Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Saints
(Bands from Brisbane, Australia)

The Saints

Another year and another new theme, this year I will be posting about bands from my new adopted city of Brisbane, as well posting my usual collections of covers of particular songs ... and whatever else takes my fancy.

There will also be less links than I have been doing for the last two (!) years, as I am planning on spending less time blogging this year and more time on my own music and writing.

But to start with perhaps the most famous band to come from Brisbane.

The Saints predated the emergence of punk in Europe by more than a year, and gave heart to a generation of Australian rock fans and musicians disenfranchised by local record companies and radio stations.

What became the Saints grew out a Brisbane garage band formed in 1973 called Kid Galahad and the Eternals. Kenya-born, Belfast-raised Irishman Chris Bailey sang. His friend, German-born Edmund Kuepper Edmund Kuepper played guitar. Both their families had emigrated to Australia during the 60s. With Ivor Hay on piano they searched for rock and roll's dark, wild side and made their versions even wilder.

By the time they became the Saints in 1974 they was confidently applying their Howlin' Wolf/Pretty Things/Stooges hybrid to covers of songs like Del Shannon's "Runaway", Connie Francis' "Lipstick On Your Collar" and Ike and Tina Turner's "River Deep Mountain High", exploding them almost beyond recognition with energy.

But they couldn't get gigs. They weren't banned. People just thought they were horrible and refused to book them. So the Saints came up with an alternative way to play shows. They turned the suburban Petrie Terrace house Bailey and Hay shared into their own "club", the 76 Club. Not to make money, just to play. By 1975 Ivor Hay had moved from piano to bass to drums, and they had a more or less permanent bass player in Kym Bradshaw.

In June 1976 the group decided it was time to record and they down two tracks, "(I'm) Stranded" and "No Time". Again they couldn't interest anyone, and in September, in what was by no means an easy undertaking in those days, the band pressed 500 copies themselves on a label they created for the occasion and called Fatal Records. You could have your own copy by mailing two dollars to Eternal Productions, 20 Lawson St., Oxley, Queensland.

The Saints sent copies off to radio stations and magazines in Australia, and met with virtually no interest. It was a different story with copies they send off to England. First of all, a little English label called Power Exchange released it in the UK. Punk had just started to hit there…the Ramones had just toured, and bands were forming like crazy…the Pistols, the Buzzcocks, the Damned, the Clash…but almost nobody had a record out yet. The Saints came first, to glowing reviews in Melody Maker and Sounds (which picked it "Single of the Week"), and in the US. Within three weeks EMI London phoned their Australian branch and ordered them to sign this Brisbane group the Australian company had to admit they'd never heard of.

EMI signed them in November 1976 and dashed out their own pressing of "(I'm) Stranded". Then they arranged what were supposed to be demos but instead became the tracks released as the Saints' debut album, which was named after the single. The whole thing was completed in a two day session in December at Window Studios in Brisbane. A few weeks later the band moved to Sydney to base themselves, and travelled south to Melbourne. By May they were in England and it would be a long time before Australia saw them again. We had to make do with the impact they made during those short few months. They were never stars. EMI didn't know what to do with them. Their main impact was on up and comers like Boys Next Door, on the like-minded Radio Birdman and the musicians of the future standing in the audience.

During those months while the Saints toured Australia the whole punk think exploded in England, and by the time they arrived their part in the story was forgotten - not that it worried The Saints, because they never considered themselves punks anyway. Not like that.

The Saints recorded a second album in England, pushing more towards a soul/r&b sound, but Ed Kuepper left before 'Eternally Yours' was released. After another album, 'Prehistoric Sounds', the band called it a day. Ed Kuepper and Ivor Hay returned to Australia, Kuepper forming the Laughing Clowns, Hay joining The Hitmen and then returning to London to join a new version of the Saints with Chris Bailey. While Chris Bailey has continued to record and perform periodically with new European-based versions of the Saints, Ed Kuepper has pursued an incredibly active solo career, interrupted by three albums and performances with an aggressive rock band sarcastically or humorously named The Aints.

(thanks to Howlspace for this bio).

The Saints - (I'm) Stranded

The Saints - Know Your Product

and here's a cover version

Jim Reid (Jesus & Mary Chain) - (I'm) Stranded

As an extra special treat for all of my lurkers, here's the classic clip for (I'm) Stranded

The Saints - (I'm) Stranded

Do you like these tunes? Then why not support the artists (and my blogging habit) by buying some music. Check out the links above or for some good compilation albums check out these links:-


Blogger jon manyjars said...

Tremendous post! I didn't know the history of the first LP.

Tue Jan 23, 02:11:00 am  
Blogger MAB said...

This comment has been removed because it linked to malicious content. Learn more.

Wed Feb 07, 08:37:00 pm  
Blogger lissa said...

I love your music, keep it up!

Sat Apr 12, 03:07:00 am  

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