1999.03 - KAOS2000
Date: March 1999
Author: Philip Anderson
Featuring: Scott Owen
Archived from: http://www.kaos2000.net/...
The Living End are having a hell of a beginning. Since first getting noticed on the second stage of the Warped tour in 1998, the band had returned to the States in an opening slot for The Offspring, doing a few shows on and off. After that, they are back on Warped 1999, this time appearing on the main stage. The Living End represents some of the wildest head-bopping music in quite some time and are the band to see perform onstage. The three-piece from Down Under were appearing locally when we had a chance to meet up with them and get a few words with double bassist, Scott. Keep your ears glued to the radio and catch the band this summer in a town near you.
How long have you been on tour now?
Well, when we started we did The Offspring for 3 weeks and then 2 weeks by ourselves. And then we did The Offspring for another 3 weeks.
Is this your first time in America?
No, we came out here last year and did the Warped tour for 2 weeks on the West Coast.
How did you guys do on that tour [Warped 1998]?
Oh it was awesome. We had a really really good time and had a good response. We were just on one of the small stages. It went really well.
Will you be doing the Warped tour this year?
Oh yeah. We'll be back around the summer and then probably again at the end of the year.
How did you start the band?
Me and [guitarist] Chris went to high school together and we both, he was already playing guitar, were really huge rockabilly fans. We would both listen to Elvis and Buddy Holly records. Then he got into the Stray Cats and he showed me a Stray Cats record and, as soon as I heard that record I just went, "I want to play rockabilly."
What style music would you classify yourselves?
Well, I'd definitely have to say rockabilly crossed with punk and kind of pop, I suppose. We started out as a rockabilly band in high school. I was playing double bass and me and Chris just started playing rockabilly for a couple of years. Then we started to get into punk stuff. We started to get into the Clash and the Jam and that sort of stuff. We were just a rockabilly cover band. Then we started writing our own tunes but didn't want to go down that whole traditional "Johnny & the Hotrods" kind of rockabilly pop. Then when we discovered all the Clash and the Jam, we found Paul Weller, and we were all huge Beatles fans. We just started getting into a lot of different styles of music - from Skid Row to Radiohead. So, it's hard to pinpoint one particular style that we're doing because we try to use everything that we're into. Music, we're trying to use little bits of everything. But it's definitely got that rockabilly thing with the double bass and the old guitar. We just try to add as many things as we can to try and make it interesting.
Influences? Things like Carl Perkins and...
Oh yeah! Absolutely. Carl Perkins and Johnny Burnette and that kind of style. We're big fans of British music like Supergrass and Oasis. Good old Ozzy rock stuff that's 10 years old. We're big AC/DC fans.
What do you guys listen to on your offtime?
Some of us are Coltrane fans. Miles Davis as well if we're in a jazz mood. A little bit of Oasis. Beatles. Manic Street Creatures. And Midnight Oil has been kind of popular with us lately.
Where does the name The Living End come from?
It came from the Bill Haley & The Comets movie, "Rock Around The Clock." At the end of that movie, the title "The End" comes up on the screen, and then "Living" pops up in the middle of it and we thought that that's kind of a cool name. It's just the old saying, you know, how people would say, "Oh, you're the Living End." It's not a rockabilly name and it doesn't sound like any particular band. It could be anything.
How old is everyone?
Me and Chris are both 24 and Travis is 27.
Who does most of the songwriting?
Chris does. He writes about all kinds of stuff, things he reads about in the newspaper, just anything. Observations that he's made about people. Anything.
Would you consider yourselves more of a party band? Since you have some political lyrics.
Definitely say a party band. We're all about having fun. Yeah, they're [political lyrics] mostly just observations. It's not like we're trying to send a message to change the world or anything. But when he writes, he wants to make sure... if you're going to tell a story, there has to be a good reason for the story to be told. It's not like he wants to change anything. In listening to bands like the Jam and the Clash, the content of their songs is really strong without them trying to sound like they think they know everything.
What about Rev. Horton Heat?
Oh yeah. He was on the Warped tour last year so we got to see him play about 12 days in a row. We've been big Rev. Horton Heat fans for quite a while.
Has your style changed from your earlier CDs?
No, I don't think it has. I think we've matured a little bit is all. The songs are a little crafted a bit better. The sounds are a lot cleaner because we've had a bit of recording studio experience. We're still trying to go for the same sound.
What are the first CD titles?
The first one is called "Hellbound" and the second one is called, "It's For Your Own Good." They're EPs. The first one had 8 songs on it. The second one has 6. We've released them both over here as a double.
How much time do you spend on working on the vocal harmonies?
A fair bit. We're big Beatles fans and the harmony things. It's just me and Chris. We'd go into the studio and yell to make it sound like a crowd.
About some songs - "Bloody Mary", a friend of yours or just something that you read about?
It's a true story about a woman who used to go into the toilets of shopping malls. She was just a freak and had quite a reputation for it. She would go into the toilets and she would slit her wrists and then cry for help. Then when people, for first aid, would try and help her she would try to slit their wrists, mix her blood with theirs, and she was HIV positive.
Maybe she needs a hobby.
No, maybe she needs a padded cell.
The song "Monday", considering the lyrics, it is reminiscent of the Boomtown Rats song "I Don't Like Mondays". Same story or different?
This was a guy who went into a kindergarten or preschool and, total psycho, walked in and just massacred all those kids. Killed them all. In Scotland.
"Closing In", the jazzy number at the end of the CD. What inspired that?
Chris took an advanced course in jazz and took in a tape of that. It's kind of like a University that you audition for. That was just one of his pieces for that course.
What do you think of the whole swing movement?
I think it's good that people are starting to appreciate an older, but still valid, style of music. But, I don't know. I'm not a huge fan of it because it's a little too much of a revival thing to me. It doesn't seem like they're trying to do anything different. It's just a total revival. I like what Brian Setzer's doing with his orchestra. He's putting that dirty-ass guitar sound up in front of an 30-piece orchestra. It's something that's different and he's injecting his own personality into it. I just think some of those other bands are too much revival. I get a bit bored with that. Unless they try and do something new with it.
Do you do any Net surfing?
Oh no. Not really. We're not that computer literate yet.
Do you ever check out any fan sites?
Oh yeah. We've all got email that we get fan mail from and we write back to them. We check in and write back. We've got our own Living End site that we've set up ourselves. It's got tour diaries, chat rooms, it's got pretty much everything. That's at www.thelivingend.com.
How's the music and bands in Australia these days?
It's doing pretty good. Like in Sydney it's kind of died out a bit. A lot of live places have become dance music venues. But in Melbourne there is still a really strong live band scene. You can go out on a Wed. night and see 3 bands for 3 bucks and stay up until 4 am watching live music. It's all still good. The crowd is still supporting it. People here think that in Australia we've got nothing, but some of the places here are way more isolated than in Australia.
What do you think of MP3s?
I don't think it's fair. I think that you're only cheating yourself [as a band]. I don't know. Maybe I'm too old-fashioned. It's not fair that a real collector and fan can't get a song because he doesn't have a computer .
Any last words?
Everyone should just... Enjoy. Be nice to each other.