A Living End To 2018 Gigs

Author: Luke Voogt

Aussie rock legends The Living End lead a dozen-strong line-up of alternative bands in a series of gigs at Torquay over summer.

Barwon Heads drummer Andy Strachan was thrilled to play on Boxing Day at Torquay Hotel.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve done (pub) gigs,” he said.

“Everyone’s generally pretty loose and ready for a good time – I think more bands should do it.”

The gig kicks off an Australian and New Zealand tour for the multi-ARIA-winning band.

“I’m super excited – there are waves almost everywhere (on the east coast),” Strachan said.

“We should do this as an annual event – go on a little a surfing trip.”

The band recently released new album Wunderbar, featuring the single Don’t Lose It.

Jimmy Barnes, Kacey Chambers, Eddie McGuire and Ray Hadley appear in the track’s video clip parodying talent shows. “It was the most fun we’ve ever had doing a video clip,”

Strachan said. “Generally, with video clips, there’s a whole lot of waiting around but this one was just hilarious from start to finish.”

TV presenter Tom Williams, a good friend of Strachan’s, turns the satire up to 11 as a corny talent show host.

“He’s such a charismatic guy and he doesn’t mind the taking the piss out of himself,” Strachan said.

Living End guitarist Chris Cheney plays Boy George-esque judge ‘Valentino’ while bass player Scott Owen plays a corporate producer.

“I don’t care what they do, they can fart into a lunchbox,” Owen says in the clip.

“I just want someone who’s going to make money.”

Strachan said “all fingers were pointed directly at me” to play third judge, the Delta Goodrem-inspired Alexis Dream.

Molly Meldrum plays an Elvis impersonator, while The Wiggles’ Murray Cook and Puppetry of the Penis also make appearances.

“We had to blur some of that,” Strachan said.

“There’s an adults-only version somewhere.”

The number of celebrities “snowballed” once Cheney phoned Barnes for the video, Strachan said.

“He says, ‘whatever you need mate, I’m there,’ in his Jimmy voice.

“We’ve done a lot of stuff with Jimmy in the past – he and Chris get along really well.

“If you had said 20 years ago you’re going to be mates with Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel … it’s so surreal.”

The Living End finished Wunderbar in a few “intense” months of recording in Berlin, Strachan said.

Cheney wrote most of the new album, which Strachan described as high-energy and “sonically different to anything we’ve done”.

“Chris has a song-writing gift … but we all chip in,” Strachan said.

Throwing Off The Shackles

Author: Brendan Crabb

As Aussie rock mainstays The Living End return for an eighth full-length, frontman Chris Cheney tells Brendan Crabb about his relationship with their breakthrough anthem.

The Living End’s recent decision to launch Don’t Lose It, lead single from new album Wunderbar at small gigs in Sydney and Melbourne was greeted with enthusiasm by the punkers’ fanbase. However, a fellow journalist/photographer lamented to this scribe after the Sydney show that the veterans eschewed breakthrough hit Prisoner Of Society in favour of new material. “It didn’t seem the right time and place to play it,” vocalist/guitarist Chris Cheney says when told of this. “God, hasn’t he heard it a million times before like we all have?” he laughs.

“We’re so into the (new) record, that we just went, ‘Fuck it, everyone knows the other songs. This is the ideal opportunity to be a bit of a showcase of new songs.’ We’ve always kind of done that. We used to go out and do these secret gigs where we’d just play all new material, sort of road-test it. We stand behind it [the new album], and I think the audience could see that. The one thing people said to me was that they have a lot of character and personality, these songs. In an era where people aren’t making records anymore, we have made a record.”

What type of relationship does the frontman have with Prisoner Of Society nowadays? Cheney pauses before responding. “A love-hate one. No, I don’t hate it, it’s fine. It’s forever going to be the song that kind of put us on the map first I suppose. I think it’s a good song, I just don’t like the recording of it, I don’t like the version that we recorded… It was a different time. We were kind of part of that whole punk/pop thing, and just the vocals are sung in a certain way that I’m like, I just wouldn’t sing it that way anymore,” the frontman laughs. “But I can appreciate the song, and I still think it’s a good song.”

