Back in 2017, just three short years into writing for this little thing now known as Wall of Sound – I released an article discussing 7 Bands from New South Wales that needed a comeback, and smack bang in the #6 spot were pop punk icons(?) Heroes For Hire – who disbanded back in 2013, only to reemerge to play a string of shows for AM//PM Emo Nite in 2018 (our Brisbane coverage here) – which left a lot of us hanging onto what they’d do next (if anything).
Fast forward to 2022 and after teasing and taunting us for the better part of the past year, the lads have announced their first new song in a decade will be released on Friday – but we’re bringing it to you a day early because you gotta check it out! ‘(Not Feat. Travis Barker)‘ has NOTHING to do with the GOAT drummer we know and love, but more so about coming back into the game and reclaiming something you used to hold onto so dearly – in this case, the band’s popularity and catchy tracks that had us captivated across their three albums Life of the Party (2010), Take One For The Team (2011) and No Apologies (2012). Like when blink-182 came back from their first hiatus in 2009, this track will breathe new life into the band and according to frontman Brad Smith, there’s more to come…
Jesus Brad, you’re back in Heroes For Hire again – how’s it feel to rejoin the band that unceremoniously kicked you out back in the day?
Hahaha how the times have changed! But nah, it honestly feels great to revisit such a massive part of my life that ended rather abruptly
How’d the conversation start about getting the band back together to make music again, and will this be a long term thing or like your comeback shows in 2018?
I feel like it just happened kind of naturally. Duane and I had kinda moved past any bitterness and started talking again before the reunion shows. From there, playing those shows was just fun again without the pressure of it being our full time job if that makes sense. Fast forward – a world pandemic and MGK thinking he invented pop punk, we decided that now is the time to put out some new music and hang around as long as people still come to shows haha
You’re back with Heroes’ first taste of new music in 10 years – firstly what was it like getting back in the studio with Duane and the boys to bash out this pop punk anthem? Has much changed from the writing processes of yesteryear?
Everything aside working with Duane on songs has always been when we are both at our best in a way that we complement each other so well. Not too much has changed in the writing process as a whole but there is a lot more input from everyone this time around
And ‘(Not feat. Travis Barker)’ is exactly what it sounds like – the song has nothing to do with Travis Barker, but more so about moving on from the past, growing up and embracing life – is that even remotely close to what you’re doing for on this song?
When Heroes broke up we all felt like we had wasted such a huge part of our lives and we left everything in kind of this ugly limbo and it took all of us such a long time to come to terms with that. Obviously, everyone had their outside opinions on our situation but no one really knows what it was like except us. This song is us kind of reclaiming something that we loved so much, but were kinda made to hate because of how it ended and also gives a bit of a fuck you to the people that tried to go against us.
You once sang the lyrics “Cuz 25’s the new 18“ which I turned into my mantra for way longer than I should have back in the day – how have you personally grown from that era of the band and do you have a new mantra for turning 35 with kids?
So I can’t speak for the rest of the band who all have kids and have settled down… but I just changed the lyrics and say 35’s the new 18 and just deal with a worse hangover… However I do have a puppy to look after so we all grow up a little bit sometimes haha
And how long do we have to wait until you retire the shooeys at shows?
I just watched Ric Flair wrestle a match at the age of 73…..so if you need a number there is ball park for you.
One thing the pop punk bands of our generation don’t seem to focus on is the growing up aspect – yes blink-182 tried to warn us on ‘Dammit’ – but they absolutely nailed the themes of adulthood on Neighborhoods. What does pop punk mean to you as you get older – not just the genre, but the movement/community?
It’s kind of crazy but pop punk has always just given me the feeling of the good old days when everything was a lot more simple. The friendship aspect is what it means most to me. The pop punk community kind of disappeared for a long while here in Australia but thanks to bands like With Confidence, Between You and Me, Stand Atlantic & Paperweight it’s back better than ever and honestly is a reason 5 old guys like us can still have a crack and see if we can keep up.
Following this release, what else can we expect from the band?
We are taking it one step at a time but unlike the reunion shows this time we are actually back together officially as a band there will be more music, more tours, more stupid video clips and a whole lot of beers out of shoes!
Yay for everything except that last part… And final thoughts for the fans who have been waiting impatiently for this day to arrive for the past decade?
We thank everyone so much that still cares even the slightest and we know we left you for a long time and let weird indie festival kids claim what was rightfully yours… We are back to reclaim the shoey for you all one show at a time!!
Let the long-dormant fan inside you free and dive headfirst back into the world of Heroes For Hire who landed at #7 in our 20 Aussie Pop Punk bands to watch in 2022 list – Note: in true band form, their socials got hacked and they’ve lost access to their old accounts – follow the new ones below!
Words by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown @brownypaul
Heroes For Hire is Brad Smith (vocals), Duane Hazell (guitar/vocals), Lee McGarrity (drums), Scott Rooney (guitar) and Luke Vandersluis (bass).
Pre-save ‘(Not Feat. Travis Barker)‘ here