Rip It Up

The Magnificent Seven

Author: Rob Lyon

Melbourne rockers The Living End are about to attempt one of Australian music’s biggest undertakings: playing seven nights in a row in each capital city, playing a different Living End album in its entirety each night. Frontman Chris Cheney talks more about the upcoming tour.

Considering there are six cracking Living End albums (including their barnstorming self-titled 1998 debut, which the band will play twice at each stop), the tour has to be The Living End’s biggest of this magnitude.
“I think it kind of is!” Cheney agrees. “What I’m finding is that it is a different sort of workload. It’s one thing to say we’re going to go out on tour and take pyrotechnics, back-up dancers and singers – not that we’ve ever had that – but that’s on a different scale. This is grand on a whole other level; having to learn 80 songs and the fact that we’re playing seven nights in a row. It’s enormous, but there’s something enormously exciting about it for us.”

It must be great to have so much love from the fans to support this concept?
“We’re still a little way out but the whole tour has sold incredibly well. There are some nights that have sold better than others and the initial idea was to celebrate our first record. Then the idea came along to do all our records, but then we wondered if anyone would come to the State Of Emergency or Modern Artillery nights. We thought they probably would as each album has done well on its merit. with successful radio singles off each album. The tour has sold really well and different generations of fans were around for different albums, which is an amazing thing the way it is unfolding.”

Cheney laughs when it’s suggested he might go spare spending a week in Adelaide.
“I don’t think I’ve ever spent a week in Adelaide but I’m looking forward to it. I know you guys cop a bit of stick down there but I’ve always been very partial to playing in Adelaide. Ever since we were first out of high school we played little gigs there and we’ve always gone down well there. Having a South Australian in the band [Andy Strachan, drums], it has always been one of those consistent places for us. It sounds like I’m trying to sell it, but I can assure you I’m not – I’m legit and Adelaide is a special place for the band.”

Are you planning to get out and about or sit back and count the cash?
“Counting the cash shouldn’t take too long! Andy has friends and relatives there and I have a lot of friends and relatives there too so it will be nice to go out and see them. Normally it is a quick beer after the show and keep moving.”

Where do you go after a tour of this size – will it be hard to reel it back in next time?
“We haven’t put a great deal of thought into it as it has been such a massive exercise already. This tour takes us right up to Christmas and then we’ll do our own thing before regrouping at some point. I can’t see any reason why we wouldn’t make another album. I can see how it may smell like a final lap around the country, but this is something we’ve felt like doing and the right time to do it now. After the last album I didn’t feel like there was any lack of ideas and there is the hunger to do another – [it’s] not the notion we better do another album. I feel we’re still on the same path and have a point to prove with each album.”

Will there be a live recording or DVD release to commemorate this tour?
“As far as I know we’re going to try and document the whole thing. We’re going to film and record it like we have done in the past but we’ve never wanted to approve it, as the three of us cringe our way through an entire set and say, ‘Nah, fuck it – put in on the shelf. I can’t handle listening to this!'”

Cheney Unchained

Is there a possibility of The Living End frontman Chris Cheney releasing a solo project in the coming years?
“I’d very much like to think so. I have a heap of tunes lying around and a lot of ideas. This band is all-consuming and so full-on that it is hard to think about other things. It has been in the back of my mind for a while now and having done things like [He Will Have His Way’s Crowded House cover] Distant Sun and The Wrights was a good diversion I suppose. I’m not ruling it out!”