Jenny: How did you begin in music and why is it so important to you? Have you had any formal training, vocal coaching, classes and/or schooling?
Gordon: I come from a family of singers, music was a big thing in the house and having older brothers and sisters (I’m the 4th out of 5) I was introduced to some great sounds from an early age. Whilst at school I sang in choirs and school musical productions such as Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and La Belle Helene by Offenbach – that I would suppose counts as a bit of training. My first band, Sigma, was formed when I was 15, my music teacher told me I shouldn’t sing rock as she felt it would ruin my voice!
Jenny: What first got you interested in playing guitar? What was your first guitar? How many guitars do you own and which one is your most precious and why? Do you play any other instruments besides guitar?
Gordon: I’ve been hitting guitars since I was about 12 – always very poorly! Currently I own a Yamaha SG, a Stratocaster and an ancient Ibanez acoustic – the Yamaha is precious as it was the last present my mother bought me before she passed away. Alas, no band in it’s right mind would allow me to play one on stage, so I just work out the hooks for my songs on them. There are lots of musical instruments in the house, keyboards, harmonicas, penny whistles, I played the bagpipes as a young boy but was thrown out of the band once they discovered that I was playing by ear rather than reading the music!
Jenny: Do you play by ear or read sheet music? Or both?
Gordon: I play purely by ear.
Jenny: Who are your musical influences? What are some of the techniques you use from your influences?
Gordon: I’m a huge fan of Paul Rodgers and my singing style probably lends itself to his style. However, I listen to such a wide mix of music I’m probably influenced by everything from Argent to ZZ Top. From a singing point of view, there are certain songs I use for training purposes in order to fine tune the subtle nuances that make songs work.
Gordon: The fans are of paramount importance, I like to think that the music I/we do is sympathetic to what the fans would like to hear – at the end of the day I’m a fan of other bands too. The marketing strategy is quite simple, produce music that people are going to want to listen to and enjoy.
Jenny: Have you won any awards, competitions and/or special titles? What was the proudest moment in your career?
Gordon: I’ve won a number of Battle of The Bands competitions – can’t say that I particularly enjoy that sort of thing though! As for a proudest moment, has to be the first time you play one of your own songs and it goes down well – I hope to have lots more proudest moments!
Jenny: Who in the music industry can vouch for your ability?
The following are comments & reviews made by various people & magazines in the music industry:
“Iron Claw went back into the studio to record their first new material in over 35 years. And “A Different Game” is the outstanding result. This album shouldn’t exist. There are not many instances that bands get together after a long hiatus. But Iron Claw are living proof and legends in my book. This album is brilliant. No question about it. Full of hard rocking songs that blends 70s based Blues Rock, Doom and good old Southern Boogie Rock to great effect. This album is getting praise all over the place for the right reasons. Its simply the comeback album to end all comeback albums in the respective genre. These guys know how to rock. They can even show a thing or two to their younger counterparts. The vocals are another highlight as they have the right blend of passion and fury needed in a hard rocking combo like this” – Sludgelord (Apr 06, 2012)
“IRON CLAW ‘A DIFFERENT GAME’ (RIPPLE MUSIC/USA IMPORT) 3 original members joined forces with a local singer called GORDON BROWN and the result is quite impressive. If you have a great singer in your line-up you’re halfway down the road and guess what, this GORDON BROWN is a fantastic typical Classic UK Bluesy Hard rock type of singer, kinda singing in the style of JIMMY BARNES, DAN McCAFFERTY, PAUL RODGERS and even some ROD STEWART, so with a whiskey ish raw edge to it, which really rocks! Besides, instrumental the band sounds pretty good, with some great heavy guitar work and all I can say is that the album ‘A Different Game’ is a very stunning Classic Hard Rock album that sounds like FREE/CREAM/NAZARETH/LED ZEPPELIN/BAD COMPANY being fronted by JIMMY BARNES and with BLACK SABBATHish guitar riffs! Songs like “What Love Left”, “The Traveler”, the MANOWARish (!!!) “See Them Fall” and the superb ballad “It’s Easy” are easily a must-hear for any fan of Classic ” – Gabor Kleinbloesem, HOT NEW AOR/PROG/HARDROCK/METAL REVIEWS (Feb 10, 2012)
“The voice conveys experience and resolve, the solos tasteful. An effortlessly playable collection of working man’s hard rock, and a heartening reassertion of power from metal’s forgotten founding fathers. 8 out of 10″ – Metal Hammer (Dec 01, 2011)
