Stating Their Case
Author: JJ Hepburn
The Living End is showing no signs of slowing down. If anything Australia’s kings of punk rock are just hitting their stride. Equipped with a new, pulsating album and a never-ending supply of bristling energy, the band has just finished the Warped Tour of the States, and following a headlining US tour of their own, they’re headed back to their sunburnt continent home for what promises to be a blistering All States Of Emergency Tour.
Having somehow made it through a grueling 22 date Warped Tour The Living End have barely drawn breath before striking out alone and making their punkabilly rock way across the States to continue their onslaught of the American market with their own headlining shows.
July is something of a blur for one of the hardest working bands in the business, but the Warped Tour has been something else according to drummer Andy Strachan.
“The Warped Tour is known for being grueling,” he says.
“It’s pretty much shows every day in stinking hot weather for about eight weeks or so, you live on a bus, no hotels and the few days off are spent on the bus driving to the next gig. Very glamorous. Whereas a tour like The Big Day Out is only six shows over two to three weeks – no wonder the Yanks call it the Big Day Off!”
As only an Aussie band could, The Living End garnered the respect of the Warped bands and workers alike with one of the highlights of the tour – their nightly barbecue’s in the event parking lots.
In Chicago it was somewhat more special as The Living End snagged a few more fans with an intimate performance to celebrate the end of the festival tour.
Warped worker and fellow Australian Scotty Nicholson was a clearly stoked witness to the impromptu gig.
“The band played to thank the Warped Tour… and basically just have fun with all of the Warped Tour personnel,” Nicholson says, “in what turned out to be an epic Trailer Trash Party!
“The camera’s flashes clicked from the beginning of the set until the end as The Living End whaled out some of their favourite tunes – from Chuck Berry, The Stray Cats through to AC/DC. When Chris [Cheney] called up Herbie from Valient Thorr to sing with them, the crowd was in for a treat.
“Chris could have picked any singer from the Tour because every band was there to watch The Living End – they are musician’s musicians.
“I was standing next to James from Against Me and Roger from Less Than Jake and I can tell you, there was a bit of air guitar going on with them keeping up with Cheney magic. Chris’ fingers moved along the strings like a spider running across it’s web, it was awesome.”
The band has steadily built a following Stateside, and their American fans have a few subtle differences to local maddies.
“They talk differently,” Strachan says, laughing. “…but seriously, we’re lucky to have very passionate fans in both countries.
“The only real difference would be the size of the venue. At the moment, I guess due to the success of State Of Emergency, we’re playing to bigger crowds than every before in Australia, so hopefully, it will be received in the same way over there [post Warped] and with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work we’ll be playing stadiums by the end of the year!”
The band has also been going the hard yards building an internet profile.
The Arctic Monkeys. Lily Allen and Sandi Thom are just three forward-thinking entities who’ve successfully harnessed the amazing reaching power of the web.
The Living End has in excess of 70,000 friends on its’my space’ page, and the on line revolution has helped build the band’s relationship with it’s audience.
“The My Space thing is incredible! I can’t believe how huge it is,” Strachan says. “It enabled us to communicate with fans from every corner of the world instantly, so we can let them know personally what’s going on and when we’re coming to town.
“We sold out an LA club show earlier this year solely through advertising on My Space, before the gig was even announced publicly!
“Now if that isn’t connecting with your fans, I don’t know what is. Pole posters are yesterday’s news.”
It’s not long now until the band returns home to Australian fans for it’s 34 date All States Of Emergency tour, held during the school holidays in most states.
It’s a break-neck tortuous time in terms of scheduling that surely requires a strict exercise and diet program in order for band members Cheney, Strachan and bass player Scott Owen to maintain the high energy levels required for their dynamic and demanding performances.
“I know, it’s crazy, isn’t it?” Strachan says. “But we love it. We don’t do much in terms of exercise outside of playing shows really. If you come and see us you’ll know why.
“We do try and eat as well as we can which is sometime a bit of a challenge. I think that’s the most important thing as well as sleep, which is also a challenge!
“At the end of the day though you just get through it. That hour onstage is what it’s all about and the rush you get out of that is stronger than anything and always gets you over the line.”
As ever, Aussie fans are in for a treat.
“For us it’s all about playing live and we try and give it 110 per cent at every show.
“People can expect three well dressed blokes, sweating their a#*es off and making the crowd dance like they’ve never danced before.”
The Channel [V] will join the band with their infamous Confessional Van on site at two shows – The Palace Under 18 show in Melbourne on Thursday, September 21 and Shelley’s, Wollongong under 18 show on Saturday, October 14.
Stay alert. The Living End may well be lurking around to hear a few confessions when the Channel [V] Confessional Van rolls into town.
At the end of the forthcoming Australian tour, the boys will shoot off to Japan for a few shows and they’ve just been confirmed to tour the UK with Less Than Jake and Dropkick Murphys in November.
Whoever it was that came up with the old adage ‘There’s no rest for the wicked’ was obviously thinking of these three mad-for-it units.