Living End Hits The Target With ‘Modern Artillery’

Author: Rustin Reber

“Modern Artillery”

The Living End have released three full length albums in the past six years. Yet I’ve never heard of them before. I did break my antenna and give up on radio a few years ago, but I don’t think TLE has probably got much air play anyway. That’s why I love this gig. I get turned on to a lot of great music, including The Living End.

I have to say, when I first got this disc for some reason I just figured it for another faux punk-pop CD. Wrong.

The first track is the epitome of rock and roll. But the Aussies always get it right with rock music. I know they’re classified as punk, and listening to this album you right off think of The Ramones or The Clash or old rockabilly, but I think this punkabilly trio are serving up good old rock and roll at it’s best. 

It’s no surprise that they claim influence from acts such as The Clash, The Cure, Elvis Costello and the Stray Cats. In fact Chris Cheney plays a lot in the similar high octane be-bop style of Brian Setzer.

Oh yeah, by the second time through this CD I was hooked. There’s even a full-on country tune and a few nods to AC/DC. Again it’s just something about down under. Australia rocks.

Anyone who believes rock is dead would do themselves a great service by getting this album.

A lot of critics are drawing comparisons to Green Day, but I say no. These guys are five times the band Green Day is. Which is also a reason they may never be as well known.

There is some fine musicianship on this album. The music is poppy and fun, happy music. Not quite as commercially friendly as they were likely trying for, but for that I’m glad. A bit of diversity is good.

Anyway, as soon as I get a little extra cash I’m going down to Eden Music and buying a copy of “Modern Artillery.”

The A-List

Author: Alex Mentzer

Aussie Invasion Tour – March 31 at Sokol Auditorium

First off was the opening band, Neon, whose performance was pretty good. Their bass player was definitely good-looking, plus she could really play the bass. While the band was decent, the crowd was not. I would say three fourths of the guys were just staring at the bass player’s butt.

Next up was The Living End; they really put on a heck of a show. This fact probably wasn’t noticed because the crowd was too busy smoking their cigarettes. I have never seen a worse crowd at a concert before. They only really cared when the band played a song that they had heard on the radio.

Two Australians who attend Creighton University were there and they kept chanting Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, – Oiey, Oiey, Oiey,” and waving a huge Australian flag. During The Living End’s performance I could understand what was being said. Then, I realized that the Australian guy was singing every word in my ear. They were cool though; they actually got into the music.

The Living End was very professional, and I hope they come back to the area.

Next up on the Aussie Invasion Tour was Jet; I didn’t know they were from Australia until I saw the concert bill. This might explain why they are so dirty and why they kicked so much butt.

Jet opened up with “Cold Hard B****.” I didn’t expect them to open up with a song released to the masses just weeks before. Of course, the crowd went crazy for that song, but soon after, they were back to standing and smoking their cigarettes.

About four songs into their performance they played “Are You Going To Be My Girl” and once again the crowd loved them for another three minutes. Throughout the rest of Jet’s performance the crowd seemed in awe, but really they just didn’t care.

About twenty minutes and a dozen obscenities later the roadies finished setting up and Craig Nicholls stumbled on stage followed by the rest of the band. As they broke into their opening song I figured the crowd was ready for The Vines, and they were at first.

Then Craig fell and broke the knob off his guitar and the songs were out of tune because the roadies couldn’t tune it. Craig seemed pretty angry about this and kept throwing his guitar off stage.

The Vines soon turned it down and played a few slow ones. I guess they thought it might make the crowd go to sleep more than they already were (except for the Schuyler kids and Schuylerites on the right side of the stage). With an awesome show under their belts The Vines left the stage.

I knew they would come back and play a few more, but it was up to the crowd to keep them going. I wasn’t so sure about this audience as I saw some people leaving. Then I heard some chanting and clapping, but it didn’t last. After a few moments of silence, The Vines came back onto the stage and kicked out “Get Free,” their big hit from a couple of years ago. Finally they got the respect from the crowd they deserved. The once still audience turned into a raging crowd and it got crazy. My favorite shirt was ripped almost off my body, I saw my friends singing and I looked back and saw a sea of kids sweating and jumping. The Vines closed the show with ” **** the World,” a song to which Lane Cerny and Bob Foran had dedicated their homemade shirts. Once again a very violent sea of bodies came to life. The Vines put on a great show and their new CD, “Winning Ways,” is a must for any fan.

A Rock Explosion Brings Waves Of Bands Up From Down Under

Author: Steve Morse

Mention Australian music and several distinct sounds jump to mind: the dance-rock of INXS, the political punch of Midnight Oil, the ear-shattering metal of AC/DC, and the top 40 pop of the Bee Gees, Men at Work, Olivia Newton-John and the Little River Band. The country has also produced such diverse talents as Kylie Minogue, the Saints, Hunters & Collectors and Angel City.

That’s a wide swath of music, but the latest exports from Down Under have something more in com- mon: They rock. And they rock with an intensity that is bringing their homeland a new respect, from the garage-punk of the Vines and the reckless abandon of Jet to the rockabilly edge of the Living End and the power-pop of Neon.

All those acts are on the much awaited Aussie Rock tour. 

“They’re packaging us in an Australian flag and sending us over,” says Chris Cheney, singer with Melbourne band the Living End. “But we’re coming there for rock ‘n’roll, not patriotism.”

“There was quite a long period when almost no Australian bands made it overseas. That was called the 90s,” says Patrick Matthews of the Vines. “But now a lot of bands are coming over.”

