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We’re fucking milking this one!” laughed legendary Hard-Ons guitarist Peter “Blackie” Black. “We’ve got heaps going on – it’s going to be shitloads of fun!” Blackie called in to the Forte office for a one-to-one chat about the anniversary tour to end all tours when the Hard-Ons hit the road for the ‘30 Years of Not How it Used to Be’ tour. The tour is poised to kick off tonight in Adelaide, before they make their way to us in mid-June, and to celebrate this milestone the Hard-Ons welcome the temporary return of original member and fan favourite, Keish de Silva.
When we spoke the band was busy compiling the request only sets. “It’s a lot of work but it’ll shape up fine … though if I’m honest, at first the idea of an all request set was not musically exciting to me at all. The idea came about when Ray [Ahn, bass] pointed out to me that we’ve the best fans ever and doing an all request show would be something they’d really appreciate, but it didn’t click for me until we did a show in Brisbane for the re-issue of our first single. That night I realised we hadn’t played the b-side in over twenty fucking years! It was SO much fun fucking picking it up and playing.
“When I looked around at the guys and out at the crowd, I suddenly thought this tour is going to be awesome! All we’ve gotta do is play songs we haven’t played for years – it’s going to be like playing new shit!”
On the subject of new shit, Blackie’s voice lit up when he revealed he’d spent the day in the recording studio. “I’m actually in the studio right now! We’re mixing the last three songs to go on our new album. It’s our first one in a while because we’ve had quite a few difficulties in the last couple of years – we lost a drummer, and there’s been illness within the family.
“We’ve had some tough times so getting together and preparing this new record (which we’ve been wanting to do for quite some time) has been way fucking exciting! And we’re over the moon with how it’s turning out.”
With this news I had no choice but to probe for more information and Blackie was happy to indulge: “I will say it’s going to be classic Hard-Ons. The three elements that have always made up the band – pop, punk and metal, they’re all very prominent on the record. Though with each we try to push ourselves, and after thirty years I hope we’ve pushed ourselves quite a bit. At the moment it’s a bit all over the shop, but we’ve kind of always been that way.
“And the best new is I’m hoping we are going to have a bunch of the new tracks available as a free download for whoever comes to the gig, as a bit of a teaser! I figure it’s our thirtieth – let’s go crazy. So, as well as the new album we’re also going to do four split 7-inches with some of our friends from all over the world. A couple of guys from America, Japan and here – it’s all happening!
Blackie’s excitement and passion is infectious and before I know it we’ve delved into the really important stuff. “I’m constantly thinking about music – it’s like an all-encompassing thing. But we’re really insular – we couldn’t give a fuck about what’s going on around us or what other people are doing. We’re really into what we do, it’s massively important and something that gives our lives a lot of joy. For me it’s respecting music as an art and that’s it. I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”
When Blackie and de Silva founded the band back in1981, they couldn’t have imagined after thirty years, countless tours, live albums and EPs, the Hard-Ons would still be one of the most in-demand Australian bands, with a cult following worldwide.
“Because it’s our thirtieth, we just wanna celebrate with you and say a big thank you for sticking with us for so long – so come out and celebrate with us!”
One last thing… Blackie wanted to invite all the fair readers of Forte to a weekend of good music and untold hijinks from the comfort of their armchair when the Hard-Ons guest program rage next month. “You’ve gotta watch – I take my clothes off! I thought what the hell? I’m on television; I’m going to get down to my undies!” I’ll bring the popcorn – that’s must-see TV.
When&Where: The Karova, Ballarat – June 12; The Wool Exchange Entertainment Complex, Geelong – June 13; The Corner, Melbourne – June 14; and The Bridge, Castlemaine – June 15
Written by Natalie Rogers