Monday, August 27, 2007

Saintly thoughts on a war with the Church

SBSTV (translation if you're overseas: the state and partially-commercially-funded TV network where English may not be the first language spoken) in Australia recently broadcast a documentary on the recording of the first Saints album. It was a mixed bag, with no real linear focus that didn't say much new. It did, however, feature some spiffing interview footage with the boys that I hadn't stumbled across before.

Last weekend, Ed Kuepper used his myspace to let looose a few thoughts on the whole package. No Ed, others did notice the lack of authentic soundtrack underneath the live footage from Paddington Town Hall (billed as "Live at THE Town Hall" - wtf?) and I'm still wondering why Jeffrey Weggener was billed merely as "a friend" of the band when he was one of the original drumers. Anyway, here's Ed's thoughts if you're not myspace equipped:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

some reflections on the saints doco

Watched the tele doco on the saints the other week, which as you all know was part of the greatest music of all eternity series. I felt a funny mixture of pride and slight unease when it finished and it was touching to see so many artists speak so freely and enthusiastically about my old band, especially when you consider no one had to pay them.

Anyway, after a couple of cigarettes, a glass of single malt and a few moments of quite reflection, I put it back into the past, where it probably belongs, and promptly forgot about it.

Then some days later, out of the blue the missus happened to stumble upon steve kilbeys blog about said doco and called out to me '' 'ere luv! It's lookin' like some blokes puttin' shit on yew an' yer good old mates'. The 'vibes' I picked up from her comment were so terrible and unnerving gentle readers, it was as if a lightning bolt had exploded smack dab into the heart of my carefully tended garden of inner tranquility.

I have to confess, I was initially inspired to write something in reply to his observations, but decided in the end, that arguing the validity or otherwise, of my old high school band was not going to be the basis of my first ever blog.

Anyone's entitled to an opinion I guess.

I also have to confess i didn't like much of that tepid, neatly anal little eighth-note, mincey 'new wave/new romantic' stuff that came into fashion a few years after the saints split, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised if its keenest adherents and their advocates, aren't too enamoured of me and my slightly more rough and tumble musical approach... but enough of that and onto the documentary itself.

I thought it was fairly good as an overall account- sure it didn't deal with everything, but then it was only 50 minutes long, and even I'm not that much interested in all the sordid goings on after the band split anymore.

It was good seeing the live footage again after all these years, though at times i did feel like i was watching my son on stage, which made me wish I could have given my younger self some good advice about certain things/people and their devious ways etc etc, but to be honest, I probably wouldn't have listened or believed it at the time anyway.

It did also become apparent that the original saints must be one of the most undocumented bands in the history of rock'n'roll. Hardly any photos, recordings and no videos exist of the three years prior to 1976.

I know we were even uglier than The Who but still....anyway I guess the people that did care about the band in those days were either too broke to afford the gear, or just not together enough... anyway those were different times certainly [kudos here to both Joe Borkowski and Tony Forde for their foresight]

The producers however made good use of the limited footage they had access to. It was a shame they couldn't get clearance for actual audio of the live radio birdman video footage they used.
Still, they managed to cover it ok with the snippet of instrumental saints stuff that they added under it - but it did strike me as funny because back in the day i thought the two bands sounded completely different, still do really. Anyway it's a small point and it was just a few seconds- besides I'm probably the only pedantic bastard that noticed

As an aside, I didn't like much contemporary stuff in those days but I did think radio birdman were a great live band and our only serious competition at the time.

Two things about the doco though....

Firstly, i was a bit disappointed that there was no contemporary interview with Ivor Hay,

Maybe Ivor declined to be involved for reasons of his own– I don't know- he is doing a roaring trade in environmentally friendly coffins these days, anyway i do think he would have added a valuable perspective.

