PETER “BLACKIE” BLACK Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly guitarist and solo artist Sydney, Australia
My "top ten" is a mess and i know some of the records i'm yakking about, i only got this year. OK? Sometimes, ya gotta play catch up,
1. Canine – “In Dog Years Ya Dead” Came out last year but i only scored it half way thru this year…really progressive in parts, top notch! And at the same time i brought Concrete Lawn’s “Aggregate”. Saw ‘em live and thought, "Fuck yea". Played the record and thought "FUCK YEA!" The singer Maddiso sounds like Cal from “Grave New World”-era Discharge.. ..there's no complaints from me :-)
2. Dead – “Raving Drooling” HUGE actually they sound slicker yet heavier than ever before.. love it.
3. Some killer sludge from both Lucifungus – “Derek” (check out the track “Quintro”) and Witch Skull's third album, “A Driftwood Cross” \\m/
4. Rivers Of Snake – “Sleight of Hand” Go straight to track two “Black and Gold”…then you may start the album again.
5. Owen Guns – “Violating Community Standards” Remind me of the wonderful Aussie punkers, Rocks.
If This Is The Hand I’m Dealt – Peter Black (Cool Bananas) I’m Gonna Cheat As Much As I Can - Peter Black (Cool Bananas)
At first blush it’s D-U-M-B-everyone’s-accusing-me for an artist to release his sixth and seventh albums simultaneously. Flooding the market breaks a fundamental rule in the mythical music industry marketing manual about (a.) controlling supply to build demand and (b.) maximising the impact of “product”.
But Peter Blackis the guy who, in 2016, set himself the challenge of recording a year’s worth of music and releasing one track a day, and you know that convention is for squares.
Hand-Ons/Nunchukka Superfly guitarist, singer-songwriter and much-loved Australian punk-rock icon Peter "Blackie" Black has dropped the first video from his solo album "If This Is The Hand That I'm Dealt”.
The album was released late last year in tandem with another solo record, "I'm Gonna Cheat As Much As I Can". The two albums, when taken together, reveal the breadth of Blackie's pop smarts, the quirkier and heartbroken ends of which can both be heard in "What The Fuck Should I Be Thinking".
The film clip was co-directed by Jonathan Sequeira (director of the acclaimed Radio Birdmandocumentary "Descent Into the Maelstrom") and his partner in Cheap Music Videos, Wade Jackson. When asked to comment about the video, Jonathan said:
"‘I thought Blackie was joking when he told me about wanting to do the pec dance. But he got it one take so we knew he’d been practising in front of the mirror’.
“That is actually true, but probably not the quote you want.How about:
"'It was great to work with Peter, one of Australia’s best songwriters, and I love the new albums so was keen to do a video. He had a simple idea and really let me run with it, which wasn’t difficult because he gave such a great performance, and it was a lot of fun shooting it.'"
I first saw Blackie when I was 16. It was the Hard-Ons’ 21st birthday tour, and I was stuck in Coolangatta, a long way from home. I knew nothing of the band but the name intrigued me so I went along. To this day it’s one of my top five gigs.
Hit after hit of pop punk brilliance, and for me the Hard-Ons are the gold standard in the genre. And here was guitarist Blackie, who combined metal style shredding with fast three chord punk rock playing. My tiny mind was blown.
Since then Peter Black has launched a solo career. 2020 marks the release of his sixth and seventh solo offerings. One electric, one acoustic. Aside from being one of the country’s best guitarists, Blackie’s solo work proves what a beautiful songwriter he is. The man can do no wrong
I-94 Bar: Now you’re playing a gig this Saturday with the Hard-Ons, and I saw a while back you did a gig in Sydney with Nunchukka Superfly, which was 20 people only. You obviously love playing live, but I take it with the lockdown period playing live now must be that extra bit more special?
Blackie: Man, I tell you how fucking weird this is. We did a couple of gigs recently, where I played solo and with the two bands, and I did a solo gig with John Kennedy’s 68 Comeback Special. But three weeks ago Nunchukka played a gig with a band from Canberra, and it didn’t really occur to me, as I had been driving for three-and-a-half-hours, it was all so trippy, like fucking hell, now I got to sing!
It hit me as it’s the first time I had been out of Sydney for 10-11 months. It was weird, but awesome. I’m like now I got to find the venue, find a park, and lug the gear. I loved every second of it
So I Could Have Them Destroyed – The Hard-Ons (Music Farmers)
We need to talk. Oh, yes, we do.
