Head Like A Hole are nothing less than rock royalty in New Zealand, and no one understands that more than life-long fan, one-time roadie and now their guitarist, Andrew Ashton.
The Auckland musician (formerly from the band Larry Normans) replaced Tom Watson when HLAH set out to make their last record, 2011's Blood Will Out. And he's still pinching himself that he gets to play and tour with a group he still remembers head banging to at the Powerstation in his early 20s.
"It's a thrill to play with a band you grew up loving. I do feel like I'm a member of this band, but I always have that perspective as a fan as well. It is a weird dynamic."
HLAH's current tour takes them across both islands and will end in Auckland next weekend. It follows the recent release of Narcocorrido, a record of stonking, in-your-face tunes like The Great Wall, Creedence and The Art Of War.
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The album was made through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, testament to just how popular with fans this legacy Kiwi rock act is.
"Someone was saying to me just the other day, 'You funded this album with donations'," says Ashton. "But it's not. It's not donations. You're buying the album up front and in return you get your name in the liner notes, signed poster and stuff. It's just the way of the future. And it does show that there are fans out there that wanted to hear the album, because they fronted up and we're super grateful for that."
In keeping with the band's modus operandi, the new songs are designed to be played loud - very loud - which is exactly what the band will do on this tour. And as anyone who's ever braved a HLAH mosh pit will tell you, crowds should prepare for scenes of pandemonium.
Ashton has fond, if not a little hazy, memories, of being on the punter's side of the stage. He knows just how messy it can be. "There are stories I could tell, but I'm not going to," he laughs.
Besides these days, he's got a job to do and it's one he takes very seriously. "We're at a point now where we're at the business end of the stick. It is fun touring and being on the road but you've got to have your game on. The first tour, I got pretty munted at one show and I f***ed it up and I've never done that again. I felt sick. You can't do that."
But there's nothing stopping fans from going hard. "They're an enthusiastic crowd. There's always an element of danger there," Ashton chuckles.
Head Like A Hole are touring with 8 Foot Sativa and will be at Galatos in Auckland on August 8. For more tour dates visit headlikeahole.co.nz