As we launch Distrolution TV, I couldn’t be more delighted to make an interview with The Hard-Ons at Hellfest 2018. Two reasons about this : they are fucking legends and Ray, their bass player, is one of the kindest people on Earth, according to every people I know who met him. As they played along bands like Bad Religion, Rise Against, Burning Heads, Uncommonmenfrommars and many more on the Warzone stage, we took the opportunity to have a quick chat with Ray.
On Frenzal Rhomb’s latest album, there is a song called “Ray Ahn is my spirit animal”. What is the story behind ?
I’m really good friends with them. One day, we were talking about … you know … hipsters. Do you have hipsters in France? Well, in Sydney it’s full of hipsters and we were making fun of hipsters but I said to the lead singer Jason … I said: “The hipsters are not your enemy” You know, it’s not really your enemy. We can make fun of them.
The enemy is maybe, you know, the Catholic Church who have sex with children. No? That’s the enemy and he said: “Well, that’s really a good thing to say. I’m gonna write a song about you and I”. I said “Yeah, sure” and he did! I couldn’t believe it!
Do you have strong ties with today’s Australian punk scene ?
Yeah! I like the band Wicked City. It’s a powerful trio. They sound a little bit like The Melvins. You know, it’s not typical Punk but it’s incredibly powerful. Almost progressive rock, yeah!
Then there’s another band, Clowns. I don’t know if you know this band, Clowns. I think they toured Europe before. They’re really good! There are lots and lots of good bands. A lot of really good bands that haven’t toured in Europe.
There’s a band, Baby Machine. They’re fantastic! Three women from one hour from outside Sydney. There’s another band called High Test Bill Set from one hour outside ofthe city in the south. A three-piece band. Really nice guys, really powerful punk rock.
Here, lots and lost really good bands.
Your latest album “Peel me like an egg” was released in 2014. Do you have another album in the making ?
Yeah, we’re just going to record one this year, in November. It will come out maybe early next year.
What can we expect from this record ?
Well, our lead singer is back, the original singer. He was the drummer and used to sing. Nice he has come back! So I think it’s a little bit more melodic because he’s a little bit more of a melodic singer and it’ll still be some really heavy stuff.
So again, a mixture of really heavy and some melodic pop.
What is the key to make a band last for more than 30 years ?
Well, we’re lucky because we were friends for a long time. I met the other guys in the Hard-Ons when I was 10. Or maybe I was 11 years old when I met them. So, I’m now 53 so I’ve known them for a long long time.
Our friendship existed before the band so we’re not arguing ever in the band. We don’t argue about things. We know how we operate so it’s very comfortable. We don’t always spend time together. We all have different interests in life. We’re very different people so we don’t really fight. You know. It’s good.
We have really good ideas about music but there, our band is not like a democracy, you know. It’s like a … dictatorship. Yeah!
So, the guitar player does this, the songwriter does this, the singer does this. We don’t really share too many ideas. We have really strong ideas about what we want to do and there’s one leader in this department. And it’s not a democracy.
We don’t sit there and say: “Oh we want to play my song”, “I want to play my song”. We don’t do that. When I say “This is my song”, you know, we play it. You know? And we just play. It’s hard to explain. We know what our job is, you know? We don’t … there’s no ego.
Would you like to share your best memories with the Hard-Ons ?
I think my best memories are playing with the Ramones because the singer, Joey, was a Hard-Ons fan and he asked us to go to all the shows in Australia with him and we played every show in Australia with the Ramones in 1991.
Probably … that’s probably my best memory because the biggest influence for me for playing bass was the Ramones. So yeah, that was my favorite memory for the Hard-Ons.
Sorry for cutting it short, Ray. Bad Religion didn’t even show up for their interview.