Wunderbar

Author: Keira Leonard

The Living End always had a knack for telling hearty tales with attitude and, with 20-something years under their belt, they’ve still got it.

Wunderbar provides us with 11 anthemic bangers that are certainly going to have you on your feet, chanting the words right back – It wouldn’t be a Living End album if you couldn’t imagine belting it out alongside them, and they give you just that.

Wunderbar comes together with a collection of diverse tracks that all align nicely, while still staying consistently true to the band’s roots. It’s uplifting punk-rock.

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.

THE BEATLES, ALSO KNOWN AS ‘THE WHITE ALBUM’ DUE ITS DISTINCTIVE PLAIN WHITE SLEEVE, IS THE NINTH STUDIO ALBUM BY CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED ROCK BAND, THE BEATLES.

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

The Living End

Author: Unknown

Australian punk-rock powerhouse The Living End have unveiled they’ll be letting loose a new record. The band’s eighth album, Wunderbar was recorded in Berlin and will drop on Friday September 28 via BMG. With the reveal also comes the news that they’ll be making their way around the country in November, following a stack of festival appearances and headliners across Europe in the lead up. Adelaide’s West Thebarton has been recruited as support. The Living End will bring Wunderbar to The Forum on Saturday November 3.

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: Helena Metzke

The Living End Launch new single in exclusive show

Aussie punk rock royalty, The Living End, convened at Collingwood’s Gasometer Hotel on Wednesday 20 June, for what was one hell of an exclusive show.

Launching their new single ‘Don’t Lose It’, The Melbourne-based trio treated fellow Melburnians and long-time fans to a zesty set, which featured yet to be released tracks.

Taking to the stage, guitarist and vocalist Chris Cheney exclaimed, “We didn’t come to play the old stuff… but we will”, much to audience members’ satisfaction. And with this being said, the boys proceeded to deliver track after track fan favourites, including What’s On Your Radio, Roll On, and Second Solution, while seamlessly blending in the sounds of new tracks.

In the highly intimate setting that is The Gasometer Hotel, the humour and energy that Chris [Cheney], Scott [Owen] and Andy [Strachan] brought with them as a collective, did not go unnoticed. Telling tales of their time spent recording in Berlin and staying in accommodation which resembled that of a urinal, the boys went back and forth between themselves, inviting the audience to interject. Suddenly I found myself standing in a quaint room, having a beer and a laugh with the beings which delivered the soundtrack of my childhood – or so it felt. The Living End have cemented themselves as one of the most beloved Aussie rock acts for some 20 years, and if new single ‘Don’t Lose It’ is anything to go by, the subsequent record will ensure the boys continue to spread the message of our local music to the world, for years to come.

The White Album – The 50th Anniversary Concert

Author: Unknown

It’s one of the most successful Beatles events ever staged in Australia. Following two sold-out tours, in 2009 and 2014, Chris Cheney (The Living End), Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), Tim Rogers (You Am I) and ARIA Award-winning solo artist Josh Pyke are reuniting for a special 2018 tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ White Album (Beatles’ self-titled ninth studio album). They’ll perform the White Album from start to finish – with a few surprises along the way – while being backed by a 17-piece rock orchestra, led by musical director Rex Goh, with guitars, strings, horns and two drummers. And don’t stress, they’re not pretending to be The Beatles – this is a celebration, not a tribute band. Catch it at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on July 13 & 14. Tix via www.whitealbumconcert.com/

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.”

The Living End

Author: Peter Hodgson

The music industry has changed. In some ways that sucks: bands don’t make money off recordings any more, audiences are fragmented, the album-as-art-form is under siege from the quick-hit single in a way we haven’t seen since the mid 60s. But in amongst the tumult are plenty of good things: bands are making themselves more accessible to fans than ever, they’re touring more, and they’re playing more unique and interesting venues. Case in point: the Twilight at Taronga and Melbourne Zoo Twilights concerts presented by ANZ. This year’s series has already featured the reunited george, Warpaint, Killing Heidi and Paul Dempsey, and next to take the stage are The Living End, with Dan Sultan and the String Sirens, supported by Gabriela Cohen.

“It’s such a different thing,” The Living End drummer Andy Strachan says. “I’ve never been to one of these shows but from all reports it’s amazing. Such a cool, chilled out vibe and a nice way to see rock’n’roll. We’re going to set the tone to fit into the environment a little more as well. We did a little photo shoot with some little llama-lookin’ things that were quite amazing. They were jumping all over us and being all affectionate and adorable. The zookeepers have the best job in the world. They seem to really love what they do and the animals seem really happy.”

So what kind of preparation goes into planning a show at a zoo? It’s gotta be different to a sweaty pub gig. “We’re gonna have elements of both, I think,” Strachan says. “The idea was to stretch ourselves a little bit and we’re going to do a bunch of stripped-back versions of songs. We have a couple of special guests. Dan Sultan is going to join us in Melbourne and we’ll have Josh Pyke and Jimmy Barnes in Sydney to jam with us. We’ve got a string section that’s going to join us for a few songs. It’s very, very different for us and a bit of a challenge, to be honest, but we’re really looking forward to it.”

From a logistical standpoint, Strachan will be playing a smaller kit: an 18” kick drum, a choked-up muffled snare drum with one cymbal and a pair of hot rods. “There’ll be acoustic guitars, and obviously Scotty’s bass is pretty much an acoustic instrument anyway, so we’ll be playing up that bluegrass kind of element. And I suppose that’s the challenge, at the end of the day: if it sounds good on an acoustic guitar and someone tapping along on their lap, when a song translates well in that way then it’s a good tune. But we really haven’t done this before. We’re just going to have as much fun as we can with it, and hopefully bring the house down.”

After these shows are in the rear view mirror, The Living End are hitting the road for an extended Australian regional tour. “We’ve got a bunch of shows coming up,” Strachan says. “We go straight into a regional tour to places that we haven’t been in seven or eight years. We’re going to Cairns, Geelong, Woollongong, places like that which we don’t often get to. We’re playing some proper rock’n’roll pub shows, and then a bunch of shows in Europe, a massive show in Hyde Park with Green Day, Rancid and a bunch of other bands and we’re very fortunate to be a part of that. Then we’re going to Spain, a festival in Canada and all sorts of places. And then I’m sure there’ll be another lap of Australia or maybe some festivals after that. There’s already talk of doing another record but when that happens, I’m not too sure. There’s still some fuel in the tank.”

As for the Zoo Twilights, the series continues with Kurt Vile, Tegan and Sara, Martha Wainwright and The Specials. All proceeds from the summer concert series go towards the zoo’s conservation work: Zoos Victoria have been fighting the extinction of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, playing a key role in the recovery of the species, increasing community awareness and building programs to reintroduce it to the wild.