Chris Cheney, guitar ace with Aussie rockers THE LIVING END, speaks to Vive Le Rock ahead of their dates with the STRAY CATS next month!
We last saw the Living End at Green Day’s Hyde Park concert in 2017. What have you been up to?
Lots! Since then we recorded and released our eighth album
called Wunderbar. We recorded it in
Berlin, Germany with a producer called Tobias Kuhn and it’s hands down our favourite
album. We’ve toured Australia a couple of times and done a bunch of shows in
Europe. Unfortunately we haven’t been back to the UK since the Hyde park gig.
Apologies up front.
Haven’t you also been touring with Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes?
We did a tour over here called the ‘Red Hot Summer’ which
Jimmy headlined. Joan Jett was also on the bill and killed it every day. Crowd
size ranges between 10 and 15,000 people and it’s outdoors in the blaring
Aussie heat, super fun though. Gotta keep hydrated if you know what I mean!
Do you still live in Los Angeles? How’s life out there?
Back and forth a bit at moment. LA is fantastic, always
warm, the place is buzzing with energy and I’ve made some dear friends there. I
find it a very inspiring place creatively, everyone’s on top of their game and
it kind of brings the best out in you.
Supporting the Stray Cats in June must be quite a bit of a dream come true. Didn’t the Living End start out playing Stray Cats covers?
Yep. We were called The Runaway Boys when we were still at
school and pretty much knew how to play every Stray Cats song there is. We came
from the rockabilly scene where they were undoubtedly the most successful band
from that genre. To me, they were the best band I’d ever heard or seen so to be
playing with them in the town where they first broke is very surreal. We feel
incredibly blessed to have had the career we have and they are partly
responsible for that. Their influence on us made us stand out from every other
band and they really inspired us to want to be the best musicians we could be.
Have you played with them before?
Yes, in Australia in 2009. I got to play a few songs onstage with them which was quite mental. 15-year-old me was kind of freaking out. They’re all really nice down-to=earth guys though.
Got any surprises lined up for fans on these shows?
Nope! And yep! Just to be playing these UK shows is super
exciting. We don’t leave any fuel left in the tank, it’s all or nothing.
What do you like about coming to the U.K?
The pubs! The history! Not so much the weather, haha! No, I love it all. There’s an incredible energy there that I like. Probably for me the historical aspect is so interesting. From the 100 Club to Buckingham Palace to Camden Market, it’s so cool. I’m sounding like a tourist aren’t I? I can not wait!!!
The new Stray Cats special edition of Vive Le Rock is out now!!
We spoke to Andy ‘Tez’ Turner of Dewsbury’s UKHC legends INSTIGATORS for our Where Are They Now? column in the April edition of Vive Le Rock! He had a lot to say for himself, but due to space restrictions we couldn’t fit it all in. Now, in all its glory, you can read the full unexpurgated interview….
In 1980 Britain was a desolate place for a generation of dismayed working class youth, unemployed and angry. As the first wave of punk fell and gave way to the anarcho punk movement of the 80s, a new voice of protest rose.
The Instigators formed in West Yorkshire and influenced by Crass and UK Subs, they played their first show in 1982 and were soon supporting bands like Subhumans and Flux of Pink Indians. Instigators went on to tour Europe and America many times and no doubt made a big impact on the punk scene. Frontman Andy Turner, also formerly of XPOZES, caught up with Vive Le Rock to talk about then and now.
You were brought up in Huddersfield. What was it like growing up there? What school did you go to and what was your first job?
I went to Honley High School and finished there in the summer of 1979. People now call it graduating but there was nothing really to ‘graduate’ to, as through the 70s and 80s there was mass unemployment, not just across West Yorkshire but whole sways of the country. And this meant areas like Huddersfield were choc full of angry young people which made it quite violent times. The only ‘real’ job I ever had was a few months after leaving school at a basketware importers but by then we’d started a band called Xpozez and what I was earning went into getting that off the ground. By 1980 we were up and running and not long after that we had recorded and released the first Xpozez EP, Systems Kill on our own Retaliation Records.
How did you first get into music? What venues and record shops did you go to and name a few bands you got in to?
Like most kids around that time pre-teen it was all about the radio and Top Of The Pops so when I heard / saw bands like Slade, The Sweet, T Rex and Bowie, that blew my tiny mind although it wasn’t until I started reading about punk and pre-punk bands that I started really getting interested and when those bands actually got stuff recorded it was just as I thought it was gonna be and I got into it big time. My second ever gig was The Clash, TRB, X-Ray Spex, Steel Pulse and more at Victoria Park, London (30.04.78 – and in case you wondered the first was Siouxsie & The Banshees at Huddersfield Polytechnic eight days earlier). I bought every single (it was mostly singles back then) I could get my hands on. There were decent shops in town like Bradley’s Records, Woods, Boston Records (for ex jukebox 7”s) plus even Boots, Woolworth’s and WH Smith’s had record sections. Then there were trips to Leeds, Bradford, and Manchester. We also set up a mail order back in the early 80s and started importing a lot of hard-to-get overseas stuff (Dischord Records etc) and got to hook up with loads of good people doing what we were all over the world. Venues came and went as they do now but initially there were loads of bands doing the college circuit so we got to see tons, plus in late ’79 Cleopatra’s reggae club started putting on punk shows starting with Slaughter And The Dogs (I think it was Mick Rossi’s brother who was booking) and besides a few of the first wave that were still around at the start of the 80s, we got to see the second wave like Cockney Rejects, Exploited, Discharge, Crass even. There was only really a couple of pubs (The Albion, West Riding) and one club (Coach House) you’d be safe in back then. Both put bands on too. Later we’d be making trips to places like The F Club in Leeds and various venues in Bradford, especially when Nick Toczek started booking in regular Gory Details, Fatal Shocks and Natural Disasters shows from around 1982-83.
