The tyranny of distance can put any relationship to the test.
So it’s no wonder the 500+ kilometres between Mildura and Melbourne is a major hurdle facing rock duo Jackson Firebird as they continue their march to greater success.
The Firebird’s brand got even stronger in 2012 with a new album Cock Rockin’ and a support for commercial rock behemoths Nickleback on their Australian tour next month.
Then to complete the perfect storm of publicity, revered Melbourne rock ‘n’ roll haunt Cherry Bar refused to punt them for Lady Ga Ga, after the pop chameleon demanded first use of facilities for an after party.
“I was totally tripped out,” Hudak says of a crazy few weeks of buzz making for the band. “It all sort of came together.”
“I think it might have been the guitarist or the singer (from Nickleback) who really liked the disc (Cock Rockin’), so it was the album that kind of got us on there.”
While the Firebird are flying, both family man Dale Hudak and frontman Brendan Harvey nest at opposite ends of the state: bottle bin biffer Hudak remains in home town Mildura, while Harvey has entrenched himself in Melbourne, which has created obvious problems.
“The biggest issue is getting new material together,” Hudak says.
“We used to jam once a week… and we’d get a fair bit of stuff down but now we’re writing seperately.
“We have one quick jam session about once every three months, which isn’t really enough. We nut something out but we never really finish it.
“We’ve got about three new tracks we wouldn’t mind putting down in the studio but they’re just not finished.”
Local followers were the first to suffer from Harvey’s decision to move to the big smoke. Gone were the days of weekly gigs and Hudak admits his home town has since been placed on a “dripfeed”.
“We’re only doing about one local gig every six months at the moment,” he says.
Luckily, when the boys are out on the road, Hudak has an understanding wife holding the fort. He’s probably even luckier Belinda Hudak is Harvey’s sister.
“I’m lucky I hitched up with a very, very cool bird,” Hudak says.
“She’s quite understanding, I’ve gotta get my brownie points up big time when I get back (from tour) though.”
Being a family man keeps Hudak’s feet firmly planted on the ground.
“It levels you out,” he says. “I don’t know how (Guns n Roses’) Slash and Izzy went out on tour and then shared their communal flat in the Hollywood Hills and keep partying on and living that kind of lifestyle.
“Because eventually you’re going to crack aren’t you? I’m lucky that I get to go (back) into this whole normal lifestyle. It’s (Mildura) a really cruisy, beautiful place, especially to raise a family.
“I’ve gotta get my hands dirty so to speak with the nappies and all those bits and pieces.
“The days where I have to look after the kids all day, and do it by myself with no help, I tell you what, I struggle.
“We’re set up here (in Mildura), we own our own house, so if things do blow up there will be definitely something to talk about.”
The couple also have a three year old boy Brooklyn and seven month old Eva, which has kept the Firebird tours short and sweet, like their most recent two week trip to the United Kingdom, which included a support of Eagles of Death Metal at the Islington Academy.
A brutal drummer beyond par, Hudaks says he enjoyed playing longer sets in the UK.
“I get frustrated. When I get going by the 20 minute mark, I just get sweaty enough, I get into it enough to get into that zone, but then it’s over,” he says.
“So I have to get drunk over something. But after an hour, I feel like I’ve worked for my money.
“As soon as that guitar fires up, I’ve got to hit the drumkit hard. It’s probably why we’ll never write a ballad together.”
Jackson Firebird plays the Bendigo Blues & Roots Music Festival (November 8-11)
Courtesy of Bendigo Magazine