Top Music Makers Set Hobart Venues Rocking

Author: Linda Smith

Music fans were treated to a giant dose of entertainment in Hobart last night as several big name international and Australian artists came to town.

In one of the largest nights of live music to hit Hobart in years, Aussie rock legends INXS, Melbourne rock trio The Living End, Perth act End Of Fashion, Aussie Blues and roots star Ash Grunwald and UK DJ Krafty Kuts played to sell-out crowds at various venues around Hobart.

The Derwent Entertainment Centre was filled to the brim as rockers of all ages turned out to see INXS take to the stage as part of their Switched On national tour.

The group, which has sold more than 35 million records in its 25-year career, is now riding a new wave of popularity thanks to Canadian lead singer JD fortune, who was recently added to the band after a worldwide reality TV search.

Regarded as one of the world’s best bands during the 80s and 90s, INXS had a number of lead singers including Terence Trent D’Arby and John Stevens since charismatic front man Michael Hutchence died in 1997.

As the DEC rocked so too did Hobart ‘s City Hall, as The Living End and End Of Fashion played to a somewhat younger, but also sell-out crowd. With the critically acclaimed chart-topping fourth album State Of Emergency still fresh in people’s minds, The Living End impressed fans with their live prowess.

And End Of Fashion didn’t disappoint either, as fans leapt around in the mosh pit and sang along to chart hits including O Yeah! and She’s Love.

North Hobart’s Republic Bar was a hive of activity as dreadlocked Ash Grunwald performed songs from his new blues and roots album Give Signs.

Meanwhile, music lovers took to the dance floor as popular UK DJ Krafty Kuts filled inner-city nightclub Halo with his break-beat tunes.

Last night’s entertainments was part of a giant weekend of music in Hobart. Friday night kicked off with Melbourne troubadour Dan Kelly – nephew of Paul – and his band The Alpha Males at the Republic Bar. The festivities continue today, when Grunwald, prolific US guitarist Bob Brozman and 21-year-old Victorian guitar prodigy Rob Sawyer play at the Lewisham Tavern from 3:00 PM.

Hobart’s Rockin’ Night

Whether they were longtime INXS fans from the band’s heyday in the 1980s or teenage admirers of The Living End, fans of good Aussie music had a rockin’ good time at sell-out gigs around Hobart last night.

In what was one of Hobart’s biggest nights of music, Glenorchy’s Derwent Entertainment Centre came alive as thousands rocked to the familiar and much-loved sounds of INXS.

The on-stage antics – including plenty of gyrating towards other band members and the audience – entertained the crowd.

Meanwhile, thousands more pumped-up fans leapt around in the mosh pit at Hobart’s City Hall as Aussie acts The Living End and End Of Fashion belted out their chart-topping hits.

Armed with glow sticks, mobile phones and digital cameras, revellers packed the City Hall and spent their night dancing.

End Is Nigh

Author: Kane Young

Like some sort of weird cult, popular Melbourne trio The Living End seems to have a strange hold over people – once you’re in, you’re in for keeps.

“I think that people, once they get into this band, are there for life – they seem to be very devoted to the group,” says charismatic singer-guitarist Chris Cheney.

“It’s great. I don’t know how we’ve done that but we have. We have a level we try not to fall underneath as far as the quality of our live shows goes.

“We live for just getting out there and playing live and I think we have a loyal following because of that.

“We’re really lucky – not many bands get to have that – but I don’t want to jinx it.”

That loyal following led to The Living End again dominating this year’s Jack Awards for Australian Live Music, picking up four gongs; best band, best male (Cheney), best drummer (Andy Strachan) and best live TV appearance.

“We’ve always maintained that we want to be a versatile kind of band,” Cheney explains.

“We’re a rock ‘n’ roll band, yes, but we’ve never really nailed ourselves down to one particular style.

“We have lots of different styles of song on our albums and we take that even further in a live environment – we embrace blues and jazz and stuff in with our pop-kinda songs.

“We’re just one of those bands that has always played live. For years and years it’s all we’ve ever done and we’ve put a lot of work into that.

“I think people get something out of coming to see us play – and it’s nice getting a pat on the back like that from awards. It’s a big deal for us.

