Living LegEnds

Author: Ben Butler

They’ve had record companies salivating over them and sold thousands, but the Living End say they still pay rent. BEN BUTLER was in the EMI boardroom to make them walk the un-punk plank.

Rebellion is a commodity that can be bought and sold like any other. The Living End are rebellious, their hit single Prisoner Of Society a short, punkish stab of anti-authoritarian sentiment. “We don’t need no one/To tell us what to do”. And the kids have bought it – in bulk. This week, the band’s self-titled album made its debut at number one on the ARIA chart, knocking off dinosaur rockers Cold Chisel. Their record company EMI expects it to go gold (35,000 sales) by the time you read this (industry sources say it has probably sold more than 50,000 already). On Tuesday night, Prisoner Of Society won an ARIA for best-selling single of the year.

And why not? They’ve got everything a hit rock band needs; they’re fast, exciting and have catchy tunes – as well as a twist, in the form of a double bass player.

Just don’t call them punk – despite the number of times the word is used in their publicity material, it’s clear the band have a problem with it.

“The Living End is not a f–king punk band, for God’s sake,” says guitarist-singer Chris Cheney. “The same as we’re not a rockabilly band, we’re not a blues band; we’re just a band. I don’t want to be called a punk band.”

“I don’t care what anybody calls us,” chips in drummer Trav Demsey. “It’s bizarre. It’s just a generic term to label something you don’t know the full scope of.” Demsey says punk is about doing your own thing. “With the word punk – it’s easy to slap on some surf gear and watch a lot of surf videos and say ‘I’m into punk’. Tina Arena doing her own thing – she’s punk… a lot more than these people in f–kin’ punk bands who go ‘yeah, we’ll never sell out’ – and then the next minute they’re trying to sell their songs for the next surf video for Billabong.”

Despite not wanting to be identified as punks musically, the band still see themselves as being – somehow – punk-rock in the way they do business. “We have punk ethics in the fact that it’s a very do-it-yourself band,” says Demsey. “We have a management team that we dictate what we want to do and then they pretty much help us achieve that.

“We say, ‘Gee, we’d like to go to Tasmania and play.’ And people go, ‘Oh, what for? You’ll only get two gigs, you’ll lose money.’ It’s like: who gives a shit? We wanna go and play. That’s a lot more punk than some of these punk bands.”

 And the scene of this interview? The EMI boardroom.

“No that is punk, you see,” says Cheney, “because no one else wants to do it because it would be seen as un-punk.”

“You came here to get the interview from us,” says Demsey. “That’s very un-punk, isn’t it? Why didn’t you go and get a band that needs to be discovered? Instead you come to a band that people already want to read about. I think that’s pretty lame, Ben! We’ve not changed. We’re still the same people. We still pay rent.”

The band seem to see no contradiction between the anti-war sentiments of their new single Save The Day and being distributed and promoted by EMI – although another part of the EMI conglomerate, Thorn EMI, makes missile guidance systems (among other things).

Even though the band don’t really comprehend their own commodification, they see it in others. Korn, for instance. “I know they’re probably really into what they’re doing and they’re great musos,” says Cheney. “But you can’t help thinking it’s kind of throwaway instant” – he snaps his fingers – “get the kids singing, that’s all there is to it. Bring out the next single. They’ve gone for the hard-hitting angle of sex, or the f-word.”

Cheney’s songs don’t have swearing in them. “I’ve never written it in my lyrics, really,” he says. He tries to make his words “Not too heavy, not too light, just right… I more lean towards songwriting from the punk era, songs that have a message and make you think, and you can get something out of it if you want. But I don’t think we write songs that are that deep or anything.”

Indeed, it’s difficult to see anyone holding up Prisoner Of Society with its “You’ll see it’s an emergency/You’ll see I’m not the enemy/Just a prisoner of society” as a lasting poetic legacy of the late 20th century.

Their gigs have drawn criticism – at one show at Richmond’s Corner Hotel, the queue of punters desperate to get in stretched around the corner. “We got there and there were lines like we’d never seen before, and I was thinking ‘Uh Oh,” says Demsey.

The gig sold out, and some disconsolate fans were convinced it was a publicity stunt. The band says otherwise. “We were panicking we wouldn’t get enough people to the Corner,” says Cheney. The band says the Corner shows were booked two months ahead and although they wanted to play another gig they were due to leave the country the next week. “Wouldn’t we have looked like dickheads if we thought we were bigger than we actually were?” Demsey asks. “We could have said,” he slaps a fist into his palm, ‘Get the Palace on the f–kin’ phone, we’re gonna rock the joint.’”

