Todd Pack delivering vocals during the Iron Jaw set. Photo by Brian McLean
As restaurants, salons and other small businesses slowly began to reopen, live music venues patiently wait for the green light. Some of these rooms have continued to weather the pandemic storm creatively with a pulse. There have been some casualties though. Staffs have been let go. Even worse, backstage doors and load in ramps have been closed and secured for the last time.
Chris Polone, owner and operator of the Rail Club Live in Fort Worth refuses for the latter to happen. He’s captaining the Rail Club Live ship and is doing any and everything possible to stay afloat. Not only for the sake of the venue but more importantly, his dedicated staff.
Polone has headed up several outreach programs including the Toilet Paper giveaway early on. Unfortunately, that raised eyebrows from the city of Fort Worth and put the Rail on their radar.
“The city has done us no favors. We have been audited by TABC as a result of ignorant complaints stating we are open,” Polone expressed with frustration.
There was the Easter Basket Bag giveaway that saw the Rail Club staff delivering 1,000 plus bags. All for the goodwill of the community.
Then Polone who has ten years of experience in the hazmat industry created the Masters of Disasters Decontamination Services. An ideal service for all that is occurring in society at this time.
To help quench the live music thirst, Polone and the Rail Club Live have hosted several live music streaming events. The most recent one occurring on Saturday, May 9 featuring local traditional metal outfit Iron Jaw and Towerhigh.
The stream wasn’t a full-scale, multicamera production, it was a simple, one camera operation.
Polone stated, “Due to the inconsistency with the revenue stream from streaming, we try to operate as minimal as possible to ensure safety as well as not losing money as a result of too much cost.”
For the streaming event, there were no sponsors and no fancy promotional budget. The hyping of the event was basically handled by Polone and Warren Garza, his longtime right-hand man.
Other than a small audio glitch, all went smooth with the stream.
One of the founding Iron Jaw members Rick Perry stated, “The reason why we decided to do it at The Rail was because they were already doing it, so we wouldn’t have to figure out how to do it.”
Bands and musical collaborations via a streaming format are common sights now.
“We saw other bands doing live streams and it seemed like the best way for us to reach our friends and fans.”, said Perry. He added, “All live gigs were cancelled of course, so we knew we had to try and do this.”
Perry who has been a constant in the DFW music scene since the mid 1980’s is no stranger to the Rail Club Live.
“We’ve played the Rail numerous times and always enjoyed the gig and the people that work there,” Perry said.
There is a history between the two and it only made sense for Iron Jaw to be part of the streaming event.
The band started rehearsing for the event several weeks back in their practice space that’s roomy enough to allow six feet of social distancing.
Besides prepping the stream, the band recently filmed a video for “Devil’s Rain,” the first single from their upcoming full-length album titled Chain of Command. Iron Jaw also released the second single, “Darkest Skies” the day before the live stream. There are plans to release a third single in June, followed by another in July and so on.
Each month, fresh Old School Texas Style Heavy Metal will be released by Iron Jaw.
These tracks and others were all part of the Iron Jaw set. Even a few surprise tracks were tossed in for the viewers such as “Iron Jaw.” It’s a song Perry wrote in 1986 with Arlington based Warlock prior to the formation of Wild Rags recording artist Gammacide.
The song itself is not related to the Garbage Pail Kid by the same name or the Golden Age comic book barbarian character. It’s as Perry describes a “nebulous heavy metal type of creature”. He added, “I thought it was some cool imagery back then.”
As for the Iron Jaw stream, viewers from Michigan, Colorado, Montana, other states and even New Zealand tuned in. When all viewer numbers were tallied, just over 1,000 tuned in at some point during the stream according to Perry.
The stream was the fourth hosted by the Rail Club Live and there will be more. The next Rail Club event will be the Sexy Staff Car Wash to raise money to continue support the venue.
Polone is doing whatever to sustain the pulse of the Rail Club Live. It’s an exhausting task but he’s doing it not just for him but for the Rail Club and staff.
Polone wrote in a recent social media post, “And sometimes you have to direct that ship into oncoming fire to get where you need to go. While others seek shelter, we will forever ride towards the storm. Long Live The Rail.”