“This time we’re really proud of the album. It’s good to be a live band but it’s also nice to be able to pull it off in the studio.”

The Living End proved they can still shine in the studio with their critically acclaimed fourth album State Of Emergency, which debuted at No. 1 on the ARIA chart in February. Already close to achieving platinum status in Australia, it has been released in the US on Green Day singer Billie Joe Armstrong’s Adeline Records label and has spawned the singles What’s On Your Radio?, Wake Up, Long Live The Weekend and Nothing Lasts Forever.

Cheney says the band “had something to prove” when making State Of Emergency.

“Every song had to be a killer. We didn’t want there to be any dud songs.

“We had a lot to choose from – and that’s a good problem to have. We wanted to have versatility but we wanted to make sure the songs that were a little bit different were really good songs and not just different for the sake of it.

“Songs like Nothing Lasts Forever, No Way Out and One Step Behind – things that we hadn’t really done before – we managed to execute well this time, as opposed to perhaps some of the stuff on our previous albums.

“I’m really glad some of the more different songs ended up on the album because they were shining above the rest.

“We could have just made a rock album which was all fast and energetic but we wanted to showcase the songwriting side of the band.”

The Living End are again displaying their live prowess on the All States Of Emergency tour, their biggest Australian tour in more than three years.

“We did a tour like this a couple of years back and it was so much fin,” says Cheney.

“We love Australia anyway but to tour around it and go to all the regional places and all the pubs is just brilliant. We’re really excited about it – and the album as done so well we’re just itching to keep playing more songs off it.”

Their tour brings The Living End back to Hobart this Saturday night. Big-name acts INXS, Krafty Kuts and Ash Grunwald will also be in town the same night but Cheney isn’t worried about the competition.

“We’re the best of the bunch,” he says, laughing. “If you want to see a real rock ‘n’ roll show, come to our gig. There’s bound to be a lot more blood and sweat and tears. Our shows tend to be sort of unpredictable.

“People can make up their own minds I suppose but we’ll see on the night who’s got the best pulling power!”

The Living End and special guests End Of Fashion and The Reactions play all ages and licensed shows at Launceston’s Albert Hall tomorrow night and in Hobart City Hall on Saturday night.

Doors open for both shows at 7.30pm. Tickets are $39.95 (plus booking fee).

‘Perfectionists’ Reach For The Sky

Author: Kellie White

Having a beer for breakfast with Green Day’s Tre Cool and visiting Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion was part and parcel of overseas touring for Aussie band The Living End.

However, double bass player Scott Owen said despite the perks, there was a downside to international touring – leaving behind his young son.

“That’s the worst thing about what we do for a living,” Owen said.

“We get to travel and see other parts of the world but it does cost us time without our families.”

He said he’d always scoffed at suggestions a child would change him – until he had one.

“I used to think: ‘Hey, I’ve got plenty of perspective’.

“But you don’t want to be just a good person, you want to be a good dad.”

During four weeks on the famous Vans Warped Tour in the US last month, Owen said the band was greeted by Green Day’s Tre Cool on the San Francisco leg at 12.30pm – “not a very rock ‘n’ roll time of the day”.

“You get up in the morning and do what you do so far and then we hear this little American accent come up onto our bus,” Owen said.

“Tre… had himself a beer for breakfast, as you do.”

Owen credits punk rockers Green Day to “opening up our eyes” musically from its straight rockabilly roots.

He said its influence on TLE stretched from that 1995 tour together right through to its last album, State Of Emergency, being released in the US on Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s label Adeline Records.

“Being close to a band like that and knowing them personally – seeing behind the scenes – you discover they’re such nice guys,” he said.

“We watch them every night (on the Warped Tour) and they didn’t once put their foot on the brakes.

“That’s the way to be a band – just play well and don’t bulls*** anyone.”

The other surreal US incident involved a charity auction by former basketball are Magic Johnson at Hugh Heffner’s Playboy Mansion.

“We were invited to the Playboy Mansion to buy and raise money for charity.

“That didn’t mean sh** to us, we just wanted to visit the Playboy Mansion.”

This mentality is echoed in State Of Emergency, which has begun attracting a new, younger fanbase.

“It’s a flattering thing for us.

“It’s what we set out to achieve with this album.

