söndag 10 november 2013

Intervju med Joel O´Keeffe i Airbourne.

Joel ser lite trött ut när han tar emot backstage på Tyrol. Det hårda turnélivet innebär en del festande och inte alltid en hel natts sömn, men han älskar det oavsett.
Över en skål chips snackade vi om poolparty i Hollywood, drömproducenter, hans svenska favoriter Bonafide och om att inte vara nöjd förrän de spelat för hela jordens befolkning.

How´s the tour been going so far? 

Joel: This is a busy tour. Every day off is a travel day. It´s the most grueling and intense one so far, but we´re loving every minute of it.

Do you feel that your latest album “Black dog barking”, has taken you to another level? Moved you up a bit? 

Joel: I think so. Like the first song, “Ready to rock”… in the past when we played a venue, there´d be a line at the front and that was it. Now, they´re all singing the “Ohh ohh ohh” from the song and in the show they sing it so fucking loud. It´s the loudest they sing all night. They sing all the songs, but when they sing that part, it gives you chills. Especially after you´ve been to the soundcheck or done an interview and you sneak out to the bus with your hoodie on, sneak past the line and they´re all singing. It makes you happy.

If it turns out that this is as good as it gets, would you still be satisfied? 

Joel: Yeah, we just never stop. I don´t think it ever could be as good as it gets. Even if you´re the Rolling Stones, because why are they still touring? They´re still obviously having fun and they´re chasing something. You don´t just do it because it makes you feel good. I don´t think any band goes out there and go “Ah, it makes me feel good!”. I´m sure there´s something to it, but there´s always something like “We haven´t done this yet.”. There´s this rumor of Metallica playing Antarctica. No one´s done that, so there´s always that. For us, there´s still a lot of fucking places we haven´t played yet and there´s a lot of people we haven´t played to yet. It gets as good as it gets, when you´ve played to all 6 billion people and then maybe do a gig on the moon? (laughs) But as of right now, as good as it is now, it´s really satisfying.

Music wise, can you see yourselves breaking away from the Airbourne sound and do something different? 

Joel: We´re not gonna change. (laughs) We do what we do because we fucking really love it. Every time we come out on the road and every time we meet somebody, they always say “Don´t you fucking change! If you change and your next album comes out and it´s different, I´ll come looking for you with a knife!”. I just say “Ok, man! We´re not gonna change.”. It´s rock and roll. Imagine if Little Richard all of a sudden started playing some weird jazz music? It wouldn´t be the same. He played the same song over and over again and just rewrote it different ways and that´s what people sort of say we do as well and that´s rock and roll. We´re not all of a sudden gonna go and do an acoustic album and use Fender amps and stuff and it´s gonna be really jazz oriented and all the guitars are gonna be out of tune. “It´s gonna be really great!”. Not that shit! That does not rock. We´re gonna play rock and roll.

When you write and fiddle about with the guitar, do you come up with stuff that doesn´t fit Airbourne? If you do, any plans for it? 

Joel: All the time. I always come up with little Irish flavored things. We grew up around traditional Irish music. They´ll incorporate themselves into a rock and roll song. I even come up with something that sounds like a bit of a country song, but the more we hit harder and play harder, it goes back into rock and roll. Whatever we do kinda end up that way. We´ve always had a policy in the band, it´s rule number one, and that is, no gay shit! If anyone goes “Nah, it´s a bit gay.”, then we´re not doing it.

Are there certain things in the band that get you into arguments or fights? 

