Jimmy Barnes makes music comeback with new band The Barnestormers

Author: Kathy McCabe

Jimmy Barnes is back in the swing after his recent surgery launching his rumoured rockabilly global supergroup.

Barnes has been teasing The Barnestormers band in recent weeks as he recuperated from the hip replacement surgery which forced him off the road in December.

His first band project since Cold Chisel co-stars American rockabilly royalty Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats, his close mate Chris Cheney from The Living End, and British television and music star Jools Holland.

The seeds of the project were first sown more than 30 years ago when Barnes enlisted The Stray Cats to open his Australian tour in 1990.

A lunch in Los Angeles 20 years later, which also included Cheney, again had Barnes insisting they should all make a rockabilly record together.

When global touring ground to a halt during the pandemic, producer and studio wizard Kevin Shirley, who was connected to all of the musicians, said “you’ve got to do it now.”

“I was like ‘How do we do it? We’re all locked away,’” Barnes said.

“Kevin was the motivator from hell who got us all of our arses and working. He hooked us all up, would record each of us and send the tapes around the world.”

While the men were frustrated they couldn’t make their album in old school fashion in a garage somewhere, Barnes and Cheney said they marvelled at Shirley’s considerable skill in assembling the parts recorded remotely in Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles and London.

There is also connection to Barnes’ old band Cold Chisel, with the first single Johnny’s Gone written and recorded by Don Walker in the early 1990s for his side hustle Catfish.

“Once the word got out that I was doing a rockabilly record, my friends were sending songs from everywhere; Don sent a couple of his own and 50 of his favourites, Paul Field suggested the Chuck Berry song Dear Dad,” Barnes said.

All of the Barnestormers grew up on rockabilly. As a teen, Cheney was practising Buddy Holly and Scotty Moore (Elvis Presley’s guitarist) riffs as his friends jammed on Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses songs.

The niche rock’n’roll genre is enjoying a generational refresh kickstarted by the viral success of The Cramps’ version of Goo Goo Muck after it featured on the hit Netflix series Wednesday.

“I think you would probably find there’s kids in garages all over the whole of America doing (rockabilly),” Barnes said.

Barnes hopes to use his considerable powers of persuasion to get this band on the road.

“We had some (live) things planned, but they fell through because of my surgery. So now we’re recalculating to see what we can do because it is difficult to get everybody in the same place at the same time. The thing is, we all want to do it,” Barnes said.

The 66-year-old rocker will give his hip its first live test in May when he joins the Australian Chamber Orchestra for their concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House.

Barnes spent three months on physiotherapy and has spent the past month with wife Jane in Thailand swimming to get matchfit for his live return.

“I’m fighting fit, I’ve been swimming for an hour every day. You’ve got to do exactly what the doctors says. Three weeks after I got to Thailand, I wanted to get some heavy weights in and I couldn’t walk for two days, so I went back to what I was supposed to be doing.”

The Barnestormers self-titled debut album is out on May 26.

The Living End

Author: Eve Jeffery

Probably the thing I am most excited about is the Bluesfest debut for The Living End (what took so long?). The Living End are Australian rock royalty yet are the most down-to-earth blokes.
Formed in Melbourne in 1994, the band catapulted into fame in 1997 when they released a double A-side single featuring Prisoner of Society and Second Solution; songs that would become festival anthems around the world. The band’s blistering live performances have ensured they remain one of Australia’s premiere live outfits and at the top of festival bills for nearly two decades. They have consistently delivered hit after hit, which has allowed the band to grow a loyal (and rabid) fan base around the country.
The Living End are sure to bring some surprises to the Bluesfest stage. Do y’self a favour etc, get thee to Crossroads on Friday.


Author: Unknown

The Living End are truly Rock Royalty. Formed in 1994 in Melbourne, it was 1997 when the band blasted through with their double A side single featuring ‘Prisoner of Society’ and ‘Second Solution’ – songs that have become festival anthems around the world. This five times ARIA-winning band are one of the Aussie treasures playing at Bluesfest this October. This will be the third attempt by the Byron event since the 2019 COVID-19 lockdown to host their festival. Mandy Nolan had a chat with Chris Cheney about the band’s upcoming Bluesfest gig…

When I speak to Chris Cheney the lead vocalist of The Living End, it’s Lockdown Number Four in Melbourne. The impacts of the virus have been massive for the entertainment industry.

