High octane Sydney melodic garage-punk exponents Hard-Ons, together with rough and tumble hard rock institution Rose Tattoo, are two of the most respected long-standing names in heavy music circles, both in this country and abroad. And while both bands peddle a powerful line in loud, amplified guitar music, pairing them together on a national tour, which they are currently undertaking under the banner ‘Still Never Too Loud’, may seem on the surface as somewhat of an odd choice, given the often tribal nature of many music followers.
But for Hard-Ons founding member and guitarist Peter ‘Blackie’ Black, such limitations were not, and have never been, a factor when it comes to who they choose to align themselves with.
“We’ve never been music snobs. Being suburban kids, we were never really tainted by what the inner city had. We thought Deep Purple were awesome, and Joy Division, and AC/DC. I’ve owned Rose Tattoo’s first three albums pretty much since they came out. We just love rock and roll, and all sorts of music. Even when you look at the so-called history of Australian punk rocks bands – The Saints or (Radio) Birdman, or X, none of those bands liked the term ‘punk rock’ at all. And we see ourselves in pretty much the same way. You can have your Rocky Horror Show fashion, we’re a rock and roll band.”
Blackie goes on to explain how this inspired ‘odd-couple’ pairing came about:
“They (Rose Tattoo) actually asked us. We both played at Hellfest (a big punk/metal festival in France) last year and we just bumped into each other there and the next thing we knew, they asked us. It’s pretty cool, it’s two different generations, but we’re coming from the same place, when you break it down..two bands that have never really been in fashion, slogging away and playing loud rock and roll for the past 30 odd years…well, closer to 40, actually!”
Talk then turns to touring plans for Hard-Ons after this run of shows with Rose Tattoo, with a brand new album about to see the light of day, the bands twelve studio effort.
“This year, besides Japan, we’re going to focus on touring Australia. We have a new album out in the coming months. We haven’t done a new record in ages, for various reasons, mainly money, but we’ve finally saved up. We actually finished the final mix two Fridays ago (in mid March). So we’ll tour nationally again when it comes out.”
Blackie also moonlights in a few other different musical projects, including eclectic heavy-rocks trio Nunchukka Superfly (together with Hard-Ons bassist Ray Ahn), who will also be touring our parts soon, together with 90’s Sydney electro-rock exponents Def FX. As a man renowned for his forward thinking approach to music in general, I ask him if it’s difficult having to delve back into Hard-Ons extensive back catalogue and reacquaint himself with decades old tracks, when he’s got a bunch of newly created music to keep him inspired?
“I know some people don’t see it this way, but you’ve got to understand that some songs have their ‘used by’ date and you just don’t get excited playing them anymore. So to perform them, it’s kinda not being true, if you know what I mean. We’ve never wanted to go down that route. I know it might seem rude not playing old songs. And we still do, obviously, but we’ve just got to find which ones still give us energy. I am more interested in tomorrow..yesterday was cool, but it was yesterday..”
Be sure to get along when Hard-Ons, together with Rose Tattoo, delve into the past, present and future, as they jointly detonate upon stages on their ‘Still Never Too Loud’ tour.
As part of the tour they’ll be stopping in at the Coolangatta Hotel on Saturday, 27 April. They’ll also be playing the night before in Brisbane, at The Triffid.
Long live non-denominational rock and roll!!