Five for Five with Ray Ahn
Through the years, i have been lucky enough to meet some very cool people through my job. Some of them i get to call my mates, and for their friendship, i am eternally grateful. As often as i can, i am going to be asking my friends 5 questions about music, and how it's impacted their life, as their music has impacted mine. I'll be publishing them on the website for you to check out and gain some insight into these top notch people.
With that said, what better way to kick the series off with one of Australia's most iconic & enduring punk/rock n roll legends, Ray Ahn, bass-player of The Hard-Ons and all around solid dude. For those not familiar with this band, they put punk-rock on the map in Australia and have outlasted many bands, trends and styles and are still putting out shit-hot music. I could go on about him and his band, but i'll let the man speak for himself.
1. What is the favourite release you have been a part of?
It would be a cliche to say the album we are working on right now. But it would probably have to be "ALL SET TO GO" by the HARD-ONS.
It was 1986 when we recorded it. There was a neo-fascist skinhead and punk inferno in Sydney and we somehow survived it. It was not a very safe time at punk gigs.
The camel that broke the straw's back was when our number one fan Fernando got gang-bashed by a bunch of skinheads. We responded by doing what we do, play loud and fast and with humour.
The sleeve art, I am not sure if you have seen it, was just a way to ridicule the nazis, that includes the insert art. The band is still here and most of the nazis are gone so I guess we outlasted them
2. What is the favourite show you've played and why?
Could be the Hard-ons' comeback gig in Sweden. Hard-ons broke up at the end of 1993, just after a 4 month tour of first USA then Europe.
By the late 90's we just had to reform. The pressure to be in the Hard-ons just was not there any more. The expectation of becoming an industry foot-soldier following the alternative -rock break through (started with Soundgarden and the Pixies then exploded with Nirvana) was pretty depressing and we started to forget why we formed a band in the first place.
In 1999 the Hard-ons were invited to play Hultsfred Festival in Sweden. We were the last band on inside a small tent that was 2000 capacity. Whilst the band set up, the punters were locked outside. I thought we'd get a few hundred but when we went on stage, the place was jammed packed and we played really well. After our last song, I remember the house lights went on and the whole crowd was screaming and they had their fists in the air. I had both my arms in the air. It was the first time in my life I was moved enough to pose like that on stage. I saw the faces of the people in the front row. a few of them were crying. They thought the Hard-ons were over, yet, here we were, after a 6 year break. To this day, I still keep in touch with 3 of the people that were in the front row
3. What are your top 5 desert island albums?
1. RESIDENTS "COMMERCIAL ALBUM"
2. BLUE OYSTER CULT "SPECTRES"
3. REMAINS "THE REMAINS"
4. X "X-ASPIRATIONS"
5. STRANGLERS "RATTUS NORVEGICUS"
4. What is one CURRENT band or artist you would like people to check out?
The band "BITCHCRAFT" from Newcastle.
Blistering punk rock with loads of humour.
Fanstastic unique musicians. They have a new guitarist and she is sensational.
Their drummer plays a two piece kit with just a hi-hat. I don't know how she manages to pull such a savage sound from such a minimal set up.
5. What is your most treasured piece of vinyl and why?
"(I'M) STRANDED" original 7" single on FATAL Records label. It was Kim Bradshaw's personal copy