If you are working at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on the evening of Saturday, December 22 – make sure there’s some champagne on ice.
Because once he’s played the final note on his guitar, The Living End frontman Chris Cheney is going to need a drink of bubbly. Bad.
And, considering the herculean task he and bandmates Scott Owen and Andy Strachan have given themselves for their upcoming Retrospective Tour, it’s going to be a drink well earned.
“The first thing I’m going to do is have a glass of champagne,” he says. “I don’t drink Champagne very often, but I reckon that’ll call for it. With a beer chaser.”
The much-loved Melbourne rock trio have re-learned all six of their albums from their 15-year career for The Retrospective Tour – which will see them play one album a night over a minimum week-long stand in each capital city.
And yes, the phrase “why the hell are we doing this?” has popped up in Cheney’s mind on several occasions.
“There’s been a few of those, but it’s too late to back out!” he said.
“Initially there was a concern, it was like, fuck, there’s a lot of songs…and for me, seven nights straight is quite a big undertaking on the vocal chords.
“But we’ll be fine, we’re tough, the songs are sounding really good… and we’re kind of itching to get out there and just do it.”
Initially, the band were thinking of doing a tour playing only their 1997 self-titled debut in full – to celebrate its success in getting the No.4 spot in triple j’s Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time countdown last year.
It then “snowballed into an idea that we should play all our records,” according to Cheney, and for the band to “create an event and make a statement”.
“It seemed like an enormous amount of work, but something that would be incredibly rewarding and also a challenge. No one has ever done something like it before, not in this country anyway.
“And it just feels the right time to do something like this, with the last album being called The Ending Is Just The Beginning Repeating…and we don’t have any set plans to make another album immediately. So we thought, fuck it, let’s have some fun and play our old records.”
Cheney insists there won’t be a best-of compilation released to go with the tour – nor will any new material be road-tested at the shows.
What he does guarantee is that plenty of the band’s beer of choice – VB – and throat lozenges will be in their rider to help them power through the two months of shows.
“I always have them standing by…there’s nothing they can’t cure. Other than that (our rider) is pretty routine, it’s just chips and nibbles and never enough grog.
“Andy was getting socks for a while – I don’t know why he couldn’t bring his own. I think he was just throwing them on and seeing what he could get.”
Cheney has barely any time to himself for the rest of 2012. Straight after the final night of the tour on December 22, he’ll be flying back home to Los Angeles early the next morning for Christmas.
And, there’s a mighty good chance he’ll be having a nanna nap on the plane ride back over there.
“I daresay (after the final gig) I’ll either collapse or party my ass off…because it’s going to be a huge tour and that’ll be the finish line.”
The Living End’s The Retrospective Tour hits Rosemont Hotel in Perth November 1-7, The Gov in Adelaide November 11-17, The Hi-Fi in Sydney November 21-27, The Zoo in Brisbane December 1-7 and Corner Hotel in Melbourne December 11-22. For all the dates and details on the tour visit thelivingend.oztix.com.au.