laughing clowns - The I-94 Bar

BARFLY TOP TEN: Ed Kuepper of The Aints, The Saints, Laughing Clowns and solo fame

ed kuepper 2017 top ten2017...the year that was...and yes I have Sinatra's ''It Was a Very Good Year'' going through my head. Actually, it had its ups and downs but I'll focus only on the ultra good, in no particular chronology.

My musical year started with a performance with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra as my backing band at The Tivoli. in Brisbane.  We played my most recent album “Lost Cities” in its entirety, as well as a selection of material I did for the “Last Cab to Darwin” soundtrack, plus earlier solo and Laughing Clowns tunes. “Ghost Gum” and “Collapse Board” were real high points for me. 

Richard Davis conducted and made the transition from the garage to the concert hall for me not only possible but an enjoyable experience. Robert Davidson did the orchestral arrangements and brought the songs to life in a context I'd often dreamed about doing but hadn't actually heard.  

Richard Wenn put the whole thing together. It would not have happened without him. His enthusiasm for bypassing the “greatest hits” approach and general tenacity made it work. Thank you, Richard. 

We did the show again in Cairns a little while later, this time with a slightly trimmed-back orchestra (even flat-stacking them, there are only so many orchestral musicians that fit into the back of my ute.)

This was also great and quite different due to the smaller orchestra. The whole thing has been a great learning curve for me. Thanks, one and all.

The next thing I went on to do was what was announced as my last ‘’Solo and By Request'' tour, this time taking in all those out of the way and rural places I don't get to that often. The idea for these shows started in 2013.

Don't cry for me, Argentina: King of Cool delivers a KISS-off

ed lost2Bob Dylan once said: “I should have never been successful: I was a fluke” In other words: Music that I write and perform, historically speaking, has never had mass appeal, he explained.

I have to agree with that; art that is intelligent, at times challenging and thoughtful does not generally have mass appeal (with a few exceptions.) KISS, One Direction and The Eagles have all sold mega tonnes of albums. delivered in massive crates (along with packs of Cornflakes) to mega stores, and still play sold-out arenas.

Meanwhile, artists like Ed Kuepper are down the road performing in small clubs, releasing music on their own labels and playing in intimate settings to refined music geeks and fans who like to think about their music.

It was tiny clubs where you could go to see Coltrane, Mingus or, on another level, Dave Van Ronk. It is perfect that we can see Ed in these venues.

The Camelot Lounge is quite a special place. It is a decent live venue in Sydney. So much care and thought has placed into this venue, which also includes the downstairs Django Bar.

It’s like a well-manicured museum - right down to the camel obsession and the food announcements that mimic RSL clubland bingo calls.

“No 67 your pizza ready and that rhymes with heaven” is quaint, and annoying at the same time: that said the booze is a good price. Places like this are truly a godsend.