“We didn’t want to fall back on old safeguards, we wanted something that’s current and raw.”

Yet when it comes to the new breed of “emo screamo” rock bands, with their “lack of soul and rhythm”, Owen has caught himself sounding like his father.

However, he did comfortably step into Paul Kelly’s film clip for the bluegrass Song Of The Old Rake.

“He needed someone to jump around in the background.”

While he missed out on touring with Kelly due to clashing schedules, TLEs show commitments continue this month with its extensive regional tour.

Earlier this year the “perfectionists” were crowned best live band at the Jack Awards in Sydney, which Owen said had put pressure on them going into this tour.

“We don’t understand how people get that perception,” he said.

“We still rehearse songs that are 10 years old to frickin’ get them right.

“We are trying to be rough and raw with flat-out energy and play with the precision of Queen and the harmonies of The Beach Boys and the spitting vocals of Johnny Rotten.

“Then they say we are the best live band and it’s like, can’t you hear all those mistakes?”

The Living End will perform all ages, licenced shows at the Albert Hall in Launceston on Friday night and at the City Hall in Hobart on Saturday night.

Local boy to rescue

Author: Unknown

Lucky they had an Adelaide boy on board. Aussie punk rock band The Living End needed local knowledge when guitarist Chris Cheney had a bad toothache on Saturday.

Drummer Andy Strachan called on his dad, who lives here, to refer a dentist to check out his mate. The pain did not stop but the trio put on two great shows at The Shores Complex, West Lakes, for their All States Of Emergency tour.

Gel Problems

Author: Unknown

On their visit to Brisbane last month, The Living End’s Chris Cheney had to go to hospital for an eye infection when his hair gel ran into his eyes. A lesson for all you ‘gellers’ out there. The pain was no doubt softened by winning a couple of Jack Awards: Best Band; Best male: Chris Cheney.

All States Of Emergency

Author: Unknown

It’s been three long years since The Living End have hit the road and they’re getting ready to roll with their All States Of Emergency Tour. The Living End are set to take on an all states tour – including a host of all-age, under-age and over-age concerts. They’re playing Friday, Sept. 15 at the Albert Hall in Launceston (all ages/lic), Sat. Sept 16: City Hall in Hobart (all ages/lic), Tues Sept 19: Civic Centre, Wodonga (all ages), Wed. Sept 20 and Thurs. 21: The Palace, Melbourne (U18), and Fri. Sept 22: The Palace (over 18). Tickets for the tour (wt. End Of Fashion supporting) go on sale on Thursday, July 13 from all the usual outlets (including Ticketek).

Still Rollin’ On

Author: Robert Dunstan

Melbourne-based rock ‘n’ roll trio The Living End (Chris Cheney on guitars and vocals, Andy Strachan on drums and Scott Owen on double bass) were over in the US when we spoke to them over the telephone but, by all accounts, were having a ball. But there’s no rest for the wicked because as soon as they returned home they would then be embarking on another national tour which neatly coincides with the release of a new single, Nothing Lasts Forever, from current album, State Of Emergency.

To that effect, it was arranged that we speak to Chris Cheney and when we chatted to him we discovered that the rockin’ trio was out in the west Texas town of El Paso.

“We’re just sitting in our bus by the side of the road,” he began with a laugh. “We don’t have a room to stay in, but at least we get to have a shower today.”

Have you seen the ghost of Marty Robbins in El Paso?

“No, no, we haven’t seen Marty’s ghost,” Chris said of the long-gone country songwriter who won a Grammy in the early ’60s for the song El Paso from his classic Gunfighter Ballads & Trail Songs LP. “We’ll keep a look out for him though.”

The trio were having a ball over in the US.

“Yeah, it’s been the best tour we’ve ever done over here,” Chris said. “The shows have all been really, really good and we’ve been playing really well. It’s been a real blast.”

The band just completed the US Warped Tour at which they gave an impromptu performance in a car park as the tour ended with Herbie, of the band Valient Thorr, also joining them.

“It was a big barbeque and we just played a whole load of Chuck Berry, Stray Cats and AC/DC songs,” Chris said. “When we first began playing, that was all we ever did – Chuck Berry and Stray Cats covers – so it was a real release to go back to all that. We just did cover songs to earn money to record our own material. But playing covers is a great way to learn how to write and then play your own songs.

