One of Australia’s most loved and influential bands from the mid-‘80s through to now, the Hard-Ons came out of the multicultural South-West Sydney suburb Punchbowl and quickly won a large following nationally with their irreverent attitude and catchy, noisy high energy sound.
Now in 2021, The Hard-Ons have added acclaimed You Am I frontman Tim Rogers to the band, joining Murray Ruse, Peter Black, and Ray Ahn and they’ve just released a brand spankin’ new album, ‘I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken’. A surprise gig in Woy Woy recently (billed as “Clandestine Sausage”) showed that the new line-up is killin’ it live on stage too. Following the amazing chart success and fantastic response to the new album, the re-invigorated punk legends THE HARD-ONS have added more dates to their previously announced March/April tour.
“It was a strange request but I have never been so excited about anything in my life,” Tim Rogers tells Australian Musician about joining the band. “It’s been life-affirming so far … and we’ve only played one show. My life is affirmed!”
Australian Musician editor Greg Phillips caught up with Peter ‘Blackie’ Black and Tim Rogers (audio only) to chat about the new line-up of The Hard-Ons.
I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken reveals the new line-up to be working a treat and the band to be in magical form. The magic come in part from the fact that Tim Rogers has proven himself the perfect new addition to the band, which in turn is partly due to the fact that he has long been one of the band’s biggest fans. Appearing on the Radio Birdman-influenced Sydney scene of the early ‘80s and preceding the punk-pop boom of the ‘90s, the Hard-Ons were a musical bridge and became a punk and alternative music sensation, blowing open doors by incorporating disparate elements – like a range of metal styles, from glam to thrash – which were previously unheard in Australian punk. All the while they were forced to push through other barriers; barriers that appeared because of their mixed ethnicity and their wilfully transgressive and irreverent nature, which was typified by their name, and by Ray’s outrageous artwork.
In their early days, the Hard-Ons shared bills with the likes of the Ramones and Nirvana and appeared on numerous Big Days Out. They scored a never-bettered 17 consecutive number 1s on the Australian independent charts and in 1989 were the only Australian band still based in Australia to hit the top 5 in the NME charts (the only Australian artists to have achieved that – Nick Cave and the Go-Betweens – had both been UK-based). Despite break-ups and the formation of other bands (Ray & Blackie’s other ongoing band Nunchukka Superfly) and, in Blackie’s case, a solo career, the Hard-Ons undertook their 19th European tour in 2018, when they played the massive metal festival Hellfest, alongside Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Joan Jett. Soon to celebrate 40 years together, their new album with new kid Tim Rogers is their 13th.
Over the years, the Hard-Ons have won the vocal support of artists like Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins, and Jello Biafra. They’ve influenced subsequent generations of punk bands – from the Meanies to Frenzal Rhomb to Private Function – as well as a wide-ranging groundswell of Australian alternative artists – from You Am I to Spiderbait to Silverchair to Regurgitator to Magic Dirt to Powderfinger to the Dirty Three to the Chats – each of whom have been inspired by the Hard-Ons’ energy, free spirit and uncompromising dedication.
The Hard-Ons’ new album I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken is out now via Cheersquad Records & Tapes. (Distributed by Magnetic South)
I’m Sorry Sir, That Riff’s Been Taken Australian Tour 2022
Thu 17 – Southport, Vinnie’s Dive – tickets here
Fri 18 – Brisbane, The Zoo “Punkfest” – tickets here
Sat 19 – Eltham, Eltham Hotel – tickets SOLD OUT
Thu 24 – Sydney, Factory Theatre – tickets here
Fri 25 – Narrabeen, Narrabeen RSL – tickets here
Sat 26 – Newcastle, The Cambridge Hotel – tickets here
Sun 27 – Wollongong, La La La’s – tickets here
Thu 31 – Canberra, The Basement – tickets here
Sat 2 – Adelaide, Enigma Bar – tickets here
Thu 7 – Geelong, Barwon Club – tickets here
Fri 8 – St Kilda, Gershwin Room @ The Espy – tickets here
Sat 9 – Melbourne, Corner Hotel – tickets here