Airbourne (band)

Not to be confused with US jazz group Airborne or the 1970s Australian band Airbourne.

Background information
Origin Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia
Genres Hard rock
Years active 2003 (2003)–present
Labels EMI, Capitol, Roadrunner, Spinefarm
Members Joel O'Keeffe
Ryan O'Keeffe
David Roads
Justin Street
Past members Adam Jacobson

Airbourne is an Australian hard rock band formed in Warrnambool in 2003. 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. By August 2013, it was certified with Silver award by BPI.[1] 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. Their third studio album Black Dog Barking was released on 21 May 2013.


Formation and Ready to Rock (2003–2006)

Band logo

Airbourne formed as a hard rock band in late 2003 in the Victorian country town of Warrnambool by Joel O'Keeffe (born c. 1985) and his younger brother Ryan (born c. 1986).[2][3][4] 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.[5][6] Joel met David Roads (born c. 1983)[4] when the two worked at the Hotel Warrnambool.[6] 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.[6] By late 2003, Adam Jacobson had joined on bass guitar, the group was named Airbourne and played regular gigs at the local Criterion Hotel.[7]

In March 2004 the four-piece won a statewide band competition, Push-On, in Melbourne.[3] Their early material was influenced by Australian rock bands AC/DC, The Angels, Billy Thorpe and Rose Tattoo.[2][3] They recorded an eight-track extended play, Ready to Rock, which appeared in July 2004 as an independent self-funded release.[7][8] By that time Jacobson was replaced by Justin Street (born c. 1986) on bass guitar – Ryan had met Street while stumbling home drunk from a party one night.[2][4] In early 2005, the band relocated to Melbourne and in August, they signed a five album record deal with Capitol Records.[7] 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.[9] The group have supported Mötley Crüe, Motörhead, Iron Maiden and The Rolling Stones, as well as performing at summer music festivals.[8][9]

Runnin' Wild (2006–2009)

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).[6][10]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.[4]

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.[11] 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.[12] The album reached the Top 100 on the UK Albums Chart and appeared on the Billboard 200.[13][14] In September 2007, they issued a five-track live extended play, Live at the Playroom.[15]

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..."[16] 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".[17] Hawkins played Joel's guitar (white Gibson Explorer) while Joel sang without any guitar.

No Guts. No Glory. (2009–2011)

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.

Roads confirmed that in January 2009, Airbourne would enter the studio to begin recording their second album, No Guts. No Glory.[18] 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!"[19]

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.[20] 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.[21] In the UK it peaked at No. 31, while on the US Billboard 200 it reached the top 100.[13][14]

The Band went on a UK Tour supporting Iron Maiden on their Final Frontier World Tour from 20 July Starting at Glasgow SECC Arena ending at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on 1 August 2011

Black Dog Barking (2011–2014)

Slash with a band shirt during the Sweden Rock Festival 2015.

It was announced in November 2011 through their official Facebook page that since mid-2011 the band had been working on a new album, and that updates were to follow soon.[22][23] The album's name, Black Dog Barking, was announced in early February 2013 on their Facebook page.[24] It was released on 21 May 2013 via Roadrunner.[25] The cover artwork was once again created by Australian artists The Sharp Brothers, who also did the cover artwork for No Guts. No Glory. According to David Roads, the idea behind the album title was, to use the Black Dog as a metaphor for the band's ability to break the rules, especially not to care for db limits.[26] At the end of 2013 Airbourne toured Europe, supported - amongst others - by the Swedish band Corroded.

Breakin' Outta Hell (2014–present)

In November 2014, Joel O'Keeffe revealed the band was already writing songs for their next studio album.[27]

In January 2015, the band revealed that they signed for a worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records.

In June 2016, the band announced that the new album would be titled Breakin' Outta Hell, being released September 23th, 2016. The title track was released as a single on July 8th.

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.[28] They performed a cover version of "Turn Up the Trouble", Mr. Kennedy's entrance theme, which replaced Jim Johnston's original version. In 2013, their song "Live It Up" was chosen as the official theme song for Extreme Rules 2013. In 2016, "Breaking Outta Hell" was chosen as the official theme song for WWE Hell In A Cell.

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".[29] The song "Firepower" was used in a trailer for the video game Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare.[30] "Runnin' Wild" was used in the trailers for the films Tangled and Frozen.


The guitarists use Gibson Explorers, Gibson SGs, Gibson ESs (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. Joel also uses Wizard Amplification alongside his Marshalls on stage. 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.[31]

Musical influences

Airbourne's influences include AC/DC,Bad News, Def Leppard, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, The Angels, Motörhead,Spinal Tap, Status Quo and Rose Tattoo.[3][5]


Studio albums

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
2007 Runnin' Wild 21 59 95 27 39 49 62 106
2010 No Guts. No Glory.
  • Released: 8 March 2010
  • Label: EMI, Roadrunner
  • Format: CD
19 13 11 31 4 9 11 9 31 90
2013 Black Dog Barking
  • Released: 21 May 2013
  • Label: Roadrunner
  • Format: CD
17 11 21 31 5 19 13 9 22 89
2016 Breakin' Outta Hell 13 3 54 21
3 33
36 4 9 Unable to reach the Billboard 200
"—" denotes album that did not chart or was not released in that country.

