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*The Living End interview
*The Living End Discography (all available on Whammo)
*The Living End's national tour dates


The high-velocity, punkabilly hybrid known as The Living End is preparing for yet another international campaign and after what seemed to be an eternity, the trio of hard-working rockers are back with their best album yet: Modern Artillery. Chris (guitar/vocals) has already garnered a reputation for writing LPs packed with potential singles, taking inspiration from bands like the Jam, widely considered to be the last great 'singles band'. The Living End will have the opportunity to revive that by-gone era when Modern Artillery is released in overseas territories next year and although no solid plans exist at this stage, you can be sure that the well-travelled Melbourne 3-piece will be accruing a stack of frequent flyer points as they build on passionate followings in the US, Japan and Europe. They are a 'sure thing' when it comes to rocking crowds and with a new enthusiastic drummer, Andy, fans will be treated to blistering sets as The Living End tour the world. These lads have an obsessive fan base and Modern Artillery will not disappoint; in fact, the forced lay-off period over the last 18 months has helped Chris, Scott and Andy produce the best music of their career. After a great chat with Chris earlier in 2003 (one of Whammo's most popular features this year) I decided to get Scott's views on the exciting times ahead. For the few punters that are unfamiliar with the band, Scott is a self-taught upright-bass player of premium quality and a real showman. I found him in Melbourne, relishing his last few weeks of domestic bliss before the hard work begins...

