The Living End

Author: Nathan Jolly

Issue 8 2004

Andy Strachan of The Living End talks to Nathan Jolly about the state of Australian rock, greatest hits sets and Craig Nicholls, amongst other things.

The Living End story is deeply ingrained in Australian folklore; the rise from obscure rockabilly covers band, to their independent release of the 3rd highest selling single in Australian music history, through to the car-crash that nearly claimed front man Chris Cheney’s life, and forced the band off the road for a year. And of course the comeback album and the greatest hits set to curtail the eight-year recording career. But according to drummer Andy Strachan, the best is yet to come. “The title of the record (From Here On In) sums it up. It covers then til now, and the future is open.”

Andy Strachan joined The Living End in 2001, and he still holds the enthusiasm that he had when he was a fan of the band. While very much a fully-fledged member of the group, he is still able to talk gushingly about Chris Cheney’s abilities, and the amazing back catalogue of songs that the band has amassed. He says it is this profilic streak that forced the best of compilation.
“There was so much stuff, that our manager came to us and said ‘we have so many hours of footage that if we don’t use it, it’d be a real shame’, and then we went back through the archives, and discovered ‘Fuck, the band has had that many singles!’ So it was just a bit of spring-cleaning, and the fans on the site have been asking for a DVD for ages. Plus it leaves the next album open. I think it’s long overdue. We’ve spoken about a rarities collection too. There’s so many songs that deserve to be on an album, but for whatever reason they haven’t. Such a huge backlog of songs. Maybe we’ll release a collection of demos.”

“If you were in Australia in ’98, you were a fan of this band. There’s no way you could have lived in Australia, and not known about The Living End,” he continues. It is clearly evident throughout the entire interview that Strachan considers it an honour to be in Australia’s premier rock band, and it’s a distinction he is happy to put in the yards for. A few months ago the band toured America with fellow Australian bands “Jet” and “The Vines” as part of the “Oz Invasion” tour, a tour that saw the band playing a string of sold out shows across America. “It was fantastic, Best tour ever”, he enthused. “It was fun, challenging, bloody exciting…every show sold out, nothing like it has happened for many years. It was good to be Australian.”

“The fact that all the bands are Aussies says a lot really. Everyone got on great. Craig from ‘The Vines’ gets seen as a little out there-he’s not really. He’s a very gentle, lovely guy. Just because he goes a little weird on stage…the Jet guys love a drink and partying, and they are genuine guys as well. How many millions have they sold? They appreciate it all as well. Made me proud to be Australian.”

In the spirit of this patriotic display, it comes as no surprise to hear that a bit of good old-fashioned one-upmanship played a key role on the tour.
“We all took it like a competition, trying to get one up on the next band. Trying to make it hard to follow our show. It was healthy and meant we all played really well, at every show. Everyone was at 120% throughout the whole tour.”

With three Australian bands loose on the road, it would come as no surprise to hear the tales of rock and roll debauchery, of televisions thrown out hotel windows, and drinking blasts. According to Strachan, this isn’t the case with The Living End.
“We are pretty well behaved. I wish I could tell you otherwise,” he laughs. “We’ve a job to do, and we enjoy it, and don’t wanna piss it up against the wall. There’s some bad comedy going on when we tour. That’s about it.”

In America, The Living End found themselves outselling the other two, more established bands at the merchandising table most nights. I was surprised to hear that the fans were already well acquainted with the band.
“Yeah absolutely. There is a big cult following over there. We haven’t had any radio success, and to be that far from home, and have people singing along to every song, it shows that once a fan, always a fan. The Living End has always been a band that’s exciting to watch and to listen to.”

The reasons for this loyalty are varied, from great songs, an energetic live show, the raw energy of the punk-fused sound, or maybe it’s the Aussie spirit that was captured on the tour. But Strachan is happy to simplify it all.

“It’s The Living End bug, you catch it, and that’s it. Don’t worry I was like that too. I caught it.”

