Ed Kuepper

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Ed Kuepper

Aussie music legend Ed Kuepper of The Saints and Laughing Clowns came to fame as a solo artist in his own right after the demise of the latter group and the release of his first solo album Electrical Storm in 1985. Musically a departure from his earlier bands, Electrical Storm proved to be the most raw and stripped back recording of Kuepper’s long career and featured some of his most enduring songs including the title track, ‘Car Headlights’ and ‘Rainy Night’. Today Wonder was recorded and mixed live in the studio over two days in early 1990, and features only Kuepper on effects-laden acoustic guitar and vocals, with Mark Dawson on drums and cardboard box.

Kuepper is about  to hit the road for a tour this month featuring his former sparring-partner Mark Dawson (on drums) as they re-imagine the Kuepper classics: Electrical Storm and Today Wonder.

Ahead of the dates, he caught up with Tone Deaf’s Nikki Williams for a chat.

One of the things that stands out for me in your career is that “The Saints” were one of the first bands to create their own Record Label; Fatal Records. Do you recommend this path for artists wanting to self-release?

It was an unusual thing to do back then and it was kind of necessary because there was absolutely no interest in the band whatsoever, so sure it was a great thing to do and still is .

Certainly can’t do any harm, the more you do for yourself the less indebted you are to others plus it’s a lot easier to do these days.

It’s almost a redundant question though because there are hardly any companies left that are signing new bands are there?

Why is it that you’ve decided to play Electrical Storm and Today Wonder in their entirety on your tour with Mark Dawson? What is it about these two albums that sets them apart from other albums in your discography?

EK- Electrical Storm was my first solo album [after Laughing Clowns split up] and I guess it signified a change in approach to the way I recorded. When I have a band I tend to write a bit differently, you know you kind of have to find something for everyone to do and accommodate the idiosyncrasies of the way they play. I think this album opened things up for me a bit. Today Wonder developed that even a bit more and probably introduced a more open, almost improvisational aspect to things. We did work on arrangements but they were looser than previously.

What was it like touring with Nick Cave? Some experiences never to be forgotten?

The tour was really good from my perspective , most of the shows were pretty big festivals and we only had a couple of days rehearsal so in some ways I jumped in at the deep end but you know they are a really great band to work with and they made things pretty easy. To my ears the band kind of opened up a bit musically and rhythmically. It would have been good to do a few more non festival shows however, festivals can be a bit restrictive time-wise.

What is going to be particularly special about the shows with Mark Dawson?

Mark’s a really good drummer so I guess he’ll keep me on my toes.

Are you a particularly big advocate for playing Electrical Storm in its entirety, perhaps because it’s completely stripped back?

Oddly enough it’s probably a more difficult album to do because there is less to strip away, you’ve got to remember I overdubbed bass and guitar on there and in way some of those parts are inseparable, sometimes it’s easier to strip back the really elaborate recordings. The easiest thing about is that it’s really short album

Why don’t you like having support acts on the bill? It could be a great chance for younger bands to get some much-needed media attention.

It’s really not about not liking to have supports it’s more about time, I often do pretty long sets so it’s more of a promoter decision

What are your hopes for 2011 – do you think you’ll continue to tour with past band members?

Well, whatever works you know? I’ve worked with a lot of really good people and get on with a large number of them so yeah, I hope so.

What has been your most memorable tour and why?

I’ve done a lot of tours ,some have been memorable for good reasons others for not so good reasons. I don’t really know to be honest, I remember a lot of things fondly but generally try to look ahead when it comes to work.

I believe you’ve had your music plugged in some experimental films. Have you enjoyed this process and is it something you’d like to continue doing?

I’ve written music for films and yeah it’s something I like doing a lot but in reality I don’t do as much of it as I’d like, it’s a pretty tight area to break into. I actually don’t get asked that much.

What was it like playing at the Cartier Foundation in Paris being the only rock musician, besides Velvet Underground, to ever to have played there?

It was a slightly surreal experience we played in this slightly overgrown garden/courtyard in the middle of Paris and it could have been a backyard [albeit largish one] in suburban Australia. I wasn’t thinking about the Velvet Underground while we were doing it however.

March 18th: Melbourne, The Fabulous Spiegeltent (in association with the Arts Centre, Melbourne) - performing Electrical Storm

Tickets from www.theartscentre.com.au *, 1300 182 183* or the Arts Centre Box Office (*transaction fee applies)

March 19th: Melbourne, The Fabulous Spiegeltent (in association with the Arts Centre, Melbourne) - performing Today Wonder

Tickets from www.theartscentre.com.au *, 1300 182 183* or the Arts Centre Box Office (*transaction fee applies)

March 20th; Adelaide, The Gov - performing Electrical Storm & Today Wonder over two sets.

Tickets from www.feelpresents.com, www.moshtix.com.au or phone: 1 300 GET TIX & all moshtix outlets.

March 24th: Newcastle, Live @ Lizottes - performing Electrical Storm & Today Wonder over two sets.

Tickets available from www.lizottes.com.au or phone 02 4368 2017

March 25th: Sydney, The Basement - performing Electrical Storm & Today Wonder over two sets.

Tickets www.feelpresents.com, in person at the venue or phone: (02) 9251 2797

March 26th: Kincumber, Live @ Lizottes - performing Electrical Storm & Today Wonder over two sets.

Tickets available from www.lizottes.com.au or phone 02 4956 2066


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