‘It’s really frustrating when you look at the bigger picture of the entertainment industry, and people are nervous about putting events on.

‘The government hasn’t given the entertainment industry the support it needs.’

It’s something musicans like Cheney find annoying. ‘When the shit hits the fan, it’s the entertainment industry that steps up and puts on a concert to raise money.’ The reciprocal support for the music industry has definitely been lacking.

The landscape for musicians has certainly changed. When The Living End started it was all about the pub. ‘The pub was everything – we did thousands of gigs before we got on Triple J, we built the following from the ground up.’

Consequently The Living End has the smarts of a band who know how to play to a crowd. They are a powerful festival act.

‘It’s an endurance test getting through our show’ says Chris. ‘You have to be match fit – we also have to be fit in ourselves. The songs don’t sound the same unless you are at 200 per cent!’

‘This is the first time we have played Bluesfest. I haven’t been before, never been and never played it, so we intend to come out of the gates with all guns blazing, we will be like bulls at a gate!

‘Bluesfest isn’t specifically blues and roots but it’s the core and it’s our background,’ says Cheney.

The Living End are playing at Bluesfest 1–4 October. Tix from bluesfest.com.au.

The Living End’s ex-manager Rae Harvey lashes out after shock sacking

Author: Mikey Cahill

A respected band manager has ditched the amicable split template to call out rockers The Living End for sacking her after 22 years of service.

Rae Harvey has taken to social media to bid her “farewell to the music industry”.

“After 22 years of faithful service, my management agreement with The Living End was suddenly terminated a couple of weeks ago,” she wrote on Facebook.

 “Having dedicated the best years of my life to a band I assumed were a part of my family forever, what a kick in the guts. It is at my insistence that I’m honest about this and there’s no wishy-washy statement about splitting amicably, that’s not my style. I was fired. There…. I said it.”

The Living End were managed by Rae Harvey for more than two decades before sacking her without notice.

Harvey helped steer the Rowville band to multiple ARIA Awards, national and international tours and Triple J success.

Her hard-nosed style is widely respected by industry veterans.

“After 30 years industry experience and 20+ management under my belt, I needed very little to be effective, my 20 minutes would take hours or days in less experienced hands,” she wrote.

“(Working for) That many years and all the hard-forged relationships managing a now legacy band heading into their twilight years — I could do it standing on my head.”

Harvey lost her house and animal shelter in a fire in far north NSW three years ago.

“Regrettably, this has come at an inopportune time for me, it was sudden with no discussion or time to plan, just ‘seeya’,” she wrote.

Harvey writes she will continue running her Wild2Free Inc. Kangaroo Sanctuary.

She continues: “On a somewhat comical ending, the W2F name was the one we settled on for exactly that reason WTF? And that statement applies right now, as it does for so much we see in our once beautiful world and the people in it. WTF indeed. Watch this space.”

Harvey previously managed 360, Children Collide and Gyroscope.Engaged

The Living End have not yet commented.

Meanwhile, yesterday the band’s frontman Chris Cheney posted an April Fool’s Day joke on Instagram that the band was calling it quits.

“Melbourne trio to retire immediately with no farewell show”, the post read.

GOV, Sweat and beers!

Author: Nathan Davies

Twenty five years ago the Tonkin family bought a pub with the aim of making it a home for live music. It worked. NATHAN DAVIES looks at a quarter of a century of tunes at the Governor Hindmarsh.

Pub life runs deep in veins of the Tonkin family. Melissa and Jo Tonkin’s great-grandmother sold liquor from her general story in Victoria’s Tolmie Ranges, and the sisters were raised in the pubs owned by parents Brian and Vivien.

“Our mother was even christened in a pub,” Melissa says over a cup of tea on the veranda of South Australia’s best-known live music venue, The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel

It was probably inevitable, then, that the sisters would go into the pub game themselves but when they took over a down-at-heel drinking hole in Adelaide’s inner-west they could have never envisioned what it would become.