From Here On In The DVD 1997-2004

Author: Unknown

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‘The Living End’
From Here On In The DVD 1997-2004
EMI

The Living End – From Here On In DVD is a must see for all Living End fans. Having spent my uni days listening to them on the radio and seeing them at the ANU Bar, this DVD reminded me why I like them so much.

Influenced by The Who, The Clash, The Sharps and The Beatles, along with a myriad of 50’s rockabilly music, The Living End have created the Punkabilly genre of which they are king.

Disc One gives all the favourite music videos including the two that started their rocket to fame, Prisoner Of Society and Second Solution. Festival clips from Summersonic, Splendour in the Grass and Big Day Out take up the 2nd half.

Disc Two features a two hour doco which gives some fascinating insight into the origins of this band, how they started and their musical influences. The brilliant innocence of their early days contributed greatly to their success and there are a few lessons for anyone wanting to be a rock star. Footage of their early gigs is hilarious for the fashions and the crowds and when they go off at Falls Festival in 1998 (I was there!) it makes you want to just go to summer festivals all year long.

A must see for any Aussie music fan.

From Here On In – The Singles 1997-2004

Author: Mike Wafer

The Living End / From Here On In – The Singles 1997-2004

Chris Cheney has to be one of the best guitarists, singers and songwriters in Australian music. His melodies are always supremely catchy, his riffs and solos superb blends of rockabilly, blues and rock and the pop song formula (verse, chorus, verse etc) never over or under-done. The biggest, and possibly only, flaw of The Living End is their absolutely appalling lyrics. The band’s love of acts such as The Clash, or perhaps their desire to become them, lead to extremely outdated and utterly bullshit ’77 London working class punk gibberish that has no relevance today. If it weren’t for the lyrics then every song of these 14 blisteringly catchy singles would be regarded as classics, rather than teen-demographic tunes of token ‘fuck society’ rebellion. In short, no one takes this band seriously on the issues they address, which is sad, because their heart is in the right place, but the difference between The Living End and, say, Midnight Oil is a matter of articulation. Chris Cheney’s voice is so crisp and clear that ignoring the lyrics is hardly easy, but as soon the band let their instruments take the driver’s seat it is dead easy to remember what is loveable about this band.

This singles collection is well worth owning, as there is not a bad song on it, just keep it out of reach of school kids or it might rev them up to dye their hair, rip their jeans or, heaven forbid, vandalise a phone box.

The Living End

Author: Ryan Smith

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It’s been far too long since The Living End graced us with our presence. But with a collection of singles and a DVD soon to hit our shelves, the band decided now was as good a time as any to make their triumphant return. And believe me, the fans are looking forward to it.

We also know singer/guitarist Chris Cheney is excited. “I’m really looking forward to the tour,” he gushes. “Some of the shows we’ve been doing overseas have been great, and I just feel we’re playing really well as a band. Better than we ever have before. Plus it’s always good playing your own bloody backyard, particularly because there’s so many more songs people back home know and get into. When you play overseas you sometimes struggle to get people into it. So I’m just looking forward to the usual Aussie craziness that’s usually at our shows.”

It’s true: the band’s shows are notoriously crazy. I have fond memories of punters literally hanging from the rafters of the venue on more than one occasion The Living End have visited our fair city. “It’s hard to explain really,” says Cheney. “It’s like when people come to our shows they just really let themselves go. And it’s quite a sight to behold when you’re up on stage. I don’t do anything else other than play in a band so for me it’s like an enormous release, it’s a great outlet. And I guess people go to our shows for the same reason. A couple of beers in the belly and off they go…”

Over the years The Living End have grown to be quite a big player in the Australian music scene. A lot of bands have come and gone, but The Living End seem to be here for the long haul. Cheney is quick to explain how that feels from a band’s point of view. “It’s weird because lately we’ve been getting a lot of younger people coming to our shows. It’s like there’s a whole new generation of kids who are becoming aware of the band. Maybe their older brothers or someone were playing our albums and they’ve caught on… But while we were in the States, all these American kids were coming up to us and were totally fascinated by the band; they were asking all sorts of questions about why we do this and why we do that. But to some extent we’re just emulating what they invented. Like having a double bass, and our rockabilly influence especially – it was all American so it’s weird to have American kids coming up to us and asking us to tell them all about it,” he laughs. “I just guess there aren’t any bands over there who are doing what we are – they’ll be a fully fledged rockabilly band, but the fact that we’ve always mixed things up makes us different. We still keep the visual aspect and style, but when we record songs, we like to throw it all into the basket and not stick to the one thing.”

