University Of California

Australian Rockers The Living End Get Real

Author: Tracy Ung

Get a dog up ya.

When in the company of Australian rock trio, The Living End, they just might tell you to get a in Australian slang.

Actually, the phrase get a dog up ya is indeed a bonafide Aussie term—which is good to know given that one of The Living End’s favorite past times is to feed Americans phony Australian slang.

“We make [sayings] up and make Americans think that they’re actual real sayings in Australia—we make up some stupid stuff,” said upright bassist/vocalist Scott Owen. “I can’t remember them off the top of my head because it’s usually when we’re drunk. We’ve made some stupid things come out of American mouths. Get a dog up ya pretty much means get real and that’s a real one. So you can imagine how bad some of the ones we make up are.”

In any case, if you’re looking to learn a few phrases or things about Australia other than Aussie rock, based on their sense of humor, perhaps The Living End aren’t the best guys to ask.

“Not a lot of people know a lot about Australia. It’s pretty easy to fool people about Australia,” Owen said. “It’s got this reputation that it’s full of sharks and crocodiles and snakes and spiders and stuff so it’s easy to come across as tough guys. We have sharks in our swimming pools and stuff you know.”

This Melbourne-based trio comprised of Owen, vocalist/guitarist Chris Cheney and drummer Andy Stachan has maintained their sense of humor despite all of the hardships that they’ve encountered since the band’s beginning in the early ‘90s.

Although they are only moderately well-known in the U.S., with a number one, a quintuple platinum album and five hit songs, The Living End are undeniably rock-legends down under. The key to their success is arguably that they make a conscious effort to continuously reinvent themselves and never do the same thing twice.

“I guess it’s just not sticking to what we know and coming out with the same kind of material all the time,” Owen said. “We all listen to different kinds of music all the time. We’re always buying new albums and going back into the past and listening to stuff that has had an impact on people over the years.”

Released on March 2, “MODERN ARTillery” is The Living End’s most recent album. As a whole, the album is quite explosive with a sound slightly unlike anything that’s currently being attempted in the U.S. Perhaps it’s because the traditional bass guitar that is characteristic with rock music in general is replaced with the upright-bass instead.

The “MODERN ARTillery” is the follow-up to 2000’s “Roll On” due to the fact that Cheney was in a near-fatal car accident which left him in physical rehabilitation and was unable to play the guitar for months.

The album’s first single, “Who’s Gonna Save Us,” was January’s number one most added song to modern rock radio and can currently be heard on KROQ. The album is already certified gold back home in Australia.

“[The record] has been out in Australia for a few months now and we’re up to our third single off the album now—so we’re stoked about that,” Owen said.
“So we’re looking forward to getting to that in America to see what you guys think.”

The Living End is currently on tour in America to do just that.

The Living End will be performing in Orange County, at the Chain Reaction in Anaheim on March 8 as their last show with Maxeen and Jackson. The Living End will then be touring with The Vines, Jet and Neon through the beginning of April.

After the American tour, the guys will tour other countries before returning to the states in June to support the upcoming No Doubt and Blink 182 tour.

“We’ve played with Blink quite a few times before. We were on the Warped Tour when they’ve done it before and we’ve played gigs with them in Australia as well so we’ve got to know them over the years,” Owen said. “We didn’t really know that they were going out on the road or anything before we got offered the tour and we’ve met the guys from No Doubt as well—so I don’t really know how [landing this tour] came about. I guess they really just decided amongst themselves and we’re the lucky ones.”

Unfortunately The Living End isn’t always so lucky, especially when it comes to understanding American slang. The “homeboy” stuff in particular tends to be especially confusing.

“I listen to a little bit of rap, not a hell of a lot, but a little bit,” Owen said. “It’s mostly just what I see on the tele though—but yeah man, that homeboy speak and those handshakes. All those handshakes and they’ve all got meanings as well. I mean when you shake hands in Australia, you grab the person by the hand, you shake it and you say, ‘How ya going?’ But in America you shake it this way, that way and then you slap it and knock knuckles and pat yourself on the chin. It’s weird.”

The name, The Living End, comes from the ending credits for the film “Rock Around the Clock,” during which the word “living” pops up between “the” and “end”us in a very 1950s-cartoon manner.

The Living End means that there is no end—that there is no death,” Owen said. “It just means to continue, always making your way instead of just getting there.”