Jack Irons. Even if you're not immediately familiar with the name, it's guaranteed that you're familiar with his work. This talented and versatile drummer has played with Pearl Jam, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eleven, Joe Strummer, Neil Young and others. With "Attention Dimension", his first solo release, Irons steps to the forefront and gets a little help from his friends.
"Attention Dimension" defies categorization. While primarily an instrumental work, this sonic smorgasbord pays homage to space rock, world and Indian music as well as indie rock. Irons takes a Pink Floyd classic ('Shine On You Crazy Diamond') and truly puts his own imprint on the tune with tribal percussion and the tender but menacing vocal courtesy of his friend Eddie Vedder. Flea, Jeff Ament, Les Claypool, Stone Gossard, Alain Johannes, and Natasha Shneider all make appearances on "Attention Dimension".
To get to the core of understanding how this diverse body of work was born, it's necessary to take a historical look at Jack Irons' career.
Irons started playing drums at the age of 13, taking music lessons with his best friend Hillel Slovak. The two started playing music together after school, eventually hooking up with two schoolmates: Alain Johannes, a guitarist and a short time later a bass player, better known as Flea. Their band, Anthym, used to be introduced by one of Flea's best friends, Anthony Kiedis.
Anthym became What Is This. Flea left to play with Fear. In 1983, he and Kiedis asked Irons and Slovak to help them open a show for a friend. The four learned one song and debuted as Tony Flow and the Miraculously Majestic Masters of Mayhem. The crowd really dug it, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers were born.
Irons and Slovak played with both bands for a time. When each band was offered record deals their loyalty and history with Johannes guided them in their decision to choose What Is This. Slovak rejoined the Chili Peppers in the middle of recording the second What Is This album. What Is This disbanded a couple of years later. Johannes started a new project with Natasha Shneider. The Chili Peppers re-recruited Irons in 1986, in time for the recording of "The Uplift Mofo Party Plan". Irons toured with the Chili Peppers until 1988, when guitarist Hillel Slovak died of an overdose. Irons subsequently left the band.
In late '88 Irons got a call from a friend of Joe Strummer to come and play. The recording of and subsequent tour of Joe Strummer's "Earthquake Weather" had a profound effect, as it was at the San Diego show that he met Eddie Vedder. The two became good friends.
Shortly thereafter, Irons reunited with Alain Johannes and Natasha Shneider and began playing together as Eleven. In 1990 he was approached by Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, but turned the project down because, as an expectant father, needing steady work he'd committed to a nine week tour with Red Cross. Gossard and Ament played Irons a demo without vocals and asked if he knew any good singers. Irons passed their demo on to his good friend Vedder and that became the beginnings of Pearl Jam.
Although Irons had other opportunities to play with Pearl Jam in the early '90's, it wasn't until fall of 1994 that it happened. It was also the year that he began recording his first piece of drum music - a demo called 'Small Mosquito' that Pearl Jam liked to play before taking the stage. His time with Pearl jam encompassed the recording of "Merkinball", "No Code", "Yield", and Neil Young's "Mirrorball", as well as extensive touring.
Irons rejoined Eleven for the recording of "Howling Book",
released on the band's own label in 2003.
"I began the process of recording myself seriously in the fall of 1999." Irons says. "If I could finish an album of my own music, I would. Five years later I am happy to say I have."
"Attention Dimension" is an album that captures the wonder of new opportunities, continued discovery and accomplishment.