Airbourne (band)

Airbourne (band)
Three members of the band are in view. The man at left is singing into a microphone while playing his guitar. He is bare-chested, has shoulder length curling dark hair and wears dark pants. The second man is obscured behind his drum kit at mid-stage. The man at right is playing his guitar. He has his eyes partly closed, has over shoulder length hair and is slightly turned to his left. He wears a dark tee shirt and dark pants. Behind the musicians are large speakers and stage lights of white, red and blue are overhead. The band's name 'Airbourne' is displayed on a back-board, above the drummer.
Airbourne performing at Tampereen Klubi (Tampere Club), Finland in March 2010. (L-R): Joel O'Keeffe, Ryan O'Keeffe (obscured) and David Roads. Justin Street is out of view.
Background information
Origin Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal
Years active 2001 (2001)–present
Labels EMI, Roadrunner
Joel O'Keeffe
Ryan O'Keeffe
David Roads
Justin Street
Past members
Adam Jacobson

Airbourne are an Australian hard rock band formed in Warrnambool in 2001. Mainstay members are Joel O'Keeffe on lead vocals and lead guitar, his brother, Ryan O'Keeffe on drums, and David Roads on rhythm guitar and backing vocals. They were later joined by Justin Street on bass guitar and backing vocals. Their debut album, Runnin' Wild, was released in June 2007 and peaked in the top 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart. It appeared on the United Kingdom Albums Chart and United States Billboard 200. Their second album, No Guts. No Glory. was issued in March 2010 and reached the top 20 on the ARIA Chart, top 40 in the UK and also appeared on the Billboard 200. The group have toured Australia, Europe and the US.



Formation and Ready to Rock (2001–2006)

Airbourne formed as a hard rock band in late 2001 in the Victorian country town of Warrnambool by Joel O'Keeffe (born c. 1983) and his younger brother Ryan (born c. 1986).[1][2][3] Joel had played guitar since the age of 11 and Ryan got his first drum kit four years later also at the age of 11.[4][5] Joel met David Roads (born c. 1983)[3] when the two worked at the Hotel Warrnambool.[5] The pair brought their guitars to work and, after their shifts, jammed on song ideas, Roads was asked to join the O’Keeffe brothers on rhythm guitar for rehearsals at their house.[5] By late 2001, Adam Jacobson had joined on bass guitar, the group was named Airbourne and played regular gigs at the local Criterion Hotel.[6]

In March 2003 the four-piece won a state-wide band competition, Push-On, in Melbourne.[2] Their early material was influenced by Australian pub rockers AC/DC, The Angels, Billy Thorpe and Rose Tattoo.[1][2] They recorded an eight-track extended play, Ready to Rock, which appeared in June 2004 as an independent self-funded release.[6][7] By that time Jacobson was replaced by Justin Street (born c. 1987) on bass guitar – Ryan had met Street while stumbling home drunk from a party one night.[1][3] In early 2005, the band relocated to Melbourne and in August, they signed a five album record deal with Capitol Records.[6] According to Joel, while the band were living in a shared house they threw a party, and during listening to a Krokus CD, Rock the Block, a blown fuse resulted in a fire burning the back part of the house.[8] The group have supported Mötley Crüe, Motörhead and The Rolling Stones, as well as performed at summer music festivals.[7][8]

Runnin' Wild (2006–2008)

A wide shot of the stage area. At left a man is playing a bass guitar and singing into a microphone. Ryan is in the middle obscured behind his drum kit and by Joel in front of him. Joel is playing his guitar and singing. Justin is at extreme right playing his rhythm guitar. Behind the musicians are numerous Marshall speakers. Above are rows of scaffolding holding stage lights.
Airbourne at Sauna Open Air Metal Festival, Tampere, 2008.