While having a healthy respect for their past, including playing heritage-themed shows previously, the aforementioned willingness to forge ahead has meant 20 years on from the multi-platinum success of their self-titled debut, the trio sought fresh ways to create on album number eight. The trio — also featuring co-founder, double bassist Scott Owen and long-time drummer Andy Strachan — decamped to Berlin, Germany for recording and pre-production sessions on Wunderbar. They worked alongside producer Tobias Kuhn during the six-week stint.

“We only decided in like September that we were going to make the record, and then [by] January we were already making it,” Cheney laughs. “So there wasn’t a huge turnaround. Trying to pack up my house in LA in shipping containers and think about relocating [back to Melbourne] and trying to write a record at the same time was nuts.

“When we got to Germany, the songs still needed to be finished off and I really felt like they were influenced by just the surroundings. Every day I would get up, we were staying at an Airbnb and a hotel and a few different places, but you’d get up in the morning and then you’d walk to the studio. Just walking past the subway, past all the German signs, and your streets, sights and smells and everything, I found it was influencing me. It was just giving me this kind of… Just this different approach when I got to the studio each day because I was in a completely different environment. It’s hard to say exactly how it influenced the record, but I definitely think it’s got a lot of character that it wouldn’t have had if I’d just been sitting in my bedroom all day, every day recording.”

Of the new record, the frontman dubs the multi-faceted Death Of The American Dream as a “kind of political” but a predominantly personal statement partially inspired by his living in Hollywood for several years, while adding that the rest of the tracks on the record are not necessarily political at all. “There’s a couple of little statements here and there, but it’s a very diverse record this one. Whereas [2016’s] Shift was very introspective… That was actually quite dark and grim, to be honest, but this one I find is a little more optimistic. There’s a little more hope and a few more different kinds of subject matter that we’re tackling that I don’t think we would have tackled in our twenties.

“We’ve never been like the Oils or something and made a proper, full-blown [political] statement. It’s more just been about social issues and stuff that’s going on, as opposed to laying down our opinion.”

Wunderbar (BMG) is out now. The Living End tour from 1 Nov.

The Living End On Taking A Leap Of Faith

Author: Alex Callan

It may have been 20 years since The Living End were talking about being a brat that talks back, but god damn, they haven’t lost the punk. If you don’t believe me give a spin to ‘Death Of The American Dream’, a track of their newest album Wunderbar.

“I’m stoked that you brought up that song because that’s probably my favourite off the record,” remarks the bands Double Bassist Scott Owen. “That one was just a bit of a jam and when we demoed it we didn’t have any lyrics written.

“So I just barked down the microphone. I was pretending I was on the phone to somebody and that was my phone call was the verses of the song. It was thing called ‘Can I leave my number’ as if I was leaving a message for someone,” he continues.

“We were more focused about getting the energy right to make it a banger of a song and didn’t care as much about the lyrics and Chris took it away and turned it into the ‘Death Of The American Dream’ which tuned it to a completely other dimension.

“It’s the first time we had every written like that. I didn’t expect it to turn into what it did, it was just something we did for a bit of fun and then it grew legs and got a life of its own.”

Recording the album over six weeks in Berlin, Scott spoke about how the band were “fish out of water” when they headed over to work with Tobias Kuhn, a producer the band had never met before.

“The whole idea was to take a bit of a leap of faith,” he says. “We didn’t want to play it safe and put ourselves in the same situation we have before, so instead we thought we would take an adventure and work with someone we don’t know in a place that’s really far away.

“It was a great idea; it was the best thing we could of done,” Scott expands. “Tobias was unreal; we got aong with him really well and had really similar musical tastes and ideas so it was a really good collaboration there in a sense.

“We try not to have too many preconceived ideas about songs and try to just let them go to where they want to be. We just want each song t have their own identity.”

Now back in Australia, The Living End will once again be hitting the road for the Wunderbar tour and bringing along West Thebarton for the ride.

“Truthfully, I don’t really know much about West Thebarton,” laughs Scott before continuing, “so I’m really looking forward to touring with them so I can check them out. We have just done a bunch of gigs in Europe which has been really good for us and now we have a few gigs between no and when the tour starts but we absolutely cannot wait to get back up there again.

