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A can of beer has no idea of its fate when it's placed on stage with Australian rockers Airbourne. Approximately 10 minutes into their set and the alcoholic beverage is beaten against lead singer Joel O'Keeffe's head, showering the already rank-smelling audience with hoppy goodness. This is actually a normal scene for an Airbourne show. And so for their set on the Uproar Tour with the likes of Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold and Stone Sour, the 'gents were "themselves". Taking a genre that's characteristically of these lands and beating it against the head of society is what they're good at. So naturally I was interested in exactly what was in this [must be] thick head. A few hours prior to the spectacle I sat down with the legend himself, Joel, and guitarist David Roads for an interview…of sorts:

Hybrid Magazine: You're kicking the crap out of a genre that is definitively American, yet you hail from Australia. Pitfalls? Advantages? Criticism?

Joel: I think touring over here, I'm not sure if it's an advantage or disadvantage, but it's a lot of fun. There are not a lot of Australian bands on the road over here, so it's a unique thing. I guess. If we come to your town we may drink all your beer. But it's a good thing I guess, we don't find any criticisms over it. We are though, still learning what side of the road to drive on.

David: Well that AC/DC sound, that just the nature of our sound. But we're actually a mixture of a lot of bands like Guns 'N Roses and Motorhead.

HM: Why Rock?

David: Just who we are.

Joel: We love playing rock and roll. It's like if someone likes drinking PBR, they're gonna keep drinking PBR; they're not going to go get a Heineken. We've stayed with the same things that we've loved since we were kids. When I was a kid I heard "Kill 'Em All" by Metallica and I heard "The Razor's Edge" by AC/DC and the internet had just come in. So literally the only way to find out about bands was to listen to the music channels and to just get the magazines.

HM: So what is the Australian music scene like?

Joel: It's pretty diverse.

David: It was a big scene back in the '70s and '80s. But a lot of venues have shut down. We're a big country with a small population, so the music pocket's not massive there. Which is why we're so busy in this part of the world.

HM: Where is it more fun to play? US or…

David: Everywhere's got its different qualities.

Joel: It depends on the night.

David: Big festivals like this are good, with all the bands. It's like one big traveling circus with a party every night.

HM: Tell us about the recent album. (It's your sophomore, so essentially you could still be figuring out your sound)

Joel: Oh yeah, it's definitely our best foot forward. If I was going to the grave I'd want to go with that one. We did whole bunch of extra recording for it in Australia, so the whole length of it is 7 or 8 tracks. Sonically a lot of people think this one sounds better. We really learned a lot recording "Running Wild" and what we learned we applied to this one. We sort of went to the Nth degree with the way we recorded. We were recording 24 hours straight. Producer slept on the couch. The power actually blew out at one point.

HM: Joel, I've heard you once climbed up the scaffolding of a stage and played your song. What the most insane thing you've done?

Joel: We did this show at the Download Festival. I climbed up to this underhang-overhand thing and then got onto the top bit. And it was like raining and storming and stuff. The safety people had a bit of a cry and shut the P.A. off. But then our manager was there and he managed to convince them that they needed to turn it back on. He was like "you're going to have a riot". The crowd was shouting "Airbourne, Airbourne" and the crowd barrier was rocking back and forth. After all this craziness he was finally like "just go back out there!" and they turned it back on. So we ran out there and said something like "we play rock and roll for hard working people and you are hard working people, so we're gonna keep playing!". Then we finished the song and finished the set.

HM: Your songs have been featured in so many video games, are they blessings or something in the future you'd like to get away from? (24 total)

Joel: It's definitely a great thing. If you look at the way of time and that sort of trend of music out there, that is the new format of getting music out there. The budget for video games is more than movies now a days. The video game industry is moving ahead, because you have to buy the game, you can't just download off of torrents. But you can do that with any CD and any movie, which is why those two industries are suffering. Video games are forging onwards and upwards.

HM: If someone has never been to an Airbourne performance/show, what should they be prepared for?

David: It's definitely one thing I would recommend for someone to discover us is to see the show. It's what we're all about, that and making a good album. We get up there and give 110%.

Joel: We treat every show like it's our last. Which is something we always done. We like to lay it on the line.

At one point I mentioned to Joel that I expected to see some scaffolding being climbed upon, to which a response was muttered lowly (and almost depressingly), "they didn't give me any". Well as any good musician knows, you make the best of what's given to you and so in the third song, with the help of a speaker and a truck, Joel managed to propel himself not just up the side of the stage, but on top of it. With Joel singing from above, David and Justin Street (bassist) proceed to head bang (well, swirl, really) in synchronized motions. The entire set was extremely fun. Fun to shoot, fun to watch and obviously fun for the band. Their music is, what most are calling, a fix for AC/DC fans that were born after Bon Scott and thus amidst their slight decline, while Airbourne's music is riddled with huge and defining riffs, accompanied by power chords that were just that, powerful.

The question was were they right for this tour? Honestly, not so much. Most of the acts that day commanded performances with their gut wrenching, extremely raspy, screams and "hey look at me, I can play really fast" guitar tricks. While Airbourne was a band that has the talent of (obvious) rock legends of the past and present. The one thing going for them at this tour was the outdoors. Their music needs room to run around with arms flailing above their heads and an outdoor venue is perfect for that. In the end my face was officially rocked off.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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