The Living End
When The Living End started out they were planning on an album, they did some recording of twenty songs, but felt “they just weren’t up to quality.” About to tour with Bodyjar, a band with a new product to sell, the guys from Living End felt they too should have something for their fans, hence the collection of B sides ‘Second Solution/Prisoner Of Society’ just released for the tour.
On the EP there’s one cover song, two live songs and two new original songs and so it has been ‘Prisoner Of Society’ that has turned out to be the single that has received airplay.
Travis admits that the tracks aren’t really “Great indications of technical proficiency, they’re just more what the band is live. It’s a bit rough, a bit all over the place, but the songs have a bit of energy, value for money.”
So is the band changing styles? “I think so to a small extent. The other two certainly still have rockabilly influences and that’s never going to leave, we don’t want it to leave. We’re trying to be a bit more dynamic, rather than volume to 11 from the very first song to the very end song. We want to be able to put our music across to a wide age group. We don’t want to be the band that caters for the fifteen to twenty five year old age group. Once everyone gets a bit older and the years start hurtling they can’t listen to us. Chris the man songwriter had about fifty completed songs and they’re all over the place. They’re Reggae, punks songs with no drums in it. For a band, you can’t keep doing the same thing. We still want to be as diverse as we want, but there is always going to be rockabilly as the basis to our style of music. We’re three guys that really like to play simple, catchy songs, but at the same time we like to challenge ourselves a little bit. We’ve all had schooling on the instruments and we’ve all gone beyond being good players.” At just twenty years of age, Living End guitarist Chris set the record college exam score with a 99/100 at the famed music course at Box Hill TAFE (very well known for its classical training.)
Faced with a lot of industry interest in their product, the first Living End album is expected next year though Chris admits that they will probably maintain their independence by financing their own release and banking it themselves. The guys are working on about twenty songs that they’re all happy with, “wanting every song to be good.”
Look to the album some time towards the middle of next year. “If we put out an album now and everyone goes ‘Oh, yeah, it’s alright but we expected better’, we’d be crushed. Whereas if we do the absolute hardest 100% work we can do and spend time in the rehearsal studios and we slave over it, if people say ‘well, it’s alright,’ we can say ‘we don’t care, we love it.’ That’s what you play music for. People don’t care about the time frame, as long as the products good I feel.”
Do you get tired of some media images of you with only the sideburns, brothel creepers, brylcream, rockabilly?
“I’m still into that look but can’t carry it off. I would like to have that image, but i’m only faking myself and people if i have a huge three foot high quiff. It’s just not me. I’m more than just the drummer in Living End. I have other interests. If people like your music that will accept you for however you look. The other two guys wear that stuff all the time. As far as clothing for them that’s all they have in their wardrobe. If we went to get to kick the footy, I have the proper Nike sneakers, Nike running shorts etc. The other two would turn up in jeans and brothel creepers. The interests are just clothing and their music. I like the image more of suits and stuff. I’m a bit of a Rolling Stone fan. I’m getting a couple of suits made up in cotton so I can drum and stuff. They’ll have leopard skin lapels and they’ll be in cool colours. That’s sort of my image. A lot of bands would say ‘we’re the band and this is our look.’ The Living End are so diverse as individuals that if you were to meet us as a band you’d wonder how do these guys get along? I like hot cars, I swear and I drink and I’m pretty outspoken, the other two don’t do any of that yet they’re the two that look like they’d do that. I buy the surf skate magazines, they hate that side of it. We’re so diverse, yet the best bands are those that don’t hang out together for the rest of their lives. Passion holds us together. We’ve toured with bands that are like brothers and because they’re like that they really do get hurt when the fighting starts. They take it to heart. We know that he’s just shitty because he’s tired type of thing.”
“When people see the band, they see three young looking guys, they say ‘rockabilly, oh yeah,’ but when they come to a gig we throw in cover songs like Tainted Love and many of these eighties songs they’ve grown up on. We don’t try to be too fancy, just a good beat to dance to. People then say ‘Oh, they’re a fun band,’ rather than a rockabilly band. That’s what we try to get across when we play. It’s about having fun.”
So what new bands does Trav recommend? “Dogboy from Sydney, Bzaark from Melbourne, Pre-shrunk, Reef and “a lot of Ben Harper.”
Must be working, recent Living End gigs in Melbourne have been crowded out with up to 800 people there to see the band. There’s a mailing list now over the 8,000 mark and demand for a web site, that hopefully will be online for Christmas.