PistonFist – Geoffro O’Leary

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PistonFist are a relatively new Brisbane based hard rock band, and certainly one to watch.  The two singles that the band have released, have garnered in excess of six thousand views on YouTube so far, and as the band continues to gig and hone their live show, the fan base grows rapidly.

The band is lead by singer/rhythm guitarist, Geoffro O’Leary, who is somewhat of a jack of all trades.  A life long fan of music of many genres, he started as a drummer, before making the transition to frontman of PistonFist.  Aside from being a gifted musician with a unique voice, Geoffro is a dedicated family man and a very talented tattoo artist who runs a busy shop.

Today, Shayne had the chance to chat with Geoffro, about all things PistonFist, plus much more..

Hey, mate.  Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

Thanks heaps for having me.  And thanks for the promo you guys do for all heavy music.  Holy shit it would be so hard without people like yourselves.

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First off, tell us what it was that got you into music.  Particularly your influences.

Ok, so influence is a hard one.  I was the kid that my family always asked “who sings this” or “what’s the name of this band?”  I’ve always loved music, and back then it was almost anything.  The Beatles to Micheal Jackson to Public Enemy (my first real concert).  But true Aussie Rock was where I grew up. AC/DC, The Angels, Screaming Jets..  After joining my first band in the early 90s it all changed. I found my love of playing drums and then I found Sabbath, Pantera, Sepultura and BOOM, here comes the Metal. Brissie band Dreamkillers were a massive influence on me.

Is there anything aside from music itself, that inspires your playing, or writing?  Be it real life events, pop culture or some other art form?

Lots and Lots of real life stuff influences our lyrics.  I always ask the lads for input or read them lyrics for inspiration.  I try really hard to keep it positive and uplifting, which is a little hard in this world.  I’m a big fan of the Hatebreed, get up dust yourself of and try again attitude.

What was behind your switch from drumming to playing guitar?

I was playing drums in a band called OAF after D9 pulled the pin, and Wazz, the bass player writes a lot.  He said he had a song written that may suit my voice, so I had a crack and when it came to looking for a rhythm player I said I could learn pretty quick, rather than have another player in the band.  He kept my guitar parts pretty simple. But yeah I miss playing drums.

It’s a big shift, to go from being up the back, to front and centre.  Did you find the transition difficult at all?

Being up front was a little nerve wracking to start with, but I’ve really been enjoying the last lot of shows.

3303AE0B-4B3A-4143-8ED6-D3BB6E0696E9Can you give us a bit of the backstory to your current band, PistonFist, formation.

PistonFist was put together by me and Wazz, although Wazz was playing bass in OAF, he is a very very capable guitar player and song writer. Together with Wade, the original drummer from Hollow, who I had shared gear with years before and went to school together. I knew Wade was an extremely hard hitter and would suit the sound brilliantly. And the the legend that is Link Bossman, great bass player and a Tattooer that I have looked up to for many many years. I love playing rhythm with these guys.

Where does the band name come from?  It’s pretty unique, there must be a story behind it.

Honestly, the name comes from a brickies labourer, who was one of the toughest men I knew – his nickname was PistonFist, and yes he punched like a Piston.

How would you describe the PistonFist sound?

The sound of PistonFist is interesting.  We have kind of labelled it “Petrol Rock”, after a reviewer wrote that it “smells and tastes like petrol.”  I think we are looking for Monster Truck, Down, Clutch. Just dirty and true, and the smell of burning rubber in the background wouldn’t go a miss.

So far, the band has released two singles, Black Rain and Home.  Firstly, tell us a bit about the awesome track, Home..

Home is my personal favourite track.  It’s really simple and solid. It’s god v demons/ good v bad. Just Rock n Roll.

Black Rain is just as fantastic, and addresses the very serious issue of men’s mental health.  Tell us a bit about how that came together.

So, Black Rain does cut very deep with me personally, I’ve been to way too many funerals of very good mates that were very hard men…

Not to get too personal, but the men’s mental health issue is obviously something that you and the band are very passionate about.  Does the song address things that you, or somebody close to you has gone through?

