Hoon | Credit: Chris Frape / Supplied

Love Letter To A Record: Hoon On The Living End’s Self-Titled

Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Herebassist James Andrews from Wollongong-based garage-punk act Hoon raises a glass to The Living End’s 1998 self-titled debut LP.

Hoon have just unleashed their debut studio album Australian Dream, produced, mixed and mastered by Clayton Segelov (Antagonist AD, Dear Seattle). The LP is made of 11 hook-stacked punk tracks that centre around “Australian culture and politics, consumerism, love, learning, toxic masculinity, mental/physical health and growth into adulthood”. The band commented in a press statement: “We often couple the intensity of the music with sarcasm, humour and a touch of irreverence to make light of the difficult world we’re all trying to navigate”.

Hoon’s Love Letter To The Living End’s Self-Titled

I was first introduced to you by my Mum and Dad on a beautiful Christmas morning, coupled with The Offspring’s Americana. You were the first CD I ever owned and what a gift. The next present I unwrapped was my very own CD player, along with a blue plastic rack which could hold about 50 CDs. Instead of using my new CD player, I chucked you straight into the blocky family desktop computer in our lounge room, eager to boot up the Windows Media Player visualiser and manually type in the track titles. 

My sister already had an impressive CD collection. She was always calling up i98fm and entering competitions to win whatever the most popular album they were promoting at the time was. I have fond memories driving up to the i98 office with mum and her in the Tarago. The first one I won was the single ‘Stacy’s Mom’ from Fountains of Wayne (I was very stoked about that).

My first listen to you was the whole way through. There were no ‘bath changers’. A bath changer being you would physically get up out of a bath to skip a track on the CD player. Back to front hits. I had heard ‘Prisoner of Society’ on the radio which drew me in. ‘Second Solution’ is what really hooked me.

Fast forwarding to 2005, my first year of big boy school. Our Year 7 music teacher, Ms Lyon, had the entire class singing along to ‘Prisoner of Society’. It was sick hearing the whole class chant “well we don’t need no one to tell us what to do”. It’s how I imagine teens must have felt in 1979 when Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’ came out – “Hey teacher, leave us kids alone”.

I met your guitarist Chris Cheney at Lulie Tavern whilst us ‘HOON’ were on tour down in Melbourne. He was kind enough to take a short break from chatting to milfs to hear my praise on his work, and how it shaped the person I am. We snapped a lovely photo together. He is a very nice and talented man, cheers for the doories Miranda!

Reflecting on you now as an adult, you were punk at your core while blending rockabilly, ska and jazz. The guitar playing was impressive and the lyrics were weaved with political insight. The drumming was hard, and the upright double bass absolutely slapped. Such a hard-hitting sound from a three piece. You were quite simply just exactly what someone my age needed to hear, which I am still listening to over 20 years later. 

Most of all, I love how listening to you takes me back to a younger version of myself. And the good times I spent with my mum, who gave me the gift of music all those years ago. I know she would be very proud of the boy I am now, and the creative path that she helped pave. 

Love you, The Living End.

Your pal, Jamesy

Further Reading

Love Letter to a Record: Reliqa on The Living End’s ‘Modern Artillery’

Watch Paul Dempsey & The Living End’s Chris Cheney Team Up To Cover Elton John

For Fans Of: The Living End | Introducing: Catholic Guilt

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