The Living End
|The Living End|
Left to right: Chris Cheney, Andy Strachan, Scott Owen (Leipzig, Germany, November 2009)
|Also known as||The Longnecks|
|Origin||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Genres||Punk rock, alternative rock, psychobilly|
|Labels||Dine Alone, Dew, Deck Cheese, Adeline, EastWest, EMI, Modular, Rapido, Independent|
|Associated acts||Runaway Boys, Safety Matches|
|Past members||Joe Piripitzi
The Living End is an Australian punk rock/psychobilly band from Melbourne, Victoria, formed in 1994. The current lineup consists of Chris Cheney (vocals, guitar), Scott Owen (double bass, vocals) and Andy Strachan (drums). The band rose to fame in the late 1990s after the release of their double A-side single, Second Solution / Prisoner of Society.
They have released six studio albums and one singles compilation in Australia; three of which have reached the No. 1 spot on the Australian Albums Chart. They have also gained notable success in the United States and Europe.
The Living End were formed in 1994 by Chris Cheney and Scott Owen, who met through their older sisters while attending Wheelers Hill Secondary College in Melbourne. Cheney was a big fan of rockabilly group Stray Cats and this prompted Scott Owen, who originally played piano, to switch to double bass. He was taught by Maddie O'Reiden, a classical upright bass tutor. The pair formed a cover band, Runaway Boys, named after a song from the Stray Cats' debut album. The band played in Melbourne's rockabilly music scene. While Cheney and Owen persevered, the band went through several drummers while still in school.
However, by 1994 Chris and Scott were writing their own material and they decided to change their name to The Living End, a reference to the film Rock Around the Clock. The group went through a procession of drummers, including Alex Sarris, before settling on Joe Piripitzi. Sarris played for several months, but was unable to remain in the band, as a result of irreconcilable creative differences with frontman Cheney. However, Cheney considered Joe an ideal drummer because of his charismatic appearance. The Living End got their first big break in 1995 when, after sending a t-shirt and a demo tape to Billie Joe Armstrong, they landed a support slot in Green Day's upcoming Australian tour. After the tour, the group went into the studio to record their debut EP Hellbound which received moderate support from community radio stations.
In November 1995, the band went back into the studio to record their second EP It's For Your Own Good which they released several months later. This recording yielded their first major radio airplay with the song "From Here On In", which was placed on high rotation on the youth radio network Triple J. Shortly after the release of the second EP, drummer Joe Piripitzi was fired as his lifestyle choices were said to be holding back the band, being replaced with Travis Demsey. Demsey was soon playing with the band at major festivals such as Pushover and the Falls Festival, and was considered to drum very much in the style of Keith Moon. After a year touring Australia, The Living End again headed into the studio to record something new to sell at their live shows. The result was the Second Solution / Prisoner of Society double A-side single.
Second Solution / Prisoner of Society quickly became a national hit, with the double A-side becoming the highest selling Australian single of the 1990s and peaking for several weeks at No.4 and receiving the 1998 ARIA Award for Highest Selling Single. It lasted a record-breaking 47 weeks on the ARIA Top 50 singles charts. It was later featured in the game Guitar Hero World Tour. "Second Solution" was also featured in the movie "Cheats" which starred Trevor Fehrman, Matthew Lawrence, and Mary Tyler Moore.
The Living End (1998–1999)
The band signed on to Modular Recordings for the release of their debut self-titled album. The album was an instant hit with Australian audiences. The Living End became the second (now third) highest-selling debut rock album in Australian music history. It charted at No. 1, and is now 5x Platinum. During this period six singles were released including the previously stated double A-side, and in addition "Tainted Love", a live cover, was released as a radio-only single on Triple J. The Living End were awarded two more ARIA awards in 1999 for Best Group, and Best New Artist.