“When the family first bought the pub in 1993 it was very eighties colours — lots of aqua — and people used to call it the Lollipop Hotel,” Melissa says.

“This pub was on the wrong side of the tracks, literally. Our parents bought this pub with the idea of giving something back to the music community.”

Brian and Vivien were lured to Adelaide in 1980 thanks to a Don Dunstan-inspired feeling of optimism that had enveloped the city.

“We were tossing up whether to go to Melbourne or Adelaide, and at that time it felt like a lot of good things were happening in Adelaide” Melissa says.

“So we came over and our parents bought the Bridgewater Inn. We became very friendly with Redgum and lots of other bands in that Hills scene.”

Music was always front and centre for the Tonkin family, as integral to their pub vision as cold beer. However none of the family pubs — the Bridgewater, the Maylands and Port Elliot’s Royal Family — had a dedicated music room. Enter The Gov.

Right from the start the Tonkins set about remaking The Gov — which at one point even had a boxing ring out the back — into a hub for musos, inviting groups like Jazz SA, the SA Blues Club and folk collectives to make the hotel their own. When Melissa and Jo were lured back from Sydney to run the pub in 1997, with help from brother Richard, they started booking more traditional rock acts.

“Jo started booking all the bands, rock bands — Renee Geyer, The Cruel Sea, Paul Kelly — and there was a bit of a change of energy,” Melissa says.

It worked because Melissa and Jo were giving the rock-loving punters of Adelaide something they craved — a large, dedicated band room. Just years earlier, with the introduction of poker machines in the early nineties, many of the suburban band rooms that nurtured Adelaide’s famous pub rock scene had been carved up and renovated into mini-casinos.

The sisters set about enlarging the band room to hold 750 people, and The Gov soon became the unofficial home of live music in Adelaide, scooping numerous awards and being inducted into the Adelaide Music Collective’s Hall of Fame.

The list of acts that The Gov has managed to attract over the years is impressive to say the least. The Angels, The Church, Courtney Barnett, Dan Sultan, Diesel, The Drones, Hoodoo Gurus, The Gobetweens, Pseudo Echo, Radio Birdman, The Sunnyboys and Sia are just some of the hundreds of Aussie acts who’ve taken to the stage. On the international front, The Gov has hosted everyone from Canned Heat to Cat Power, Taj Mahal to The Troggs and many more.

They even famously staged a show by US hip-hop artist ASAP Ferg during Adelaide’s infamous blackout. trucking in a generator and lighting the room with candles.

So, out of the hundreds of acts is there an elusive artist the sisters haven’t yet managed to lock down?

“Um, Elvis?” Melissa laughs. “Failing that, I think it’d be amazing to get Bob Dylan, or Ry Cooder.”

Let’s hope.



I’ve played The Gov many times, both with The SuperJesus and solo shows supporting UK singers John Waite and James Walsh. It’s my home town so I will always have a special fondness for it. There’s a feeling in the band room that tonight’s gonna be a good night. and it always is. I’ve never had a bad gig there.


The Gov has always let us through the front door, which is always a good, if surprising, start.

A few ales in the front bar with its aesthetically pleasing environs, a sound check that’s never harried or hurried, staff with cheeky smiles and the promise of a slice o’ pizza. We ain’t in Kansas no more.

Backstage is a good hang, fridge full, and being close to the crowd there’s an expectant atmosphere, always.

Security eyeing us with deserved yet humorous suspicion. And we’re on.

Love that stage – convex and loud. We promise to keep the band room cleanish and keep the patrons thirsty and smilin’.

Thank you Gov. we look forward to next time, if you let us in again.


The Gov is one of my favourite places to play in Australia, and it was where I played my second-ever headline show in Adelaide.

I’ve had the opportunity to play plenty of other places, but I always come back to The Gov. It’s such a great live venue with such a great crowd. The Gov crowd just knows how to appreciate live music.


The Gov was a shot in the arm for Adelaide’s live scene after the heydays of the seventies and eighties.

A lot of the venues from that time were swallowed up by the pokies, so The Gov was much needed. We only play two venues in Adelaide – the Festival Theatre and The Gov.