Joel: Me and my brother fight a lot about who wants to get a certain bottle of wine. I´m like “It´s cool man, but you fucking spent 50 bucks on wine. Maybe just get one? You don´t need to get them all!”. So he comes in every day and looks over all the bottles of wine and goes “That´s the shittiest wine, you can have that!” and I´m like “You´re a fuckhead!”. It´s stuff like that. We really don´t fight about music. If we fight about something in a song, it´s generally… it´s weird, because we really don´t fight about stuff in songs that much. It´s just about whether this is gonna go for 4 bars or 6 bars or if we need to put a bit in the middle and he´ll go “You´re fucking playing that bit, you big shit!” and I´ll go “You´re fucking playing that, you big shit!”. (laughs) That goes on for an hour. “You´re a fuckhead”, “You´re a cunt” and then we´ll go “Wanna go see a movie?”. Then when we sit down it´s “You´re seat´s better than mine! This is fucked!” and it goes on and on. (laughs)

You´re the Australian Gallagher brothers. 

Joel: I don´t know. Maybe in a way. I think we´re just brothers. In INXS they had three brothers and I don´t know how the fuck that worked out? Poor guy in the middle must go “Ahhh!”. Back in Australia, me and my brother even live in the same house, but we´re working our way out of that. It´s getting a bit much. (laughs)

When you´re out on the road, what kind of music are you guys grooving to in the bus? A lot of AC/DC? 

Joel: Yeah! (laughs) “Back in black” on repeat. (laughs) I listen a lot to stuff like “Backtracks” (AC/DC box set of rarities) and I listen to a lot of stuff from the 80´s. I listen to “Fly on the wall” a lot and I fucking really love that album and I listen to “Flick of the switch”. Those two albums I really love. They never got big ratings, but you know… You know all these bands going out these days and doing whole albums, like Springsteen and “Born to run”. Imagine if AC/DC just went out and did fucking “Fly on the wall”? In one night it would be “Flick of the switch” and “Fly on the wall That was the tour. The merchandise would be sick and I´d have the best time ever. I´d get so fucking drunk and smoke cigarettes like Brian and Angus and just rock out. It would be awesome!

The whole party thing and staying up late after the show, there will probably be less of it the older you get. Do you look at it, as this being the time to party hard and just go all in?

Joel: Yeah, but it´s also about picking your battles, picking your party battles. If you gotta get up the next day to catch a ferry at 7 am, you might as well stay up all night. I mean, what´s the point? You might have a party and then just continue on the ferry and it´s a day off. We never really get super smashed before a show. I´ve never met one band that does. We used to do that a little bit back in the day. Have a bottle of Jack up there and literally fall on my face, but as soon as you start booking tours like this one and you´re playing for an hour and a half every night and you wanna give every crowd the best show that you can, you don´t wanna be like you´ve been up all night for the last past week, smoking and drinking and then you can´t sing. You rob those fans. You literally rob them of that show. It´s always about fans coming first. You just know how much you can drink and go on with that before it affects the show. The show is the parameter. No one can fuck with that! But yeah, when we get a day off, it´s fucking all guns blazing. It really is! Crew, band, the whole lot. Don´t be in that town if we´re there! It´s a fucking real good time. You see those things about throwing a TV out of hotels and shit, well these days it´s no fucking point, because they´re all fucking LCD screens, you know what I mean? What´s the point of that? We have more fun having wrestling matches on the bed and getting fire extinguishers out. They´re always fun.

Is it kinda expected from you guys, to be this party band? 

Joel: No, I don´t think the expectation is really there. It´s more just that we´re free and out there running around the world literally like lunatics. It´s like “Where the fuck are we tonight?”. I can´t even pronounce the town´s name and you get Google Maps and go “Right, where´s that pub?” and you get some beers at the pub and it´s always like that. We just wanna have a drink and it´s part of the Australian culture too. Once you´ve done your hard day´s work, you have a beer. It´s just what you do. Come beer o´clock, you get really thirsty. (laughs)

Do you write music while out on the road? 

Joel: Yeah, there´s a few things that get written on tour. Some of it do make it on an album. “Hungry” from the latest album is one of those. There´s always fresh ideas and you record them and then at the end of the tour, when it comes time to do an album, you get all the ideas out. You sit there with a few cans of beer and listen to the stuff going “That´s a good one! Put that in this file.” Or “That´s gay! Fuck that!”. (laughs)

Do you think you have to be a bit miserable to get a flow of ideas or does it happen whenever? 

