Airbourne will return to Wales this autumn after landing a headline spot at HRH XI. Rhythm guitarist Roadsy caught up with HRH Mag’s Simon Rushworth.
Seven years ago No Guts. No Glory announced Airbourne as serious players on the rock and roll scene: the feisty follow-up to Runnin’ Wild proved the Melbourne quartet were no fickle flash in the pan and demand for their live shows was soaring. Hard Rock Hell were first in the queue to host the raucous Aussies and the band hit HRH IV and V harder than a Pat Cash volley. Rhythm guitarist Roadsy remembers the shows well.
“Playing Hard Rock Hell in the early days was huge for us,” he said. “It’s definitely helped us over the years. Any of those big festivals help to break bands. The UK and Europe is famed for the huge metal rock festivals.
“HRH has definitely helped with the growth of Airbourne over the years just because it exposed us to so many new people – you know, such a large group of people – in one go. I hadn’t seen festivals like that before. We don’t have them in Australia and the outdoor ones that we did have – like Sound Wave and Big Day Out – are now finished up.”
Bringing Airbourne back to where they belong was no easy task for HRH bosses – fast forward to 2017 and the band boasts a top 10 UK record in the shape of latest long player Breakin’ Outta Hell plus invites to play just about every major rock and metal event across the globe. But home is where the heart is for Roadsy and his mates.
“We just love playing the HRH events,” he added. “It’s always fantastic to play those festivals because every fan there loves rock and metal.
“HRH has always thrown together big names with young bands. There’s a brilliant mix between the older bands coming back or promoting a new record and the relative unknowns desperate to break through and make their mark.
“We’ve gone full circle as far as HRH is concerned but it has a track record for getting kids a foot on the ladder and exposing them to a bigger market.
“An invite to play HRH can be crucial in terms of how a band progresses. It certainly did us no harm and we won’t forget that.”
One of the first five bands – alongside Y&T, Gun, The New Roses and Syteria – announced for HRH XI, there’s little doubt Airbourne will be a massive draw on the main stage. And Roadsy would love to see more of his fellow countrymen make the leap from ambitious hopefuls to bona fide headliners.
“A lot of Aussie bands are coming over to the UK and Europe and a lot of them look at the HRH festivals as a launch pad,” he added. “We all know most of those guys – especially the guys from Black Aces. We all drink at the same pubs back home and over the years we’ve become close.
“There are another couple of Aussie bands trying to break the UK right now who I love – King Of The North are just a two-piece but they make a hell of a noise and Palace Of The King are another great band from back home.
“For them, like us, there is only so much you can do in Australia and Melbourne. You have got to really get over to Europe or America and take a punt.”
Airbourne graduated from the Melbourne club scene several years ago but Roadsy revealed there’s still a flood of new talent making waves in Australia’s second city. In his opinion Black Aces et al are just the start of a sustained Aussie Invasion.
“Some of the bands I’ve mentioned have been going for a few years now but they’re getting better and better and are well worth checking out,” he added. “There is always a scene somewhere in Melbourne. It’s that city that screams rock city, musical city, arty city. Musicians gravitate towards the place. There’s lot of culture there and you know it’s always had that reputation as a breeding ground.
“Bands that have grown up in a country town – ourselves included – know Melbourne is the city you need to move to if you live in Australia and you want to try and further your band.
“Sydney plays a part as well but it’s more to do with the industry rather than the art. Melbourne the creative city – the band city. There’s a strong rock scene and a strong possibility that more of the city’s best bands will break into the mainstream very soon.”
Look out for a full Airbourne feature in the first issue of HRH Mag – out March 2017.