The Living End – Nothing Lasts Forever

Author: Unknown

I liked them better when they were turning your youthful rebellion into Coke commercials. This story of adultery and marital distress is just plain silly, with shades of Shannon Noll in the verse and a chorus too cheap even for the Lords of Hooktown. The central idea that nothing lasts forever is just about in tune with the trite teen cynicism of their audience, however, and the guitars pound like they should. Write a marching tune and the kids will march: so goes the conventional wisdom of The Living End. And you can’t argue with them, because they sell a lot of records. So they must be good.

The Living End In Tourbus Disorientation Chaos

Author: Bob Gordon

TEMPE, AZ: In a telling portrait of life on the rock’n’roll road, Living End vocalist/guitarist Chris Cheney appeared disorientated yet relaxed in a conversation to X-Press Magazine last week.

“We’re at a stop somewhere halfway to Arizona and we’ve just come from… where was it? San Antonio?”

Such is life at the moment for the highly successful Australian Rock’n’roll-abilly trio, who are soon to tour WA and have spent the last two months in the US performing headlining shows and joining the massive Warped tour.

“You know, we spend most of our time in this little bus, shipped one place to the next,” he said. “We do the show and then go to sleep and get up to go to the next place when our guy tells us it’s time to go. So it does start to be a bit of a bubble. Most of what we know is that he crowds are going pretty nuts, and we just follow that along.”

It’s certainly a scenario that the road-hardened outfit are accustomed to, though this year has seen a heightened intensity in touring. The band’s fourth album, State Of Emergency, has resulted in its biggest ever success both here and internationally. That this has occurred a decade into the trio’s career and has eclipsed the whirlwind days of Prisoner Of Society and Roll On, says something for sticking to your guns.

“It’s a bit like that. We’re just doing what we want to do. It is good because the last album (2003’s Modern ARTillery) didn’t meet my expectations, in terms of what it was and how it ended up going. With this album it just really felt like it was where we wanted to go. We just keep doing it.”

Back in 2001, Cheney and his girlfriend were involved in a major car accident. Before he could get back to the band, he had to get back on his feet. Any doubt he may have had then as to whether or not to persevere with the band would be well and truly buried by now.

“That whole period was pretty hard,” Cheney said, “Even without the accident. Our drummer was leaving and it was a bit of a struggle. I just had to focus for a bit on getting better and walking properly again.

“I think a lot of it is my own selfishness about doing this and doing what I want to do. That got me through and even though the album didn’t go as well. There was all this momentum that we’d gathered with Roll On but that, to a big degree, was lost and we had to then move forward. You go on and you reach out for more. And now here we are.”

“You have to look forward and move on. There’s that thing that everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame, but this is my life and career. If we hadn’t kept striving we wouldn’t have had a career past 1998.”

State Of Emergency has been out in the US now for six weeks. While Cheney has “yet to view any status reports,” he’s was keen to note that the LP has been selling by the boxload at gigs and gaining all-important radio play on stations across the US.

“There’s a lot of dark, kind of screamo stuff that’s happening in the States,” he said. “There really doesn’t seem to be a hell of a lot of rock’n’roll. And radio seems to want that and so do the people. After we play shows we get kids talking to us and they just seem to find what we do really refreshing, they just want to hear a rock’n’roll band.”

“And that’s what we are. There just doesn’t seem to be much rock’n’roll happening here and when we play, people are going nuts.”

Relieved to hear that X-Press Magazine had attained its majority in the increasingly competitive Perth marketplace, Cheney has his own memories of life in August 1985, when X-Press took its first baby steps…

“I was 5 years old,” he recalled. “I would have been sitting on my bed playing guitar and listening to Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly. I would have gone out on my skateboard or my BMX and then I probably would have got up to watch Alf.

“You know you guys are of legal age in the US now. You can go out and have a drink. Happy Birthday!”

The Living End’s WA tour kicks off on Thursday. August 31, at the Wintersun Hotel in Geraldton; then Friday, September 1, at Metro City; Saturday, September 2, at 3 Bears Bar, Dunsborough and Sunday, September 2, at Metro City (all-ages). Special guests at all shows are End Of Fashion.

The Fireballs

Author: Robert Dunstan

Legendary Melboune psychobilly trio The Fireballs were asked to reform by Motorhead’s Lemmy last year to play an outdoor festival over in the west with his band as well as Motley Crue. That led to many requesting that the combo play more gigs which now sees them on a big national tour. It will also mark the reissuing of their recorded work, Terminal Haircut, Life Takes Too Long and So Bad It’s Good, so we e-mailed guitar player Matt Black a few questions and began by asking how the gig last year had transpired to the current tour.

“There’d been a shitload of pressure from a lot of areas over the years to reform, but we have only done things when we want to do them, not when others want it,” Matt had e-mailed from Japan where The Fireballs had been engaged to perform at a huge punk and rockabilly festival. “So, in a way, having that demand is really flattering and we are respectful of that, but we have to be comfortable with what we do and when we do it.”

