Positively Rockabilly

Author: Zoë Radas

Despite the fact their crepe soles were planted across three continents, rockabilly allstars The Barnestormers managed to slay the tyranny of distance with the power of finger-poppin’ grooves! (And some deft production work…)

We put a couple of questions each to this band of bros, comprising UK music legend and boogie-boogie
specialist Jools Holland; Gretch-slingin’ frontman of The Living End, Chris Cheney; stand-up sticksman for NYC’s seminal Stray Cats, Slim Jim Phantom; double bassman and producer to the superstars Kevin ”Caveman” Shirley; and on the mic, the thundering pipes of our boy Jimmy Barnes.


When playing in rockabilly style, do you tend to thrash the keys more because the piano doesn’t have its own amp (and probably wouldn’t be mic’d up in a bar room situation)? To put it another way: does the live tradition of how rockabilly piano is played mean the technique is necessarily very different to (and maybe even less ’precise’ than) other styles?

Thank you for this interesting technical question. Rockabilly, like the blues, was in there at the birth of rock ’n’ roll and amplified music. It was at a time when the piano went from being one of the loudest instruments on stage to the least audible.

The piano players of the day not only had this challenge, but also the places where the gigs were being played, and the music was being recorded had inconsistent, and sometimes useless, pianos. It was a challenge that was met wonderfully by people like Floyd Cramer and Jerry Lee Lewis.

My understanding is that when records were cut at this time, the musicians were all playing quite quietly. The challenges of making The Barnestormers record and playing rockabilly today have been different. The two enormous hurdles that we had to get over were the global pandemic and the fact that members of the group were all on different continents. This is where genius producer Kevin Shirley came into his own, and managed, somehow, to pull it all together.

At my end, in London, I was delighted to be able to deploy my 1949 Wurlitzer spinet piano, which is identical to the one originally used in Sun Studios. This responds well to both taking a hammering and more light-fingered work.

I don’t think my technique’s any different for rockabilly, but I think my styling might be more influenced by Jerry Lee and Floyd.

For brand new fans of The Barnestormers’ sound, which pianists should they investigate to learn about the style?

Further to the above, the genius singer-songwriter Charlie Rich has a lovely touch. Much of the rockabilly style comes from western swing, so someone like Moon Mullican is worth checking out. As is Merill E. Moore, whose boogie woogie piano coupled with lap steel guitar created a unique and magical sound.

I have to say also at the back of my mind while I’ve been making this record has been my dear old friend, Fats Domino.


When you’re playing a rock ‘n’ roll classic like the cuts on this new album, how do you know which pockets are yours to play around in with improvisation, and where to remain loyal to the original guitar part?

It was important for me on this record to find the right balance of referencing the original parts that are identifiable and also bringing my own touch to them. No one needs another straight-up covers record. You gotta bring something new to it, or why bother?

This music is the foundation of The Living End, so I’m kind of accustomed to taking an old idea and then injecting something fresh into it. I’m really proud of how this record turned out. Everyone brought the goods.

Which guitarists should brand new fans of The Barnestormers explore?

Here’s the essentials.

Cliff Gallup, who played on all Gene Vincent classics. A man who effortlessly played fast, flashy be-bop lines intertwined with jazzy octave runs. Race With the Devil and Be-Bop-a-Lula are still two of the all-time best guitar solos ever performed.

Paul Burlison, from Johnny Burnette’s rock’n’roll trio. Train Kept A-Rollin’ and Lonesome Train still sound fresh and punchy.

Danny Gatton, the Tele master and one of the greatest all-time players. Huge influence on me, as he really could do it all. He would run through an encyclopedia of licks in one single solo. Fire and skill.

Brian Setzer, who blended country, rock’n’roll, blues, and jazz into his own style. One of the best and coolest ever.


When you’re going hammer and tongs on the bass, such as in Crazy Crazy Lovin’, we can hear the tick of the strings hitting the fingerboard with the force of your plucking. Do you think of this sound as part of the instrument’s sound, in a percussive sense? How much do you notice/control it?

Oh, the tickety-tick is key to the sound of the bass! (Otherwise, you’d just use a normal electric bass – that would be so much easier.) But the muted acoustic bass sound, and all that gorgeous fingerboard percussion, is the driving force of rockabilly, baby!

If listeners want to investigate rockabilly style slap bass, which players should they take a look at?

