Definitely On Your Radio

Author: Tom Wilson

A certain well-known Australian band once sang “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock & roll:. And The Living End would be the first to agree. Since gaining their current moniker in 1997 following a stint as cover band The Runaway Boys, they’ve gone through two drummers and belted out three full-length albums. And they’re about to make it four. Upright bass maestro Scott Owen spoke to Dave Williams, taking time out from phone interviews to…well do another interview.

So what have you been up to today?
Doing interviews, pretty much! (Laughs) Just on the phone at home. It’s all good.

Well the new single came out yesterday, so that would be all you’d be doing I guess, just promos?
No, not really. It’s pretty much just today. We’re heading up to Brisbane and then to New Zealand later on this week for a couple of gigs.

You’re playing in New Zealand?
Yeah. We’ve got a show up in…Christchurch, I think it is? On the weekend.

You’ve been there before?
This would be the fifth time over there, I suppose. But yeah, we’re playing some festival thing at Christchurch on the weekend and the Hoodoo Gurus are playing so I’m excited.

Were you a big Hoodoo Gurus fan as a kid?
I wasn’t really a huge fan as a kid. I can see a few similarities between their music and our music and I’m getting into it the more I hear it.

How long ago was the last time you were down here?
About two years, I think.

You’d be about due for another trip back, wouldn’t you?
Yeah, well we’re going to release an album in about February, so when that comes out we’ll do a proper national tour, where we go everywhere.

Now the new song you’ve got coming out [is called] What’s On Your Radio? Do you reckon some people might say that’s typically your kind of music? That’s what you’d expect from The Living End?
Well that was one of the songs on the album that sounds most like the kind of Living End that everyone knows; we’ve been doing that fast punk rock, rock & roll kind of thing for a few years, you know? And that’s what we want to be the first thing that we put out. We haven’t put anything out for a while, so we wanted the first thing to come out to show that it’s still us. We haven’t done the Diorama thing where we’ve gone away and written a classical album or shifting-direction kind of album or anything.

You’ve been doing some touring in the States, too.
Yeah. We did a bit of touring over there earlier this year. The last time we were over there was February, March or something… We did a tour with Jet and The Vines, and another Australian band called Neon. And we also did some gigs with Blink 182 and No Doubt; some stupidly big stadium kind of things with them. So yeah, that was great.

That must have been a bit of a rush; going out on a stage to that many people.
Yeah, yeah. It was brilliant. It was a bit hard for us because obviously everyone was there to see Blink 182 and No Doubt, so it was a bit of a challenge for us, to go out and play for a bunch of people who’d never heard of us, and we had half-an-hour to basically try and win them over. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone and go to the other side of the world and play to people who don’t give a shit about your singles, they give a shit about what they see on stage in the next half-an-hour. So you’ve really got to fucking put your head down and give ’em what they want.

So you came back and have just been working on the album?
We started recording the album in June. We played up at Byron Bay the day before we started recording at Splendour In The Grass, which was excellent. But we did a few gigs under a different name before we went up there to record, just so we could try out all the songs that we were going to put on the album; try them out on an unsuspecting crowd, you know what I mean?

So what was the name of the band you played under?
We played under the name “The Checkout Chicks” once. And we called ourselves Glenn Waverly and the Meltones” because there’s a suburb called Glenn Waverly and a suburb called Melton, so that shows you how sharp our sense of humour is.

You’ve got the album coming out in February. Have you settled on a title yet?
No, we haven’t yet. Still in deliberations. We’re still kind of making jokes about it every day.

Okay. Thanks very much for talking with us. Enjoy the rest of your interviews.
Yes indeed. I will, I’m sure.

The Living End’s new single, What’s On Your Radio? is out now