“And the whole Warped Tour was great,” Chris then enthused. “We did four and a half weeks and it was great.

“The only problem was the heat,” he then sighed. “There’s a heatwave over here in the US and, honestly, I’ve never felt anything like it. It’s just so harsh. You step off the bus and it just hits you. So we were only doing half hour sets on the Warped Tour and that was enough. If we had played any longer we would have passed out. There’s a lot of sitting around so you tend to hit the grog.”

It seems like the bandm which scooped up heaps of trophies at the recent Jack Awards, have had a new lease of life with the release of State Of Emergency.

“It might seem like that to the general public, but to our fans – it’s not like that at all,” Chris said. “But I suppose with this album, more so than any of the others, we seem to have reached a whole new audience. And I don’t quite know why that is. But there seems to be a whole crowd of people coming to our shows who are seeing the band for the first time. There are lots of younger people coming along.

“And that’s also helped our confidence,” he then added. “We feel very rejuvinated and that’s probably coming across in our live shows.”

And how’s your drummer, Adelaide’s Andy Strachan travellin’?

“Oh, he’s goin’ alright,” Chris laughed. “Andy’s our resident coffee maker here on the bus because he used to work in a café back in Adelaide so he knows what he’s doing.”

Once the trio have completed their Australian tour, they will be off to Japan.

“And then we go to Europe so it’s going to be pretty non-stop until the end of the year,” Chris announced. “But the reaction towards the new album has been so good that it’s a really great ride. It’s not like we’re trying to flog a dead horse with State Of Emergency.

“And we’re also touring the UK with [Boston’s] Dropkick Murphys and [Atlanta’s] Less Than Jake so that’ll be fun,” he added. “We know all those guys as friends. And we’re also playing in Ireland which’ll be fun because we’ve never played over there. We have some Irish fans so we can’t wait for that.”

Over the years the master guitarist has guested on few albums – notably with Kasey Chambers and Sarah McLeod – and Chris said it was something he quite enjoyed.

“It’s such a nice thing to do because it’s good stepping out of The Living End,” he considered. “When I played with The Wrights it was a real blast and sometimes I think it would have been nice to just be a guitar player and do things like that. And it’s great for your own playing to jam with other musicians.

“And one day I’d probably like to do a country album,” Chris then revealed. “I love country guitar – it’s one of my great loves and I also love bluegrass – and there’s a lot of songs I’ve written that’ll never end up on any TLE albums.”

Are you working on any new songs as a band?

“We’ve got a few ideas and there are also some songs left over that didn’t finish up on State Of Emergency,” Chris said. “But we tend to find that we always like to push ourselves and do something that’s fresh. So, apart from one or two, they may not ever surface.

“But it’s still only early days as far as the rest of the world is concerned for State Of Emergency,” he added as we wound up our conversation. “It’s only just been released in the US, so we’re now working on that. But we get on so well as a band – we all have the same crazy sense of humour – that it’s always a lot of fun.”

The Living End play The Shores Function Complex at West Beach on Sat Sep 9 and Sun Sep 10 with End Of Fashion and Red Riders.

Hitting The Road Again

Author: Candice Silverman

For Australian rockers The Living End, life on the road is not all flash and glamour. The band have returned from their Warped Tour of the US and are now full-steam into a lengthy Australian jaunt.

On the Warped Tour they took in some red-blooded rock ‘n’ roll behaviour with the odd party, including a bash at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy mansion to liven things up.

“It’s a pretty full-on tour, it was like boot camp,” frontman Chris Cheney says.

“At times, it wasn’t very luxurious. But that’s OK – neither is rock’n’roll.”

Even more reason to let their hair down at Hef’s.

“It was very surreal and very LA,” Cheney says. “There were lots of people like Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe and Ron Jeremy, a famous porn legend at the party, but it wasn’t like there were Playboy bunnies everywhere. Well, there were just a couple.”

The band’s two month stint in the US, which included a solo tour after Warped has seen them playing to large and enthusiastic crowds and racking up healthy album sales of State Of Emergency, which has only just hit shelves in the US.

“The reaction to the album has been great,” Cheney says. “There’s a really great vibe and it’s nice to be in the middle of it.”