There were doubts about this one. I’d seen the songs played live. Whether it was unfamiliarity or just an off night, to these ears the set didn’t gel. It cried out for more light and less shade. Ease off that pedal-to-the-metal thing, baby. Not in a greatest hits way, but maybe with the odd well-chewed pop bone thrown in. It wasn’t bad. Just not earth shattering.
His nearest and dearest might know him as Peter but you'll most likely recognise him as Blackie from the Hard-Ons. Not that this, his second solo album, bears much relation to that esteemed band's fast and furious output. "No Dangerous Gods…" is off-the-wall, whip-smart and often lush acoustic rock that suggests Syd Barrett more than Sid Vicious.
It’s their fifth studio album and it’s tempting to say the lines have become blurred between Nunchukka Superfly and the Hard-Ons, from which two of its three members are drawn. That’d be convenient but also wrong.
It’s hard to work out when Hard-Ons ceased being just another band and evolved into an unstoppable force of nature. Thirty-four years after publicly emerging into the dim lights of an inner Sydney pub stage, this indefatigable trio keep punching out albums when most of their contemporaries have long put their own cues in the rack.
Ask any record tragic. There’s a tried and tested rule for albums. Most long-lasting bands deliver one or two gems at their high point and the rest are shit or on a plateau. “Peel Me Like A Egg” easily stacks up against most of the Hard-Ons’ 10 previous studio efforts. It’s not so much because the band has stayed true its composite punk, metal, speedcore and pop roots (it’s always good to know what you’re going to get) as much as they’ve managed to make each release sound fresh.
Peter "Blackie" Black, notably of the Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superbly, has always done things differently. He’s taking his own path again as a solo artist, releasing a song a day via his Bandcamp site Subscribe to Peter Black Solo.
Why, you ask?? When we asked him, after scrunching his face for a few minutes, his reply was: "Why not!"
Hard-Ons and Nunchukka Superfly co-founder, Peter Black, (aka Blackie) is launching his third full solo album with an Australian tour that includes a run of dates as special guest support to King Buzzo of The Melvins.
"The Paintings On The Wall Say Gambler! Gambler!" is said to be "a flaming solid ball of creative explosion, whereby storm-trooping guitars and rhythm" that abandons the storm-trooping sounds of Hard-Ons and Nunchukka for "beautiful, introspective and whimsical".
The man always known as Peter Black - but perhaps best known as Blackie from the Hard-Ons - is releasing his sixth and seventh solo albums on November 27.
"If This Is The Hand I'm Dealt" and "I'm Gonna Cheat As Much As I Can" are acoustic and electric efforts respectively, and both were recorded with Jay Whalley of Frenzal Rhomb and Neptune Power Federation. Whalley also contributes some keyboards and vocals and his partner in Neptune Power Federation, Lauren Friedman, contributes vocals. Musical pals like Heather Shannon from the Jezebels, fellow Hard-On Ray Ahn and former Nunchukka Superfly drummer Joel Ellis also help out.
Angry Andrson pontificates and Bob Spencer enjoys it. Shona Ross photo.
Rose Tattoo Hard-Ons Metro Theatre, Sydney Friday, March 29 2019
Photos by Shona Ross
There were plenty of people giving plenty of reasons why people should not go to this gig. The announcement that Rose Tattoo would team with the Hard-Ons for a the national "Still Never Too Loud" tour caused some people to lose their shit online - and not in a good way. More on that soon.
The more mundane reasons were timing (“it’s a Friday night in Sydney after a long working week, maaaaan”), the venue (“the sound at The Metro is sooooo dodgy”) to ignorance (“I never heard that was on”) so most of it was nothing unexpected. Another apathetic night in the Harbour City.
It might be apt to drop in some Dylan to catch your attention from the get-go (“There’s something happening here and you don’t know what it is/ Do you, Mr Jones?”) but it’s not necessary. Cutting to the chase, Peter Black is using melodies and colouring here to make a solo album that’s his most captivating to date.
This lavish double CD package closes the lid on the first life of the Hard-Ons, nicely. Not in the literal sense of the term. Far from it. It's like a skateboard ride down a very rough track, a mix of disparate hardcore and metal songs that sits at odds with much of what came before.
When the original album came out in mid-1993, nobody knew (but band members could sense) that it was the last recording by the Hard-Ons with their original line-up. That's the context and it now makes sense.
It’s funny how records released in the past evoke specific memories when revisited years later. For me, this one doesn’t throw up much. I think I bought it well after it came out. It seems lots of fans shared that indifference.