Whammo: So where are you at the moment?
Scott: At home in Melbourne.
Whammo: Thank God for that eh?
Scott: Yes, it’s a nice place to be.
Whammo: When did you get back?
Scott: We’ve been here for a while.
Whammo: Right, you’ve done a couple of gigs haven’t you?
Scott: We did some gigs in Japan. We’ve been back and forth to the States a couple of times to do stuff like artwork for the album and the video. Apart from the big trip, which was recording the album over there, earlier this year, we’ve spent most of this year at home, which is nice.
Whammo: It must be a relief. In your career you’ve spent a lot of time on the road.
Scott: Yeah, this has been a nice change of scenery to be home for the better part of two years. This is like the calm before the storm now though.
Whammo: Because you had a forced lay off period for a while, you’ve got to pick up from where you left off as far as the global thing goes.
Scott: It’s kind of like we have to start again. We’ve got a new drummer now too and it’s been years since we’ve put anything out or been on tour. We do have a feeling of a new beginning at the moment.
Whammo: That’s good though. It’s a nice - after being together for a long time and working hard - to have a resurgence of that feeling.
Scott: It feels refreshing.
Whammo: You’ve got a killer album. I’ve only had a chance to hear it once but I’ve pretty much got the vibe. There are some real bangers on the album – 'riot material' I described it as in the review.
Scott: That’s not a bad explanation.
Whammo: Well, you guys have always had those songs that make everyone pogo in unison.
Scott: We’re a sucker for a big chorus.
Whammo: You’ve got some huge ones on the album. End Of The World is a killer. I’m totally diggin that one. But without toning down in the intensity, there seems to be an extra-added maturity in the song writing. There are some real epic tunes.
Scott: I think we’ve probably come a long way as songwriters. Last year we basically spent the whole year in a rehearsal room doing demos and we demo’d at least 50 songs so yeah, we spent the whole year writing songs, arranging, recording, fixing them up and then re-recording; just experimenting. So, it was a good opportunity to learn the ins and outs of song writing and arranging. I think it’s done us favours.
Whammo: Definitely. So what’s the usual drill? Chris brings in some chord progressions and ideas and the 3 of you work on the arrangement of the composition.
Scott: Sometimes he brings songs in that are just a couple of chords thrown together with a melody and some makeshift lyrics, sometimes he brings in songs that are pretty much complete and we just learn them- they stay as they are. All the ideas for the songs come to him in his head but sometimes we have to experiment with different ideas and we have to find what works best for the song. So it can go either way. There’s no particular formula. Songs can come together over half an hour or they can take months.
Whammo: I think the area where you’ve gone ahead is the dynamics. It’s almost like no verse in a song is the same. You’ve always got an extra garnish.
Scott: There’s only so much you can do with three instruments and that isn’t to say that you play as much as you can all the time. You’ve got to experiment with space and silence in music.
Whammo: What would be your favourite song on the album to play?
Scott: Oh God, they’re all fun. We’ve been playing them day in, day out for the last few weeks. We’ve been going through all the songs on the album as well as songs from the first two albums and all the EPs, just so we can change the set around. People that see you time and time again don’t want to listen to the same songs and it keeps it interesting for us. I don’t know, it all just feels really good at the moment. We’re playing better than ever because we’ve had so much time behind closed doors, playing and listening back to tapes, under the microscope.
Whammo: I’d imagine you’d be working hard in the rehearsal room because I’d assume that you have quite a big agenda for playing live, not only in Australia but also overseas. Have you got any solid plans yet?
Scott: Only Livid (Festival) at this stage. We’re definitely going to get busy as soon as the album comes out in a couple of weeks and the album won’t come out overseas until sometime early next year, so that’s when we’ll head abroad. One thing we do know is that we’re going to get real busy real soon (laughs).
Whammo: Are you optimistic about extending your popularity overseas?
Scott: Yeah definitely. We always have been optimistic. Ever since day #1: that’s why we’ve been so driven the whole time that we’ve been doing this. We always thought of ourselves as – not a mainstream band – but we always thought that what we were doing was valid. We’ve always had different tastes in music than what’s been current at the time but we always thought that what we believed in was something that everyone else could believe in as well.
Whammo: I hope it booms overseas because you’ve already laid down the foundations.
Scott: We’ve been lucky in the past compared to a lot of Australian bands. We got noticed overseas and I guess America is where it all kind of starts for the rest of the world. Whatever takes off there seems to translate to other countries as well. We’ve been lucky to do well over there and hopefully we can pick up from where we left off and take it further. We’re willing to do the hard yards and do whatever we have to do. We’re pretty excited about next year.
Whammo: I talked to Chris earlier in the year and there was quite a nice moment where he said that every now and again he stops and considers how far the band has come and how lucky he is. Is that something that is shared among the band members?
Scott: Definitely. It’s easy to forget and take it for granted when you’re focussed on the future all the time but it is rewarding to sit back and think ‘I think we’ve blown our expectations of what we thought we were ever going to do when we started’.
Whammo: The Living End really reminds me of the era when vinyl singles or 45s were popular: the way you time your releases.
Scott: We’re huge collectors of music. We don’t really have any other hobbies (laughs) other than music, finding books and finding rarities; alternative versions of songs or singles from other territories and different b-sides. I love the way that every Elvis Costello album comes with a bonus disc, which usually has (laughs) about 20 or 30 songs on it! We’ve got so much stuff (songs) and that’s why we love getting it out there.
Whammo: As far as playing bass is concerned, you were self-taught. Is that true?
Scott: Basically. I did learn how to play piano for a few years while I was in high school.
Whammo: So you had a bit of a feel for notes, chords, and arpeggios?
Scott: I kind of had music theory in the back of my head but learning piano was always a bit of a chore really. I fluked getting music lessons because we had a piano in the family home and someone had to learn how to play it. I drew the short straw. Looking back, it’s probably a pretty definitive moment in my life. I’m glad I drew that short straw!
Whammo: I play bass but I still find the upright bass to be kind of intimidating.
Scott: Well it’s like playing any bass but it’s just more physical, really. You have to play bass but physically it’s like playing drums.
Whammo: And the new drummer’s fitting in very nicely?
Scott: Oh yeah, very nicely indeed. He’s a good man. We feel like we’ve known him all our lives already. We did after we’d only known him for a couple of months. There’s no weirdness and he’s the perfect drummer for the band. Me and Chris are obviously pretty tight- we’ve been playing with each other for years and musically – when we’re nutting out ideas – we probably speak in a language that no one understands but Andy has fit right in with that. Everything comes from your personality and we share the same kind of personality as him.
Whammo: Will he be ready for the mega amount of touring as a result of this album?
Scott: Yeah, he’s keen as mustard. He just can’t wait to get out there and start doing it. He’s been with us for 18 months now and we’ve been playing in the rehearsal room. We did the Big Day Out tour and we’ve played a few hush hush gigs here and there so there’s no extra-added nervousness. It just feels like this is the band and it’s the way it should be. We’re ready to go out there and do it.
Whammo: Did you have a good time in L.A?
Scott: It was good. We didn’t get out much, we just worked. All work, no play basically. We went out a couple of times to break the boredom. We were staying five doors down the road from the studio and it wasn’t in a very interesting part of L.A. It was in Burbank, which is like suburbia. We’d go back to the hotel to sleep and spent every other waking hour at the studio.
Whammo: I didn’t see you in the tabloids.
Scott: No, we didn’t do any star-spotting at all. We’ll leave that to the rock stars.
Whammo: I think, if you decide to do that, you may need to start wearing the aviator sunglasses.
Scott: And the leather pants? We don’t want to go there.
Whammo: Please don’t.
Scott: If we do, just come up and slap me.