The Living End play the Hallam Hotel on Wednesday; Warragul’s Exhibition Hall (all ages) on Thursday; three gigs at the Hi-Fi Bar, city-two on 31 October (one all ages) and an over-18s on 2 November; Geelong’s Wool Exchange on the 4th and Warrnambool’s Lady Bay Hotel on the 5th.

Show Me Your Ska, Punk

Author: Sacha Molitorisz

A bit of ska, punk and rockabilly… and a double bass. It’s not just hyper stage antics that have made The Living End one of the most popular bands in the country, writes SACHA MOLITORISZ.

For a band that likes to yell, it I sure was a quiet introduction.

“We just sent a tape and a T-shirt and a video over,” says The Living End’s guitarist, songwriter and resident Elvis-freak Chris Cheney, recounting how his then little-known band managed to score a spot on the same bill as Green Day back in early 1996.

“Billie Joe [Armstrong] said he put our tape on in his car and liked it. We didn’t even have a label or a manager and that attracted him too. So they took us on without the fancy package. That was our first national tour. Up till then we’d only done a couple of drives out of Melbourne in our Kingswood. All of a sudden we were playing to 6,000 or 7,000 people a night.”

That’s how it’s been for this Melbourne rockabilly/punk/ska outfit all along: make a lot of noise on-stage, proceed quietly and steadily off stage.

Late last year, invited to tour with Bodyjar, The Living End realised they hadn’t recorded anything fresh for about a year. So they checked into the studio and recorded a double-single: Second Solution/Prisoner of Society.

It was a massive hit (it’s sold 100,000-plus) and convinced a steady stream of industry schmoozers that this band was set to be bigger than the King after a peanut butter-binge. They kept their feet on the ground, finishing their self-titled debut album before signing a deal.

“We haven’t tried to crack any market, it’s just been a natural progression. We had a couple of EPS out, Triple J liked it, and then we were discovered by the kids. It’s felt really genuine.

“We don’t want instant success. These days, people, especially kids, can see through the bullshit, which is good. Bands that appear through lots of promotion and nothing else, good luck to them, but I’m glad we did it our way. I think if a band has a history it’s much better.”

If a band can play, that helps too. As well as rebellious teenage anthems and jumping rhythms, this album bursts with elaborate, wind-em-up-and-watch-em-go lead breaks. Cheney studied jazz guitar, his musicality certainly broadens the band’s appeal.

“We’ve got a pretty varied audience,” Cheney says. “We’ve got that rockabilly edge, as far as our lead breaks are concerned and we’ve got our punk side, where we jump around and don’t play well.

“That’s not because we want to appeal to more people but because we’re into more styles of music-even from our cover band days, when we did ’80s rockabilly hits [and stuff) like Adam and the Ants, Suzi Quatro and Kim Wilde. When we became an originals band in ’94 we applied the same rules. I mean, I love The Beatles and I love the Manic Street Preachers and I love the Stray Cats.”

Given the image and instruments (guitar, double bass, drums), though, are the Stray Cats the single most important influence? “Maybe early on, but now it’s a bit lazy to compare us. We’ve been labelled rockabilly so often now that we’re fighting against it. Sure, we use a double bass, but who’s to say it’s not ’30s jazz that’s influenced us?”

The Living End play with Area-7 at The Metro tonight.

Good Neighbors As Kylie Crowns A New Pop Princess

Author: Patrick Donovan

Former Neighbours actor Natalie Imbruglia dominated last night’s ARIA Australian Music Awards, collecting six awards, including best single, best female artist and best new talent.

Imbruglia, whose first album, Left of the Middle, has sold five million copies worldwide, thanked the media, her fans and her family as she collected her first award. “This is brilliant,” she said.

The 23-year-old from the New South Wales central coast was presented with two of her prizes by fellow Ramsay Street graduate, Kylie Minogue, who went home empty-handed despite earning four nominations for her album Impossible Princess.

Minogue spoke generously of her rival’s award-winning single. “I think Torn is one of the best songs that’s been around for ages. It still comes on the radio and I still sing along, so yeah, it’s fantastic,” she said.

