The Mercury

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).