Earlier in the year, The Living End treated the United States to a night of amazing Australian music touring with The Vines and Jet. “The Vines headlined every night, thought Jet probably should have,” says Cheney. “It was a funny situation though, because we were going on first. But it was fine actually, because The Vines have sold a lot more albums in the United States than we have, and Jet were starting to get really big there. So when we were offered a spot on the tour, at no time did we think we should’ve been headlining. We just thought ‘okay, we’ll go over there and play to our audience and their audience, and it’ll be a good combination of people in the crowd and we’ll try and win them back and give the other bands a run for their money.’ I mean – we had to. We were the Aussie rock veterans.”

The Living End have earned the rank almost pushing ten years of releasing music as compiled on the forthcoming ‘From Here On In: The Singles 1997-2004’. The CD will coincide with the release of a companion DVD. “It was strange,” admits Cheney. “When the idea for the DVD was first thrown out there, I said we weren’t really the kind of band who shoots a lot of footage of crazy stuff. We don’t get girls to take their tops off, we don’t smash up hotel rooms and film it just for the sake of a DVD. But then I was really surprised when it was all put together and the guy who collated it was saying it was going to be over two hours long and he was chopping a whole heap of stuff out. I think it’s good that it actually tells a story without having to resort to any of those cliche rock ‘n’ roll moments. I just never knew we had that much footage. I seriously don’t remember the camera being around enough to warrant a two-hour documentary.”

“I’d always said that if we ever decided to do something like this, we’d want to do it properly and not just have a half hour of us fucking around. But I guess after so many years you forget just how often stuff was filmed and how much has happened. Some of the stuff that’s on there I’d totally forgotten about. There was some moments where I was wondering if I really wanted to sit and watch it all again anyway… But there’s nothing too embarrassing in there,” Cheney chuckles. “Just a lot of hairspray.”

‘From Here On In’ documents the band’s entire career, from their humble beginnings in the Melbourne suburbs to the present, complete with the appearance of “new” drummer – Adelaide’s own Andy Strachan. When quizzed about how Strachan fit into the dynamic of the band Cheney laughs but is quick to point out he was just what they were looking for. “When Andy joined the band, of course we knew a little bit of his background and stuff. One of the main factors about him was the fact that he’d played in a band called The Runaways when he was sixteen or something, playing drums for a band that played fifties and sixties covers. And it’s funny because at that time we were doing the same thing in Melbourne but we were called The Runaway Boys. Plus, he’d also said that he grew up with a next door neighbour who was always playing Madness and The Stranglers. So he had a love of fifties stuff as well as seventies and eighties new wave stuff, which is the basis for our whole band really.”

“It’s funny though because the press still seem to refer to him as ‘the new guy’. We just do it on the rare occasion when we really want to rev him up,” laughs Cheney. “But i think Brian Johnson from AC/DC is still referred to as ‘the new guy’, and look how long that’s been…”

The Living End National Tour

Author: Unknown

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This September and October, The Living End, one of this country’s mightiest, tightest and most talented trios, return to Oz to shake it down with home town audiences on their From Here On In tour. Stay tuned for more information on supports and a special album collection and get ready too for the return of The Living End. Tickets are on sale through VenueTix from Thu Jul 29 and are expected to sell fats. Don’t miss The Living End in Adelaide on Sun Oct 3 at Thebarton Theatre.