Roll On (2000–2001)
The Roll On album in 2000 was a more creative work, but it did not manage to achieve the status of their earlier album. Despite this, many fans consider Roll On to be as strong as the Self Titled album, The Living End. Cheney later stated that he was trying to prove to critics that The Living End were not a band simply defined by their hit "Prisoner of Society", and the album showed this by displaying other influences, as well as their traditional fast-paced rockabilly music. The album even garnered comparison, by a few critics, to seminal punk band The Clash's creative breakthrough, London Calling. Much of the style was comparable to 1980s hard rock and pub rock, as well as many tracks being obscure mixes of many ideas, resulting in 'procrastinating' structures. This defined the album's creativity.
During this period, relative success was achieved in addition in the US, with the band receiving America-wide coverage by playing on both Conan O'Brien and David Letterman's major late-night variety shows. The album included "Carry me Home", which was included in the Guitar Hero II soundtrack. However, singles and success for Roll On was limited because of a twist of fate. In 2001, the band hit a quiet period after Chris Cheney was in a car accident on the Great Ocean Road, rendering him unable to play for a significant period of time. He had been on the road to the house of a member of fellow Australian band Bodyjar.
The Longnecks (2002)
In early 2002, Travis Demsey left the band shortly after Chris's recovery, so he could spend more time with his family, supported by a developed dislike of heavy touring. However, the dilemma was overcome when Andy Strachan was accepted as the new drummer. The Longnecks were formed to test out Andy Strachan and new material to be on the Modern ARTillery album, without attracting too much public attention. The name is a reference to 'Longneck' beer bottles, as can be heard on the band's Podcast on iTunes.
Travis Demsey now plays drums in a punk/folk rock band called 'The Currency'. The Longnecks name has since been used by the band to try out potentially new album material for both State of Emergency and the band's fifth album, White Noise. The band has also played under many different names such as Glen Waverley & The Mentones, The Dovetones, Roller Toasters, Doncaster & The Dandenongs and Redwings at various venues in regional Victoria.
Modern ARTillery (2002–2004)
At this time the band made a comeback, releasing "One Said to the Other" in late 2002 (originally released as an EP then later re-recorded for the album) and "Who's Gonna Save Us?" in 2003, and getting air play once again. This was followed by heavy touring (including Big Day Out) and the release of Modern ARTillery.
The Modern ARTillery album in 2003 was a return to musical simplicity in most tracks (the rock anthem "The Room" being an exception), but was certainly of a different style to the 'punkabilly' of the self-titled album, and the jazzy rockabilly of Hellbound and It's For Your Own Good. Instead, punk pop, computer-generated sounds, country music, and 1960s style rock'n'roll had their share on Modern ARTillery, among other styles.
Because of the quiet period, their return was initially received with much hype compared to Roll On, with "One Said To the Other" becoming a top 20 hit, the album debuting at No. 3, and the promotion of three singles and one radio release. However, the long run saw their stylistic change to be less popular, with overall sales of albums and singles being comparatively less than that of the self-titled album and Roll On.
From Here on In (2004–2005)
In late 2004, the band released a singles collection, From Here on In, as well as a DVD, which included a collection of their music video clips and a "supergig" of the band's most famous songs performed in Australia at Splendour In The Grass and Big Day Out in Sydney, and from Summersonic festival in Japan. The DVD also featured the band's history, documented in interviews and home footage. The CD featured two new tracks: "I Can't Give You What I Haven't Got" and "Bringing It All Back Home". Some editions were released with the bonus 'Under The Covers' CD, which featured six covers from various parts of their career.
State of Emergency (2005–2007)
The Living End's fourth album, titled State of Emergency, was recorded in Byron Bay with Nick Launay, following the band's appearance at the Splendour in the Grass festival. The recording and the artwork was completed in mid December 2005, and the album was released on 4 February 2006, debuting at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart. The Living End again played gigs under the name The Longnecks before recording the album, to test out new material.
The album's tracks are even simpler than Modern ARTillery's tracks, but with a more raw sound, so as to assimilate even further with the early releases and the self-titled album; also being aware that they sound best live and raw. Nevertheless, the new styles and other styles experienced in Modern ARTillery remain in State of Emergency to a small extent; arguably most dominantly pop punk, rockabilly now being a less met blend of The Living End's 'punkabilly' style.