But Cheney, who became a dad just seven months ago, spent the whole trip looking forward to being back in Australia to see his baby daughter.

“We are very lucky to do what we do, but the downside is getting homesick,” he says. “It’s not natural to take off for two months and say goodbye to your family and friends and travel around the world.

“It’s a weird situation and we always find ourselves coming home and feeling like we’re in a parallel universe where everyone is a bit older and doing different things. This is what we do and we wouldn’t change it for the world, but it is sort of a double-edged sword.”

The band have spent a week at home in Melbourne before they begin their marathon 34-date Australian tour over six weeks. In fact, their tour schedule looks like a return to the great days of touring rock in the 70s when Australian bands from the Ted Mulry Gang to AC/DC would play in stops everywhere from Whyalla to Kingaroy.

Tasmania Goes Into A State Of Emergency With The Living End

Author: Jones

They’re all over your TV, on your radio, and now in SAUCE. Bassist Scott Owen gave us a Tasmanian exclusive in the lead-up to their gigs down here.

It’s been noted that the recording process for “State Of Emergency” was quite stressful. Can you explain why that was and how the making of this album differed to its predecessor “Modern Artillery”? What pressures does a band experience when they commence work on a new album?
Recording is always stressful for many different reasons, the concurrent one being that we always stress that we are getting the best ideas down tape in the time we have and not leaving stones un-turned. This is a pressure we put on ourselves. Time is always a stress for us too. For some reason no matter how much time we allocate ourselves we always seem to be rushing at the end and having to go overtime which is not a good thing for a clear head when trying to assess what we have done and gather some perspective near the end of it.

Why did you choose to work with Nick Launay (Midnight Oil, Silverchair, Nick Cave) as producer this time around?
We used Nick on “Roll On” and he proved to be a big asset on that album, especially in the sounds he was able to get using pretty traditional recording techniques. In the studio he has a way, I think, of getting the most out of a band playing together rather than layering the rhythm tracks too much which I felt was a mistake we made on “Modern Artillery”. He also has a well of ideas when it comes to song arranging, which we need because we have millions of ideas on this and he was able to hear out and filter a lot of the ideas flying around the room when it becomes confusing. On top of that his experience making all styles of music is valuable and his energy and enthusiasm in the studio rarely slows.

The “All States Of Emergency” tour is your largest national tour to date and incorporates some towns you’ve never performed in before. What’s it like playing to a new regional audience and how do these shows differ from major city gigs?
I always find that regional audiences are much more enthusiastic than city audiences with the exception of our hometown, Melbourne. I think the fact that regional audiences aren’t spoilt with an option for many gigs and venues means that when gigs happen in those areas there is more excitement and it becomes more of an event. I love doing these long tours because you really fall into a habit of playing every night that builds up your own energy the longer it goes on and by playing every night we become more and more tuned.

You’re a band that seems to cater well for the all-ages market, how important is the all-ages audience to you?
Over the years we’ve continued to appeal to young people so it is very important that we do gigs for them too. I think it great for a young audience to get an affinity with live music in this day and age where it is easy to be entertained without going out and being social.

How do you keep the pace up? What do you guys do on the road to maintain the high energy levels required for your dynamic and demanding performances?
Nothing specific really. I guess our philosophy is that we really do want to put on a great show every night so that means whatever you during the day can’t be anything that will put the gig in jeopardy so we TRY and do whatever we can to look after ourselves.

What’s your fondest memory of Launceston?
I remember a long time ago when we did a tour supporting Jebediah and we played at the Saloon Bar. It was really packed to the brim and everyone was jumping up and down so much that they created a giant hole in the floor. The security put a giant wooden box over the hole so no one fell in it and everyone spent the rest of the gig stage diving off it. It was one of the wildest things I have ever seen.

The Living End play Launceston’s Albert Hall on the 15th September & Hobart’s City Hall on the 16th of September.

Heads Of The State

Author: Natalie Schmeiss

The Living End’s fourth full length release, State Of Emergency, is in stores now. The band will be embarking on a national tour later in the year.

