The Saints – live at Maxwell’s, Hoboken New Jersey – June 29, 1986 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
The Saints live at Maxwell’s in Hoboken New Jersey and recorded on June 29, 1986.
Still with us (though via several different lineups), The Saints go down in history as actually the first Punk band outside the U.S. to release a debut single – I’m Stranded, released in September 1976 predates The Sex Pistols and The Clash and I am pretty sure pre-dates New Rose by The Damned by few weeks.
The Saints originated in Brisbane, Australia in 1973. The band was founded by Chris Bailey (singer-songwriter, later guitarist), Ivor Hay (drummer), and Ed Kuepper (guitarist-songwriter). Contemporaneously with American punk rock band the Ramones, the Saints were employing fast tempos, raucous vocals and “buzz saw” guitar that characterized early punk rock. With their debut single, “(I’m) Stranded”, in September 1976, they became the first “punk” band outside the US to release a record, ahead of better-known acts including the Sex Pistols and the Clash. They are one of the first and most influential groups of the genre.
Alongside mainstay Bailey, the group has also had numerous line-ups – in early 1979, Ivor Hay and Ed Kuepper left, while Bailey continued the band, with a changing line-up. All Fools Day peaked in the Top 30 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart in April 1986. Bailey also has a solo career and had relocated to Sweden by 1994. The band was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 2001.
In June 1976, the Saints recorded two tracks, “(I’m) Stranded” and “No Time” with Mark Moffatt producing. Unable to find any interested label, they formed Fatal Records and independently released their debut single in September. Their self-owned Eternal Promotions sent discs to radio stations and magazines both in Australia – with little local interest – and United Kingdom. In the UK, a small label, Power Exchange, issued the single. Sounds magazine’s reviewer, Jonh Ingham, declared it, “Single of this and every week”. EMI head office in London contacted the Sydney branch and directed that they be signed to a three-album contract. Over two days in December, the group recorded their first LP, (I’m) Stranded (February 1977), with Rod Coe producing. It included a cover version of the Missing Links’ track “Wild About You”. They supported AC/DC in late December 1976 and, early in 1977, relocated to Sydney. EMI re-issued the single, “(I’m) Stranded” in February and it reached the Kent Music Report Top 100 Singles Chart.
In late 1982, the group toured Australia with Bailey, Hall and Shedden joined by Chris Burnham on guitar (ex-Supernaut) and Laurie Cuffe on guitar. In 1983, Bailey released his first solo album, Casablanca, on New Rose. In 1984, Bailey was based in Sydney, and the Saints’ album, A Little Madness to Be Free, was released in July on RCA with production credited to Lurax Debris (Bailey’s pseudonym). It contains the popular track “Ghost Ships”, which was issued as a single in May. A Little Madness to Be Free was “more rock-oriented, with extensive use of acoustic guitar, brass and strings set among tightly focused arrangements”. In mid-1984, the band toured as Bailey, Burnham, Shedden and Tracy Pew on bass guitar, (ex-Birthday Party), who was briefly replaced by Kuepper in July. By 1985, the Saints were Bailey, Richard Burgman on guitar (ex-Sunnyboys) and Arturo ‘Archie’ Larizza on bass guitar (the Innocents), while Louise Elliot on saxophone and Jeffrey Wegener on drums (both ex-Laughing Clowns) completed the line-up. A live album, Live in a Mud Hut … Somewhere in Europe, recorded in 1984 with production credited to Mugumbo, was released by New Rose in 1985.
The group then recorded All Fools Day in Wales with Hugh Jones producing. It was issued by Mushroom Records in Australia and Polydor in United States, in April 1986. The album reached the Top 30 in Australia and included a Top 30 single, “Just Like Fire Would” (March). The group joined the Australian Made Tour in December 1986 – January 1987 with other local acts Mental as Anything, I’m Talking, the Triffids, Divinyls, Models, Jimmy Barnes and INXS.
As a reminder of their 80s period, here’s a sample of what they were up to in 1986. Sound is a little weird in places, but there’s a lot of energy, as The Saints had a habit of providing. Good start for the weekend.