1995 - Indie Magazine
Author: L.B. Bermingham
Featuring: Chris Cheney
Hellbound And Loving It
The face of modern music changes so rapidly these days. It seems that every year there's the new taste, the new big sound. Most of these are recycled in one way or another, from Britpop to Grunge to the new punk revival. These new trends have brought with them a truck load of bandwagon jumpers, all doing 'their own thing' which sounds just like everyone else's 'own thing'. In a time of music which is same-ish enter the Living End. Their roots and influences are obvious, but the sound is something different. L.B. Beringham spoke with Living End guitarist/vocalist Chris Cheney about the imminent launch of their debut CD Hellbound.
The Living End are best described as a rockabilly band, at times bordering on punk and at others on psychobilly. The music is more than reminiscent of the great days of the Stray Cats and the enigmatic tones of the Reverend Horton Heat. This is a band that will not, can not, avoid comparisons.
When I first saw them they were commanding a huge audience as a support act for Green Day. At that time I thought the band embodied a combination of that fifties rockabilly style with a seventies punk mentality and nineties music mentality. As a CD, Hellbound maintains that kind of definition rather well.
"I've been into the 50's rock and roll since year seven," says Cheney. "And from there we just got into rockabilly and that was cool but we wanted to do something a little bit different with it. My parents had records around the house and it just went from there," he adds.
But sitting around the house jamming just wasn't ever going to be enough for this band, and although they had been playing around the local traps, they were eager for that big break. They decided to send their tape to Green Day's management on the eve of their Australian tour and what ensued was like a dream come true for the band.
"We just sent a bio to a couple of promoters," Cheney explains. "And then we sent one to America to Green Day's mailing address. When we met them (Green Day), Billy was saying that he got a tape from their manager and he really liked us because we didn't sound like NoFX or the Offspring, because we were something different." So the Living End joined Green Day on a national tour, showing their wares to huge crowds of enthusiastic kids, and doing it like consummate professionals. "I've never been so nervous in my life," says Cheney. "We felt sick before we went on and we thought they'd be die-hard Green Day fans that would eat us alive. But we didn't want to show that we were scared because we thought that if we did that they'd just start chanting Green Day," he says.
The Living End showed no fear with those shows and won themselves a very neat following to boot. Now the Green Day tour is finished and The Living End have returned to the venues that have been their home since their inception. It's time for them to continue with their own shows and in fact to launch their debut CD which is out now through Shock Records. Hellbound is an eight track rockabilly feast with a comfortable familiarity about it that makes it equally accessible to inner city and the suburban audiences.
"I guess I just think it's relevant because it's what we are into,"says Cheney. "We notice that we play to wide audiences and that the majority of genres seem to get into it. We're not purely influenced by rockabilly. We've been into English punk for quite a while, like the Clash and Sex Pistols."
But in spite of their obvious influences, The Living End are neither punk nor rockabilly in their purest forms. They are a hybrid, a bastardisation of timeless style which serves them well. Live they are an awesome force with upright bass, upright drumming and upright hair. The stage personas of these three leaves you thinking they must have had years of experience and yet they are only relatively new to the music scene. Whatever your prefernce in music, you'll find something that satisfies you when you see The Living End.