Heavy metal isn’t dead and Dustin Boltjes, aka Rikki Rikki Wrathchild, singer of Iron Diamond, is on a mission to popularize the genre once again.
Boltjes has been a part of the Indianapolis metal scene since 1997, where he was a drummer in his first band Forefront. Since then, Boltjes has been a part of three other bands where he has gotten experience with talking to labels and setting off on tours.
These feats have lead up to his current band, Skeletonwitch, that Boltjes now tours with internationally.
But when he isn’t Dustin, the drummer of Skeltetonwitch, he’s Rikki Wrathchild, the powerhouse vocalist in his side project Iron Diamond.
The '80s tribute band started a little over five years ago. Boltjes and his Iron Diamond band mates started messing around with the idea of playing the music of their '80s metal idols. After having their first gig at the Melody Inn, they wanted to see just how long they could keep the ball rolling.
They’re now playing more shows than ever and taking back Indy’s heavy metal scene, once and for all.
Iron Diamond will play a show at the Vogue Friday night. Boltje’s talks about being in a tribute band and what kind of theatrical performances an audience should expect to see during the gig.
What does being in a retro band mean to you?
We call ourselves the ultimate heavy metal tribute band. For us it’s definitely paying homage to the masters. You know, the forefathers, and everything that encompasses that era of heavy metal. We really take it serious. We really want to play the songs right, and have the look and have the theatrics and everything that was going on in the scene in the '80s with heavy metal because then it was bigger than life. Everybody loved it. It was everywhere. So we are all equally obsessed with that and want to carry the torch because unfortunately heavy metal is never going to be that cool again.
Which bands do you cover?
We’re pretty broad spectrum. The band is called Iron Diamond so we cover Iron Maiden and we cover King Diamond. We love doing stuff like that because it’s the little harder edge of heavy metal. But we also love Mötley Crüe and Ratt and Dokken and Whitesnake. All these bands that, I’m going to use the term hair metal and I hate that term, it's all heavy metal to me. We try to equally touch on each aspect of '80s heavy metal.
Do you put your own twist on the songs?
We are playing it how the songs were played. There may be a solo here or a solo there where one of the guys will make it a little harder or what not but we try to emulate the songs as close to the real thing as possible. With me singing I try to emulate each individual singer’s voice as close as I possibly can. There’s a lot of cover bands out here that I feel just doesn’t do the genre justice and they focus more on the aspect of capitalizing on how funny people look dressed in '80s clothes. That’s not funny to us. You see a lot of these cover bands and it just sounds like karaoke versions of these songs. It doesn’t sound like a true tribute to these bands and that’s always been what’s important to us. And I like to think that’s what we do a damn good job of.
What do you want the audience to take from your performances?
I want people to get that feeling of party and good time and raging and head banging. For the people that are a bit older, feel like they’re sixteen again with, the radio cranked up, head banging and having a great time. And I want the younger people to become exposed to all this and think, holy crap I’ve never heard metal done like this. Hopefully they’ll go off on their own, do some research, find some bands.
What should we hope to see Friday? How do you expect to take down the Headbanger’s?
This all started as a fun rivalry. A fun poke at Hairbanger’s Ball. Yes, we do believe that they’re kind of a mockery of it. But we see their success and they’ve caught onto something that’s been very successful and we recognize it. We’ve never personally met the guys but we will meet them this Friday. It’s just been a fun rivalry that hopefully everyone walks away with that same attitude as it was a good time and we should do it again.
What should the crowd expect to see?
We’ve got a pretty special set lined up for the show because we’ve only got an hour. We’re basically just going to take our greatest hits and play as many songs as we can and just really put on the best possible show we could play. We’re excited to utilize this opportunity to hopefully gain some new fans and show people that there are other options in this town. You’re not going to get anything quite like an Iron Diamond show. It’s a whole new experience and that’s what we really want to put forward in our performance. We have a good time up there and it's all about the love of heavy metal.
Anything else to add?
If you’re looking for a good time and you’re a lover of all things '80s heavy metal then check out Iron Diamond, give us a chance. I can guarantee you you will not be disappointed. There’s a reason why there’s a lack of videos on the internet because people are always having such a great time. Its very gratifying to know that people aren’t just trying to film the show with their phones because they’re actually having a good time and enjoying themselves. I guarantee you will walk away stoked.
Iron Diamond will be performing at The Vogue Friday, Feb. 19.
Doors open at 9 p.m. Show starts at 10 p.m. $10/21+
Tickets available here.