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01 Cigarettes 2:21

Hard-Ons (Dig It Up!)

@ Enmore Theatre, Sydney, 22 April 2012

The Hard-Ons are a punk rock band from Sydney, Australia that formed in 1982. They have been called Australia's most commercially successful independent band, with over 250,000 total record sales.

The Hard Ons' origins can be traced to Western Sydney's Punchbowl Boys High School, where all band members were students. The first version of the band featured Keish de Silva on guitar and vocals, Peter Black on guitar and Brendan Creighton on drums. In 1982 Creighton left and was replaced by Ray Ahn on bass guitar with de Silva taking over the drumming. Being too young to play in pubs, the band featured at birthday parties and school dances. On 20 June 1984, the Hard Ons played their first official show at the Vulcan Hotel in Ultimo. Quickly gaining a considerable following, the band released its debut EP Surfin' On My Face the following year. This was the beginning of a series of releases for the band that netted them remarkable run of 17 consecutive #1 listings on the Australian independent music charts.

Subsequent recordings like Smell My Finger, Dickcheese, Love Is A Battlefield Of Wounded Hearts and Yummy! set the blueprint for the 'Hard Ons sound': messy pop-punk with metal and psychedelia elements. The band also showed their independent punk spirit, with the members deliberately controlling their own careers: recording, booking and promoting themselves, creating their own artwork (mostly done by Ahn), choosing support bands and even managing the merchandise desk whilst on tour.

While maintaining a solid if underground following in Australia, the Hard Ons were particularly popular in Europe, scoring a Top 10 hit in Spain and a Top 5 slot in Greece with their 1989 album Love is a Battlefield of Wounded Hearts. That album also made the Top 5 in the NME chart. At the time, this made the Hard Ons only the third Australian band after Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and the Go Betweens to have achieved this. In 1989 the group also recorded a split EP with British band The Stupids. Two years later they teamed up with Henry Rollins and released a version of "Let There Be Rock" that was released in a limited edition on 10" vinyl.

Although not as widely known as some classic punk and independent bands, the Hard Ons have carved a niche in the world of punk rock and have assembled a cult following of fans worldwide. Their popularity far outreaches Australia, with large cult followings in Spain and Greece. At one time there was a Hard Ons cover band in the UK known as Suck n Swallow.