THROUGHOUT the 40-year history of The Hard-Ons, Peter Black has always fiercely held onto the punk-rock attitude of not caring what anyone else thinks.
It's an attitude that even extends - with all due respect - to the band's passionate fan base.
"If someone likes what you do it's amazing, full stop, and utterly appreciated," Black says.
"But at the same time you've got to understand that I have to enjoy myself up there, and I feel like if I'm playing a song I might need to give a rest then I'm not really giving 100 per cent right by the audience.
"I won't be doing a killer show and I'll be going through the emotions and I don't want to do that sort of thing."
There are plenty of rock bands out there trading on past glories.
They roll out the greatest hits year-in year-out, and in the main, the punters go home satisfied.
On their recent first European tour with new vocalist Tim Rogers, of You Am I fame, The Hard-Ons failed to play their most famous song, the 1986 cult classic Girl In The Sweater.
It led to some fans complaining about the set list.
"[Bassist] Ray [Ahn] pointed it out that it's one of the only professions that everyone around you knows better than you do," Black says.
"It's really true. Do you never see anyone standing over a plumber's shoulder going, 'are you using an oil-based sealant?'
"I've learnt to switch off from that ages ago. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if I didn't feel 100 per cent about it."
What Black is feeling 100 per cent about is how re-energised he and other members Ahn and Murray Rose (drums) have been by the introduction of Rogers.
Last year The Hard-Ons released the album I'm Sorry Sir, That Riff's Been Taken which peaked at No.4, the band's best result on the mainstream charts since their formation in 1982.
The Hard-Ons quickly followed with their 14th album, Ripper '23, released on Friday.
Rogers replaced former frontman Keish de Silva (who left following sexual misconduct allegations) after I'm Sorry Sir, That Riff's Been Taken had been written.
This time around Rogers - who is renown as one of Australia's finest rock songwriters of the past 30 years, penning classics like Berlin Chair and Heavy Heart - had a hands-on role in the creative process with Black.
The introduction of Rogers has had a dramatic change to the Hard-Ons' traditional charmingly DIY punk sound.
Sheets Are a Shroud begins with a chugging Stooges-like power-riff before Rogers' sweet melody takes the track in an unexpected direction. Goin It Alone could also easily pass as a You Am I track.
But there's plenty of explosive punk riffs to keep old-school Hard-Ons fans happy.
Grandiose, Makes Me Sick and Sling Shot explode out the blocks like a cannonball of energy.
"Now we know the dynamics of the four-piece, I think we took it to the next level," Black says. "There will probably be a lot of surprises in the new record for people, but to me, it still sounds like us.
"The thing I really love the most about having Tim in the band is it's almost like having a soul singer because he's voice is that good.
"We've gone a lot further and pushed boundaries with melodies."
The album's cover with its ripped jeans photograph pays homage to the 1970s Ripper compilation album series, which was an early precursor to 100% Hits and Hit Machine.
"Those sorts of compilations were very common in the late '70s," Black says. "I had a bunch of them.
"They're surprising. You get people thinking it must have had shit on there like Sherbet, and yes it did, but some also had Rose Tattoo, The Saints and AC/DC, so they were killer records."
The Hard-Ons album Ripper '23 is out now.
The Hard-Ons play the Volta, Ballarat (June 22); Torquay Hotel, Torquay (June 23); Brunswick Ballroom, Melbourne (June 24); Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine (June 25); La La La's, Wollongong (June 30); Crowbar, Sydney (July 1); Vinnie's Dive, Gold Coast (July 8).
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