INTERVIEW WITH AIRBOURNE DRUMMER RYAN O’KEEFFE
Date: August 10, 2016
ONE OF SLEAZE ROXX’S MOST ANTICIPATED ALBUMS OF THE YEAR HAS TO BE AUSSIE HARD ROCKERS AIRBOURNE’S NEW ALBUM ‘BREAKIN’ OUTTA HELL.’ SINCE RELEASING THEIR DEBUT ALBUM ‘RUNNIN’ WILD’ BACK IN 2007, AIRBOURNE HAVE BEEN A SLEAZE ROXX FAVORITE. AIRBOURNE’S LAST ALBUM ‘BLACK DOG BARKING’ LANDED THE #2 SPOT ON SLEAZE ROXX’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF 2013, ‘NO GUTS, NO GLORY’ FINISHED #8 IN SLEAZE ROXX’S 2010 YEAR END LIST AND ‘RUNNIN’ WILD’ WAS #1 IN SLEAZE ROXX’S 2007 YEAR END LIST. WITH THE RELEASE OF ‘BREAKIN’ OUTTA HELL’ SET FOR SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 AND IF THE TITLE TRACK IS ANY INDICATION, YOU JUST KNOW THAT AIRBOURNE WILL FIGURE ONCE AGAIN IN SLEAZE ROXX’S TOP TEN ALBUMS OF THE YEAR.
Sleaze Roxx: You guys have to be one of the most consistent bands in terms of putting out ass kicking material every album. I understand you subscribe to the motto “No ballads, no bullshit.” What can we expect in terms of your new album ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’?
Ryan O’Keeffe: It’s the perfect album to put on from start to finish, at the beginning of the weekend with your mates, with a few cases of beer. Forget about life and let your hair down. It’s the perfect party album.
Sleaze Roxx: What prompted you guys to call the new album ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’? Is there any special significance?
Ryan O’Keeffe: Hell is referencing not literally hell, but whatever shit anybody is going through whether it be work, relationships, or whatever. Come the weekend, break outta hell! There is no special significance; just life experiences.
Sleaze Roxx: I know the new album hasn’t come out yet but what is your favorite song on the new album and why?
Ryan O’Keeffe: “Thin The Blood” because it describes the perfect weekend back home in Australia.
Sleaze Roxx: It must be getting difficult figuring out which songs make the cut for your live shows with four full-length albums under your belt. How many songs from ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ can we expect to hear once the album is released, and how do you guys come up with the setlist among yourselves?
Ryan O’Keeffe: We are expecting to put on a lot from this record. It’s very difficult right now to figure out what won’t go in the set. It may end up being different every night. Basically, Joel and I usually talk about it every day. There isn’t really any science to it.
Sleaze Roxx: It’s been more than 12 years since Airbourne have been at it. Is it harder now or do you feel more pressure now coming up with great songs compared to when you first started?
Ryan O’Keeffe: Since day one, Joel [O’Keefe] and I have applied an extreme amount of pressure on ourselves before we even made our first record. It’s no different between then and now.
Sleaze Roxx: A lot of people talk about how AC/DC have influenced Airbourne but I find that Airbourne have actually influenced a whole slew of new bands since you came out with your debut full-length album ‘Runnin’ Wild.’ Would you agree or disagree, and why?
Ryan O’Keeffe: We have seen some bands come through who have thanked us for influencing them, and we are more than honoured to be a part of their story.
Sleaze Roxx: In the last 10 or 15 years, there seems to have only been a few new ’70s and ’80s sounding hard rock bands that have really broken out and are appealing to people young and old, while packing the places wherever they play. The two that come to mind for me are Steel Panther and Airbourne. How do you explain your success in such a tough musical market for your type of music?
Ryan O’Keeffe: Honesty, passion, hard work and a drive to give people the best possible show they could ever see.
Sleaze Roxx: I’ve seen you guys play three times (Kitchener in 2010, London in 2013 and Toronto in 2014) and every time, Joel seems to go into the crowd or climb some speakers or structure. I understand that a lot of your gig contracts now specify that Joel is not allowed to climb stuff. When did these types of contractual clauses start happening and how do you feel about it?
Ryan O’Keeffe: Venues and promoters have tried to stop Joel, but he will always find a way to do something unpredictable, whether it’s climbing, something else legal or illegal. We all just have to wait and see!
Sleaze Roxx: Airbourne sound so good live. I know you released a bonus live CD with your album ‘Black Dog Barking.’ Do you have any plans to release a live album and/or DVD in the near future or perhaps after you’ve finished touring in support of ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’?
Ryan O’Keeffe: No plans as yet. We are always in the talks. We will have to wait and see.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you — what are you three all-time favorite albums?
Ryan O’Keeffe: Iron Maiden’s ‘Number Of The Beast’, Judas Priest’s ‘British Steel’ and AC/DC’s ‘Live In Donnington.’
Airbourne‘s “Breakin’ Outta Hell” lyric video:
Airbourne ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ single taken from the Album ‘Breakin Outta Hell’ released 23rd September worldwide via Spinefarm Records Buy / Listen here:i…