Coming to you all the way from the Great White North today (spoilers for the first answer). All answers by Kevin Connelly, singer/lyricist/songwriter for Iron Age Mystics.
Toronto, Canada. Our bass player, Clayton Rudy, is from the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan.
How did you meet?
I met our drummer at the time, Greg Mount, at a mutual friend’s wedding. Greg caught wind that I was a singer of some repute and asked me if I was interested in starting a writing project. I said sure, and Greg took it upon himself to bring in Allan Wohng and Clayton.
How long have you been playing as a band?
As a writing / recording project, over ten years now. As a live band, much less.
Before you get sick of being asked…where does the band name come from?
My imagination. The ‘Iron Age’ part is meant to imply that we live at a very low point in our culture. The ‘Mystics’ part is to imply we are people who see through it.
What are your influences?
Speaking for myself only, my lyrical influences were Rage Against The Machine, Living Color, the alternative news media, and to a lesser extent, NIN. As far as the music goes, I was listening to a lot of Alice In Chains, Queens Of The Stone Age and NIN at the time.
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
The music is melodic hard rock with a lot of dissonant chording and a few pretty crazy twists and turns in the arrangements. What stands out as being most distinct about this album is that lyrically the themes are 100% social, political and spiritual.
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
Many. The title track “Pride Before The Fall” addresses the destructive nature of blind patriotism, amidst other things. “Information Outlaw” is a tip of the hat to whistle blowers. “Thought Police” is a dark, Orwellian song about the rise of the surveillance state. “Big, Bad Motherfucker” is a tongue-in-cheek shot at corporate greed (probably the closest this record gets to being humorous). Both “Down Deep” and “You’ve Got The Power” are calls / anthems for unity and universal brotherhood. As I mentioned above, the themes are 100% social, political and spiritual.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
The newer, expanded version of IAM has yet to play live but plans to in late May. The older version of IAM played live three times. Our fourth show was cancelled because I was playing with another band on the same weekend in Montreal and couldn’t get back in time for the gig.
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Certainly one of the wildest things I ever did live was when I was on tour singing for the band New Regime, when we were headlining a huge outdoor concert in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The temperature had dropped about 7-8 degrees from the time we had done sound check so when we kicked into our 1st number, the instruments were wildly out of tune. So, in a spontaneous effort to create a distraction, I jumped off a 15’ high stage, ran up to the barricade and started to hold hands and hug people in the audience, singing all the while. 35,000 people went wild. At dinner that night, our producer and soundman at the time, Terry Brown (Rush, Cutting Crew), couldn’t stop thanking me for “Saving our asses.”
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Our drummer has several kits that he rotates. For IAM stuff, Allan Wohng tends to favour his woodgrain and white Gibson SGs loaded with P90 pick-ups. Note: Al’s living room looks like a guitar museum. Good luck trying to find room to sit on the couch, so how he made that choice is beyond me.
What, if anything, are you plugging/promoting at the moment?
Our album release I titled The 4 Peace Digital Release. Three songs a month for 4 months. The last tracks are being released on May 19. The song we’re pushing right now is “Save It For The Revolution.” So far, the feedback has been ridiculously good.
What are your plans for 2019?
As I mentioned, start playing live as of late May. Maybe get back into the studio this fall.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
I’d like to open for NIN (Nine Inch Nails). Maybe see if I could talk Trent Reznor into singing a number with us. A band I’d like to open for us would be The Big Loud, an excellent band from Calgary, Alberta here in Canada.