When White Noise Meets Red Dirt
It’s early winter in Melbourne and the chill might have descended, but right now the surf’s the living end for Andy Strachan.
“It’s been two of the best days of the year I reckon,” he says.
“It’s been pumping, so excuse me for being overly excited.”
Excitement is something, however, that Strachan had to get his head around quick smart when he took up the position of drummer for legend Aussie band The Living End about a decade ago.
Strachan’s at home in Barwon Heads when he makes the apology, confessing to a euphoria perhaps only matched by one of the band’s besotted fans.
But right now, he and the band aren’t on the road greeting their mases, so he has a chance to greet the water and hang out with his wife and young daughter down the coast from Victoria’s capital city, and be full on in other ways.
“When we’re not touring I’m pretty much full time dad,” Strachan offers.
“And when I’m away, obviously I’m not dad at all – we get the best of both worlds really.”
Since 1994, The Living End has provided a rousing richness to the musical tapestry of Australian music.
A couple of Melbourne Wheelers Hill boys, Chris Cheney and Scott Owen, merged their affection for rockabilly and punk to form first a cover band – The Runaways – before becoming The Living End.
Armed with Cheney’s voice and stunning guitar, the idiosyncratic cool of Owen’s double bass and a procession of drummers, the band soon had hit airplay with songs such as “Second Solution” and “Prisoner Of Society”.
Having generated themselves a solid rock resume, and lead singer and guitarist Cheney then suffering a car accident in 2001, Strachan became the band’s ultimate drummer in 2002 and things took off even more.
Ten years on, with umpteen massive hits, several studio albums, international success, big tours and bigger gigs, moments of creative inspiration remain a strong driver for the threesome.
“Chris has been noodling around with a few riff ideas so we’ll hash it out, take it day by day and song by song; we don’t want to have any preconceived ideas,” Strachan says.
Indeed, the organic nature of the musical experience is vital.
“When it’s right, you know it and everyone in the room starts to get excited and the process of creation is so different every time,” he adds.
As with their huge album “White Noise”, which spawned the massive hit of the same name, culling from thirty songs appeared impossible at first.
“They were good, they were really good, but they just weren’t amazing,” Strachan states, matter of fact, “and then Chris came in with this octave pedal and it just made his guitar sound like a Harley Davidson and he started playing the riff to ‘How Do We Know’ and Scott and I just both had tears in our eyes, we were so excited.
“It took months and months to find that sound and it just happened in an instant.
“I’ll never forget those sort of things you know, and we’re pretty lucky to have experienced them.:
Not only creating music, but coming to grips with fame and fans still has Strachan waking some days in disbelief.
“We’re so appreciative of having fans, it allows us to do what we do and we’re forever grateful for it and we’re overwhelmed sometimes by the amount of support we’ve had and continue to receive.”
Come August 18, North West Festival ticketholders will be on the receiving end of thrills from The Living End.
It’s been about six years since the group played in the Pilbara and Kimberley and they can’t wait to return.
“We’ve got this show coming up and that’s our chance to get together again,” Strachan says.
“We had to do it because we don’t get that opportunity to get up there that often and to tour off your own bat is near on impossible.
“It’s a no brainer.”