Doing What They Do Best

Author: Unknown

It’s easy to forget just how familiar the Living End have become on the Australian musical landscape. While the last month may have been the calm before the storm of the release of new album State of Emergency, as anyone who saw the band tear up the main stage on the recent Big Day Out jaunt can testify, they have a plethora of material that can’t help but connect.

Mostly written at home and then brought into the rehearsal room and worked on, State of Emergency returns to the Melbourne born-and-bred trio the energy that was missing on Modern ARTillery. “Some of the songs took a few months to work on, some of them came together really quickly, and we basically spent a month in a rehearsal room doing demos and all that kind of stuff, and fine-tuning the songs and trying as many ideas as we possibly could,” is how double-bassist Scott Owen explains it. “Before we recorded the album we did do a couple of ‘secret’ gigs to try out the new material.”

Late in 2005, the band ended the year by playing secret shows as the Longnecks – a ruse that didn’t last very long as the band was quick to find out as shows in Melbourne and Sydney sold out in quick fashion. “We called ourselves Glen Waverly and the Mentones once,” Scott says. “They were basically for the purpose of seeing how they felt to play live and seeing what people thought.” He understands that the band’s rabid fans were always going to chase them down in any guise. “It was kind of a sigh of relief at the end of the gig, as the reaction seemed to be pretty good,” he says of the crowd verdict on the new tunes. “It was pretty nerve-wracking getting up there and playing a whole set of new songs.”

State of Emergency was recorded in the relaxed atmosphere of Byron Bay, with the band spending four weeks there, then more recording back home in Melbourne in bits and pieces. It meant that the band’s original plan to get in and out of a studio in quick time (spending three weeks in total in the studio) was thrown out the window, and instead State of Emergency became one of the band’s most intensive recording experiences yet.

“We wanted to do it really quickly and really raw, with minimal overdubs,” he comments, “but when we got into the crux of recording we soon realised that it was actually going to take a lot more work than just belting it out. Basically the songs have a few overdubs and a few little ideas and enhancements that go on top of recording, but we figured that the songs warranted more than having a live sounding thing.”

It’s resulted in State of Emergency being quite a long album, with the twelve tracks on it whittled down from an original choice of fifteen. “It was just too hard to let some of them go,” Scott admits. “When it comes down to that final culling process it’s a really difficult thing because you become so attached to them, and it’s so hard to leave anything off. Then after we’d finished making the album we went into the studio and belted out a bunch of stuff so we could use it for b-sides and the last song on the album, “Into the Red”, is actually one of those songs.”

The Living End demoed a lot of material to make sure that nothing was left by the wayside, with the band working hard on getting the most out of all the songs, with Scott explaining that the final number of demos totalled around the 40 or 50 mark. “We always end up with that much material, and then there’s just the enormous culling process.”

Modern ARTillery by comparison was not nearly as enjoyable an experience for the band, with it being very much geared around the demands made on the band by their American record label, Reprise, from whom they have now parted ways. Now the Living End are back to being free agents.

“We are going to the States in March for the South By Southwest festival,” he says of the band’s overseas ambitions. “We’ve never done it before, so it’s going to be fun to see how it all goes. It’s always got an amazing bunch of bands and everyone who goes says it’s amazing. Apparently every shop or restaurant in this little district in Austin turns into a venue for the week.”

The plan after the BDO run is to do a national tour around May, with the attitude being that the Living End simply want to get out there and back in people’s faces – they love it, their fans love it, and radio has certainly loved “What’s on Your Radio?”, the first single from State of Emergency, garnering the band the sort of chart positioning not seen since the halcyon days of their first record and singles like “Second Solution” and “Save the Day”.

“I think it’s stayed in the charts for longer than any of our other singles as well,” confirms Scott, “so that’s a good sign for us to be this far down the track and still be able to stay in the modern chart. It’s a good feeling!”

