WARRNAMBOOL rock band Airbourne has signed an unprecedented international deal to make five albums for worldwide label Capitol Records. The Standard revealed in August that the group, comprising brothers Joel and Ryan O'Keeffe, David Roads and Justin Street, was at the centre of a massive bidding war between all but one major label in Australia. Joel and Ryan's dad Denis confirmed yesterday that the band would be flying to the US next month to check out studios and producers for a first album. But the band's manager Gregg Donovan refused to comment on the deal and would not allow any of the band to talk to The Standard. According to The Age, the signing is believed to be worth up to $2 million Ð the biggest contract ever for an unsigned Australian band. Denis said the lads held out for months to get the deal they really wanted before signing with Capitol and locally EMI a week ago. "I'm very proud of what they've done," he said. "For a while I thought they had a certain arrogance about what they wanted. "I would have been quite happy when they could have signed an Australian deal. "But Joel and Ryan had done their research and always had the intention to sign overseas - they knew the creative people overseas do not like getting behind an album recorded in Australia." While Denis said such a deal did not guarantee the band success, it did guarantee Airbourne albums would be given the same backing and support worldwide as albums by Capitol's other bands, which include Coldplay, Radiohead, REM, The Vines and Red Hot Chili Peppers. Airbourne formed in Warrnambool in late 2001 and quickly became regulars at the Criterion Hotel, launching its debut self-funded recording there just 14 months ago.
L to R David Roads, Joel O'keeffe, Ryan O'Keeffe, Justin Street.
South West TAFE music archive