In 2004, The Living End achieved something pretty special. The release of From Here On In: The Singles 1997-2004 was a loud and proud punctuation in the trio’s lengthy career, according to bass player Scott Owen. One, perhaps, he wasn’t ready for. To Owen, The Living End is an ongoing passion that’s yet to lose momentum, and while some will acknowledge the band’s achievements with something of a ‘greatest hits’, The Living End are far from throwing in the towel. In fact, they’re picking up a whole new swag of pre-teen fans along the way.

I heard you had an enormous number of songs to choose from for this album…
Yeah, I think it was probably around 40 or 50 songs that we had demoed over the first half of last year or something/ We just did tons and tons and tons of demoing stuff, because we just didn’t want any idea to get left by the wayside before it was fully explored. So we spent many, many hours in a rehearsal room working stuff out and doing demos and stuff. But we’ve basically done that for every album that we’ve made. We definitely never had a lack of material to choose from (laughs).

It must be a bit hard to let some of them go…
Yeah, that’s the main problem with having that many songs. Because there’s three of us having to choose which ones end up on the album, obviously you can’t have all the ones that you want, because, you know, the other guys might have ones that they prefer, or whatever. So, you know, you need to be diplomatic in the culling process, and it does get pretty tricky trying to figure out which ones to leave out.

What sorts of things stood out about the final selection for the album?
I dunno, I mean, we definitely wanted to make sure the album had variety – you know, not every song sounded the same, obviously – but not too much. Like we didn’t want to pick the songs that we’d been demoing that were really kind of out there. We still know that when people hear our album that… we know that people want to hear what they expect from The Living End to a certain degree. Even though when you think, like, our band is pretty diverse, you can tell from the singles and stuff that we’ve got all different kinds of songs. But we just didn’t want to put anything on that was gonna freak people out too much, you know. And we didn’t want our album to sound too kinda schizophrenic, you know, we wanted it to sound like a good solid album. And we just basically picked the songs that had the best identity, and that’s what we were looking for when we were demoing. We just wanted to make sure we got the most out of each song, just to make sure each song had a strong identity and wasn’t too confusing or any of that. But it was difficult to choose.

When it’s time for a new album, do you ever draw into the last album’s stockpile of songs that didn’t make it?
Yeah, we actually did this time. Because there were songs that we left off the last album that we’re still really attached to. And maybe some of them definitely weren’t complete enough to make it onto the last album, but we’d been working on them over the last year and trying out different ideas with them. And we did this time, yeah. We always say that we’re going to, when we record and album we go ‘Alright, we’re gonna have to leave that song off but we’ll think about it for the next album’. And then we never do, well, we never have done up until now. Because you kind of get more excited about the new songs that have the novel factor because they’re new songs (laughs). But, yeah, there are a couple of songs that are actually pretty old on this album, but then there’s also, like, one of the songs was only written a couple of weeks before we went into the studio to record. It’s a bit of both.

Do you think it’s important, for a band that’s been around as long as The Living End, to pay attention to what’s popular in music?
Well, yeah, to a certain degree. I’m really glad for what was happening last year with bands like Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads and The White Stripes and The Strokes. I was really glad for that kind of garage-y, pop rock kind of thing being popular last year. Because it felt like when all these bands were coming out, ‘Man, this kind of sounds like what we’re into’. And finally… because a lot of those bands sound like they could’ve been born in the early ’80s in the new wave scene or whatever. And it was great to hear all those bands, it was like ‘this is the kind of music we’ve been listening to’. But now it’s kind of current, you know. So, I think it’s only good to be tuned into what’s popular at the moment if you like it. I mean there’s a lot of stuff that’s popular at the moment and there’s been a lot of stuff that’s been popular over the years, that I just don’t really like. There’s no point even getting into it or even trying to understand it if you don’t like it because you don’t want to let it have an influence on you, you know.

Some musicians that have been around for awhile I guess are sometimes afraid of becoming irrelevant because they’re not paying attention to what’s new and ‘what the kids are into’…
Yeah. See, I just don’t think it’s just worth paying attention to what the kids like if it’s not something that you like as well. I mean, it’s one thing to say ‘I wanna be able to write a song that people are gonna like’ because that’s like an achievement, you know, to be able to write something that’s going to appeal to people. But there’s no point doing it if you’re not going to like it, you know (laughs). That’s the kind of fine line that you need to understand, I reckon, when you’rewriting songs. You’ve gotta write for yourself, otherwise you’re gonna get sick of it before anyone else does and that’s not a very good situation to be in.
And people will be able to see it, especially younger kids that get into music. They can see straight through that kind of thing I think, most of the time. So it’s more important to do it for yourself.

