Airbourne Call Jet And Wolfmother Fakes


November 26, 2007

From INXS to (shudder) Air Supply, we’ve seen a wide array of Aussie groups reach varying degrees of success in North America over the years.

But the next big band from down under don’t seem to give a damn about too many of Australia’s biggest exports. At least that’s the impression you get from Joel O’Keefe, lead singer and guitarist for Aussie pub rockers Airbourne. Very matter-of-factly, O’Keefe explains exactly what separates his band from the rest of the Aussie pack.

“Jet and Wolfmother are not for real. We are. That’s the difference. They’re not for real. They’re doing it to be cool, and you can tell. They’re starting to lose their fire. They’re not Aussie pub rock. You can tell an Aussie pub rock band from a mile away. Like Rose Tattoo, for example, that’s an Aussie pub rock band. AC/DC were an Aussie pub rock band with Bon Scott. Wolfmother and Jet are a bad example of rock that comes out of Australia. They’re just carbon copies of something they want… they’re wannabes. They’re like American Idol or something like that. They’re not legit.”

Roadrunner Records will release Airbourne’s Runnin’ Wild debut in North America on Jan. 29, and O’Keefe is confident that his band will be able to translate the success they’ve enjoyed in Australia, where the record was released in the summer. That’s something that other Aussie rockers like Powderfinger and Silverchair haven’t been fully able to do.

“Well, Powderfinger and Silverchair, one important thing, they’re both not rock ‘n’ roll bands,” O’Keefe says. “Two, they’re not concentrating on those markets enough.

“They got families back home in Australia and they don’t get out over there as much as we intend to. We intend to move here for good. Australia will become a tourist destination for us. We’re all going to live in a house together. We’ve been living in Melbourne together as a band for three years. Our production manager is coming with us, so there’s going to be five of us in the house.”

O’Keefe acknowledges that the band wear their influences on their sleeves, so don’t be surprised if songs like “Stand Up For Rock ‘N’ Roll” or “Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast” are shamelessly AC/DC-ish, only a little faster and harder. The beer-drinking Aussie audience doesn’t seem to mind the blatant similarities, as the success of the record has led to opening slots with The Rolling Stones, Motley Crue and Motorhead and an Australian Recording Industry Association Music Award nomination for best rock album. Although the band have only played a handful of North American gigs, the destruction they left in their path certainly make Airbourne one of the bands to watch for in 2008. Accolades aside, O’Keefe says the band just want to deliver real Aussie pub rock to the masses.

“Back in the ’70s, rock ‘n’ roll was the shit. In the ’80s, rock ‘n’ roll was big, and then it kind of just got swept away with different musical trends. That real good-time, get-wasted rock ‘n’ roll never really went away, it kind of went underground. But that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to get drunk and get wasted and have a party with everyone.”

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