The single "What's on Your Radio?" was released on 20 November 2005, and debuted at No. 9 on the ARIA singles chart. The second single, "Wake Up", was released on 19 February and went straight to number No. 5. The third single from the album, "Long Live the Weekend", was released 20 May, but did not enter the top 20, whilst the other two singles had entered the top 10. The fourth single, "Nothing Lasts Forever", was released in Australia on 19 August and was not as successful as the first two. Nevertheless, State of Emergency continues to hold onto its position as a generally very successful album, enhanced by the great success of the first two singles. The album was also nominated for the 2006 J Award.
The album was released in the United States through Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's Adeline Records along with Eastwest Records on 11 July 2006 and Canada on 18 July 2006. Further releases in support of the album was the DVD Live At Festival Hall on 30 September, which captured a Melbourne performance of the State of Emergency Tour, featuring many songs from the album, and many classics.
In 2006 the band took 4 Jack Awards; Best Live Band, Best Live TV Performance, Best Performer (Chris) and Best Drummer (Andy). This means that The Living End has being awarded the most Jack Awards each year and overall so far. During the 2006 State of Emergency tour, the Living End's show in Milwaukee was cancelled, so it was rescheduled on 2 December as a supporting act for +44. On 6 October, Chris Cheney left the band because he felt enormously burnt out, and was sick of the constant touring, as well as experiencing writers block. Chris felt that his life was going nowhere and that he needed to get away from the band, and gain experience in other areas of life. This information was kept confidential until 2008.
2007 saw Chris Cheney isolated from his band mates trying to write the follow-up to "State of Emergency". He was disappointed with the results so he took up yoga, spent time painting and being around his baby daughter whilst taking a break from music for the first time in 10 years. During this period the band released a radio-only single, the Cold Chisel cover "Rising Sun", available on the Standing on the Outside Cold Chisel tribute album. After Chris was convinced not to leave the band they played The Great Escape in May and restarted work on their fifth studio album, though they toured the UK in August, releasing State of Emergency there on 13 August through Deck Cheese Records.
White Noise (2008–2009)
Two new songs were debuted at the EG Awards in Melbourne, "Raise the Alarm" and "How Do We Know". These tracks were well received by the audience who witnessed the performance, although a few days after the performance Chris Cheney sent an email to everyone in The Living End mailing list talking about the EG Awards show and expressing how far away these new tracks are from being recorded. He also stated that they were only a week or so old. The band announced a short tour under their pre-release alias The Longnecks to try out new songs before they went into the studio. The new material played during these gigs are said by Cheney to be the most exciting of their career, saying "there is a heaviness and depth to the new stuff that we simply haven't had before".
The first track released from the album was the title track, "White Noise". The song, "How Do We Know", was simultaneously released as a radio-only track on Triple J, but was also heard on such radio stations as Nova 969. These two complimenting tracks came together to form the first single from the album. The White Noise/How Do We Know? double A-side single was released both physically and digitally on 5 July 2008.
The Living End released their fifth studio album, White Noise, on 19 July 2008. Recording of the album took place at Water Music Studios in Hoboken, New Jersey, on the week beginning 31 March. The producer was John Agnello, whom Cheney felt "[could] capture the energy and attack we are after". Brendan O'Brien mixed the record at Silent Sound Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.
The White Noise album had almost a year and a half of solid writing behind it, with the end result revealing "more of a hard rock influence." The band self-proclaimed the album as "the best thing we've ever done."
The band launched the album on 19 July 2008, with an in-store appearance at the Virgin Megastore in Sydney. The band spent almost 2 hours signing copies of the album for fans. In support of the album, the band made many television appearances in Australia, including their performance on 5 October at the 2008 NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium. White Noise was awarded the ARIA for Best Rock Album of 2008, over such competition as Gyroscope and Faker.
