March 26, 2008 I had the opportunity to conduct an in-person interview with band leader Joel O’Keefe, & Joel is as chill as you get..he’s very lax, mellow, full of personality & in general, he was a pleasure to interview!
Rock N Roll Experience: Is Airbourne playing alot of the big overseas festivals this summer?
Joel : Yeah, we are doing Wacken, that big German Festival, & then there’s a whole bunch more I can’t remember the names of, but yeah, there’s a whole bunch of them & it’s gonna be really good
Rock N Roll Experience: What bands are you looking forward to seeing on those big festival shows?
Joel : We haven't even had a chance to have a look (at who’s playing), but we know that we are doing Download & that’s with Motorhead, KISS, & a whole bunch of bands..Judas Priest, so that will be really, really good
Rock N Roll Experience: Have you ever seen KISS or Judas Priest live before?
Joel : None of us have been lucky enough to see Judas Priest & now that Rob is back with Judas Priest & KISS are always doing the Farewell tours, but it’s great (playing festivals), because it means you can actually get out there & if there’s a band you haven't seen, you can go see them. Judas Priest especially though, that Fuel for Life video...every time I watch it I get chills.
Rock N Roll Experience: What is the front cover of your Runnin’ Wild CD about?
Joel : It’s a jail & it’s Patriot’s Prison in the background, it’s around the corner from where we lived & we were just trying to figure out an album cover & we had a bunch of idea’s that were all shit & we just went back & went f*ck it, we went around the corner & took a photo in front of the prison, the point of the prison is, I guess, we were trying to break out of somewhere that’s holding you down, like our town was a country town & to get out of there you had to drive 3 hours to get to Melbourne, which is the same sorta thing, like if you’re gonna go overseas & it’s kinda hard to do that, it’s kinda like trying to break out of a prison because it’s just every way possible, like every door you try & go through to get out just leads you to a dead end, so it’s just a bit of that as well.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you changing the set list every night on this tour?
Joel : Yeah, we do..we change it around a bit, we’re always trying to find , to get to the perfect set list you’re always trying to think, oh, if we move that song here, put that song there, maybe that’ll make the set rock ok...
Rock N Roll Experience: So you always close with “Runnin’ Wild”?
Joel : No, we usually close with.... it’s “Runnin’ Wild” & then “Black Jack” because “Black Jack” is a good fast one & it gives everyone a chance to throw a beer around & it’s alot of fun to play
Rock N Roll Experience: What will the next single be?
Joel : I don’t know....it depends what territory, some have “Too Much Too Fast”, some have “Runnin’ Wild”, & they might throw in “Cheap Wine, Cheap Women”, I don’t know, they could throw anything in
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you playing any covers in your set?
Joel : We were jammin’ out the other day, we were doing “Johnny 99”, it’s a Bruce Springsteen song & we were rockin’ it up a bit & another Springsteen song was “Murder Inc.”, & next time in ‘Jersey, we’re thinking about just busting out some Bruce covers, but usually we toss in “Fortunate Son” Creedence Clearwater Revival, or “Tie Your Mother Down” by Queen, but yeah, we’re never too shy to throw in an old cover..we might even play something off “Ready to Rock” which is an old EP we released, but no one is gonna know it.
Rock N Roll Experience: Was that EP “Ready To Rock” released over in Australia?
Joel : I was never really released because we used to just sell it at gigs
Rock N Roll Experience: Are any of the songs from “Runnin’ Wild” off that EP?
Joel : No
Rock N Roll Experience: How come the re-release of “Runnin’ Wild” has a different song on it than the Overseas release?
Joel : “Hellfire”, we recorded that after we released the one in Australia & we recorded “Hellfire” as a b-side & we recorded it & listened to it & we’re thinking, we should really get this on the album, & the label was like, yeah, we wanna put it on there too, so Ron Burman was pumped about that & so we went, yeah, f*ck it, let’s do it.
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you download your music, or do you still buy cd’s?
Joel : I always buy cd’s, but, especially for things like the band KIX, in Australia, you just don’t walk in the store & find that stuff, so you get online & get on the US i-tunes...you can find a bit of it on the Australian, but on the US i-tunes you can’t buy anything off that because you need a US credit card, so you can hear 30 seconds so you know...ahh, there’s that album that you can find, & you’ve got to get it through Amazon or something.