The band’s first EP, For Your Own Good, came out way back in 1994. But of course to the band it doesn’t feel that long – it doesn’t seem like a decade ago that the band were THE band on the rise, when everyone wanted to be their “Prisoner of Society”.

“It feels like a lot has happened over the years, but we still don’t feel like an ‘old’ band. We’ve always got devilishly handsome looks on our side,” he deadpans.

The Living End’s State of Emergency is out now.

The Living End’s Big Day Out Ignites Their Big Year

Author: Michelle Feuerlicht

Leaping onto the Big Day Out main stage wearing boxer shorts would usually land you in the arms of security guards. Unless, of course, it’s Australia Day, you’re festival stalwarts The Living End and you’re rocking hard in underwear adorned with the Aussie flag to the rapturous delight of the Sydney crowd.

“On stage is where we let it all out”, says double bass player Scott Owen. “We’re pretty calm and pretty relaxed kind of people most of the time.

“That’s our outlet”.

In their 11-year career, The Living End have racked up a quintuple (five-times)-platinum album, two platinum albums and five gold records, won three ARIA awards and have played at three Big Day Out festivals. But say they still get a buzz playing to the huge crowds, which this year in Sydney topped 55,000 people.

“Getting up on the big stage and being able to play in front of that many people … is just an incomparable feeling”, says Owen. A highlight of the festival is also the chance to catch new music and meet the artists behind them, he adds.

“Some of my best memories are just stumbling across bands on other stages that I’ve never heard of before,” he says.

The Flaming Lips and Dan Kelly are two acts he says he’s discovered by just walking past them, and both “blew him away”. This year, the main attraction is the White Stripes because, as Owen says, he finally understands their appeal.

“When I first heard about the White Stripes they didn’t really strike me that much I think it was their looseness, it bugged me a bit.

“Being a musician I tend to find it easy to pick faults in other music, but now the more I’ve listened to them, I finally got it.

“The charm in their music is its imperfections and is the rawness and the humanness of it rather than it all being perfect”.

This philosophy is one The Living End have taken with their new album, State of Emergency (out February 6) which captures the energy of their renowned live acts and allows for an edgier, rougher feel.

“We just recorded the bass, the guitar and the drums all together and without being too finicky or too picky, we just went for the one that sounded like it just had the right vibe”, says Owen.

“We were trying to be really conscious that there’s no point in being technically correct if it just doesn’t have some kind of atmosphere about it.”

For a band who have been described as rockabilly, punk, rock, yet don’t fit into any specific category, State of Emergency takes it further with influences from bands in the British new-wave indie dance scene such as Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand.

“We’ve just become so much more aware of other music that’s out there since our first album”, Owen says, admitting that they hope their fourth album will help them move past their 1997 hit ‘Prisoner of Society’.

“I reckon that’s probably every band’s attitude about their biggest song”, Owen says.

“We still enjoy playing it, it’s still one of the most challenging songs musically, for me especially… it’s still one of those ones where I really have to physically and mentally battle to keep up with it. But it would be nice to have a song that was a bigger hit than that”.

After their disappointment with the outcome of their last album, Modern Artillery, Owen says they hope State of Emergency will be their masterpiece, and send them on the path of other bands like Green Day who succeeded in outdoing a huge album (Dookie) with an even bigger one a decade later (American Idiot).

“The songs feel like your children,” he says. “You get so attached to them and you think these children are going to grow up to be world leaders.”

With the Big Day Out tour, a new album which has already garnered considerable interest with first single ‘What’s On Your Radio’ and a trip to the United States to join the South by Southwest festival, this might very well be The Living End’s year in the sun. But don’t worry, Owen assures us they won’t be lightening up.

“We want to make sure we do what we do best while we can,” he says. “There’s plenty of time in the future to make softer music but now is our time to be working our asses off and playing energetic music, which is what we want to do.”