On 25 September 2008, "Moment in the Sun" was released to Australian radio as the second single from White Noise. It was physically and digitally released on 25 October 2008. On 22 December 2008, "Raise the Alarm" was released to Australian radio as the third single from White Noise. A music video has been released containing footage of live performances during the white noise tour and some others. In February 2009, the band made a secret appearance in Melbourne supporting the Stray Cats on their Farewell Tour. On 27 February 2009, tickets were released for the Raise the Alarm Tour which happened in May.
The Ending Is Just the Beginning Repeating (2010–present)
During September and October 2010, The Living End performed a few secret shows under the alias "Safety Matches", testing new material, much like what they did under The Longnecks. The main songs they played were "United", "Universe", "Away From The City" (then titled 'Black and White'), "The Ending Is Just the Beginning Repeating", "Resist" and "Heatwave".
In the January edition of The Living End's News, Chris says, "Having spent all of 2010 writing album 6 we have amassed something in the vicinity of 40+ songs to choose from... There are some really different ideas kicking around this time but the emphasis has been on creating a cohesive album that is heavy, melodic and overall very anthemic." The Living End's new single "The Ending is Just the Beginning Repeating", also the new album's name, was premiered in early June 2011 on radio stations across the country, and can be heard at thelivingend.com. The album was released on 22 July 2011.
On The 17 July, Triple J Played A few new songs off the upcoming album and more song were played throughout the week leading up to its release. Song Played Included "Universe" and "Away From The City". The Living End also allowed people who were a part of the fans mailing list a 24 hour stream of the record on 18 July. Fans could listen as many times as they wanted and were able to comment on the stream. In support of the album a live stream of a live performance occurred on YouTube on 19 July. This performance featured a guitarist in addition to Chris Cheney playing rhythm guitar.
The band now features former Blueline Medic and Mid Youth Crisis guitarist Adrian Lombardi, as their live/touring guitarist. On the 2 July 2012, Chris Cheney announced through Triple J Radio, that throughout November and December of that year as part of The Retrospective Tour, they would perform each of their six studio albums over one week, in five Australian cities (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide)
Musical style and influences
The Living End consider themselves to be a rock 'n' roll band based on punk ethics, citing the Clash, Iggy Pop, The Who and The Jam as influences and bands with whom they share the same ideals, making a social commentary on what's going on around them. They have also been compared favorably to 1990s punk revivalists Rancid. However, the band do not consider themselves a punk band, more a rock 'n' roll band who are influenced by punk.
Chris Cheney regards 1950s rock 'n' roll as his greatest influence and first musical love which, along with 1980s rockabilly revival band Stray Cats, the band's sound was based on. They also regard Australian pub rock as an important influence on the band, something the members grew up with and appreciated. Other rockabilly influences include Reverend Horton Heat and Eddie Cochran.
Scott Owen has said that his favorite bands include Stray Cats, Reverend Horton Heat, Midnight Oil, The Clash, The Jam, Green Day, Sublime, Bodyjar, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Rancid, The Beatles and Supergrass. He regards Lee Rocker of Stray Cats as the main musical influence of his, mimicking his right hand movements on the upright bass when he first learnt how to play.
The Living End have made recordings with many popular bands and artists. In 1998, just as they were gaining popularity in Australia, they performed at "Tour of Duty" for the peace keepers in East Timor. At this, their first live concert to Australians, they performed two tracks from what was their upcoming album, as well as performing with The Angels' frontman Doc Neeson and "Jingle Bell Rock" with Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue.
In December 1998, supporting the German band Die Toten Hosen they played a cover of Slade's "Merry Christmas" with them on 26 December 1998 in Düsseldorf, as part of Die Toten Hosen's 1998 Christmas tour of Germany. The two bands met on the 1998 inaugural Warped Tour of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Hawaii. In early 2001 The Living End performed as the support act for AC/DC during the Australian leg of their Stiff Upper Lip world tour.
The Living End performed alongside Normie Rowe performing two of Normie's hits "Que Sera Sera" and "Shakin' All Over" at the 2005 ARIA Hall of Fame. In 2005, the band recorded a version of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke's "Resurrection Shuffle" with Jimmy Barnes on his duet album Double Happiness. The Living End also appeared on Australian country and western music artist Kasey Chambers' album Barricades & Brickwalls, contributing the music and backing vocals to "Crossfire".
