The Living End is and always has been one of the most respected rock acts in our country. From their early days of upbeat rockabilly punk fusion to 2008’s rocking mainstream chart topper White Noise, The Living End have consistently impressed audiences both in Australia and abroad. Brand new album ‘The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating’ is neither a progression from White Noise nor a return to their roots, but a whole new beast entirely. With a sound that is dark and melancholy but encompassing an undeniably bright outlook, double bass player Scott Owens catches up with us to tell us all about it, along with everything else The Living End.
Hey Scott, how are you?
Very well, yourself?
Pretty good. We’ve just seen the release of your new album ‘The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating.’ You guys happy to see it finally hit store shelves?
Yeah bloody oath, we’ve been so keen to get it out there in the real world.
The album was flogged on Triple J all last week and you also gave fans a chance to stream the album for 24 hours prior to release. What’s the feedback been like so far?
It’s all been really positive, can’t complain at this point. We played a show in Sydney the other night actually to a bunch of media people and die-hard fans which was awesome. It was the first time we had played any of those new songs on stage. The feedback was really positive which is a great confidence booster.
What’s the theory behind the new album title?
Well it can be taken in many ways. I guess the songs on this album are a lot more introspective and personal than they have been in the past. Chris has had a lot happen to him over the past few years that has been quite negative. He has a gift of being able to put a positive spin on negative feelings and events, which translates onto the lyrics on this record. The album sort of sums all that up. You might lose someone or something close to you, and the most positive outlook can often be that it opens the door for a new aspect of your life to begin. Are you with me or am I rambling?
I think I’ve still got you mate.
[Laughs] It’s a rambling sort of album title, it would be wrong to answer in an any more direct kind of way.
True! If someone had handed you a copy of the new album 10 years ago, what do you think you’d have thought of it then?
I reckon it would have been one of my favourite records. I know how big-headed that sound, but what we have discovered is that even since our first record, we have been making records that are a combination of everything that we love musically. Even in the beginning we were trying to combine rockabilly, punk, rock n’ roll and a little bit of ska, because we all loved those styles of music. Back then we hadn’t heard any other band that had done that, so we basically made the record that we wanted to hear.
I guess over the years as we have been exposed to a lot of other great music, we have taken those influences to heart, and learnt how to play our instruments a hell of a lot better as well (laughs). On this record we have taken a lot of inspiration from U2 and INXS, particularly the ‘dancey’ rock stuff. Rage Against The Machine as well. Something that those three bands share is the ability to get on a groove and stay on it, letting it pulsate and grow in a tribal sort of way, making it quite transfixing without changing the basic formula of each song.
That was something we tried to do on quite a few songs on this record, which felt like something new for us and we were really happy with the result. It’s cool for us to find something new. A band of our age and experience, it’s easy to stick to what we know and go through the motions for a new record, but to find a new method of rocking is pretty fucking exciting for us.
Splendour’s just around the corner, you’d have to be looking forward to that?
Yeah Splendour’s awesome. It’s always got a weird and interesting lineup which attracts all different kinds of music lovers. I’m looking forward to seeing Coldplay again because they blew my mind last time. Kanye will be interesting as well, I can’t say I’m a fan of the music but I’m looking forward to seeing it for the spectacle.
If you could form a supergroup of musicians, alive or dead, who would you choose?
Them Crooked Vultures [laughs]. I could have put that one together quite easily. I suppose if I was to do an original one, I’d love to see Gotye on drums, Sting on bass, Tom Morello on guitar and Robert Plant on vocals. Maybe throw Ray Charles over on the right hand side of the stage as well.
Are you planning on more overseas touring off the back of this album?
Yeah I think so, although there are no solid plans at this stage. We’ll spend the rest of the year in this country and do this tour, maybe a few festivals, just tour as much as possible between now and the end of the year. We’ve also been talking about doing one of those tours where we start at one end of the country and finish at the other and play everywhere in between, play all the country pubs and all that. It feels like we haven’t done that in ages and we love it, there’s nothing like playing night after night for a few months. After that we’d like to go back to Europe specifically and The States if the opportunity presents. We spent a lot of time in Europe on White Noise, I think we went there four separate times. It felt like we were actually building up a decent following over there, so it would be sweet to go back, that’d be tops.
What would be your fondest memory of your 17 years with The Living End?
Every time I get asked that question the same thing pops into my head, the AC/DC tour. It was so incredible to be a part of that tour, standing on the side of the stage every night. Standing behind Malcom’s amps or Phil’s kit or whatever, to be part of an AC/DC tour with a AAA pass is a lesson on how to do rock and roll better than any other band on earth. Everything about their show is fucking awesome. We did 15 shows with them, and they do exactly the same show every night, but there was no way I was going to miss a single one.
Anything at all for your fans?
Hope to see you all in September and make sure you go into all good record stores and pick up a copy of our new album. Cheers!