peter oxley - The I-94 Bar
2017...the year that was...and yes I have Sinatra's ''It Was a Very Good Year'' going through my head. Actually, it had its ups and downs but I'll focus only on the ultra good, in no particular chronology.
My musical year started with a performance with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra as my backing band at The Tivoli. in Brisbane. We played my most recent album “Lost Cities” in its entirety, as well as a selection of material I did for the “Last Cab to Darwin” soundtrack, plus earlier solo and Laughing Clowns tunes. “Ghost Gum” and “Collapse Board” were real high points for me.
Richard Davis conducted and made the transition from the garage to the concert hall for me not only possible but an enjoyable experience. Robert Davidson did the orchestral arrangements and brought the songs to life in a context I'd often dreamed about doing but hadn't actually heard.
Richard Wenn put the whole thing together. It would not have happened without him. His enthusiasm for bypassing the “greatest hits” approach and general tenacity made it work. Thank you, Richard.
We did the show again in Cairns a little while later, this time with a slightly trimmed-back orchestra (even flat-stacking them, there are only so many orchestral musicians that fit into the back of my ute.)
This was also great and quite different due to the smaller orchestra. The whole thing has been a great learning curve for me. Thanks, one and all.
The next thing I went on to do was what was announced as my last ‘’Solo and By Request'' tour, this time taking in all those out of the way and rural places I don't get to that often. The idea for these shows started in 2013.
By the time you read this, Ed Kuepper and his new favourite band The Aints will be ensconced in Phil Punch’s Sydney studio, recording their new album.
“The Church of Simultaneous Existence” was previewed on the recent runs of Aints shows across Australia, and will consist mostly of old songs intended for a fourth album by the early (definitive) version of the Kuepper-Bailey Saints.
The Aints lineup is Peter Oxley (bass), Paul Larsen (drums) and Alister Spence (keys) with Kuepper on vocals and guitar, backed by a three-piece horn section. The photo at right of Peter Oxley in the studio yesteday is courtesy of Feelpresents.
Last Friday night at Sydney's Marrickville Bowling Club, The Aints played a bracket of the album songs in their entirety. They backed up that blistering show with an appearance the following night at the Gumball festival in the Hunter Valley..
Did we say recording “a new album” (singular)? The Aints are also recording a new Ed Kuepper album - with strings.
It’s the same “electric trio” configuration that appeared with Ed and the Nonsemble Strings at Leftys Old Time Musical Hall in Brisbane in December 2017.
No release dates have been announced for either album but mixing sessions have been scheduled, so watch this space.
A slew of previously unheard tracks from short-burning but bright Sydney band Shy Impostors is about to be released on Citadel Records, to coincide with the band playing a one-off reunion in support of the Sunnyboys’ Sydney show on February 4.You can pre-order your copy here.
Shy Impostors were active in 1979-80 and their ranks included future Sunnyboys Richard Burgman and Peter Oxley. Fronted by singer-songwriter Penny Ward and also featuring drummer Michael Charles (Lipstick Killers, Screaming Tribesmen, Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers), they played infectious, raucous and melodic pop music.
In February of 1980 the band recorded seven songs at Palm Studios, Sydney. Two of these tracks, “At The Barrier” b/w “Seein' Double”, were posthumously released late in 1980 on Sydney's Phantom label. The other five languished in the vaults.
During 2016 all seven tracks were restored from original master tapes and mixed by producer Jason Blackwell. The resulting self-titled CD is a long overdue retrospective giving yet another intriguing insight into the formative years of Sydney's post Radio Birdman indie music explosion.
Captain Fast (P Ward) (3:08 m:s)
At The Barrier (P Ward) (2:57 m:s)
When Night Comes In (P Ward) (3:22 m:s)
Sweet Defender (P Ward) (1:55 m:s)
My Sin Is My Pride (The Astronauts) (2:32 m:s)
She Can't Win (P Ward) (2:31 m:s)
Seein' Double (P Ward/M Charles) (3:32 m:s)
Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers famously played “rent parties” at the turn of the ‘70s when they’d finished living in the UK and were back home in New York City.
What proportion of the proceeds from their sporadic gigs went towards keeping a roof over their heads was purely speculative. There were other activities to feed and audience members used to throw loaded syringes onto the stage.
Things were a world removed at the Manning Bar in Sydney on Friday night, where the audience threw two bouquets of flowers at Ed Kuepper.
We’re drawing a very long bow here, I know. This was the first leg of a modest two-city run (the next one in Melbourne on March 23) by Ed’s band The Aints. Chances are, the most popular drug in the room was Lipitor. The objective here is not to pay the rent – shit, Ed Kuepper now has a Brisbane park named after him so he can always live on a bench there - but to fund new recordings.
If that’s not exciting news, you’re in the wrong bar.
They really are unstoppable and they shouldn’t be. Not at this stage of the game. Their goals might be modest - to have a good time reprising their own past, in the hope that you will too - but that doesn’t underplay how good the reincarnated Sunnyboys are on “Best Seat In The House”.
It’s officially their second live album but really their third (1993’s rough and ready “Shakin’” on Phantom seems to have been disowned) and it perfectly captures the band in all their pop-rock glory, playing the final gig on a mostly sold-out Australian run in March 2015.
Have you heard that the people at Warner Bros are working on a re-make of the Road Runner cartoon? Hollywood has unfailingly screwed up the legacy of almost every other iconic TV show with a lame makeover, so why the hell not?
Rock and roll has its own history of reinvention and Australia’s master of the art is onetime Saint, Ed Kuepper.
Kuepper’s enduring career has been through more twists and turns than Wile E. Coyote navigating a cliff-side road on an ACME corporation-sponsored suicide mission, but unlike the bird-seeking missile of cartoon fame, he usually delivers his payload with unerring accuracy.
So make no mistake: “The Church of Simultaneous Existence” is a controlled demolition that’s worthy of comparisons to his most seminal work.