In 2006 Airbourne travelled to the United States to begin work on their first studio album, Runnin' Wild, with producer Bob Marlette (Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper).[5][9]Runnin' Wild was released in Australia on 23 June 2007. Three singles were issued from the album, "Runnin' Wild" (May), "Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast" (June), a playable track on Guitar Hero; World Tour and "Diamond in the Rough". In February, Capitol Records had cancelled their contract with Airbourne, but the album was still issued in Australia through EMI. In June, the band signed with Roadrunner Records for international distribution.[3]

The album peaked in the top 30 on the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia, top 40 on New Zealand's RIANZ Albums Chart and appeared on charts in Austria, Switzerland and France.[10] During late 2007, the group toured the United States supporting Kid Rock and Korn. Runnin' Wild was issued in North America, Europe and Japan in January 2008, after which they relocated permanently to the US.[11] The album reached the Top 100 on the UK Albums Chart and appeared on the Billboard 200.[12][13] In September 2007, they issued a five-track live extended play, Live at the Playroom.[14]

In a September 2008 interview with MetalSucks, Joel discussed comparisons with AC/DC, "whoever you are when you come out, especially if you’re from Australia and you sound like we do, you’re going to get compared to anyone who is out there. It doesn’t matter who you are, you are going to get compared to somebody. To be compared to the best rock and roll band in the business, who are still going today and are about to release another album, there is no higher compliment..."[15] In November at the Astoria in London, Dan Hawkins (Stone Gods/The Darkness) joined Airbourne on stage to play the AC/DC song, "Whole Lotta Rosie".[16] Hawkins played Joel's guitar (white Gibson Explorer) while Joel sang without any guitar.

No Guts. No Glory. (2009–present)

Roads confirmed that in January 2009, Airbourne would enter the studio to begin recording their second album, No Guts. No Glory.[17] In the 17 January issue of Kerrang! magazine, Joel revealed they had earlier written the tracks in the Criterion Hotel, "We're getting all our gear plugged in and getting set for Aussie pub rock written in an Aussie rock pub!"[18]

The album was produced by Johnny K, mixed by Mike Fraser, and was released on 8 March 2010 in the UK, Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and in the U.S. on 20 April. "Born to Kill", was first played live at the Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland, New Zealand in October 2009.[19] In January 2010, another new song, "No Way But the Hard Way", was played on the BBC Radio 1's Rock Show. On 9 February it was available on iTunes, as the first single from the album. The album reached the top 20 on the ARIA Albums Chart, and top 20 on albums charts in Austria, New Zealand, Finland, Greece, Sweden and Switzerland.[20] In the UK it peaked at No. 31, while on the US Billboard 200 it reached the top 100.[12][13]

Songs in other media

Airbourne has provided their music for the soundtracks of the following video games:

Airbourne have gained exposure in the WWE. Their song, "Stand Up for Rock And Roll", was the official theme song for the Royal Rumble 2008.[22] They performed a cover version of "Turn Up the Trouble", Mr. Kennedy's entrance theme, which replaced Jim Johnston's original version.

In the movie The Lost Boys: The Tribe, a sequel to the original Lost Boys, the song "Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast" is played in the car as Chris and Nicole drive to their new house. The song is also used in the 2009 comedy I Love You Beth Cooper. The song "Let's Ride" appears in the 2008 film College. The song "Diamond in the Rough" is constantly used during the NRL games on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons when transitioning to commercial breaks. It is also featured in the film She's Out of My League. The song "Hellfire" was used in the "This is a Skateboard Car" episode of MTV's Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory. The song "Runnin' Wild" was used in the Battlefield: Bad Company TV Spot "Totally Not".[23]


The guitarists use Gibson Explorers, Gibson SGs (Joel owns a 2007 Antique Ebony '61 Reissue SG) and Marshall Amps, Kerry King JCM800's without the 'Beast' section activated. They also sometimes use DSL 100, Handwired Marshall Plexi reissues and some JMP Mk. 2's with their main instruments. Bassist Justin Street uses primarily Fender Precision Basses and Ampeg SVT Amplifiers

Joel is one of the respondents in the book Sex Tips from Rock Stars by Paul Miles published by Omnibus Press in July 2010.[24]

Musical influences

Airbourne's influences include AC/DC, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, The Angels (aka Angel City), Rose Tattoo and Motörhead.[2][4]


Studio albums

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
2007 Runnin' Wild 21 59 95 39 49 62 106
2010 No Guts. No Glory.
  • Released: 8 March 2010
  • Label: EMI, Roadrunner
  • Format: CD
19 13 11 31 9 11 9 31 90
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released in that country.

