by Everett True
Inspired by Wallace’s impassioned overview of The Go-Betweens’ Before Hollywood, I thought I’d exhume a couple of articles relating to Brisbane music. You can find the first here. This second one is a biog I wrote for Ed Kuepper’s record company Hot Records, in 2000. I really don’t like writing promotional literature for record companies, and this is a rare example. (I did one for Sonic Boom … I don’t recall writing any others.) It was written in 2000, just after we returned back to the UK from Melbourne. I think.
Clearly, between writing this article and interviewing Chris Bailey a few years later, I must have finally heard Eternally Yours.
Forgive the dreadful opening paragraph.
It was Elvis Costello who once said that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”. It took Ed Kuepper to prove it.
In the early 90s, a select band of music critics at Melody Maker would regularly compete with one another to find fresh ways to praise the moody Australian genius. Every time a new album of his appeared – whether it be one of the quartet of superlative Aints albums, or one of his own lush, consummately crafted solo outings – we would fight to be given the honour of reviewing it. Andrew, Sarah, James, Sharon, David and me. Fortunately, we had much to fight over. Every couple of months, it seemed, there was a new CD of Ed’s work emerging from Sydney, Australia.
My favourite was the six-track 1991 Aints album Ascension of which I said:
“The man is a God. No other word suffices. Six songs which blister and piss on all the rest of 1990’s wannabe guitar pyromaniacs from a great height.”
Or was it the hand-picked collection, 1993’s The Butterfly Net of which my fellow teenage MM critic (Sarah) stated bluntly,
“What they’ve been saying all these years is true. The man’s a God”?
Certainly, there were some major arguments to be made for the incredible 1990 LP Today Wonder – the haunting, melancholic answer to Ed’s first three electrifying solo albums. Our man on the spot (James) wrote,
“Welcome to the world, everybody. If you only buy one record this year etc.”
The only thing we disagreed on there was that each one of the remaining five of us would have preferred to have been writing those words.
We also rather liked the Aints’ 1993 compilation Cheap Erotica, on which Ed proved that age is no barrier to either auto-cannibalism or playing a guitar nastily. The same month it was released, two artists named Kuepper tracks as among their 10 Most Influential Songs Ever – Jim Reid of the somnambulist Jesus And Mary Chain and Michael Hutchence, he of dubious sexual preferences.
Then there was the self-descriptive 1991 Honey Steel’s Gold which featured ‘The Way I Made You Feel’ and really did appear only a couple of months after both Today Wonder and Ascension. This was the one which firmly put the lid on Edmund’s prolific reputation and also became the first independent album to debut in Australia’s Top 50. Black Ticket Gold in 1992 wasn’t exactly shabby, either – winning an ARIA down under, and causing the select Maker half-dozen to lose our hearts once more.
Let’s not forget the electric tirade of the same year’s Aints’ Autocannibalism – or, of course, the live Aints album S.L.S.Q. wherein Ed set a torch to his original Saints material (The Saints being the band who started this whole wonderful mess off). And we don’t want to overlook his first three solo albums… Electrical Storm, Rooms Of The Magnificent and Everybody’s Got To … perhaps the finest run of records ever released by one performer in the history of popular music. If you do not possess these three records, stop what you’re doing right now. Stop it! Get on the phone to Hot Records immediately, and plead forgiveness. And then pledge your life savings against purchase.
Sorted? Good. Let’s continue …
Er, sorry, couldn’t stop myself there. The man’s a GOD, I’m telling you. A bloody God! And I haven’t even begun to mention his previous two bands or later solo career, shorn of supporting musicians, yet. Time to move on.