The Living End

Author: Mike Waffer

Having finished recording their forthcoming album recently, The Living End are gearing up for the near constant touring that will surely follow it’s release. In the immediate future, they will be playing Rollercoaster festival in Mandurah on Boxing Day. Mike Waffer spoke with bassist Scott Owen recently about the new record and life on the road.

The self taught bassist is no stranger to festival crowds and even though they wouldn’t be his preference as a punter, playing festivals has become a TLE tradition.
“Yeah we’ve played quite alot of them haven’t we” Owen laughs, “I guess that’s part of being in a band in Australia… the summer festivals. I love playing them, but I definitely prefer playing earlier on, because then you can play your set , go get pissed and enjoy the other bands (laughs). Before you play it’s a little bit nerve-wracking, so it’s good to get on early and get it out of the way.”

Owen hazards a guess at the best way to see TLE is in a more intimate club show (he’s guessing because he’s never actually seens TLE play) but he’s also quick to praise his bandmate and friend Chris Cheney on his ability to get a festival crowd in the vibe.
“Chris is a great performer.. a great entertainer. You know just listen to the guy play guitar,” he laughs.

A guitarist as well. Owen prefers to keep his six string playing to himself, feeling a little overwhelmed by hi virtuoso mate.
“Yeah I play guitar when I’m sitting around at home and stuff, and I’ll show Chris ideas that I have, or ask him to show me how to do certain things, but I wouldn’t really bother playing guitar live or on the record.”

It was a stupid question, but it never hurts to ask just in case… why not?
“Have you heard Chris play guitar??? Why would anyone try to take over his spot? he cackles.”

Scott’s sense of humour is one of his most immediately striking characteristics. In fact, between himself and Cheney you’d be hard pressed to find 2 more polite and chirpy guys to talk to. Not known for being overly light-hearted musically, TLE are somewhat of a throwback to the ’77 punk ideology of social commentary from an everyman perspective. With the new album Owen explains , the idea was to steer away from the ‘anthem’ style songs a bit, while still trying to reach a middle ground between those type of songs and the more complex style the band showed on Roll On.
“Roll On was very textured, very layered,” he says. “and the new record has elements of that but it feels a lot more live. We didn’t want to just go for didn’t want to just go of an album of anthem album or anthem songs though, we still wanted there to be interesting changed and structure to play with, but we haven’t taken it as far as we did with Roll On.”
“We probably had about 40 songs written to choose from, he says with a chuckle that masks whether or not he’s exaggerating, “and from there we cut it back to probably about 15 songs that we all felt really strongly about. I think we’re definitely picked the best ones for the album. Some of the ones we demoed were definitely not going to make it on there, and some of the ones that different people liked may not have gotten on there either, but it’s got to be agreed on by everyone. We’re all totally happy with the songs that made it and, you know maybe some day down that track we’ll release like a massive box set of all the TLE demos of songs that never made it onto albums. (laughs).”