October 26th 2010
Axis of Awesome Interview
Written by Dan Collacott
Music and comedy have had an uneasy relationship over the years, when it's good it's usually out of this world but mostly it sits in the ripped Lidyl bag marked 'bad to indifferent', too often you find yourself cringing when a loved stand up comedian reaches for his or her acoustic guitar mid set. But thanks to those talented Oz trio The Axis of Awesome - comedy music is in vogue again, picking up from were neighboring comic folk duo The Flight of the Concords left off!
After their ‘4 Chord Song’ became the highest rated comedy video of all time on Youtube (15 million hits), The Axis of Awesome were catapulted into the musical comedy stratosphere and haven’t looked back since. They have blown audiences away all over the world, performing at the prestigious invite-only Montreal Just for Laughs Festival as well as three sold out seasons at the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Fringe. Their catchy songs and quirky humour win over new audiences every night including Hollywood’s Ashton Kutcher who recently joined their list of ever increasing fans, Tweeting “I'm watching "Axis Of Awesome" and it is AWESOME with an A+”
After recently appearing on GMTV and Scott Mills Radio 1 show, The Axis of Awesome are now ready to unleash their award winning live show ‘Songs in the Key of Awesome’ on the spending cut depressed UK.
I had the privilege of catching up with band front man Jordan Raskopoulos, star of the Australian stage and screen, classically trained, musical virtuoso Benny Davis (on keys) and expert improviser Lee Naimo (guitar) to talk all things freaking AWESOME!
LF: What music and comedy have you recently found awesome?
Jordan: Music wise I've been listening to a lot of Dragonforce lately. I don't really like metal but I like Dragonforce. I like to imagine that if Vikings were alive today they'd listen to Dragonforce too. Comedy wise I've been revisiting Red Dwarf it's been nostalgic.
Lee: Music - I've been listening to a lot of taps dripping (all tuned to different pitches so it makes a random tune) and for my comedy fix I intend to just watch the news with the volume off and pretend the stories are all about funny things like water balloons and Jabba the Hut.
Benny: Most of the comedy I've been watching recently has been Mitchell and Webb's work, like their sketch show and Peep Show and their radio plays that I heard on a plane. The only music I listen to these days is my own. I've heard enough from everyone else.
LF: What made you get into comedy?
Jordan: An enormous ego and a lack of real world skills or job prospects.
Lee: He held my head under water until I agreed to do his comedy bidding.
Benny: Jordan and Lee. They were very persuasive.
LF: What are your top five most awesome songs of all time?
Jordan: Pink Floyd ‘Wish you were here’, The Beatles Fool on the Hill, Oasis-Don't look back in anger, Dragonforce-Cry for eternity, Arcade Fire-Wake up.
Lee: Ventura Highway by America, Horse With No Name by America, Sister Golden Hair by America, You Can Do Magic by America, That new song by Justin Bieber.
Benny: Everything is Alright - Stevie Wonder, Everything is Alright – Fourtet, Everything is Alright - Motion City Soundtrack, Everything is Alright - Jesus Christ Superstar Soundtrack, Rockabye (Everything's Gonna Be Alright) - Sean Mullins.
LF: What was the inspiration behind Four Chords Song? (Did Lee really come up with it whilst reading on the toilet?)
Jordan: Ask Benny.
Lee: Ask Jordan.
Benny: Ask Lee.
LF: Do you think between yourselves and Flight of the Concords you have made comedy music cool again?
Jordan: Sure, why not.
Lee: No. Musical comedy will never be cool. If you're looking for cool comedy, try prop and wig comedy. It's super-hip!
Benny: No, just more popular. I don't think it'll ever be as cool as serious music. On the celebrity scale, music comedians are ranked just below celebrity chefs and just above celebrity gardeners.
LF: What was your favourite comedy/comedians growing up?
Jordan: I loved Robin Williams, Monty python and Tom Green.
Lee: Shaun Micallef (Aussie comedian), Monty Python, a bit of Tripod (Aussie musical comedy trio) and that new song by Justin Bieber.
Benny: The Simpsons, Monty Python and Robin Williams. They were pretty much the only ones doing anything back then. There's a lot more stuff to choose from these days.
LF: What is your best or worst heckle or crowd participation ever encountered?
Jordan: Someone once threw a knife at me. I caught it with my teeth and then kicked the guy's head off.
Lee: 'Shut up! Boo! You Suck!' delivered to me nightly on stage by Benny.
Benny: When Jordan said that we'd been a band for 70 years and some guy corrected him because he said 80 years just before. Boy he got our number. And the joke.
LF: What is your favourite part of Britain to tour?
Jordan: Edinburgh. It's the only part we've toured so far
Lee: The Swedish part.
LF: What are your plans for the future?
Jordan: Investing in anything with lasers in it.
Lee: Build a flying car and sell it to the Swiss.
Benny: ...tour Britain.
LF: What is the most Awesome British food or alcoholic beverage you have had?
Jordan: A black beards revenge. Sailor Jerry's, coke and Guinness. 'Omnomnomnom'.
Lee: Spaghetti and meatballs.
Benny: Haggis, for all the bad press it gets I loved it. That's British, right?
LF: Who will win the Ashes?
Lee: Tommy Cooper.
Benny: I think my step sister, we've been arguing over who gets to keep Dad's ashes for quite a while. Since he was cremated, in fact. I think in the end we'll compromise and scatter them in the ocean.
LF: Do you ever prank each other on tour?
Jordan: All the time. Lee still doesn't know where we've hidden his testicles.
Lee: No, we hold each other in the highest regard and would never play pranks on or make fun of each other. That said I am missing my testicles if you've seen them?
LF: If you could tour or work with any band who would it be?
Jordan: Probably those guys who sang Afternoon Delight.
Lee: The Muppet band. Their skills are beyond comparison.
Benny: Anyone but this one.
Renowned the world over for their hilarious live show, Australia’s biggest comedy band, The Axis of Awesome will be performing for one night only at London’s Bush Hall on Thursday November 4th. You can be a part of history in the by catch the boys at their first ever live London show:
To book your ticket please call 08432 210 100 or book online here or visit https://www.hmvtickets.com/performances/5385/book