Pale Ale Assisting In The Aussie Invasion

Author: Unknown

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Fans of The Living End are probably aware that the energetic Melbourne band has been touring relentlessly over the past 6 months, promoting the latest album “Modern Artillery”. You may not be aware though, that all three members are partial to Pal Ale. During March & April TLE teamed up with The Vines and Jet for the “Aussie Invasion” tour of the U.S. and Canada before going on to support some big name American acts in may and June. It was midway through the Aussie Invasion that Lynn McDonnell, from Warner Brothers Music, contacted Frank in customer service looking for Pal Ale in her hometown of L.A. Lynn went on to explain that she was hosting a BBQ for the tireless tourers and wanted to put on a few Pal Ales for the boys. After we relayed the story to our U.S. distributors, Preiss Imports, Lynn was able to pick up three complimentary cartons of Pale Ale from their office in Cerritos, California. A big thankyou to Henry and the team at Preiss Imports for their assistance! The week after the BBQ, Lynn emailed some photos of Scott, Chris and Andy enjoying a Pale Ale or two during the short break in their hectic schedule. It was the least we could do for three hard working Aussie Ambassadors with great taste in beer.

Chris Cheney – The Living End

Author: Unknown

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Your all-time three favourite Australian Songs?

Girls On The Avenue – Richard Clapton
This always reminds me of our first trips to Sydney staying in the Cross. I was too young when it came out to remember but I think its a classic world class song. I think it sounds like what it must have been like in the late 70s early 80s music scene.

Back In Black – AC/DC
I remember hearing this in Bathurst at the Mount Panorama motorbike races when I was about 9 or 10, I guess. To me it sounded like heavy bikers music and i still think that actually. It is just one of the finest sounding songs in rock ‘n’ roll history.

Just Like Firewood – The Saints
It’s one of those songs that I remember hearing when growing up. For some reason it has a very Australian sound which I love. There is a sparseness to the song which I think gives it an Australian flavour.

If you could record a cover version of any Australian song, what would it be and why?
We’ve had a chuckle at the idea of doing Come Said The Boy by Mondo Rock…

It’s A Living Thing

Author: Craig New

With a new album, a new drummer, and currently in the midst of a huge national tour, The Living End are back, and at their blistering best.

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There’s nothing more frustrating for a music fan than their favourite band taking a leave of absence that lasts for over a year, just when it seems their hard work is finally paying off. It’s even more frustrating for the band themselves when that break is the last thing they expected.

So it was with Melbourne rockers The Living End, who were forced into a hiatus throughout 2002 after vocalist/guitarist Chris Cheney’s well-documented and brutal car accident that nearly cost him his life. But, as the old saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining, and it was during this break that MODERN ARTillery, the band’s third and most accomplished release, was created. Following 2000’s Roll On, it’s more solid songwriting, a return to their roots with a breath of fresh air that highlights the band’s passion.

“It’s really hard to describe how that happened,” laughs Cheney. “We’re so close to it that I don’t really know any more what the bloody thing sounds like! I guess the freshness thing is just to do with Andy [Strachan, drums] being in the band now, and to do with all that we went through, that once we went into the studio to make this album. We were like, this is it, take no prisoners. I think we had a bit of a point to prove with this one, we couldn’t just ease back in. We had to make sure that we had a good bunch of songs and do it properly or we’d risk losing all that we’d built up.

“I think the songs are a lot better than what we had for Roll On. They were more written from the perspective of trying to impress people with the musicianship. With this one it was all about having more simple kind of songs, but still keep the listener’s attention, which is hard to do without a lot of fancy stuff going on. There’s still a little bit of that, but as you can hear, it doesn’t dominate the songs, there’s a good song underneath everything else first.”

And as self-deprecating as Cheney can be at times about his own songwriting abilities, there are fans everywhere around the world who would argue otherwise.

