Chris Cheney

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Chris Cheney
The Living End.jpg
Performing at Nibe Festival 2009, in Denmark.
Background information
Birth name Christopher John Cheney
Born (1975-01-02) 2 January 1975 (age 42)
Melbourne, Australia
Genres Rockabilly, punk rock, alternative rock
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass guitar
Years active 1992–present
Labels Dew Process, Deck Cheese, Adeline, EastWest, EMI, Modular, Rapido, Independent
Associated acts Runaway Boys
The Living End
The Wrights
The Wrongs
The Matchsticks
Notable instruments
Gretsch White Falcon, Chris Cheney Signature Gretsch G6126TCC, Gretsch 6118 Double Anniversary

Christopher John Cheney (born 2 January 1975) is an Australian rock musician, record producer and studio owner. He is the founding mainstay guitarist, songwriter and lead vocalist of the psychobilly band, The Living End, which was formed in 1994 with school mate Scott Owen. Cheney wrote the group's top 20 hits on the ARIA Singles Chart: "Second Solution" / "Prisoner of Society" (1997), "All Torn Down" (1999), "Pictures in the Mirror" (2000), "Roll On" (2001), "One Said to the Other" (2003), "What's on Your Radio" (2005), "Wake Up" (2006) and "White Noise" (2008). In 2004 Cheney joined the super group The Wrights which put out a cover version of Stevie Wright's epic 11-minute track, "Evie" as a single. At the APRA Awards of 2009 Cheney won 'Song of the Year' for writing The Living End's track, "White Noise". In 2005 he married Emma, the couple have two daughters and are co-owners of a recording facility, Red Door Studios. In 2011 the Cheney family relocated to Los Angeles.


Personal life[edit]

Christopher John Cheney[1] was born on 2 January 1975 and grew up in Wheelers Hill, an outer-eastern suburb of Melbourne.[2] His father is Noel Cheney.[3] At the age of five years he saw his first rock performance at VFL Park, which was close to his home – it was a gig by United States stadium rockers, Kiss.[2] He attended Jells Park Primary School in between 1981 and 1987 and then Wheelers Hill Secondary College. He later studied Jazz at Box Hill Institute of TAFE between 1994 and 1995. Cheney started playing guitar at the age of six he taught himself how to play by listening to AC/DC cassette tapes over and over and practising what he heard. His major influence was Brian Setzer (Stray Cats), a guitarist, singer-songwriter.[4]

On 22 September 2001, Cheney was injured in a car crash where his right leg was crushed and required a rod and three pins. He was initially confined to bed and later used a walking stick for the next six months. He was unable to play the guitar until he was rehabilitated. His future wife, Emma, was also inside the vehicle but escaped with minor injuries.[5] Cheney married Emma in 2005, they have two daughters: Charlie Bella (born 2006) and Scarlett Lyric (born 2008). In October 2010 Chris and Emma, along with his manager Rae Harvey and her partner Woody Annison, opened their own recording studio, Red Door Studios.[6] On 25 April 2011 his father, Noel, died having been diagnosed with cancer the previous year.[3][7] Late that year the Cheneys moved to live in Los Angeles, "Both our littlies are in school here ... It's everyday life. You get up, mad rush in the morning, school drop-off, I come home, write a few songs, bum around and it's school pick-up again. It's life as we knew it, just in a different country".[8]

Music career[edit]

Chris Cheney met Scott Owen at Jells Park Primary School and they began their career together in 1992, in a Melbourne band, The Runaway Boys, who took their name from a Stray Cats album, Runaway Boys – which Cheney cites as one of his favourites.[4] The group was a covers band playing Stray Cats and The Clash material.[9][10][11] In 1992 the group's first paying gig was at the Richmond Club Hotel and they soon followed with a residency at the nearby Corner Hotel.[2] The Runaway Boys had a succession of drummers, "The first two guys, Shane and Grant, were at high school with us and they were never really into 1950s rock'n'roll. We were probably a bit pushy at that point. Grant was happy to play along, but then when high school finished he was ready to move on and go to university".[2] Cheney also gigged on guitar in another band, Goodbye Sideburns Forever, though he was not recorded with them.[11]

The Living End[edit]

