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Men at work

airbournebreakinouttacd 638Australia’s raucous, rockin’ quartet Airbourne hits hard with their newest tune, “Breakin’ Outta Hell,” available via 

 ED Publications' exclusive interview with Airbourne's Ryan O'Keefe!

What do you think of when you hear someone mention “Australia”? “Down Under,” sure, that’s likely the first answer. If we’re being completely stereotypical, then Outback Steakhouse and “shrimp on the baahbie” would come next (though we’ll guess that this Americanized version of Australian food is not quite authentic). The Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef are other fairly obvious selections.

But for fans of rock music, Australia is known as the home of—without exaggeration or hyperbole—one of the most legendary bands of all time. AC/DC was born in Sydney in 1973, when brothers Angus and Malcom Young formed a quintet that would go on to write such rock anthems as “Highway To Hell,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “TNT.” At what appeared to be the zenith of their success, tragedy struck as their incomparable lead singer Bon Scott died of alcohol poisoning. Many thought the band would die with him (and it almost did), but as history clearly shows, AC/DC would thrive for decades to come.

With such a lasting legacy in their home country, it’s no surprise that a band like Australia’s Airbourne would bear a striking resemblance to their four-letter predecessors. As any AC/DC fan will tell you, there are two AC/DCs—the Bon Scott era and the Brian Johnson era. And it will only take a few listens to Airbourne and a track like their newest tune “Breakin’ Outta Hell” to realize they’re Bon-Scott-era devotees (“Breakin’ Outta Hell” is featured on the latest installment of’s songs for adult club DJs). 

In fact, if any rock band that’s come out over the past three decades has actually picked up the Scott-era AC/DC mantle, it’s Airbourne. The band, led by brothers Joel and Ryan O’Keefe (vocalist/lead guitarist and drummer respectively), create a sound that’s both retro and modern at the same time. While they draw heavily from AC/DC albums like “Powerage” and “Let There Be Rock,” they still create a raw, raucous, flying-by-the-seat-of-their-pants sound of their own, a sound which has caught the ears of bands like the Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue and Motorhead (they’ve opened up for each). The O’Keefe’s, who are joined by guitarist David Roads and bassist Justin Street, are set to release their fourth full-length disc Breakin’ Outta Hell on September 23rd. While the band was busy hitting the European summer festival circuit, ED Publications had the chance to catch up with Ryan O’Keefe about the band’s sonic evolution—or lack thereof—and their place in rock music’s current landscape.

ED: Since the band's first album was released in 2007, Airbourne has been hailed by some as a "savior of hard rock/metal" and the band that's carrying the flag for the next generation of hard rock fans. Is this something the band embraces? Has it ever felt like there's pressure to be the "next AC/DC,” or do you just do what you do regardless of what the expectations are?

O’KEEFE: We have always done what we have done since we were kids. The main goal of the band is to get bigger and bigger and play to more people, that's all our goals are, we don't see each ourselves as the next big thing, we just see ourselves as band that is devoted to rock and roll

ED: Now on your fourth album, Breakin' Outta Hell, how would you say the band has evolved from the first album (Runnin' Wild) to now? How has your core of fans developed over the past five or six years?

O’KEEFE: I guess we have gotten more personal on this last record, but honestly I don't think we have evolved very much!! We stay true to our craft. It's just gotten bigger and bigger, and as the years have gone by, the band has been growing organically, which is fantastic.

ED: Being that you're from Australia, it's not surprising at all that Airbourne does remind listeners of Bon-Scott-era AC/DC. Is there any way a rock band can be from Australia and NOT be influenced by AC/DC? 

O’KEEFE: Probably not, because you know hard rock, or as we put it rock and roll—if they weren't influenced by AC/DC, they would have a tough time convincing anyone they are rock n’ roll band as AC/DC is one of the best rock bands ever.

ED: What other influences shaped the sound of Airbourne?

O’KEEFE: Everything from Motorhead to Metallica to Iron Maiden, but then you know from Australia, we have The Angels, Rose Tattoo, Billy Thorpe, to name a few.

ED: You've toured with some major rock acts, including Motley Crue, Motorhead, and Iron Maiden. What was their reaction to the band, and how gratifying is it to see a guy like Slash wearing your band's t-shirt on stage?

O’KEEFE: It's fantastic. You have to pinch yourself to know it's real, but one that comes to mind is the Rolling Stones. When we came offstage their whole road crew were applauding and they said we were one of the best bands to ever support the Stones, which is as humbling as it gets.

ED: Having brothers in the band certainly can create a different type of dynamic. Does this relationship contribute to your ability to write music together, and is the band a tighter unit because you and Joel are brothers?

O’KEEFE: Yes and yes! Joel and I work on songs at any time, any hour, whether it be 3 am or lunchtime, over coffee, we are always working on material and having us both as business partners helps move the band a lot quicker in making decisions. 

airbourne20getty20nigel20crane202008ED: Your sound is both retro and modern, an impressive combination. How are you able to be both at the same time?

O’KEEFE: I don't know. I guess just being true to what we do, and not trying to be something we are not, has created that.  

