By: Ozgur Cokyuce
During summer I had the chance to interview one of the most famous drummers in the rock music history : Jack Irons….. The former drummer of Red Hot Chili Peppers, the drummer of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy/No Code/Yield era and the alternative rock band Eleven. He collaborated with names lile Joe Strummer, Neil Young, Hole, Brody Dalle’s Spinnerette & many more. There’s much more to come from him and recently he released his second solo album “No Heads Are Better Than One”. Here’s what he told us….
PUNK GLOBE : Jack, thank you very much once again for accepting this interview. Your second and new solo album “No Heads Are Better Than One” has come out in late August. Before getting into details.…. How was the first half of 2010 for you? You also collaborated (additional drums) with Hole on their last album “Nobody’s Daughter” which was released a couple of months ago, right?
JACK IRONS : I actually did the work for the Hole record back in 2009. The first half of 2010 was busy with finishing ‘No Heads Are Better Than One’ and getting it ready to release (artwork and distribution, etc).
PUNK GLOBE : Let’s start with the early days. As a rumour, you grew up using your family’s cutlery as drumsticks, playing along to whatever was on the radio. Then they bought a drum set and you took a drum class. What do you remember from those days, who were your favourite bands during your childhood and which musicians were your family members listening to?
JACK IRONS : I loved the radio back then. There was a lot of Motown and great R&B as well as The Beatles, Zeppelin and other pop tunes that I loved to listen to. I am not sure on playing with cutlery but I loved to bang my head to music in the back of my parents car. I think I damaged a car seat or 2. My dad also loved hi-fi sound and got me listening to lots of music. Eventually I wanted to take lessons along with Hillel and got more serious.
PUNK GLOBE : Your first band was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. During your high school days, you met Flea, Hillel Slovak and Anthony K. What was the first live show you ever went to?Which bands were your favourites back then as RHCP that you enjoyed watching live?
JACK IRONS : I started to play with Hillel and Alain Johannes back in junior high. We were bandmates for a long time in our high school band, Anthym then changing the name to ‘What Is This’. We started playing with Flea in high school. Flea was good friends with Anthony and a few years later Flea, Anthony, Hillel and myself started playing together and that became RHCP. My first live show was probably an unknown band thing. I don’t remember where, I think a school thing. During the RHCP club days, I liked seeing ‘Oingo Boingo’ and ‘X’. We did some shows with them back then as well.
PUNK GLOBE : Let’s continue with the new solo album now. Your first solo album “Attention Dimension” was released in 2004 and included collaborations with names like Les Claypool, Stone Gossard, Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament and Natasha Shneider. Tell us about “No Heads Are Better Than One”. How different is it musically, compared to the first album and which collaborations this time, are helping it shine more?
JACK IRONS : There is less collaboration on the new record. The more known guest is Alain Johannes. He sings on one song and plays some guitar and other instruments. The new record is different in that I took on a lot more of the production including the mixing. Also, the songs are not as long. I wanted the arrangements to be easier to create to and listen to.
PUNK GLOBE : After your departure from Red Hot Chili Peppers, you joined the Californian rock band Eleven. Natasha lost her battle with cancer in mid-2008, as the band was working on a sixth album. Are there any plans to complete and release this album in the future or to continue Eleven with new albums,too?
JACK IRONS : Without Natasha, there cannot be Eleven. She is very missed. There is a lot of great unreleased and unfinished music that we were working on in the years following ‘Howling Book’. I hope that will get released one day. Alain and I hopefully will do some projects together in the future.
PUNK GLOBE : Your collaboration with Pearl Jam started during the late “Vitalogy” album sessions and continued with “No Code” until the “Yield” U.S Tour. (Jack Irons co-wrote songs like “Who You Are”, “Red Mosquito”, “In My Tree” and “I’m Open” , plus sang on some songs.) How was it being an important part of Pearl Jam? What do you think of their last album? The Turkish fans remember you from Pearl Jam’s Istanbul Gig during the “No Code” Tour. Any memories from that day?
JACK IRONS : I loved being part of Pearl Jam. They were good friends to me and a big part/influence on my career and life. In the moments of making music together, I was just a drummer playing music with good friends. I really like ‘Backspacer’, it is a really good record. I think they did a great job. I remember Istanbul pretty well. I really enjoyed my time there. I bought a great lamp there that I still have and use. We visited some great sites as well. The gig was hot as I recall, I think there were a lot of lights and a good one.
PUNK GLOBE : Jack, you are in the music scene for like 35 years now and you are one of the most unique and amazing drummers in the rock music history. But if you were to create your “all time dream band”, who would be the members of this heroic army?
JACK IRONS : Well thank you for the nice words. I can’t say what an all time dream band would be. But I would love to play with some of my old friends is some combination. And playing with Neil Young again would be amazing.
PUNK GLOBE : As an addition to being a part of RHCP, Eleven and Pearl Jam, you collaborated with the Punk-Rock Legend Joe Strummer, Redd Kross, another legend Neil Young, Michelle Shocked, Sun 60, The Buck Pets, Satellite Party, Spinnerette and many more…. Which one was the most interesting or challenging for you? We would be happy if you also have any funny or unforgettable memories / moments to share with us from these collaborations.
JACK IRONS : Playing with Neil Young was super special. I really enjoyed the tour we did. It was short but always a special memory. Neil is a favorite of mine for many many years so I was really fortunate to get to play those songs with him. I was also very fortunate to play with Joe Strummer as well. He too was one of my favorites. The opportunity Joe gave me to play with him at that time of my life was instrumental to my future. I met my wife to be on that tour as well as Eddie Vedder. I remember one night in San Francisco our gig was moved to the iBeam instead of the Filmore because of earthquake damage to the Filmore. The club was super packed and hot and one of those shows you felt like you could pass out if you over did it. During ‘I Fought The Law’ I believe Joe told the audience I was going to play a drum solo. That was a big surprise to me as I had never really played a drum solo for an audience and it certainly was not planned. The rest of the band went backstage and got a breather and I did a solo for a bit. I don’t remember much about it, though.
PUNK GLOBE : Other than the new solo album, what can we expect from the legendary world of Jack Irons, in means of side projects, being a drumming advisor-teacher for television projects, new collaborations or new bands in the near future?
JACK IRONS : I am starting to work with some new friends so we will see where that goes. I would like to just stick with drumming for now and playing with people. No more solo projects for a while. I always like to do studio work when good gigs are available.
PUNK GLOBE : Can you give some tips to our readers (who are new drummers) for being a good and unique drummer?
JACK IRONS : I think the most important part of drumming is the groove and how a drummer makes a song feel. That can be done simply or more complex depending on the style of the player. The interpretation of the song is the most important part of drumming to me.
PUNK GLOBE : Which bands are you listening to nowadays? Are there any unknown bands that you like and recommend us the check out?
JACK IRONS : I still tend to listen to the music of the 60’s, 70’s and some 80’s.
PUNK GLOBE : Any last words for Punk Globe Readers?
JACK IRONS : Thank you for supporting my music!!
*** Check all the latest new of Jack Irons from :

*** Official Website : www.jackirons.com


(PUNK GLOBE – 2010)