“The good thing now is that I don’t have to worry about [songwriting], and I think that the trick is just letting it come when it comes,” Cheney ponders. “I just don’t think you can force yourself to write a song, let alone a good one, if you’re scratching your head and trying to force things. I don’t know, maybe I’ve just got high standards, but I don’t find it the easiest task in the world – but I probably make it hard for myself because I’m always trying to write the next epic song or something! I’m always wanting it to have lots of hooks and lots of weird chords, I don’t know – just trying to surpass what I’ve done before I suppose.”

Modern Artillery

Author: Sam Vinall

The Living End 
Modern Artillery

When one listens to a record from The Living End, to a certain extent one knows what to expect: brilliant musicianship and songs that make you want to get up and fight. ‘Modern Artillery’ provides this all, with breathtaking guitar solos and The Living End’s trademark early eighties rockabilly style, but ‘Modern Artillery’ is both impressively diverse and, when compared with previous album ‘Roll On’, a lot more straightforward.

‘Modern Artillery’ has already spawned the singles One Said To The Other, the anthemic Who’s Gonna Save Us and the early eighties inspired Tabloid Magazine. These are all great songs, especially Who’s Gonna Save Us, which contains what I believe is probably the best guitar solo on the album (which sounds a little like the solo from Hotel California in the way it’s layered).

There are also a surprising number of ballads like Jimmy, Putting You Down (which, if I might go out on a limb seems to me to have elements of Ween and Rod Stewart. So there), the alt-country-sounding So What, and (what I consider to be the best track) In The End. One comparison I could draw from all of the ballads was to Australian stalwarts You Am I; but for old school fans of The Living End there is still plenty of faster tracks like Hold Up, What Would You Do and End Of The World, so you don’t have to worry.

Cheney Reaction

Author: Julian Tompkin

It may have taken an horrific car accident and the departure of mate and drummer Travis Demsey from the band, but Chris Cheney, frontman for The Living End, has finally taken a second to stop and enjoy the success he’s experienced thanks to the only job he’s ever known. But, back with the band’s third longplayer Modern Artillery, it’s also given him a fiery hunger for more. No one could have seen it coming. Cheney had witnessed the band he’d formed with bassist Scott Owen at high school in the mid-’90s turn into big business, with a self-titled debut album that quickly broke all rock records in this country, going five times platinum after its release in 1998. With two record deals ­ Reprise in the US and EMI in Australia ­ The Living End, along with drummer Travis Demsey, soon found its punk/rockabilly songs of disenfranchised youth become the soundtrack for a new generation of rock kids, from the streets of Melbourne, to Berlin and Tokyo. Between world tours the band found time to record the second installment of The Living End story, 2000’s Roll On album. While less immediate than its predecessor, Roll On possessed enough of that iconic neo rockabilly charm that distanced The Living End from its contemporaries to continue the unstoppable momentum of one of Australia’s most successful bands. It was time for album number three but a car crash soon changed everything. Cheney was to spend months in rehab, unable to play guitar while his injuries healed. He cried, he hurt, he drank but mostly he thought ­ he thought a lot. And he suddenly noticed a few important facts he’d managed to evade in his rock-star existence, like the fact he’d never made time to enjoy his success. But, more importantly, he realised he wasn’t getting any younger and the band was yet to make the album that had the potential to really break The Living End internationally. Cheney decided it was time to rectify that. However, during the course of the forced break the other band members also had time to think. Owen was well and truly prepared to execute Cheney’s grand plan, but Demsey wasn’t and he handed in his resignation. Maimed but determined to move on, the band recruited Adelaide lad Andy Strachan, warmed up on the 2003 Big Day Out tour then packed the bags, bound for LA to record under the pomp and polish of Mark Trombino (Blink 182, Sum 41) ­ breaking with a tradition that always saw the band record in Australia. Couped up in a cheap hotel, The Living End toiled for three months, finally completing its most diverse, yet polished work to date. Gone is the customary double bass solo and the half-hearted anarchic catch cries, and in is large melody and lush production. But at the heart of the album is what’s become Cheney’s main impetus behind Modern Artillery, best summed in the evocative Maitland Street: “Will we be remembered? Or lost in history?”. As Cheney says, that’s a question that only time will answer, and he has his doubts. But above all of that he knows he’s finally created the album he’s always dreamed of making, and that, he reckons, is enough. The Living End tours WA in November, concluding with Rock It on Sunday, November 23.

