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Representing The Bay Area for over
....... The Living End seemed to just
suddenly appear out of nowhere in early 1998. The Melbourne, Australia
retro-punk band the Living End was formed in 1991 by singer/guitarist Chris
Cheney and bassist Scott Owen while the two were attending secondary college.
Self-managed and highly motivated Originally dubbed the Runaway Boys, the group
went through a series of drummers before settling on Joe Piripitsi, with whom
they recorded their 1995 self-released debut EP Hellhound. A lot of drive and
some luck thrown in found The Living End supporting Green Day on a national
tour back in February 1996. ., The Living End started getting gigs around
Melbourne. Although 1996's It's for Your Own Good EP topped local charts,
Piripitsi soon exited the line-up, and with new drummer Travis Dempsey the
Living End recorded 1997's Second Solution/Prisoner of Society. A year later,
Reprise re-packaged the first two Living End releases together for American
release. A self-titled LP followed in early 1999. ~ Jason Ankeny, All-Music
Guide . I had a chance to interview guitarist Chris Cheney when they came
through the bay area.
INTERVIEW WITH Living End
Q: The word is that your band the " Living End
and Silverchair" are very popular over in Australia ?
A: Yeah, we're from Melbourne, Australia and we
formed there in high schoolin l990-1991 and just started doing covers and stuff
and they changed their originals and we pretty much built up our following from
there. This album is just the first album kind of world-wide, it's not like we
haven't had other albums in Australia. Yeah, that's the home town, that's
always the most popular one at the moment.
Q: When do you go back home?
A: We go home at the start of September or something
and we go straight into like a 6 week Australian tour. But before then, we go
to Europe again.
Q: Are you going on your own?
A: Yeah, we are doing pretty much street festivals,
we're doing the Redding Festival in England. It should be awesome, the Bazaar
Q: When I saw you performed last year. I was hearing
"Stray Cats", with a little "Green Day" sound ?
A: Yeah, well that's kind of a natural thing to
happen. As I said, when we formed, we were just fifties breaks and Stray Cats
were like pretty much our gods - still are really, you know. They were an
amazing band. We just fell in love with that sort of stuff and I always loved
the Sex Pistols, and the Clashing Stuff always on the side and then when we
started writing songs, for some reason, I just started incorporating most of
the styles together. You know, the lyrics and the sort of message and choruses
and stuff for the punch song. But we like in the guitar play, the rock-a-Billy
just sort of same natural and I thought it was good at first and a few other
people sort of liked it to, so it's kind of worked in a way. But come in
"Green Day", yeah, there is another band that we really liked, what
we sort of admired then being an influences. But people do say we sound like
them, so it's kind of annoying sometimes. The seventies punk stuff is what sort
of influenced us more.
Q: Allot of times people need to compare music to
some other bands.
A: It could be worse bands that we could be compared
to. They are both great bands.
Q: So how is it playing these out door venues?
A: We are just getting used to these now, because it
has been so long since we played like a pub gig. That's probably the best thing
about it, because I used to hate playing outdoors. We were just always a pub
kind of band. That was the environment - seeing us in a club or something. So,
anytime we played, they used to have to come and the would say "oh it's
outdoors"; but now it's the reverse, we haven't been playing any clubs,
and so when we play a club again, hopefully it will be magic.
Q: I saw you play the 98 Rock Jamboree radio show
two weeks ago outside it was Very Hot out in Sacramento - 106°. Plus !
A: I have been sick for the past five days. Yeah we
did the first three warp gigs and I got heat exhaustion. I spent like two days
in the hospital and they didn't know if it was heat exhaustion or food
poisoning, or both. I though it was both - I though I was going to die. So
anyway, it's nice to be back playing in this club. It's like three gigs or
something. So, I'm feeling better, drinking beer - Australian medicine.
Q: SO what's it like in Australia?
A: There's a lot of people in Australia. People seem
to think there is like kangaroos and maybe ten farmers and a few women or
something. It's just like any other country. There is millions of bands it's
just so hard, for a start, to get big in Australia, because we just get
bombarded. No offense, but all-American bands, all-American television shows,
nobody wants to give anyone a go in Australia. If an Australian band becomes
big, there is a thing called the "tall puppy syndrome", everyone
wants to bring you back down again. But then you go overseas, Australia is like
they're our own kind of thing. But there is only a handful of bands that have
really made it overseas. Like "Men At Work", "In Excess",
"Midnight Oil", are a few. There are not that many and there are
thousands of bands even now. But because it's so far away, its so hard just to
get money and to get support to get over to a place like America and get off
Q: Did you receive a lot of recognition?
A: That's what happened last time. We managed to get
a slot and we did the first ten dates on the tour, playing on the local stage
and we managed to impress a lot of people. We played our asses off and got
invited back this year on the main stage. It's just a gradual thing.
Q: I saw you guys three times in one year. It was
like wow, you're coming around again your playing your asses off now.
A: That's kind of like Melbourne as well. Except
obviously, it's such a long way away. But that's what I cherish the most. That
we came from Melbourne. That there is so many bands and there is so much
happening there that you have to be good to try to impress them, so I think
that if you can sort of impress them, you can pretty much go anywhere and you
can turn a few heads I think.
Q: Do you write the songs ?
A: Pretty much. I write all the lyrics and the music
and then I come into the Garden Rehearsal Room and we just knot them out from
there. If there is anything that I haven't finished, I will ask the guys what
they think about this bit. I pretty much like to have them finished just on an
acoustic guitar on my own. It's kind of they way its worked out.
Q: Are you able to find time to write on the road,
or is it too busy?
A: Not really. We've been here since February, and I
thought yeah, I'll be able to write songs on the bus and stuff. But, its really
been difficult and a lot of bands say its hard to write on the road and I
thought, yeah, it can't be that hard. But it is hard - trying to get your own
space. There's always people on there and hard to do till we get home. We've
written a few.
Q: You like playing the big hollow body electric
A: Yes. Just from like getting into Eddy Cochran and
stuff when I was younger.
Q: Do you like Chet Atkins ?
A: He's the master, that guy. An incredible guitar
player. A 335 can be a bit rough. Especially outdoors playing. Sometimes it
sounds like I have solid body and I play and its easier and more practical, but
then I play one of mine and it looks cooler and I like the sound coming out of
it. The end
By Randy Cohen
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