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The Living End - The New Beginning Of The End

Author: Carlisle Rogers
Monday, 14 July 2008
3D's Carlisle Rogers chats with one of Australia's greatest guitarists, Chris Cheney of The Living End about their new album and direction.

After a breakdown that almost tore the band apart, The Living End's new album, White Noise, is their best yet - a rock journey that takes the band further away from their roots but closer to the radio.

In front of a Queensland crowd while touring for State of Emergency, singer and songwriter Chris Cheney says he suddenly, inexplicably, lost faith in the band. After taking off half a year, the band came back together tenuously to begin writing new material, and the break proved fruitful. Cheney had a head full of metal riffs and an AC/DC inspired sound that would provide the backbone for the new album.

'When we started to get back together,' Cheney says, 'I found that I had really valid ideas and that the stuff I was coming up with, was stronger than what we had in the past. It made complete sense and it was like 'Thank god I didn't just plough on through and the band came to a dismal end.'

'We've kind of ditched the proven formula that was capable of earning us money. In a business sense, that's probably not a very smart move. But we're very much in the headspace where we understand that we have to be creative. I think when you start to rest on your laurels and go with the proven formula, it's a very dangerous thing. I think AC/DC is one of the only bands who has managed to get away with that. To their credit, I guess they've only wanted to do that. With us, we wanted to move on and to grow and I think perhaps that was part of me wanting to have a rest and try and reassess and re-evaluate where we were heading and what we are doing and what this band was going to become.'

The Living End have already come a long way, from Cheney and Scott Owen playing in the garage at 15 years old after the latter spent his 'first car money' on an upright bass so they would look like heroes The Stray Cats, to a string of radio singles that would keep them in the spotlight for more than a decade in Australia.

'Even though we'd achieved and enormous amount of success beyond what me and Scott ever thought we would achieve, I still though that we could go further and I think we've done that with this record. I'm proud and we've taken the elements of what the band does well and enhanced them. I don't feel like we've ever played it safe and I'm kind of glad of that. We haven't just taken what we are good at and rehashed it. I really think that is going to give the band more life and it definitely made a big improvement when I came to the rehearsal room with some fresh ideas. I think the other guys understood and saw that the break was necessary and that I did something that we all thought we needed.

'When I came in with a couple of those riff like How Do We Know and White Noise, I think it justified what I was trying to say to them by 'I'm not doing this anymore, I'm not digging it, I'm not getting a rush from it, I don't want to be in a band that isn't aspiring.' I really think the average punk wants to see The Living End going for it, really sweating and putting it out there and not trying to be too clever, but digging our heels in and rocking out. I think the majority of this record is that.'

WHO: The Living End
WHAT: White Noise through Dew Process/Universal / Play Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay
WHEN: Out 19 July / Saturday 2 August