2000.07.16 - Back Row 'Zine
Back Row 'Zine
Date: 16th July 2000
Author: Bill Dame
Featuring: Scott Owen
The Living End
This interview was done at this year’s warped tour, in Asbury Park, NJ.; The interview was done with upright bassist Scott Owen. For those who don’t know The Living End, let me describe them for you. Take that song from the gap khakis commercial (Jump jive and wail… by the Brian Setzer Orchestra) and take away all the horns. Then take away Brian Setzer’s voice and replace it with Billy Joe’s from Green Day. Add some punk rifts, and the occasional ska chord to get The Living End. It was a pleasure talking with Scott. His Australian accent made it a little hard to understand him at times, but overall this was a blast.
So this isn’t your first time in the U.S.A., when else have you come out here?
We came out last year, for like the first 2 weeks of warped tour. We just did the West Coast, and then we spent sometime in LA
So how do you like America? Does anything stand out about it?
The weather’s different! It’s winter a lot. But no, its pretty much the same. We’ve done festivals like this, and we did the Offspring tour. We’ve done tours like that; I think its all kind of the same. When you get a room full of kids jumping up and down it pretty much looks the same, no matter what nationality they are.
What were some of the music artists you listen to going through high school?
Going through school I was pretty much a standard regular “Top 40” guy. I listened to a lot of the good ol’ Aussie rock bands… Midnight Oil, and AcDc and all that. And then later on when I came out of high school is when I really started getting into rockabilly. Just a really narrow-minded rockabilly fan. I loved the Stray Cats, and just all the 50’s stuff. And Elvis, and Buddy Holly
How long have you guys been a band for?
Me and Chris, the guy who plays guitar, we’ve been doing this since High School. It’s been like seven years for us. Band wise we’ve been doing this stuff for last four or five years.
Who was the first major band you went on tour with?
First major band we went on tour with was Green Day! That was awesome! Absolutely amazing.
They have a song that’s got a little rockabilly in it… “Hitching a ride”
Maybe you guys wore off on them?
I hope so. That would be an absolute honour if they ever said that. Yea, we were just huge fans of that band, and we haven’t really been that far out of our own state. We were just playing around our local scene. We just sent them a tape and somehow, thank god, they picked us and took us out on the road with them. They just treated us so well; it was
an awesome tour.
You watch the Simpson's at all? What’s your favourite episode?
Let me think about that. I guess it would be the one when Bart goes to Australia. Getting in trouble with the Australians. Remember that? He wants to find out if the water really flushes the other way. Cause there are some really bad Australian impersonations (laughs). I like it for that reason.
Your music seems to have a bunch of different genres combined together to get an overall original sound. How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it before?
I’d say its somewhere in the middle of rockabilly, punk, pop, and rock & roll. Those four pretty much.
Are there any bands you got compared to a lot?
Well we got a lot of comparisons to the Stray Cats, obviously, cause they’re a strait paced band with a double bass, and a Gretsch guitar. We got a lot of comparisons to the Reverend Horton Heat, for the same reason.
Does Chris with his voice get a lot of comparisons to Billy Joe (Green Day)?
He does a little bit, which ya’ know is a good thing. Billy Joe is fuckin’, a great singer. So it’s a good thing.
You’re on warped tour, and so is Frenzal Rhomb. Is there a friendship between you two… since you’re both from Australia?
We’ve done a lot of gigs together. We play festivals and Frenzal is always there. So we get along with them pretty well, they’re good drinking partners.
Funny tour stories (always a favourite question… in case you couldn’t tell!)
Not really, not really. We’re lame, we’re just quiet. We sit on the bus and just watch videos, and drink beers.
Where did you guys get the name, The Living End, from?
Have you ever seen that movie, Rock Around the Clock? It’s at the end of that, like living pops at the end of it. And we were like, “wow, what a cool name for a band. Let’s use that, lets steal it!”
The song, West End Riot, is that based on a true story?
No, not really. It’s just a fictional story. These 2 kids who grow up in different areas. There’s no class difference between them, and they don’t care what each other does. They’re just friends cause they live across the way from each other. And then all of a sudden when they grow up, one becomes a lawyer and the other becomes a janitor…they can’t hang out anymore.
Have you heard of the band, Shades Apart? And are you aware they cover “tainted love” too?
I’ve heard of them. And do they really? I heard they were really hard, heavy band.
Does that make you mad?
No, I like it. I like it a lot. We’ve been covering that song since we were a rockabilly band. It’s been five or six years we’ve been playing that song. We still love it.
Fire in your house, and you can only take 3 CD’s with you. What are they?
Whooaaa! Beatles, Revolver. Um… Stray Cats, Runaway Boys… and Midnight Oil, Head Injuries.