Big Day Out

Author: Unknown

THE LIVING END

The Orange Stage, 6.15-7.15pm

Having to prove itself on the comeback trail should bode well for these festival veterans. Not only has this trio torn it up and dominated the charts around the globe, but out of the umpteen times I’ve seen it, it’s never disappointed. Who can forget Prisoner Of Society? If even half the old magic is on display, the show should be a real head turner.

State Of Emergency

Author: Unknown

The Living End are on fire. They will be releasing their fourth studio album ‘State of Emergency’ on Saturday Feb 4 with a bonus limited edition DVD titled, ‘How to Make an Album and Influence People. This will also tie in with ‘Wake Up’, the second single to be released from the album on Saturday Feb 18.

ChillOut! had a chat with drummer Andy Strachan to find out more.

What are you up to?
A: We are busy, a few concerts, the album coming out and then Big Day Out – so it is all happening and we can’t complain. We are really happy to do all these things because if no-one cared about us we would be very upset.

How did the concerts go – I have been reading that there were lots of children at your concerts, some 12 years old?
A: We did a tour last year for the From Here On In DVD and we noticed a huge number of young people coming to the show – a whole new fanbase and that is really inspiring. We also did the Coke Live ‘n’ Local tour and that was predominately kids and we feel very blessed that we have this oppirtunity to captrue this new audience. It is great – we go out and play to lots of new faces.

What’s the reson for gaining these young people – apart from your great music?
A:To be honest I don’t know, but I think that a lot of the kids got into the band have passed their cds to their younger freinds and siblings.

Tell me about State Of Emergency
A: We always wanted to record a live album because that is what we do best, so we thought we could bash it out real quick – but working on the songs they took on a life of their own and some of them warranted more time being spent on them. At the then of the day sitting back and listening the album it was the right choice. If we had half-baked them, it would have been dissapointing.

Was there an urgency to finish the album?
A: There was a deadline, but deadlines were meant to be broken. We always have deadlines in the back of our minds but they also resognised what was doing on and knew it was the right path to follow. I think it has been well worth it. Chris often had to rush the vocals and on this one he has really nailed the vocals.

What reaction have you had to the new tracks?
A: Nothing but good – it is really inspiring and we are so happy with this album and there is not a song that we wouldnt like to play live. That was one of the goals from the outset that we wanted to make an album full of songs that we are happy to play live and that feel good to play live. It all just makes us want to get out and play the shows that we have coming up.

What have you got planned now?
A: We have the Big Day Out concerts and when they are over we are off to the US and Japan and then back home to tour with the album.

What do you like about Japan?
A: The people there are just amazing. The first time I went the guys were all saying you will love Japan and I was like – all right, let me see what I think. But from the moment I stepped off the plane I fell in love with the place – the people and the fans at gigs are just so appreciative of what you do – very appreciative – very laid back. It is so different to Australia, it is a culture shock but a good one. There is such a great respect that they have for one another – especially the younger kids to the older people – that is lacking in a lot of countries. Respect goes a long way.

Check the guys out at the Big Day Out on Feb 5.

Rollercoaster Festival

Author: Unknown

Someone should tell TLE that Boxing day is a time for rest. The rocking trio will be working on entertaining music lovers at Mandurah’s music festival Rollercoaster they day after Christmas and have a small job for fans. Chris Cheney wants everyone to do their best Todd Mckenney impersonation by taking score cards to rate material from the band’s forthcoming album, State Of Emergency.
“It would be good if we could get the audience to hold up a few scorecards so we could get a bit of feedback on the new stuff,” Cheney says.

The album is not due for release until Fed 6, but the band has been providing a sneak peek of things to come at recent live shows.
“We’ve been throwing a few new songs around into our live set and they have gone down really really well,” Cheney says. “We really wanted to test them out and i think that is the best way to do it, just by throwing ourselves in the deep end.”

