Air­bourne

The Aussies bring their no-frills rock to a town near you in Novem­ber.

Classic Rock - - Live! -

The Australian hard rock­ers have a new box set, Di­a­mond Cuts, that brings to­gether their first three stu­dio al­bums with a disc of B-sides and a doc­u­men­tary called It’s All For Rock ’N’ Roll. As the band get ready for some UK dates, front­man Joel O’Ke­effe checks in.

Does the fact that Air­bourne now have a box set make you feel old?

Aw, man [laughs]. Maybe a lit­tle. But… what­ever.

Clas­sic Rock has only seen the trailer for the It’s All For Rock

’N’ Roll doc­u­men­tary. Tell us about the full ver­sion…

It’s a real in-depth look into the band that goes back to the first al­bum [in 2007], right up to the present day. It’s a snap­shot of those years – it shows you what we’re like on the road.

Manowar’s Joey DeMaio says he would die for rock’n’roll. Would you go that far?

When we play a show, it’s all or noth­ing. But dy­ing for rock’n’roll? If it re­ally took me dy­ing to keep rock’n’roll alive, what’s that song… [Möt­ley Crüe’s] Kick­start My Heart? You can put me un­der for a few min­utes and then bring me back.

When you clam­ber up to the top of the light­ing rig night af­ter night, it looks dangerous. What does your mum think?

Aw, she’s on Face­book now and she sees it on YouTube [laughs]. I wait un­til Australian time and the phone rings: “Joel, I’ve bloody told you…” I still get threat­ened with the wooden spoon on the knuck­les.

Back in the sum­mer you picked up the Dime­bag Dar­rell ‘Shred­der’ award at Clas­sic Rock’s sis­ter mag­a­zine Metal Ham­mer’s Golden Gods cer­e­mony. How does that sit with a down-toearth guy like you?

Aw, I felt like I got away with that one. I’m not the world’s great­est gui­tarist, and it was a great hon­our. What win­ning made me do was con­cen­trate on im­prov­ing, so I’ve been lis­ten­ing to Joe Bona­massa, Zakk Wylde and Steve Vai.

How happy are you with Air­bourne’s progress? The band as­cended from play­ing small clubs like Lon­don’s Bor­der­line to play­ing Hammersmith Apollo in just two years, then dipped slightly and have now hit a plateau. Is that a fair com­ment?

We’re a work­ing-class band, and the mu­sic in­dus­try has changed com­pletely. We ar­rived in the Nap­ster era, and a lot of bands that came up with us have fallen by the way­side. Since then we’ve been through three or four dif­fer­ent la­bels but we’ve man­aged to sur­vive, which makes me very proud.

“When we play a show, it’s all or noth­ing.”

Is there a part of you that can’t wait for AC/DC to call it a day and leave the door open for a suc­ces­sor?

Aw, An­gus is a lit­tle guy with the big­gest balls. They’re a band that you can never dis­count. Who’d have thought they’d get a new singer? I’d love to see them all get back to­gether for one last kick in the teeth. DL

The tour ends on Novem­ber 22.

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