It’s a term often bandied around, but in this case it’s true: It’s been a while between drinks. 
“Yeah, we recorded the damn thing back in February, and started writing it the previous January/February, so it just feels like we should’ve written a movie or something but we didn’t. It’s so crazy; Metallica take that long to write their albums, not The Living End ­ not at this stage of our career.”

Why didn’t it come out earlier? 
“It’s just been one thing after another really. It started obviously with me having the car accident, then Trav leaving. It’s kind of due to no one in particular, it just seems to have been the curse of this album. And then some tapes got lost ­ just everything seems to have taken twice as long, but I think they say good things come to those who wait.”

That meant plenty of time spent at home ­ did that send you mad? 
“Yeah ­ especially this last year, it did get a bit like that; leaning too heavily on things I shouldn’t have been doing. It was extremely frustrating ­ this is all I’ve done since high school, because I finished high school in ’92 and we started the band in ’91, me and Scott, and that’s all we did for like 10 years. Through doing that you do sacrifice a lot of the family stuff, and friends, so when it all came to a grinding halt I was tearing my hair out at home, really frustrated at sitting around and not having all those wonderful things I’d had before, and in a way it was probably good because it forced me to do something else other than the band. But it also made me realise I don’t want to do anything else other than the band (laughs) ­ so then you have an extra beer a day and it just escalates from there I suppose”.

It really has been an eventful, if not life changing, few years since the last album with both your accident and Travis’ departure from the band. It’s a bit of a philosophical question but is The Living End the same band Australia knew a few years back? 
“Well I think we have the same intensity, I would say, and renewed enthusiasm for playing shows but I think we’re a little bit different in our approach. I think we’re a lot more focused now and a lot more direct I suppose. Not that we were ever mucking around but things kind of happened in a natural, organic way. We were very lucky in the sense that it just got bigger and bigger and bigger with the first album, and then we started touring the world, and then the second album everything was sort of turning into gold. And having this break has made us realise that we’re pretty lucky I suppose, and not take it for granted. So I think now we’re a lot more; everything we do we try and do 180 per cent and really make it count and make sure we’re proud of everything that goes out.”

Was there always a burning determination to get back to the stage? 
“It’s been pretty intense, well it was for me. After all that we’ve been through and then to come back with an album that was not quite there I just wanted to make it the best album that we could possibly make and every song I was writing I was putting everything I had into it. I just didn’t want to put up with second best; even like school work and all that sort of stuff was never my forte, it was never my greatest achievement so I figure that I’ve got this opportunity in this band to do something really special and I don’t want to screw it up. So when it comes to songwriting and playing guitar and being in the band we really do try and give it all we’ve got. Scott and I were the same, we never did our homework at school, we weren’t academics by any means but we got through it ­ we just figure we’re good at this so let’s really give it all we can and show different sides of the band and make sure we keep moving in a forward direction.”

How do you do that? 
“Just try and make sure we don’t have any loose ends and trying to enjoy it at the same time. Just trying to be the kind of band that we would want to go and see, that we would be into ­ which is how we started out, trying to form the ultimate band, with double bass and a Gretsch and influenced by punk rock and rockabilly and jazz. All that sort of stuff we were trying to do back then still trying to do now, and I never want to lose sight of that and go “Yep, that’s it. We’re the greatest band ever ­ we can’t improve now”. There’s always room for improvement.”

