Air­bourne crank out the anger

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - WHAT’S ON -

FOR­GET crank­ing your work in progress through those heavy duty stu­dio speak­ers.

If you want to hear if a song is work­ing, just get in your car and drive.

Air­bourne front­man Joel O’Ke­effe laughs when asked if the po­lice in­ter­vened in the mo­bile lis­ten­ing ses­sions when the Aussie hard rock­ers were road-test­ing new songs for their lat­est al­bum, Black Dog Bark­ing.

‘‘You do tend to put your foot down if it’s work­ing and if some­one cut you off, there was a bit of road rage,’’ he says.

‘‘So if we put the foot down and got an­gry at some­one else’s driv­ing – that would make the al­bum. It’s danger­ous but it gets re­sults.’’

O’Ke­effe re­calls a close en­counter with the law while driv­ing to a rock sound­track.

‘‘I was lis­ten­ing to Bat Out Of Hell and had it cranked. The po­lice of­fi­cer asked me why I was speed­ing. ‘Can you hear my stereo’?’’ the rocker says.

There is a lot of anger on Air­bourne al­bum No.3. While O’Ke­effe, his brother Ryan and band­mates David Roads and Justin Street are un­doubt­edly the band most likely to keep the AC/DC flame burn­ing brightly when the famed Aussie rock­ers fi­nally ab­di­cate their throne, Black Dog Bark­ing broad­ens their slate be­yond girls and good times.

Air­bourne are taken se­ri­ously in hard rock cir­cles around the world and have built an en­vi­able in­ter­na­tional fan­base, par­tic­u­larly in Europe. At home, they can’t get ar­rested.

‘‘Yeah, the ti­tle track, it was a hard song to record be­cause of all the anger that has built up af­ter years and years of do­ing this,’’ he says.

‘‘We kept play­ing Black Dog Bark­ing re­ally hard and would break strings or scream too loud into the mic and it would dis­tort.

‘‘But in rock’n’roll, do­ing what we do, there are no wa­tered-down sin­gles or bal­lads.’’

The bio for Air­bourne’s new record con­firms their per­pet­ual un­der­dog sta­tus, re­fer­ring to them as ‘‘scrappy up­starts’’.

The song Hun­gry re­flects the band’s hum­ble heart, keep­ing them at­tached to the mem­o­ries of long drives in crappy vans up the Hume High­way even as they en­joy a more com­fort­able ride on tour buses through­out the US and Europe.

‘‘Hun­gry ex­plains ev­ery­thing, four guys in a van ver­sus the world. It re­minds me of driv­ing from Melbourne to Syd­ney to play a gig at Spec­trum for a guy from Capi­tol Records who had flown over from the US. It was go­ing to be a good gig be­cause we were play­ing with Hell City Glam­ours,’’ O’Ke­effe says, laugh­ing.

‘‘We broke down in Hol­brook, we had $50 for fuel and that was it and the me­chanic wouldn’t look at the van un­til he had fin­ished eat­ing his sand­wich. An hour later, he tells us it’s a bro­ken fan­belt, fixes it in five min­utes and we just made the gig in time. They guy from Capi­tol Records signed us the next day.’’

Air­bourne’s new al­bum is al­ready en­joy­ing a YouTube boost courtesy of some Ger­man fans who asked the band if they could use their new sin­gle Live It Up to sound­track their video of 100 Ways To Open A Beer, filmed over a year of ex­plor­ing novel ways to crack a bot­tle of brew. The band’s man­age­ment sent them the clip as Air­bourne sound­checked in a Mil­wau­kee venue last week. ‘‘He sent it to us and told us to have a look at it,’’ the rocker says. ‘‘Ten sec­onds in we all looked at each other and said ‘Hell yeah, they can use the song!’ Now we have 99 other ways to open a beer in­stead of us­ing a lighter. We will def­i­nitely be try­ing out the gui­tar method in sound­check. And we’re still try­ing to work out how he did it with the news­pa­per.’’

Black Dog Bark­ing is re­leased to­mor­row. Air­bourne play Splen­dour In The Grass, at North By­ron Park­lands, July 28.

Black Dog Bark­ing.


Hard-rock­ing Aus­tralian band Air­bourne are back with new al­bum

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