The Red Hot Summer Tour turns 10 this year and what a better way to celebrate than with an epic lineup of red hot Aussie rock? Many say this year’s line up is the best one yet. Hunters and Collectors have even come out of retirement for it.
Iconic punk rock band The Living End are amongst the rock royalty on the bill, and I was lucky enough to catch up with their drummer Andy Strachan for a quick chat ahead of the band’s Gold Coast Red Hot Summer Tour Performance in March.
As I call Andy he says he is standing on the Bluff at Barwon Heads, Victoria. With such a beautiful day he thought he would go for a wander, as he hates sitting inside doing interviews.
Andy is chilled, funny and down to earth and it is easy to forget you are chatting to the drummer of one of the biggest rock bands in Australian history. He says he doesn’t take a moment of his job for granted, and after all of these years still has “pinch yourself” moments.
“It is kind of like a reverse real job where you go out on the weekend and do your job, it is epic, the best job in the world, I am very lucky,” he tells me.
“The other night, we got to see all the bands and hang out, it is a very communal kind of tour. We were sitting around, I guess a pinch yourself moment, you know I’m sitting talking to Suze DeMarchi from Baby Animals, James Reyne is there, all of the people you grow up with and think ‘OMG imagine being in their company’, and yeah we were all just saying how fortunate we are and how much fun this tour is and to be able to do what we do and call it our job is kinda weird, pretty amazing.”
The Living End are currently eight gigs into the four month long The Red Hot Summer Tour and are sharing the bill with an epic line up of fellow Aussie rock stars: Hunters and Collectors, James Reyne, The Angels, Baby Animals, Killing Heidi and Boom Crash Opera.
When I ask Andy how he feels about The Living End being referred to as Australian rock royalty and being on the tour he says: “It is so cool, and as a musician, you get to watch these bands and they are seriously world-class musicians. As a drummer, I get to see John Watson play with James Reyne every day and it just blows my mind, and then Mick Skelton plays the drums with Baby Animals. He is just so nice, everyone is so humble you know. It is really inspiring to watch these people play. It is an amazing thing to be a part of.”
If you have secured tickets to The Red Hot Summer Tour this year, you are in for a nostalgic treat as each band is set to take you on a stroll down memory lane. Andy confirms, “all of the bands are celebrating their legacy now, it is just incredible, they play hit after hit, everyone knows every song so it is just such a cool vibe and everyone is singing along.”
When I ask Andy what it was like from his view seeing the crowd respond in the same anthemic way to their hits like ‘Prisoner of Society’ and ‘Second Solution’ he says “For me, it is like my dream come true. When I was a kid I used to sit in my room and play along to my records, whatever that might have been, like you know The Angels or the Hoodoo Gurus or you know play along to ‘Appetite for Destruction’ and I would literally blindfold myself and put the headphones on and I would just basically imagine I was on stage playing to a festival crowd or whatever. You know to me that was when I was a little bit younger (laughs) and you know all this time later, I said when I was four that I wanted to play drums in a rock and roll band and that is all I ever wanted to do.”
The Living End are known for their blistering, high energy performances. Andy says they still have so much fun together.
“I would say in all honesty we are having way more fun now than we ever used to because I think you know 15 years ago, there were so many other things you were thinking about like record companies and who is watching and you have gotta do this and do that, and now it is like you know what, we are a really good band and we just love playing rock and roll. You live for it, it is that special one hour of every day that you get to basically live out your fantasies.”
With the band’s creative juices flowing and no signs of stopping any time soon, Andy continues, “it feels like we are just in a really good space you know, we love the band that we are in. We feel like we have got plenty more fuel in the tank to play live and we are starting to put some ideas down for a new record”.
The Living End fans can expect to be blown out of the water at their Red Hot Summer Tour performances, Andy reckons.
“We are not there to play B sides. We are digging in and we are not holding back at all. That is just the way we go about everything, every gig, and it doesn’t matter if it is 10 people at the corner pub or 10,000 at a festival. You dig in and you work for the reaction and we just try to start big and end bigger.”
The Red Hot Summer Tour is always a sell-out series and this year has been no exception. The tour stops at Harrigan’s Drift Inn, Jacobs well on Sunday 1 March (Sold out) and at Noosa & District Sports Complex, Tewantin on Sunday 26 April.
There are a limited number of tickets still available for the Tewantin show if you have missed out, but you better snap them up quickly as it will be sure to sell out. For more information and to purchase tickets head to The Red Hot Summer Tour website here.