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Airbourne is a straightforward rock band in the Aussie pub rock tradition of AC/DC
, the Angels
, and Rose Tattoo
: four guys with beers in hand who would rather die than be caught wearing a pink shirt.
The brothers Joel
and Ryan O'Keeffe
grew up in the country town of Warrnambool, with a collection of classic Australian rock albums stolen from their uncle. When everyone around them was listening to current music, they were firmly entrenched in the music of the '70s and '80s they longed to re-create. Joel
took on vocals and lead guitar and Ryan
the drums while still in school, earning them the enmity of their neighbors, who sent the police around with noise complaints multiple times.
Second guitarist David Roads
was sourced from the local pub, where Joel O'Keeffe
worked. Bass player Justin Street
was encountered in the town's sand dunes by Ryan O'Keeffe
while drunkenly rolling down them, and with his addition Airbourne was complete. The four soon moved to the city of Melbourne to find venues willing to accept them.
Steadily playing, they put out a self-financed EP called Ready to Rock
in 2004. Hard work paid off with support slots for acts including the Rolling Stones
and Mötley Crüe
and a billing at the Big Day Out festival in 2006. That year they were invited to the U.S.A. by Capitol Records to record their debut album, Runnin' Wild
, with producer Bob Marlette