By Nicholas Semelak
Musician, lead vocalist and aspiring artist, Jason Lubrano has more than 20 years of involvement in Long Island’s music scene and now this punk rock veteran leads the up-and-coming band Iron Chic. Upon returning from the band’s first Australian tour, Lubrano discussed his involvement and progression of the local music scene, Iron Chic, his side projects and his new endeavors with his artwork.
Long Island Press: Regarding Long Island and its music scene, you’ve been involved for quite some time now and in different projects. The Devil Himself, Small Arms Dealer and now Iron Chic. Has the scene changed since you’ve been involved? What was it like when you first became involved?
Jason Lubrano: In some ways it has and in some ways it hasn’t. There definitely an ebb and flow to things as time goes on with periods where interest and participation are really high and times when it seems like it’s completely dead. I’m sure there’s plenty going on that I’m not even aware of. When I first got involved I was around 15 or 16 and it was a lot of backyard shows, youth council shows at Cedar Beach and VFW halls. The landscape has changed a bit for us, having the opportunity to play bigger venues and being able to tour but I would imagine for a band starting out now it’s fairly similar.
LIP: Obviously there was a big transition for everyone in music due to the “digital revolution.” Did you find this to impact the scene?
JL: I’m no expert but if it did I’d say it probably helped in the sense of people being exposed to music more easily and giving bands more of a level playing field when it comes to getting their music out there.
LIP: Are there any memorable moments of growing up with the Long Island music scene?
JL: The first Long Island punk show I went to was The Warped Weeble-Wobbles at a church in Manhasset. The first show I ever played was in a backyard and I saw Fugazi at the PWAC. I don’t don’t like to use the word blessed but for lack of a better word I feel blessed to have been able to grow up when I did and be a part of punk on Long Island at that time.
LIP: You recently embarked on a tour in Australia. Was this your first time over there? How was the turnout and any culture shock?
JL: This was our first time there, yes. For the most part turnouts were great. There’s always a weird show here or there, which are usually still a lot of fun. We played the Weekender and I Love Life fests with some great bands and some really great crowds. There’s was actually very little culture shock to me aside from the weird animals. Australia felt more like America than it felt like the UK, which I found a little surprising.
LIP: I believe you tour in Europe pretty constantly and get good turnouts for shows there. Does the label help out with that or something else?
JL: Some of the best shows we have ever played have been in Europe. Our friend, Jan, who runs Yo-Yo records in Germany, brings us over, books the shows, drives and tour manages for us.
LIP: If I’m not mistaken, you write the lyrics for Iron Chic, but also get to do some artwork as well. Has Iron Chic allowed you to do more with your art?
JL: I do. The band has definitely given me a platform to share my art and given me an opportunity to do artwork for other bands. I just recently started selling prints and t-shirts of my own designs so hopefully it will help me sell some of those too. righteousindignationli.com
LIP: Do you have any other side projects going on? I’ve seen Go White Bronco and it is really quality material. Anything planned with them?
JL: Gordon [Lafler, Iron Chic’s drummer], Dumps [A.K.A. Mike Bruno, the band’s bassist] and myself have another band called Wax Phantom, which is kind of on again/off again and currently in a state of hibernation. Go White Bronco recorded a few songs pretty recently but it’s unsure what the eventual fate of that will be. For the time being most of my focus is on Iron Chic.
LIP: How was Iron Chic formed?
JL: Phil started playing drums for Small Arms Dealer towards the end of that band. We kind of sensed that things were coming to a close so we got to talking and decided to try and start something new with the intention of trying to eventually become a full time band. We rounded up a few people and things started to fall into place from there. We’ve had a few line up changes since then for various reasons and we’re still not quite a full time band but we’re still working on making that happen.
LIP: Future releases for Iron Chic? Is there anything you guys are trying to do specifically with the band? Why do you think Iron Chic has been so successful?
JL: We are currently working on writing a new full-length record with plans to have it out by spring. Our only real goal, aside from having fun, is to try and make Iron Chic a full-time thing, which we’ve been slowly and steadily working towards. And each tour and record that we release brings us a little closer to that goal. Whatever success we’ve had I’d guess is probably a result of just trying to be as honest as we can. People seem to be able to relate to the way we communicate our experiences and as long as they keep wanting to sing along I’ll be happy.