The art of opening a beer with your head

VICKI ANDERSON
Last updated 05:00 07/06/2013
Airbourne

AIRBOURNE: Working man's rock'n'rollers.

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It sounds like the start of a bad joke about Australians, but Airbourne lead vocalist and guitarist Joel O'Keeffe likes to open beer with his head.

"I'm sure there are more intelligent ways of opening a beer, but if you've got your hands full of guitar, the next available option is your head."

In homage to this, two German fans created a video on YouTube titled 100 Ways to Open a Beer, devoted to their favourite Australian band and O'Keeffe couldn't be prouder.

"It's good to see our European fans making the finer things in life a priority."

Airbourne, best described as working man's rock'n'rollers, also comprise drummer and younger brother Ryan O'Keeffe, David Roads (guitar) and Justin Street (bass). All hail from the "small drinking town" of Warrnambool, on the southwestern coast of Victoria.

The group recently released their third album, Black Dog Barking, worldwide. It follows popular 2010 album No Guts No Glory.

Joel O'Keeffe said he couldn't wait to get on the road and play the songs live.

Picturing himself as a barking dog, a life lived in the fast lane and "blondes with big guns" proved inspiration for a lot of material, O'Keeffe said, and songs such as No One Fits Me (Better Than You) leave little to the imagination.

The album's title track, Black Dog Barking, is a call to arms to guitar warriors everywhere, O'Keeffe said.

In it, O'Keeffe sings about burying, like a bone, a "shoe-gazing wannabe" who sells themselves for fame.

"We're not going to change the world. We are just a rock'n'roll band having a good time."

A lot of the album was written while the group was on tour. "We write a lot on the road. We get a lot of riffs together and when we get back, we get in a room and put it together," he explains.

"We put them in demo form, send them to the label and they go, ‘That one's OK, that one's a bit s...' and eventually we get an album."

A label merger delayed the release progress, he said, but he's happy with the end result and enjoyed working with producer Brian Howes.

"Roadrunner and Warner had a big merger, so that slowed things down a bit. Basically, we just went on the road more and worked on more songs.

"We were in the studio for three months, and I'm talking seven days a week, during Christmas and New Year. It was pretty relentless."

Are you ready to rock? The track Ready to Rock is a reworked version of a song O'Keeffe said the group first released on an EP a decade ago.

"I love them all, but Ready to Rock, I think, is going to be a great live one. Ten years ago we recorded that demo on an EP we put out ourselves.

"For this album we re-recorded it, rewrote the lyrics and combined it with another song, Rock 'n Roll, and ended up with a bigger sounding song.

"The single of the moment, Live It Up, is about living fast and not thinking twice."

With their boganesque boozy singalongs, massive guitar riffs and monosyllabic songs about sex, fast women and dubious deals with the devil, Airbourne have amassed a large following of fans and have graced festivals throughout Europe, but O'Keeffe has his mind set on returning to New Zealand soon.

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"New Zealanders know how to play rock'n'roll. We have a lot of fans in New Zealand, particularly in Christchurch. A lot of good bands come from Christchurch.

"We can't wait to get out there and get on the road. We're still putting the dates together. I'd rather we were over there sooner than later.

"All we'll be doing for the year is touring the new album. I'm really looking forward to it. It's always an exciting time to get out and play the songs live."

As for offering last words, O'Keeffe defers to a line from Live It Up: "I'd rather burn up in flames than fade away."

DETAILS:

Airbourne's Black Dog Barking is out now.

- Canterbury

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