Despite having only finished the album “About 48 hours ago” Cheney says he is confident that album No.4 is the band’s best.
“I feel so much better about this album then any of our others,” he says. “It is the album we had to make.”
“Even from the intial writing stage, I just pushed myself to outdo everything we have ever done and after that it was a matter of fine tuning. We have laboured over it with long hours and many headaches, but i feel that we’ve done it.
“There is some different stuff on the album. We just felt if we were going to have a live outside the fast 3 chord punk-rock sort of stuff, then we had to prove it to the audience. So we are up for it.”

The new album is not the only project Cheney will unveil in the new year. He is about to become a first time father early next month.
“I am very excited about it,” He says “But i’m also a bit apprehensive.”

Does he worry that having a youngster around will force him to tame his wild rock and roll ways?
“I have spoken to a few people and they have said ‘Oh yeah when we had kids everything changed’ and I was like ‘Nooooooo’. But other people have said it doesn’t have to change. If anything, I think it will just make me feel a bit more comfortable as a person.”

Big Day Out

Author: Eva Roberts

One of the country’s most popular live acts, The Living End, is all set to play Big Day Out. Bassist Scott Owen chats to Eva Roberts about big crowds.

As the time draws nearer for Australia’s biggest music festival, the guys from The Living End are counting down the days until the release of their new, as yet untitled, studio album. With the first single of the album, What’s On Your Radio, released in November, the guys are gearing up to wow Big Day Out audiences nationally with their new material. TLE’s bassist, Scott Owen, says the songs on the bands new release are better and more thought out.
“We spent months and months working on these tunes,” he says. “I think we are just getting the craft more ‘honed'”
“Some of the songs on this album have been around for a couple of years and they only now feel like they are complete”
“But some of them were written, basically, a week or two before we went into the studio”

As one of the Australian headline acts for the Auckland to Perth BDO concerts, the band who made it big with hits like Prisoner of Society, All Torn Down, and Roll On are not at all daunted by their upcoming shows as now they are BDO veterans, having performed as one of the headlining acts in previous years. Scott says the thing he likes best about the BDO festival is he is able to see so many different bands perform.
“it’s a good opportunity for us as punters as well” he says, “To just get out and see a whole lot of different bands…you are walking from one stage to another and stumbling across a whole lot of different bands that you’ve never heard of, that you might like,”
“For us it’s just great to be able to play in front of such a huge crowd as well.
“It is not like we can play gigs that big on our own. It’s good exposure for us being on a massive stage in front of an enormous crowd”

With a new album on the horizon, TLE crew will be playing some new material which includes the “fast and energetic” first single. However, not to disappoint fans of their well-established hits, Scott says they will still perform some class TLE tunes.
“We’ve done the BDO a few times and we’ve been around for a while so people can definitely expect to hear some new stuff from us,” he says
“It won’t be exactly the same as we’ve been doing for years but also the BDO has a really varied kind of crowd so there will still be people who haven’t seen us before so we will pull out the old favourites.
“As far as us playing live, I think we are still pretty eager to please.
“We are still keen on trying to put on the best show we possibly can so I don’t know exactly. All I can say is old stuff and some new stuff and we’ll give it our best”

Obviously with the release of the new album, the boys will be gearing up to tour the country, which includes a stop in Cairns.

Hardwired Festival

Author: Unknown

ABOUT 1500 “prisoners of society” stamped their feet in approval at Warrnambool Stadium on Saturday night as headline act The Living End took to the stage.

The FReeZA event for young people was a hit, organisers said.

Warrnambool City Council youth development officer Adrian Hunter said a crowd of about 1500 came to hear Charred, The Gestalt Effect, The Dirty Rugs and headline act The Living End.

The chart-topping Australian band The Living End is responsible for hits including All Torn Down, Second Solution and Prisoner of Society.

“It’s probably more than we expected,” Mr Hunter said while cleaning the stadium yesterday.

“There were young kids jumping and with that amount of people it was a fairly good night.”

