Ricky Perry has been a fixture of the Dallas-Fort Worth metal scene since forming the band Warlock in 1984. By 1986, he was key member of Gammacide, whose album Victims of Science remains one the best underground thrash albums of the decade. He went on to form the band Puncture, then Texas Metal Alliance – who would later transform into the mighty Warbeast. Perry played on Warbeast’s 2010 album, Krush the Enemy, with former Gammacide bandmate Scott Shelby and Rigor Mortis vocalist Bruce Corbitt.
After leaving Warbeast, Perry played with a few bands, but when Warlock re-assembled for a 2014 reunion he started playing and writing with drummer Randy Cook (Rotting Corpse) and bassist Clay McCarty (Toxic). The band later added a second guitarist, Jeff Brown (Plague Allegiance), and finally rounded out the lineup with singer Todd Pack to create Iron Jaw.
The band’s sound is more akin to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal than the thrash roots Perry sowed in the early days. But, after playing around the Metroplex for a couple of years, it became evident the band is no less powerful and imposing than those carrying the torch of the classic thrash metal sound or waving the flag of the second wave of the genre.
Last month, the band released their first single, “Devil’s Rain,” and are now poised to follow it up this Friday with “Darkest Skies.” Perry tells us:
“Darkest Skies was actually written mainly by Jeff. He is a good riff writer and comes up with lots of parts, and I’m happy to have others contribute to the songwriting. Todd wrote the lyrics which deal with the conflict between good and evil, a battle that has been going on since the beginning of time.”
The single will be available on Spotify and Bandcamp on May 8th, but The Void Report is thrilled to debut it exclusively today! Iron Jaw is also playing a Live Stream from the Rail Club Live on May 9th via Facebook.
Click play below to stream “Darkest Skies”
While Gammacide was pure thrash metal, and most of the other bands you’ve played with have leaned toward speed metal, what inspired you to take Iron Jaw in more of a power metal/New Wave of British Heavy Metal direction?
Rick Perry: Well, like you said, I am known for playing thrash in Gammacide and Warbeast, and our drummer Randy Cook was in Rotting Corpse. Jeff was in Plague Allegiance, a thrash band from the Joe’s Garage days. So, there is no doubt that we have all paid our dues playing that kind of metal!
But, Randy and I felt pretty strong that we didn’t want Iron Jaw to be limited to a certain kind of metal. I think Iron Jaw plays with the intensity of a thrash band, but our songs are more in line with our older influences. We went back to our roots, the stuff that got us into metal in the first place. We love Sabbath, Priest, Saxon, Motorhead, Anvil, Accept, and all those original heavy metal bands. And also 70’s hard rock like Kiss, Ted Nugent, and AC/DC…and I think we felt that the people around here would be interested in hearing some music with that kind of feel to it, whether they knew it or not!
When did you start putting the band together? And what can you tell me about the other members?
Rick Perry: We put the band together a couple years ago. Randy and I were playing with bassist Clay McCarty in another band that met a predictable demise. By that I mean, we should have known it wouldn’t last long and it didn’t! So, after that project, we just sort of carried on and kept on playing, writing songs, and gradually settling in on the direction that eventually became Iron Jaw.
I knew Clay because I had jammed with his former band, Toxic, about 10 years before. Clay was still in touch with Jeff, who I also knew from way back when Plague Allegiance used to do shows with Gammacide. At Clay’s suggestion, we brought Jeff in to make a dual guitar attack, which was a good call. I have always preferred that format anyway. Clay thought Jeff and I would make a good guitar team and he was right. Then we were joined by Rich Stafford as a vocalist, and although he is a good singer he wasn’t quite what we were looking for. So, last year we made a switch and now we have Todd Pack joining us as the vocalist.
Thinking of singers, I never thought of Todd, actually. I always thought of him as a drummer. But, his wife posted an old video of him singing “The Ripper” by Priest. We saw that video and contacted him and asked him if he wanted to join Iron Jaw. We asked him if he was trying to get our attention by having his wife post that video. He said “no,” but I don’t believe him. But, with this line up all the elements are in place. All the wheels of the shopping cart are turning in the same direction!
You wrapped up the recording of the debut LP, but with the Coronavirus pandemic everyone has had to abruptly change plans. How has it affected the release of the album and what are the plans at this point?
Rick Perry: We recorded our LP at Josh Woodward’s ATX studios back in January. We were in the process of mixing it when this pandemic started. The CD is three-quarters of the way mixed. It is going to be called Chain of Command. We probably would have been able to release it by May or June, but this pandemic changed everything. We don’t want to release it if we can’t do a CD release show. So, instead we are just releasing one song per month.
The first song we released was “Devil’s Rain” which was earlier in April. Mike Huebner shot a video for it, which got a real good response. It was played on KNON, KEGL, and KTFW. The next song we will release next is “Darkest Skies” on May 8. We will follow this up with another song in June and then another in July.
Hopefully by August or September we can release the whole CD/LP and play some gigs. But really, this may have turned out to be the best way to do it anyway. You know people have short attention spans these days. I get the impression that not many people sit down and listen to an entire album, start to finish, that much anymore. By releasing one song at a time, hopefully everyone can really get into each of the songs and let them sink in before the next one is released. I think it is actually going to help us build up our following in a very organic way.
On May 9th, the band is doing a Live Stream from The Rail Club. How will the band approach this performance? Without a live crowd in front of you, how do you make this more than just a rehearsal?
Rick Perry: I’m sure it’s going to be strange, but this seems to be the best way for us to reach those people who otherwise would be coming to the show. You know, everyone is sitting at home…so why not? We noticed other bands doing it and wanted to try it as well. Again it may feel weird, since we will be playing without hearing or seeing the people watching the show, or knowing how they are responding. We will try and get some kind of monitor up on stage so we can see who is watching the live stream, maybe we can respond to questions or ask questions of the audience.
I would like to try and make it somewhat interactive if we can. On the flip side, this performance may have a potential to reach way more people than a regular gig would, so I’m sure we will rock as hard as possible! People in other parts of the country or even other parts of the world may see us for the first time, so hopefully they like what they hear and decide to dig in deeper. Like I said before, many people are stuck in quarantine anyway, so hopefully they take this opportunity to get a nice buzz, crank up their computer speakers, and bang their heads to Iron Jaw, all in the comfort and safety of their own home!
Iron Jaw is playing a Live Stream from the Rail Club Live on May 9th via Facebook. You can follow the band on Facebook and Bandcamp to keep up with the goings-on.