Ed Kuepper is bringing ‘The Exploding Universe of Ed Kuepper’ live show to Queenscliff.
The opening subject game from ABC’s lifeblood music show, Spicks and Specks, came in the form of Know Your Product, a sneaky homage to one of Australia’s most significant bands, The Saints. As trailblazers in exporting the Australian punk scene, The Saints stirred sensation across the Commonwealth.
The writer of the vision board was cofounder, Ed Kuepper.
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Kuepper inflicted an intensity into the band’s sound through his ‘buzzsaw’ guitar playing, a demanding activity that didn’t allow for the now revered singer/songwriter to be at the helm vocally, convincing the treasured Chris Bailey to steer.
“I had a science with the way that I played guitar. It was a pretty full-on thing. I think if I hadn’t talked Chris into joining The Saints, I would have become the singer because I would have had the band irrespective. I was really, really determined. But Bailey was a great singer and there was a great frontman in him so that enabled me to kind of do the guitar playing that I wanted to do,” he says.
Kuepper took the driver’s seat in his follow-up project, the post-punk era-defining Laughing Clowns, bringing his vocals to the front. It was here, in a decade-spanning progression, that he would form the foundations of a solo standing.
“The Saints existed for five years and the Clowns for another five years. That’s a sort of fairly significant period. I think I thought [going solo] was really this necessary type of thing for me to do in terms of not having a permanent band. I thought it would just give me a lot more freedom to do a whole lot of things I wanted to do without having to consider what other people wanted to do. Sounds selfish, which I guess is, but I think I had to do it,” Kuepper explains.
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The solo leap came in 1985 with Kuepper releasing the first in a store of albums under his birth name, Electrical Storm, an album that is now being revisited under a catalogue re-release campaign. This debut number and Kuepper’s 1991 selection Honey Steel’s Gold have been remastered by Don Bartley for vinyl, CD and streaming release. Both of these albums are significant choices for Kuepper in the re-release rollout.
“We needed to do the re-release for vinyl so it made sense to go back to the original tapes and get them as close to what they were as possible to have a digital file for mastering. The reason I picked those two is because Electrical Storm was the mother album as my first solo album, and Honey Steel’s Gold, which was released about six years later, was a significant record for me but was also the first album that charted.
“It was an independently produced, independently released and distributed album. I think it was the first album that ticked all of those boxes to actually make it into the ARIA Top 40. There had never been an album that was 100 per cent independent that had actually charted so that was quite a big deal. The other thing with Honey Steel’s Gold is that it was released just at the time when vinyl sales in Australia were dying so there weren’t many final versions of the album in Australia on vinyl. So we’re addressing that and giving the people what they want.”
Honey Steel’s Gold was not the obvious choice for commercial success, with the opener track sitting just shy of 10 minutes in length. But it was the track ‘The Way I Made You Feel’ that helped it strike gold.
“It certainly isn’t a commercial album in any sense with a ten-minute opener and many instrumental pieces but its release coincided with triple j going national and that lead single was on rotation so it was serendipitous timing,” he laughs.
These two milestone albums will be on showcase in his upcoming national tour, gloriously titled The Exploding Universe of Ed Kuepper. Kuepper and his mainstay band of Mark Dawson, Sunnyboys’ bassist Peter Oxley, Alister Spence and Eamon Dilworth will be exploring major cities and regional towns in a September spectacular, making their way down to Queenscliff Town Hall on Friday 8 September.
See The Exploding Universe of Ed Kuepper at Queenscliff Town Hall, Queenscliff on 8 September. Tickets can be purchased here.