The Living End

Author: Tuppy MacIntosh

Punk means anarchy man! Punk is raw chaos! And raw chaos is pure truth and anything else can be stuck up the arse of the nearest hotel manager! yeah! Punk means doing lines of speed off the back of your guitar mid-set and not remembering how to play the rest of the song! Hell, if the rest of Oz punk trio, The Living End, are anything like their drummer Andy Strachan, then punk’s in deep shit.

“Thanks mum and dad,” says Strachan.
“I mean, drums are quite an obnoxiously loud instrument, especially when you’re a kid trying to learn how to play. I’m so glad they let me learn.

Andy Strachan isn’t just sweet to his parents. He’s sober, he’s eloquent, and (Sid will roll over in his grave) – He gives a shit. Before whip-lashin their headfirst energy around 2005’s Splendour in the Grass festival, The Living End will be playing a benefit gig for MS at a Melbourne Hospital. Chris Cheney, the band’s singer, has also formed a groups called The Wrights, with members from Jet, Spiderbait and You Am I, who perform solely for charity. And when it comes to Ideology, don’t get Strachan started on the recent festival ticket rorts on Ebay. With tickets for Splendour selling out in a day and then appearing for sale over the internet for inflated prices, Strachan is pissed smaller festivals are falling prey to scalpers.
“I reckon its shithouse,” he said.
“It means some people who really want to go are going to miss out.”

Okay, so what about influences? No surprises here, right? Surely the mutated genealogy of being a punk muso means you only raise your lighters to other rock puritans, like Black Flag, The Clash, the Stray Cats?
Strachan laughs good naturedly.
“Coldplay were headlinging at the last Splendour we played at. I think they’re incredible.”

Excuse me? Aren’t they – pop?
“They make this music that is very complex and perform it perfectly, yet there’s this simplicity. That’s real talent: to know exactly what’s needed and no more.”

Geez, throw us a bone, Andy! At least try to say something jaded and cynical: You’re a rock star for chrissake!

Strachan, originally the kit man with indie stalwarts Pollyanna, replaced drummer Travis Dempsey in 2002 and played his first gig with The Living End when they headlined the Big Day Out. Says Strachan of the gig:
“I told myself that I just had to make it through the first two songs, then I’d be right.”

Okay, I give up. The Living End boys are Australia’s premier contemporary punk band, yet have high rotation on mainstream radio, win awards for best-dressed band and are so sweet you’ll want them to meet your mother.
“We love the North Coast, with surfing and the lifestyle. We’re gonna spend two weeks after Splendour recording our album up there so that’ll be great.”

Oh for – ! (sigh) I’ll ask mum to make up the spare bedroom, lads.

Never Ending

Author: Eva Roberts

When it comes to performing live, the guys from The Living End classify it as one of their favourite things to do, which might be why they are so good at it. Drummer Andy Strachan explains why to Eva Roberts.

It’s been a while since the band took to the stage in Cairns and needless to say they, they are looking forward to their 2005 stage debut up north at the Queen’s Birthday long weekend Rip It festival.

Drummer Andy Strachan says the band always puts in 120 percent when it comes to their concerts.
“It has probably been maybe a year and a half or so since we have been here and it was bloody hot last time,” he says of their last performance in the region, “So hopefully it won’t be as warm. But we love it up here. It’s a beautiful part of the world, it is the polar opposite to where we live,”

*It isn’t as hot as last time, but still bloody hot!*

Apart from enjoying the climate of Cairns, Andy says the group is looking forward to playing a festival vibe.
“There will be lots of sweaty rock and roll, lots of noise as well,” he says, “It is generally really good,. You get to play with so many bands, there might be other bands on the bill that you really want to see and it’s a good opportunity to see the bands you don’t normally get to see. And the crowds are much bigger, and there is adrenaline”

The line up for the bill for the Rip It festival is a pretty special one, with acts such as 28 Days, Shihad and Frenzal Rhomb also headlining. Apart from the upcoming performance at one of the biggest musical events in Cairns in recent years *try, biggest EVER!!*, The Living End are about to get back into the studio to record another album.