Lead singer and guitarist Chris Cheney was also a member of the "super group" The Wrights who released covers of Stevie Wright's songs, "Evie Parts 1, 2 & 3" after performing "Evie Part 1" at the 2004 Australian Music Industry's ARIA Music Awards. Cheney also played guitar and contributed backing vocals to "Private School Kid" on Sarah McLeod's (formerly of The Superjesus) debut solo album. Cheney appeared as a guest guitarist on Stephen Cummings Firecracker album.
On Australian band Jet's live DVD, Right Right Right, Chris Cheney appears at the end of the recorded concert to feature on a cover of Elvis Presley's "That's Alright Mamma". Chris Cheney also played "I Fought the Law" with Green Day at their Melbourne concert on 17 December 2005. Double bassist Scott Owen appeared on Australian legend Paul Kelly's Foggy Highway album, playing bass on "Song of the Old Rake". Scott also appeared in the film clip for the track.
Chris Cheney appeared as guest lead guitarist on the song Something More, from the album Lose Your Delusion by Melbourne duo Over-reactor. Chris Cheney will appear on Grinspoon's Seventh studio album playing a lead guitar solo.
- Chris Cheney – guitar, lead vocals (1994–present)
- Scott Owen – double bass, backing vocals (1994–present)
- Andy Strachan – drums, backing vocals (2002–present)
Awards and nominations
- The Living End have won a total of six ARIA awards in 1998, 1999, 2008 and 2011.
- The Living End hold the record for the most consecutive entries in Triple J's Hottest 100. The band made the chart every year between 1997 and 2006.
- The Living End have won eight gongs at the Jack Awards (for Australian live music) since the first ceremony in 2004. This is more than any other artist as a whole and individually for 2006 and 2005 (2005 was actually a tie with Grinspoon on two awards). Of these, two awards were Best Guitarist (Chris Cheney), one award was Best Live Male Performer (Chris Cheney), two awards were Best Bassist (Scott Owen), one award was Best Drummer (Andy Strachan), one award was Best Live Band, and one award was Best Live Performance (on Channel V).
- In 2008 The Living End were nominated for four ARIA awards. The categories included "Album of The Year", "Single of The Year", "Best Group" and "Best Rock Album". They won one award for Best Rock Album.
- In July 2009 "Prisoner Of Society" was voted number 34 by the Australian public in Triple J Hottest 100 of all time 
In July 2011 the self-titled album "The Living End" was voted number 4 by the Australian public in Triple J Hottest 100 Australian Albums of all time.
In 2011 The Living End were nominated for three ARIA awards, taking out two of them for Best Live Act and Best Rock Album.
|2009||"White Noise" – Christopher Cheney||Song of the Year||Won|
|2010||"Raise the Alarm" – Christopher Cheney||Most Played Australian Work||Nominated|
|"Raise the Alarm" – Christopher Cheney||Rock Work of the Year||Nominated|
|"White Noise" – Christopher Cheney||Rock Work of the Year||Nominated|
- "End of the World" was featured in Tony Hawk's Underground 2, a skateboarding video game.
- "Carry Me Home" was featured in the video game Guitar Hero II as a playable song using the guitar peripheral.
- "West End Riot" was featured in the video game World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars 2002 in the opening film clip.
- "Prisoner of Society" was featured in the video game Guitar Hero: World Tour as a playable song, as well as in the Guitar Hero: World Tour meme 'Bike Hero.' The song was included in a 19 December 2008 DLC release for the Xbox 360 karaoke video game Lips. It was also featured in the game Supercross 2000 by Electronic Arts, along with their track "I Want A Day."
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- Patrick Kolan. "New Guitar Hero: World Tour Tracks - PlayStation 3 News at IGN". Au.ps3.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
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- Erik Brudvig. "Lips DLC Schedule Outlined - Xbox 360 News at IGN". Xboxlive.ign.com. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
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