The Saints

The Saints were an Australian rock band from Brisbane that issued the 1976 punk single “I’m Stranded” on self-press Fatal, followed by the 1977–78 Harvest albums (I’m) Stranded, Eternally Yours, and Prehistoric Sounds. After a round of Eighties albums on New Rose Records, they scored a 1986 comeback with the Polydor release All Fools Day and the US college radio hit “Big Hits (On the Underground).”

Members: Chris Bailey (vocals, guitar, organ), Ed Kuepper (guitar, 1973-78), Ivor Hay (drums, 1973-87), Laurie Cuff [aka Laurie Mysterio] (drums, guitar, 1974-83), Doug Balmanno (bass, 1975), Kym Bradshaw (bass, 1975-77), Jeffery Wegener (drums, 1977-78), Alisdair Ward [aka Algy Ward] (bass, 1977-78), Roger Cawkwell (saxophone, piano, 1977-78), Janine Hall (bass, 1979-85), Bruce Callaway (guitar, 1979-83), Barry Francis (guitar, 1979), Mark Birmingham (drums, 1980-81), Ian Sheddon (drums, 1982-2004), Chris Burnham (guitar, 1982-89), Tracey Pew (bass, 1984), Richard Burgman (guitar, 1985), Louise Elliot (saxophone, 1985), Arturo LaRizza (bass, 1985-2004), Joe Chiofalo (keyboard, 1986-91)


Background

The Saints had their roots in Kid Galahad & The Eternals, a rock band formed in 1973 by three Brisbane classmates: singer Chris Bailey, guitarist Ed Kuepper, and drummer Ivor Hay.

Bailey (b. November 29, 1956) was born in Nanyuki, Kenya, to Irish parents and raised in Belfast until age seven when his family settled in Brisbane. He attended Corinda State High School with Hay and Kuepper (b. December 20, 1955), a native of Bremen, West Germany, who migrated to Australia in the Sixties.

The three bonded over Fifties rock ‘n’ roll (Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Johnny O’Keefe) and Sixties proto-punk (The Missing Links, The Stooges, MC5). Their original name came from Kid Galahad, the 1962 American musical sports drama starring Presley, Lola Albright, and Charles Bronson. They rehearsed in a shed on Hay’s property, situated across from the local police station.

In 1974, they renamed themselves The Saints, inspired by the nickname of Simon Templar, a fictional character in a series of 1928–1963 novels by British–Chinese action writer Leslie Charteris. After a lineup shuffle with Hay on bass, they stabilized as a four-piece with bassist Kym Bradshaw.

Their early setlist included covers of Connie Francis, Del Shannon, and Ike & Tina Turner; performed at breakneck speeds to assuage audience fatigue and their own stage anxiety. Most of their songs featured ‘buzzsaw’ riffs composed of bar-chord patterns played with brisk down-stokes and trebly distortion at maximum velocity. Unbeknownst to the band, their music style (soon termed ‘punk’ by the underground media) was simultaneously pioneered by bands in New York (The Ramones) and London (The Sex Pistols).

Saints concerts often unleashed mayhem with police raids and arrests. Spurned by Brisbane’s clubs and booking agencies, Bailey and Hay converted their shared Petrie Terrace house into the 76 Club.


“I’m Stranded”

In June 1976, The Saints linked with engineer Mark Moffatt and self-produced two Bailey–Kuepper originals: “(I’m) Stranded” and “No Time,” both velocity buzzsaw rockers. After a fruitless search for takers, they launched their own label (Fatal Records) and PR operation (Eternal Promotions).

In September, The Saints issued “I’m Stranded” (b/w “No Time”) in a limited run of 530 copies; many sent to radio stations and music publications in Australia and the UK. Despite domestic indifference, the single roused London’s nascent punk cognoscenti. In December, the single formally appeared in the UK on Power Exchange, a two-year-old indie with a backlog of singles geared to the Northern Soul market.

In the UK music weekly Sounds, “I’m Stranded” was picked as ‘Single of the Week’ in a column penned by reviewer Jonh Ingham, an earlier Clash champion and author of their London’s Burning fanzine. EMI’s London office contacted the Sydney branch with orders to sign The Saints to three-album deal.

The Saints moved to Sydney and completed their first album, then embarked on a summer tour (December–January) with AC/DC.


(I’m) Stranded

The Saints released their first album, (I’m) Stranded, on February 21, 1977, on EMI (Australia) and Harvest (UK).