Thomas Lorioux! Boom! (Mic drop).


The repeated title phrase in Sweet Nothin’s sounds so good in your voice because the vowels it contains are particularly distinct to you. Do you look for songs to cover which are heavy on a particular word/vowel sound, because you know it’ll come out especially ’Barnesy’?

Not really, there are sounds that sound good at the end of phrases, and some that some good in the middle, but more than anything it’s about the timing and the tone I go for. I’m sure there are some go-to ones, but it’s not a conscious choice. Most vowel sounds can be made to sound good. Sweet Nothin’s is just one of those great songs that’s a lot of fun to sing. I like the Brenda Lee version a lot, but I wanted
to approach it like Little Richard when I sang it, the way I pushed it. I wanted the microphone to distort.

Which singers should brand new fans of The Barnestormers’ sound look in to?

There are so many great rockabilly and rock ’n’ roll singers to listen to. When I say rock n’ roll, I tend to be talking Little Richard more than Guns N’ Roses – nothing wrong with them, but it’s more about that time period.

It’s very hard to go past early Elvis records. He was one of the best. The way he sang in 1956 was out of this world. Then you have singers like Jerry Lee Lewis and Billy Lee Riley (it helps if you have three names). Buddy Holly was incredible. Little Richard, Johnny Burnette, Eddie Cochran. Listen to The Stray Cats – those guys introduced a whole new audience to rockabilly.

It’s a long list. If you haven’t looked at rockabilly music before, you have a great journey in front of you.


On Lonesome Train, we get to hear your rhythms go extra-clickety. Is there a ’healthy’ way to play on the rims, so you’re not ruining your sticks?

Yes, on Lonesome Train I play on the rims of the snare drum. There are a few things to watch out for when you play this style. As you said, you can wear out sticks and shed a few splinters – a few divots in the sticks can also occur. Luckily, I have an endorsement deal with Vic Firth sticks and get a few complimentary pairs.

This style can also wreak havoc on the rims; warping and denting can occur, so a lighter touch is suggested.

The main thing to be wary of is the damage to your wrists and elbows, from the hard stick on hard surface of the rims – prolonged use of this style can definitely result in bone spurs, a sprained wrist, and
sore elbows. I feel these are occupational hazards, so get tough and plough through – if it’s the right Sound for the right song, you gotta go for it!

For new fans of The Barnestormers’ sound, which drummers should they go searching for?

A few of the countless drummers that I’d suggest listening to, if you dig my style on The Barnestormers’ record and the rockabilly style in general, would be Dickie ”Be-Bop” Harrell, (Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps), D.J. Fontana (Elvis Presley), Charlie Connor (Little Richard), Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly), Jim Van Eaton (Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Sun Records house drummer), Freddie Below (Chuck Berry), Ringo Starr, Earl Palmer (Eddie Cochran), Charlie Watts, W.S. ”Fluke” Holland (Sun Records session drummer),
and Willie ”Big Eyes” Smith (Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf).

The Barnestormers’ caricatures and album artwork were created by lowbrow pop artist and trashcomic icon Vince Ray.

The Barnestormers by The Barnestormers is out May 26 via Bloodlines.

The Barnestormers – The Barnestormers

Author: Jeff Jenkins

Jimmy Barnes. The Living End’s Chris Cheney. Stray Cats’ Slim Jim Phantom. Squeeze’s Jools Holland, and producer Kevin ‘Caveman’ Shirley. Five legends spread over three continents.

Supergroups don’t always work, but The Barnestormers’ self-titled debut is a success from start to finish because the aim is simple: having fun.

They’ve delivered a riotous rockabilly rave-up, with songs celebrating the origins of rock ’n’ roll. Remarkably, all the band members had not even met before embarking on this record. But it sounds like they’re all in the same room, ripping through classics by Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, Bill Haley, Johnny Burnette, and Brenda Lee.

The songs range in subject matter from wanting a new car (Chuck Berry’s Dear Dad) to the working man’s tale of woe (Roy Orbison’s Working for the Man) and the wonderfully absurd Thirteen Women (And Only One Man), where it’s the end of the world and the singer is the only man left on earth.

They also revisit Johnny O’Keefe’s Wild One (using its American title, Real Wild Child), as well as Don Walker’s solo gem Johnny’s Gone, and a recent Cold Chisel cut, Land of Hope and Glory. And Cheney contributes a new track, 25 to Life, which sits comfortably alongside the classics.

