Chris Cheney: “Even the darkest songs, I’m proud of the way I allowed myself to wrestle with them”

Chris Cheney. Credit: Nick McKinlay
(Image credit: Nick McKinlay)

Though he’s best known for his role as a rollicking, larger-than-life rockstar in The Living End, Chris Cheney is much more than those big punk-pop hooks and rockabilly swagger. Never has that been more clear than on his debut solo album, The Storm Before The Calm – a sprawling, soul-baring affair that paints Cheney as more of a lowkey singer-songwriter than a mosh-starved rock dog eager to get fists pumping. It explores a lighter side of his musicality – dabbling in folk, blues, country and Americana – with a more ardent focus on the poetic, rather than the punchy. More than anything, it’s a poignant deep-dive into Cheney’s psyche, tackling themes of mental health, substance abuse, the loss of his father, and marital woes.

Australian Guitar caught up with Cheney to riff on how The Storm Before The Calm was brought to life over a whirlwind six-year period, how it took the rocker out of his comfort zone in more ways than one, and why “the Nashville dream” could be more accurately described as a nightmare.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…

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