Living End - Roll On
Weíve heard fusions of different music
genreís before, rock-rap, blues-rock, country-rock, for every style there
seems to have been a band that strived to mix it up to create something
new. Now with dawn of a new century itís hard to find a mix that hasnít
been done before, save for ragtime and rock (though The Beatles came close
with a few tracks on the white album). I always crave something new
and different, but I was beginning fear itís all been before. So it was
with great pleasure I recently discovered the Australian band, The Living
End and their unique brand of punk-a-billy.
Thatís right, Punk-a-billy! Imagine mixing
rock-a-billy with punk, what kind of a glorious noise that would be? You
donít have to imagine it; itís out there in the form of two CDís from the
Living End. I guess I have been living under a rock, because the bandís
debut in 1998 gave the band five hit singles, went an impressive five times
platinum and landed the top spot on the Australian album charts. Theyíve
tour extensively with bands like The Offspring and Green Day. So to the
die-hard punk-pop crowd, this band is probably a well-known quantity. But
for those of us who donít typically listen to the likes of Green Day what
does the Living End have to offer? Glad I asked that, Iíll answer:
The Living End deliver a solid mix of UK punk set against a rock-a-billy
backdrop, a sound that gives them a nice melodic touch without wimping
The bandís second full length album, Roll
On, is a fine example of a group that doesnít fall into the sophomore slump
and brings to the front an exciting extension of their debut that shows
the group growing musically while retaining what made their debut so phenomenal.
The title track opens the CD with a nice
punk-rock anthem feel. The addictive ďPictures in the MirrorĒ give the
Green Day and Blink-182ís of the world a run for their money with itís
punky harmonies, distorted power chords and fine balance between pop and
punk. Riot on Broadway has a rock-a-billy on speed feel that keep the disc
moving right along. In fact, there isnít a slow moment on the entire album.
You get the full bang for your buck; all fifteen tracks can stand on their
own, and easily make this one of the best releases of 2001!
I missed out on this band in 1998 when
they debuted, but damn it donít make the same mistake as me and miss out
on Roll On, the time is now and you donít want to miss out on a good thing
when it comes along. So Roll on little brothers and sisters and give The
Living End a chance at the top spot in your CD collection!
* There is even a nice bonus for PC users.
Two full length videos.
Chris Cheney Ė Vocals and guitar
Scott Owen Ė Upright bass and vocals
Trav Demsey Ė Drums
Living End's story is already Australian rock'n'roll folklore. It's an
inspirational tale of punk ethos, classic songwriting values and road-hardened
live energy striking a blistering chord with a massive audience. No compromise,
no prisoners, no worries.
legacy of the Melbourne trio's phenomenal self-titled 1998 debut are enough
to give any band the second album heebie-jeebies: #1 debut, five times
platinum, five hit songs (including the double platinum "Prisoner of Society/
Second Solution"), three ARIA awards and a major international record deal.
ask them about the weight of success, the follow-up blues, and you get
blank stares and shrugs for an answer. "The big-arse world tour?" enquires
double bass stuntman Scott Owen. "I think it gave us a pretty damn good
work ethic. It builds up your stamina, that's for sure."
haven't seen any down side to being popular," says guitarist, singer and
songwriter Chris Cheney. "I think people know we do everything ourselves,
we do what we think is right and it's all about the music. We've never
put that second to anything."
years before their perceived overnight success, The Living End began proving
their point the hard way, with hundreds of sweaty gigs mixing rockabilly
style with UK punk attack. Their crude beginnings were captured on a demo
version of their 1996 EP, 'Hellbound' that scored them a national support
slot with "Green Day".
next EP, 'It's For Your Own Good', yielded the first in an unbroken chain
of radio hits, "From Here On In". The Living End began conquering stages
in a blur of distinguished company: Blink 182, Jebediah, Pennywise, Bodyjar,
The Offspring and Grinspoon.
double-A-sided "Second Solution/ Prisoner Of Society" was where the slow,
determined grind turned to sudden platinum. A Top 5 hit and 1998's biggest-selling
single, it kicked down the doors for their wildly acclaimed debut album
and its subsequent singles, "Save The Day", "All Torn Down" and "West End
all that, people thought we'd disappeared for a while but that's bulls***,"
says "resident loose cannon" Travis with trademark bluntness. "We just
don't brag about how well we're doing overseas.
Living End toured relentlessly: America and Canada with the Vans Warped
extravaganza and as main support for "The Offspring", the UK's prestigious
Reading and Leeds Festivals, tonnes of European festivals and two tours
of Japan. In between gigs, new songs were bubbling to the surface in fragments
that would become ROLL ON.
with inspiration after devouring a year's worth of music in the tour bus,
the trio's first job was to strip back an avalanche of ideas into 30 demos.
"Everyone knows we like The Clash a lot," says Chris, "but one of the reasons
is that they did so many different things. There's no point trying to redo
what we'd already done."
band's awe-inspiring live attack is front and centre on ROLL ON, a furious
blitzkrieg of styles and moods overseen by legendary English expat Nick
Launay. "Nick had seen us live and he was adamant to get that sound down,
warts'n'all," says Chris. "You can feel the difference."
new thing we brought in was our old Aussie rock heritage," says Scott,
"that Midnight Oil, AC/DC, foot-to-the-floor, hard thumpin' rock thing.
But the old rockabilly background, '50s and '60s rock'n'roll, punk and
ska, '60s and '70s Mod music is still there as much as before."
stunning rock pedigree - from tea boy on The Jam's Sound Affects to benchmark
production jobs with INXS and Midnight Oil - inspired The Living End to
new heights. "Look at bands like The Oils," says Chris, "great players,
great songs and enormous energy. I think we've got all of that to offer
on this one.
Nick, it's gotta be right, it's got to be perfect, but you've also got
to keep the raw energy there. It's gotta have passion so when people hear
it, they believe it. He grew up in the punk scene in England so he knows
bulls*** when he hears it.
louder in the loud spots, faster in the fast spots and chunkier in the
chunky spots. We've gone for some different ideas and I think overall we
just nailed the whole thing a lot better." And that, you'll recall, is
"a lot better" than the biggest rock debut in Australian history.
the battering ram assault of the title track to the agitated radio pop
of "Pictures In The Mirror" to the stomping rockabilly rhythm of "Riot
On Broadway", Roll On covers The Living End's trademark bases early with
all guns blazing.
there, the thoughtful diversion of "Staring At The Light" and slammin'
metallic roar of "Carry Me Home" starts defining new ground. Swamp-rock,
heavy jazz, shuffling reggae, anthemic choruses and frankly dangerous instrumental
trade-offs help define the ground for Chris Cheney's socially inclined
lyrics to take root.
East Timor invasion and Australia's immigration debate are powerfully addressed
in "Revolution Regained" and "Don't Shut The Gate". But it's not until
"Uncle Harry" brings the roof down in the most raucous and bawdy three
minutes of their lives that you fully appreciate where The Living End's
legend is destined to rest.
at all the greatest bands in history," says Travis, they're the ones that
evolve on each album. If you're a boxer you're always looking to improve
on your weak punch. We know our weak spots. There's always room to move
The Living End's music online
the Official Website for all kinds of stuff including song samples,
bios, chat, interviews ...too much to list.
Reprise Records for MP3's, news, tourdate and more info.
Pictures and album art "borrowed"
from the Reprise Records website. antiGUY is the editor in doubt of antiMUSIC.com