The Barnestormers is one of 2023’s great party records. Drop the needle and turn it up loud.

The Barnestormers by The Barnestormers drops via Bloodlines.

The Storm Before The Calm

Author: Greg Bush

With his regular band The Living End in a state of hiatus since 2018, Chris Cheney has taken advantage to complete his first solo release, The Storm Before The Calm. The album had its beginnings in Nashville in 2016 when Cheney was dealing with personal demons. It was completed in locked-down Melbourne, his angst-ridden songs now balanced by more positive material. Cheney and his family spent many years living in Los Angeles, hence the rock track ‘California’, a place that holds fond memories for him. He slows the pace for ‘Still Got Friday On My Mind’, a song dedicated to his late father. Cheney reminisces again on the acoustic ballad ‘Football Team’ and misses the good times and friends of his youth on ‘Corner Shop’. ‘The River’ is a strong, emotive rock number, and he sings of sleeplessness on ‘2AM’, another up-tempo track. Cheney has survived his “stormy” days in good style with this solo debut.

Chris Cheney bares his soul on emotional solo debut

Author: Jade Kennedy

From ‘California’ to ‘Corner Shop’ – Chris Cheney gets raw and emotional on his debut solo album, ‘The Storm Before The Calm’.

Almost 30 years after co-founding dynamic Australian rockabilly band The Living End, frontman Chris Cheney is branching out on his own with the release of his debut solo album.

One listen to Cheney’s deeply personal new offering The Storm Before The Calm and one thing becomes abundantly clear: we’ve never really known Chris Cheney at all.

“The Living End have just never had songs that personal, for a start, and if they were, it’s sort of been represented under the umbrella of the three of us,” Cheney says, referring to bandmates Scott Owen and Andy Strachan. “Whereas this is just me, under my name, and people know it’s a solo project.”

Lead single ‘California’ was released in March; an ode to the place Cheney called home for nine years, until a global pandemic ushered a return to Melbourne.

Living in Los Angeles, Cheney says he found himself in some “incredible” situations that were particular to the “buzzing” LA music scene.

“You’re on stage at the Troubadour, and to the left is Chris Shiflett from the Fooies, and Duff from Guns ‘N’ Roses on the right, with Captain Sensible and my old mate Slim Jim Phantom from the Stray Cats, because we had a band together and all of these different people would just come along and jump up and jam,” he says. “We did tours of that, and I was pinching myself. Like, that stuff just didn’t happen when I was living in Glen Waverley.”

LA was creatively “very inspiring” for Cheney, who began writing The Storm Before The Calm while living there.

“There’s a standard and a level there that is pretty darn high,” he says. “I like that, and I like feeling that pressure.”

After “tinkering” on some songs on his own, Cheney found himself working with Skylar Wilson in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2016.

“[Skylar] is just amazing; he’s from that whole Leon Russell school of piano playing and the band that he brought in were just fantastic,” he says. “They weren’t old Nashville, they were kind of young contemporary guys. They have all that old school Nashville chops, but they didn’t rely on them – they were okay with bringing in a few more modern-style licks and playing, which was nice.”

Cheney then worked with Aussie Justin Stanley, who had relocated to Los Angeles and worked with the likes of Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton.

“I showed him some songs and said, ‘Hey, you want to help me finish these off?’” Cheney says. “So he played drums and piano on ‘Still Got Friday on My Mind’ and ‘Lost in the Darkness’ and one other one, I think.”

‘Still Got Friday on My Mind’ is one of the tracks Cheney says he is “super proud” of, and it’s one that really allows fans into his deeper psyche, as it deals with the “sore point” of his father’s passing.

“I suppose for me, it’s a way of dealing with it, like any songwriter it’s like a therapy session if you just write it down on paper and put music to it and it’s a way of dealing with it,” he says. “But he had been very sick for a while, and I was going out to visit him one morning where he’d been particularly ill for the last couple of days.”

After arranging to see his father one weekend, Cheney “selfishly” went out the night before, and spent too long the following day “probably trying to find the Panadol” and overcoming the “messy” night before.

“And of course by the time I got there, he was gone,” Cheney says. “So it was a huge regret for me, and that was my way of saying, well I kind of wish it was still Friday night, then I wouldn’t be dealing with what was going on on the Saturday or the Sunday, whenever it was.”

