2001.06 - Guitar World
Date: June 2001
Featuring: Chris Cheney
Living End: Overpowered By Punk
Chris Cheney's earliest guitar encounters - parentally mandated group lessons when he was six - weren't particularly auspicious.
"I hated it," says the frontman for the Australia punk rock group The Living End. "The Lessons were held at my school during lunchtime and I just wanted to be outside playing soccer with the other kids."
It wasn't until high school that Cheney found the inspiration he lacked as a youngster. After discovering classic fifties rock, he signed on with a couple of guitar teachers, who introduced him to folks like Chet Atkins and Eddie Cochran. Later, when he formed The Living End with bassist Scott Owen and drummer Travis Demsey, the trio's rockabilly focus was inspired by those artists, but after gigging on their home turf, in Melbourne, the boys began to beef up their sound.
"We'd play as passionately and aggressively as the punk bands," says Cheney, "and everyone started calling us punks."
While echoes of the Clash and the Sex Pistols resonate throughout the band's second album Roll On (Reprise), the record also packs a metallic edge - an element that's more pronounced when the band plays live. Cheney's juicy riffage and brash attack often recall another Aussie group - namely, AC/DC. In fact, last year the Living End landed the opening slot on the Aussie leg of AC/DC's Stiff Upper Lip tour, and the vets gave Cheney some advice that he took to heart when the Living End set out on its first headlining American tour.
"They said, 'Whatever you do, just keep playing. We were playing a long time before we got on the charts and we'll be playing a long time after,' " says Cheney. "At the moment we're happy. Every show has been sold out and we've had really receptive audiences. That's what it's about at the end of the day."
GUITARS: Gretsch White Falcon, Duo Jet and Firebird.
AMP: Wizard Modern Classic.
STRINGS: Ernie Ball.
CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: Hot Rod Guitar - The Danny Gatton Anthology.
ALL TIME FAVORITE ALBUMS: The Clash - London Calling.