Brisbane three-piece band Regurgitator were also big winners. Having revived 1980s pop and combined It with 1990s satire on the album Unit, they received five awards, including best album and best cover art work.

The Whitlams, whose album Eternal Nightcap has made them Australia’s highest-selling Independent band, won the song of the year award for their Infectious ballad No Aphrodisiac, and the best group.

The band’s inspiration, former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, got the biggest reception of the night when he was introduced as the godfather of soul. As he presented the best group award to the Sydney group, the former PM declared: “It’s my family!” Melbourne singer-songwriter Paul Kelly was named best male artist for the second year running, while Aboriginal singer Archle Roach had a phenomenal night. His album Looking for Butter Boy took out awards for best indigenous release and best adult contemporary release.

Adelaide’s The Superjesus, who won the best new talent award last year, took out a new category award, best rock release.

The Angels and The Masters Apprentices were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and Savage Garden, who won 10 prizes last year, received a special achievement award for selling eight million copies of their self-titled album.

Imbruglia and The Mavis’s performed two of the best single nominations, Torn and Cry but the performance of the night came from the Whitlams with their cover version of the Skyhooks classic Women in Uniform.

Rockabilly-punk trio The Living End had two reasons to celebrate their self- titled first album made its debut at number one this week, and its anthemic single, Prisoner of Society won the award for best-selling single.

Singer Chris Cheney said the award proved that young bands could achieve success without a big budget. “It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a big killer production or a million-dollar marketing campaign. If the kids like it they will buy it and it’s just good it’s so popular.”

Mr Whitlam wasn’t the only prominent political presenter at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre last night. The Democrats’ Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja did the honors in the Independent release category. Julian Lennon and actor Alex Dimitriades were also recruited as presenters.

Rock Of Ages Hard On Young Ears

Author: Jon Casimir

If today’s music awards leave you confused, hey, maybe you are just too old.

THE week of the ARIA Awards is always fun in a big office. All those thirtysomethings and fortysomethings wandering around muttering things like “Who are all these bands I’ve never heard of?” and “What is the difference between Best Rock and Best Pop Release anyway?”

The first question is, as you’d expect, just age showing like an unruly petticoat. The unfortunate thing for baby boomers is that because their generation gap was delayed, it seems to have become stronger now that it’s here, it’s packing a powerful disorientation punch. The problem dates back to the ’80s time-freeze. The ’50s had a sizable gap between the listening habits of parents and children. So did the ’60s and ’70s. But in the ’80s, the train never left the platform. Who can forget watching Elton John and George Michael, icons of their respective generations, on stage together at Live Aid?

The fact that music could reach across generations was why so much of the ’80s sucked. It was a decade when people under 25 thought it was perfectly all right to like a band like Dire Straits, who were old fogeys before they began. It also meant a generation was lulled into a false sense of security, and didn’t expect the pendulum to swing away.

The question about the pop/rock divide is, however, a perfectly rational response to the model of confusion that the ARIA Awards have always presented their categories rarely make much sense. It’s hard not to sympathise with the organisers, though. There are simply not enough obvious gongs to make a decent night of it. Beyond the top dozen awards, they’re scratching for reasons to give the statuettes away.

They can’t present an hour-long awards ceremony. because everyone knows that to earn the required gravitas, awards nights must bat on forever like Mark Taylor. So, to fill out the extra couple of hours, and to appease various lobby groups within the industry, a slew of often dubious nods has been grafted onto the ARIA agenda.

This is what leads to the genre confusion. Because, honestly, how Best Australian Rock Release and Best Australian Pop Release differ from Best Australian Single and Best Australian Album is anybody’s guess. How they differ from each other isn’t exactly obvious either. The facetious answer is that rock is a pretty much outdated art form involving guitars, while pop is anything that sits in your record shop like a big-eyed puppy in a pound, pleading with you to take it home. Rock is what your parents grew up with and pop is everything that leans as much towards commerce as art. But the messy young rock band the Living End are as pop as you can get, while Natalie Imbruglia’s smash pop album has guitars all over it. Who can work it out?

And if the Living End are one of the biggest local success stories of 1998, then what are they doing in the Alternative Release category? Similarly, if Regurgitator are one of the highest selling rock acts in the country (and their last album was classic pop), can it really be considered alternative? And alternative to what?