Cheney says he is proud of the track, because it showcases what he wanted this record to be: “Where people go, ‘Wow, I didn’t realise that that guy could do this, I thought he just jumped around on stage and climbed up on a double bass and did the blazing guitar solo thing.’ So that’s what I’ve noticed from people that have heard the record, they sort of go, oh okay, so you’ve got that side to you as well.”

Cheney “really tried” to make the lyrical content of this record as “raw and personal as possible,” with nothing blocking their emotional depth.

“I think the whole key with this record was that there were a few times where I didn’t quite know if I wanted to say what I wanted to say,” he laughs. “It was a little too raw, a little too close to the bone, a little too personal. But what I found was if I didn’t say it directly and if I didn’t make it really simple and clear, then it just sounded like I was kind of skirting around an issue, and it sounded like it was watered down, or like I’d tried to sugar-coat something.”

After recording 10 songs in what he now refers to as the “Nashville sessions,” Cheney returned to his garage in Melbourne and continued writing, penning ‘California’ as well as follow-up singles ‘Corner Shop’ and ‘Football Team’ as well as ‘Little White Pills’ – which, incidentally, is about the most ‘Living End’ sounding track on the album.

“If it had just been the Nashville record it would have been quite a dark album, and I think I definitely would not have been as happy with it if it had come out three years ago as what I am now,” Cheney says. “Because when I got back to Melbourne, and the extra songs that I wrote, it seemed to balance it up. I found then that I had a complete record, and it would have been a different beast altogether.”

Cheney says that “as a sum of the parts” the album feels more complete now, even though it meant discarding half of those original 10 tracks in favour of some of the newer songs.

“The Nashville stuff was a little bit more probably country, Americana, that sort of feel – acoustic-based – and I think three of the more rock songs that I wrote on the album happened once I got back here,” he says. “When I hear it now, I feel like I’ve almost written – unintentionally – a concept record. Like there’s definitely a narrative that flows through it.”

Every time he tried to shy away from the real, Cheney says the songs “weren’t as good” – and that is why he brings so many personal demons to the surface on this record.

“As honest as it is, I think at the end of the day if you choose to go through the lyrics with a fine-toothed comb, you’ll see exactly what I’m saying and where it has all come from; but if you don’t you can just listen to the songs and listen to the hooks, and hopefully they’re the things that are the most prominent,” he says. “I’m one of these people that ruminates on things, and you probably shouldn’t do it, but I do. So I’ve had my fair share of lying there all hours of the evening, or making bad decisions. But we’re only human, aren’t we?”

Cheney says he hoped people would get a little bit of insight into who he is “without the big production and the thumping drums and guitars and everything that The Living End records normally have”.

“I didn’t know if people would buy it, and I didn’t know if I could really do it” he says. “Until you throw yourself into the studio and you strip everything back, and you just have a piano and sing along with that – which is what the first track on the record is, essentially just piano and a little bit of guitar and it’s all vocals.”

Admittedly, though, Cheney wouldn’t have exposed himself in such a way 20 years ago.

“I wouldn’t have have been able to listen to my vocals like that,” he says. “But I’m okay with it now.”

Cheney has also been exploring visual art – the artwork on The Storm Before The Calm is all his own – and has even held an exhibition this year; but it isn’t a new venture like many believe.

“As a kid, before I got into the guitar, I just sat and drew all the time,” he says. “I never had a pencil or a pen and a piece of paper very far from my grasp. I just used to sit and draw all day.”

Even The Living End logos and poster designs showcased Cheney’s artistic flair in the band’s early days. But using a brush and paint was a new experience, and one Cheney has embraced whole heartedly.

“I went from just kind of fooling around and trying to teach myself a few techniques to I’ve now got a garage that’s like bursting at the seams with all these canvases, and it’s been great,” he says. “It’s sort of very similar to song writing, you know, you just throw an idea at the canvas and then add something to it; if you don’t like it you paint over that bit then paint something else.”

Between the music and art, Cheney says the past two years have been the “most creative probably ever” in his life.

“It’s definitely re-awakened my love for visual arts, because it had sort of been suppressed, I suppose, over the last 10 or 15 years – I’ve just been so focused on the band,” he says. “And I don’t know, I just sort of forgot that I could draw and do all that stuff so it’s been great, and I’m kicking myself now that I haven’t done more of it over the years because it’s sort of become a new obsession.”