How did you become part of Instigators and what was your first rehearsal and first gig like?
Xpozez put out a bunch of singles and EP’s and did patches of touring until they ground to a halt in 1985. We’d booked Instigators to play in Huddersfield (November 5, 1982 with Flux Of Pink Indians) and they made an impression on us. Between then and when the first album (Nobody Listens Anymore) came out we played quite a few shows together heading out in a big old bread van together. They started rehearsing at our place and not long after they’d released that record their singer quit and they asked me to join. There was lots of gigs coming in including a European tour but two of the others guys decided to bow out which left things up in the air, but (Simon) Mooney – founder and guitarist – was determined to carry on now things were starting to happen so we got Andrew Turnbull (bass) and Steve Curran (drums) in and rehearsed like crazy right up until we set off on tour. I’m not sure if this was the first show but one of the first I did with Instigators was at the 100 Club, London with Urban Dogs.
You were known as an anarcho punk band – what was the scene all about for you – what bands did you admire and how did you become a vegetarian?
Instigators’ initial releases, including the album we came in on PHOENIX (1986), were released on Bluurg Records (Dick Lucas from Subhumans’ label) and prior to that both Instigators and Xpozez had played a load of shows with a load of bands you’d class as anarcho but also a load of other bands and were a constant on compilation tapes and fanzines around at the time. There really was an alternative underground in the 80s and for a while things looked quite positive outside the old-school-tie mainstream. The vegetarian thing started for me in a massive squat in Milan in 1984 when we are on tour with Xpozez. The people there let us stay a few days and said we could do anything we wanted except no meat. I should say thanks to those folks as I’m still not tempted by gourmet burgers or pulled fucking whatever.
What was the peak of the Instigators like? You toured America – what bands did you tour with and how far did you take the band?
From that first jaunt on the continent at the end of 1985 things just snowballed. We were out on tour virtually non-stop over the next few years only taking time off to record. The Hypegopromo 1&2 double CD that’s just come out on Sanctus Propaganda is a snapshot of what we were about between ’85 and ’88. Back in the day we compiled two C60 cassettes that featured live stuff recorded across Europe and the USA and spliced it together with tons of radio stuff like interviews (including one with Tim Yohannan on Maximum Rock N Roll Radio when we were in San Francisco), radio sessions, adverts for shows and DJs who were playing our stuff. I hadn’t heard it in years and it was a great reminder of just a little of what we were up to back then.
How did the band end?
The final tour was in 1992. We ended in Milan in front of one of the biggest crowds we’d played to as a headliner. It was a bit weird knowing that this would be the last time but was also good knowing what we’d achieved not only as a band but also in growing up and experiencing so much. Most of which we all still carry with us today.
What have you been up to since and what are you doing now?
I’ve been lucky that I’ve managed to do stuff involving music since I was 16 years old and I’m still not cynical and jaded. I’m privileged to have learned at the feet of many masters and mistresses in their field and hopefully taken in what they were teaching me and been able to use that in a positive way. My fellow travellers from that period are all doing things they wanted to do – Simon Mooney is a well respected photographer, Steve Curran is drum teching and tour managing around the world and Andrew Turnbull is a man of mystery. He’s always flying off to exotic places under the guise of fixing stuff. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he was a spy!
Free with the new issue of Vive Le Rock (no.41, Iggy Pop & The Damned – best of 2016 issue!) – a 15 track CD featuring tracks from James Leg, The Main Grains, Heavy Drapes, The Weird Things, Reaction, Knock Off, The Tempest and many more!
Order your copy now from anywhere in the world HERE.
Free with the new issue of Vive Le Rock (no.34, Keith Richards & The Rolling Stones issue) – a 15 track CD featuring tracks from Iggy Pop, The Witchdoktors, The November Five, Ming City Rockers, The Brandermen and many more!
Order your copy now from anywhere in the world HERE.
Pick up the latest issue with the Ramones on the cover (no.32 – order your copy from anywhere in the world HERE) and get a FREE live calendar.
It features stunning live photos from photographer Dod Morrison (www.dodmorrison.com) of Anti-Flag, Wilko Johnson, Killing Joke, Lee Scratch Perry, Motorhead, NOFX, Paul Weller, Sham 69, Steel Pulse, The Adicts, The Who and UK Subs!