“Being in a studio is great, but it feels like you’ve got the shackles on and everything is under the microscope so we all can’t wait to let lose on stage again.”

The Living End Get It Horribly Right

Author: Zachary Snowdon Smith

Any uni student knows that spending hours dawdling over an essay doesn’t necessarily make the finished product any better. Punk trio The Living End found the same to be true when they emerged from the studio with their quickest record ever, Wunderbar, which was produced in just four weeks.

“We didn’t sacrifice quality – it just meant that we got the job done without procrastinating,” says frontman Chris Cheney. “It almost made me worried that everything was going horribly right. You’re waiting for it. When’s the hurdle coming? When are we going to get stuck? But it ended up as the most fun record we’ve ever done – the easiest experience I’ve ever had in the studio.”

To record their new album, the band didn’t book time at Abbey Road or the Capitol Records tower in LA. Instead, they sequestered themselves in the quaint and tourist-free central German town of Rotenburg an der Fulda. In Rotenburg, the band started each day with a ten-minute stroll to Toolhouse Studios, where they met with Tobias Kuhn, a producer known for his frenetic energy during recording sessions.

Recording Wunderbar, Cheney found that Germany fulfills the Australian reputation for laid-back amicability better than Australia does.

“I find [Berlin] a lot more chilled to walk around,” says Cheney. “You don’t see anywhere near the aggression or the violence that I see on a daily basis in Melbourne. I mean, God forbid you were to walk down the street with an open beer. You can’t do that.

“It’s a funny kind of arrangement. The laws over there are looser. It’s almost like with teenagers: if you give them a little bit of responsibility, they tend to grow up and appreciate it and not abuse it. Whereas, in Australia, there’s this police state: ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ That tends to make people rebel against it. It’s a funny thing; even though Berlin’s a pretty crazy town, you feel very safe walking around there. I hate to say it, but I don’t feel like that when I’m walking around Melbourne sometimes.”

Even as Spotify continues to reduce albums to modular collections of tracks, Cheney takes pride in Wunderbar’s completeness, which he hopes will prompt a few people to listen to it all the way through before cannibalising it for playlists.

“As an album, it flows really well,” he says. “I know that’s a little bit defunct these days, but for us, that’s important. There were certain songs we really liked that didn’t end up on the record, because they didn’t fit… We’re not aiming to reinvent the wheel. We’ve dabbled a bit, but with this record, the strength lies in the fact that it’s a straight-up rock ‘n’ roll record.”

One standout track is the cochlea-pummelling ‘Death Of The American Dream’, which sounds a bit like the Living End’s take on Highway 61 Revisited. The mortifying spectacle of the Trump presidency has sparked a minor renaissance of anti-American political music. However, Cheney, who spent seven years living in the US, says that ‘Death Of The American Dream’ was written as a diagnosis, not an attack.

“As a kid, for me, America was Mickey Mouse and Disneyland and Elvis and Graceland and Cadillacs, this larger-than-life country,” says Cheney. “At the moment, it’s down on its luck. This song isn’t a piss-take on America at all. It’s saying, ‘I would defend the States forever’, and I love the place. I think you’ve got to go through a rough patch sometimes. They’ll find their feet again. It’s just going to take some time.”

Ultimately, Wunderbar may be most remarkable for its solidity – for the absence of the self-conscious reinventions commonly employed by bands who have spent 20 years on the road.

“You’re not supposed to get better as you get older,” says Cheney. “The shows aren’t supposed to be more intense, but I feel like they are with us. I look at some of the old footage and hear live recordings and it’s just terrible. But now, I feel like we can really play our arses off.

“Every single night, I go off on these different tangents and improvise, and the whole thing feels like it could run off the rails at any minute, but that’s the beauty of it. That’s the magic of a Living End show. We’re not just going through the motions. Maybe we have in the past at certain times, but I take more risks now. That’s what live music is.”

The Living End will tour Australia this November. Wunderbar is out now from BMG.

The Living End

Author: Joshua Martin

You won’t see repackaged, remastered, or rehashed iterations of The Living End’s 20-year-old eponymous debut record this year – singer and guitarist Chris Cheney doesn’t care for anniversaries.