Was it just like old times when you got together again?
“Yes and scarily so. We are the blood and guts rock ‘n’ roll juggernaut!” Matt declared. “Our current shows have been brutal and I can safely say the band is kicking it out like never before, I dare anyone to disagree!”

The Living End have often cited you guys as a big influence. How do you feel about that?
“Good on ’em,” Matt stated. “We came from the same scene and we’re a little older than them so by virtue of that we broke down some doors that they were later able to pass through as well.
“But if the implication is that we are somehow responsible for their success is being made by your question, then you’re dead wrong,” he added.
“We can’t take any responsibility for their success and neither should anyone else because The Living End have gone on and done the arse kicking around the world. Personally, I’m as happy as shit for them.”

It’s good news about the re-release of The Fireballs’ material – Terminal Haircut, Life Takes Too Long and So Bad It’s Good. How has that all come about?
“The demand has been rather high for the old material which has now been out of print for quite a while,” Matt responded. “We wanted to get it back out there and maintain total control of it. Obviously the internet makes all of that kind of thing much easier than it was 10 years ago. There has been a real surge in interest in the band and it’s almost as though the world has caught up to us. Psychobilly is rising above its cult status worldwide.”

Are there any plans at this stage to record some new Fireballs’ material?
“Maybe,” Matt cautiously declared. “But we really don’t have a long-term plan at the moment. Like I said before, we are just doing things at a comfortable pace. We will gig infrequently at best.”

We know that stand-up drummer Eddie Fury took a sit-down job with Rockbottom James & The Detonators and has also been involved with the band Sinshifter. What have you been up to?
“I took a well-earned break over the last few years and did a course in domestic bliss as a full-time subject,” Matt responded. “I think I passed.”

I believe you also played in a band with Fireballs’ double bass player Joey at some stage.
“Yeah, Joey and I have had a few combos over the years, most notably The Strikes,” Matt stated.

James Burton or Scotty Moore?
“Zakk Wylde. Nah, okay, Scotty Moore.”

You’re playing Adelaide with local rockabilly combo The Satellites which will make for a totally rockin’ show. Do you know much about them?
“Oh yeah,” Matt concluded. “The Satellites do it like it needs to be done – sultry, twangin’ and greasy.”

The Fireballs play Fowler’s Live on Sat Aug 19 with The Satellites.

The Living End

Author: Nina Bertok

“Every time you turn on the news or read the paper, the powers-that-be are trying to tell us we’re constantly in some state of emergency; whether it’s war or natural disaster,” explains bassist Scott Owen about the title of The Living End’s new album ‘State Of Emergency‘. “It seems like the current thing.”

Then again, everything has a double meaning when it comes to the Melbourne rockabilly trio. “Most of our songs can have at least two or three different meanings. They can be taken literally – What’s On Your Radio could be like, ‘what music are you listening to?’ – but you can also look into them more deeply: a song can have several different meanings. Again, What’s On Your Radio, that was written on a more broad spectrum, it’s basically saying ‘what’s going on, what are you all about, what’s going on in your head?’, but by using the radio analogy.”

And no doubt, it is this varied and democratic approach to music and songwriting that has secured the Living End a place among Australia’s creme-de-la-creme of rock bands. Since their 1999 self-titled album, Owen, Chris Cheney (guitar/vocals), and Andy Strachan (drums) have built up one mother of a fan base, not only in Australia but overseas, all the while racking up gold and platinum records and scooping up three ARIA awards. Yeah, not bad for a bunch of kids calling themselves the Runaway Boys and playing rockabilly covers only ten years ago.

“Our music is a product of what we listen to,” Owen declares after attempting to explain the band’s sound. “Our music has evolved because our tastes have evolved over time, what we’ve been exposed to and have been getting into has always been changing. It’s really hard to say in which exact direction it’s changing in, though. We listen to so many different styles of music: we never narrow ourselves down to just one. It doesn’t really matter what style you’re playing as long as it’s done well and it’s right for the song.”

Being rooted in such an old-fashioned kind of music like rockabilly, Owen admits, has not merely helped the Living End survive as long as it has but has also played a part in maintaining the band’s distinctively fresh sound.

“Even though we tend to change from song to song, there’s always that rockabilly undertone, the double bass and the guitar solos are that rockabilly trademark. It came from the first kind of rock’n’roll and I think it has this infectious thing about it, and maybe that’s what makes the songs seem kind of timeless.”

Although Owen expresses gratitude towards the band’s die-hard Australian fans, he is also hopeful about eventually making a similar impact on the American audiences.

