Author: Marty

The full version of an article I wrote for Opus, my Uni’s Newspaper, on 30th August, 1997.

I am sure that these boys must be getting a bit tired by now. They are about to take their passionate rockabilly back out on the road for their fourth tour of the eastern states this year already and something about them is telling me that they will back again. But, as if that wouldn’t be enough to tire out all any regular person, they are also about to release their third EP. Despite the wonders of modern technology I managed to have a chat to the Living End’s Scott Owen, who plays double bass.

You guys have been on the road a fair bit this year. Are you guys like gluttons for punishment? 
We are at the moment. I’m sitting in the van at the moment on the way to Portland. We played Adelaide last night and…. yeah, we are on our way to Portland at the moment to start another of those east coast tours with Bodyjar. So yeah we are gluttons for punishment.

So when was the last time you had a break? 
Well, we haven’t done much for the last couple of months. We did a few gigs a couple of weeks ago, but before that we had a huge break, because we had a tour… well, to come up to Sydney but we had to blow out all the shows. Thats all we had planned so we’ve just done nothing except record.

Last year you got to support Green Day. What was that like? 
Yeah, it was excellent. Was that last year? (voices from the van – “Last February.”) Yeah it was pretty good.

I imagine it was a little different this year when you supported Blink 182? 
That was another good one as well. They were mostly all ages gigs, so they were all full…. they were basically all sold out, they got stacks of people.

What’s the rockabilly scene like down in Melbourne? 
There isn’t really one. Oh…. there is a bit. It started up, over about the last six months its started to fire up again. There’s a few more bands that have started touring and started playing together. There’s a couple of nights a week where you can go to see a couple of rockabilly bands play. But it seems to be coming back again, that’s another thing. They used to have a big gig on Sundays, hopefully that will start happening again. But for the last couple of years there’s just be nothing. But for some reason its seems to be starting up again.

“It’s For Your Own Good” spent six months in the charts. That must have surprised you a bit? 
Yeah, I know that was a huge surprise. We didn’t realise until it had been number 1 for about four weeks or something, and we just went “oh shit”, it’s unbelievable. And it just stayed there.

Do you think Triple J had anything to do with it? 
Oh yeah! Definitely. It had everything to do with it, go the J’s.

It was at this point that technology let us down and Scott’s mobile cut out. However all was not in vain as Chris Cheney, the guitarist and lead singer, kindly provided the encore.

How did you score the “Live at the Wireless” set earlier this year? 
Basically just through our publicist. We wanted to do one for ages and we used to like ring them and stuff. Eventually we sort of got through and just because of the success of ‘From here on in’, they just sort of went “yeah, cool” why not. That was pretty good fun.

It’s not like everyone gets to do one. 
No, thats right. We were pretty lucky actually to have that. Good exposure.

Well you got good exposure from Triple J anyway. They flogged ‘From Here On In’ to death. 
Yeah, I know…. total overkill. It’s good but it’s a bit of a one hit wonder type thing. Now everyone expects us to play just that song now. I mean it’s good but we have got other songs as well. Yeah, it would have been good to get some of the other songs off the EP out there.

You also played Recovery a couple of months ago. What’s it like having to get up at nine in the morning? 
Not easy. It’s a bit of tricky one but once you’re up, you’re up.

I have just been having a listen to the new EP ‘Second Solution’. Sounds pretty good, especially the lead track. 
You like that one?

It’s sort of a blend of like….. ‘It’s For Your Own Good’ had a higher tempo than ‘Hellbound’. This ones just sort a blend of both of those so it sounds heaps good. 
Oh that’s good. Thanks! I hope it’s come across that way because the last EP came off sounding very sort of punky, you know. Everyone thought we were like this four piece band who were into the Offspring and stuff. Whereas ‘Hellbound’ was very sort of rockabilly, so, we just got to define that blend between our two favourite influences.

Certainly with the last one you started to draw comparisons with the Fireballs a fair bit. The first EP was more relaxed and it sounded more individual. 
We get compared to them all time, it’s a bit of a pain really. I mean we come from the same backgrounds but they’re just a lot more metal than we are. They’re a lot more into riffy type things, whereas were more into writing catchy songs I guess. More of a punk type influence.

Where did you guys write most of your songs? 
I just wrote them really in my bedroom. Yeah, that’s where they all come from.

Did you consider renaming ‘Prisoner of Society’ because of the similar title to ‘Prisoner (on the inside)’? 
No, I wrote ‘Prisoner of Society’ a little while ago now and then when we recorded them they came out really good. Then we thought lets try and make this almost like a concept EP thing, we wanted the whole type prisoner type theme. Someone just said “you should do a cover of the Prisoner theme” and we went no, no…… bit above our league, I don’t think we’re one for ballads. But we just had a bit of a muck around with it and it turned out good so we just recorded it.

The EP includes tracks from the ‘Live at the Wireless’ session. What was the motivation behind that? 
For a couple of reasons. I think a lot of people who bought the last one wouldn’t know about ‘Hellbound’, so its just a couple of songs off it that they wouldn’t have heard. We kind of like the way those songs came out for the ‘Live at the Wireless’, pretty rough round the edges, but there’s a lot of energy there. I just think it’s good to put as much variety on an EP as possible so what’s better than a couple of live songs.

Got any plans for an album? 
Hopefully recording in December, and we’ll have it out in January.