For him, 2018 is Wunderbar – the band’s staunchly contemporary new LP, recorded in icy Berlin. Upon its release, a few things will immediately confront fans of The Living End – not least of all its tongue in cheek German title. The garish purple cover is another departure, an array of nine television sets broadcasting fractured palm trees.

“I like the idea of a paradise, an unobtainable thing we’re all looking at through our screens and devices, all trying to make our lives better through technology. It tied into my experience too, having left LA being all palm trees, then being in the harshness of Berlin and looking back at the palm trees of LA,” Cheney explains.

The surprising abstraction continues into the album itself, a set of 11 tracks spanning personal politics and identity as a microcosm for simmering political divide, condensed into the purest white-hot rock’n’roll the band has written in years.

“I used to be always trying to be a character, always trying to be something else and try to put myself into a role. I think with this record there’s a lot of me coming to terms with the way I sing and play guitar and the way I write songs,” Cheney says.

Nearly every part of Wunderbar’s distinct character leads back to the album’s sessions in Berlin and the baroque small town of Rottenburg an der Fulda where German producer Tobias Kuhn enticed the band to record in a blistering six week period in February. Germany remains a bastion of rock’n’roll, immune to the irrelevance plaguing the genre elsewhere and The Living End revel in its proud regional tradition on Wunderbar, collaborating with Dusseldorf rock heroes Die Toten Hosen on several tracks.

“We first went there back in 1998 or 1999. We were so green that it felt like such a foreign place. I was like ‘Wow, I feel like I’m on another planet completely.’

“[Die Toten Hosen are] the ones who first took us to Germany in ‘98 – we’ve stayed in contact with them and done a lot of shows with them over the years. It needed that big voice, that big chant, and we thought who better than those guys to come and yell on it.”

Wunderbar’s best tracks are a distinctly Australian mish-mash of international influences with unexpected maturity; ‘Not Like the Other Boys’ rails against traditional moulds of masculinity (“Didn’t I try to raise you like a man? Just like the other boys”) while ‘Amsterdam’ showcases an unguarded Cheney against just an electric guitar.

“[‘Amsterdam’] was written as a full band track and it had this surf-garage line, almost like early Midnight Oil. I pitched it to the band and everyone was like, ‘Yeah, it’s great but it doesn’t fit what the album is.’ It was Tobias who suggested stripping everything away and step up to the microphone with the guitar,” Cheney says.

Standout track ‘Death of the American Dream’ uses Cheney’s experience in the US as a template for a psychobilly 21st century interpolation of ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ before a reflective acoustic interlude offers the troubled superpower a bone.

In 2012, Cheney lamented he could “sympathise with guys who have felt like they have done all they can in a band.” The patchy two records that followed, 2011’s The Ending is Just The Beginning Repeating and 2015’s Shift stayed that course, but things couldn’t be more different now.

“You go through hurdles and slumps through the years and maybe we were going through one then. I can’t see any sign of us slowing down at this point. For a long time I was consumed by the Living End and that was when it became a grind. I think this record has done so much for us and our own enthusiasm.”

The White Album: The 50th Anniversary Concert

Author: Helena Metzke

Four of Australia’s greatest male vocalists come together once again, for what is one of the most successful Beatles events ever to be staged in Australia.


50 years on, the album remains a renowned work of art, which continues to be celebrated around the world. Returning for the third time, following two sold-out tours in 2009, and 2014, Chris Cheney (The Living End), Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), Tim Rogers (You Am I), and Australian singer-songwriter Josh Pyke, are reconvening to once again honour The White Album.

“It still has something to offer,” begins Chris Cheney, lead-vocalist and guitarist of The Living End. “It’s not nostalgia – it’s not great just because it’s a nostalgic record – I think it still pushes the boundaries, it’s still odd and fascinating, and it’s powerful.”

“It’s got everything in there,” he says. “Take something like ‘Black Bird’, surrounding human rights movements, or something like ‘Piggies’, which looks at confronting authority.

“And then you’ve just got these weird and wacky, beautiful songs woven in between.”