ED: With the new album set to be released in about a month, what are your hopes for the album and the upcoming tour cycle?

O’KEEFE: Just to keep doing what we are doing, keep growing the way we are growing and keep playing rock n’ roll to the masses.

ED: The new track "Breakin' Outta Hell" is being promoted to over 3,000 adult nightclub (strip club) DJs in the United States through our magazine and website (courtesy of our relationship with Concrete Marketing/ If you could tell 3,000 strip club DJs why they should give this new track a spin, what would you tell them? 

For more information, visit and



The Notorious SMO

500x500An ED Publications exclusive

by Kristofer Kay

Between all the layers that make up modern hip-hop, few are as self-explanatory as country-rap. Sometimes referred to as hick-hop or rural rap, its ingredients are simple: Southern, blue-collar culture distilled through rap lyrics and beats. Through mixtapes and local followings, there are more country-rap acts than you might realize (anyone remember Bubba Sparxxx?). But of those looking to emerge from the backwater and into the mainstream now, the safe money bet is on Big Smo.

Born John Smith (no, really, that’s his name), Big Smo’s grassroots campaign to the big time started back in 1999. Raised in Tennessee, Smo dabbled in DIY production to build a strong following in the region. After success via Youtube, Smo’s major label debut studio album, “Kuntry Livin’,” was released in 2014, where it would eventually land on three Billboard charts. That same year, Smo was the subject of an eponymous reality television series on A&E that began in 2014. With four records now released, Smo’s latest—entitled “We The People”—will be released on July 22.  

ED Club Bulletin recently spoke with Big Smo about the new CDs first single, “Say My Name,” which is also part of the latest Strip Joints compilation. It represents a noted departure from his trademark sound, into more of a mainstream club vibe. Here, Smo explains why the change of direction, and where he sees his career headed from here.

ED: If you don’t mind me saying, “Say My Name” is reminiscent of other songs by rappers looking to establish who they are. Snoop Dogg’s “What’s My Name” and Eminem’s “My Name Is…” first, come to mind. Was that intentional?

Smo:  Oh absolutely! I appreciate the compliment next to artists such as them. In the entertainment business, the primary goal at the end of the day for any artist is for people to know your name, say your name, and be familiar with your brand.  “Say My Name” is intentional as I’m looking to move beyond the south and more into the mainstream rap community.

ED:  So even though you’ve released four records and starred in a reality show, would you consider “Say My Name” as your breakthrough song?

Smo: In a way, yes. I’m looking to broadening my listener base. Before people just knew me as a country-rap artist. But I’m just a rapper, period. Whether I’m from the country or not, now is the time for more people to discover my music because I’ve grown as a man, and evolved as an artist.

ED:  Some critics have described you as a cross between Hank Williams Jr. and Kid Rock.  Is that fair? Or would you rather just be considered a hip-hop artist?

Smo: Country music is a major influence for me, probably my very first influence. But more than what genre I sound more like I consider myself a storyteller.  Representing Tennessee is what I do because it’s my natural element.

ED: While Dirty South is familiar, it is not what one would find by definition coming out of Tennessee, correct

Smo:  Yes, I come from a place that is reflected in my rhymes. It’s the way we kick back, it’s our lifestyles, it’s about family, all of that. I’m in the south, but my music is different. It’s rap but just from the country rather than from the big city.

ED:  “Say My Name” is a departure from your older tracks. It sounds like it would be played at a strip club. And seeing as though hip hop and strip clubs are two sides of the same coin, were you excited to have it featured on the new Strip Joints compilation?  

Smo:  Yes I was, very much! I mean, what better way to experience my music than in a strip club.  I’m excited to be reaching out to this type of listener and the DJs. I think they’re like what they hear.

ED: You’re on tour right now in the days leading up to the release of “We The People.” Do you have some downtime to visit clubs?

Smo: I don’t, actually. We’re doing three or four shows a week. And I’m also the father of three teenagers, so I don’t have the chance to go.

ED:  Since your reality show took off, you’ve made an effort to grow your fanbase. “Say My Name” helps the momentum, too. With more and more musical acts packaging their music with other projects, like reality TV, is that something you’d want to continue in the future?

Smo: The show’s over. We did two great seasons, and it served its purpose. I’m proud of what we did there. You know, I’m just a fan of working. I love to work, to create. To me, though, music is and will remain my focus. It’s one hundred percent my art.


FREE MUSIC for adult club DJs that grooves!

Hey club DJs: Download these songs and many more, FOR FREE, on It takes just five minutes to sign up, and you can download songs from many different artists and styles right to your laptop! It's easy!

“Suckin’ Mountain Dew and t*ts”

wheeler photo1 — that’s Wheeler Walker Jr. and his debut album, Redneck Sh*t


The first listen to a Wheeler Walker Jr. song can get your brain spinning in a dozen different directions at once. “Did he just say what I think he said?” “You can’t do this in country music, can you?” And finally, “Damn, this is some pretty good music.”

FREE MUSIC for adult club DJs that grooves!

Hey club DJs: Download these songs and many more, FOR FREE, on It takes just five minutes to sign up, and you can download songs from many different artists and styles right to your laptop! It's easy!

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