THE ORGAN INTERVIEW...  AIRBOURNE - 2008... 
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Airbourne yesterdayTHE RISE AND RISE OF AIRBOURNE....

 “All right people/Welcome the show/Are you ready to rock?/Are you to go?/Now we’ve got what you want/And we’ve got what you need/So get your ass down here/And let your ears bleed”.

"They're cocky motherf*ckers, it's great. One of them came up to me with a bottle of Jack Daniels and said, 'Mother's milk?. Inspired."  Lemmy (Motorhead) 

         It all started a couple of years back for us here at Organ, e.mails from Australian readers telling us Rose Tattoo loving English scumbags that they had a hot new band down there that we needed to check out. We were still buzzing off that Rose Tattoo gig we put on a few years back, a buzz like that sticks around for years, we needed more of that fuel though... and what we heard sounded good. And then it all went quiet and oh well, another potentially great band lost to the world before they get off the ground.... until suddenly up pop Roadrunner records with the debut album!

     Seems the four Airbourne boys got themselves caught up in major label crap over in the US and to cut a tediously long story short the good people at Roadrunner rescued them... and the debut album Runnin’ Wild landed here one day and yes! 
 

Here’s the gut reaction ORGAN album review from issue 234, December 13th ‘07

AIRBOURNE – Runnin’ Wild (Roadrunner) - How much more DC could it be? The Answer is none, none more AC/DC!!! Hang on though! Just hang on to everydamnthing! You don’t get to be Organ album of the week, month or the goddamn album of the next goddamn year if you’re just some dumb second rate clone band - and lets be frank here, the mighty DC have been pretty damn depressingly average since the brilliance of Back In Black. This is Back In Black part two! This is pure sonic rock airbourne airbombs of musical physical adrenaline - this is lean mean and hungry. This is Rose Tatfuggintoo dance and sing, rock ‘n roll is king, cool as F, big riff, we don’t give a damn rock! This is metal! This is so AC/DC it may as well be AC/DC! Hang on, they’re Australian, must be yer actually bastard offspring of Bon Scott made it to band forming age - they look like they could be! Eleven slices of it and you won’t get enough of these diamonds in the rough! When Cruncher gets his filthy mitts on this he’ll throw the rest of his scratched up beer stained record collection right out of his broken window – this is mainlining Jack Daniels, this is if you want more blood then you damn well got it! Every bit of it, every track – cheap wine, fat city, heartbreaker and the whole nine yards. Don’t bother with one off downloads and trying to catch some half-arsed slice on My Space, just go buy the album the minute it comes out here (Jan 28th 2008 is the UK release date), pile the volume up to eleven, lock your doors, open all your windows and play it non-stop for the whole of next year.
 

        So January arrives and the band land for their debut UK dates, small club and rock toilets tour, by the time they hit London and the nice compact Borderline in Soho the buzz is really breaking out, totally sold out on word of mouth, nasty looking fights outside, frustrated people who can't get in, we step over a raging person rolling around with the floor outside with the security people yelling that he has to be in there, pissed off because the venue has long since sold out.... 

Hang on though, here we are before the Borderline show, somewhere in the middle of afternoon in the soundcheck for a quick word with excited, tired, cold guitarist DAVID ROADS 

So first time in the UK, how are things going?

Well things are damn cold I can tell you that, we’re not used to this, but this is going great, the shows are hot things. rocking everywhere, really good for our first time, do things always go like this? Audiences have been really up for it, we always heard England was going to be tough! 

Well you seem to have a really strong word of mouth thing going down, people talking and spreading the word, underground, websites and the grapevine buzzing, downloads, people spreading the word

Yeah, that certainly makes life easier, we’ve been hearing it all around, people saying their mates had told them and sent them files and told them they had to go to the shows and such ...

So let’s cut to the chase and get to the music, would you say what you’re doing is a bit of throwback? I mean you’re making proper old school Australian get in the van and hit the bars hard rock music

Yeah, sure, we’re just out-of-town country boys from the back of beyond, a small town called Warrnambool, outside of Melbourne, in Australia, all we grew up with was Rose Tattoo, AC/DC and The Angels and such. Actually I I could go on forever about great Australian bands we grew up on...

Well do so then, we only ever hear Rose Tattoo and AC/DC, two of the finest bands in the world, but who else did you grow up on?

The Angels, Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs, The Easybeats, we certainly go back to that early stuff... 

So are you a classic Australian rock band then? Are you the next in that fine line of classic road bands? 

Well that would be nice to think that, and yeah, we’re very much a product of our classic Aussie rock heritage but there’s other elements in there, Motorhead are important to us, old school metal bands like Judas Priest...

It is an Austalian sound though, if you wanted to explain Airbourne to someone who had never heard you then AC/DC are the very obvious starting point 

Yeah, that’s fair enough, we can’t really argue against that one can we!.

Does it bother you that I say that? 

