2016.06.01 - FasterLouder


Date: 1st June 2016
Author: Unknown
Featuring: Chris Cheney


Archived from: http://fasterlouder.junkee.com/...

We got The Living End’s Chris Cheney to interview Ben Marwe from Bad//Dreems

It has been five years since the last album from The Living End, but the kings of Australian rock and roll have finally returned with their seventh album, Shift. They’re taking the record on the road later this month with support from Adelaide pub rock heroes BAD//DREEMS and 131’s – the new band for former King Cannons frontman Luke Yeoward.
In the lead up to those dates The Living End’s Chris Cheney and Ben Marwe from Bad//Dreems interviewed each other about classic Aussie rock, pre-show rituals, Superman movies and being mistaken for Ron Jeremy.

Chris Cheney interviews Ben Marwe

When did you last hear a song you wish you’d written?
I listen to it all the time. Bob Dylan’s ‘I Was Young When I Left Home.’ A song many people wouldn’t have heard, including me, until the No Direction Home soundtrack was released. A classic bootleg from a man with the holy spirit… not Jesus or nothin’, just Robert at his unique best.

What did you learn from working with Mark Opitz? I know you’ve worked with Woody Annison before who just did our new record. Mark’s done a lot of classic Aussie albums [including INXS’ Shabooh Shoobah, Models’ Out Of Mind Out Of Sight, Hoodoo Gurus’ What’s My Scene, and Australian Crawl’s Reckless] – is that what drew you to working with him?
I was a spring chicken when we went in to record with Mark and Colin Wynne (the best engineer in the country, and nicest man I’ve ever met). It was daunting and I didn’t know shit from clay, but they didn’t judge. They have this uncanny ability to let a band be a band, and they allow you to find your strengths and weaknesses via the recording process. If someone needs to step in, they do, otherwise they guide you through the process to create something everybody is satisfied with.
Alex (guitarist) found Mark’s book, Sophistopunk, when we were thinking about producers and we all read it, so he got in touch with Mark who was balls deep in the INXS television series, and next thing we were recording with him. Obviously Mr Opitz (Pappa), belongs to a pedigree of Australian rock music and we saw him as somebody who would allow us to create a product we felt had been lost in the modernity of music. Crisp production meets the underdone… it’s like a good chef getting fired from Jamie’s Italian and getting a job at the local pub, and the spag bog still tastes alright.

Who started the kiss on the shoulder pre-show ritual and was it weird the first time? Why do you not have a song called ‘Kiss On The Shoulder’?
There is lots of speculation about this one. I used to play footy with a mate named George who claims he invented it. Another friend Angus says he invented it. I hate them both and we’re no longer friends. But the tradition of the pre-show kiss on the shoulder will live long and will remain an integral part of the warm up. In regards to the song… I’m onto it Mr Cheney… by Christ am I onto it.

You guys sound very Australian which is a fantastic thing. How important is that? When TLE began we listened to a lot of American roots music and English punk and tried to emulate those sounds more so than what happening here in Aus.
Sounding Australian isn’t something we consciously think about when writing. We are Australian. We grew up here. I’m not going to put on an accent when singing although we do focus very heavily on Australian culture and history in our lyrics. Also, there are countless bands from this country that perhaps flew under the radar on the world stage that deserve international praise. The song writing of Don Walker, the guitar work of Steve Connelly, the passion of Dave McComb, and the “fuck you” vocals of Chris Bailey or Steve Lucas.
There is something very special about this geographically isolated continent that few bands have been able to capture since that golden era, from Eddy Current to The Drones… I guess we’re just trying to put a little bit of swagger back into what our Australian forefathers (and mothers) left behind. By the way, Chrissy Amphlett carves the aforementioned to pieces when it comes to show-womanship.

Encore or no?
Encores are like men with no hands, only certain people can pull them off.

Ben Marwe interviews Chris Cheney

We met at the Aussie BBQ in LA a few years ago and you were rocking a Ron Jeremy moustache. A) Do you remember meeting me? and B) Do you respect Ron Jeremy as an actor/pornographic genius?
No, I have absolutely no recollection of ever meeting you. Ever. Ron often gets mistaken for me. You sure it was me? I did meet him once backstage at the Universal Amphitheatre when we were touring the states with The Offspring. He commented, “Hey nice show,” to which I could only reply “Thanks, you too”. True story. Wait, actually I do remember, you guys were bloody fantastic.

The journey of song writing can be tough, from the time you first sit down with a melody and a chord progression in your head, to the time you enter the studio with a version of the same idea. Are you ever disappointed or overjoyed by the final product, or do you find that songs become their own being come release time?
I’ve become less concerned with a song turning out how I expect or hope. Particularly on our the current album I was constantly tweaking the melodies and arrangements almost pushing for a happy accident or a twist to occur to jolt it into something unexpected and exciting. Sounds contradictory but you know what I mean. I tend to get bored with an idea if it’s sitting around too long. Often the best songs and ideas are the ones that just appear when least expected because they’re honest and real and spontaneous.
It’s imperative to step outside the comfort zone if you want to push yourself or else you’re just working towards an already preconceived result. Demos can be dangerous I think.

What is the one role you would play from any film ever made, living or dead, male or female?
As a kid I remember going to see the original Superman movies with Christopher Reeve. I remember feeling better about the name Christopher after I saw that Superman had the same name. Before that the only other one I knew was Christopher Robin which wasn’t overly cool I didn’t think. Anyways I digress, Superman could do all that super shit and I was about seven years old, so I wanted to do all the stuff he was doing. Cue broken limbs. Flash Gordon was also a movie I must have watched a hundred times at least.

What would you love to do if you weren’t a successful musician?
An actor perhaps? I did drama at school and loved it. I find the idea of being able to escape into a character very appealing and music can do that too. The patience required to be an actor could be a problem though, I don’t think I could handle all the standing around on set all day. Catering would have to be top notch. Musicians have it good. Gimme that hour and a half onstage any day. Best job in the world.

You’ve lived between LA and Australia for a while. What are the key differences between both music industries, and do you think there is a market for Australian bands over there in Trumpland?
There’s definitely a market for Aussies in Trumpland. Most of the bands making inroads into the states are way more interesting and have a lot more to offer than some of the crap over there. There’s far too many generic rock bands over there.
Even looking back at bands like the Oils, INXS, and the current successes like Tame Impala, it’s clear Aussie bands have an edge that I believe is unique and very appealing to the U.S. audience. Radio in the states is a different beast. But I think that the live audiences there want a band to really go for it, not play it safe.


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