWKS are usually ranked number one in the country. The JAYHAWKS won the national championship in 1988 and in 2008. At the time of the nterview they are in the middle of the national tournament and are predicted to win!!! We are all huge JAYHAWKS basketball fans!!!
What are your favorite bands, back in the good old days as well as today here and now, and to what bands/records are you listening this days at home?!? And what are bands/records, that you think, are a 'must-know'?!?
I still listen to most of the same stuff I grew up on only now I listen to a lot more Metal. Currently I've been listening to a ton of OVERKILL, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, MUNICIPAL WASTE, BONDED BY BLOOD, D.R.I., MASTODON, GOATWHORE and EXODUS. As far as American Hardcore I've been listening to a lot of BLACKLISTED, CREATURES, OUTBREAK, CRUEL HAND, RINGWORM, EARTH CRISIS, S.O.D. / M.O.D., PRO-PAIN, IRON AGE and I have to have my daily fill of the BAD BRAINS.
Do you know any german or europna Hardcore / Oi! / Punkrock / Metal / etc. bands?!? Which are the ones that had impressed you the mot?!?
It seems like with so much music being put out here in the States it's hard to keep up with all the new bands. We really don't get exposed too much from Europe (shame on us) which is strange since the internet has made the world such a small place. I saw a band from across the pond awhile back called RISE & FALL. They were amazing. I also discovered a band called PAYBACK who sounds like they grew up on the streets of New York City!!! Great European Band!!! I did get to see DESTRUCTION open for the CRO-MAGS in 1989. Been a fan ever since.
Now to the final question of this (already very long, I know;-)...) interview: When will a new record of you come, and will it be also on the "H8 PIECE RECORDS" label?!? I've never heard anything of this label until I bought your record and the- also damn great- first (?) BLUE COLLAR CRIMINALS record. Do you know these guys?!? Also a great band, if you ask me. Can you tell us something about your label?!? Who is running it, how did the contact come together, any other bands on it that you can endorse, etc.?!?
"H8 PIECE RECORDS" is based out of Austin, Texas and it's a small, one man show. It's ran by Mike Hate. Mikes a big supporter of the music scene and really helps his bands. We have played with the BLUE COLLAR CRIMINALS and they are great guys and a killer band. A few other bands on the "H8 PIECE RECORDS" roster are:
THE PHOENIX CITY MUGGERS (Streetrock / Oi!)
DREDGING THE LAKE (Thrash Metal)
BRUTE SQUAD (Hardcore)
COPYRIGHT CHAOS (Streetpunk)
THOSE UNRLUY (Streetrock / Oi!)
So guys, that's all from me for the moment. Once again a very big 'THANX!!!' for doing the interview here, and I hope that we will be able to see you guys some day here in germany wrecking down the live stages of the clubs!!! So for now the last words remain to you, and once again THANX a lot. Keep the faith!!! The best Greetings from Gemoney!!! Cheers & Oi!, Andy!!!
Thanks a lot for the interview!!! Coming to Germany is something we hope to accomplish someday!!! Until then thanks for your support!!!
IRON GUTS KELLY
Yeahr, that was the IRON GUTS KELLY interview, and it's a pretty long and a fuckin' great thing to read if you ask me, not your ordinary band, not your ordinary answers, I enjoyed it very much!!! So, now there's not that many left to say about or to it after all, so just start to support that damn great band,and I mean right now!!!
You can find the review of their fuckin' great "AXE TO GRIND" record also on this blog, the entry is named "IRON GUTS KELLY GRINDING AN AXE" and was the second entry at all on this blog, search under february 2010 or under record reviews (go to the rubrics on the right of your screen and click your way trough them) and you will find it - and then, damn, buy it!!!
Check and contact the guys also by MySpace, by using the following http://www.myspace.com/irongutskelly link. (You'll do find the link also above in the interview.)
And once again a very big 'THANK YOU!' is going out to SHAWN, great work done mate!!! Keep the faith!!! With fighting succesful that cancer bitch crap there won't be anything able to bring ya down!!! All the best for you and your family!!! Oi!
You'll get now also some videos of IRON GUTS KELLY to see and watch, to hear and listen to, the videos are live videos, but I think in truly pretty good quality, so just enjoy watching them!!!
IRON GUTS KELLY - Video 01
IRON GUTS KELLY - Video 02
IRON GUTS KELLY - Video 03
IRON GUTS KELLY - Video 04
IRON GUTS KELLY - Video 05
So I think that should be all in all enough for right now, at least if the videos do their work as they are supposed to. I hope you've enjoyed the interview as well as the videos and that your attention is now totally caught by this great and totally non-clichè band, and I'm hoping to hear more of IRON GUTS KELLY and damn, I'm truly looking forward for their next coming album!!!