With all that time off to think there must have come a point where you just totally freaked yourself out? 
“Yeah, that’s the thing. We’d never really stopped to really look around before, and although I was always proud at what we’d achieved, I’d never kind of sat down and counted the gold records (laughs) or anything like that. I thought with this album it’s time we were seen as a band that can write good songs ­ I think people have this preconception, a gimmicky kind of thing with the double bass and it’s pretty energetic and we give it all live, and it’s very visual ­ but that’s only one side to us. I mean most of the people we listen to are really great songwriters, like Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson and You Am I, whoever. So we want to be seen as that too. So that was the plan with this album, was to go “Right ­ these songs are going to be better than any other songs that we’ve written”, and I think they are and I think that’s the strength of the album, it’s not the double bass solo which has just been done to death. I’m happy that the foundation behind every song is a strong one.”

Each song on Modern Artillery is a song in its own right, with its own identity, providing for The Living End’s most diverse album yet. Would you agree? 
“I guess it’s a different album from what we would have made if we hadn’t had that time off ­ that’s obvious. And getting older I suppose, probably a bit more maturity makes you try focusing on your weaknesses perhaps, and I think that’s been a bit of a weakness of ours in the past.”

It’s obviously The Living End, however songs like Jimmy, In The End and The Room are as far away from Prisoner Of Society and Second Solution as the band could get. Are we seeing the real Living End for the first time? 
“I think you’re definitely seeing another side to the band, whether that’s always been there or not and it’s only surfaced now I don’t know. Songs like The Room is something that I’d like to do more of in the future, but again that’s just me being selfish and personal in saying “Well, why can’t I write a song like that? Why are other people allowed to do it and get all this praise?”. It’s kind of like “We’ll show them that we can do that kind of thing too”. I guess I don’t mean that in a negative way, I just mean it like we just want to try and cover as many things within our career as we can. As long as it sounds real and as long as we do it properly. You have to be very careful; there’s nothing worse than a band that tries to do interesting stuff and just doesn’t pull it off.”

The band has broken with tradition here and decided to record this one overseas. What was the premise behind that? 
“Just because we had the opportunity to, I suppose. I’d always wanted to do something like that overseas and it just felt like the right time we should get away from distractions here, really focus. We had Andy on board and we wanted to get him really feeling like part of the team, just go over there and really get our heads down and get on with the job. But in hindsight I don’t think that was the perfect environment because it was just kind of boring a lot of the time, because we were stuck in Burbank at the Holiday Inn for three and a half months ­ it had karaoke every Friday and Saturday night and after we finished recording it was kind of too late to go anywhere so we’d just sit in the bar and listen. It was the same people every week for three months, these same six people who went to the Holiday Inn and got up and sang songs. It was a little bit like Groundhog Day, I thought we were never actually going to ever get back to Australia again. It kept going on and on and on.”

You worked with Mark Trombino, how was that experience? 
“He was pretty good, I wouldn’t say he was the ultimate combination really but I’m not sure whether there ever is. I think one of the things that we originally wanted to work with him for was the fact that he could maybe bring a slickness and maybe a bit of his, I don’t know, give us a big sound and maybe something different to what we’d had before. That if we brought to the table our looseness and roughness that we try and get across live ­ it’s pretty ragged sometimes ­ we figured if we could meet half way; and that’s kind of what we did.”

That slickness was obviously a move that had the international music market in mind? 
“I suppose so, I think it’s a little cleaner than the last album but there comes a time we’ve made lots of trashy EPs and that was one of the challenges, to maybe make a good studio album; get in there and work with overdubs and work with layering. I admire the garage rock revolution but at the same time it’s probably kind of cool that we’re doing our own thing; that we haven’t tried to get on that boat, even though we come from similar backgrounds. We’ll just see what happens. I don’t know what to think about the international thing ­ we’ve given it all we can and we’ve played some pretty big venues and got a bit of a name for ourselves but it’s hard to say whether this will translate. We’re just going to go over there and do what we’ve done before and really give it all ­ it’s probably the last chance we’ll have, so who knows. This is a business in a way that we’ve built up since high school and it would be great to try and take it, I mean we’ve done so well in Australia why can’t it work overseas as well? I couldn’t care less really about the worldwide acclaim or the money, I just think it would be great to be able to tour this band for another few years around the world.”