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Ed Kuepper

Performer

I think it's safe to say that I've always been obsessed with music; from my earliest memories of hearing the popular country pop hits of Jim Reeves and Johnny Cash that my mother listened to on the radio in the early 60s through to the musical explosion that The Beatles heralded, and which of course demanded that I get a guitar. I couldn't speak or write English when I started school but I felt I could understand music.

My earliest intention was always to write my own music and by default be the band/orchestra. I started to realise this ambition when in 1973 I asked a couple of friends in high school to join me in what was initially more of a concept than a fully realised idea. That band went on to become The Saints who are to this day a fairly highly regarded and influential band in Australia and internationally. The Saints recorded three albums between late 1976 and early 1978 in London. Each album was different to the other and each album pretty much achieved what I wanted artistically if not commercially.

When The Saints weren't able to continue I returned to Australia to form my next band Laughing Clowns. The Clowns drew on some of the avant-jazz influences I picked up in the UK but were determinedly not a jazz-rock thing. Described by critics as the most singular and original band to ever come out of Australia, we played widely across the country determined to minimise the divide between the inner city and outer suburbs. The band toured extensively in the UK and Europe and was in fact the first and perhaps only Australian band to play the then Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, admittedly without official sanction in 1983. We recorded five albums between 1979 and 1984 independently before the toils of touring and the logistical problems of running a total outsider ensemble took their toll and I reluctantly put the band to bed.

In 1985 I decided the only sustainable way forward as an independent musician was to go solo and to engage musicians on a project by project basis. During this time I've recorded and released in the vicinity of 50 albums, been involved in soundtracks for radio productions and films, including from 2015 the highly regarded Last Cab to Darwin.

I've toured Australia and Europe extensively under my own name and with my various bands, toured internationally with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, been involved with two Saints reunion tours and two Laughing Clowns reunion tours. In 1991 my album Honey Steel's Gold was the first independently recorded and distributed album to enter the ARIA top 40 album charts. I've received several ARIA awards and am now about to do a performance with Queensland Symphony Orchestra on the 25th of March.

A few potted recorded highlights:

(I'm) Stranded and Know Your Product by The Saints
Holy Joe and Eternally Yours by Laughing Clowns
Ascension by The Aints
Electrical Storm, The Way I Made You Feel and Pavane as Ed Kuepper