IRON REAGAN “The Crossover Inquisition” 

by Thor

Without a doubt, Richmond Virginia’s Iron Reagan are the current kings of Crossover Mountain. They, along with sibling band Municipal Waste, are largely responsible for a resurging crossover-thrash scene and even more responsible for bringing the throwback style to the forefront of modern metal’s collective consciousness.

I was happy to catch up and chat with Iron Reagan/Municipal Waste vocalist Tony Foresta about the former’s outstanding new release “Crossover Ministry” and what it’s like being a beer-soaked revolutionary at a time when the leader of the free world is a pathological ex-game show host.

Read on, Wormsters.  This is a good one….

WC: Iron Reagan is such a throwback to exactly what I loved when I was a kid.  And, like your other band Municipal Waste, it’s really filled a void.  To me, you’re largely responsible for this crossover thrash resurgence over the past 15 years.  What did you set out to do?  Did you know there was a niche out there that would propel you guys to this relatively high-profile status by playing such a specific form of music?

Tony Foresta: We never really started out with an agenda or anything. I was just really into hardcore and metal at the time. I was never interested in playing any other kind of music. This shit is way more fun to play. We weren't trying to start a resurgence, whatsoever. We were just playing what we thought was fun. Plus, I'm not really a "singer," per say. I would probably sound ridiculous trying to sing in an indie rock band or something. Playing fast and aggressive music just feels natural to me. I would most likely get bored doing something else. 

WC: The name Iron Reagan strikes me as equal parts a tongue-in-cheek send-up of stereotypical ‘80s hardcore names and a great band name chosen in earnest.  Who came up with it and why?

TF: I came up with the name a couple years before we started. I felt it was a pretty ridiculous thing to imagine, but the name strangely makes sense with our attitude and the music we create. The first time we started jamming I knew it was the perfect name for this band.

WC: Metal is always so dour and serious, angry and glum.  Especially the heavy shit.  Yet, you seem to be able to write really aggressive material and speak to things you want to speak to, but you do it with humor and irony.  Even purposeful cheesiness at times.  It’s almost, dare I say, “light-hearted.” Can you address that?

TF: I've always felt that metal (for the most part) takes itself way too seriously. I've always tried to put a bit of humor into things. It feels more honest to me. Have you ever met a person that takes themselves seriously with zero sense of humor? You most likely didn't like them or made fun of them afterwards. I just can't be serious all the time. If I'm writing lyrics, it comes from my heart and sometimes my heart wants to make a fart joke.

WC: Unless my reading comprehension is extremely faulty, it’s fair to characterize you as politically left-of-center.  And that makes “Crossover Ministry” exceptionally timely to me.  However, It also seems like there are way more metal bands that are strangely right-leaning these days than there used to be which is the least punk, least rock ‘n roll thing ever, but I digress.  When Donald Trump is the ostensible leader of the free world, how do you navigate those waters, using your musical platform to speak out, etc., without pissing off some of your right-leaning peers?  You don’t strike me as the type of guy who watches what he says for business reasons or gives a fuck what idiots think, but still….

TF: I honestly don't give a shit what my right leaning peers think. I'll always say and express how I feel. It's my right, isn't it? Or are they trying to change that too? Haha!

WC: Iron Reagan’s music video mojo has always been strong.  So far the videos for this album haven’t disappointed.  The video for “Bleed the Fifth” is awesome.  Where did the idea come from?

TF: That was created by these gentlemen from Philly from a TV show called “Delco Proper.” I think it's coming out on Comedy Central soon. We just sent them the song and the lyrics and they created a pretty killer concept. It was the coldest day of the year when we filmed that. A lot of fun to make though. 
WC: And then there’s the video for “Fuck the Neighbors,” which – while equally awesome – couldn’t be any more different.  Tell me about that one.

TF: We had one of the guys from “Robot Chicken” do a Claymation video for us. I never would have expected it to come out so ridiculous. We were cracking up the first time we saw it. The guy that does the voice of the neighbor is my friend Andy who was the original bass player for Municipal Waste. He's a funny ass dude.

WC: You guys were on the road through the end of March.  How were those shows?

TF: They were great! We are getting ready to head up to the northeast and do some shows with Volbeat next weekend. Those should be interesting. Haha! 

WC: Are there any fests this year you’re particularly stoked about playing?

TF: Full Terror Assault is gonna be a lot of fun. Looking forward to seeing Venom Inc and hanging with Toxic Holocaust again. The fest in Florida is going to rule too.

WC: What does the rest of the year look like for Iron Reagan?

TF: Working on an EP and a couple tours are in the planning stages. It's gonna be a good year for sure.