You can’t half tell the folks at Unbelievably Bad zine are Hard-Ons fans. So is anyone with a modicum of taste. So this edition of UB should sell its arse off. It’s wall-to-wall Hard-Ons. More Hard-Ons, in fact, than the US Navy on shore leave after six months at sea.
hard-ons - The I-94 Bar
The exhaustive program of bonus-packed re-issues by Australia’s favourite pop-punk shit-stirrers the Hard-Ons continues unabated with 1990’s “Yummy” getting the treatment.
Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly bass player, chatterbox and all-round nice guy, Ray Ahn, has been telling entertaining yarns on his Facebook feed for eons.
They've irrevent, rollicking tales that have taken on a life of their own lately, generating a big following and constant comments to the effect that Ray should write a book.
He's done the next best thing and is putting his stories into a blog. You can read it here.
BARFLY TOP TEN: Sydney bassist for The Smart Folk and The Amazing Woolloomoloosers and avid gig goer Keith Claringbold
I couldn’t find a clear winner for Gig of the Year for 2018. Here are 10 that were special.
TODD RUNDGREN – Oxford Art Factory.
His Toddness, the runt ,the hermit of Milk Hollow. Backed by a cracking band Davey Lane’s Drunken Blue Roosters, Todd took us from The Nazz, through his AM hits and on a detour to play many songs he admitted to not having played live for some time, if at all.
Great songs, top musicianship and Todd really seemed to be enjoying himself.
So I Could Have Them Destroyed – The Hard-Ons (Music Farmers)
We need to talk. Oh, yes, we do.
There were doubts about this one. I’d seen the songs played live. Whether it was unfamiliarity or just an off night, to these ears the set didn’t gel. It cried out for more light and less shade. Ease off that pedal-to-the-metal thing, baby. Not in a greatest hits way, but maybe with the odd well-chewed pop bone thrown in. It wasn’t bad. Just not earth shattering.
Then the album arrived and hit the disc player.
Fessin' up first: I didn't much like "Dickcheese" when it originally came out in 1988. You didn't need liner notes to hear the overt heavy metal influences. The album swung from catchy punk-pop with buried melodies to bottom-heavy stoner riffing. There was no lack of energy but the mix sounded muddy and bore little resemblance to the sound of the Hard-Ons live. Many years down the track and all that stylistic bouncing around makes much more sense.
It’s leading up to the Festive Season but don’t expect to hear Christmas carols at Sydney Rock 'n' Roll & Alternative Market on Sunday, November 26.
Hard-Ons - just back from a successful European tour and pictured above- and swamp rock elder statesmen Kim Salmon head the musical entertainment.
Yes, you’ll get the usual range of cottage and unique goods, records, Tiki mugs, art, homewares, food, drinks, fashion and Tiki mugs at The Manning Bar at Sydney University.
But you’ll also cop a double blast of Hard-Ons and Salmon, the latter in solo mode after hisnational tour by the classic line-up of his old band, The Scientists.
Joining them earlier in the day are Hanks Jalopy Demons, Keiron McDonald Combo and the usual array of DJs. Entry is $6 before 12pm and $8 after, with kids under 12 free.
The famed I-94 Bar podcast Drunk and Disorderly is back. Download it, stream it, do whatever the fuck it is that you do. Tracklist after the More button...
The Hard-Ons are vinyl fans. They believe, like many others who are a bit greyer, that vinyl records that were released before the digital age tell fascinating stories about the song/artist/record label, that streaming and MP3s can’t quite relay.
The band is playing two shows this month that celebrate vinyl. The big news is that the first 120 punters to arrive at the June 1 show at the Chippendale Hotel in Sydney and the June 2 gig at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle will receive a discretely brown paper-bagged seven-inch single from the personal collection of the band members
Says Ray Ahn: “There are 240 random records culled from our personal collections and the like. Some are GREAT. Some are good. Some are OK. Some are pretty shithouse. All are from another time and place, there will be records from 50’s, 60’s, 70’s 80’s. In addition, three mega-rare Hard-Ons records that are probably worth a fair amount from the HARD-ONS’ archive will be up for grabs to six lucky punters.”
The band promises loads of Hard-Ons seven-inch records will be on sale at the merch table as well, including some long deleted rarities.
FRI 1 JUNE: CHIPPO HOTEL with WHITE DOG + HELLEBORES
SAT 2 JUNE: CAMBRIDGE Hotel NEWCASTLE + Human Failure + Obat Batuk
And later this month, the Hard-Ons hit Europe again:
Hard-Ons in Europe
20 - TBA
21 – La Rochelle
22 - Clisson, Hellfest
24 - Orleans, Blue Devil
25 - Essen, Don't Panic
26 - Osnabrück, Bastard Club
27 - Hamburg, Port Klang
28 - Berlin, music & peace
29 – Tampere
Those pop-punk-metal-psych-whatever legends the Hard-Ons are having a 30th birthday party and Australia (and anyone who wants to fly in from overseas) is invited.
Rose Tattoo’s "Never Too Loud", released in 1997 through Repertoire Records in Germany, was a compilation spanning the band's career at the time. Now, 22 years on, the Hard-Ons join Rose Tattoo on their "Still Never Too Loud" tour heading out across Australia in March, April and May.
Thirty-five years since their formation, the Hard-Ons have amassed an unprecedented and never-to-be-paralleled 17 consecutive number-one releases on the Australian alternative charts, making them one of Australia’s most commercially successful independent bands. Their cult following extends into Europe and the UK, and as of 2019, their brand of unapologetic punk rock has never sounded better.