Chris Cheney and Owen, on piano and double bass, were in The Runaway Boys. In 1994, the pair started to write their own material and were joined by Joe Piripitzi on drums to form The Living End.[9][10] They released two successive extended plays, Hellbound (1995) and It's for Your Own Good (November 1996), which contained their first radio single, "From Here on In".[10] The track is co-written by Cheney and Owen.[12] In 1996 while Green Day were touring Australia, The Living End sent their second EP to the band, and supported them on their tour, which then led to radio station, Triple J, playing their first single. Late that year Piripitzi was replaced on drums by Travis Demsey.[2][10] In September 1997 The Living End issued a third EP, Second Solution / Prisoner of Society, with four of its five tracks written by Cheney.[10] The EP peaked at No. 4 on the ARIA Singles Chart.[13] It became the highest selling Australian-made 'single' for the 1990s.[9]

On 12 October 1998, they released their debut self-titled album, which reached No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[13] It included the singles "Save the Day" (September 1998), "Prisoner of Society" (September 1999) and "All Torn Down".[13] They have since received recognition abroad, playing tours and festivals such as the Warped Tour in the United States and Reading and Leeds Festivals in the United Kingdom. Cheney wrote the group's other top 20 hits "Pictures in the Mirror" (2000), "Roll On" (2001), "One Said to the Other" (2003), "What's on Your Radio" (2005) and "Wake Up" (2006).

On 7 October 2006 Cheney told fellow members of The Living End that he wished to leave the band.[14] He "found himself going through a personal and creative crisis ... For the first time he was now also experiencing writer's block".[9] However the crisis passed and Cheney started writing again.[9][14] In February 2008, under the pseudonym Longnecks, the group trialled the new tracks.[14] In July The Living End issued another top 20 single, "White Noise".[9][13] The related album of the same name followed later that month.[9][14] On 22 July 2011 they released their sixth studio album, The Ending Is Just the Beginning Repeating, which reached No. 3.[13][15]

Other music projects[edit]

In 2003, Chris Cheney performed alongside Australian rock veterans You Am I at the Big Day Out in Melbourne. They performed a track by The Clash as a tribute to Joe Strummer. In October 2004 Cheney joined the super group The Wrights which performed a cover version of part one of Stevie Wright's track, "Evie – Let Your Hair Hang Down", at the ARIA Music Awards.[16] Also in the group were Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon), Nic Cester (Jet), Kram (Spiderbait) and Davey Lane (You Am I).[17][18] In January the following year they performed the entire three part 11-minute track at the WaveAid benefit concert, and put it out as a single in February.[16] In November 2007 The Wrights reconvened for another 'one-off' benefit concert, Roosistance, to perform "We Can't Be Beaten" – originally by Rose Tattoo.[19]

In July 2005, Cheney performed a duet with Sarah McLeod (ex-The Superjesus) on her second solo single, "Private School Kid".[20] On 17 December that year he joined Green Day on stage at the Telstra Dome to play "I Fought the Law". Cheney was not the Green Day bunny as was rumoured, it was Tré Cool, drummer for Green Day. Also in December Cheney was a guest on SBS-TV's celebrity music trivia show, RocKwiz, with former Divinyls lead singer, Chrissy Amphlett – they performed "Stray Cat Blues" as a duet of The Rolling Stones' track.[21][22] At the 2006 Jack Awards he played in another super group, The Wrongs. They performed a Rose Tattoo track, "Bad Boy for Love", as a tribute to Peter Wells, the band's guitarist.

In February 2009, Cheney made a guest appearance on stage with the Stray Cats on their Australian Farewell Tour.[23] He performed four songs alongside his childhood heroes, Brian Setzer, Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom.[23] In August that year Cheney took part in a series of concerts around Australia along with Tim Rogers (You Am I), Jamieson (Grinspoon) and Josh Pyke to celebrate The Beatles' White Album by performing the work in its entirety.[24]

In 2010, Cheney made two solo recordings, "Distant Sun", a cover of Crowded House's track for a tribute album, He Will Have His Way in November; "Street Parade", a Christmas song, written by Cheney for a Various Artists' album, The Spirit of Christmas 2010.[1][9] His first work as a record producer was for Melbourne indie rockers, Celadore, in October 2011 with their EP, The Bright and Blue.[25] Also in October Cheney was a guest on RocKwiz for a second time, he appeared with US-born rocker, Suzi Quatro – he performed "Heatwave" fronting the in-house band, RocKwiz Orkestra; and then "Stumblin' In" as a duet with Quatro.[26]

In 2017, Cheney filled in for "Chris Shiflett" on the spring tour of "Me First and the Gimme Gimmes".