Joel: Yeah well, when I´m hung over… you just pick up a guitar and it´s weird… when you´re hung over, it´s like your brain just opens up. You might recapture the night before and add something to the song. If you´ve had a good time it will affect the sound of the song or if I hear something, say something or just see a sign, I´ll put it straight into the phone and make a note of it. It´s just a frame of mind. I mean, I don´t really write songs when I´m depressed. It wouldn´t really fit the band, like “Oh, I slashed my wrists…”

Is there any certain producer you´d like to work with? It would be pretty cool to have Mutt Lange do something with Airbourne? 

Joel: Yeah, Mutt Lange would be good. He´s a solid producer. We´ve just worked with Brian Howes and he´s amazing. He´s a world class producer and he´s at a young age. Do another one with Brian and if he wasn´t around or whatever, Bob Rock would be a good one. Bruce Fairbairn, he´s not around, but he would´ve been another one too. The Canadians are great fucking producers! Kevin Churko is another one. We would love to do another album with Brian and I think we will, to be honest. He knew his shit and he could be a band member. He´s that kinda guy and loves rock and roll. Pool parties and shit at his house. He´s bought this house in Hollywood and he beat Robert De Niro or someone to it. It´s full on fucking rockstar! George Clooney up the hill and Obama was there and security people and helicopters. I mean, Clooney is fucking Hollywood´s fucking most eligible bachelor. The thing is that Brian never heated up his pool, so he heated his pool and it was getting cold at that time of the year in LA, so he heats the fucking pool up for a week. You walk into his property and there´s fucking steam everywhere. Finally we jump in the pool, crank up some AC/DC, Judas Priest, Motörhead on the system outside. So we jump in the pool and it was like “Man, it´s fucking hot in here! We´re gonna fucking die!”. The thing was that we actually stayed in that pool for 12 hours and just had cans of beer floating around. (laughs)

What´s the plan after this tour? 

Joel: Well, we do this tour and it takes us up to Christmas and then we go back to Australia for a little bit. Then I think we´re doing Canada and a bit of the US with Buckcherry, so that´ll be cool. At some point we´re going to South America. Then we will embark on the biggest European summer festival tour we´ve ever done, so that´ll be a big one. After that there will be something happening in Europe. Lots of options flying around at the moment and then there will be another follow up through Europe again in 2015, I think. After that we´re gonna do a new album. We´ll probably change the set around a few times. Different songs here and there.

Do you see any danger of burning yourselves out? 

Joel: Well, look at Iron Maiden at the “Powerslave” tour. They really did push it to the limit and look where they are now! That was a really big turning point for them. They worked and worked and those tours, “Powerslave” and “Somewhere in time”, they were the tours that fucking broke that band. It was just simple, hard fucking work. Now they´re flying around in a plane and they´re still putting on one helluva show. It´s all about that work ethic and that´s what it takes for a touring band. If your thing is the live show, you gotta go out there and give it to them. If you burn out, it´s because you pushed it to the limit and you did everything you could. It´s always about that. Fucking run it till the gas runs out!

I know you´re friends with the Swedish band Bonafide. How did you hook up? 

Joel: We played at this big festival here and they played there too and just invited us over. I knew about them before that. That first album with the song “Loud band”…, well I came over and then watched their set and I heard all these songs live for the first time and I was a super fan, “Fuck, this is really great!”. We´ve never toured together, but we will. Probably at the end of next year. Pontus (Snibb) wanted to do an duet on the second album, but we were on the road and it never worked out. We´re gonna do something together. We just have this mutual love for rock and roll. Their album “Something´s dripping” is one of my favorite sounding albums ever. I really love it and I was meaning to sort of ask him (Chips Kiesby), “What did you use?”. The bass guitar is just awesome. It´s a great sounding album.

(Livebilder från The Cirkus, Helsingfors av Johan Kreku)


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