Heavy Culture is a column from journalist Liz Ramanand, focusing on artists of different cultural backgrounds in heavy music, as they offer their perspectives on race, society, and more as it intersects with and affects their craft. The latest installment of this column features singer-guitarist Ayron Jones.
Singer-guitarist Ayron Jones kicked off 2023 by performing on the ShipRocked music cruise. More recently, he announced a new album, Chronicles of the Kid, set to arrive on June 23rd, while also releasing the LP’s lead single, “Blood in the Water.”
We caught up with Jones while on ShipRocked, and he spoke candidly about his family roots and being a parent to young children. He also talked about his influences and combining the gospel music he grew up on with his love of heavier rock and grunge.
Jones also discussed his 2021 album, Child of the State, which landed three songs in the Top 10 of the Mainstream Rock chart, and hinted at plans for his next album, which at that time had not been announced.
Read our full interview with Ayron Jones below, and catch him at a number of 2023 festivals, including Welcome to Rockville, Sonic Temple, Aftershock, Rocklahoma, and more. Pick up tickets to his upcoming shows via Ticketmaster or StubHub, and pre-order his upcoming album, Chronicles of the Kid, via Amazon.
Tell me about your cultural background …
Ayron Jones: My mom is from Seattle, but her mom’s from Oklahoma. So I have people in Oklahoma originally, we’re all Black. Based on our DNA, we believe that our people were owned by the Chickasaw Nation as a tribe. We were slaves owned by the Chickasaw. My three-times great grandmother spoke full-on Muskogee (Creek), she didn’t speak English. They had this call, this rule that was basically like if you didn’t have a certain percentage of blood, so if you were a slave in the tribe and you didn’t have the blood, you would never be accepted.
After they lost a Civil War, the Chickasaw fought with the South in the Civil War – they were supposed to absorb the slaves into their tribes into the nation. They created this rule to ex-communicate any slaves from their tribes. Isn’t that crazy? Yeah. So that’s, that’s on my mom’s side.
My dad was adopted but he’s mostly Native American and part black, so when it comes to his background it’s more of a mystery. But he was adopted by a military man. I didn’t know my parents super well, they both kind of struggled with drugs and alcohol, so I didn’t really see them. I was emancipated when I was seven years old. Over time, I’ve gotten to learn more and more about our background.
Now that I have kids, you see it in my kids. [Laughs] Some of my kids have curly hair and others have completely straight hair.