Is there such a thing as feeling secure in your position in the Australian music industry?
Yes and no. We’re lucky to be where we are as far as security goes and we’ve worked very, very hard to be where we are as far as security goes as well. You know, we’ve worked our arses off for many, many years (laughs) touring and making records and playing shows and stuff. So in a sense there is a little bit of security because I kind of feel like we’ve earned our place, to be where we are, and I don’t feel like we could lose it that quickly, that tomorrow we could just be back in our day jobs again. But also, then again, on the other hand, that’s the music industry. People do just kind of drop off the scene so quickly, you never know when it’s going to happen, it’s such an unpredictable industry. So I guess you can never feel completely and utterly secure unless you’re The Rolling Stones or something, or Paul McCartney (laughs). But, I don’t have any great feeling of insecurity. I guess I do sometimes, but I think that’s only human. I think everybody probably does, no matter what they do. And, yeah, I feel like we’ve worked hard enough to be where we are and we kind of understand why we’re here pretty well. So, yeah, so I feel pretty comfortable, you know.

Having worked hard for so long, is it easy to say ‘OK we can sort of pull back a bit on that now and relax’?
Well, I thought I would be. But I think… I dunno. The band defines who we are so much as people, as individuals. People probably say ‘Oh, you’d be nothing without The Living End’ and it’s like, ‘Yeah, exactly! You’re exactly right!’. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I’ve given so much of my life to this band, it’s what I am. So, I can’t really say, ‘Alright now, it’s time to put the breaks on’, because when we’re sitting around at home doing nothing – if we’ve got like a month or something where we can’t do anything – it’s really frustrating, and it kind of makes me feel like you have no purpose in life if you’re not out there and working and doing stuff. It’s just like anyone’s job, if you love your job and all of a sudden you get sent home for four weeks and it’s like, don’t worry you’ll be back in another four weeks. For that four weeks you’re just sitting there going, ‘Well, I’d rather b at work, I’d rather be doing something’. I have nothing else that I feel this passionately about; I just want to keep doing it (laughs).

Has that passion grown with the band’s popularity?
Yeah, I reckon it’s always gonna grow. I don’t think it’ll ever get to the stage where I think, ‘Right, we’ve done everything now, I’m happy and I don’t want to be any bigger or any better than I am now’. I reckon the day that happens is the day that I need to go and check into a mental hospital. Because, seriously, that’s the good thing about having music as a trade, there’s always something else you can do with music. No matter how much you know, or how much you’ve done, you never know when you’re gonna pick up a guitar or pick up a bass or whatever, or be in a rehearsal room and you’re gonna play something that you’ve never, ever played before, never heard before. So, you know, I think that can never disappear, it’s just a matter of being interested in finding that. I don’t know if the interest will ever die, but I doubt it.

How does it feel when people are just as excited about hearing songs like Prisoner Of Society and West End Riot as they were when you first wrote them?
See, that’s amazing. After we released our singles album last year, that was kind of like (laughs) I hate to say this, but I will… Releasing the singles album was like, shit, we’ve got like a best of album now, this is 10 years in he making, this album. It was kind of like a punctuation mark at the end of a pretty long career. Not the end of it, but just kind of punctuating what we’ve done up until then. And it’s like, ‘OK, now we’re gonna go out…’ like we were still just as keen to keep going as we ever were… And now we’re gonna go out, and now that we’ve done a best of album it’s like it’s phase two now. And it was a really, really excellent surprise, because that was a bit of a shock, realising that that’s what the best of album kind of meant to me (laughs), singles collection or whatever you want to call it… that’s what it meant to me. And then going out there afterwards with the new material, like the gigs we’ve been doing lately, and seeing all these really young people getting into the band and people treating us with as much excitement and enthusiasm as they did at the beginning of phase one is an excellent feeling. It’s been a real boost of energy for us and it’s really refreshed our enthusiasm as well, it’s good. I don’t know why it happened or how it happened but it did (laughs) and that’s a good thing.