In the wake of their early-mid 2000s heyday, classic Aussie ska-punk outfit Area-7 found themselves on a forced hiatus in record label purgatory.
“We never really split up, we just played less for a little while,” frontman and vocalist Stevo says.
After releasing three albums and securing cultural notoriety with anthemic hit tracks like 'Second Class Citizen' and 'Nobody Likes A Bogan', Area-7 signed to an American label that soon abandoned them when the label divested their Australian market.
“After the hectic years between 1997 and 2003, which was pretty crazy, there was a change in the Australian music industry and we found ourselves without a record company because we were on a big American label that decided they didn't want to be in Australia anymore,” Stevo explains.
“So we got left high and dry but we were stuck on a contract with them for about three years after that, so it was a bit of a pain in the arse: we couldn't record, we couldn't do anything. Hence the reason we disappeared for a little while, but certainly now there's no worries about that sort of stuff. We're back out there and a lot of people seem to want to book us, which is awesome.”
'Awesome' it may be, though it certainly isn't unsurprising – Area-7 were among the vanguard of young, Australian punk bands establishing themselves during the mid-'90s and early-2000s amid the surging skate culture of the time.
It should serve testament to Area-7's popularity as well as their pure musical grit that they haven't released an album since 'Torn Apart' in 2005, yet remain an in-demand live act.
This summer will see Area-7 back onstage for several key performances, including the Schooner Or Later Punk Cruise [in Sydney], the Hotter Than Hell tour and playing support for Smash Mouth on their upcoming national run.
For Schooner Or Later, Area-7 will be performing their 2001 sophomore album 'Say It To My Face' in its entirety. “For our mind, this is actually going to be hard work for us,” Stevo says.
“There's five or six songs we've worked out on that album that we've never played live, so that's fun. The good news for us is we've always recorded with very little digital manipulation or overlaying so we should be able to nail it pretty quickly.”
Whereas Hotter Than Hell is looking more like a reunion as Area-7 share a bill with old touring buddies like 28 Days, Bodyjar, Jebediah and Shihad.
Whether it's rocking the boat or getting hotter than hell, Stevo says the one thing that has never changed, and never will, is the band's love and admiration for the enduring support of their fans. “I say it at every show: without the crowd there is no band,” he states.
“It's got to be thousands of shows that we've done over many, many years [and] I never take it for granted that we've been able to get out of a garage, stand in front of a crowd of people everywhere we go, play to a good number and have the crowd get into it.”
Area-7 play Manning Bar (with The Porkers) 1 December and the Schooner Or Later Harbour Cruise (Sydney) 2 December.
Smash Mouth Australia Tour 2018Thu 8 Nov - Enmore Theatre (Sydney)
Fri 9 Nov - Twin Towns Services Club (Tweed Heads)
Sat 10 Nov - Eatons Hill Hotel (Brisbane)
Sun 11 Nov - Airlie Beach Festival Of Music
Wed 14 Nov - SS&A Club (Albury)
Thu 15 Nov - Canberra Southern Cross Club
Fri 16 Nov - Anita's Theatre (Wollongong)
Sat 17 Nov - The Croxton Bandroom (Melbourne)
Hotter Than Hell Tour 2019Sat 19 Jan - The Harvey Road Tavern (Gladstone)
Sat 26 Jan - Toowoomba Showgrounds
Sun 27 Jan - Broadwater Parklands (Gold Coast)
Sat 9 Feb - York On Lilydale (Melbourne)
Sat 16 Feb - Racehorse Hotel (Ipswich)