If he was to describe himself in a personal ad it would be, “quiet, loves The Simpsons and a helluva nice guy” and Chris Cheney, lead singer and guitarist of The Living End is exactly that – a nice guy.
It was all about the music when I caught up with him in the midst of the Australian leg of their tour just ahead of their visit to New Zealand.
The highlight of The Living End’s tour so far has been playing in Melbourne, their home town; although I’m sure we’ll give them an audience to rival that claim when they come here. They love their Kiwi fans and the support that we give them and I think it’s safe to say we love them back.
“The New Zealand audience to me is just a very rock n’ roll kind of a crowd. They really understand us and where we’re coming from. They’ve always just gotten it," says Chris.
Going on the road can be a stressful thing so there is the odd quiff but the band generally gets on “surprisingly well”. Even after over a decade in the business the chemistry is still there and strangely enough so are the nerves.
“It’s very difficult to stay sane on the road – living out of a hotel and suitcase but just by playing music every night – that’s pretty surreal to be honest but the nerves and everything sort of keep you sane and keep you grounded," he says.
"I get nervous before every show still…we’re not one of these bands that gets caught up in the rock n’ roll kinda lifestyle so as long as I kinda feel a bit jittery and stuff it makes me feel like I have my feet planted firmly on the earth”
While Chris maintains the band is not into the rock n’ roll kind of lifestyle they still have their stories and their visit to the Playboy Mansion when they were last in LA is one of their best ones.
“We just got invited to like a charity auction sorta party thing that they were having there and there were people there like Vince Neil from Motley Crue and a few other B-grade kinda celebrities… We were partying on and it was a kind of a strange atmosphere.”
Along with their rock n’ roll stories there are also some embarrassing tales to tell. Chris’s most memorable of those moments (for all the wrong reasons) involved some seam splitting action and the need for a quick wardrobe change.
“I’ve split my pants before. I had to run off stage and change my pants…I felt it, just a gust off wind around my backside and sure enough my pants were split,” he confesses.
Although Chris’ pants occasionally give way, his love for 1950s rock n’ roll does not.
It’s one of his primary influences and is a source of inspiration that the band continues to grow on.
“Well for me I fell in love with 1950s music…. So that was my first musical love and then when we formed the band it was sorta based on that. That’s the foundation really of this band, it goes back to that kind of music and that kind of image and that kind of style and all we’ve done is built on that.”
The Living End’s latest album State of Emergency is true to their traditional sound but also shows their progression as musicians to be their most musically advanced yet. They found it difficult in the production of the album to live up to the high standard they set for themselves but in the end it was all worth it.
“Musically I think it’s our most advanced album. It’s got a lot of styles and stuff on there that I really think we nailed this time, it’s not just attempted I think we’ve actually pulled off some different directions for this band.”
This isn’t going to be the last time we hear from the Living End either. You can expect another album in the next year or so. They’ve still got plenty of ideas up their sleeves and plenty more things to accomplish, proving that they really are the Aussie kings of rock
after already being in the business for over a decade.
The Living End has stood the test of time. They are an awesome band, renowned for their energetic live shows and unique style. If you haven’t seen them perform before then don’t miss this opportunity and if you already have then I’m sure you don’t need much convincing to hop along again. Grab your ticket now because it is gonna be one helluva rocking night with one helluva great band.
The Living End will in Christchurch October 31, Wellington November 2, Auckland November 3 (R18) and November 4 (all ages). Tickets on sale now from Real Groovy stores or Ticketek www.ticketek.co.nz