Cheney was approached some years ago by Tim Woods, promoter of The White Album Concert, when the notion of the tour was initially put forward to him.

“There was a bit of hesitation at first, because I’d never really done anything like this before,” explains Cheney. “And I think playing something like a Beatles song – one song here and there is okay – but to do an entire performance, well, the last thing I wanted to partake in was a tribute band or a covers act.”

“But when I found out that Phil, Tim, and Josh were involved, it was like, ‘Okay, this isn’t just going to be a cheesy cover band,’” he continues. “I realised this was something where we were all hopefully going to bring something unique to the table, and it’s been absolutely magical, which is why we’re now doing it for the third time.”

Performing The White Album in full, from beginning to end, Chris, Phil, Tim and Josh maintain they are not imitating the works of John, Paul, George and Ringo, but rather celebrating them. “There are enough Beatles covers bands out there, who sing in Liverpool accents and pretend they’re The Beatles,” expresses Cheney. “And that’s just not our kind of thing, really.”

“We all come from different backgrounds, and it’s obviously been something that has reacted well among audiences; us putting our own stamp on it,” says Cheney. “But in saying that, it’s sacred material, and it’s something you don’t want to stuff up.

“We’re very aware of where we’re treading, and we’re just giving it a different spin; we’re not adding to it, and we’re hopefully not taking away from it.”

Widely regarded as the most influential band in music history, it was commonplace for The Beatles to break genre boundaries. Drawing from an extensive pool of influences, the four-piece experimented with a variety of genres, including pop, rock, folk, and blues, just to name a few.

“The main thing I’ve drawn from them [in my own musical career] is that it’s okay to have diversity in your music – it’s okay to have lots of different influences,” says Cheney. “And so I guess I’ve tried to sort of channel my influences, the same way that they did theirs.”

“They weren’t afraid to borrow ideas from other people, and they wore their influences on their sleeve,” he says. “And I like to think I’m trying to channel The Beatles influences as well, when I’m performing my set of tracks off The White Album.

“If I’m playing something like ‘Back in the U.S.S.R’, I know that Paul McCartney was influenced by a cross between Chuck Berry and The Beach Boys, you know, that sort of vibe, that real ‘50s rock n’ roll, which is my kind of background.

“We really try and get into the essence of what The Beatles were trying to do, and we’re not just copying their version.”

Backed by a 17-piece orchestra, which is led by musical director Rex Goh, the ensemble will feature guitars, strings, and horns, as well as two drummers, causing the concert to be a true spectacle.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, The White Album continues to hold its mark in history, as one of the most progressive works of its time, and titles The Beatles as true geniuses of their craft.

“I seriously pity anyone who is just like, ‘I’ve never really listened to The Beatles,’ or, ‘I’ve never paid much attention to them’, because I think you’re really missing out,” expresses Cheney wholeheartedly. “There are a lot of great bands out there, and they’re just one of them, but to not have a knowledge of their work, or to not have any Beatles records in your collection, is a bloody tragedy.”

When & Where:
Hamer Hall, Melbourne – July 13 and 14

White Nights

Author: Unknown

It takes a lot of chutzpah to take a swing at the kings, but Chris Cheney, Phil Jamieson, Tim Rogers and Josh Pyke have never been lacking there. After two runs of The White Album Concert, the four are reviving the hit show for the iconic record’s 50th anniversary.

Have there been any change-ups since the 2009 and 2014 tours?
Not the song allocation. We are doing essentially the same songs that have been divided up on past tours. We are going to add a few extra songs and a few little surprises. It was Tim’s idea to do something special and different towards the end.
– Chris Cheney (The Living End)

What’s your advice for tackling one of the most iconic albums of all time live?
I think we all realised the first time we did this show that we needed to put our own spin on the songs. It’s such a revered and loved record it’d be silly to try to copy it. But you also want to show respect, so it’s a fine line.
– Josh Pyke

What’s your favourite hidden gem on the album?
Julia. Not exactly hidden, but the hurt and bewilderment of that boy’s relationship with his mum is laid bare, then completed two years later with Mother. Hang on, must call Mum.
– Tim Rogers (You Am I)

In your opinion where does ‘The White Album’ sit against classics Abbey Road and Sgt Peppers?
‘The White Album’ is a double album filled with quirk and flaws and terror and melody and avant-garde and country and rock’n’roll and craziness. It kind of has everything. It’s broader in scope that the other albums, making it a great live experience.
– Philip Jamieson (Grinspoon)

The Living End

Author: Robert Dunstan

Last year was a big one for Australian rock trio The Living End as they toured Europe and the US under their own steam, did some shows in America as special guests of Midnight Oil and then came home to do another show with that band.

