Author: Mark Fraser
It must have been about early to mid last year that i came across a nifty little mini-album from a bunch of fringe dwellers from down Melbourne way. The band was of course The Living End, and the album, Hellbound ran from Brylcream cranked end of the scale through some quiff-curdling classic popabilly, some jangly sweet bobby-sox cuteness and on to straight-edged full-certified V8 primal rock…double bass style.
In the interim, they’ve gone on to support the likes of Green Day and Soundgarden to name but a few, and on the way, honed their no-holds barred edgey sound to a fine nylon comb. Straight rockabilly they ain’t, but the flavour is still evident in The Living End sound.
More recently they released a six-track EP on the Rapido label (home to the mighty Fireballs) through MDS. The opener From Here On In has been getting a fair airing on the Jays, and after hearing the rest of its varnish-peeling offerings, it probably won’t be long before they follow suit. From the pyschobilly crazed edge of the opener, it’s straight into the thumping roadhouse guitarnage and military incision of English Army, the precision dinge of One More Cell, the rabid, semi ska-tinged onslaught of Stay Away From Me, the runaway winged cadillac that is Problem and onto the final surprise ode of the diabolically disarming, railroad rendition of The Cure’s 10:15 Saturday Night. In all a ripper of a follow up that’s head over heals ahead in the production stakes.
I caught up with the End-ish lads soon after their Soundgarden support and they seemed like a happy bunch in light of the air-time attention that From Here On In has been receiving.
“Triple J had it on high rotation,” explains guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter Chris Cheney. “It’s still being played now, it’s been a month now that they’ve been playing it. They’ve been playing that to death, and we’ve sold quite a few copies which is good.”
After doing a bit of touring for the current EP there is the likelihood of an album in the offing around mid year or so. Meanwhile it’s virtually the weekly grind in home-town Melbourne, where the band manages to pull plenty of live work. The ensuing tour will see them take in Sydney, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour, Brisbane and Noosa….”We’ll be spending a lot of time in the van I think,” says Chris.
And how is the rockabilly scene in Melbourne at the moment? “Ah, not real strong,” laments Chris. “There’s a couple of bands playing now and then, but it’s pretty much finished I think. We’ve got a pretty diverse crowd though, not just a rockabilly crowd… we’ve never wanted to appeal to just that audience. We’ve always wanted to appeal to a wider audience, which is sort of happening now. It’s a shame there’s not more of a rockabilly scene happening but…”.