Jackson Firebird’s latest release Shake The Breakdown came out at the start of this month (and we rather liked it) and I fired off a few questions to the guys about it, as well as the usual nonsense and trivia we like to talk about! Also, hands down, this has one of the best answers to “what’s the maddest thing you’ve done on tour” I’ve heard yet.
Your new album is out on September 4th, following on from Cock Rockin’. How do you feel your sound has changed since that first release?
The sound has definitely evolved… You can hear it heading this way in Cock Rockin’ with tracks like “Quan Dang” and “Sweet Elouise”. But fast forward a couple of years and we are louder, heavier and just as dumb. We have kept Shake The Breakdown in mind for playing these tracks live but there is a little love in there for the LP listening.
Talking of sound, how do you get such a big one with only the two of you? Are there multiple tracks or is it really just one guitar, percussion and vocals?
Look we just dig making a lot of noise! What you hear on the record is what you get live. Obviously in the studio you have the opportunity to layer and add, we had a little fun with this but keeping it to what we can achieve live was our main focus. I have been running 2 guitar amps and dirty bass rig with a touch of octave to get your balls vibrating! Putting that together with a solid drummer and a kick ass sound guy you better hang the fuck on..!
The name of the band comes from the make and model of Harvey’s first guitar. Would you have still used that idea if it had been a BC Rich Warlock? And if not, what do you reckon you’d have called yourselves?
If it had of been a BC Rich the band would have been called ‘Dimebag’ for sure!!!
How did two guys from Mildura manage to catch the international eye? Luck, judgement or hard work?
Look it’s a strange one…. We have been bashing the shit out of our instruments for years. It hasn’t been easy but we love what we do, whether it’s jamming in a shed, playing a biker wedding or just rocking the fuck out in your Nan’s house – we dig it. We have put in the long yards touring, spreading the Bird all over Australia and our live show has always been received really well. Once we put out Cock Rockin’ we started to see a lot of interest from international rockers and it has snowballed from there..! Weird we know.
What are your musical influences?
So many like everyone… Pantera, ZZ Top, Guns n Roses, The Easybeats, ACDC, The Alman Brothers, Bob Log lll, Black Crows, John Spencer Blues Explosion…….I could go on.
Mildura’s big on grape production. Are you guys wine drinkers or more likely to sink a cold beer before going on stage? And what would you pick as your favourites (wine and / or beer whatever’s relevant!)?
Yeah, Mildura is massive with the grapes, oranges and all those citrus fruits and more. We’re definitely beer drinkers… When you come from an oasis in the desert that gets fucking hot, beer becomes a staple part of your dietary needs.
Do you have any plans to tour on the new album specifically Europe and more specifically the UK?
Yeah for sure. We’re organising dates as we speak so hopefully in the very near future we will get our asses back to the mother land to smash out some serious db’s to you!!
Given your initial “small bar” live shows, how have you adapted to larger venues? Is it tricky to get that original sound to work in larger venues?
I must admit it is a tricky transition as we have definitely built out sound and show in many dark dingy venues with fuck all room. Once you put up on a big rig it seems to loose it’s intimacy but we have gotten used to it and don’t mind a monster sound system to punch the Bird through.
What is the most insane thing you’ve seen or done on the road or at a live show?
WoW my brains hurting trying to go back through all the fucked up moments! It’s hard, you know, as most tours are a blur. One of my personal things I’ve done during a show where I had lost my slide onstage during “Shake The Breakdown” funny enough…
I was thinking “fuck how am I going to play the end of this track with no slide?”. The show was a ball-tearer and we were closing it out then mid verse while Hudak was singing (or trying to sing – haha) a guy put his Jack Daniels stubby down on the stage in front of me. So I dive into it with my little finger and in a split second I swing it and smash it onto the foldback on the front of the stage not thinking this will cover people in glass or possibly cut my finger off but anyway my brains just thinking about this fucking slide part…
Well luckily I pull it off and have this jagged bottle neck slide on my pinky and close out the track. I’m still carrying it with me to this day, I’m not sure if it’s as a back up or a reminder to not try and cut my finger off on stage live.
Looking back over the last ten years or so and the experience you’ve gained, what advice would you give to a young band / duo starting out now?
Do it because you love it!!!! That shit will shine through.