Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rock's Come Back of the Year - Interview With Jimmy Ronnie From Iron Claw

 Here's an interview conducted by fearless Ripple Scribe, Boogeyman, that originally ran on his own blog, Long Live Rock N Roll.  Pop over there for more insights from the Boogs.

Being called Rock's "Come Back Bands of the Year" by Metal Odyssey, and having a string of great reviews from the likes of The Metal Minute, Rocktopia, and The Soda Shop just to name a few, I've been given the great pleasure to interview Iron Claw's guitarist and one of the band's original founding members, Jim Ronnie. As you'll find out, it's one hell of come back for these Proto Metal Pioneers indeed.

Boogs: As a musician myself that use to play in a band and have been out of the music scene for quite some time, what was the spark that ignited your desire to get the band back together after such a long time and start rockin' again?

Jimmy Ronnie:  The last thing on my mind late 2009 was an Iron Claw reunion. I became aware of  Rockadrome's release of the band's self titled CD and must admit to giving that little attention either. However, it became clear that there was indeed a lot of interest out there for our 1970's recorded back catalog. That was the spark that ignited the possibility of a reunion in my mind. I arranged a meeting of the surviving former band members and that was it! Iron Claw was reborn!

There wasn't much of a plan at that stage other than "let's record some new material and see how it goes". All that changed when Ripple Music got involved and suddenly we were now faced with the task of producing an album for world wide release on this new dynamic!

Boogs: That's amazing! How are some things better now with Iron Claw than they were back in the day when you guys first started out?

Jimmy Ronnie:  The internet is probably the biggest single change that has happened to music since 1979. Musicians now have a vehicle for getting their recorded music out to the world.

That didn’t exist during our first time around and record companies were practically the only way to get recordings heard. There were no CDs of course and pressing your own vinyl records was not a practical option. Even if that could be overcome, how do you distribute them?

On the negative side though, there are now a lot fewer live venues much less opportunity for bands to play. That’s a great shame. We need more live venues. That is how new young bands learn their craft and if they don’t get a chance to play live the standard of music will drop. Never mind TV talent shows. That’s not what it’s all about.

Boogs:  Once again congrats on A Different Game being praised as the "Come Back Album of the Year" in the world of rock and classic rock. How does that feel? It's gotta be an extremely gratifying feeling. Especially being labeled "Proto-metal Pioneers." That's gotta be honor being a part of that.

Jimmy Ronnie: The reviews for “A Different Game” have been astounding. Almost universal acclaim which is about is good as it gets. A couple of Doom sites don’t seem to like us but we’re not a Doom band so that’s fine.

It is extremely gratifying as you say. It’s always nice to get applause for a performance and the music press has thrown themselves behind us 100%.

As for “Proto-metal Pioneers”, I guess that’s what we were but that’s not something that was ever considered at the time. I never thought about breaking new ground. We just did what we did and had a great time doing it.

It was obvious then though that the music was not mainstream and we didn’t always go down well. “Play something we know!” being a common cry from the unsuspecting audience. The response was usually “Fuck off, you’re getting hard rock whether you like it or not!” Ah… the arrogance of youth!

Boogs: Your new album A Different Game is quite different than your first album. What was the experience recording A Different Game as opposed to your first album? What was your guys' focus on this album, or was it just this music beast within just itching to get out and rock shit again?

Jimmy Ronnie: The main difference is that this is an album produced as a single project, in one studio, with a single line-up of musicians. It was all done in a relatively short period of time as well.

The Rockadrome album is a compilation of recorded work done during our first lifetime (1969 to 1974). As such it is a good mixture of styles and production techniques and shows the bands evolution through the first 5 years of our existence.

The focus on “A Different Game” was clear from the start. We wanted to produce a record that was pure Iron Claw and that was about capturing the live spirit of the band on record. This was about returning to our roots as a band rather than writing and recording about where we may find ourselves as changed individuals today.

Iron Claw is what was called for and Iron Claw is what was given. The end result is that we have produced an album for today. The spirit of the record is 40 years old but the sound is now. I’m very pleased with it as you can probably tell!

Boogs: Absolutely, and you have every reason to be! I definitely have my favorite tunes on A Different Game, one of them being the album's title track. What would you say is your definite song favorites writing as well as recording?

Jimmy Ronnie: I, too, like the title track which, together with “It’s Easy”, comes from a mid-90’s solo recording project of mine. A couple of the songs had been part of our 1970’s live set but never recorded in the studio. Some were recorded first time round in 1970 but never released.

This was actually our very first album recorded in Luton near London with Mike Waller on vocals. Some of the songs are brand new and written in the studio for this album. So some of the songs are old, some are new but all of them have been stripped bare and reworked for the album.

I don’t know if I’ve got any real favourites. It depends what kind of mood I’m in. “What Love Left” is definitely the right choice for the opener and single….straight to the point rock n roll! I like the Youtube promo video too (not everyone shares my opinion on that though!)

Boogs: I know you all played The Barlinnie Prison last October for charity. What else is in the works for Iron Claw?

Jimmy Ronnie: Yes. The official album launce was at Scotland’s largest prison in Glasgow. That was a very special night for us. A few hundred very sober prisoners gave us a frosty welcome to the stage. By the end of our set they were rockin' full on! That was immensely satisfying for us and hopefully we managed to plant a few seeds that night.

As we speak we are rehearsing with our new vocalist and hopefully it shouldn’t be long before we’re back on the road. Looking forward to that.

Ripple Music have offered us the chance to make another album. Their only stipulation being that it’s as “kick ass” as this one! That is some time away but we’re really looking forward to that as well.

It has been two years since we decided to reform. Two very intense, busy, yet satisfying years. Personally, up until Ripple Music came along I had given up all hope of fulfilling my dream and securing a recording and publishing deal. Just goes to show that you never know what's around the corner! As long as there is an audience for Iron Claw and we can still do it then it continues…..Here’s to the future!

Yes, indeed, you never know what's around the corner, and as this year almost closes in, I can only suspect great things for the Iron Claw boys. There's is a great story, a very cool story that's not often told in rock. I personally love it. It takes courage and a big brass set of kahones to make a come back like Iron Claw has.

Once again, I'd like to thank Jimmy Ronnie for being gracious enough to take the time out to answer a few questions for this hard rock fan.

For more information on the Iron Claw band, visit the link to read their biography and get a healthy taste of some of their tunes featured on the their new cd release A Different Game!

Looking for the cd? Click the link to go to Ripple Music's store and grab your copy of Iron Claw: A Different Game released on Ripple Music now!

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