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A car accident, the resulting lay-off period, a change of drummer: none of these things could possibly stop the momentum of The Living End and with the release of Modern Artillery, all bets are well and truly back on, including the trio's determined campaign to capture the imagination of the globe. Chris Cheney's songwriting talents continue to develop and every time I expect the quality to wane, a new level is reached. The popularity of What Would You Do?/One Said To The Other and Who's Gonna Save Us? merely provided a pre-cursor to an album that deserves a spot on every country's top 10 chart. Every track could be a single: TLE have mastered the 3 minute pop song while driving their instruments into submission and arranging dynamics that constantly surprise the keep the listener's attention. There may be a couple of low-key moments like Puting You Down's light ska rhythm and So What's country twang but they're such outstanding tunes that they perfectly balance the tracklisting, offering some relief from the locomotive energy of songs like End Of The World. The Living End have a talent for transmitting energy - the type of energy that inspires crowds to pogo in unison - and songs like Hold Up and Short Notice are potential riot material. If this album isn't a worldwide smash hit, I give up. Nobody plays nitro-powered punkabilly faster or tighter than this combo and Modern Artillery represents the band's finest hour.
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When we interviewed Chris Cheney early in 2003, the master songwriter hinted at touch of political commentary on their next album Modern Artillery. While Who's Gonna Save Us? couldn't be called a political song, it certainly captures the sense of confusion that western societies are currently suffering. The question Who's Gonna Save Us? is apt but rather than being a depressing notion, the question seems more hopeful than hopeless. The fresh single is yet another example of a band that continues to peak; they just get better with each release. It also proves the trio's talent for producing singles, a talent shared with one of their inspirations - The Jam - and the cut n paste artwork is reminiscent of a time when the old vinyl 45 ruled. The three b-sides on the disc are demos, I presume for the L.A-produced Modern Artillery and if these are demos we can all expect an amazing LP. No Return, The Avenue and Just Too Bad won't be included on Modern Artillery and all three tracks, despite failing to make the cut, would be instant additions to any other act's track listing. The 'rejects' prove Chris Cheney's songwriting talents are well advanced.
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cd single

It’s been a year since The Living End released Roll On, the title track from their platinum album. Since that time the quaffed punks have conquered Japan, the US and most of Europe; a fact I can easily attest to through my dealings with their fanatical German fans! A frustrating period followed after a car accident side-lined the band with vocalist/guitarist Chris Cheeney hospitalised for 2 months. You can guarantee after the enforced rest, that their Big Day Out shows in Australia will be electric. One Said to the Other, with fresh tracks, signals the next step in their inevitable domination of the globe. The new material matches the massive sound of Roll On and will keep fans salivating and begging for the next full album, which promises to set international charts on fire. The hardest working band on the planet are back. You have been warned.
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Album number two from Melbourne's kings of rockapunkerbilly is an absolute scorcher! That's what years of live honing can do for a band that was already white-hot. Features the single Pictures in the Mirror and debuted in the Australian chart in the Top Ten.
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Their anthemic and attitudinous brand of rockabilly-meets-punk (circa Clash not SoCal) - and their live panache in delivering it - won triple platinum status in Australia for their debut self titled LP. 1999 Aria for Best Group and Best New Artist Album. The Living End rock! This is the Australian release of this album, featuring different artwork from the US release, plus the track Sleep On It.

29....Shadows Nightclub Mt Gambier, SA
31....Governor Hindmarsh Adelaide, SA
1.....Westland's Hotel Whyalla, SA
2.....Governor Hindmarsh Adelaide, SA
5.....ANU Bar Canberra, ACT
7.....Shellharbour Worker's Wollongong, NSW
8.....Panthers Newcastle, NSW
9.....Wyong Leagues Club Wyong, NSW
12....Castle Hill Tavern Castle Hill, NSW
13....Bathurst Ent. Centre Bathurst, NSW
14....Blacktown RSL Blacktown, NSW
15....Selinas Coogee, NSW
16....Sweeney's Campbelltown, NSW
20....Tambrey Centre Karratha, WA
21....Pier Hotel Port Hedland, WA
22....Roebuck Bay Hotel Broome, WA
23....Rock It Festival Joondalup, WA Powderfinger, Gyroscope All Ages
2.....Carrier's Arms Hotel Maryborough, QLD
4.....East End Hotel Bundaderg, FNQ
5.....Heritage Tavern (Stadium) Rockhampton, FNQ
6.....Main St Nightclub Mackay, FNQ
7.....James Cook Uni Bar Townsville, FNQ
9.....Brothers Leagues Club Cairns, FNQ
12....Sawtell RSL Coffs Harbour, NSW
13....Sawtell RSL Coffs Harbour, NSW
14....Forster Tuncurry M/Club Forster, NSW
19....The Palace Melbourne, VIC
22....The Brass Fountain Gate, VIC
23....21st Century Frankston, VIC


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