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