Chiselled Out Of Top Spot

Author: Unknown

MELBOURNE trio the Living End has knocked rock legends Cold Chisel from the top of the Australian chart.

The Living End’s self-titled debut album entered the ARIA charts at number one yesterday, dislodging the Cold Chisel comeback album, The Last Wave of Summer, from the top spot after just one week. Some record stores suggest the Living End was outselling Cold Chisel by two to one last week. 
“Number one, what’s better than that?” said Living End frontman Chris Cheney. “I thought that it might have a chance because we heard it had shipped quite a few copies, but number one is amazing. It’s a great sign for Australian music.” 
The Living End was in Sydney yesterday rehearsing for a performance at the ARIA awards. The band has been nominated for five awards including highest-selling single (Second Solution EP), Song of the Year (Prisoner of Society), best Australian single, best alternative release and best independent release. Cheney says the band members are modest about their chances at the ARIAs. 
“We’re in a state of disbelief that it won’t happen, but we might work on a few acceptance speeches so we don’t look like three schmucks with nothing to say.”

The Living End

Author: Cameron Adams

The future is looking bright for young band The Living End, writes Cameron Adams

THE Living End may just be the noisiest quiet achievers in the country. The Melbourne group scored the most unlikely top five hit earlier this year with their Second Solution/ Prisoner of Society EP. Released on a small label, its sales of 140,000 accelerated the trio to the hottest young band in Australia. Their self-titled debut album, released this week, is expected to be one of the biggest-selling local releases this year. But the one thing the Living End will not be singing is then-own praises. They’re quick to deflate any hype.
“It’s good at the moment,” says frontman and main songwriter Chris Cheney. “We’re not having too much success, we’re pulling crowds, we’re selling records. It would be nice if it could stay at this level.”

That’s unlikely, but the boys are keen not to self-destruct from overexposure.
“We don’t want to be the band of the moment,” says Cheney. “We’re trying to have a natural progression. We like to be hands-on with everything, keeping the ticket prices down, that kind of thing. It’s easy for people to turn on you if you forget about the music and just become a celebrity.”
The band flinch when discussing the bidding war that saw several US record company executives flying to Australia to catch a Living End concert.

The situation was repeated with local record companies, all keen to get them on their roster, sniffing a guaranteed success.

In the end the band signed with Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records for the rest of the world and new label Modular records — distributed through EMI — in Australia.
The fact they had scored a top five hit on their own gave them power to negotiate deals with maximum creative control.
“That should be a standard thing in record contracts,” says Cheney. “No one should tell you what to do. Record companies are fine, but really, they’re just there to give you money to make your music.”

The Living End had their first taste of the industry’s darker side when a rumor circulated locally that they had returned from America with huge pay cheques courtesy of their Reprise deal.
“We didn’t, because we’ve got no money,” says drummer Travis Demsey. “People assume that because you’re on TV or you’ve been to America you’re automatically in a higher wage bracket.
“We used to get $10 a gig, now we get $30 each a gig. But anyway, so what if we made all this money, does that make us less cool?
“We’ve been in this industry for over seven years without making any real money. The average person doing a normal job would have been earning around $450 a week over that seven years, it’s just that when you’re in a band you get paid in lump sums. We’re still waiting for that lump sum.”

Their debut album, co-produced by the band and Lindsay Gravina (Magic Dirt, Spiderbait) is a confident mix of their beloved rockabilly, its punk off-shoot psychobilly and a heavy dose of pop thrills.
“People were saying, ‘What direction have you gone in with this album?'” Cheney says. “It’s the same direction. This is our first album, it’s not like we’re about to bring in keyboards or anything.”

The band have already toured the US this year as part of the prestigious Vans Warped tour. The next frontier is a swag of summer festival shows including near-headline status on the Pushover festival, a big step from playing early afternoon last year. A UK visit is also planned.
“It was nerve-racking enough going to America,” says bass player Scott Owen. “That was where rockabilly was born, but going to England will be even more scary. That was where rockabilly was revived and had something added to it, which is what we’re trying to do.”

– They Supported Green Day before they had a record deal. Some suggest Green Day’s Hitchin’ a Ride owes a debt to the Living End.
– STARTED life as a cover band called the Runaway Boys playing songs by the Stray Cats. “We were three Elvis impersonators playing mum and dad music,” says Chris Cheney.
– THEY’VE recorded a Frank Sinatra cover for a Reprise album as well as covers of Tainted Love and the Prisoner theme.

