Live105 Big Friggin’ Day
The Living End
To an unsuspecting world, Australia’s The Living End appeared out of nowhere in early 1998, a trio of musical brats dominating Down Under’s airwaves and charts.
But, of course, as with any “overnight success,” The Living End has a lengthy history behind them. First formed in Melbourne in 1994, when school friends Chris and Scott began playing together, the self-managed, highly motivated band immediately started landing gigs in and around their hometown. By 1996, the group had gained a national following after supporting Green Day on their barnstorming Australian tour. At the same time, The Living End released their debut EP, the eight-tracked Hellbound, which garnered considerable favorable attention on Australian radio. By the end of that same year, they had returned to the studio to record a follow-up EP, It’s For Your Own Good, which brought them additional national exposure and a slate of club, concert and festival gigs.
Performing virtually non-stop, The Living End saw 1997 turn into their best year ever, as they released “Second Solution” and “Prisoner Of Society” as a double A Side to coincide with their supporting slot on tour with the acclaimed Australian band Bodyjar. “Prisoner Of Society” would go on to become a substantial hit, lodging itself in Australia’s Top 5 and eventually reaching double-platinum sales status. It would be in early 1998 before the trio could catch their breath and return to Sing Sing Studio in Melbourne with producer Lindsay Gravina to record their debut album, The Living End, for which they re-recorded “Second Solution” and “Prisoner Of Society.”
Signed to Reprise Records in the States, The Living End set out for America to join the Warped Tour for ten shows and play a few one-off gigs in LA. While in town, they logged in some more studio time, to give their new tracks a bit of spit and polish, enlisting the help of veteran mixer Jerry Finn.
The result can be heard on the 14 amazing tracks of their self-titled album. The Living End has met their musical challenge with a heady blend of pop, rock and punk, with a dash of ska for spice. On The Living End they have delivered a batch of hook-laden songs that are bound to do for American audiences what they’ve already done in Australia, blow off the roof.
The Living End Track By Track by Chris Cheney
“Prisoner of Society”
Every teenager feels like a prisoner of society at one time or another. This song is not meant to be a big punk statement, just a bit of social commentary. It’s my attempt at writing a fast psychobilly tune with a general theme.
“Growing Up (Falling Down)”
This song is all about stumbling through life and learning from mistakes — falling over and getting up and giving it another shot. Inspired yet? I think that it’s a pretty good mixture of pop/ska/punk. Basically it’s just a fast pop song.
This is a fictional song about a man on death row. It’s a punk/rockabilly cross over with a very strong English punk influence. I really tried to visualize cold streets and the urgency of a man who is running out of time.
“West End Riot”
This is a partly fictional, partly true story of kids who meet each week and share a common interest in playing war. As they grow up and work at different jobs, the mutual interest and bonds they once shared grow weak. I find it fascinating how people who are in higher or lower positions in a working society and stick to their own kind, may never know the friendships they have missed out on.
This is inspired by the true story of a girl who got her kicks by slashing her wrists in public places in order to gain attention. It has a ’50’s swamp rock kind of feel.
“Monday” was written about the Dunblane massacre — the social worker who walked into the local primary school and gunned down 16 children and a teacher. What a senseless act. I just felt compelled to write a song about it.
“All Torn Down”
Where have all the beautiful houses and landmarks gone!? We are quickly losing the character of Melbourne by continually ripping down old historic buildings to make way for new ones. This song is saying “OK, life must move on but be careful ’cause once it’s gone…..it’s gone!”
“Save The Day”
This one started out like a bit of an anti-Gulf War statement. The whole thing with young men being sent to war seems so pointless to me. It’s also about the parallels between that and anyone being put in a situation where they have to rise to the occasion and save the day.
This was basically a song written in jest about the One Nation Party! I found it amusing when Pauline and Co were touring around the country having meetings in halls etc., and afterward they couldn’t leave for fear of being hit by tomatoes. They were trapped by controversy and tomatoes!
“Have They Forgotten?”
This is about the possibility that there may still be prisoners of war in foreign countries and the lack of government support or interest. Everything else takes priority while they’re running out of time. Depressing but true!
This is what I feel like doing when I’ve made the wrong decision or said the wrong thing. This is supposed to be a kind of pop/jazz number.
“I Want A Day”
This is Scott’s classic tale of work blues. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to get up and trudge off to the factory. As we all had jobs up until a few months ago, this song is easy to relate to.
This song is all about being into a different trend/style of music, etc., than everybody else is and the strange looks one can encounter. I never thought that I was strange, but being an Elvis freak at age 15 in the suburbs was not the norm!
Originally a jazz/funk fusion number, we soon gave it The Living End treatment. I tried to make it a kind of mystery spy/gangster sounding tune — “The cops are closing in!”