Rock N Roll Experience: So who is your favorite band?
Joel : Well, there’s too many to choose from, but while I’m in Baltimore it’s KIX!
Rock N Roll Experience: What’s it like playing in a band with your brother?
Joel : It’s good, it keeps us together.
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you & your brother argue alot?
Joel : Yeah, but not as much as we used to, it’s usually just about stuff that doesn’t even really matter, like one day I wanted to buy this guitar & he was like, uh uh, you ain’t having the guitar, but I turned around & said I’ve gotta get the guitar, I mean, you can’t stop buying guitars, ya know?
Rock N Roll Experience: How many guitars do you have?
Joel : Well, on this tour, we’ve got the Explorer, a couple of SG’s & Road’s got a couple of Explorer’s & a Gretch & Street’s got his 3 bass’s & it’s not about the amount of guitars we’ve got, it’s about a particular guitar, like I’ve got this old ‘73 SG which is just..the sound of it when you play it, you just..it has that magic thing, so we just kinda tracked on of them down & if I can’t buy them, then I’ll steal it!
November 2, 2007 I set up an interview with drummer Ryan:
Rock N Roll Experience: So please tell me a little about Airbourne...how long has the band been around?
Ryan: We’ve been playing for about 9 years, me & my brother, & the other guys came along about 5 or 6 years ago, we grew up in a town called Wannbool, which is about 3 hours outside of Melbourne, & then 3 years ago we moved to Melbourne, we all moved into a house together & started playing Melbourne & all of Australia, we played with the Rolling Stones, we just got off a tour with Motorhead & we have done Motley Crue & so we toured Australia & we took six or seven months rehearsing mostly & then recording the album & then we released that in Australia & that;s been going really well, Australia & New Zealand, it’s gonna be released here (the USA) January 29th & we just played with Kid Rock & we supported Korn in Salt Lake, Kid Rock at the Fillmore in San Francisco, & then come February or March we will be moving to America & so I think her might be moving around New York or outside New York.
Rock N Roll Experience: How come you’re moving to the USA?
Ryan: Because it sorta works better over here, like it takes 15 grand to bring us over here & fly us back with all our gear so it’s better for us to be here, the market’s here, because Australia is about 2 percent of the market & America is about 40! We are gonna be living around New Jersey because the UK is there & LA is there, so we are in the center of where we have to fly to, so...
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you ever get sick of being compared to AC/DC, because the comparison is uncanny!
Ryan: Oh no, we love it! There’s probably no other better band to be compared to! Everyone gets compared to something & I wouldn’t choose a better band at all & it’s just one of those sounds that really just comes out of Australia...it’s all that kinda sound that was created in the early days.
Rock N Roll Experience: Who is your favorite band?
Ryan: Metallica is up there...KIX
Rock N Roll Experience: You like KIX..they are a Maryland band.
Ryan: I really wanted to see them live..I wouldn’t mind supporting them actually to go on tour, that would be awesome! I’ve been getting into alot of KIX back home
Rock N Roll Experience: Does Airbourne play any covers in their set?
Ryan: You never know, sometimes we pull stuff out...I don’t think we are tonight, but when we do covers, we do “Fortunate Son: but sorta alot faster!
Rock N Roll Experience: What does the name Airbourne mean?
Ryan: We actually don;t know..we always get asked & we’re like, I don’t know where it came from! It’s really hard..it just sorta came to us..we were so young when we made the name, it was like trying to remember what you were doing when you were 11 years of age because that’s when we started the band, when I was 11.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you spell “Bourne” in your name as a tribute to Australia?
Ryan: No, that was sorta a thing we saw after, like oh, Melbourne, but no, we didn’t live in Melbourne when we made the name, so I don’t know
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you get to hang out with the Rolling Stones at all when you played with them?
Ryan: Yeah, we had a chat with them, we got a photo with them & yeah, they are really good blokes
Rock N Roll Experience: How was it playing with Motley Crue?
Ryan: It was good, but we didn’t get to meet them...we played & got shifted out of the venue...it was a small sorta venue & we didn’t have much room backstage so our band room was a semi trailer truck