For now, music will once again take precedence for Cheney. He has a number of shows with The Living End between now and the end of the year, as well as a run of solo shows in support of the album.

“It doesn’t feel like I’m having to sell the idea too hard to people; they’re kind of like, okay, yeah, I’m interested in hearing that. That’s really nice,” Cheney says. “I guess the few times I’ve done outside of the band over the years, whether it be the ‘Distant Sun’ cover or the White Album or whatever, I think I’ve proven that I can kind of hold my own when I need to.”

The Storm Before The Calm will be released tomorrow, Friday 17th June.

Chris Cheney Tour Dates

Saturday 16th July: The Zoo, Brisbane
Friday 22nd July: Mojo’s, Fremantle
Saturday 23rd July: Jive, Adelaide
Saturday 30th July: The Corner, Melbourne
Saturday 13th August: Factory Theatre, Sydney

The Storm Before The Calm

Author: Bryget Chrisfield

Guitar strummed with Chris Cheney’s familiar, purposeful intent launches opener ‘Impossible Dream’.

“It all started back then, when she first came around/ She said, ‘I feel so sorry for you fuck-ups, but I love what you’re puttin’ down’…” – as soon as Cheney’s raspy, world-weary vocal kicks in it’s immediately apparent that The Living End frontman’s musical identity is completely different on his solo output.

We detect Springsteen inspo, lyrically and structurally, and also a nod to early-‘80s Bryan Adams: “He-ey, it’s alright/ We’re all doin’ our best just tryin’a survive… We’ll remember these days were the best of our lives.”

Throughout the course of The Storm Before The Calm, Cheney’s voice is given plenty of space in the mix to flex while he draws inspiration from some deeply personal life events – a breakdown, substance abuse, marital issues, mourning the loss of his father – and his tour-ravaged, smoked-a-few-darts-in-my-time timbre adds extra cred to this revelatory collection of songs.

His vocals even channel Keith Urban during the stripped-back acoustic ‘Football Team’ (no shit!). “One more lonely fall from grace…” – the dapper, polished tone Cheney adopts in ‘Still Got Friday On My Mind calls to mind Robbie Williams. What’s happening!? We never would’ve foreseen name-checking those two particular gents in relation to Cheney, either, but there you have it!

Rollicking piano is a welcome recurring motif throughout ‘The Storm Before The Calm’, which chronicles the trials and tribulations of this thrill-seeking music lifer/rock’n’roll survivor. “I’m not afraid to walk alone,” Cheney sings during the intensely dramatic ‘Exile’ and neither he should be ‘cause his solo work definitely has legs.

Label: Liberator
Release date: 17 June

The Living End – Wunderbar

Author: Helena Metzke

Aussie rockers The Living End have done what they do best on their eighth studio album, Wunderbar – and that is deliver honest-to-goodness, feel it in the gut, head on rock’n’roll.

Recorded in Berlin over a six week period during a series of inspired recording sessions with producer Tobias Kuhn, Wunderbar was assembled faster than any other of the bands’ previous albums.

In what might be one of the best rock records to be released this year, Wunderbar is – put simply – what The Living End are known for. The band have proven they know their niche; it’s what they’re good at, it’s what they’re passionate about, and it’s what has kept hundreds of thousands of fans listening for almost a quarter century.

Taking to social media to celebrate the release, frontman Chris Cheney wrote, “There are many things that can make or break a record – and one thing’s for sure, playing it safe isn’t the answer.

“Berlin was a blind leap, Tobias was a risk, and the Airbnb smelt like piss, but that’s what making rock’n’roll records is all about.”

Sounding as incisive and zestful as they did at their inception, Wunderbar is one of the most concious and politically vital efforts that The Living End have delivered in their career.


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 Living End – Shift

Author: Spencer Scott

Dew Process/Universal

When The Living End released the first single from Shift, there was a small ‘backlash’ from fans. The defiant slow burn of ‘Keep On Running’ somehow left a bad taste in a few fans’ mouths – did they just hear strings on a Living End record?

Of course, what they wanted was ‘classic’ Living End – fast-paced action with more guitar riffs than you can poke a stick at. The opening tracks on this album hand them all out in a row, ‘One Step’ and ‘Monkey’ laying down frantic energy and deep groves.

What separates The Living End’s seventh album from previous releases is its maturity. Chris Cheney’s songwriting is more personal than ever, evident in the lead single and the grimly named ‘Death’ and ‘Staring Down The Barrel’.