Still Rolling On

Author: Stephen Bissett

The last time Aussie rock legend Jimmy Barnes graced the stage at Bimbadgen Winery, all 8000 tickets sold out on the first day. So, you can be pretty sure that his upcoming Hunter show to celebrate 30 years as a solo artist will be one for the ages – especially with the likes of the Living End, Baby Animals, Mahalia Barnes and the Soul Mates and Nick Barker on the bill.

“Mate, this show is going to be absolutely huge,” Living End drummer Andy Strachan told TE.

“It’s been a little while for us so to be hitting the stage with not only Jimmy, but also the Baby Animals, who are just an amazing band, Jimmy’s daughter and Nick Barker is very exciting for us.”

The Living End’s inclusion on the bill follows on from their recent collaboration with Barnes on a reworking of his classic track Lay Down Your Guns, from his upcoming 30/30 Anniversary album that also features collaborations with Little Steven Van Zandt, Tina Arena, Jon Stevens, Journey and Keith Urban.

If you’ve heard the 2014 version of Lay Down Your Guns you’d already know that this is Barnes in career-best form while the Living End provide a ferocious backing -possibly the only band in Oz that could match it with Barnes’ powerhouse vocals.

“The guy just blows me away,” Strachan said. “We basically did the song in one take – he just rocked up to the microphone and yelled ‘g’day boys’ down the mic and we just ripped into it – we didn’t really overthink things, we just went in there and belted it out.

While the Living End have been pretty quiet on the touring front this year, after two and a half years of solid touring off the back of their latest long player The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating, Strachan said that there had been talk of new material, although distance has made it a bit difficult.

“We have been a little bit quiet – I mean I’m in Melbourne, Scott [Owen, bass] is in NSW and Chris [Cheney, guitar] is in the US so it can be a bit tricky, especially when we’re the type of band that likes to do everything live – but we are definitely looking to record again in the very near future.”

However, Strachan added that punters could expect the band to pull out all the stops at the Bimbadgen show.

“We treat playing live like a footy match – we like to start big and end bigger.”

Catch Jimmy Barnes, The Living End, Baby Animals, Mahalia Barnes and the Soul Mates and Nick Barker at Bimbadgen Winery on Saturday, November 8. Tickets are on sale now via ticketmaster.com.au

Andy steps into The Pants Collective

Author: Tiffany Pilcher

BARWON Heads’ resident rock star Andy Strachan has released his first EP from his new project, The Pants Collective.

Strachan has been perched behind the drums with The Living End for the past 12 years and collaborated with bandmate Scott Owen and Ash Grunwald for Gargantua in 2013.

This is his first stint standing centre stage and he said it’s been an eye-opening experience.

“It’s so daunting: I’m still well and truly behind the drum kit: it’s my safety blanket.

“It’s that own-voice syndrome thing: you know when you hear yourself on voicemail or on a video and It makes you cringe? It’s exactly like that.

“I’m glad I’m doing it, It’s a new challenge and it’s fun, that’s what we all strive for in music.”

The collective includes producer Woody Annison and an assembly of Strachan’s friends who have dropped into his “man room” over the past eight years.

The result is an assortment of bluesy tunes influences ranging from reggae to his more familiar rockabilly stylings.

“It’s not really a traditional band, the process was very informal,” Strachan said.

“I like the idea that it’s a collective, even a car needs a driver and I guess that’s me, but really it’s a group of mates jamming and recording.

“The intention is for it to continue to grow, I’m not sure which direction it will grow in, but that’s the best part.”

Strachan said while nothing is scheduled yet, some local gigs are on the horizon.

The Pants Collective EP was recorded at Ocean Grove ‘s GreenMan studios and is available now on iTunes.

When White Noise Meets Red Dirt

Author: Unknown

It’s early winter in Melbourne and the chill might have descended, but right now the surf’s the living end for Andy Strachan.

“It’s been two of the best days of the year I reckon,” he says.

“It’s been pumping, so excuse me for being overly excited.”

Excitement is something, however, that Strachan had to get his head around quick smart when he took up the position of drummer for legend Aussie band The Living End about a decade ago.