Ivor was in it from the very start and was crucial to holding the band together, having at various times played piano, bass and drums- whatever was required really. Whenever we had problem keeping a fourth member, which was a lot of the time, Ivor would fill the vacant position.
Anyway it's questionable whether we would have lasted long enough to record without him.

Secondly, and a minor point maybe but I'll make it anyway because I am so pedantic, was the description of Jeff Wegener as 'friend' in the subtitle under his brief interview spot. I wonder who came up with that.

Jeffrey, for those of you not aware of this, was one of the earliest drummers in the Saints at a time when Ivor was playing bass. I remember this quite clearly as in fact it was i who encouraged him to take up the instrument and taught him how to play before of course, turning around, and heartlessly kicking him out of said band after we had a philosophical discussion about whether drummers should, or should not bother to turn up to rehearsals .

This is the deal folks, I've been friends [as have the others in the band naturally] but I've also been enemies with Jeff over the years, and I thought he should have had a more informative credit than 'friend'.

It kind of made him sound like the mate that helps carry the gear, buys you smokes when you're broke or listens to your problems when you're down.

Don't get me wrong, I really like those kinds of friends, but let me assure you oh wide- eyed and bushy- tailed innocent readers… Jeff doesn't actually do any of those things.

He does however work with/for me again these days, did play with Rowland Howard in the Young Charlatans, was a founding member of Laughing Clowns [the worlds greatest jazz punkers who didn't play jazz or punk], did a stint with Nick Cave in the Birthday Party and even played briefly in a later version of the Saints.

Admittedly, he has had long periods of musical inactivity due to personal stuff, but is still recognized as one of the more innovative/unique drummers around the place by those folk who listen out for that type of thing, and don't have their own axe to grind of course.

For instance musicians as diverse as Jim White from Dirty Three and Lindy Morrison of Go-betweens fame acknowledge him as a major influence. From my own perspective he can be both musically astute and literate, and in full flight is one of the most err …'kick-ass' drummers I've seen. He can even be engaging company when he's not totally insane, or driving me so.

Anyway, that'll be fifty bucks ,thanks Jeff

Ed Kuepper 24/8/07

So, for the record here's Steve Kilbey's blog entry that caused the Kueppers some mild annoyance:

i dont know what you want
its not even 8 oclock in the morning here
sunday morning coming down fast above you
i need to write something though
and fast
all day n night my mind is bubbling over with ideas...
muse : just show us the good ones
i watch show on the saints
except for one good song..
what a bloody awful racket!
and how amazingly like lord byron bailey speaks
muse : have you actually ever heard lord byron?
no, but i bet he sounded like bailey
ed was lugubrious as usual
wry and lofty
what strange rockstars these 2 were...
damo lovelock waxes v. enthusiastic
even nicky cave wades in with his top drawer praise
to hear these guys talk
youd think the saints were like
guitar weilding tchaikovskys or somethin'
opening up some huge new possibility in life
bobby forster
a man of impeccable taste i guess
goes so over the top
with his descriptions
of the 1st time he heard im stranded
electric pulsations going up his feet and spine
leaving him prostrate breathless
at this stage i says to the wife
an' you thought i was over-enthusiastic last week......?!
bradley sheppard from the goo-roos
is mystified by its eternal punk enigma
look the list goes on...
but what im really thinking
cos the saints
i admit to not understanding
in the parlance of shallow hollywoodesque cant
i dont get it
i didnt then
i still dont
i dont hate em either
theyre just outside my sphere of reference
(i used to have prehistoric sounds and it was ok)
and it occurs to me
that richard n marty both played with bailey
at different stages
but one thing you gotta admit
is that the saints had that raw sound
before most others
in the middle of the very confused 1970s
they were no namby pamby glam turkey like moi
i guess i jumped straight over punk
from glam to psychedelic comeback
in one fell swoop
like a knight on the chessboard
arriving at different places unexpectedly
actually i watch saints show
to re evaluate whether i would like staff-ish on there
is it a classic australian album album?
do i want a load of lumineries saying how great it was?
muse: i'd say so....
do i want to be on there raving on about myself?
muse : i bet you do....
do i want a load of mega successful hipsters
saying how they nicked everything from starfish?
muse: you might want it...but it aint gonna happen...
and you have no control
there i'll be
in a shiny empty recording studio somewhere
oooh look doris...its steve fucking kilbey
oh boris...he looks like one of the nine mortal kings
i dont like that silly beard
hes got a good suntan though boris
oh look there he is when he was still glamourous(sigh)
i wish hed stop going on about himself.......
......and saying all those big words
....and comparing himself to his betters
.....and smirking....god thats annoying
...and touching the silly beard
.....and dropping in foreign phrases like zeitgeist n je ne sais quoi
.....and looking bemused and self satisfied
.....clearing his throat before weighty pronouncements
.....rubbing his hands together smugly
.....long rambling answers full of tedious details
.....putting on his english n australian accents, i mean, which is it?
....hey doris
what boris?
the shows over
i wanted to hear that one good song!
which ones that ?
you know la la la dah dah
oh yeah
the one they did in that tv show
thats right
i wanted to hear what he said about that....
why wouldya.?...itll just demystify it for ya, dear...
ah youre right doris
youre so right