“Iron Claw have made an album full of honesty and integrity. The heavy riffs are still there but steer towards a more heavy blues approach. Black Sabbath meets Free, you could say. Opener ‘What Love Left‘ kicks off in bombastic fashion with a Jimmy Page-esque riff and blows away any cobwebs you might have preconceived. Vocalist Gordon Brown has laboured hard with his rootsy broad voice, which reminds me a lot of Mammoth singer Nicky Moore (also in latterday Samson). In fact, anyone familiar with those Samson albums, ‘Before The Storm‘ and ‘Don’t Get Mad…Get Even‘, will rejoice in ‘A Different Game‘. Imagine those Samson albums with a much grittier riffage and you will get a good idea how Iron Claw sound today.” – Mark Taylor , Metal Talk (Nov 04, 2011)
“Also the new singer is a great addition to the band with his passionate raw throat. The people who are familiar with the former line-up might miss the Ozzy resemblance in the vocals, which makes the music less Black Sabbath-like, but Brown has much other qualities to offer. One thing sure worth mentioning is the whiskey hoarseness and pure passion which can easily be compared with Dan McCafferty (Nazareth)” – Lords of Metal
“Throughout, Brown’s bellowing lows and sustained highs showcase a knack for gripping hooks, smoked-throat tonality, and memorable phrasing. He comes from that same school of power singing that Leslie West, “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun, and Mike Sorg (Mach II) favor, but with his own unique take on that tickling vibrato that draws out notes with that little extra gusto. This beaut reminds me of Mountain applying their bluesy antiseptic to Priest’s gaping metal wounds, and sets the tone for one knockout track after another. Brown’s vocal is harrowing, guttural, and with stark contrasts in tone from my hero Ronnie Van Zant (Gordon’s low melody line rasps, and classic metal notes are the stuff of legends…” – Jay Snyder, Hellride Music (Dec 10, 2011)
“Lead by the gruff vocals of Gordon Brown, Iron Claw stirs up memories of classic Deep Purple, Bad Company, Nazareth and Thin Lizzy with a sound that is familiar, but uniquely their own. The first single and lead off track, What Love Left, is an ass kicker that’s meant more for the home stereo than the iPod. Even with the best headphones, there’s something about a good arena rock sound that needs to breathe and go beyond a quarter-inch speaker shoved in your ear. Sometimes you just need to have the walls shake a bit and A Different Game is something that can get the job done. ” - Dan Savoie , Rock Star Weekly
“With three of the four original members being once again gripped by the Iron Claw (Ian McDougall (drums), Alex Wilson (bass), Jimmy Ronnie (guitar)), singer Gordon Brown (not that Gordon Brown, that would be the clunking Iron Fist!), was added to the line up and what masterstroke that has proven to be. For Brown’s vocal style, think along the lines of the lived in gritty roar of Phil Mogg (UFO) and you won’t be far off and when you consider that Iron Claw operate in the same heavy riffed, hard hitting blues territory as UFO, then you’ll understand why he is such an asset. That however would mean nothing if Iron Claw didn’t have the songs to back it up, but they do, with not a dud to be found anywhere on this disc. ” – Steven Reid, Rocktopia (Dec 04, 2011)
“A Different Game is a reminder that Rock n’ Roll was born from the Blues and Gordon Brown’s vocals will have you searching to see if he ever “once” sang for Deep Purple. So fluid, so classic is the voice of Gordon’s that I swear he has a famously storied Rock career, one that VH1 would have a documentary on… only it’s all heard and told here on A Different Game.” – Stone, Metal Odyssey (Aug 05, 2011)
“The entire album reminds me of a cross between Blackfoot, Black Oak Arkansas and ZZ top (Tres Hombres era) but with a decidedly heavier Guitar. Matter of fact, I came to that comparison because of Gordon Brown’s vocal style is so similar to Rickey Medlocke (especially on that great ode to love, “Angel Woman“) and James Mangrum, which is not to say he doesn’t have his own voice; he has the pipes to hold his own against any who’d want to take up the challenge.” – Rene Trujillo, Thrashhead Magazine (Jul 14, 2011)
Gordon: Joe Walsh immediately springs to mind, his music is out of this world as is his guitar playing – don’t think he’s ever had the recognition he should have, his contribution has been immense. Really though, there are so many musicians/singers who are fantastic but just never seem to realize their potential.
Jenny: What genres of music lurk inside your closet as ones you love to play when your not writing or recording your own music?
Gordon: I listen to a lot of southern blues/boogie – today I’ve been having a Johnny Winter day – his playing and singing are just insane (but in a good way!). When I’m feeling a little introspective out comes Joni Mitchell and in particular the album Blue. normally though I just do a pick and mix from my music collection and let it rip – I have that many albums that there are some which never get played, so it’s good to do the random thing and re-discover songs which I’d forgotten about.
Jenny: On a daily basis, how much time do you spend practicing? ( by yourself or with your band). How much playing did it take to get to the level you are at today?