This year also promises to be another huge one for the band as they will kick it off by headlining a series of A Day On The Green concerts alongside American band Veruca Salt with Spiderbait, Tumbleweed and The Fauves being on the huge rock bill.

BSide Magazine chatted over the telephone late last year to drummer Andy Strachan while he was taking a break from a rehearsal.

“Yeah, we’re doing a gig for the NRL guys,” he says. “Funny thing is, I don’t know much about NRL and it’s a Triple M kind of thing. But we did a morning show for the AFL the other day.”

As Andy hails from South Australia – he was born and raised in Christies Beach and has now moved back after 25 years in Melbourne – we briefly discussed how NRL never took off in this state despite some major attempts before moving onto more relevant topics such as A Day On The Green.

“It’s an epic line-up and it’s going to be so much fun,” he suggests. “I’m really looking forward to it because it’s like a Big Day Out line-up. And, as that doesn’t exist anymore, it seems like the A Day On The Green guys have grabbed the concept.

“It’s also punter-friendly,” Andy enthuses. “It’s pretty relaxed and casual and we haven’t done A Day On The Green in Adelaide before although we’ve done a couple of interstate ones. And McLaren Vale is just such a beautiful spot with, arguably, the best wine in the world.”

“And I haven’t seen The Fauves for years,” he laughs. “Their Dogs Are The Best People is still one of my favourite songs. And seeing Tumbleweed again is going to be great. That will be epic. And fun. And we used to do heaps of shows with Spiderbait back in the old days but haven’t seen those guys for years. And I always though the two bands worked well together.”

Andy laughs when I mention A Day On The Green will be taking place on election day in Adelaide and that those on the electoral roll will be required to vote before heading to McLaren Vale.

“Maybe we can get a polling booth set up at the winery,” he then jokes. “People could have a couple of wines before they vote.”

Prior to joining The Living End in 2000, Andy was a member of various Adelaide bands before moving to Melbourne where he played with P76, Alcotomic and Pollyanna.

“I was with Violetine for a little while too,” he laughs. “But I was playing with Polyanna, who were about to wind up anyway, when I auditioned to join The Living End. I’d been recommended to them and then, when they asked me to join, I said, ‘You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks while I finish this tour with Polyanna’. So I literally stepped off a plane from Tasmania at the end of that tour and stepped into the rehearsal rooms with The Living End.”

The Living End released Shift in 2016 and launched it in Adelaide with two huge shows at the Governor Hindmarsh, but Andy says they are already in discussions about their next album.

“We had a fairly hectic run over in America – we just got back a few days ago – and prior to that we did a couple of European tours,” he reveals. “And while we were over in America, where we did a bunch of shows with Midnight Oil, we were talking a lot about the next album.

“So we’ll be getting together to do some writing soon and then look at what we’ve got for a new album,” Andy continues. “We actually feel pretty inspired at the moment because we’ve had such a good year. I dunno, but the harder we work overseas, the more it inspires us to continue. It feels really creative and I think that has something to do with playing night after night in America.”

Andy says that while touring overseas is good, the costs are considerable.

“We don’t make a million bucks out of it that’s for sure,” he laughs. “By the time you’ve taken in all the touring costs including airfares and stuff it doesn’t leave much. It all adds up but we put together some good shows and have a pretty loyal and quite fanatical following over there which helps. “And we generally play rooms that are comparable to the Gov in Adelaide,” Andy says. “There’s a place called Slim’s in San Francisco where we usually finish up a tour that’s very much like the Gov. It’s a well-run, dedicated, live music venue. And gigs at any of the House Of Blues venues are great to play as well.”

