INTERVIEW: The Living End

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With less than a week before 2014’s instalment of Soundwave kicks off, the newest addition to the line-up of over 90 acts, is more than ready to take the stage. The Living End, who came in to save the day after Stone Temple Pilots’ unfortunate and swift cancellation is something that drummer Andy Strachan is elated over, branding their last minute addition to the bill as an unexpected, but exciting surprise. 

However, getting the band together takes much more than a phone call these days, with vocalist Chris Cheney located in the USA, bassist Scott Owen living in Byron Bay and Andy situated in coastal Victoria.

“We’re going to really enjoy this one. We’ve never done Soundwave before, and it’s always been on our wish list so we feel really lucky we have that spot and we are going to do the best we can, especially because there will be an audience there who may not have ever seen us.”

While The Living End are certainly no strangers to the Australian festival circuit, having played Falls Festival, Splendour In The Grass and Big Day Out numerous times, Soundwave still remains unmarked territory for the trio who celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band this year. While TLE have become a household name to many, being part of a festival with a prominent fan-base of metal enthusiasts allows punters to see them when they might not normally get a chance to catch their set live.

“For us that’s a great thing, we thrive off it. The last tour we did in Germany, we were playing shows that were 40,000 people strong and obviously 39,000 of those people had never seen us play before. In hindsight, you’re looking at close to 40,000 people who have never heard of your band, so we had to work really hard to reach out to the crowd but that’s what you kind of get off on. By the end of the set we had them cheering and having a good time, which is how we are going to treat Soundwave, we’re gonna go out there and kick some ass!”

Nearly two decades ago, after Chris Cheney sent Billie Joe Armstrong a demo of his band, they soon landed support for fellow Soundwave artist Green Day’s 1995 tour, playing a large part in the band’s initial success. Fast forward 11 years, and their fourth album State of Emergency was released through Armstrong’s record label, Adeline Records. Andy openly describes Green Day’s live shows as both a friend and a fan and is excited to be playing alongside them again.

“As a band, you can’t ask for much more when it comes to a live show. They are a very impressive, well-oiled machine. For kids and young, upcoming bands they are just the ultimate thing to see; because no-one does it better. They are so smooth and powerful, and Tre [Cool - Drums] is just amazing, they’ve all got their own thing going on at the same time and it’s a great sight to see.”

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While festivals like Soundwave are currently booming – it seems others, particularly Big Day Out are suffering. Following their fifth time playing at BDO, The Living End know all too well how Australian festivals are changing, and as Strachan explains, the constant reincarnation and hopeful revival of rock music has been pivotal in the matter.

“It’s all cyclic – it’s all going to come around and you can’t predict these things but it will turn. And I hope so for events like Big Day Out who really do deserve to stay around. Big Day Out is the entity that created the festival circuit in Australia, they did it before anyone, and people should get behind them and support it because it would be absolutely tragic if they were not able to continue.”

“The people that put these festivals together are taking huge risks, and are probably bookings bands 12-18 months out that we have no idea about. Sometimes it pays off, and sometimes it doesn’t. They could put on the biggest act right now, and in 12 months’ time they might be worth a lot less than what they are now. I don’t envy their position, it’s incredible how they put these things together and it’s a big gamble.” He admits.

“They have given so many punters the experiences to see bands like Nirvana and other incredible things. Rock will be back, mark my words, at some point who knows when. Music comes in cycles – what’s hot now may not be in two weeks or two years’ time; people follow trends but Soundwave, you can’t say their struggling. It’s the mega rock festival and people will always want. It’s been around forever so there will always be a thirst for it.”

You can catch The Living End on the main stage at Soundwave at 2pm in each city. Brisbane kicks off on Saturday, February 22 touring nationally. Tickets are still on sale via Oztix.

Lover of punk rock, and anything with a hint of angst. Aside from writing for XXIV, I also co-ordinate music festivals on-board the Rhapsody of the Seas. When I’m not abroad, you can find me gallivanting around my hometown of Adelaide, dreaming of Manhattan. My home is wherever my suitcase takes me.

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