The Living End(Modular/EMI) out now. The Living End, Pushover, Myer Music Bowl, Oct 21; Hallam Hotel, Oct 28; Warragul Exhibition Hall, Oct 29; Hi-FI Bar, Oct 31 (under-18s arvo, over-IBs evening); Hi-Fi Bar, Nov 2; Geelong Wool Exchange, Nov 4; Warrnambool, Lady Bay Hotel, Nov 5.

The Living End

Author: Christie Eliezer

As a typical kid growing up in Melbourne’s Wheelers Hill, Chris Cheney collected autographs from his football team, the Bombers, and assorted tennis players. But his biggest thrill came this year when he got an autograph from his idol Brian Setzer of the Stray Cats, whom The Living End met when they toured the U.S on the Warped tour.

“We were knocked out that he knew about us!” enthuses 23-year old Cheney, who admits he’s still star-struck when meeting his idols. “He told us it was great we were mixing rockabilly with punk and no one was doing it in America. It was probably the highlight of my life!”

It was the Stray Cats who turned Cheney and school buddy Scott Owen (now the band’s double bassist) onto rockabilly’s rebel yell. Cheney almost got a tattoo of the Cat’s logo, and they named their covers band Runaway Boys after the Cat’s hit. Cheney and Owen used to sport the rockabilly look (baggy pants, ‘brothel creepers’ sneakers and dug hot rods). These days, laughs Cheney, they’re not so obsessed.

The Living End’s self-titled album is more than just rockabilly retreads. It takes that style and mixes it with Cheney and Owen’s liking for punk, Beatlesque pop, ska, jazz and reggae, with intelligent arrangements. Cheney’s guitar solos even display touches of the Hollywood musicals his mum loves.

“I like the Stray Cats’ look but more and more I’m less impressed by their songs. I am more inspired by The Clash and The Jam, who wrote tremendous songs. If you asked me for a definition of rock and roll, I’d say the cover of The Clash’s London Calling, where Paul Simeneon is smashing up his bass. It’s so sweaty, so symbolic of rebellion. The lettering, the colours they use, they took it from the first Elvis Presley album, which I also have in my collection.”

When The Living End went into the studios this January to start work on the album, they were just another band. Mind you, there was something about their shows that fans would throw home-made Living End T-shirts at the stage. Since then, their single was a huge hit and went double platinum (sales of 150,000 copies), and they got signed to the multinational EMI (through the Modular label) and Reprise in America. On “Save The Day” they compare the pressure they have to deliver with someone at a job interview or going to war. In the next few months, they head off for dates in Germany and the U.S.

Don’t call The Living End overnight sensations.
“It’s seemed like a rush this year. But we’ve been going since 1993. Before we got a manager, Scott and I sent tapes out but no one in the music biz would take our calls. We panicked thinking, no one is interested. The first time I heard the single on the radio, I was so excited because I thought, ‘Thousands of people are listening to this!’ But we don’t take success for granted, we know we’re very lucky.”

In person Cheney is amiable and intelligent. Nothing like the angry young dude slamming out “Prisoner Of Society” and “Second Solution“. “One soul! One life! One meaning!” he snarls on “Have They Forgotten“, inspired by a TV documentary on Australian prisoners-of-war still captive in Vietnam.

“Stand on the right side, who knows what’s right?” they ask on “Trapped” while “I Want A Day” is an apt anthem for the Slacker generation. Even “West End Riot“, about kids hanging out for fun at school, has underlying comment on class structure.

“You play-fight, you listen to music, you get on. But you grow up and the rapport is gone especially when one goes on to work in a factory and the other owns the factory.”

At 14, Cheney was gazing out his class room window dreaming about music, or sitting in his bedroom for hours, trying to learn to play guitar like Setzer or early rockabilly guys like Johnny Burnette, Chet Atkins and Les Paul.

Cheney and Owen are good at art. They do their own T-shirts and posters. Cheney designed the logo and cover of the Hellbound CD. “We had a vision, and it’s come through for us.”

The Living End – The Living End (Modular/EMI)

The enthusiasm that greeted “Prisoner Of Society” and “Second Solution” made this Melbourne trio seem like Rip Van Winkle, seemingly immune to any influences newer than ’50s rockabilly. Here they prove they’re more than that with strong sing-along songs, hard playing that is as much influenced by the Clash and Jam, and thoughtful arrangements. The Living End’s work best on “Have They Forgotten“, “Fly Away” and “West End Riot” on which they temper their rockabilly-punk with Beatles-esque melodies and jazz touches that’s more their own sound. The ska-fuelled “All Torn Down” and reggae inspired “Trapped” work best at their live shows. INSTORE…MID-OCTOBER