Activists + > Celebrity Interviews

Peter (Blackie) Black is singer and guitarist with legendary Aussie punk band The Hard Ons as well as Nunchukka Superfly

Australian singer/songwriter Ben Lee described in Rolling Stone magazine when he first saw The Hard Ons at age 12 at the Manly Youth Centre "I had a panic attack. I was crying and freaking out, and the medical people had to calm me down. It was the single most terifying rock and roll experience I've ever had."

There's a great biography of The Hard Ons. This is part of what they say:

"When the Hard-Ons started out they were merely teenagers who didn't know how to play and hardly had any guidelines to follow. It all began when Blackie first heard a Sex Pistols song on TV. The Sex Pistols led him to The Damned and The Clash and before long The Hard-Ons was formed! Musically the Hard-Ons were Australia's Sex Pistols, Kiss, Beatles, Motorhead, Beach Boys and Ramones all rolled into one! They represented and advocated punk metal nearly a decade before the Epitaph label in the US was propelling bands like Offspring, Pennywise, Rancid and Nofx into the mainstream. The Hard-Ons were doing Green Day before Green Day could talk."

The Hard Ons have to considered an Australian multicultural success story. 3 guys at the same school whose families had come from Croatia (Blackie), Korea (Ray) and Sri Lanka (Keish) brought together by their love of music and taking Aussie punk to the world.

Anyone who knows 'punk' knows The Hard Ons. Anyone who is in a punk band knows The Hard Ons. Over the last almost 20 years, they've toured the world and played with some of the greats. To date the band have sold in the region of 200,000 records worldwide and had 17 consecutive Australian number one alternate chart hits from "Girl In A Sweater" to "Crazy Crazy Eyes" and every release in between which makes them logistically, statistically and any other way you want to look at it the most successful independent Australian band ever.

Like Blackie, I love punk music. Punk changed our way of thinking... about everything. Punk made Blackie and I come alive and realise our place in the world!

Blackie is passionate about music, animal rights and just about everything else oh yeah, I love that in a person!

Interview by June Bird, December 2001.

The Hard Ons live Blackie on the left.

June: Hi Blackie, I know that your Dad was a Seventh Day Adventist and you were brought up as a vegetarian so could you tell me about that? What was it like at school for you etc.
Blackie: Well, I never ate meat and everyone else did and I used to think it was weird. At times it used to piss me off that I was 'different' you can imagine that at school it was pretty f****d up at times, so of course I tried it, I can't remember what it was like but when I think that I gave in it makes me feel really nauseous! Anyway, I was also the youngest and also not English (my parents are from Croatia) so being a vegi was just another thing that made me 'weird'. Eventually I discovered punk rock and none of that stuff mattered anymore.
June: Can you think of any significant events while growing up that shaped your compassionate thinking towards animals?
Blackie: When I was really young I used to play at my father's factory and he hired this really scary guy and he had to be sacked a week later. A cat was hung out the back of the workshop. It fully freaked me out and I couldn't figure out why anyone would wanna do such a thing to an animal.
June: What do your 'bandmates', girlfriend and siblings think about you being vego?

To be honest I don't think it means jack shit to me mates but I don't think I could go out with someone who eats meat. Kissing wouldn't be bliss... it'd be horrible! For some reason every girl I've gone out with either turned vegi or already was one. Lucky me!!

June: Are people taken aback when they find out you're vegan?
Blackie: Not anymore. I thought it was GREAT when being a vegi became 'trendy' all of a sudden. I too could eat out and not have people look at me like I was from f****g Mars! It makes more sense and many people see this.
June: How healthy are you? Please rate this from one to ten... One being you're as sick as a dog most days and ten being 'I'M ON TOP OF THE WORLD MA!'
Blackie: Well, at the moment my work schedule is sheer hell. I'm doing 2 jobs and I'm in 2 bands. There are days when I have to work; rehearse and work again at night and I still usually find time to go to the gym!! I'd say I'm at least a 9. I rarely get sick and usually have enough energy to do all that I want.
June: So what's your secret? What exactly what sort of things do you eat?
Blackie: Man LOTS!!! Some people who are extremely ignorant say well, what do you f*****g eat?" Mate, what DON'T I eat!!! Vegis aren't confined to the standard 'meat and 2 veg' night after f****g night. I'm not sure why it is so (probably cause for many years there was not many options for eating out) but most vegis are good/interesting in the kitchen. My fav stuff to eat is what I think of as power foods. Foods I know are gonna give me a blast. Such as cabbage, onion or potatoes I'm not sure what's in 'em but while I'm eating 'em I can 'feel' that this is gonna give me a kick. I'm also a soya fan especially soya milk and soya ice creams but I really like a lot of stuff and I eat it all!
June: Have you found when you're touring that there's plenty of good vegan fare around?
Blackie: Depends on where you are. Brisbane is a lot harder than say Melbourne (which has some kickarse joints!) but over the years I've learnt what to expect and to find out what a place has to offer. If all else fails I can always go to a supermarket and get some soya slices of bread. Some countries are not all that easy either and I've got a strict food rider that promoters have to provide for me. Some Europeans countries are really great now (like Germany and Spain) but some are hard going (like France).

Left: Nunchukka Superfly (Joel Ellis, Ray Ahn, Blackie).
Right: The Hard Ons (Ray Ahn, Keish De Silva, Blackie).

June: Are you a good cook?
Blackie: I'm good at some things (especially soups) but crap at others like baking!
June: Is there one particular area of animal exploitation that you find particularly disturbing?
Blackie: Testing for makeup I mean, F**K OFF get real!!! Test it on ya selves. That's so revolting. It was my sister that pointed out to me how animal products are used in soaps and shampoos. Christ! I was washing myself with that! It says a lot about the human race that we would harm an animal for eyeliner.
June: Do you know many other vego musos?

Yeah, some as I've said before more people are becoming vegis than ever before and it's easy to see why.

June: Would you/have you encouraged your partner or children to eat a vego diet?

Yeah but I don't like to push. That wouldn't accomplish much, but if friends stay with me (especially overseas friends) they can't eat meat in my place and many have told me "I haven't felt like eating it since I've stayed with you". Cool!

June: Vitamin supplements do you take them?
Blackie: Rarely, sometimes if I'm on the road and not getting food and sleep I'll take something (like Spirulina etc) but I'm not a keen user.
June: Are there many people do you think you've maybe subtly influenced towards a cruelty-free lifestyle?
Blackie: Yes definitely. Even when last in Europe I met a friend who hasn't touched meat since my last visit.
June: What do you want people to know about veganism?

It's a better option in more ways thane ONE! Try it and see/feel the difference.

By the way if anyone's interested in any of the bands I play in HARD ONS, NUNCHUKKA SUPERFLY or CHRACKIE and would like to purchase a CD or t-shirt I'm at