Iron Jaw Interview
By Keith Clement
Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, How are you today?
RICK PERRY: We are doing excellent.
RICH STAFFORD: All is well in the IRON JAW world, thanks.
Iron Jaw is new for many of us, can you please tell us about the band? Can you tell us or introduce each member and what their respective roles are within the band?
RICK: IRON JAW is new for many of you because we are essentially a brand new band. We’ve only been in existence for about a year and a half. But, as individual members we collectively have decades of experience as players of this kind of music. Randy Cook is our drummer, and was formerly with one of Texas first thrash bands ROTTING CORPSE. Besides that he was a member of the prog trio MONTAGE as well as the punk band HONEST MECHANICS. Jeff Brown has played guitar in local bands here in Dallas / Fort Worth for years in bands like EXTACY and PLAGUE ALLEGIANCE. Clay McCarty is our bassist and played with TOXIC and GAS CHAMBER. My resume includes GAMMACIDE, PUNCTURE, and WARBEAST — I was a principal songwriter and guitarist for all three of those bands. Our vocalist Rich Stafford is the only one of us who is new to Texas. He moved down here from Montana a couple years ago but he played guitar and sang in several bands up there.
RICH: I have been in and out of live bands since I was 17 years old all over the Western United States. Mostly cover bands, but I always mixed in a few originals. In 2012 I recorded a solo release (RSP, THE RICH STAFFORD PROJECT) at Dog Haus Records in Spring Creek, Nevada. It is more of a guitar showpiece than anything else, but there are a few songs with vocals. IRON JAW is the first time I’ve fronted a band without a guitar strapped around me. Having to only concentrate on singing has improved my vocal work tremendously. I thought I would miss playing the guitar, I don’t.
How did it all get started for you guys?
RICK: Randy, Clay and myself were involved in another project back in 2014. After that project ran its course, we wanted to continue on with a new band. Clay had played with Jeff previously in GAS CHAMBER, and suggested he would make a good second guitarist. I always prefer the two guitar setup best anyway, so that was a no-brainer. We searched for a vocalist for about a year until we met Rich, who had recently moved to the Dallas area and answered our ad in a local “Musicians Wanted” classified ad.
RICH: I was sick of being cold and Montana is cold. Humans aren’t supposed to live in -40° temperatures. In 2015 my wife and I packed our bags and headed to the great State of Texas. Once we were settled in I started looking for a new band to jam with. None of the bands I auditioned for were a fit for my musical tastes or my personality. I knew once I met Rick, Clay, Randy, and Jeff I had found what I was looking for. They are a great group of guys and WOW, they are amazing musicians.
Are you guys signed or Independent?
RICK: We are not signed. I am not sure what that means nowadays anyway. The days of record labels really financing a band and helping them develop are pretty much over. Really if you can find someone who will help distribute and promote your release that’s all you really need.
RICH: It would be nice to have the legitimacy a label brings to the table, but it seems as though times have changed and independents can do very well today with the right management/promoters. If the right situation were to present itself, we may look into signing on with a label. We’ll just wait and see what happens.
Is the band highly influenced on the earlier heavy metal bands, like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Accept?
RICK: How did you guess? For me that is definitely the case… I grew up listening to hard rock and the early metal bands of the 70’s and early 80’s. But since I’ve done my time playing thrash metal with GAMMACIDE and WARBEAST, I would say that is a pretty strong influence on me as well.
RICH: I prefer old school Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, and Thrash. Most of us are influenced by the music of our youth and I’m no different. AC/DC, Aerosmith, Judas Priest, Metallica, and Iron Maiden would be my biggest influences.
How is the acceptance of metal in your home Forth Worth, TX?
RICK: It is good and keeps getting better with each live performance. Most heavy metal bands come across best live, and IRON JAW is no exception. This is music that is intended to be played in front of an audience. They give energy to us and we give it right back. Not many bands here play this style of metal though… so we often share the bill with death metal or hardcore bands. The audience at these shows might initially be unsure of IRON JAW’s old school approach, but we usually win them over by the end.
RICH: The metal scene is alive and well in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Our style of metal is kind of old school and it stands out. The more we play live the better it gets. I see more and more IRON JAW shirts at each show. Some of the bands we shared the stage with have mentioned how refreshing our old school approach is. I’m having a good time.
You released a Demo back in December 2017, a 4 track EP, what are the plans for the band this year?
