Behind the Beat: Polished Garage Rock

Despite joining forces in 2008, the rockers of West Springfield band Scrap Iron Sun possess a history that goes back further than just five years.

Featuring members Scott Cleveland (guitar, keyboards, harmonica, lead vocals), George Condon (guitar, vocals), Ryan Bell (bass) and David Condon (drums), the group has roots that go all the way back to the ’80s, when Cleveland and guitarist Condon used to play together in a collection of bands in the area. Then in 2007, after not playing with each other in some time, the pair decided to team up again after being encouraged by a friend.

Cleveland says, “In August of 2007, after George and I hadn’t played together in about eight years, a friend of ours suggested we should start up again and do a CD. We spent time going through different songs I wrote that I hadn’t been able to do anything with, and we started recording again. We finished our first Scrap Iron Sun CD, Getting a Rusty Tan, in 2010. In 2011 we started playing shows on a regular basis and working on new material, and we released Recycled in early 2012.”

As for the story behind the band’s unusual moniker, Cleveland claims that, too, was inspired by the words of a friend.

“I was in the Northampton Brewery with a friend of ours named Marty, having a beer, when Marty said, ‘I think I am getting a rusty tan,’” says Cleveland. “I gave Marty a puzzled look, and in response Marty pointed to the decoration over the bar and said, ‘From the scrap iron sun hanging over the bar.’ In my [then] current state, I thought the comment was pure genius. Hence we became Scrap Iron Sun.”

With hard-charging tracks like “Can’t,” “Fuse,” and “I’ve Given You Everything,” the band has carved a niche for itself as a progenitor of “polished garage rock,” with some fans comparing the group’s “loud and fast” sound to the likes of the Dead Kennedys, the Black Keys and The Who. However, thanks to its frequent use of vocal harmonies and incorporation of instruments like horns, organ and banjo, Scrap Iron Sun has even found itself getting acknowledgement from one of the staple bands of classic rock radio.

“Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues actually gave a song called ‘Wallflower’s Lament’ from [Getting a Rusty Tan] a very positive review for a songwriting contest,” says guitarist Condon.

And Scrap Iron Sun hopes to build off such encouraging words by writing more material and heading back into the studio soon to record another album.

Condon says, “We’ve been working on new songs to play out throughout 2013 and we’ll hit the studio to record some of them late in the year. Our goal is to get the next disc wrapped up by late 2013, early 2014.”•

For more information on Scrap Iron Sun please visit and

Author: Michael Cimaomo

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