You’d probably be forgiven for labeling Iron Reagan’s brash, thrash brutality as the perfect noise to piss someone off, considering their second single off of “Crossover Ministry” is the elegantly titled “Fuck The Neighbors.” Paired with a Robot Chicken helmed claymation video, the track’s humor showcases the flip side to the searing, spiked bat cracks they take to organized religion, politics, and assholes throughout the record. Peppered between aural assaults on a world gone mad like “A Dying World,” lyricist/singer Tony Foresta gives us an ode to unconditional canine love like on “Dogsnotgods.” You might not mistake “Dead With My Friends” as a hippy peace and love jam from a brutal Beatle, but, it does make an important point that threads throughout the album: friends and ideals (and dogs) over everything else.
Iron Reagan play Baltimore’s Soundstage March 1, New York’s Marlin Room March 2 and Chicago’s Reggie’s on March 12. Crossover Ministry is out now on Relapse Records.
Brightest Young Things: Were you writing this record during the presidential campaign?
Tony Foresta: Yea, it was weird. We didn’t really know what the outcome was gonna be, so it was kind of strange. Nobody really knew what was happening but as far as politics go, it has a more of a “we’re just fucked regardless” attitude. I think if we’d have known the outcome, it probably would have been a darker record! [Laughs]
BYT: Well, listening to songs like “More War” and “Grim Business,” they seem pretty prescient in terms of what’s going on every new day now.
Foresta: I think with stuff like that, it doesn’t matter who is elected honestly. Where we were at that time, we thought either Hillary or Trump, shit is gonna go down regardless. But now it’s just insane watching everything unfold for the past month. What the fuck is this guy gonna do next? [Laughs]
BYT: I was watching election with friends and everybody’s wondering where we’d go drink later, but by the end of the night we were all just shocked. We still are.
Foresta: It was SO weird! I went to this bar thinking it was gonna be this big party afterwards, and it was just silence and this weird darkness, this cloud over everything. I was like “uhhhh you wanna get the fuck out of here?”
BYT: Yea we never left the house and our friends who had been out, they regretted it. We just sat around and pet our dogs. Speaking of dogs, “Dogsnotgods” on the new record captures both the love for dogs and disdain for organized religion in one fell swoop. I can’t stop recommending it since I have a lot of friends who love dogs and never go to church
Foresta: [Laughs] So they can totally relate! I am a dog person but I don’t have any cause I tour so much. I wanna be a good dog owner! I don’t wanna be gone, and selfish, like “oh I’m gonna get a dog it’s cute” then be a shitty dog owner. I’d rather wait until it calms down. That’s one of the new ones – we played it last night. We’re playing half the album, we said fuck it – we’re just gonna play all new shit on this tour. It’s interesting, the crowd doesn’t know what the fuck’s going n cause it’s all new shit but it’s fun to play stuff we haven’t played a thousand times before.
Are you guys touring the entire next year or so?
Foresta: We’ll do this tour then in the summer do more Municipal Waste shit, everyone will focus on their other bands and end of summer we’ll do more Reagan shit again. The Waste record should be done really soon, I’m pretty excited about it.
BYT: Another new Reagan track, “You Never Learn,” resonated with me. I went to public school my whole life, and you had the friends who when they got in trouble they’d go to jail or drop out and other friends would just switch to private school.
Foresta: [Laughs] Yea, trust fund brats, it’s frustrating growing up around a lot of that.
BYT: Virginia is an interesting place. You’ve got Richmond, northern Virginia, a few spots in southeastern Virginia that can be pretty open minded but…
Foresta: But everywhere else! Some people just don’t get any culture. They don’t meet different people, they’re in their own little bubble, their own comfort zone, and think that’s how the world should be and it’s weird! It sucks that just outside of Richmond you see Trump signs everywhere.
BYT: Is this something artists in Richmond talk about amongst themselves?
Foresta: Not really, when we see other musicians you’re not really talking politics, especially now. After the election it’s just such a sore subject and people are sick of talking about it. Look at Facebook, it’s just unbearable now. It’s exhausting at this point. It’s there but I think at least for right now everyone still has the election hangover.
BYT: Is that why you did the first single and video for “Fuck The Neighbors” which is a fun song, and has some humor, instead of a song about religion or politics?
Foresta: Actually, we did a video before that called “Bleed the Fifth” that was these guys that do a Comedy Central show called Delco Proper. Then we did “Fuck The Neighbors” which was animated by Johnny McHone from Robot Chicken and we have another video coming out this week for “A Dying World.”