Cheney's trademark guitar is a Gretsch White Falcon and he uses mainly distortion and modulation effects. He has his own signature series Gretsch guitars.[27] He is endorsed by Gretsch Guitars and uses a number of Gretsch models, including his new signature model guitar.[27] On tour, Cheney takes about six guitars. He uses four main guitars, and the rest are back-ups for different tunings. He is playing through Wizard Modern Classic 100W heads and Wizard 4x12 cabinets.



The Living End
The Wrights
Sarah McLeod
  • "Private School Kid" featuring Chris Cheney (July 2005)
Various Artists
Production work
  • Celadore – The Bright and Blue (EP, Popboomerang Records/MGM, October 2011)


Jack Awards[edit]

  • Best Lead Guitarist – 2004, 2005 and 2007
  • Best Male – 2006

APRA Award[edit]


  1. ^ a b "'Christmas Parade' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Valentish, Jenny (August 2011). "The Living End Extended Interview". Triple J Magazine. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) (53). Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Horan, Anna (1 September 2011). "Interview: Chris Cheney, The Living End". Everguide. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Chris Cheney from The Living End". My Favourite Album. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  5. ^ "The Living End: Roll On". Reverb. 10 October 2001. Archived from the original on 8 September 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  6. ^ Cashmere, Paul (2 December 2010). "Chris and Emma Cheney, Rae Harvey and Woody Annison Open Red Door Sounds". Undercover News. Undercover Media (Paul Cashmere, Ros O'Gorman). Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  7. ^ Adams, Cameron (14 July 2011). "Never Ending Story for The Living End's Chris Cheney". Herald Sun. News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  8. ^ Adams, Cameron (11 July 2011). "Chris Cheney Ends up Living in LA". The Advertiser. News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Nimmervoll, Ed. "The Living End". Howlspace – The Living History of Our Music. White Room Electronic Publishing Pty Ltd (Ed Nimmervoll). Archived from the original on 27 July 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'The Living End'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1865080721. Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Chris Cheney, Scott Owen, Andy Strachan, Travis Demsey (2004). From Here on In: The DVD 1997–2004 (Documentary). EMI. 
  12. ^ "'From Here on In' at APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Hung, Steffen. "Discography The Living End". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien (Steffen Hung). Archived from the original on 25 March 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  14. ^ a b c d Adams, Cameron (26 June 2008). "Chris Cheney Left The Living End". Herald Sun. News Limited (News Corporation). Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  15. ^ The Living End in 2008 – News Article –
  16. ^ a b "Flashpoint Music – Chris Jackson, Administration". In the Loop. Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA). Winter 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  17. ^ Connolly, Rohan (29 November 2007). "Rock Man Takes on Roo Role". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  18. ^ "'Evie, Pts. 1–3' – The Wrights". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  19. ^ Cashmere, Tim (20 November 2007). "The Rogers Roosistence Keeps North Melbourne South". Undercover News. Undercover Media (Paul Cashmere, Ros O'Gorman). Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  20. ^ "'Private School Kid' / Sarah McLeod ; featuring Chris Cheney. [sound recording] /". Trove. National Library of Australia (NLA). 2005. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  21. ^ "'RocKwiz Duets: Two for the Show'. [videorecording] /". Trove. National Library of Australia (NLA). 2006. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  22. ^ "Series 2 Episode 16 – Chrissy Amphlett and Chris Cheyne [sic]". RocKwiz. Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  23. ^ a b Cashmere, Tim (20 February 2009). "The Stray Cats: Melbourne, February 19, 2009". Undercover News. Undercover Media (Paul Cashmere, Ros O'Gorman). Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  24. ^ "Inside This Issue". Triple J Magazine. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) (31). July 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  25. ^ "Celadore". Triple J Unearthed. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  26. ^ "Series 9 Episode 114 – Chris Cheney & Suzi Quatro". RocKwiz. Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). 1 October 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  27. ^ a b bombshellzine. "Cheney Gretsch Available Now". Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  28. ^ "Winner 2009 Song of the Year". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 23 April 2010. 

External links[edit]


[Category:Australian male singers]]