My Rig: Chris Cheney
Author: Eli Duxson
“You know what, it doesn’t fucking make any difference what you plug into and run through, you get up there and you put on a ripper show – it all comes out of your fingers at the end of the day,” The Living End’s Chris Cheney laughingly and matter-of-factly explains.
Cheney has carved out a reputation as one of Australia’s best guitarists as The Living End’s charismatic frontman and axeman, but has ventured on his own path to release a solo album years in the making, The Storm Before The Calm.
Featuring tracks from earlier Nashville recordings, musings of his time in Los Angeles, and reflections of his childhood after his recent relocation back to Melbourne, the record reflects different parts of his life.
Synonymous with Cheney’s on-stage presence is no doubt his assortment of Gretsch guitars which he’d always had a penchant for, before he even owned one.
“There was just all those cool old photos and footage of those rockabilly guitar players which was one thing, and the playing was just next level which was what drew me to them,” he says.
Leading up to the release of his upcoming album, we thought we’d discuss his Gretsch affinity at length as well as the rest of his “complicated” live setup.
Gretsch White Falcon
“The Falcon’s just got this kind of extra mojo that I haven’t realy found, even when I’ve played other White Falcons, that guitar just has something. It just has that thing that I was looking for I suppose, that fine, good balance between the Gretsch kind of twang, that deep growl, and that bitchin’ AC/DC toughness with the string attack. Not only was it the best looking guitar, it had the sound as well.”
Vox AC30 & Wizard Modern Classic
“It’s a lot more complicated than probably what people would expect. I have backwards cabs that are all plugged in, isolated, and all miked up, and then I have one front-facing cab. My main two cabs are and AC30, a new one, just a Hand Wired, and a Wizard 2×12 cab facing backwards, which has one of my 100-watt Modern Classics running into it. They are ridiculously loud, you don’t want to stand at the back of the stage when The Living End are playing – it hurts. The forward-facing cab I just have for some feedback and a little bit of monitoring because I like to be able to feel the sound. You gotta have that thunk hitting your legs, and to hit a note and get a little bit of feedback and that squeal when you need to.”
Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro
“Pedal-wise, I have a Ground Control switcher, so I have that in front of me to make adjustments if I need to. Basically I’m just running an Eventide TimeFactor, so all my delays are pre-set for different songs on the Ground Control, I have a trusty old Klon, and an Ibanez Tube Screamer that I’ve had since I was about 17 which never leave the board.”
Cheney is also known to not only enjoy drinking the Very Best on stage, but to inventively use it as a slide!
“A lot of people cringe at a few of the things I do to my guitars, but it’s all about putting on a show really – the multiple uses of a VB bottle! It cleans up alright though, it probably gets into the wiring over the course of 20 years or something but you just wipe them down.”