RICK: We did the four songs at a friend’s home studio. It turned out pretty good, and it has served its purpose of being a recorded example of some of our first songwriting efforts. Since then we’ve written several more songs such as “No Speed Limit,” “The Devil’s Rain”, “Darkest Skies”, and “Crypt of Rodan” plus we have other songs in the works. We plan to go to a professional recording studio sometime this year and record a full length CD / LP consisting of 8 to 10 songs.
RICH: Our sound is developing as we become more comfortable with each other as musicians and friends. A full length release is in the works. We continue to write new original material and I am eager to get into the studio. We are still booking shows and looking to gain new fans in new venues.
This is a competitive world, you gotta be real good to show the world how good you are, how do you plan to make Iron Jaw worldwide?
RICK: Truthfully, that is not of total importance to me. I have been playing metal music since the early 80’s, and I am proud that I have my tiny entry in the heavy metal history books. I want IRON JAW to be successful and I take it very seriously, but I am not trying to take over the world. There are people all over the world who are familiar with my work with GAMMACIDE and WARBEAST. If those old fans or even some younger metalheads just discovering IRON JAW get into and appreciate the music we are making now, then that’s all I am really looking for. If it goes beyond that, and starts to really ignite the interest of the metal legions around the world, then that will be the icing on the cake.
RICH: We have to stand out as well. I believe our brand of old school heavy metal with a modern twist accomplishes that. The world is connected in ways it never has been before. Through the World Wide Web and social media, YouTube, etc. we are able to make our presence known anywhere on the planet. Dedication and hard work will prevail. It’s time for Heavy Metal to make a comeback, and IRON JAW is set to lead the charge. Even if we don’t leave the States, our presence should be felt around the world.
What bands started it all for you, what music did you hear that was the turning point in your life, that said “Goddamn” I want to be a musician, I want to perform? I want to Rock and Roll?
RICK: The first band I got into was KISS when I was 15 or 16. This was the mid 70’s and let me tell you, back then KISS was THE SHIT! Musically I think I am much more influenced by Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, but it’s exactly like you said, David… KISS was the band that had the biggest impact on me wanting to be in a band and play rock and roll. Very influential and it’s amazing to think of how many other bands and musicians got their start because of KISS.
RICH: I come from a musical family. My grandfather played at the Grand Ole’ Opry and I have uncles who have recorded and released music as well. I have had a love for music my entire life. What really hooked was when I was watching and episode the Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack. Thin Lizzy was performing “Jailbreak” and I thought, “Man, I’m going to do that someday.” I was only like 9 or 10 years old, but I knew I had to perform live.
RICK: Who gives a fuck? We all do what we must do to pay the bills, but I don’t want to think about it, or even have YOU think about I do during the day. Suffice it to say that I am undercover in corporate America, avoiding the grinding wheels of the treadmill on a daily basis. The true expression of my soul comes out through riffs and lyrics. Mundane, boring tasks I must do in order to survive are merely a necessary evil.
RICH: Music and motorcycles. That’s what life is about for me. I work at the largest motorcycle destination in Texas. It’s a really cool place and I surrounded by really cool people. Tattoos, tits, tires, beer, bikes, and babes, we got it all. I’m fortunate to be able to make a living in such a unique environment that gives me all the flexibility I need to focus on IRON JAW.
I have a good feeling, we will be hearing more for IRON JAW in the very near future, what all your thoughts on the future of IRON JAW? Love the Name BTW..
RICK: I think you are right! I love metal music and I think that others who love metal will appreciate IRON JAW. As for the future, I will be forging metal as long as I am around, I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. My passion and desire to create metal has never been stronger, so I can’t see myself stopping anytime soon.
RICH: I’m not as worried about the future as I am about the now. And right now I am having the time of my life. The future will take care of itself so long as we keep grinding the metal. And that’s the plan, keep hammering away at the live shows, get to the studio, produce some Pure Texas Heavy Metal, and have a fun time while doing it. IRON JAW is the greatest group of metalheads I’ve ever been associated with and I am proud to be member of this band. Whatever the future may hold, metal will be a part of it and IRON JAW will be pounding that metal.
Would you like to say something for the readers of the magazine?
RICH: Thanks for reaching out to us. I hope everyone who reads this has the opportunity to check us out. This is just the beginning of this amazing adventure and there will be more to come soon.
RICK: Thank you for interest in IRON JAW and for giving us the chance to speak to your readers. For those who have read this interview and are interested in learning more, check us out at
MHF Magazine/Keith Clement