Living Eyes films is pleased to announce that its forthcoming production Hard-Ons: The Most Australian Band Ever!, has been accepted by Documentary Australia Foundation for its fiscal support program, which provides filmmakers a portal through which they can solicit donations, at all stages of documentary development, production, post-production, outreach and impact campaigns. Fans are encouraged to visit the film’s page on DAF’s website; and while there no rewards for contributors (except a thanks in credits), all contributions are tax-deductible. The announcement follows Screen Australia’s decision to give the film seed funding.
“Hard-Ons are trailblazers!” – Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys)
One of Australia’s most loved and influential bands from the mid-‘80s through to now, the Hard-Ons came out of the multi-cultural South-West Sydney suburb Punchbowl and quickly won a large following nationally with their irreverent attitude and catchy, noisy high energy sound. Appearing on the Radio Birdman-influenced Sydney scene of the early ‘80s and preceding the punk-pop boom of the ‘90s, the Hard-Ons were a musical bridge and became a punk and alternative music sensation, blowing open doors by incorporating disparate elements – like a range of metal styles, from glam to thrash – which were previously unheard in Australian punk. All the while they were forced to push through other barriers; barriers that appeared because of their mixed ethnicity – Ray was born in Korea to Korean parents and Keish was born in Sri Lanka to Sri Lanken parents, while Peter Black was born here of Croatian parents – and their wilfully transgressive and irreverent nature, which was typified by their name, and by Ray’s outrageous artwork.
“Hard-Ons are the nicest guys!” – Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters)
In their prime, the Hard-Ons shared bills with the likes of the Ramones and Nirvana, and appeared on numerous Big Days Out. They scored an never-bettered 17 consecutive number 1s on the Australian independent charts and in 1989 were the only Australian band still based in Australia to hit the top 5 in the NME charts (the only Australian artist to have achieved that – Nick Cave and the Go-Betweens – had both been UK-based). Still an ongoing proposition, despite break-ups and the formation of other bands (Ray & Blackie’s other ongoing band Nunchukka Superfly) and, in Blackie’s case, a solo career, the Hard-Ons undertook their 19th European tour in 2018, when they played the massive metal festival Hellfest, alongside Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Joan Jett. Soon to celebrate 40 years together (yes they started very young), they are currently recording their 13th album.
“I love the Hard-Ons! It was an honour to tour with them!” – Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Hard-Ons: The Most Australian Band Ever! is being made with the group’s participation. Hard-Ons bass player and spokesperson Ray Ahn says: “The Hard-Ons are extremely pleased to be having a documentary made about us, by professionals that know our band musically, spiritually and ideologically, very well. We are honoured and flattered. We look forward to the finished film in great anticipation. We want our story told.”
Living Eyes principal and the film’s director Jonathan Sequeira adds: “We’re thrilled to be making this film about one of the most important bands in Australia, and a terrific bunch of people. Hard-Ons are a band that everyone in Australia should know about and be proud of. It’s great to get some initial Screen Australia seed funding, but it’s not easy or cheap making movies and we need your support. DAF is a great organisation, and all contributions are tax deductible plus you get your name on the big screen!”
Director and producer Sequeira’s first film – and Living Eyes’ first film – was the internationally acclaimed documentary Descent In The Maelstrom: The Radio Birdman Story, about the iconic punk-era Sydney band. He directed and co-produced another internationally acclaimed feature Waiting: The Van Duren Story (about the long-lost Memphis power popper) with producer Wade Jackson, and now the two have teamed up again, together with an additional co-producer Nalini Sequeira, as Living Eyes returns to Aussie punk and alternative music with Hard-Ons: The Most Australian Band Ever!
Over the years, the Hard-Ons have won the vocal support of artists like Dave Grohl, Henry Rollins and Jello Biafra. They’ve influenced subsequent generations of punk bands – from the Meanies to Frenzal Rhomb to Private Function – as well as a wide ranging groundswell of Australian alternative artists – from Spiderbait to You Am I to Silverchair to Regurgitator to Magic Dirt to Powderfinger to the Dirty Three to the Chats – each of whom have been inspired by the Hard-Ons’ energy, free spirit and uncompromising dedication.
“Iconic. Totemic… The Hard-Ons are everything.” – Tim Rogers (You Am I)
“Hard-Ons were and still are amazing” – Warren Ellis (Dirty Three/Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)
“(They) should be in the ARIA Hall of Fame!” – Dave Faulkner (Hoodoo Gurus)
Hard-Ons: The Most Australian Band Ever! is expected to be released in 2022.