Gordon: I sing every day, not proper training style, just singing away to myself like a madman! I do get some funny looks as I wander around the supermarket doing the shopping, I also like to check out the acoustics in different buildings, stairwells etc. Generally though I probably sing at full tilt for a minimum of 30 minutes per day, if it’s a rehearsal day or gig day I tend not to sing at all until I do my warm ups. Getting to the level I’m at, just practice, practice and more practice – if something looks easily done it’s down to the amount of time spent practicing getting it right.
Jenny: How do you balance your family life, your band, being a singer/songwriter, and playing your guitar?
Gordon: I try where possible not to allow the band to get in the way of my family life, so gigs fit around the times when I have my children.
Jenny: What inspired your passion for music and who has been there supporting you from the beginning?
Gordon: Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember, I’m fortunate to come from a family of singers, although neither my brother or father sing at all – two of my three sisters sing really well, there was always a competition to see who had most power (I didn’t always win!). My family are very supportive, they also are some of my harshest critics, if they don’t like something they let me know very quickly and honestly!
Jenny: Tell us about Iron Claw. What was is like playing with such a talented group of musicians, including yourself. Your album “A Different Game” was outstanding. Can you tell us a little bit about your album, the musicians in the band and how you wrote majority of the songs on the album?
Gordon: Joining Iron Claw was probably not in retrospect the right thing for me to do, at the time I wasn’t in a band and wasn’t doing anything musically. The story is quite simple, the band had been signed to an American Record Label (Ripple Music) on the strength of their work from the early 1970s. Musically the album had been pretty much completed in that the drums bass and rhythm guitar had all been laid down. The original singer had recently had surgery and wasn’t able to take part, the band decided to seek out a new singer, I was approached, auditioned and was offered the gig. Although the tunes had been recorded there were no lyrics to most of them, of the 13 tracks on the album I contributed 10. The backline of Alex Wilson on bass and Ian McDougal on drums sounded like a panzer division on maneuvers, they were tight as hell and a pleasure to play with, Jim Ronnie on guitar comes out with some really great riffs and solos, this made writing the lyrics pretty simple. Most of them were done very quickly – well, once I had an idea of where the tune was leading me. The album was recorded in Alex Wilson’s basement, I joined the band in late October 2010 and the album was completed by late March. I’m very proud of the album, I think it has some classic songs on it, some which hopefully will receive a bit more attention than they currently are. My personal highlight was playing at Barlinnie Prison in Glasgow (at the time the biggest prison in the UK in terms of population), that was an experience I’ll never forget.
Gordon: Delta One Six, what can I say! We’ve been together since mid August and rehearsals are progressing really well, this is one of those bands where everything just seems to click. Although rehearsing we are also recording new material and re-working some of my older songs. The band has a song ready for inclusion on a compilation CD of Scottish Blues Bands and I’m quite excited about that. The band consists of Guitar, Bass, Drums and me, the sounds these guys are coming out with just blows me away. The guitarist Colin Taylor is an old friend, he and I have played in other bands together, I really like his playing style – he’s very much out of the “less is more” school of playing – he’s a fantastic player. Marcel Conroy on drums is exactly what you want from a drummer, he’s sympathetic to what the band is seeking to achieve, nothing flash, just perfect for the band, Marcel and I have played in various bands together over the last 30 years. Then we have the band’s surprise package – Alan Preston on bass (and backing vocals, so he says!), I only met Alan about six weeks ago, I’d been told he was an ace guitarist and that I should check him out. When I approached him he said he didn’t want to play guitar, he wanted to play bass. A rehearsal was organized for 9th August, the rehearsal was filmed and was in my opinion amazingly good – so good in fact that I posted some of the songs to You Tube – if I’d felt there were too many mistakes that wouldn’t have happened – Alan’s playing blew the rest of us away – he’s a real musician of course, a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy.
Currently we’re planning to have out first live gig towards the end of November, the set is coming long nicely and once complete I want to spend about a month fine tuning it and making sure all the starts and finishes work as they’re meant to. The songs we’re going to do include a good number of original compositions including some of the Iron Claw tracks but will initially include a few covers also (hopefully of songs no-one else is doing currently) My belief is that this band has something special and that once we go live people will really enjoy it. The majority of tunes are bluesy but with a large chunk of rock thrown in. The intention is that we record an album of music for release in late 2013.
Jenny: What current projects are you working in?
Gordon: I’m collaborating with 2 people in America at present on a mixture of blues, bluegrass and traditional songs, these are two really good tunesmiths I just need to come up with lyrics that do there tunes justice. Apart from that it’s all Delta One Six, continuing to promote the Iron Claw album and trying to get the music out to as wide an audience as I possibly can.
Jenny: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Gordon: For those people who like to hear music played and sung with passion standby for some amazing stuff from Delta One Six.
By Jennifer Stoker