The garage-rock revival that started stateside with bands such as the Strokes and the White Stripes has spread globally as record labels seek to ride the wave. 

“You could say we cashed in on the Strokes and White Stripes success, or you could say we had a good record and played a lot of shows,” Matthews says laughing. 

The definitive Australian rock band would be AC/DC, though the group added a few English members to its Australian core. The English-rock influence shouldn’t be underestimated. Jet took its name from a Wings’ song, the Living End loves Elvis Costello and Paul Weller, and the Vines cite their biggest influences as the Beatles and the Kinks, as well as British bands Blur and Suede. 

Those influences are apparent on the new Vines CD, Winning Days, which comes out March 23. The band’s first album, the million-selling Highly Evolved, is more primal than the new disc, which still has a street-rock core but is enhanced by new forays into dream-pop and psychedelia. Winning shows impressive growth and is one of the finest records of the year. It was made at Bearsville Studios near Woodstock, N.Y., with producer Rob Schnapf, who has worked with Beck, Guided by Voices and Elliott Smith.

The Vines may be the flagship band of the new Aussie wave, but Jet has recently bounced in with a raw excitement that can’t be denied. Jet’s stateside debut album, Get Born, has spawned a massive radio hit, Are You Gonna Be My Girl, which received a boost by being featured in an iPod commercial. Band member Mark Wilson declares, “We’re about party music like the Faces and the Stones. We’re lighthearted, rather than being negative about the world.”

Like many Aussie bands, Jet was not groomed for success. Bassist Wilson moved fridges for a living before rock beckoned, and singer Nic Cester operated a forklift. 

“We just play honest rock,” says Wilson. “It’s not about how cool you seem or what clothes you wear or which celebrity girlfriend you have. But you look at the history of Australian rock-back to AC/DC and the Easybeats – and every one of them can play.”

Maybe that explains why Jet didn’t heed the call to come and audition for U.S. labels. “We made them all come to Australia. We’re pretty cheeky that way,” he says. We had 11 record company guys all standing around in this dingy bar in Sydney. That was two years ago, but it feels like yesterday.”

The Aussie Rock tour was assembled by the Australian management team of Winterman & Goldstein, which handles the Vines and Jet. “Our stories are similar,” says Matthews of the Vines. “We’re both from the suburbs – Jet is from the suburbs of Melbourne, and we’re from the suburbs of Sydney – and we both sent demos in to the managers. Then Jet supported us on a show in Melbourne, and we’ve since run into them in New York and Los Angeles. It will also be fun to play with the Living End and Neon, which is a kind of power-pop band that sounds like Cheap Trick and Tom Petty crossed with Nirvana.” (Neon has a forthcoming album on EMI) 

Returning Strong, With No End In Sight

Author: Raymond A. Edel

The Living End
“Modern ARTillery”

A serious car accident involving vocalist-guitarist Chris Cheney and the departure of drummer Travis Demsey contributed to the three-year hiatus between albums for the Australian pop trio.

With Cheney healthy and a new drummer, Andy Strachan – bassist-vocalist Scott Owen rounds out the lineup – the band returns with a potent blend of pop and punk.

The punk-edged kick-in-the-teeth “What Would You Do?” opens the album. Want pop? Try the hooky “One Said to the Other.” Eat your heart out, Good Charlotte.

Laced with an AC/DC-like intro (a tribute to a homeland band perhaps?), “Who’s Gonna Save Us?” is a catchy, jangly “call for help.”

“Jimmy” is a harmony-filled reminder of how good another Australian band, Midnight Oil, really was.

“Tabloid Magazine” sounds eerily similar to another anti-gossip song, “Sunday Papers,” Joe Jackson’s 1979 hit.

“So What” is a gorgeous bitter-sweet love song reminiscent of tunes by fellow Aussies Hoodoo Gurus.

“The Room,” another song with just a hint of AC/DC, is a mini epic. It’s sure to end up as the foundation for the band’s rock opera someday. Let’s hope that someday is sooner than later.

(The Living End is slated to open for No Doubt and Blink 182 on June 3 at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.)

Living End Pumps Punk Into New CD

Author: Ian Ragsdale

The Living End


You’re too late to see The Living End, who passed through Houston March 11, headlining at the Engine Room supported by fellow Australian acts The Vines, Jet and Neon. But you can still pick up its new, solid album, MODERN ARTillery, if you feel the 70’s rock revival acts are a little too plain for your tastes. The Living End has mellowed a lot since its punk-rockabilly debut EP, 1995’s Hellbound, but the stadium punk this trio pumps out is energetic enough for rockers yet radio-friendly for the Top 40 crowd.

It feels like a betrayal to use the word “punk” to describe the music of any band that went five times platinum with its debut album, that had a song in the National Lampoon’s Van Wilder soundtrack and that has toured Australia with AC/DC, but The Living End retains the edge so apparent in its early music.

Given, MODERN ARTillery has ballads reminiscent of sappy Third Eye Blind tunes, but the band gets in a few good punches in the form of short, fast songs with anthem titles ad hopeless lyrics. When guitarist Chris Cheney and upright bassist Scott Owen sing choruses together, it’s easy to imagine a crowd of rebellious youths raising their fists and chanting along.

What sets The Living End apart from other acts in the same vein is that even when the tempo slows, the band’s musical ability and snappy lyrics shine through. You probably won’t be listening to this record with your sweetie, and there certainly is a shortage of such records today.