The Advocate

‘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.