Brian James recorded this in 1990. That’s post-The Lords of the New Church, when his co-founding of The Damned was a shrinking image in his own career rear vision mirror. It was his debut solo album when it came out on French label New Rose, yet it barely rates a mention in summaries of his back catalogue.
Cue: UK label Easy Action to right that wrong and drop a big, fat vinyl re-issue.
If Brian James had only played on all (and written most) of “Damned Damned Damned” and then pulled a Jim Morrison by growing a beard and a beer gut and bunking off to live in obscurity in Africa, he’d still be remembered as one of British punk’s great progenitors. The guy was equally integral to The Damned's second album, “Music for Pleasure”, too but the band disowns that one for its lame production.
Ed Kuepper. Photo by Richard Sharman of Blackshadow Photography.
Posted October 29, 2008: If the thought of re-convening the classic mid-'70s Saints line-up presents more problems than formulating a lasting Middle Eastern peace plan, the organisers of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival series must be among international diplomacy's canniest operators.
The improbable becomes reality in January 2009 when ATP establishes an Australian beachhead, with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds curating and the Saints a feature act.
Yes, you read right. The Saints. Not any old Saints or even The Aints. The Kuepper-Bailey Saints, fercrissake, will be part of a varied and eclectic line-up over three locations and four days.
On what would have been his 65th birthday, the late Spencer P Jones has been paid tribute by way of a double LP of his own songs played by some of his friends. French label Beast Records and Melbourne imprint Spooky Records have released “All The Way With SPJ Vol 1” as a unique international tribute to the New Zealand-born, Australian rock'n'roll cult hero and underground icon.
Spencer died on 21 August 2018 at the age of 61 and was a noted guitarist and singer-songwriter, known for his work with the Beasts of Bourbon and the Johnnys as well as wider associations with artists including Rowland S. Howard and the Drones.
Noise for Heroes Complete 1980-83 Vol 1 Noise for Heroes Complete 1988-91 Vol 2 Noise for Heroes Complete 1991-2004 Vol 3 Edited by Steve H. Gardner
Imagine a decade like the 1980s without zines. For the uninitiated (because they weren’t born then) zines were self-produced magazines, often photocopied and sometimes hand-drawn, focused on subjects that the authors were passionate about. More often than not, the topic was music.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of zines in a pre-Internet world. Along with college radio, theypowered the American underground music circuit. In Australia, they connected underground bands, and fans across a country of disparate cities and gave insights into scenes overseas in a way mainstream music papers could never reflect. In Europe, they were oxygen for a culture considered low brow that fought to find an audience.
Zines were lapped up by people into punk, high-energy and left-of-centre music that didn’t manage to gain exposure elsewhere. They were the epitome of DIY culture, making the passion of others tangible. You’re “consuming” the digital equivalent of one right now.
One of the best was “Noise for Heroes” from San Diego, USA. The very lanky Steve Gardner kicked it off with some like-minded friends in 1980. It initially had a focus on punk rock. In its second life, it moved onto the Aussie and Scandinavian underground scenes with Gardner its writer rather than editor. Steve drummed in bands, ran his own record label, NKVD, and had a mail order music business.
Games, Sex and Life – Little Green Fairy/Go To The Station – The Sonic Preachers (Zombies on Mars Records)
This split vinyl album pairing of French veterans Little Green Fairyand evangelistic garage rock countrymen Sonic Preachersis très cool
The concept of a split single or EP is common, but two bands sharing a side of an LP less so. Maybe it’s some canny French move to save money in the pandemic, or a reflection of both bands coming from the picturesque port city of Sète, (“the Venice of the Languedoc”) and sharing a guitarist? Who knows? Slap it on the turntable and stop worrying. The sound of both bands complements each other.
Little Green Fairy(it's an absinthe)has come a long way in their 20-plus years. Originally taking a derivative leaf from the rough and ready psych garage rock of The Vietnam Veterans, they’ve broadened their sound and it’s not easily pigeon-holed. They remain the go-to band for support spots on the French Mediterannean coast, and have an impressive back five-album catalogue.
No need to apologise for liking the nostalgic side of The Aints! That’d be the part represented by the segment of their live show, comprising the songs of the Kuepper Saints from their first three studio albums. This live document - culled from their 2018 Australian gigs - showcases the songs in all their sweaty, over-driven glory.
While a bracket of the “new” Saints songs would have been equally welcome from the studio album "The Church of Simultaneous Existence", there’s no complaining about this collection. Ten tunes, classics mostly, and all breathing fire.
I first met Chris Bailey in early 1977 when I was given the assignment of interviewing The Saints, who had recently arrived from Brisbane, and were staying in a semi-derelict block of flats on Berry Street, North Sydney. The last time I saw Chris was a few years ago when he was playing an acoustic set in a small venue in Draguinan, in the south of France. In between there were hundreds of shows, thousands of drinks and millions of memories.
Others will write about his legacy as a pioneering musician and the lasting influence on subsequent generations. However, today I just wanted to remember two of the times spent together.
In 1977, The Saints had arrived in Sydney after EMI Australia had been instructed by Head Office in London to sign and record them on the strength of their self-released single, “I’m Stranded”. Next door to flats was the office of their recently acquired managers, Together Management, who had been brought in as part of the upsurge in interest from EMI.
The Saints (without Ed Kuepper, if you had to ask) will play three intimate, exclusive Australian shows at Melbourne’s Gasometer Hotel in October. Chris Bailey will be joined by early ‘80s drummer-turned-journalist, Iain Shedden, Pat Bourke on bass and You Am I’s Davey Lane on guitar.
Hitler’s reaction to the news is above. The dates are below and as the venue is quite intimate, bookings are recommended.
Wednesday 5 October – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne (18+) Thursday 6 October – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne (18+) Friday 7 October – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne (18+)