In A Great State
Author: Liz Giuffre
It’s been 9 years and The Living End still don’t need anyone to tell them what to do. Now an Aussie institution, they live safely on the commercial airwaves while still keeping a place in Triple J’s Hottest 100 every year for 8 years – a record! Liz Giuffre spoke to lead ender Chris Cheney.
“We always write about 50 songs, I’m just writing constantly. This album’s got 14 tracks on it, but there were another 10 that people were arguing about ‘this one’s my favourite, this has to go on, this one’s my favourite’. It’s a good position to be in”. The Living End’s Chris Cheney is a happy man. On the eve of their fourth long player release, State Of Emergency, he seems filled with a new optimism; happy with the album, happy with the band, and, well, the state of it all really. Despite what he felt was a bit of a disappointment last time round (“on our last album we probably didn’t come up with the goods, and maybe some of the public felt that.”), his excitement this time is to show that The Living End are well and truly back on their game. “We’ve been pretty lucky and I think it does come back to the live thing. We’ve always tried to be a good live band and we’ve always had a good live following. Maybe I’m sheltered, but I’ve always felt that because we play and do our thing we’ve sort of gone in and out of trends, perhaps. The sound is sort of rooted in classic rock and roll and it’s sort of timeless, I guess. I don’t know… I can’t wait to get this new one out because I just feel like we’ve got it right this time.” During the production of Stete Of Emergency, Chris and the boys swam in a rich pool of existing music, with a few little unexpected dips for existing fans. “Songwriters like Johnny Webb, you know, really like left field stuff that people who are into our band may be like ‘what?'” Chris laughed. “But songs like that I was listening to, songwriters that just blew me away. A bit of Burt Bacharach’s kind of songs, obviously Elvis Costello always, Joe Jackson, people like that, I’m always listening to that sort of thing. I really like the new Ryan Adams album. Just, I don’t know, songs that are more about actual craft rather than ‘oh, listen to the snare drum on that track’. I couldn’t give a damn about that, I never have. If there’s not a great song underneath then I don’t kinda want to know about it. But, if there’s a great song and a killer snare drum, then look out!” Nice work. Expect to hear more about the State Of Emergency (which includes a limited edition ‘making of’ DVD) very soon.