Author: Jeff Crawford
The Living End is back on a roll with the release of its first singles collection and DVD history, as Jeff Crawford reports.
Andy Strachan took the leap from pub gigs to playing in front of “a stupid amount of people” in his stride.
After all, the Adelaide-born drummer had paid his dues for a decade before joining The Living End just as the band was bouncing back from a near tragedy.
Long-time skinsman Travis Demsey, who propelled the trio through its 1998 eponymous debut and Roll On (2001), departed just as singer/guitarist Chris Cheney got back on his feet following a serious car accident in 2001.
Andy stepped into the rhythm role in one of Australia’s hottest outfits just as Chris and bassist Scott Owen prepared to record their third full-length CD, and album crucial to the band’s international campaign.
“It was the perfect time for me to join, really,” he says.
“They were in the writing process, so I was part of writing all of the album.”
The result was 2003’s Modern ARTillery, but Andy endured a baptism of fire well before the CD reached the shelves.
“The first two weeks we wrote 10 songs and we thought we’d go and road test them.
“We played a handful of gigs under various aliases in small clubs around Melbourne, which was excellent, it was great fun.
“But the first Living End gig, as such, was at the Big Day Out in Auckland, in front of a stupid amount of people.
“Everyone in the crowd was there to see how the new guy would go and if Chris was off his crutches yet.
“And the crowd knows every bloody song. Hearing 40,000 sing along to a chorus is just incredibly overwhelming.”
The trio is rolling on with the release of its first singles compilation, From Here On In (including two new tracks), and an extensive DVD history of the same name.
“It’s like a bookend,” Andy says. “It’s saying: ‘This is the career so far’. And there was so much footage for the DVD, it was time to just say: ‘This is where it started and this is where it’s got to’.
“So the next album could be anything, could go in any direction we want to.
“But I think no matter what direction it goes in, it’s always going to sound like The Living End.”