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An Interview with Richard Stanley of Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs

An Interview with Richard Stanley of Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs

First off – thanks for taking the time to respond to a few questions. Second – congrats on the music, and the well deserved press. I guess my first question is: how much fun are you guys having these days? Looks like a good deal based on your Instagram.

I can’t lie, I don’t think it’s possible to have more fun. There’s also 6 of us in the band so the chances of catching someone doing something fun or dumb on Instagram are slightly higher. My top three posts from this summer? 1.Joel wearing a bag as clothing to our Lee’s Palace show. 2.The post ‘Blowing the roof off this dump’ pic with the morning crew at Global TV. 3.Joel and Dave posing in old tires while our van was being fixed in the middle of nowheresville.

Despite whatever Instagram says, getting out on the road has to take some deal of energy. That said, you guys have been playing for a few years, what is it like hitting a chord with this album at this time? I saw you play Smiling Buddha Bar in Toronto in 2015. Has belting it out in bars impacted how you’ve approached being on the road with this album?

I think the only thing that’s different going out with us on this album is just more experience. The more you play together with the same guys the tighter you get on stage. There’s less visual cues and more just feeling it. Also, we used to all be out of tune, now there’s only half of us

Like the good little wanna be rock journalist I am, I did some background reading. Some have prefaced your music as being a blow back to 80s power pop – going so far as comparing your sound to the feel good nostalgia we get from tuning into the show, Stranger Things. I’ve never known an artist to start off saying “We want to sound like this other sound.” Do you think it’s useful to compare different bands, of different era’s? Or is every album, single, and chord, just another line in a long rock n’roll conversation?

There’s just just no way around getting compared to other artists. How would know how to tell someone about the sound without a reference point?? We’ve never minded though. We know the bands we love and it shines through. Rock and roll is rock and roll. We didn’t invent it.

Your sound has changed over the years. 2011s self titled release had a different feel and sound. Little more Big Pink, than big hair. What was influencing you in the interim years? And did you have any idea/major influence, going in to record for the sound of the latest record?

When you have a larger band like we do you end up with more input and a greater number of influences. Luckily everyone has pretty good taste in music and the record bins go pretty deep. I think the changing sound has never been an intentional thing we’ve set out to do, it just happens

In the video for “Talk 2 Her”, Coffey gets his head bit off at the end. Is this a lesson for what happens when you try and, talk to her?

Sure feels like it sometimes!

The jackets. Who came up with the uniform? Why? And, can I have one?

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Members only!  Nah, there’s a few knockoffs out there but if you want the real deal you gotta buy a guitar and join the band. No such thing as too many guitars!

This question is perhaps more aimed at Rich – You’re playing St. Catharines at the end of the month – any feelings or thoughts on the Niagara music scene you’d like to share? What’s it like coming back after the success of the latest album? Words of advice for the kids trying to make it in the scene today?

To be honest this will be the first time I’ve played St Catharines in years! And it will always hold a place in my heart. The amount of shows I saw, the life long friends I made and my love for music was born there.  There also seems to be a whole bunch of new venues and places to play too, which is awesome to see. As for advice, I would probably just say hold on to your family’s basements and garages for as long as you can. Jam spaces are expensive!

Again, thank you all for taking the time to read over, and respond, to a few questions. Look forward to hearing your thoughts, and hopefully, doing them justice in anything I write.

Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs perform at The Warehouse on Oct 31with Big School & Strange Shakes.

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