Nah, that doesn’t bother us in any way, they were a great rocking band, so were Rose Tattoo, they were great bands, and I mean every band has their influence, everyone gets compared to someone, so why not AC/DC? This is just rock and roll, it isn’t hurting anyone, we just love what we’re doing, I mean that’s what we’re doing, primal in your face beer fuelled rock and roll! Just come down to a live show, spill some beer with us, don’t spill too much, don’t like to see things wasted, shout, pump air, nothing difficult to understand here is there?

So as you move on and start thinking about the next albums and such when can we expect it to go, or is this it? is your sound established now? What kind of music ambition does the band have? 

Who knows man, we just want to be on the road...

Where would you like it to all be in say five years? 

Well still on the road, bigger places, not too big, places where we can still see the whites of eyes, just on the road for five years doing this around the globe that would be good, another couple of albums under the belt hopefully? No radical musical departure, we’re just here to play rock n’ roll 

Is it fun waiting around to be a millionaire then? 

Oh we don’t need that, just enough beer and a crowd and touring hard....

So how did it all start? How does a band of country boys from somewhere no one has ever heard of somewhere outside of Melbourne get out there and make it to the sold out debut shows on the other side of the world? 

Well it has been a slog, me and Joel the lead singer/guitarist we worked together in a bar pulling beer and watching bands come through, we’d be thinking we can do better than that – we’d bring our acoustics to work and jam, old blues and such. He had the band going as a three piece, I ended up coming in to the band as a rhythm guitarist, that was about seven years ago now. We’d all got to know each other at parties in Warrnambool, the little place we all lived in, then in the end we all quit school or our jobs and threw it all in and moved to Melbourne. Melbourne was the nearest city to us and we rented a house together - we’d just jam and practice and try and pull it together and we lived off cans of baked beans, the real bare essentials in terms of survival, we were just throwing it all in to the band, it was big deal for us to make to Melbourne, so you can imagine how this feels tonight for us....

Indeed! So are you living off a little more than beans now then?

Yeah a bit better than beans now....

I mean are you well known back in Australia now?

Well yeah, kind of, it is growing, the album is already out there and we’ve done some big supports and our name is getting out. Things are still tough, we live on about thirty dollars a day now, relative luxury! It is great to live on the road though, we’re not complaining, we’re living the whole thing right now. People feed you, there’s enough beer, no bills to pay, no rent... back there in Melbourne we were all on the dole and worrying about the electricity to power the amps, the road is kind of our home now and we don’t want to stop...

So were you known in Australia before the album or is that really where in started in terms of breaking out in Melbourne?

We had a bit of a cult following before hand, we’d been touring our arses off up and down the east coast and building up a cult following, there was definitely people who knew us and were waiting for the album, but the album being out has certainly taken it all up another notch – its going to be interesting to see where we stand when we get back because we’ve been out here in Europe and such and I know the coverage here has been getting to people back home – we’d done some festivals and such back home before the album so that helped a lot, things seem to be build nicely now...

Well the first we heard of you was e.mail from Australian readers telling us to check you out...

Yeah, the internet certainly helps speed word of mouth up, makes life difficult in other ways for an on the road musician, what with people sharing the music for nothing rather than buying it from us and such, that kind of has us worrying a little about the future...

True, but hey, word of mouth and the internet has got your first gig ever in London sold out tonight and this is a half decent well known venue, first time AC/DC played here was an obscure little pub over in Hammersmith that one had ever heard of or heard of since...

Yeah, this is great, we’ve heard of this place and there’s history in these places we’re getting to play..  yeah, the internet is great, but you know, we’re an old style band, we just want to get out on the road and go play a different town every night and win people over and have them go and bring all their mates the next time around, we just want to go everywhere, we want to be the only band to come to your little town and then come back again, this is all about being right there live and in your face and connecting that way....

So in the past have you just turned up to places full of sheep shearing Australian cowboys where no one knows who the hell you are and just taken it to them? 

 Well yeah! That isn’t happening here, I mean we’re on the traditional circuit here with the record company doing publicity ahead of us and people like you talking about it and playing it on the radio but in the past back home yeah, for sure. We’d just ride in to small country towns and get gigs in bars and get in people’s faces... 

Did it always work or did you ever get run out of town by an angry mob?

We pretty much pulled it off where ever we went. I mean Joel is a pretty out there kind of front man, he’s always jumping off stages, climbing on bars, going over there a pouring himself a beer while playing a guitar solo and he’s pretty much got away with it most nights. Here we’re more in established music venues rather than bar rooms so it is a little easier, not that it wasn’t easy to win audiences, we pretty much rock out and people on the whole love our sound...

So where next? This is the last night of your first UK tour...

Straight to the States, we recorded the album in the States back in 2006, we lived there for six months and played a bit then, we spent all of 2007 touring Australia and promoting the album there and playing festivals and now here we are at the start of 2008 and the album has just come out over here. We’re going to be everywhere, as many festivals as we can this summer, really looking forward to going to the States again now the album exists, besides South By South West in Texas we haven’t been back there since we recorded...

