2003.10 - Oz Music Project

Oz Music Project

Date: October 2003
Author: Daniel Smith
Featuring: Chris Cheney


An Interview with The Living End

As one of Australia’s proudest exports and a band who pride themselves on their high energy live shows and proficient musicality, Chris Cheney from The Living End took time out of his busy Livid preparations to chat to Oz Music Projects Daniel Smith about the groups’ downtime, playing overseas and some of his favourite Livid moments.

Australia hasn’t seen much of The Living End since your comeback Big Day Out shows earlier this year. Fill us in on the happenings over the past 6 months.
"After finishing up the Big Day Out we headed to the States to start recording album #3. We tracked it at Ocean studios with Mark Trombino taking over production duties. We stayed at the Burbank Holiday Inn where after hour (long) drinking sessions usually consisted of watching BAD Karaoke in the hotel bar. After coming back to OZ we played a couple of shows up in Darwin and Alice (Springs) followed by the Splendour in the Grass at Byron Bay which we filmed for a possible DVD release. From there we went to Japan which was as fun and crazy as ever. It really is the best place to tour or visit. We then went back to America to do a film clip for the first single "Who's gonna save us?" and complete the artwork for the album. After a week and much deliberation we got a cover we liked before scooting to the airport for the flight home. Since then we've completed all the artwork and are getting ready for the TLE tour bus to depart.....first stop Livid!"

As this is the second year that Livid is showcasing in Sydney and Melbourne, did the lure of playing in your hometown have any say in your acceptance to join Livid this year?
"To be completely honest...no. We played it (Livid) when it was only a Brissy festival and it was such a good gig and great day that we are just chuffed to be on the bill. The fact that we get to play in Melbourne is just a bonus. I prefer touring over one off shows so this is like a mini tour."

After spending your core group existence with drummer Travis Dempsey, has The Living End changed in anyway since playing with Andy Strachan?
"I'd be crazy if I said it hadn’t altered the chemistry in any way. I think it would be insulting both Trav and Andy’s drumming and input if I said nothing had changed. Someone outside of the band could probably give a better answer because we are all so close to what we are doing. The thing I do know is that… with Andy on board we are playing really well as a unit and I feel although it’s still early days, we’ve done some of our best gigs and made our strongest album to date."

Do you find yourselves now making up for lost time after such a hiatus with injuries and break-ups?
"I think we all feel we have some thing to prove or maybe it’s just a state of mind. One thing that the hiatus did was make us hungry to pick up where we left off. We had just finished touring Roll On in Europe in August 2001 and everything was getting to the stage of (us) taking it for granted and we were getting used to travelling and playing every day. After having a break for this long has made us appreciate how lucky we are to have the best job in the world."

As your new album "MODERN ARTillery" is to be released on Monday October 13, what do you hope to achieve with your Livid shows?
"Considering what we have been through over the last couple of years I guess its only fitting that we release it on the 13th. We will be out to achieve at the Livid shows what were always out to achieve.....enjoy it and play our arses off! We are excited at playing some new songs but we are just looking forward to playing full stop."

Do you think that as your album will not be released in time for Sydney and Melbourne Livid goers, that this will have any hindrance on your set?
"I hope not!! We will just play and do our thing and if people like what they hear then I'm sure they'll wait and get the album when it comes out. I don’t mind playing songs that not everyone is going to know but I think people will be expecting a few newies after this long. We’re going to mix it up a bit."

After playing shows overseas and being away from friends, families and your fans, what does it mean to each of you coming back home and playing to Australian audiences again?
"Playing to an Australian audience for me means two things, pressure and recognition. The pressure side is that because were more well known in Australia, I think the audience is harder to impress the more familiar they are with you. But a bit of nervous energy never hurt anyone. The recognition side is that we have the advantage of several well known songs so sometimes it makes it easier to get the audience worked up. It’s always an advantage when you play to people who want to see you, no matter what country it is."

What's been your fondest Livid memory so far?
"My first introduction to Livid wasn’t the fondest! We were to be on the main stage around midday and were pretty amped about playing to probably our biggest audience thus far. Just before we went on stage the Double Bass was found to be in two pieces which is never a good thing. Thanks to some crafty use of gaffa tape and a borrowed Gadfly bass (thanks again) it turned out to be a magic show and it’s often the gigs that start out disastrous that are the most memorable."

What would you claim as the best show at Livid and why?
"Playing after No Doubt and before Green Day was pretty cool. Bonus seeing the Cure........sort of."

What's been your most embarrassing memory of Livid thus far?
"Not being allowed back on stage to see The Cure after going for a beer with Adam from Bugdust Come to think of it, that was more annoying than embarrassing."

What's been the funniest thing you've seen at Livid over the years?
"Adam Cole's face after being told we couldn’t get back on stage."

What's been the greatest performance you'd say you've seen over the years at Livid?
"I loved Something for Kate’s version of "Won’t back down" by Tom Petty last year. They were great. Green Day were pretty darn rockin' a couple of years back. The Dropkick Murphy’s played a typical kick arse set last year and won a bunch of new fans. I can’t pick one in particular."

What would you never play Livid without?

So make sure you follow Chris’s advice for this years Livid, and take along plenty of sunscreen, a hat and, oh yes, shoes. However, one thing that shouldn’t be on your “Things-to-miss at Livid” list is The Living End on the Main Stage, for the explosive return of a true Australian talent.

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