Bier Magazine
Home » music

White Iron Band: Renegade Rockers from the Frozen North

Submitted by on February 2, 2009 – 5:27 PMNo Comment
Bookmark and Share

One of the hardest playing, hardest drinking bands in the North Country is the White Iron Band from Minneapolis. These renegade Southern rockers have been setting stages on fire in the region for ten years and even did a slot at the big 10,000 Lakes Festival in Detroit Lakes. They have also opened for  country performers like Tommy Cash, Stonewall Jackson, and Marvin Rainwater. But their music is anything but country, having touches of Allman Brothers and Springsteen.

Beginning each gig with Willie Nelson’s “Whiskey River,” a song that has become the White Iron Band’s signature, they get audiences ready to party to their own tunes, including a number they used to just call “The Minnesota Song.” That song, now dubbed, “Minnesota Pride” has became the North’s version of “Okie From Muskogee.”

Recorded in 2003 on their first album that was self-titled, it extols the virtues of ice fishing and hockey and has Pudas proudly singing,“And Lord knows, I love my Grain Belt beer,” a local Minneapolis brew. “Minnesota Pride” became so popular that it was recently dubbed the theme for a Minnesota Wild hockey team radio ad.

Despite their bad boy reputations, the White Iron Band has solid musical chops. Their latest lineup is led by founder Matt Pudas (lead vocals/harmonica) and includes Sammy Weyandt (guitar/backup vocals), Eddie Juntenen (keys/backup vocals), Matt Walvatme (bass/backup vocals), Mark Pudas (guitar/backup vocals), Jeff Underhill (drums), and John Molin (fiddle).

Over the years, they have begun to serve up something more substantial than bar fare. Their 2005 album Take It Off the Top and their live CD, White Iron Band at the Cabooze (2006), have them producing a mix of genres that shows off the band’s range that easily handles fast dance tunes but also tender songs like “Rosalita” that give audiences some life to chew on. Laced through this musical gumbo like a shot of good bourbon is the White Iron Band’s strong vocals and tight harmonies. Their live album also introduced “Willie Nelson, You Ruined My Life,” a song that is both satire and homage to the Redheaded Stranger.

Their latest album, Devil’s Sweet Revenge, is a giant step away from the fun times of their first two albums and even removed from the thoughtful work of their live album that dealt with social and personal issues. “It’s a lot different than a lot of our other stuff,” Matt Pudas said in an recent interview. “It’s got more of a darker overtone.” This new bluesy CD is an Iron Range Southern rock opera about what a life of hard living can do. It’s a very clever package that may surprise many White Iron Band fans.

To be sure, the White Iron Band can still whip up a rowdy party when they take the stage. Catch them live when you want to party, but listen to their CDs when you want something more.