The Living End At The End Of The World

Author: Amanda VanElk

The announcement of the Day On The Green’s monster all-star 90’s line up for next March has everyone, including The Living End drummer Andy Strachan, feeling equal parts pumped and sentimental. The Living End, Spiderbait, Veruca Salt, The Lemonheads, Tumbleweed and The Fauves are touring 2018’s A Day On The Green- Australia’s last fully mobile music festival and Andy has a few things to say about his own taste in music, touring, and the wonders of Tasmanian seafood.

You’ve just finished a massive US tour, how are your energy levels going? Do you get more energised and inspired creatively by long tours or less so?
Oh man it was pretty gruelling by the end I think we’ve been hope for maybe nine or ten days now so body clocks are pretty much back to normal now which is nice but that was a pretty heavy run.

Do you tend to get personally inspired by longer tours or less so?
That’s a tough one, it’s pretty inspiring when you’re finished. As soon as you’re off the road you just wish you could go back on the road so it’s that catch 22 I s’pose. But it’s exciting to do all that stuff again and but it’s also great to be back home and I’m looking forward to playing shows in front of Aussie crowds again.

There’s a massive buzz down here around the announcement that you guys are touring Launceston for A Day On The Green next March. Do you think you’ll get any time to hang out in Tassie while you’re here?
Oh it generally doesn’t happen, we generally don’t have time anywhere we go but you can always hope! But anytime we get the opportunity we just go and eat as much fresh seafood as we can. Lots of oysters! That’s pretty special y’know. What’s that little area? Salamanca? It’s awesome, so we get pretty excited about oysters. We’ll probably go and try and find some of them…

Is the 90’s kid in you losing it a little bit at the prospect of touring A Day On The Green? You’ve got a pretty nostalgic Australian 90’s lineup with Spiderbait, The Fauves & Tumbleweed but also international heavyweights like Veruca Salt and The Lemonheads.
Yeah it’s gonna be unreal and were pretty good friends with the Spiderbait gang and we haven’t played a show with them in a long time so that’s just like wearing an old pair of shoes y’know, we always get together and have a good time. I think all the bands are gonna compliment each other and Spiderbait are such a great festival act, they’re always so much fun to watch. I haven’t seen the Fauves in it’d have to be ten years, even more.

The Living End released Shift in 2016. Can punters at A Day On The Green expect a focus on songs from this album for your 2018 live shows or are you gonna mix it up with the nostalgic stuff a bit?
I think we’re gonna play everything, we’re gonna pick and choose from every record. There’s seven records now so we kind of want to represent every record. Theres so many songs that we love to play but we really want to represent each album so everyone’s a winner at the end of the day. But yeah, we’re not going to be playing obscure B Sides or anything like thats we’re gonna play the songs that people wanna hear.

Do you listen to much music in your spare time or do you just look forward to silence when you can get it?
Oh a bit of both. I like surfing so that’s a past time where you can’t really listen to music because electricity and water don’t really mix. So that’s my quiet time but there’s generally music on wherever I am. If I’m driving I like to listen to music. If I’m at home I like to listen to music. It’s my job, it’s our job but it’s still a massive part of our lives outside of work. We all still listen to music just as excitedly as we did when we were a lot younger y’know. You know what I’ve

been loving lately? Dan Sultan’s new record. It’s called Killer and it’s just phenomenal. I hadn’t heard it and I put it on Spotify and I just can’t get enough of it now, it’s just incredible and I just hope people get to hear it because it’s really hard to get music out there these days and get it to that wider audience and it needs to be heard on a wider scale I think. He’s an incredible artist but it really blew my mind. It’s a masterpiece, incredible.

Can you tell me about something that has made you super proud recently. Be it musically or otherwise?
Pretty much every day when I see my little girl. She’s eight and when she comes home from school and she says she had a good day or she got an award from something. Y’know every time she says thank you…I don’t know she’s just a very cool human… she wrote a song recently. She’s pretty into playing ukulele and all sorts of things but she just writes songs now off her own bat. I’m proud of her, I’m incredibly proud of her. She’s just got a bunch of chords and she threw them all together and wrote some lyrics. It blows my mind. So I’m overwhelmed with proudness every day.

