Concert Crap: Who is The Iron Bridge Band?
Stephen Walsh: The Iron Bridge Band is a straight up rock n’ roll band from New Jersey. Influenced by vinyl and cassette-era rock, we bring together classic rock n’ roll, fused with roots-rock and some hints of southern soul. Much of our music is that delicate combination and balance of guitar-driven rock, strong melodic lead vocals and four-part vocal harmonies. The band is comprised of 5 core members:
Chandler Mogel: Vocals/Lyrics
Stephen J. Walsh: Electric, Acoustic, Slide Guitars/Lyrics
Scott Suky: Percussion/Drum
Lanie Suky: Bass Guitar
Amy Anderson: Vocals and Percussion
We do have special performances by other musicians (who either performed on our albums or are filling a niche role in support of the band) who join us for our live shows and tours: Jessie Wagner (vocals) and Joe DeGaetano (guitars).
CC: What is the best and worst thing growing your music in New Jersey?
SW: New Jersey seems to be a great incubator and home to exceptional musical talent and performance. There are so many original artists performing on any given night or weekend within the various music scenes. There are also some niche music venues and radio stations that cater to and are supportive of original music (e.g. The Saint and 90.5 The Night). There’s always an opportunity to expand your fan base and reach new fans – if you’re willing to work hard at it.
The worst thing is that with such a concentration of musical talent — marketing, social media presence, fan outreach etc. that it requires constant and continuous attention to keep people interested. It’s a full time effort to keep people engaged and you have to give them a reason to come out to see you perform.
Some of the “scenes” can be a “clique” to their own detriment – ignoring talent right in front of its nose. We always did our own thing, our own way and consciously avoided the “big fish/little pond” traps that some bands get into by staying in one place too long. There’s a world of music outside of Jersey.
CC: What is the biggest obstacle you’ve tried to overcome as a band?
SW: We have a great local fan-base that is so supportive and always come out to our shows and we’ve really had great success by word of mouth. We’ve been played on more than 250 FM and internet stations across the world, we’ve charted on the Roots Music Report (RMR charts), AAA/AMA charts etc. and have a big following in the Southeast, Mid-West, Southern California and Europe, but we are not your “hometown favorite band done good” by any means. We’re more well known outside of Jersey. The album reviews, streaming, sales and airplay have proven that out. We recently had a family from Ireland come to see us perform in Brooklyn while they were visiting the U.S. – they heard us on the radio in the UK, bought our album and came to the show! There is some great straight up rock n roll churning out in Jersey besides the “usual” big names – charting your own course to avoid being overshadowed is a challenge. So far that’s paid off for us, so no regrets there.
Sometimes we are hared to define genre wise — part of the problem is that we play straight up rock n roll – it’s blues based with some southern rock, country and soul –and that doesn’t necessarily fit the “label obsessed” culture of the music business. Our music is not complicated, but it’s diverse and mature within the rock genre and it requires the music fan to listen to the album several times to get the connectivity of the songs, the stories told by the lyrics, the common themes, etc. There is some complexity and depth within the simplicity of the music and yet, it’s commercial rock at the same time. Not everyone notices and that can be frustrating as an artist.
CC: Your Album Against the Grain is up for Grammy consideration for various categories. Why do you think your album should be nominated for the various categories?
SW: The Grammy’s are supposed to be more about creative art and musical performance regardless of sales…but we know people still vote for what they know and have heard before. We think we’ve come a long way with our second album in just three years, and some well respected musicians and journalists have been praising the album for its musical maturity and message. We think Against the Grain is as good as any other rock album in the “Best Rock Album” category — we think we’ve accomplished what most independent unsigned bands struggle to do – self-produce a high quality album of rock n’ roll music that sounds fresh, original, and is relevant and reachable.
CC: What has been your most memorable moment, as a band, from 2016?
SW: How many fans recognized and connected with our song “American Boss” was a surprise. They say timing is everything and while this song was written a year before the craziness of the 2016 election, the message happened to fall within the current events of the day. The song pokes and jabs at the apathetic, corrupt political culture of Washington D.C. and it’s been shared and retweeted by the political and news media on several occasions. We’ve also had some inquiries from various TV/Film/Netflix series about using our music for various projects and that would really help put the band on the map in so many ways!
CC: Why should people care about The Iron Bridge Band?
SW: There’s been a strong resurgence in blues based rock over the past few years, especially with bands like Blackberry Smoke, Temperance Movement, Warren Haynes, Government Mule, Cadillac Three, etc. We haven’t even hit the peak of the wave ye. It’s coming back in a big way, and as long as rock n roll is going through such a resurgence and renaissance, we want people to know that we’re part of it too and if you connect with those bands, you will connect with us as well.
CC: Is there anything else you’d like to tell your fans or anyone else reading this interview?
SW: Special thanks to our family, friends and fans for being so supportive of the band for the past six years and for those that haven’t heard of us, check us out at ironbridgeband.com and listen our music. If you like what you hear, please share, tell your friends, buy our album, whatever. It’s a long road ahead for an unsigned band to make a lasting impact. We aren’t much of a band without our fans. “You can neither win, nor lose, if you don’t run the race” – David Bowie.
All questions answered by Stephen Walsh.
Post and interview by Corey Kleinsasser
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