Strachan’s at home in Barwon Heads when he makes the apology, confessing to a euphoria perhaps only matched by one of the band’s besotted fans.

But right now, he and the band aren’t on the road greeting their mases, so he has a chance to greet the water and hang out with his wife and young daughter down the coast from Victoria’s capital city, and be full on in other ways.

“When we’re not touring I’m pretty much full time dad,” Strachan offers.

“And when I’m away, obviously I’m not dad at all – we get the best of both worlds really.”

Since 1994, The Living End has provided a rousing richness to the musical tapestry of Australian music.

A couple of Melbourne Wheelers Hill boys, Chris Cheney and Scott Owen, merged their affection for rockabilly and punk to form first a cover band – The Runaways – before becoming The Living End.

Armed with Cheney’s voice and stunning guitar, the idiosyncratic cool of Owen’s double bass and a procession of drummers, the band soon had hit airplay with songs such as “Second Solution” and “Prisoner Of Society”.

Having generated themselves a solid rock resume, and lead singer and guitarist Cheney then suffering a car accident in 2001, Strachan became the band’s ultimate drummer in 2002 and things took off even more.

Ten years on, with umpteen massive hits, several studio albums, international success, big tours and bigger gigs, moments of creative inspiration remain a strong driver for the threesome.

“Chris has been noodling around with a few riff ideas so we’ll hash it out, take it day by day and song by song; we don’t want to have any preconceived ideas,” Strachan says.

Indeed, the organic nature of the musical experience is vital.

“When it’s right, you know it and everyone in the room starts to get excited and the process of creation is so different every time,” he adds.

As with their huge album “White Noise”, which spawned the massive hit of the same name, culling from thirty songs appeared impossible at first.

“They were good, they were really good, but they just weren’t amazing,” Strachan states, matter of fact, “and then Chris came in with this octave pedal and it just made his guitar sound like a Harley Davidson and he started playing the riff to ‘How Do We Know’ and Scott and I just both had tears in our eyes, we were so excited.

“It took months and months to find that sound and it just happened in an instant.

“I’ll never forget those sort of things you know, and we’re pretty lucky to have experienced them.:

Not only creating music, but coming to grips with fame and fans still has Strachan waking some days in disbelief.

“We’re so appreciative of having fans, it allows us to do what we do and we’re forever grateful for it and we’re overwhelmed sometimes by the amount of support we’ve had and continue to receive.”

Come August 18, North West Festival ticketholders will be on the receiving end of thrills from The Living End.

It’s been about six years since the group played in the Pilbara and Kimberley and they can’t wait to return.

“We’ve got this show coming up and that’s our chance to get together again,” Strachan says.

“We had to do it because we don’t get that opportunity to get up there that often and to tour off your own bat is near on impossible.

“It’s a no brainer.”

The Living End

Author: Unknown

Just in time for the wrap-up of the semester is The Living End. This trio from Australia is an interesting band in its own right. Utilizing an upright bass and backing vocals from the drummer, this punkabilly band is definitely different than most bands today. The Living End got its big break from Billie Joe Armstrong (of Green Day fame) and from there has launched an international career, with its debut album going five times platinum.

With solid beats and clear vocals, The Living End manages to create an exciting environment within each f the songs it performs. This huge sensation within Oceania has been given multiple awards for live performances. Holding the title of Best Live TV Appearance, it’s no big gamble to say they are going to put on a great show. While they no longer use the standup drum kit, they still oftentimes dress in ’50’s-style suits. Think Panic! At The Disco style, just less emo.

If it’s good enough for Billie Joe, it’s good enough for me.

Show: Dec. 1 Tickets $12 or FREE with Wash. U. ID

Local boy to rescue

Author: Unknown

Lucky they had an Adelaide boy on board. Aussie punk rock band The Living End needed local knowledge when guitarist Chris Cheney had a bad toothache on Saturday.

Drummer Andy Strachan called on his dad, who lives here, to refer a dentist to check out his mate. The pain did not stop but the trio put on two great shows at The Shores Complex, West Lakes, for their All States Of Emergency tour.