Yes, I'm afraid the entire Kilbey blog is written like a haiku with loose bowels.

At least the double CD of Church singles I'm spinning today is more coherrent(although some of the early lyrics still smack of Verlaine worship.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Drunk & Disorderly Episode 7: "All KIndsa Sounds"

And if you're bored, here's Episode 7. Stream it from down below, read the playlist here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Drunk & Disorderly Episode 6

The latest is up. Go here where you can read the playlist or play it from the blog by clicking below.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Steve and Danno win their New Race

Here's some YouTube action of Radio Birdman at the recent Hall of Fame thingo, cranking out Aloha and New Race. Thanks to Steve Anderson in Perth for the tip.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Sydney Gig Pigs Take Note

Will it be the last ever appearance by the Kelpies? Bored! doesn't get to Sydney much these days.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fifty-One Reasons Why Punk Is Now Sadder Than Hippie

Melbourne's sharpest rock and roll publicist Lou Risdale spotted this gem at the always entertaining music and culture site Trakmarx. I won't steal their (Johnny) thunder(s) by cutting-and-pasting the whole list but here's a sample. Some obvious ones:
Punk is 30

Never trust anyone over thirty.

The Ramones mention is sadly inevitable:

Joey Ramone is dead.
Dee Dee Ramone is dead.
Johnny Ramone is dead.
Marky Ramone wears a wig.
Tommy Ramone plays bluegrass.

Love these two (you will too if you're an old fart):

Too many young punks dressing up in mall-purchased gear with logos by bands that died off half a decade before they were born meticulously painted on the backs of their meticulously studded leather jackets.

Too many young punks who consider the Offspring, Rancid and Green Day'their' Sex Pistols, Clash and Buzzcocks.

This reminds me that Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dictators is reportedly co-authoring a book of punk rock lists, which should make for an entertainly bombastic read.

You'll find the whole Trakmarx piece here.

Pig City (2): Swing For the Crime

The Saints doing "Swing For the Crime" at Brisbane's Pig City festival a few weeks ago:

As to the vexed question of whether this will be a one-off, no solid mail although it seems as if the Big Day Out conglomerate would be the only people able to stump up what's said to be substantial money required to make it happen again.

There was a flurry of excitement in the US, post-Pig City, when "The Saints" were billed to do a show at Spaceland in Los Angeles this month, but it turned out to be Chris Bailey's three-piece version and not the "original" band. That gig (and a handful of others) fell through because of visa paperwork. It has to be said that the latest "Saints" album "Imperial Delirium" doesn't sound too bad while it's immediate predecessor wasn't crap (with the Church's Marty Wilson-Piper on guitar) either.