You guys were up here earlier this year to play some gigs with the Porkers. How was that? 
Yeah they were good. It’s good playing with Porkers because they get a mixed kind of crowd. Obviously they’re like ska influenced band but they get just a diverse kind of crowd, it’s really good. That’s what we’re sort of after.

Certainly when you were up here with Blink 182 the punk crowd didn’t take to you too well. 
No, I don’t think they know what too think really. I think it’s because as I said ‘From Here On In’… everyone was sort of thought we were trying to be this big punk band or something, but we weren’t really, it’s just a bloody rockabilly band sort of playing fast. So I think when people get it and understand what were on about they will like it a bit more. Just for what we do and who we are.

The current “Nervous Wreckage” tour with Bodyjar. Is it true you are playing 20 shows in about 30 days? 
Something like that. Yeah it’s pretty full on. We haven’t done a tour this big before, the most we have ever done is probably seven or eight gigs in a row. So this is our first sort of major tour type thing. I think it will be pretty hard, but it will be a good work out.

When you come to Newcastle on the 17th of September, you’re in support of Suicidal Tendencies. That seems like a bizarre match up. 
Yeah, it does a bit. But our drummer is like, it’s his favourite band, which is kind of weird. They’re his all time favourite, and he thinks it will go really well because we’ve just really want to appeal to Suicidal Tendencies fans and everyone right across the board. And they’re pretty diverse, so, it could work alright. We don’t like playing with any particular style.

You were originally distributed by Shock but are now with MDS. How did they notice you? 
They saw us at a Man or Astroman gig, ages ago, way before even ‘Hellbound’ or anything, they wanted to sign us then but we went with Shock. We spoke with MDS about the second one and they seemed the better option so we went with them on that one.

What are you plans for the rest of the year? 
Just to record in December basically, and get it out in January. All we have to do is a lot of touring obviously and just do this recording.

Another full on tour? 
I don’t know. Maybe…. it would be good to do a headline of our own.

You play a lot of all ages shows. Do you prefer them to the pub gigs? 
About the same really. The all ages are pretty good because they can get pretty crazy but then again so can the over 18 ones. There’s no real difference really. Whether you have got an underage crowd with no alcohol they still go off or an overage crowd with alcohol.

“Second Solution” was out on September 8 on Rapido thru MDS.

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…”.

Living In The Fast Lane

Author: Jason Cole

Three piece Melbourne rockers the Living End experienced a dream run of late, coming off a highly successful with those snotty nosed brats of rock, Green Day. On the horizon, the Living End is a confirmed support nationally for the Reverend Horton Heat touring later this year, plus a show with the Supersuckers. the band has also just released an eight track rockabilly punk treat with Hellbound. I had a chat with lead vocalist/guitarist Chris Cheney and drummer Joey Piripitzi about their experiences on the tour with Green Day, amongst other bits and pieces.

The Living End’s career has not been an overnight success. People seem to think that the band has just received a lucky break with the Green Day tour, but Chris told me this is hardly the case. 
“We have been playing together for about four and a half years and have definately paid our dues. We have done heaps of residencies at crappy bars playing shitty cover versions so it hasn’t be all luck.” Hardly the jump from relative obscurity to major venues as people thought. To describe the sound of the Living End isn’t an easy task, “We’re something of a mixed bag when it comes to our sound,” says Chris. The phrase that has been passed around the traps of late is ‘punkabilly’ a term the band isn’t too sure about, but which I think is pretty close to the mark. There is the sound fusion between fifties rockabilly and a definite punk influence.

Asking the guys about their influences I was provided with a vast array of styles. 
“We dig the fifties rockabilly style of Eddie Cochran, Stray Cats and of course the ‘Rev’ Horton Heat but get into earlier punk stuff like the Clash, Dead Kennedys and the likes of Green Day.” 
Now that’s an interesting mix. It’s no secret that the boys are huge fans off Green Day. They had already bought their tickets, they had sent a tape of their work to Green Day’s management hoping to score a support slot. As it worked out the Green Day lads liked Living End so much they got them on board! (I hope they got a refund on the tickets!) The tour took the bands across the whole of Australia playing to 9000 capacity at the Horden Pavillion – bit of change from the Tote, eh? 
“Yeah, it was a complete buzz, a real adrenalin rush to play those venues and see masses of people looking at you, it was freaky.”

How was the response from the crowd? 
“Unbelievable, they really got into us and were jumping all around and going off! We were a bit freaked out that the crowd would all be die-hard Green Day fans and wouldn’t give a shit about us but it was cool.”

And what were the Green Day fellas like? 
“Really cool guys who were just so down to earth, and easy going, we just hung out in bars after the shows and played pool and took part in some room smashing on the last date of the tour with the drummer Tre Cool.”

Now the boys of the Living End are back in Melbourne. They will be playing a few shows locally and are looking forward to the national tour with their idol, the Reverend Horton Heat which should be huge. The guys are chuffed to win these great support slots, partly due to the fact that they are now in the care of the Cheersquad touring group run by Wally Meanie who takes care of the likes of the Meanies, Snout, etc. The Living End also has a mini-CD out called Hellbound. Produced off the band’s own bat and on the strength of the Green Day tour, the CD also got them a distribution deal with Shock. Currently the CD is doing well and already they are being courted by major record companies. At present the band is just enjoying the ride and certainly looks destined for even bigger and better things in the future.