1995 - Hit Music
Author: Cameron Adams
Featuring: Chris Cheney
Green Day have given The Living End a ticket to ride.
What do you do when you have three tickets to a sold out Green Day show? If you're Melbourne trio The Living End, you give your tickets to your parents. Despite cueing up for the tickets to see their favourite band as soon as they went on sale, The Living End suddenly had no need for them. Green Day had selected the band to support them around Australia on their recent tour.
"We sent a video and a T-shirt to their management in the States," explains 19-year-old Living End frontman Chris Cheney.
"Billie (Joe Armstrong) said he liked it because we didn't sound like NoFX; we were different."
The sold out Australian tour gave The Living End an instant profile, scoring not only the approval of thousands of Green Day fans but the million selling punk rockers themselves.
"They approached us at the first sound check in Brisbane and introduced themselves," says Cheney of Green Day.
"They were really nice. They don't understand why they're so popular; they're just doing what they've always done."
The Living End began life as the Runaway Boys, a Stray Cats tribute band.
"It's hard to start a band and start playing originals straightaway; everyone wants to hear covers," Cheney says.
"The Stray Cats were a huge influence on us."
While the Runaway Boys had a huge, diehard rockabilly following, Cheney says, "as soon as we started putting in originals they (the diehards) started to drop off".
Since going original they've battled against being pigeon-holed because of their striking image.
"We try not to put ourselves into that rockabilly genre," Cheney says.
"We've really pushed to attract different people to our shows. we're influenced by so many styles of music and we've noticed that we appeal to a wide audience."
Supports for local bands like the Fireballs and the Sharp - Cheney wrote a song with bassist Allan Catlin and recorded at his studio - have developed into stage-warming slots for Green Day, the Supersuckers and the upcoming tour by another Living End favourite, the Reverand Horton Heat.
"Supports are good," Cheney explains. "There's not as much pressure. If it's a bad night then it wasn't our gig. If it's a good gig then we've won over a new crowd."
The first Living End EP Hellbound, an uncompromising mixture of punk pop and rockabilly, already is into its second pressing.
It's success hasn't gone unnoticed, with major record companies already starting to woo them.