What do you get when you combine the punk and metal influences of vocalist Tony Foresta and guitarist Phil “Landphil” Hall of MUNICIPAL WASTE, as well as drummer Ryan Parrish, bassist Rob Skotis, and guitarist Mark Bronzino? You get the best thing to happen to thrash metal since ANTHRAX — IRON REAGAN. Formed in the sludge of Richmond, Va., Foresta and company have always had a passion for rebelling against the system, and their aggressive, in-your-face tunes are a reflection of that mentality. Currently they are on tour in promotion of their new album The Tyranny of Will, which has been released on Relapse Records. The album was recorded with Hall at Blaze of Torment Studios in Richmond and was self-produced. It was mixed by CONVERGE’s Kurt Ballou. We spoke with Foresta while the band was at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moine, Iowa for their show with GOATWHORE as part of their current tour, which will end at The Broadberry in Richmond on November 21.

I really love your video for your song “Miserable Failure” that you just put out. Was it shot in Richmond?

That was actually shot in Portland, Ore. That’s where the director is from. He had a vision, and he had the whole thing planned out. We finished a tour in Harrisonburg the night before, and we had to fly all the way across the country to do that video. When we got there, we were going on two days of no sleep. So in the video, we were all sleep deprived (laughs). It was pretty funny. It was crazy and exhausting, and it was three 12 hour days of that video shoot. We were just so exhausted by the end of it.

I bet. What exactly is that song about?

One of my friends was complaining about getting old, and I was like, what’s so fucking bad about that? If you hate “getting old,” you are just doing it wrong. I don’t mind getting older, but that’s kind of what that song is about. I guess people see you a certain way because you’re getting old, but it’s not that bad.

How old are you guys now?

It’s all across the board. We’re all in our 30s. One dude is 32; one dude is 34; I’m turning 38. But yeah, we’re all around our mid-30s (laughs).

In addition to playing in IRON REAGAN, your lineup includes members from MUNICIPAL WASTE, CANNABIS CORPSE, and ex-members of DARKEST HOUR. How do you all manage your time between each band?

Just a lot of planning, ya know? It also helps that me and Phil are in the same band. We both do [MUNICIPAL WASTE]. Ryan doesn’t do DARKEST HOUR anymore. He quit a few years ago. All the other guys are in other bands too, but we just plan shit out six months ahead of time. We put two months aside to do this band, and we knew that the new [IRON] REAGAN album was gonna be really important. We really love that album, so we took a big chuck of mostly this year to just do IRON REAGAN shows, but we got a lot of tours planned coming up.

What are some of the tours you have planned?

I can’t say just yet because they haven’t been announced, but we’re definitely planning on going to Europe. We also have an Australian tour that’s getting announced in a couple days. 2015 we plan on going overseas more and doing more Europe stuff, getting our name more known in that part of the world.

Where in Richmond does each of you call home?

I live in Carver. Phil is in the Carytown/Museum District area. Ryan, Rob, and Phil all live in the same area actually near Carytown, kind of, and Mark, our guitar player, lives in New Jersey.

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When you aren’t on tour, where are your main hang out spots in Richmond?

I like Don’t Look Back. Rob, our bassist, bartends there. So that’s kind of the IRON REAGAN hang out. I also like Portrait House because my friends work there. I like Mojo’s a lot (laughs). Strange Matter is a really cool place to see shows. En Su Boca is also one of my favorite hang outs. It’s a nice little Mexican joint.

One thing that I really like about thrash bands is that the metalheads, punk rockers, and hardcore kids seem to all love it. Is that something you would agree with?

Definitely! It’s got a lot of crossover to different styles. It’s got a punk attitude and heavier guitars. I think it just kind of appeals [to everyone] just because it’s kind of more in your face.

Were there any local bands that inspired you growing up to pursue the thrash direction?

I was really influenced by AVAIL and shit. AVAIL was a big influence, but they weren’t really a thrash band though, obviously. One of the local bands that was a big influence on me, as far as heavy stuff goes, was CHOLERA. They were really awesome, and this band LYCOSA. I used to play shows with them. They’re really weird band names, but they used to do a lot of really cool house shows. Through meeting those guys introduced me to the metal scene in Richmond and the house show scene and all the cool stuff going on there. That was around in the 90s when I first moved here. I grew up in Florida until I was 18, and after that I moved to Richmond. That was when I first started getting into music and discovering all the great bands in Richmond.

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Are there any other bands from Virginia or the DC area that your fans should check out you guys are really into?

SATAN’S SATYRS is really cool. They’re from DC. There’s a lot of Richmond bands. There’s a band called MERCY KILLINGS that’s really awesome. COKE BUST is really cool. I can think of a million Richmond bands. There is a band called PRISONER that’s really cool. ASYLUM, you should check them out. There is this band called HUMUNGUS. if people are into trash metal, they should definitely check them out. They have a lot of fun stuff going on in their shows (laughs).

How is your current tour going so far?

I was just thinking how much fun I’m having. It’s one of the [most fun] tours I’ve done in a long time. The drives have been pretty awful, like seven or eight hours a day, but the shows have been really strong. We played with PENTAGRAM last night, and we played with ONLY CRIME in New York the first night. Then we played a house show the next day. It’s been like playing these huge shows and then playing a house show basement, and all of them have been really good and super fun. We’re still meeting a lot of new people on the road, and it’s a good time. I’m interested to see what Des Moines is going to be like tonight.

Do you prefer playing bigger shows or smaller house shows?

It just depends. Sometimes those big shows can have just as much intimacy as a house show if the crowd is in the right place. If everybody is giving off a good vibe, it could be really, really fun. Mostly I enjoy house shows more just because I like getting in people’s faces and falling all over the place (laughs). That’s fun for me. But it really just depends on the scenario, ya know?




Yeah I understand. Do you guys ever play house shows in Richmond?

We’re talking about it. I think we’re gonna play one soon. That’s another thing I can’t really announce yet because it’s gonna be like a benefit thing. We played at this place called The Lost Bowl in Southside. It’s our buddy Pat’s house, and they drain their pool so people can skate it. They have skate ramps and fuckin’ concrete stuff. It’s really awesome. So we set up and did an IRON REAGAN SHOW there, and that was a benefit show too for our friend Todd. We raised a bunch of money for him, and it was a really fun time.

For more updates on IRON REAGAN, be sure to visit their website, “like their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and check out their music on Bandcamp.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Fairfax, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with his girlfriend Alex.

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