Isn’t South By Southwest a nightmare for bands, seems like there’s a band pretty much on every corner and wall to wall music industry, bit of a cattle market?

Yeah, it is a bit like that but it worked for us because we were originally on Capitol Records in the USA and there was some kind of corporate takeover and we, along with about seventy percent of the bands on the label, got dropped - before the record had even come out, but we managed to get our record back from the label and our manager Greg got us on there at South By South West and Roadrunner, along with a whole load of other labels, came to see us on the strength of the finished album and loved the live show, so yeah, the cattle market worked for us, several labels wanted to see on the strength of the album and Roadrunner seemed to be the best home for us, they seem really get it. Yeah, they’re right behind us, kind of like mates, lot of passion there and they let us gig and gig and get our there – we’re a road band! It really isn’t that hard to work out who we are and what we’re about, we’re a road band man, let’s have a beer and do some hard rocking!

And with that he was off to join the other three and soundcheck...
x

AIRBOURNE - London Borderline 2008 (Organart)and here’s what happened later than night.... 

ORGAN live review from issue 245, Feb 2008

AIRBOURNE - Borderline, London, 18th Feb  - Think of it as nothing more than damage and the obvious fact that whole world is now divided into two distinct types of people. Debates were breaking out in pubs leading up to gig, in offices, churches, on street corners, in dark Parliament recesses - Al Fayed called one of them a crocodile or a smiling vampire or some such thing, MI5 are reported to have come out strongly in terms of having no opinion, they clearly do. Why? What’s to debate? No sane person should have any reason not to love this band. There are those who stand about moaning about Airbourne being nothing but a set of AC/DC wannabes - complaining about how it has all been done already, and then there’s those of us who’ve been waiting far long for the coming of a band like this to do it all properly once more. 

                            The whole thing is right there waiting, juiced up and the clearest statement of musical intent ever. “All right people/Welcome the show/Are you ready to rock?/Are you to go?/Now we’ve got what you want/And we’ve got what you need/So get your ass down here/And let your ears bleed”. Nothing to stroke chins about here, just jump fist in the air right into pit and rejoice in the beer soaked fact that there’s a new band in town – there on stage giving absolutely everydamnthing - a band who are full on Bon Scott good! Walls of Marshalls in the packed-to-bursting this is what we want! How good was that! Yeeeees!! Dirty deeds done just right - they came, and the four of them rocked (like we knew they would, worn out three copies of the album already). 

       They rocked and we want more! If you can’t get pumped-up excited at the front of an Airbourne show then get hell out of here and go play bingo or something! The place was rammed - hair and riffs flying everywhere – no time to mess about – Stand up, for Rock ‘n Roll! OK, so they sound pretty much exactly like primetime raw early AC/DC (with just a hint of Angry Anderson attitude). So damn what!!? What hell do you want? Blood!? You got it. AC/DC haven’t got out of their accountant’s office to make a decent record in years. Music this good is for blistering live nights this, music like this is for the street, for packed back room bars, music like is this is meant to be raw, loud and right there in your face, not for over-produced albums and school uniform wearing old men in giant stadiums. The place is sweating - everyone down the front is beer soaked and smiling great big shit-eating grins at each other - fists punching, lyrics chanted – Too Much Too Young Too Fast... Fat City... Girls In Black  - The four of them up there, full on real deal open road Aussie bar-room rock via the teachings of The Easybeats, Rose Tattoo, The Angels and the whole damn lot. Relentless frontman O’Keeffe must have spent years dreaming of this night: he’s beaming as he yells  “all the way from Warrnambool to London” as they hit the encore (that’s where they’re from you see, Warrnambool – they told us before the gig what a big deal it had been making it to the big city of Melbourne for a gig). 
          Hey look, it ain’t noodle doodle chin stroking indie-schmindie rocket science  - they came, we saw, they rocked, it was loud, it was we want more! 

 

What a night that was back there in February, that review was pretty much echo’d throughout the rock underground, and indeed via quite a few of the mainstream publications. Sure, a few old-farts-before-their-time over at the glossy press didn’t get it (or were too cool to admit they did), who cares what they say – word spread through the summer, winning whole audiences at big festivals, singles, touring around the world... word of mouth.... rising rising rising.... 

    And now here we are in November, not even a year on from that little Borderline show, and if you weren’t there and part of that first tour, you already missed the chance to get close up and personal, they’ve already jumped up to the big venues, this latest tour ends up with not one but two pretty much already sold out nights at the London Astoria.... this is blowing up big already... 

a proper rock band, on the road, doing it for real, proper Australian bar room rock and every bit as good as all those other bands we’ve mentioned in our various reviews.... 

(Sean O)

www.airbournerock.com
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www.myspace.com/airbourne

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xx