Extended plays


Year Song Chart positions Album
CAN CAN Rock US Main. Rock
2007 "Runnin' Wild" 90 1 22 Runnin' Wild
"Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast" 74 3 16
"Diamond in the Rough" 13
2010 "No Way But the Hard Way" 2 29 No Guts. No Glory.
"Blonde, Bad and Beautiful" 9
"Born to Kill"
2013 "Live It Up" 1 40 Black Dog Barking
"No One Fits Me (Better Than You)" 1
2016 "Breakin' Outta Hell" 1 42 Breakin' Outta Hell

Awards and nominations

See also


  1. "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 April 2014. Note: User needs to enter "Airbourne" in the "Search" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Go" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history
  2. 1 2 3 Macgregor, Jody. "Airbourne > Biography". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Brothers Airborne". South West TAFE. 13 March 2003. Retrieved 30 October 2011. Note: Originally appeared in the Warrnambool Standard (Fairfax Media).
  4. 1 2 3 4 Donovan, Patrick (20 June 2007). "Airbourne's Fortunes Take Off Again". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  5. 1 2 Roadrunner (Marianna) (15 October 2009). "Airbourne Biography". Airbourne Official Website (Roadrunner Records). Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Airbourne Biography". musichead Australia (EMI Music Australia Pty Ltd). Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  7. 1 2 3 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).
  8. 1 2 Donovan, Patrick (12 October 2005). "It Helps to Be Airbourne". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  9. 1 2 "Interview mit Airbourne" [Interview with Airbourne] (in German). Zurich, Switzerland: (Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade Swiss Music Charts. 2010. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  10. Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Runnin' Wild > Airbourne". Allmusic (Rovi Corporation). Retrieved 30 October 2011.
  11. "Airbourne – Runnin' Wild". Australian Charts Portal (Hung Medien (Steffen Hung)). Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  12. "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.
  13. 1 2 3 "Airbourne – Artist Chart History – Albums". UK Albums Chart (The Official Charts Company). Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  14. 1 2 3 "Airbourne Album & Song Chart History". Billboard 200. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  15. "Airbourne – Live at the Playroom – EP by Airbourne". iTunes. Apple Pty Ltd. 4 September 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  16. Rosenburg, Axl; Neilstein, Vince (2 September 2008). "MetalSucks Interview with Joel O'Keeffe". MetalSucks (Axl Rosenberg, Vince Neilstein). Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  17. Ling, Dave (29 November 2008). "Dave's Diary". Dave Ling – Music Journalist. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  18. "Metal Hammer » MHTV". MetalHammer (Future Publishing Limited). Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  19. O'Keefe, Joel. "Airbourne Begin Work on New Album – in a Pub!", Kerrang!, 17 January 2009.
  20. "Airbourne - "Born to Kill (live)"". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-07-26.
  21. "Airbourne – No Guts. No Glory.". Australian Charts Portal (Hung Medien (Steffen Hung)). Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  22. "Airbourne Facebook Page".
  23. "Facebook New Album Comment".
  24. "Airbourne Facebook Page: Black Dog Barking.". 6 February 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  25. "Airbourne Announce Release Of New Album 'Black Dog Barking' - Stereoboard UK". Stereoboard UK. 6 February 2013. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  26. "AIRBOURNE - ALIVE AND KICKING - Interview David". 11 December 2013. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  27. Richman/Jerzy/Tamas (29 November 2014). "Airbourne - Interview with Joel O'Keeffe". Guitar Mania. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
  28. "Royal Rumble". WWE. Archived from the original on 5 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  29. Battlefield: Bad Company - 'Totally Not' TV Ad. YouTube. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  30. Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare - Zombie Trailer (HD). YouTube. 20 August 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
  31. "Sex Tips from Rock Stars". Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  32. "Australian Charts > Airbourne". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  33. "Austrian Charts > Airbourne" (in German). Austrian Chart Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  34. "Airbourne > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  35. "French Charts > Airbourne" (in French). French Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  36. "German Charts > Airbourne". German Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2013.
  37. "New Zealand Charts > Airbourne". New Zealand Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  38. "Swedish Charts < Airbourne". Swedish Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  39. "Swiss Charts > Airbourne" (in German). Swiss Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  40. "Certified Awards Search". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 April 2014. Note: User needs to enter "Airbourne" in the "Search" field, "Artist" in the "Search by" field and click the "Go" button. Select "More info" next to the relevant entry to see full certification history
  42. "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums Fusionnes - SNEP (Week 39, 2016)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  43. "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 3 October 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  44. "Airbourne". Songs, Music Videos, Albums, MP3s, albums and Pictures. Virgin Media. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  45. "Airbourne Win Best New Band At The Classic Rock Awards!". Roadrunner Records Uk.

External links

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