Laughing Clowns from Australia. I confess, I missed them during their first incarnation – but I was certainly familiar with their founder Ed Kuepper, who was the driving force behind The Saints, probably one of the best Punk bands to come out of Australia during Punk’s heyday. Kuepper left The Saints in 1979 and Laughing Clowns formed shortly after.
A departure from The Saints’ rapid fire delivery and searing guitars, Laughing Clowns went after Free Jazz and Krautrock as well as laying a foundation of Post-punk which gave them an international cult following. They were active (first time), from 1979-1984 – dissolving and finally reforming briefly between 2009 and 2010. And although they didn’t achieve mainstream success, they were very well known in the Underground as well in Post-Punk, Alternative and Punk-Jazz circles.
They were highly influential during this period and bands such as The Birthday Party, The Triffids and The Go-Between cite Laughing Clowns as a primary motivating force in their music.
This session, done for John Peel at BBC Radio on November 29, 1982 and broadcast on December 8th of that year, it comes around the time their debut album Mr. Uddich-Schmuddich Goes To Town was issued (in March 1982).
In terms of years together, Laughing Clowns certainly figured in as short-term, having been together a little over five years before calling it quits. But even at that, they managed to release three studio albums, two compilation albums, four eps and four singles. Years later, they have been reissued and more discoveries have been made.
Laughing Clowns points up to the fact that Australia has provided a particularly fertile ground for sprouting and offering new and interesting artists to the world. An atmosphere that still is as relevant today as it was in the 1960s.
If, like me, you missed them the first time around, crank this one up and give it a listen. It reminds me that, no matter how much I listen to during the course of any given day, there is always much I have missed. Can’t be everywhere all the time, but finding these gems has been a particular high-point in offering music that is good and needs to be heard.