See evil, hear evil, speak evil.


Back with another edition of our Lost Ramblings, and delving 3 years back to 2008 where I Am The Wolf got to meet Airbourne for the first time, in the crumbling interior walls of London’s Astoria. This was probably the last time I set foot in there before the thing was demolished. Which adds to my list of bizarre occurrences – either a band I interview splits up, goes on hiatus, a member quits or the place of interview gets demolished…

BUT, luckily for us and thank fuck, AIRBOURNE are still going and stronger than ever! With their second album No Guts No Glory still riding high worldwide after being released over a year ago, these well-versed-in-the-art-of-all-that-is-AC/DC antipodeans are currently blasting their frantic rhythms into the atmosphere of festivals all over Europe, and even managed to support Iron Maiden on a couple of dates this summer. Ahoy-hoy monsieur.

Joel gets stuck in. Literally.

So without further ado, I give you the unreleased charms and important wisdom of what it takes to be a genuine, hard-hitting, balls-out, chin-up, rock n’ roll band. Your hosts in time – guitarists Joel O’ Keeffe and David Roads:

Joel is now famed for his onstage antics, but back when we saw Joel climbing the rigging at Download 2008 it was all-new and fandangled to the likes of us.
Joel: “Well you get out there and start playing, and you think ‘I’ve got to entertain a bit more and do something else!’ So you just get up there to get a better view of the festival. You’re really fucked when you get up there if your guitar’s out of tune, because you can’t hear anything, and you’re just play away hoping for the best! You know you’re in the right scale `cos you’re looking at the guitar, but when you get down the tech is like ‘Jeez, all your strings are out!’ from bashing it on the way up.”

Your energy levels are through the roof! What’s the secret? Spinach?
Dave: It’s just rock n roll that does that. It doesn’t even matter if it’s a full room or an empty room. We’re like that in rehearsals!
Joel: Yeah, but what about that time in Hellfest…
Dave: Ah yeah! I had a 6-8 hour drive from Spain to get to Hellfest, and we all had to sleep in the splitter van, so we all took a heap of Valium, us and the crew. So we were all chilled out when we got there…
Joel: Yeah we forgot we even had a gig, like we just woke up about 5 minutes before we were supposed to go on! It was actually one of the best gigs we did on the tour!
Dave: it was like 1-2-3-4, woah shit! And we’re into it and playing along. It was a really good gig.

Ever needed to slap some hecklers during the action?
Dave: The band’s so loud, even just the buzz of the amps is enough to cover any heckling. But we never get any, everyone just gets into it. I’ve never needed to hit anyone with my guitar – well maybe just myself for stuffing up and hitting a bad note.
Joel: Yeah maybe just chuck the guitar through an amp and take any anger out on the equipment, but then you just look like an idiot anyway…
Dave: Like that time you tried to play slide with a Jack Daniel’s bottle. Knackered all the frets and fucked up the whole guitar!

Ah, JD. The choice of metallers worldwide!
Dave: Drink helps. But when you’re hungover – that just makes it harder. But yeah booze is good… Actually we did a show back in Melbourne at our old stomping grounds at the Tote Hotel and we were just having a drink, we were just back home for a couple weeks. The last band had played for the night so Joel went up and said ‘Do you mind if we get up and have a jam, play a few songs and use your equipment?’ and they were like ‘No worries, yeah sure’ so we went up there drunk as anything, I don’t how we sounded, but everyone liked it still!

Ever worry about losing your voice with all this boozin’?
Joel: If you worry about losing your voice it’ll probably happen. If you just keep going and stay the course – look at it like a war. The enemy’s gonna push you back, and you’re gonna push them back, it’s just basically how long can you hold out for.
Lozenges and stuff like that are just like band aids. It can help, but if you get to a certain point it just wont help and you’ll be fucked. The main thing is giving the people the best show you can give them!

Hairspray usage on tour. Is it for sissies or pretty bonza?
Dave: Ah, the glam era! We love listening to bands like Ratt and Cinderella. They were cool bands!
Joel: Yeah, great bands with great songs. Whatever someone does with their hairspray is irrelevant to us, we just listen to the music and appreciate it.
Dave: I think it’s an Australian thing, and that’s why no-one does it here. We’re just really budget – jeans, t-shirt and scruffy hair!

Are the ladies appreciate of the scruffy musician look?
Joel: You have to play footie to get women where we’re from!
Dave: We come from a real footie town and having long hair and liking rock n roll is kinda shunned upon. We’d walk around town and get abused by footie players.We don’t get back home much now, but when you do you’ll bump into some of the old guys and they’ll be shaking your hand now congratulating what you’re doing.
The women in England have been fantastic, they’re a bit wrapped up this time of year though [it was December].
Joel: It takes a little bit longer to unwrap them…
Dave: But the present’s still inside. Early Christmas!

Finally, what makes a great rock n roll guitarist?
Joel: When other guitarists can’t pick your mistakes – but you’re making mistakes. So when you’re up there fucking up, and afterwards someone like Gary Moore [RIP] comes up and says ‘What an amazing Solo!’ Then you know you’re a good guitarist.


No Guts. No Glory is out now on Roadrunner Records.

Airbourne are on tour throughout summer 2011:


23rd Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle, UK

24th Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, UK

27th Trent FM Arena, Nottingham, UK

28th MEN Arena, Manchester, UK

30th Shepherds Bush Empire, London, UK

31st NIA, Birmingham, UK


1st CIA, Cardiff, UK

4th Dicky Woodstock Festival, Netherlands

5th Wacken Open Air, Hamburg, Germany

6th Woodstock Festival, Kostrzyn, Poland


To read the previously published article on Airbourne from Total Guitar Magazine, click here.


– Gary Sutherland, 2011