And finally, do you have a favourite drummer joke?
One of my favourites is: How do you know when the stage is level? Because there’s drool coming out of both sides of the drummer’s mouth.

No End In Sight

Author: Lisa Dibb

“Pretty much every gig, someone requests that!” Bassist Scott Owen says. He’s talking about Uncle Harry, track from The Living End’s 2001 album Roll On. The song is one of the silliest the band have released (“Uncle Harry pissing in the bath”) in their long career, but it still gets yelled out at gigs, some fifteen years later. “rock and roll keeps you young.” He notes.

Owen is unable to quantify what the band mean to their fans, and their country; the ‘End have been a fixture of the rock and landscape in Australia for over twenty years. Most of you reading this have a favourite album, no doubt. Personally, I can’t imagine an adolescence without Prisoner of Society in it.

“I know what it’s like to have favourite bands and buy records; that important music, albums I’ll never tire of, it’s so hard to imagine [that] in regards to us, because we’re inside it, in the bubble of the band, and it’s hard to step out.” he says. “We did that retrospective tour, where we did all our albums, which was a good opportunity to get a sense of that, go back and relearn all those early albums, good opportunity to get perspective. It’s always a bit of a mystery to me, how our albums have shaped and affected people’s lives; it’s a spin out, almost too hard to grasp.”

2016 saw the release of the band’s seventh album, Shift; listeners will notice the change in their sound from some of the headier punk of their older records, to a more refined rock style. Although The Living End have manifested in different ways over their long career (a normal progression), Owen maintains that every new record has a sense of the band’s spirit within.

 “What this one offers, more so than any of the others, is mostly lyrically.” he says. “A lot of our songs- the majority- have been politically or socially charged; there haven’t been that many songs written from a personal point of view, that’s where this album is different. It’s all pretty much Chris’ experience with himself, opening up, being a bit more personal, letting feelings and things be known. Our music’s always shifting and changing.”

“When you think of English punk in the seventies and eighties, there’s definitely an identity to that; in the US it’s the California punk thing…the punk scene in Australia came off the back of that.” Owen explains, as we discuss Aussie punk, and the humour that often comes with it. Aside from the aforementioned pensioner ode, the ‘End have never gone for much of the jokesy stuff.

“Aussie punk bands, when we were starting, had a bit of an Australian identity; bands like Frenzal, Bodyjar, stuff like that, [had an] Aussie edge to them that sets them apart from similar style bands from overseas. It’s a hard thing to put your finger on. We always found the humour thing in music always kind of wore thin quickly [for us].”

In late 2006, Cheney took a hiatus from the band, as fans feared this would mean the end of their beloved trio. Cheney took a break from music, and the band got some much-needed distance. It ended up serving them well; they came back together, made a banger album (White Noise), and continue to tour and record as they always have. “There is no end in sight, I’ve never felt like it’s time to stop doing it. Never. I know Chris [Cheney, frontman] did, for a period; there was one point where we did sort of disband for a year, he felt like he needed space from it; “I wanna walk away from it for a while”. And that happened, [there was] basically about a year where we stayed out of each other’s way. I dunno what changed or what clicked, but he was compelled to put it all together again and we made White Noise [2008], that was an awesome period after a hiatus. I was confident it wasn’t the end, just a matter of taking space for a little while. I still feel like we can manage this, we can continue to do it and the novelty hasn’t worn off – I still get major excitement getting together with those two guys.” “After having been a band for twenty years or whatever it’s been…I guess to look at it from the big picture, as it progresses, you get more and more perspective on the things that matter, compared to the things you used to focus on that seemed important that the time, but weren’t really- in hindsight. Being on stage, playing gigs…making records and being in the studio, I’ve always found a bit of a chore, to be honest- I’d much rather be on stage. The record is rewarding at the end, all those hours creating songs, chipping away, but the process I find quite boring. It’s not like the instant karma of being up onstage, that’s what gives me the real feeling of being what the band is. There’s been all these steps along the way, but it all boils down to one thing: we still love playing music with each other. We’re so lucky to have this life.”