Australian band, Airbourne are one of the few true classic rock and roll bands left in the world today. The band is set to return to Australia for an east coast headline tour following their fourth studio album Breakin’ Outta Hell, set to be released September 23rd.
Drummer, Ryan O’Keeffe, talks to The Upside News from an Irish Pub in LA where he now resides with his band mates, having just come off a massive warm-up tour in Europe.
Airbourne’s new album Breakin’ Outta Hell stays true to origins and gives fans exactly what they want. Airbourne is one of the few bands that can create four studio albums worth of rock and roll anthems for over 10 years without drastically changing their sound and without it getting stale.
“Usually people say why don’t you try to do something different. That to me is the harder thing. That’s what our favourite bands did. They stayed true to what they do. Motorhead, ACDC. That’s what we want to be. We’re great at evolving Airbourne but not evolving the music we play. We try and do what we do better. It is a hard thing to do but I guess because we’re constantly working, Joel and I are working together day and night. Before this record every conversation we had would be about this record and what it needs to be. Even the song ‘Breaking Out Of Hell’, something about this record, we did the album with Bob Marlette who we did Runnin’ Wild with. It feels like this record is connected someway to Runnin’ Wild in a weird way,” Ryan explains.
Although Airbourne have never contemplated changing the genre of music they play, Ryan has some inspiration if the time ever comes.
“It would probably be Irish. You know those sessions you hear with 20 blokes sitting around with a pint of Guinness. It would be something like that with Rock N’ Roll. Something like Drop Kick Murphy’s with a bit more of Joel’s vocals,” Ryan laughs.
The new album Breakin’ Out Of Hell is an album where fans can put it on and crack a beer and forget about everything. Airbourne are all about having a good time and they want their fans to do the same. Ryan reminisces on his go-to album when he needed to forget about life.
“In a weird way, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge by Van Halen was always pretty cool. I remember putting on the song ‘Runaround’ and driving up and down the street buying slabs of beer.”
Many music fans may not know Airbourne by name; however, when Airbourne put on a live show they make sure they get everybody’s attention. The band is infamous for lead singer and Ryan’s brother, Joel O’Keeffe’s daredevil feats including climbing to the top of the stage scaffolding and performing a solo to running through the crowd to the wheelchair ramp to give fans the best seat in the house.
Ryan explains what it was like when Joel first started his stunts and how he did not inform anyone he was going to do this.
“We played a show once, and it was two stages or something and he was trying to get the attention of another band on another stage ages away. He climbed up that day and pointed the light at their stage and people started coming over to ours. He just sort of does it randomly without warning. Sometimes security tries to stop him but you never know what he’s going to do, he’ll be out on the wheelchair ramp and run straight through the crowd and do a solo there, or he’ll climb front of house.”
“It’s one of those things, I told him not to do it, but he’ll probably do it because I told him not to. He’ll do it anyway. In a weird way, I do believe he knows what he’s doing. When he kicks in the solo I just make sure I kick in at the same time,” Ryan laughs.
Many classic rock bands have taken a liking to Airbourne’s style and music including Iron Maiden, The Rolling Stones and Motley Crue. Airbourne have supported all these bands as well as legendary rock band Motorhead.
Ryan shared his favourite memory of the late great Lemmy and reflected on one of the most surreal moments of his career.
“Just when we recorded the video for ‘Runnin’ Wild’ and he had us in his limo listening to ZZ Top and drinking BOTTLES of Jack and Coke. He was just telling stories and giving advice. From there he went and cut his scenes and then all night we pretty much did the whole video drunk. The limo took him back to the rainbow (bar) and we just filmed the rest of it in the truck. It was great.”
Unfortunately Airbourne will not be coming to Adelaide in January, however Ryan hints the band may be back sooner than expected.
“Everything at the start of this run has been a warm-up. What we just did in Europe is more the sequel tour now, what we did in North America is the same. We’re going back to Europe to play with Volbeat and stuff and then the Australian shows. The album will be out by then so we’ll be playing a few songs off of them. But it’s still very much a warm up stage for the tour next year.”
‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ will be available on September 23
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Saturday 7th January 2017 – Summernats CANBERRA
Friday 13th January – The Metro Theatre SYDNEY
Saturday 14th January – The Triffid BRISBANE
Friday 20th January 2017 – Trak MELBOURNE