The band are fresh out of the studio having just finished recording their 12th studio album due to be released later this year.
Angry Anderson’s Rose Tattoo recruits, considered some of the best in the business, comprise legendary bass player extraordinaire Mark Evans of AC/DC fame, iconic guitarist Bob Spencer of The Angels & Skyhooks, as well as unbelievably talented maestro of rock mayhem, Dai Pritchard.
Rose Tattoo hit the high seas on the Monsters Of Rock Cruise out of Miami in late February and headed straight into the recording studios in March.
STILL NEVER TOO LOUD
Friday 29th March 2019 - Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW
Saturday 30th March 2019 - Waves, Wollongong NSW
Friday 5th April 2019 - Shoppingtown Hotel, Doncaster VIC
Saturday 6th April 2019 - Chelsea Heights Hotel, Chelsea Heights VIC
Friday 12th April 2019 - The Gov, Adelaide SA
Saturday 13th April 2019 - Capitol, Perth WA
Friday 26th April 2019 - The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
Saturday 27th April 2019 - Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta QLD
Friday 3rd May 2019 - Diggers, Ettalong NSW
Saturday 4th May 2019 - Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW
Tickets from rosetattoo.com.au
Here's where the affair ended, for a time - I never got into the sound of "Love Is a Battlefield…" There were some great songs (or singles) here, for sure ("Missing Me, Missing You", "Don't Wanna See You Cry", "Just Being With You") that were among the band's best, but there was something about the shiny, semi-polished metallic sheen (coming after the confusing "Dickcheese") that pushed this album to the back of the collection.
The Gov, Adelaide. Friday, April 12 2019
Photos by Somnambulist Dillinger
The morning after the night before I'm trying to make sense of it. My ears are still hissing like a grumpy king brown, so I guess it's time I used earplugs at gigs.
Here's a question for you. What does Angry Anderson, rough'n'tough rock'n'roller, taste like?
I'll come back to this.
His nearest and dearest might know him as Peter but you'll most likely recognise him as Blackie from the Hard-Ons. Not that this, his second solo album, bears much relation to that esteemed band's fast and furious output. "No Dangerous Gods…" is off-the-wall, whip-smart and often lush acoustic rock that suggests Syd Barrett more than Sid Vicious.
This is the closest thing you'll see to a full-blown reunion of seminal Perth band The Victims.
For one night only, The Television Addicts will perform songs by The Victims with origional members Dave Flick (nee Faulkner), James Baker and Ray Ahn (Hard-Ons, Nunchukka Superfly) at Perth's Rosemont Hotel on August 9.
Tickets will be available from June 25 from www.oztix.com.au
It’s hard to work out when Hard-Ons ceased being just another band and evolved into an unstoppable force of nature. Thirty-four years after publicly emerging into the dim lights of an inner Sydney pub stage, this indefatigable trio keep punching out albums when most of their contemporaries have long put their own cues in the rack.
Ask any record tragic. There’s a tried and tested rule for albums. Most long-lasting bands deliver one or two gems at their high point and the rest are shit or on a plateau. “Peel Me Like A Egg” easily stacks up against most of the Hard-Ons’ 10 previous studio efforts. It’s not so much because the band has stayed true its composite punk, metal, speedcore and pop roots (it’s always good to know what you’re going to get) as much as they’ve managed to make each release sound fresh.
Would you buy a song a day from this man?
Peter "Blackie" Black, notably of the Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superbly, has always done things differently. He’s taking his own path again as a solo artist, releasing a song a day via his Bandcamp site Subscribe to Peter Black Solo.
Why, you ask?? When we asked him, after scrunching his face for a few minutes, his reply was: "Why not!"
Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly co-founder, Peter Black, (aka Blackie) is launching his third full solo album with an Australian tour that includes a run of dates as special guest support to King Buzzo of The Melvins.
"The Paintings On The Wall Say Gambler! Gambler!" is said to be "a flaming solid ball of creative explosion, whereby storm-trooping guitars and rhythm" that abandons the storm-trooping sounds of Hard-Ons and Nunchukka for "beautiful, introspective and whimsical".
Angry Andrson pontificates and Bob Spencer enjoys it. Shona Ross photo.
Metro Theatre, Sydney
Friday, March 29 2019
Photos by Shona Ross
There were plenty of people giving plenty of reasons why people should not go to this gig. The announcement that Rose Tattoo would team with the Hard-Ons for a the national "Still Never Too Loud" tour caused some people to lose their shit online - and not in a good way. More on that soon.
The more mundane reasons were timing (“it’s a Friday night in Sydney after a long working week, maaaaan”), the venue (“the sound at The Metro is sooooo dodgy”) to ignorance (“I never heard that was on”) so most of it was nothing unexpected. Another apathetic night in the Harbour City.
Then there was The Angry Issue.
It’s a brilliant idea so why didn’t someone do it before?
What’s that? you say. Record a bunch of iconic, mostly Sydney, underground songs in a way that honours the originals but makes them their own – at least for a few minutes.
UK-born, Brisbane-bred John Kennedy became a fixture on Sydney inner-city scene in the 1980s after cutting his musical teeth in his hometown. His distinctive “urban western” songs, and his bands JFK and The Cuban Crisis and John Kennedy’s Love Gone Wrong, earned him a healthy niche in a city that back then was groaning with musical talent.
John Kennedy was always backed by excellent bands and inevitably joined his peers in spreading their versions of the word on the national touring circuit, before moving overseas for a time. He and various line-ups of his John Kennedy’s ‘68 Comeback Special have been kicking around the now skeletal Sydney scene (read: Inner-Western Delta) for the last decade or so.