1997.09 - Opus
Date: Septermber 1997
Featuring: Chris Cheney & Scott Owen
The full version of an article I wrote for Opus, my Uni's Newspaper, on 30th August, 1997.
I am sure that these boys must be getting a bit tired by now. They are about to take their passionate rockabilly back out on the road for their fourth tour of the eastern states this year already and something about them is telling me that they will back again. But, as if that wouldn't be enough to tire out all any regular person, they are also about to release their third EP. Despite the wonders of modern technology I managed to have a chat to the Living End's Scott Owen, who plays double bass.
You guys have been on the road a fair bit this year. Are you guys like gluttons for punishment?
We are at the moment. I'm sitting in the van at the moment on the way to Portland. We played Adelaide last night and.... yeah, we are on our way to Portland at the moment to start another of those east coast tours with Bodyjar. So yeah we are gluttons for punishment.
So when was the last time you had a break?
Well, we haven't done much for the last couple of months. We did a few gigs a couple of weeks ago, but before that we had a huge break, because we had a tour... well, to come up to Sydney but we had to blow out all the shows. Thats all we had planned so we've just done nothing except record.
Last year you got to support Green Day. What was that like?
Yeah, it was excellent. Was that last year? (voices from the van - "Last February.") Yeah it was pretty good.
I imagine it was a little different this year when you supported Blink 182?
That was another good one as well. They were mostly all ages gigs, so they were all full.... they were basically all sold out, they got stacks of people.
What's the rockabilly scene like down in Melbourne?
There isn't really one. Oh.... there is a bit. It started up, over about the last six months its started to fire up again. There's a few more bands that have started touring and started playing together. There's a couple of nights a week where you can go to see a couple of rockabilly bands play. But it seems to be coming back again, that's another thing. They used to have a big gig on Sundays, hopefully that will start happening again. But for the last couple of years there's just be nothing. But for some reason its seems to be starting up again.
"It's for your own good" spent six months in the charts. That must have surprised you a bit?
Yeah, I know that was a huge surprise. We didn't realise until it had been number 1 for about four weeks or something, and we just went "oh shit", it's unbelievable. And it just stayed there.
Do you think Triple J had anything to do with it?
Oh yeah! Definitely. It had everything to do with it, go the J's.
It was at this point that technology let us down and Scott's mobile cut out. However all was not in vain as Chris Cheney, the guitarist and lead singer, kindly provided the encore.
How did you score the "Live at the Wireless" set earlier this year?
Basically just through our publicist. We wanted to do one for ages and we used to like ring them and stuff. Eventually we sort of got through and just because of the success of 'From here on in', they just sort of went "yeah, cool" why not. That was pretty good fun.
It's not like everyone gets to do one.
No, thats right. We were pretty lucky actually to have that. Good exposure.
Well you got good exposure from Triple J anyway. They flogged 'From Here On In' to death.
Yeah, I know.... total overkill. It's good but it's a bit of a one hit wonder type thing. Now everyone expects us to play just that song now. I mean it's good but we have got other songs as well. Yeah, it would have been good to get some of the other songs off the EP out there.
You also played Recovery a couple of months ago. What's it like having to get up at nine in the morning?
Not easy. It's a bit of tricky one but once you're up, you're up.
I have just been having a listen to the new EP 'Second Solution'. Sounds pretty good, especially the lead track.
You like that one?
It's sort of a blend of like..... 'It's for your own good' had a higher tempo then 'Hellbound'. This ones just sort a blend of both of those so it sounds heaps good.
Oh that's good. Thanks! I hope it's come across that way because the last EP came off sounding very sort of punky, you know. Everyone thought we were like this four piece band who were into the Offspring and stuff. Whereas 'Hellbound' was very sort of rockabilly, so, we just got to define that blend between our two favourite influences.
Certainly with the last one you started to draw comparisons with the Fireballs a fair bit. The first EP was more relaxed and it sounded more individual.
We get compared to them all time, it's a bit of a pain really. I mean we come from the same backgrounds but there just a lot more metal than we are. There a lot more into riffy type things, whereas were more into writing catchy songs I guess. More of a punk type influence.
Where did you guys write most of your songs?
I just wrote them really in my bedroom. Yeah, that's where they all come from.
Did you consider renaming 'Prisoner of Society' because of the similar title to 'Prisoner (on the inside)'?
No, I wrote 'Prisoner of Society' a little while ago now and then when we recorded them they came out really good. Then we thought lets try and make this almost like a concept EP thing, we wanted the whole type prisoner type theme. Someone just said "you should do a cover of the Prisoner theme" and we went no, no...... bit above our league, I don't think we're one for ballads. But we just had a bit of a muck around with it and it turned out good so we just recorded it.
The EP includes tracks from the 'Live at the Wireless' session. What was the motivation behind that?
For a couple of reasons. I think a lot of people who bought the last one wouldn't know about 'Hellbound', so its just a couple of songs off it that they wouldn't have heard. We kind of like the way those songs came out for the 'Live at the Wireless', pretty rough round the edges, but there's a lot of energy there. I just think it's good to put as much variety on an EP as possible so what's better than a couple of live songs.
Got any plans for an album?
Hopefully recording in December, and we'll have it out in January.
You guys were up here earlier this year to play some gigs with the Porkers. How was that?
Yeah they were good. It's good playing with Porkers because they get a mixed kind of crowd. Obviously they're like ska influenced band but they get just a diverse kind of crowd, it's really good. That's what we're sort of after.
Certainly when you were up here with Blink 182 the punk crowd didn't take to you too well.
No, I don't think they know what too think really. I think it's because as I said 'From Here On In'... everyone was sort of thought we were trying to be this big punk band or something, but we weren't really, it's just a bloody rockabilly band sort of playing fast. So I think when people get it and understand what were on about they will like it a bit more. Just for what we do and who we are.
The current "Nervous Wreckage" tour with Bodyjar. Is it true you are playing 20 shows in about 30 days?
Something like that. Yeah it's pretty full on. We haven't done a tour this big before, the most we have ever done is probably seven or eight gigs in a row. So this is our first sort of major tour type thing. I think it will be pretty hard, but it will be a good work out.
When you come to Newcastle on the 17th of September, you're in support of Suicidal Tendencies. That seems like a bizarre match up.
Yeah, it does a bit. But our drummer is like, it's his favourite band, which is kind of weird. They're his all time favourite, and he thinks it will go really well because we've just really want to appeal to Suicidal Tendencies fans and everyone right across the board. And they're pretty diverse, so, it could work alright. We don't like playing with any particular style.
You were originally distributed by Shock but are now with MDS. How did they notice you?
They saw us at a Man or Astroman gig, ages ago, way before even 'Hellbound' or anything, they wanted to sign us then but we went with Shock. We spoke with MDS about the second one and they seemed the better option so we went with them on that one.
What are you plans for the rest of the year?
Just to record in December basically, and get it out in January. All we have to do is a lot of touring obviously and just do this recording.
Another full on tour?
I don't know. Maybe.... it would be good to do a headline of our own.
You play a lot of all ages shows. Do you prefer them to the pub gigs?
About the same really. The all ages are pretty good because they can get pretty crazy but then again so can the over 18 ones. There's no real difference really. Whether you have got an underage crowd with no alcohol they still go off or an overage crowd with alcohol.
"Second Solution" was out on September 8 on Rapido thru MDS.