The Australian punk scene is alive and kicking, with Living End representing a prime example of this fact. If you thought punk in Aus. was done and dusted, you’ve made the biggest fucking mistake of your life. It’s time to get some of the raw facts. The prestigious history of punk in Australia.
Partly imported, and partly home grown, with a fuck-ton of influences working lavishly together, the Aussie punk scene has been around for nearly half a century. It was in the 70s that Australians started recording some of the first ever punk rock tracks. Take loud as hell band The Saints, for instance: in 1976, this Brisbane based band released their first single. In so doing, they put Australian punk rock firmly on the international stage, touring right across the world.
Punk with guts: the visceral influences on early Aussie punk. OI! Did do you know how punk was born? One of the main influences on the development of the punk scene in Australia was the ‘OI!’ scene in Great Britain.
Characterized by a love of all things loud, a viscerality, and a working class aesthetic and base that brought together both punks and skinheads, OI! blasted onto the scene in Britain in the 70s. It quickly galvanized the artists least in their iconic Perth concert series that occurred between 1979 and 1981.
In the 80s, hard rock and grunge music began to dominate Australian music in the fringes and undercurrents of the music scene. Was it all over for punk? HELL NO: Aussie punk will never die!
One of the of working in Australia’s nascent punk rock scene too, thus ensuring that Aussie punk was loud and right in your face from the very beginning. Key players in bringing OI! style works to the Australian punk world were The Quick and the Dead, not Strengths Australian punk is its ability to absorb other influences and to rise like a phoenix from the ashes after periods of relative dormancy. This was the case in the 1990s, when, after a long period where all alternative music lovers seemed to hear was grunge, punk had a revival. This new punk of the 1990s incorporated elements of previous trends: namely, grunge and hard rock. The result was something harder, dirtier, and more compelling perhaps than the authentic Brit style punk of the 1970s.
Vampire Lovers, Lime Spiders and the Celibate Rifles are just a handful of the bands that drove this scene. Some acts were even more innovative and varied in their repertoires and in the genres that they drew upon in their creation of new punk music.
A prime example here is The Birthday Party (which was, prior to 1980, known by the name of The Boys Next Door). This band worked throughout the 80s and 90s, and had a definitely punkish sound, but one that was infiltrated by goth rock, death metal, and elusive vocals. At the same time, many acts were purest form of punk alive. The 90s was also the era, then, of hard punk in Australia, and purists included the Brisbane and Sydney Massappeal.
Aussie punk in the present day is, some might argue, bolder, louder, and more innovative than ever before. And who the fuck would be surprised by that? New music technologies, a rich history to draw on, and the appeal of an international appetite for punk have all created conditions that are ripe for the development of a genre that will never die.
One great example of an Australian punk band that is working today is The Living End. This band is known and loved internationally – in fact, they have just finished touring in the United States – but they began life in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1994, The Living End is an Aussie punk band with a distinctive style: rock and roll mixed up with punk. Paying tribute to the British influences on early Australian punk, The Living End cites classic rockabilly-punk mashups as some of their influences. The very fact that, unlike most other punk bands, they play with an acoustic bass onstage instantly signals their visible debt to the aesthetics of rockabilly and classic ‘doo wop’ rock ‘n’ roll. They have a particular fondness of old classics such as The Clash and Iggy Pop, and because in their early career they worked supporting bands as diverse as swinging jazz acts and uproarious metal acts, they are well versed in different musical genres giving them a flexible style with multiple influences.
If you want to get a feel for the fucking terrific sound of The Living End, check out one of their EPS. White Noise, Roll On, and State of Emergency are some fantastic ones to check out. This is music to get you fired up, to release your rage, and to dance to as well. Unlike a lot of 90s punk. as a more modern band with a retro feel to it, The Living End often aims to create catchy tunes: earworms that will have you headbanging and singing to yourself as you walk down the street or head in to the office for the day.
If you want to own a little piece of punk history, moreover, why not purchase this band’s breakout single, which was an instant hit? This band released their first single back in 1998. We say single, but it was actually a double A side recording called ‘Second Solution’ and ‘Prisoner of Society’. This single was released off the back of a successful tour around Australia in 1997, which took a whole year. During the tour, the band made some iconic live recordings which they then turned into their debut double A. As a result, this recording really lets you soak up the atmosphere of those heady days of the 90s punk revival in Australia that we have described above.