One of my very very good mates that I looked up to committed suicide when we were very young. And it’s always fucked with me. He just seemed so strong and together. I’ve seen it at home, on job sites and I’ve seen it in the music industry. Mental health is not something to take lightly.

The video for Black Rain opens with you narrating some startling facts which really helps to hammer home the songs subject matter, and turns it into quite a confronting piece.  Was that always the plan?

The video wasn’t even a plan until we recorded the stats in the studio. Once we felt the enormity of the stats, there was no ifs or buts – it needed to be a video.

There has been a lot of support for Black Rain, that must be very gratifying?

The amount of people that have reached out to say the video has helped is absolutely amazing. I’m super happy that we are able to help people through our music.

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How does the band plan to follow it up?

At the moment we are putting together another video for “On the Run” which should be released around Feb/March.

Will we see an EP or album in the near future?

We have a completed recording – a 5 track EP that includes, Home and Black Rain. You can also get those 2 tracks on all your usual platforms. Spotify, iTunes and both the YouTube videos.

I see that you have quite a few gigs coming up, are there any that you would like to plug here?

We have a ripper show in Victoria at The Tote on December 22 for The Australian Tattoo Show.  This will be a stonker of a show.  Then there’s Rock Stock Riot in March. Other than that, we are writing like crazy and hoping to push more interstate and overseas shows in the future.

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What has been the biggest achievement for PistonFist thus far? And what would you like to achieve?

As far as big achievements go, I’m proud of quite a few.  Helping people is amazing, and our first year playing at Outmoshyama festival. Halloween Hysteria and Dead of Winter was absolutely amazing. Hard work definitely pays off.

There’s also Oaf – fill us in on that project.  What are the plans going forward? 

Although OAF was put a little on the back burner, myself and Wazz have put down bass and drums, on some demos so we will definitely keep walking forward. Hopefully some shows early next year.

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So, you’re a family man, you play in two bands and you run a tattoo shop, which we’ll talk about in a minute.  You are a very busy dude!  How do you juggle it all?  

As far as time goes, I have no idea how I do it. My wife is amazing, as are my kids. And I’m lucky enough to own my own tattoo studio that has amazing artists and friends that really do make it easy for me. And sleep may be a little overrated.

A1D026C3-DE8E-45DA-9129-530B5B751935Shifting gears away from music, you’re also a very talented tattoo artist.  How did you get in to that line of work?

I’ve always wanted to be a Tattooer and I didn’t do a traditional apprenticeship-  I actually managed a studio and then went from there.  I worked for very little in my week off from the mines to learn, and I still draw a shitload. It’s definately a job you have to love. The hours are ridiculous.

 

 

As an artist, what inspires you most?

Everything inspires me, my peers, pop culture, music, death, life.

Is there a particular style that you most enjoy tattooing?

So much stuff.  I really like tattoo dark horror, biomech, and black and grey realism.

Tattoo horror stories – you must have a few, whether it’s a terrible client, or somebody wanting a design that you’re not comfortable with..

There’s been a few horror stories some fun, some very serious. A couple of passouts, a whole bunch of “can you fix this, a mate bought a gun of eBay”. Every artist will have similar stories. I still have some old school values when it comes to tattoos, (not that I’m right or wrong). I just won’t tattoo “jobstoppers”  (hands, face, neck) unless I know you, or I know your job is reasonably secure.

On the other hand, what’s been your best moment as a tattooist?

My best moment in tattooing would be as easy as getting a little recognition from your peers, and the stoked client walking out the door. That’s a win.

Do you have any tattoo conventions coming up that you would like to plug?

There is always a bunch of conventions worth coming to. All the Aus tattoo conventions are pretty good, and seem to be getting better every year. South East Queensland tattoo and arts show and Ink Attack are both awesome, and the Australian tattoo show in Victoria will be a ripper. 22 dec!

Before we end it, give your shop a plug..

I tattoo out of Brisbane Bodyart, so pop in and say hello if you’re up this way.

Thanks so much for your time today.  I look forward to meeting you in Melbourne in a few weeks.

Thanks heaps Noise Pollution!
See ya soon!
Look After Ya Mates!!

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