“It’s something we want. It would be a real achievement to be able to go from a tiny place like Australia all the way over to America and make an impact on such a big country that’s already got so much music. It would be a lifetime achievement for us, though it’s not something that we’d die unhappy if we didn’t achieve. We’ve had a crack a few times, but we’re certainly not ready to give up yet.”

For now, however, Owen and the guys are more than happy to cater to their homegrown audiences; the recent Big Day Out ones, especially.

“Playing in front of forty-thousand people… there’s nothing that compares to that, it’s amazing. It’s funny, sometimes when you’re on stage in front of that many people you get really nervous and it starts to feel so bizarre, so you freak out and you don’t get the time to relax – and you don’t take it all in. But other times, when you stop stressing and you look around and take it all in… it’s incredible.”

That is, when you’re not getting pelted by water bottles.

“A couple of weeks ago I got hit in the waist by a full water bottle, that made a bruise about the size of a tennis ball! It was pretty weird because we were just playing away and everything was going alright…then all of a sudden it was ‘smack!’ and I remember thinking ‘ouch, that hurt’. It must have been thrown from miles away, right in the middle of a song. I must have looked like I was thirsty or something.”

‘State Of Emergency’ is out now through EMI and The Living End headline Handpicked at Loxton Oval on Sat 8 April.

The Living End: Living Large

Author: Shane Tranter

The Living End is by now an Australian music icon, and with the release of their newest album State Of Emergency, things just seem to be getting grander for them. They will soon complete the American Warped Tour and then continue to do headline shows in the States, where they will have to contend with the sometimes-aggressive American fans. Vocalist/Guitarist Chris Cheney talks writing, touring and the stresses of recording new albums.

For Cheney, the writing process on a new album begins precisely when the previous album’s recording is completed. This means the boys are always writing or recording something.

‘It’s kind of non-stop and I always have little ideas and bits of songs floating around. Some of the songs on this record I began writing two years ago and finished as we were recording, and others were written in one sitting. I’ve never worked so hard on any songs as I did with the State Of Emergency songs.’

The writing process, however, was quite stressful this time around. There were so many songs to choose for the album that many, sometimes sadly, had to be cut. It was a long recording process and the sound at first wasn’t quite up to scratch. Cheney explained these difficulties.

‘When it came to do this album, I was going to make sure it was the best TLE album and I wouldn’t settle for anything second best. This sounds quite simple in theory, but it was a matter of getting it right. There were something like 60 songs written and some of the songs that I had spent literally weeks on ended up getting cut from the album, and other songs which were no more than ideas became favourites with everyone.

‘The recording process took longer than expected, the studio had issues in that it didn’t sound very good and some of the songs turned out very difficult to capture. Anyway, it was a hard record to make every step of the way.’

The band agreed that State Of Emergency was going to be really raw, ‘straight up’ sounding rock album, but things didn’t exactly turn out as planned.

‘The songs that were coming out were quite varied and we realized very quickly that these songs would need more time and attention and perhaps just bashing them out in a couple of takes wouldn’t do them justice.’

Cheney admits though that The Living End is still more of a live performance band than an album band. They are known for exciting stage performances, but are their albums as exciting to listen to?

‘I think we are a pretty good band on record, it’s just I don’t think we are as confident as we are onstage. Having said that, we have sold a shit load of records so I guess the proof is in the pudding. State Of Emergency had to be a great record. For me, there was a lot riding on that, I had worked really hard on the songs as ideas, we rehearsed our arses off, we spent a lot of time tracking the songs, and we ended up having a lot to do with the artwork.

‘I think I became slightly obsessed with this record being perfect and not until it was packaged and on the shelf did I stop working! I have come to the conclusion that we are different live to on record, there is intensity to the live thing that is difficult to get on tape, but also I love the fact that the albums have lots of harmonies and delicate parts on them.’

The recent tour is their largest yet. They have played regional areas never toured before. Cheney comments on the difference between these and the larger city gigs.

‘I am really looking forward to playing in places we haven’t before. We have always tried to play shows outside of the cities and some of them have been our most memorable. People seem to really let loose and have a good time because they are not spoilt with live music as the city folk!’

The Living End also has a lot of time to give underage fans, so under 18’s despair not!

‘It’s extremely important to play shows that under 18’s can come to. They buy the records and support us so we play under age shows whenever we can. It’s a must do thing for us, and our manager used to put on a lot of under age gigs so it’s something we are very familiar with.’

Cheney noted that the Australian audience differ from the American in a couple of key ways.

‘At home when we play ‘All Torn Down’ the crowd really gets into it because it was a big song here but in the States, it wasn’t even a single so it’s basically an album track. I think the audiences in the States can be a bit more aggressive at times which is ok as long as people who just want to stand there and watch aren’t getting hurt.’

The Living End claim to be a better band than they ever were before, so American fans are in for quite a show.

‘We are a better band now than we used to be so the shows are just getting better overall.’

That said, we can’t wait to see The Living End in Australia!