Northern Star

The Living End

Author: Tuppy MacIntosh

Punk means anarchy man! Punk is raw chaos! And raw chaos is pure truth and anything else can be stuck up the arse of the nearest hotel manager! yeah! Punk means doing lines of speed off the back of your guitar mid-set and not remembering how to play the rest of the song! Hell, if the rest of Oz punk trio, The Living End, are anything like their drummer Andy Strachan, then punk’s in deep shit.

“Thanks mum and dad,” says Strachan.
“I mean, drums are quite an obnoxiously loud instrument, especially when you’re a kid trying to learn how to play. I’m so glad they let me learn.

Andy Strachan isn’t just sweet to his parents. He’s sober, he’s eloquent, and (Sid will roll over in his grave) – He gives a shit. Before whip-lashin their headfirst energy around 2005’s Splendour in the Grass festival, The Living End will be playing a benefit gig for MS at a Melbourne Hospital. Chris Cheney, the band’s singer, has also formed a groups called The Wrights, with members from Jet, Spiderbait and You Am I, who perform solely for charity. And when it comes to Ideology, don’t get Strachan started on the recent festival ticket rorts on Ebay. With tickets for Splendour selling out in a day and then appearing for sale over the internet for inflated prices, Strachan is pissed smaller festivals are falling prey to scalpers.
“I reckon its shithouse,” he said.
“It means some people who really want to go are going to miss out.”

Okay, so what about influences? No surprises here, right? Surely the mutated genealogy of being a punk muso means you only raise your lighters to other rock puritans, like Black Flag, The Clash, the Stray Cats?
Strachan laughs good naturedly.
“Coldplay were headlinging at the last Splendour we played at. I think they’re incredible.”

Excuse me? Aren’t they – pop?
“They make this music that is very complex and perform it perfectly, yet there’s this simplicity. That’s real talent: to know exactly what’s needed and no more.”

Geez, throw us a bone, Andy! At least try to say something jaded and cynical: You’re a rock star for chrissake!

Strachan, originally the kit man with indie stalwarts Pollyanna, replaced drummer Travis Dempsey in 2002 and played his first gig with The Living End when they headlined the Big Day Out. Says Strachan of the gig:
“I told myself that I just had to make it through the first two songs, then I’d be right.”

Okay, I give up. The Living End boys are Australia’s premier contemporary punk band, yet have high rotation on mainstream radio, win awards for best-dressed band and are so sweet you’ll want them to meet your mother.
“We love the North Coast, with surfing and the lifestyle. We’re gonna spend two weeks after Splendour recording our album up there so that’ll be great.”

Oh for – ! (sigh) I’ll ask mum to make up the spare bedroom, lads.