If you ever wondered what a cross between MGMT and your favorite classic rock bands would sound like, it’s probably pretty close to Irontom. But guitarist Zach Irons and his band aren’t just a handful of young guys from LA who wanted to sound more like the bands their parents loved growing up. Irons is the son of former Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam drummer Jack Irons, so he’s been surrounded by the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle ever since he was a baby.
“It’s literally all I know,” Irons says of growing up in the music scene. “It’s like the fish in the koi pond that doesn’t know what’s above the water. I was born into it, and it’s been an all-encompassing path I’ve been set on since long before I had thoughts about it. I feel very grateful and lucky to be the kind of person where my path has been laid out naturally for me, and I’ve just done my best to make good on it by doing the best I can and putting as much time into it as possible. Creatively, it’s meant everything to me to have mentors and be totally supported all around the board.”
With their debut album, Partners, releasing today, Irontom is using their connections and skill to start things off a few steps beyond where most bands are for their first major release. Aside from being produced by Awolnation’s Aaron Bruno and being featured in an upcoming TV special that most young bands would kill for, Irontom’s combined experience in and around the music industry helped prepare them (as much as one can be prepared) to clear the hurdle of releasing that first album.
“It was a big journey for us,” Irons says of creating their record. “We went through a lot of different styles of music and learned a lot about things we’ve always wanted to do. We learned a lot about ourselves, and now we’re just figuring out how to bring it to the stage. It’s been a really full experience all around the board, so it’s been great.”
Admittedly strongly inspired by classic greats like Jimmy Page as well as his dad’s various bandmates like John Frusciante and Eddie Vedder, Irons and the rest of his band are a blast from the past in many ways. Not only does Partners contain the kinds of retro sounds you might expect to find in a dusty old record store, but the band as a whole has a certain old-school vibe that would fit just as well in the pre-MTV days as a modern Instagram story.
“All of our favorite bands have been from the ‘60s and ‘70s,” Irons says. “Obviously the ‘80s and ‘90s and all along the way have amazing stuff too — and every day I open my mind more to new music that I might’ve been closed off to — but I think we all had this thought that we wanted to be like a ‘70s rock band. Learning from these great classic rock and roll musicians is what we all draw from a lot.”
But beyond all of their influences and support for the record, Irontom is getting another opportunity of a lifetime by opening up for the Chili Peppers (and Jack Irons) on their 2017 arena tour. While any young band would relish the opportunity to play massive arena stages even without a ton of time cutting their teeth in dive bars, it’s something that Irontom feels ready for after dreaming about for quite some time.
“It’s a huge thing for us, and it’s obviously been a lifelong goal and dream for us to do something like this,” Irons says. “Especially with a band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers — being how big of a part that band has played in my personal life — it’s always been a hope for me to do that. We’ve always aspired to play in arenas, and now that it’s real, we need to grow and step up our game because we don’t know what to expect other than a big huge stage.”