One of Australia’s most prolific and loved Punk Rock bands, The Living End are stopping off in Laurieton on their national “Staring Down The Highway Tour”. Focus chats with double bassist Scott Owen …
Hey Scott. It’s been 23 years of music for The Living End, and you have been there for the whole ride … How did you and Chris get together?
Well, we both have older sisters that are the same age; our sisters were at high school together, and Chris and I were in primary school. So, our sisters would hang out together, and that is what introduced the Cheney family to the Owen family. Chris and I were like the annoying little brothers; whenever there were get togethers with the Cheneys and the Owens, Chris and I would hang out and do kid stuff.
We went to high school together. I was learning piano and he was learning guitar, so at 14 – 15 we started playing music together; that’s where it all began – and we just haven’t stopped.
And what inspires writing now, compared to those initial days?
Lyrically, Chris does most of the writing, so it’s hard for me to comment. Lyrically he (Chris) has gone more – particularly on this last record – from writing songs that are political commentary, I guess is probably the bets description for it, and just singing about things – social things, political things, and stuff like that. The change, or “shift” if I was to pull a pun, is now with this record it’s all sorts of personal stuff for him that he has written about.
Musically, nothing has really changed, in that we wrote songs back then musically and stylistically for the same reasons as now; but our style has changed, because we’ve grown over the years and been exposed to all different kinds of music and appreciate music that when we were younger never thought we would.
Basically, with the writing and style of our band, we have always just wanted to be the type band we would want to be fans of. So, we approach songs with the bands we’re into in mind, saying “What would our peers do?”, or, “What would our idols do with this piece of writing – how would they interpret it?” That’s the style and the chemistry of the band, and that’s just developed over the years as our taste changes.
Prisoner of Society was such an iconic song when it came out; at what point did you know this was going to become an anthem?
We didn’t, really, until it sort of happened. When we did the single, there was no real grand plan of world domination at that point; it was just a single that we recorded and had printed, so we could take it out on tour and sell it and try to make some money. I guess it was when triple j picked up the song and started playing it, then they started getting requests for it and they started playing the absolute s*** out of it.
We were on tour with Jebediah, supporting them on a national tour at that point in time. It was during that tour that people started getting to the gigs earlier to see us, because they’d heard that song on the radio and were going gangbusters about it.
What would you say has been the biggest highlight of The Living End’s career?
That’s a tough question. We’ve had some pretty big ones – playing and touring with AC/DC, which happened many years ago, we played at the AFL Grand Final last year, that was a massive highlight, we opened up for the Stray Cats; that was a bit of a weird come full circle experience. We played with the Rolling Stones – they’re always the highlights, playing with this band or that band … Bands that we had never thought we’d play with.
If we had told our teenage selves that we would be opening up for the Rolling Stones one day, we would have laughed – but it happened!
Don’t Miss The Living End on Wednesday 15th March at Laurieton United Servicemen’s Club. Supported By Son Of Jaguar & The Bennies. Doors 7:30pm for an 8pm start. 18+ EVENT.
TICKETS PRESALE: $45, DOOR SALE: $50.