Out of Brisbane, Australlia, circa 1973, came a high octane garage band destined to shape the destiny of proto punk. The Saints, along with the Ramones & the Sex Pistols, were to become the best examples of punk's defining moment - howls of anguish, angst & power - simplicity & directness in an extended solo enviroment - a breath of fresh air. Issuing their storming debut 7", "(I'm) Stranded" on their own Fatal Records label they were soon snapped up by EMI Australlia. Their debut lp, "(I'm) Stranded", remains one of the most exciting & dangerous gtr debuts of any time - subsequent lp's "Know Your Product" & "Prehistoric Sounds" pushed the envelope way further than the constraints of fashion would allow @ the time - all three are available as a compliation, "Wild About You" on Raven Records (RVCD 107) thru Hot Records of Australlia. "(I'm) Stranded" & "Know Your Product" are both avilable thru Captain Oi in the UK.
Leicester Bank's was lucky enuff to shoot the shit with Saint's gtr-ist & founder member, Ed Kuepper;
trakMARX - You formed the Saints in 1973 with high skool buddies, Chris Bailey & Ivor Hay. Who were yr. musical (anti??) heroes back then?
Bo Diddley ,Velvet Underground,The Loved Ones - too many to remember really - lots of bits and pieces more so than individual artists.
trakMARX - Initially, The Saints mined a similar seam to that of The Ramones, only somewhat earlier. At what point were you aware of Da Brudders & were they influential in any way (or vice versa)?
When their album came out. I suppose they inspired me to keep moving on musically and become less ''pure '' [though there probably wasn't that much danger of that happening anyway].
trakMARX - Radio Bridman had an amazing influence on Australian rock music. How did you feel about Deniz/Younger & their crew?
Rob and Angie [Pepper] were genuinely welcoming when we first got down to Sydney, which was nice. I thought they were one of the best live bands I'd seen at that stage, and thought they were still pretty good when they did their re-union a few years ago. I think they probably had a bigger influence in Australia than we did at the time, partly because not many people got Bailey's jokes, but they also seemed to be run like a well oiled military operation compared to the anarchic shambles that was The Saints.
trakMARX - Deniz brought that Ann Arbour vibe a long way. Were you all sold on the Stooges already?
Yeah, I got Funhouse when that came out in Australia [I didn't know about the first album until after Raw Power came out - there wasn't exactly a situation of information overload in those days]. They were a pretty big influence on me, but I think it's safe to say that The Saints were maybe a bit less reverential than Radio Birdman.
trakMARX - Native opposition to your sound was so hostile that the authorities closed down your own club. How did that unfold?
The premise was that we didn't have adequate fire or sanitation things in place [or a licence for that matter], but it could have been jealous club owners. It was closed as soon as it started to take off.
trakMARX - "(I'm) Stranded" was released in 1976 in Aus on the self financed Fatal Records. How many copies did you press & how much do they change hands for today?
About 512 copies. Eight hundred and forty five dollars and seventy, six cents in very good ++ condition, more in mint.
trakMARX - You were picked up shortly afterwards by EMI Australia & recorded your debut lp in two days. What do you remember of those sessions?
Only that it was over very quickly,and that we got a better sound when we did it ourselves.
trakMARX - Many punk veterans (The Pistols, The Clash & The Ramones, amongst others), felt that their debut lp's were probably the most exciting thing they ever did. Do you subsribe to this point of view?
A lot of the records I've done are quite different so that ''first time'' feeling is something I get from a few of them, but I am very fond of the eary Saints albums.
trakMARX - In 1977 you elected to move to the eminently more "punk" friendly UK. How did you find the scene?
The punk scene in itself didn't send me into spasms of ecstasy, but it was good to get out of Brisbane and see the world.
trakMARX - Any amusing anecdotes from that shared TOTP with The Sex Pistols?
I don't remember seeing them there, sorry.
trakMARX - You seemed to enjoy covering classic favourites from your youth @ breakneck speed. Was it homage, irony or something far less sinester?
We did it because we didn't have enough original songs when we started, and it was an easy way to play stuff that sounded like us without having to do too much work.
trakMARX - You faced some hostility from UK punters initially - do you find it ironic that The Saints have stood the test of time so well?
Not really, the band was pretty strong artistically and the people that reacted poorly were usually a bit dimwitted anyway.
trakMARX - Second lp, "Eternally Yours", was recorded in London & marked a development in sound. Where you kicking aginst the pricks to some degree at this point?
Maybe, but I was keen for the band to develop musically as well and maintain our uniqueness, as opposed to just reacting to or against what other people were doing in London at the time.
trakMARX - The skies darkened in the UK around the time The Saints deleivered "Prehistoric Sounds". The post punk ladscape was a lonely place to roam. Where the band disappointed with the press reaction to the LP?
I was, but the band had fallen totally out of favour by then, and P.S was so out of step with what was going on in the U.K then that in retrospect it shouldn't have been all that surprising.
trakMARX - The band split (allegedly in acrimony) in 1978. Have the wounds ever healed properly & have you & Chris Baily since reconciled yr. differences?
The split was actually fairly friendly, though there were a few things that came up later.
trakMRAX - What do you see as The Saints legacy?
Leicester Banks Nov 2001