blackie - The I-94 Bar
He’s best known as the voice and scorching guitar of the Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly but there’s another string to Peter Black’s bow.
Just back from a seven-week tour of Europe where he played 44 shows in 46 days, Blackie is promoting solo album number-four, “Clearly You Didn't Like The Show”, in Australia.
Dates are as follows:
Saturday, 7th November 2015
Blackwire, Sydney NSW
Saturday 14th November 2015
Transit Bar Canberra ACT
Wednesday 25th November 2015
Hamilton Station Newcastle NSW
Thursday 26th November 2015
Black Bear Lodge Brisbane QLD (with Mark Zain)
Friday 27th November 2015
Old Bar Melbourne VIC
Friday 4th December 2015
Ruby L'otel Rozelle, Sydney NSW
Sunday 6th December 2015
Rad Bar Wollongong NSW
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.
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.
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.
It’s their fifth studio album and it’s tempting to say the lines have become blurred between Nunchukka Superfly and the Hard-Ons, from which two of its three members are drawn. That’d be convenient but also wrong.
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 might be apt to drop in some Dylan to catch your attention from the get-go (“There’s something happening here and you don’t know what it is/ Do you, Mr Jones?”) but it’s not necessary. Cutting to the chase, Peter Black is using melodies and colouring here to make a solo album that’s his most captivating to date.
This lavish double CD package closes the lid on the first life of the Hard-Ons, nicely. Not in the literal sense of the term. Far from it. It's like a skateboard ride down a very rough track, a mix of disparate hardcore and metal songs that sits at odds with much of what came before.
When the original album came out in mid-1993, nobody knew (but band members could sense) that it was the last recording by the Hard-Ons with their original line-up. That's the context and it now makes sense.
It’s funny how records released in the past evoke specific memories when revisited years later. For me, this one doesn’t throw up much. I think I bought it well after it came out. It seems lots of fans shared that indifference.