Extended plays

  • Ready to Rock (independent release, 2004)
  • Live at the Playroom (EMI, 2007)


Year Song Chart Positions Album
CAN Rock
2007 "Runnin' Wild"
Runnin' Wild
"Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast"
"Diamond in the Rough"
2010 "No Way But The Hard Way"
No Guts. No Glory.
"Blonde, Bad and Beautiful"
"Bottom of the Well"

Awards and nominations

  • ARIAS:
    • Nominated: Best Rock Vocal Performance (2007) for Runnin' Wild
    • Nominated: Best Rock Song (2007) for "Runnin' Wild"
    • Nominated: Best New Artist (2007)


  1. ^ a b c Macgregor, Jody. "Airbourne > Biography". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Brothers Airborne". South West TAFE. 13 March 2003. Retrieved 30 October 2011.  Note: Originally appeared in the Warrnambool Standard (Fairfax Media).
  3. ^ a b c d Donovan, Patrick (20 June 2007). "Airbourne's Fortunes Take Off Again". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Airbourne Biography". Airbourne Official Website (Roadrunner Records). 16 October 2009. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Airbourne Biography". musichead Australia. EMI Music Australia Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c Neal, Matt (13 October 2005). "Sky's the Limit for Local Band". South West TAFE. Retrieved 30 October 2011.  Note: Originally appeared in the Warrnambool Standard (Fairfax Media).
  7. ^ a b Donovan, Patrick (12 October 2005). "It Helps to Be Airbourne". The Age (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  8. ^ a b "Interview mit Airbourne [Interview with Airbourne]" (in German). Zurich, Switzerland: (Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade [The Official Swiss Charts]). Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Runnin' Wild > Airbourne". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 30 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Airbourne – Runnin' Wild". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Airbourne Home – News". musichead Australia. EMI Music Australia Pty Ltd. 16 November 2007. Archived from the original on 27 December 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  12. ^ a b c "Airbourne – Artist Chart History – Albums". UK Albums Chart (The Official Charts Company). Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  13. ^ a b c "Airbourne Album & Song Chart History". Billboard 200. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Airbourne – Live at the Playroom – EP by Airbourne". iTunes. Apple Pty Ltd. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  15. ^ Rosenburg, Axl; Neilstein, Vince (2 September 2008). "MetalSucks Interview with Joel O'Keeffe". MetalSucks (Axl Rosenberg, Vince Neilstein). Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Ling, Dave (29 November 2008). "Dave's Diary". Dave Ling – Music Journalist. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  17. ^ "Metal Hammer » MHTV". MetalHammer (Future Publishing Limited). Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  18. ^ O'Keefe, Joel. "Airbourne Begin Work on New Album – in a Pub!", Kerrang!, 17 January 2009.
  19. ^ "Airbourne - "Born to Kill (live)"". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  20. ^ "Airbourne – No Guts. No Glory.". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  21. ^ Airbourne featured on NHL 11 Soundtrack
  22. ^ "Royal Rumble". WWE. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  23. ^ Battlefield: Bad Company - 'Totally Not' TV Ad - YouTube
  24. ^ "Sex Tips from Rock Stars". Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  25. ^ "Australian Charts > Airbourne". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  26. ^ "Austrian Charts > Airbourne" (in German). Austrian Chart Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  27. ^ "Airbourne > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  28. ^ "French Charts > Airbourne" (in French). French Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  29. ^ "New Zealand Charts > Airbourne". New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  30. ^ "Swedish Charts > Airbourne". Swedish Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  31. ^ "Swiss Charts > Airbourne" (in German). Swiss Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  32. ^ "Airbourne". Songs, Music Videos, Albums, MP3s, albums and Pictures. Virgin Media. Retrieved 1 November 2011. 
  33. ^ "Airbourne Win Best New Band At The Classic Rock Awards!". Roadrunner Records Uk. 

External links

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