(I’m) Stranded features both sides of the namesake single and four further Bailey–Kuepper originals: “Messin’ with the Kid,” “Nights in Venice,” “One Way Street,” and their second single, “Erotic Neurotic.” Kuepper lone-wrote “Story of Love” and “Demolition Girl.”

They also cover songs by The Missing Links (“Wild About You”) and Elvis Presley (“Kissin’ Cousins”).

A1. “(I’m) Stranded” (3:33)
A2. “One Way Street” (2:56)
A3. “Wild About You” (2:36) Andy James
A4. “Messin’ with the Kid” (5:55)
A5. “Erotic Neurotic” (4:07)

B1. “No Time” (2:48)
B2. “Kissin’ Cousins” (2:00) Fred Wise, Randy Starr
B3. “Story of Love” (3:12)
B4. “Demolition Girl” (1:42)
B5. “Nights in Venice” (5:41)

Recorded June, December 1976
Studio Window Studios, Brisbane
Rod Coe – producer (except 1, 6)
Mark Moffatt – producer (only 1, 6)

8 Apr 1977
A. “Erotic Neurotic”
B. “One Way Street”

1 Jul 1977
A. “This Perfect Day”
B. “L-I-E-S”


Eternally Yours

The Saints released their second album, Eternally Yours, in May 1978 on Harvest (UK, Australia) and Sire (US).

Eternally Yours features eleven Bailey–Kuepper originals, including the summer 1977 a-side “This Perfect Day” and both sides of their fourth single, “Know Your Product” and “Run Down,” plus the evocative deep cuts “New Centre of the Universe” and “International Robots.” Kuepper lone-wrote “Memories Are Made of This” and “Orstralia.”

A1. “Know Your Product” (3:15)
A2. “Lost and Found” (3:50)
A3. “Memories Are Made of This” (2:20)
A4. “Private Affair” (2:05)
A5. “A Minor Aversion” (3:07)
A6. “No, Your Product” (4:07)

B1. “This Perfect Day” (2:30)
B2. “Run Down” (2:32)
B3. “Orstralia” (2:24)
B4. “New Centre of the Universe” (2:21)
B5. “Untitled” (2:47)
B6. “(I’m) Misunderstood” (2:46)
B7. “International Robots” (1:58)

Recorded Late 1977
Studio Roundhouse, London
Producer Chris Bailey & Ed Kuepper
Bill Price – engineering
Mark Dearnley – engineering

Graham Preskett – brass arrangements
Iain Ward – harmonica
The International Robot Choir – backing vocals

Peter Vernon – front cover photography

3 Feb 1978
A. “Know Your Product”
B. “Run Down”


Prehistoric Sounds

The Saints released their third album, Prehistoric Sounds, in October 1978 on Harvest.

A1. “Swing for the Crime” (3:41)
A2. “All Times Through Paradise” (4:08)
A3. “Every Day’s a Holiday, Every Night’s a Party” (2:48)
A4. “Brisbane (Security City)” Ed Kuepper 4:22
A5. “Church of Indifference” Ed Kuepper 5:05
A6. “Crazy Googenheimer Blues” (2:32)

B1. “Everything’s Fine” Ed Kuepper 2:37
B2. “The Prisoner” (5:00)
B3. “Security” Otis Redding 2:22
B4. “This Time” (3:15)
B5. “Take This Heart of Mine” Chris Bailey 2:28
B6. “The Chameleon” (5:16)
B7. “Save Me” Aretha Franklin, Carolyn Franklin, Curtis Ousley 3:34

Recorded Mid-1978
Studio Wessex Sound Studios, London
Producer Chris Bailey, Ed Kuepper
Bill Price – engineer
Jerry Green – second engineer

Martin Bruce – trumpet
Martin Drover – trumpet
Paul Nieman – trombone
Roger Cawkwell – tenor, alto, baritone & soprano saxophone, piano, brass arrangements

Gary Ede, Peter Vernon – photography

11 Aug 1978
A. “Security”
B. “All Times Through Paradise”


Discography:

  • (I’m) Stranded (1977)
  • Eternally Yours (1978)
  • Prehistoric Sounds (1978)
  • The Monkey Puzzle (1980)
  • Casablanca (1982)
  • A Little Madness to Be Free (1984)
  • All Fools Day (1986)
  • Prodigal Son (1988)

Sources:

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