I Am Dragon

An interview with Madison garage rockers, I Am Dragon
by Mike Huberty
January 2013

I Am Dragon - photo by Kedar Joyner

I Am Dragon
photo by Kedar Joyner

With influences firmly established from garage rock legends like THIN LIZZY and THE SONICS, Madison’s I AM DRAGON has been playing around the scene for the past two years. They’ve got a heavy, fast feel that gets a bit of DEEP PURPLE-ish feel with keys and organ to sweeten the sound. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, the rockers are about to release their new EP, “The Lucky Ones”, on February 1st and we talked to their lead guitarist and vocalist, Jon Stover, about the upcoming recording. 

MI: What brought you to music in the first place?
JS: The amount of influence a musician has over others will always fascinates me. I can shape memories, feelings and actions with music simply by being able to play a few notes. I desired to move people and enhance their experience in life with something I created and playing guitar seemed like a valid way to accomplish this.

MI: Who were the bands that really revved your engine in the beginning?
: Like many, the first group to really enchant me were the Beatles. They had such a vast and prolific career! It amazed me how they wrote hit after hit and album after album of material that only got better. I also really loved the Doors and their mix of blues rock and lyrical poetry. Later on I got into punk and alternative rock of the time. Bands like Goldfinger, Nirvana and At the Drive In became the soundtrack to my teens and have never left me. Over the years I have tried to broaden my musical tastes whenever possible.

MI: So, what’s the single for I AM DRAGON’s new EP?
There are numerous contenders with single potential on this EP, but I would have to say “Major Bros.” is likely our anthem. The intro was originally a joke, taken from level 1-2 of a famous 8 bit NES video game (I’ll let you figure out which one). Eventually we made it our own and once the lyrics were written it was clear the song stood out. It’s a song about playing music by, with and for your friends. Who wouldn’t like that?!

MI: What does “The Lucky Ones” mean?
When we decided to record our debut, we knew we couldn’t afford a proper studio without outside help. We ended up launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise the money which was successful due to the many generous people who pledged to make our record happen. The title is meant as a thank you to those people and as a nod to the fact we are very privileged to be alive and doing something we love. We feel very blessed to have these people in our lives who support art and music!

MI: What’s the track you think turned out best?
I think this would be “No Reward is Worth This.” It’s a song based on the loss of a dear friend of mine (RIP Izzy!) and it’s also the newest song on the EP. I believe it’s a hint of the sounds yet to come from our band.

MI: You guys have had a lot of shows lately, what’s been your favorite?
It would have to be Mikefest II at the High Noon Saloon. The show is a yearly memorial to an amazing Madison musician who left us all too early. We get to play with a bunch of our friend’s bands and a bunch of new bands each year so it’s like silver and gold. Between the cookout and music the mood is so supportive and enriching that it makes you appreciate being able to have these kind of experiences in your life. They don’t last forever.

MI: It’s the new year. What are your big plans for 2013?
We will of course be playing around Madison but also plan to tour the surrounding Midwest and continue making a name for ourselves. Now that we have an album to support these tours, we’re aiming at getting some gigs in the Twin Cites, Eau Claire, Chicago, Milwaukee as well as other music towns. We also have one extra track from our sessions at Blast House Studios that we plan to use for a split with another to be named Madison act in 2013. I really believe 2013 is going to be a great year for Madison musicians. It’s time for some of the hard working talent of this city to be recognized on the national music map again. Please support your local artists and let’s make this happen together!

MI: So, where can people see you rock this next month in Madison?
January 19th at the Dragonfly Lounge, January 26th at the RSR Stage, our EP release show February 1st at the Frequency and lastly February 22nd at the Frequency as well. All these shows are with bands I can personally vouch for and will be great performances by all! It’s hot, sweaty rock and roll. Heady passion and thick melody. Jumping, flailing and drum stick tossing. An urge to move your body that won’t quit. We aim at being as entertaining as possible and strive to put on the best live show we can.

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I Am Dragon
CD: The Lucky Ones