After the initial burst of signature tunes, the charm of this record comes to life as the band spreads its wings. ‘With Enemies Like That’ is best Living End ballad to date, while tracks like ‘Further Away’ and ‘Coma’ expand upon their signature, incorporating sounds from outside their rockabilly-influenced-rock wheelhouse.

Shift is a standout album by one of Australia’s most-loved bands. Long may The Living End reign.

Monkey Business

Author: Daniel Cribb

Aussie rock staples The Living End took a dangerous approach when recording their new album — one that resulted in some conflicting feedback at first. Frontman Chris Cheney tells Daniel Cribb all about the “daunting task”.

The Living End have been such a prevalent influence on the Australian music scene since the mid-’90s that it can be a bit hard to believe that frontman Chris Cheney has spent the better part of the past five years living in LA. The shredder fell in love with the US when he flew to New York for three months in 2010 with his family to write the band’s last effort, The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating, and things took off from there. “After that, we just thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be good to try base ourselves overseas for just a couple of years or three years, four years,” Cheney begins from his Californian abode. “It’s sort of still a temporary arrangement; we’re just kind of playing it by ear at this point,” he adds.

There’s no shortage of opportunities over in the States, which is why he’s probably spent so much time there. Regularly taking advantage of the smorgasbord of gigs available at any one time, he caught The Damned at iconic venue The Roxy a few nights earlier. “I actually play in another band, The Jack Tars, over here which has got Captain Sensible from The Damned in it and Slim Jim Phantom from Stray Cats and Mike Peters from The Alarm, so it’s sort of weird being in a band with those guys when you grew up listening to their music.”

It’s a similar relationship between The Living End and their longtime Aussie heroes Cold Chisel, which sparked the flame that turned into new album Shift. After a studio collaboration in 2014 with Jimmy Barnes, the band joined him around the country for A Day On The Green, which is when their seventh LP came to life through a means completely foreign to them.

“We were doing A Day On The Green and there’s so much time in between — they’re only weekends those things — so we just thought we might as well jump into a studio during that time and just throw some ideas around and not really put any pressure on as far as having to have songs; just get in there and press record, which is a pretty daunting task.

“I’ve always had songs to bring in and we’ve always wanted to be prepared, so there was a certain danger by doing that that it would be a failure and that we would come out with nothing.”

It was because of that creative shake-up that some of the material on the new album is a little different to what fans may be expecting. While upbeat rock number Monkey saw a return to their roots, follow-up single Keep On Running received some mixed reviews from fans on social media. “For The Living End to release a song like Keep On Running, I think a lot of people were just like, ‘What the hell is happening,’” Cheney explains. “It’s just not what you’d expect from us; there’s no solo in the middle, there’s no overly energetic slapping bass. Even though we’ve done lots of things, I think people forget we have a pretty diverse range of tunes and albums over the years.

“There was just an initial kneejerk reaction I think, people wondering what the hell we were doing with a full string section and it’s a very pop kind of melody, but I’m quite proud to go out with a song that people don’texpect. What’s the point of coming out with something that’s just The Living End by numbers, it just doesn’t excited me.”

Gearing up to head home for the band’s first headline run in five years, Cheney cast his eye on local talent as they chose tour supports; a exercise that proved an inspiring process and will see The Living End on their toes as they sweep across the country in June. “I’m really excited by all those bands like The Smith Street Band, Royal Headache and The 131s; they all just seem hungry, edgy and everything that I love and I find it really inspiring.

“I’m sort of making sure I’ve got my shit together for the tour because I know that [support bands Bad//Dreems and The 131s] are going to be forces to be reckoned with. There’s just bands out there that are no bullshit; just laying it down and they’re damn good, they’re not hiding behind anything, it’s just raw rock’n’roll — how it should be.”

The Living End – Shift

Author: Dylan Stewart

It’s been five years between drinks for one of Australian rock’n’roll’s most-loved trios, The Living End. 

Having spent their 20-plus years shifting from punky upstarts to veritable A-listers, Shift is just that; a change of direction. The problem is, it’s hard to know which direction that is. The record, while featuring a number of solid moments – see the ballady Keep On Running and sturdy rockby- numbers Up The Junction – lacks any consistency in voice. Occasional guitar flourishes keep things interesting, but opener One Step gets the album off to a very poor start and TLE struggle to right the ship from there.