How come Indigenous Music get a token category of their own, despite the fact that it’s mostly skin colour rather than sound which unites the acts? How come Folk, World Music and something called Traditional are lumped in together? And why do they present awards for Highest Selling Australian Single and Highest Selling Australian Album, particularly when the ARIAS have almost always confused what is good with what is commercially successful anyway? You could argue that the winners of these categories have already had all the reward they need in cold, hard sales. On the other hand, at least, they are two awards based on understandable criteria.

And they are also the only two awards likely to be given to acts that those climbing the north face of 30 are familiar with. Perhaps it’s worth keeping those categories, just to keep the oldies happy.

Jon Casimir is a thirtysomething Herald music critic. He wishes only that he hadn’t heard of some of these hands.

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.

Life After Elvis

Author: Peter Holmes

The beginning of Living End’s ascent to recognition is inextricably linked to Memphis.

THE Living End’s Chris Cheney was 12 when his fixation with Elvis began.

His wasn’t merely a passing interest in the kitsch, side-levered, fried peanut butter and banana sandwich-loving man mountain, rather a genuine fascination with the Tupelo-born kid who changed the world from a small Memphis studio in the mid-1950s.

“Mum and Dad had the Loving You album and one of his first ones with RCA which was self-titled and had him standing side-on playing his guitar,” said the 23-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist, with fondness.

“For some reason it just clicked. I loved the look, the vibe, the rebellion. Here was a guy doing something completely different that sounded so good and looked so awesome. I fell in love with the whole thing.

“From there I discovered who Elvis was, Sun Records, Carl Perkins, then (Elvis’s guitarist) Scotty Moore, then the 1980s rockabilly revival with The Stray Cats. I linked it all together.”

He gave it a thoughtful pause and said with a laugh: “Not many of my friends at the time were into Elvis Presley, I can tell you.”

Cheney worked in a supermarket to pay off his beloved first Gretsch guitar at 14, studied jazz guitar at Melbourne’s Box Hill TAFE and then formed a rockabilly covers band Runaway Boys. In 1994 they grew into The Living End, whose first raw, punk/rockabilly recordings and explosive live performances eventually earned them a tour with Green Day.

The major record labels emerged with chequebooks flapping when grassroots support for last year’s double a-side Prisoner of Society/Second Solution multiplied exponentially, turning the single into not only a double platinum Top 5 hit, but a suitably snotty- nosed local teenage anthem.

“They were kind of sniffing around while we were still recording the album.” Cheney said. “It was pretty weird. I’ve heard all about bidding wars and all that stuff, and then it seemed we were getting the same kind of thing happening.

“It didn’t get into long lunches because we didn’t want it that way. We weren’t going to get swept up in it. We could have lived the high life and eaten seafood but we’re not into it.

“We were in the middle of the album, hadn’t thought about artwork, there was so much stuff to be done. It was the last thing we wanted to stress out about. We just ended up inviting them all to come and see us play. I guess we must have played alright because we ended up scoring a deal.”

The Living End’s self-titled debut album is an adrenalin shot of concise, punchy pop songs wrapped in swinging, rapid-fire rhythms, heavy riffing and offbeat guitar stabs, call and response vocals of a distinctly British flavour and throbbing double bass.

“I think it’s pretty close to the sound that was in my head,” Cheney said. “Ever since the Runaway Boys, and then the Living End after that, we always wanted to have a good combination of a few styles of music and it was always rockabilly and punk rock as the two main things.

“I think it’s got a little less of the rockabilly side than I probably imagined it would a few years ago, but it’s pretty damn close. When we did Prisoner of Society that was our first recording with (drummer) Trav and since then we’ve learned so much about each other’s playing.

“There is a lot more leeway and experimentation because we understand each other’s playing a lot more.”

While The Living End‘s blueprint borrows from different eras of popular music, the album’s arrangements tend to bland out across 14 songs.

While Cheney is proud of the album, one gets the impression that the lack of variety in instrumentation and the effective, yet one- dimensional vocals, are only temporary setbacks.

“I’m not a very confident singer,” he said. “I hate hearing myself, but I don’t know many singers who like hearing themselves. I don’t think I’ll be changing too much, rather refining it more, just getting a bit more strength and versatility. At the moment I’m sort of stuck in a rut where I find it hard to sing slower songs. It’s easy to belt out a tune but it’s much harder to slow down and get a nice tone.”

The Living End is out through Modular/EMI on Monday, October 12.

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