The band have been working on material and plan to start the recording process in the next few weeks with the aim of getting a song on the airwaves by the end of the year.Andy says the band is super keen to get it all done and start touring again.

With album number four on the way and the prospect of a forthcoming national tour, it is evident the Living End are keeping their spot as one of Australia’s favourite bands. Although this isn’t something the band takes for granted.

“We put a lot of pressure on ourselves more than anything,” Andy says, “We are all striving to be better musicians, better songwriters and better as a band. We are all fairly ambitious I suppose, we are always trying to better ourselves. The pressure comes more from us than anyone else,”

And that pressure is about to be on again when the group lock themselves into a studio to lay down the tracks for the new album.

Andy says the lockdown period of being in a studio with a producer can be quite a funny one.

“Some of the time it is an absolute laugh, because you can go through those moments of strangeness being locked in a room for that long sends you a bit crazy and the jokes get worse,” he jokes, “You might have a night on the booze and some funny things come out. Where is the video tape when you need it?”

When it comes to documenting things on videos, the Living End’s last release “From Here On In – the Single CD and DVD” has already done that. Released late last year, it acted as a marking point in some ways, the history of the band and the next period in its musical journey – and it looks to be a busy one.

And after spending the majority of last year overseas, then performing a few gigs in Australia and trying to find the time to write material for the new album, it would be safe to say the band has been juggling a busy schedule.

Although, despite its successes and the incredible following by Australian audiences, the Living End are still down to earth and appreciative of other good music.

Andy says he still gets excited about bands who play around Australia all the time, such as Shihad. Performing on the same line up as Shihad is also something the band is looking forward to and hopes Cairns audiences will get out and support the festival.

“Come along, don’t be lazy,” Andy says, “It is going to be a bloody good night. I guess two days can be one big long night. Just get along, you have got to see Shihad anyway, and stick around for us if you want.”

Pushover 2005

Author: Reuben Cheok

The day was hot, the sun belted down and the surging crowd was blistering. The noise was deafening, yet strangely comforting. The setting, perfect. In what was supposed to be the most anticipated all ages music event this year, the world-renown Melbourne weather turned out its best and rewarded the 3000 strong, sell-out crowd.

The PUSH START bands took centre stage, lapping up the adoring, screaming crowd below. Belting out well rehearsed numbers, the energy was never lacking. Although not to be out shadowed by the new emerging bands, this years line up had more up their sleeves. From the punk rock AFTER THE FALL, the lush guitar melodies from BEHIND CRIMSON EYES to last years electrified Push Start winner THE VASCO ERA – each showcased a live concert as if it were their last.

In the humidity upstairs, a different sort of battle was taking place. Hip Hop BBOYS & BGIRLS took to the floor and dazzled mere-mortals with their acrobatic dance style. Divided into the IRON CHEFS and PUSHOVER contestants, the two groups took turns in twisting, kicking, bending and rotating. JEZROC, LADIESLUVHIPHOP, MC ELF TRAZPORTER and SOLOMON KLEPTO provided groovy beats and sassy rapping to keep the dance floor spinning and packed.

No doubt the highlight was THE LIVING END. Capturing the hearts of young everywhere, the charming trio could do no wrong. Ducking shoes and watching the crowd action, Chris Cheney, Scott Owen & Andy Strachan provided all the elements to make any crowd go ballistic. Pleasing them with anthems such as “Second Solution”, “All Torn Down” and of course “Prisoner Of Society”, – they also found time to showcase their new material. THE LIVING END showed us how to enjoy rock, defy authority but show respect to those unsung heroes of today.

PUSH OVER 2005. It came. It conquered. It ROCKED.