See the calendar cover above and images from a couple of months below. All photos copyright Dod Morrison.
Pick up the latest issue of Vive Le Rock with The Clash on the cover either online or via your local newsagent and check out tracks from Theatre Of Hate, The Members, The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, Dynamite Pussy Club, The Kingcrows, Black Cat Rebellion and many more.
Here’s what’s on the CD. Order your copy of the magazine HERE.
Pick up the latest issue of Vive Le Rock with The Damned on the cover either online or via your local newsagent and treat your ears to tracks from the likes of The Damned, Satellite Paradiso, Imperial State Electric, The Terraces and many more.
Here’s the lowdown on what’s on the CD. Order your copy of the magazine HERE.
Pick up the latest issue of Vive Le Rock with the MC5 on the cover either online or via your local newsagent and treat your ears to tracks from the likes of Iggy & The Stooges, The Urban Voodoo Machine and many more.
Here’s the full track listing:
1. Iggy & The Stooges – I Got A Right
2. The Vex – Way Outta Line
3. The Band For Disease Control And Prevention – A Kill In The Morning
The legendary bassist talks the band’s secret to success, how punk and rock changed his life and his brush with extravagance. Read the rest of this interview in the new issue of Vive Le Rock (no.20), out now! Order your copy HERE.
You’ve had more chart singles and a longer run of success than almost any other band of the ’70s. How did you do it? “I find a lot of people now are seeking success for the sake of it and the trappings of success. We’ve had a lot of success but have still managed to stay a bit underground. We’ve played some big festivals this summer, especially T In The Park, and then we’ve played a few clubs too. That keeps us healthy and alert. Also, you don’t rest on your laurels. We’ve sort of managed to get the balance right a lot of the time, not all the time but a lot. We enjoy all aspects of it and it keeps us on our toes.”
Looking back at punk and what it’s done for you and the Stranglers, it must have changed your whole life? “That’s true. We entered unchartered territory a few years back because when we started we were just a few guys trying to make music together. You progress one rung at a time – you get your first record and we had a bit of success with that. You don’t expect it to last too long so you try and enjoy it while you can. But then forty years on, we’re still doing it. It’s unchartered territory because it didn’t say that on the packet. I think it said ‘Sell by date – three years from now’. There’s a perception that after your second album your band will start to go downhill. Why should bands go downhill then? There’s a weird perception in this country about rock music that after your third album you start coasting. But as a person you develop more insight as you get older so surely if you can transfer that into your musical output, surely it’s even more valued?”
What’s been the most extravagant thing you’ve ever bought yourself, if I may ask? “Funny story. Three or four years ago I was offered a V12 Aston Martin convertible at a pretty good price. It wasn’t brand new but there weren’t many miles on the clock and it was a V12 Aston Martin. I thought, ‘great! I can have this.’ I’ve always wanted a fancy car, I can be the rockstar in the fancy car instead of riding on motorcycles all day. But then I thought, ‘well hold on, problem is I do prefer riding on motorcycles around London, it’s a much better way to get around. So where would I be able to drive it? Also, there’s the paranoia that someone scratches it and you’ve got three grand’s worth of work to do. I don’t have a garage.’ All that paranoia. So I phoned my mum up and said, ‘mum, can I leave it in the south of France? It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.’ That’s where she lived and pose up and down the coast and impress the girls. She said to me, ‘son, firstly, it’s extravagant and secondly, it’s for the man who has everything, and you ain’t’. (Laughs). So she put me back in my place and I didn’t get it.”
Vive Le Rock is proud to present the UK premiere of the new video (in association with Muzu TV and Big Cheese magazine) from the London ska favourites’ upcoming album ‘Naked’.
The video is for the title track from the band’s upcoming album ‘Naked’, out September 15th through People Like You Records.
Mixed by the former protégé of megastar Adele producer, Paul Epworth – the much-in-demand Jamie Ellis (Florence & The Machine, The Rifles) – there’s no question this album represents a collection of songs with the quality to propel the band to the status they so richly deserve.
Buster Shuffle frontman Jet Baker comments: “We are very proud of our new album “Naked’ and hope you like it as much as we enjoyed writing and recording it with Jamie. This album has been written all over Europe making it a truly international record for us. Enjoy!”
Buster Shuffle tour the UK and Europe in the coming months:
08.08. UK Winchester, Boom Town Fair 23.08. UK Isle of Wight, International Scooter Rally 29.08. DE Niedergörsdorf, Spirit Festival 12.09. DE Frankfurt, Das Bett 13.09. DE Sarstedt, Sarstedt Open Air 20.09. UK London, The Jazz Café (Album Launch Party) 26.09. UK Derby, The Hairy Dog 27.09. UK The Green Door, Brighton 03.10. UK York, The Fulford Arms 09.10. CZ Prague, Rock Café 08.11. DE St. Wendel, Saarlopalloza 15.11. DE Chemnitz – AJZ Chemnitz 21.11. DE Berlin – SO36 22.11. DK Copenhagen – KB18 06.12. DE Magdeburg – Ska Fest