The Saints

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Chris Bailey The Saints

Growing up in Brisbane in Australia's deep north in the early Seventies,for anyone with anything more than a passing interest in rock'n'roll,was pretty dull.Even if there had been a local scene "a pub circuit" like there was in Sydney and Melbourne - and there wasn't -
It only would have been full of glittery heavy metal,hippy art rock and wimpy soft rock.

Rock'n'roll was at a low ebb.

It was in this climate that the band were inculcated,a band at odds with everything around them - prophets of punk who rejected even that tag,and then went on - and Still go on -in a career that's only ever seen the name " THE SAINTS " associated with wilful individualism.
Chris Bailey came from lnala,a Housing Commission estate on Brisbane's western outskirts which was basically a dumping -ground for migrants and aboriginals His family were Irish Catholics. Bailey was still in high school when he met German- born Ed Kuepper, a guitarist. The pair immediately hit it off. Meeting up with lvor Hay (then playing piano). the trio became a band - nominally - called Kid Galahad and the Eternals (after Elvis) - which just used to muck around in a shed out back of Hay's mother's place.
Even before they formed a band, these guys weren't anything like everybody else. They were the only guys on the block who even knew of Alice Cooper or Mott The Hoople, let alone the Stooges or the New York Dolls. But their rarified tastes ran deeper still, to the then equally unfashionable Sixties'classics' -from trie Kinks and the Pretty Things to the Easybeats and "? and the Mysterians" - and from there to the roots of all that - Howlin' Wolf,Jimmy Reed,John Lee Hooker. Go to one of Chris Bailey's sisters' parties and You'd hear lashings of Connie Francis, Frank Sinatara. Eddie Cochran, the Supremes, even Noel Coward.
When Kid Galahad and the Etemals became the Saints back in Brisbane in the mid seventies,there wasn't even a scene they could crash into. Eventually, with bassist Kym BradShaw in tow, they wound-up playing at parties they would throw themselves. There was no yardstick by which The Saints could measure themselves.there were no rules to play by. So what they did next, even though it seemed completely natural was fairly unprecedented - precipitating the rise of Independent recording in Australia-.
They went into the studio, and made a single themselves.

I'm Stranded fell largely on deaf ears in Australia. but in England particularly it was canonized, as perfect, prototypical punk. This is at a time, after all, near the end of 1976 ' when the Ramone's first album was still fairly new, and neither the Sex Pistols nor the Clash, or Australia's Radio Birdman, were yet to make it onto vinyl.It was a mixed blessing for The Saints, because although it was the reason why they were signed-up by EMI in London.It was also because they refused to conform to punk's narrow precepts that they eventually got squeezed out.
At this time The Saints were characterised by Kuepper's firebrand guitar style and Balley's arrogant snarl, a chemistry Ivor Hay- by now drumming - completed.

The triumvirate Of Bailey,Kuepper and Hay split-up in England at the end of 1978 after The band had made their third album for EMI, Prehistoric Sounds. After that, THE SAINTS became more of a shifting aggregation serving as a vehicle for Bailey alone.....
complementing admirably his individual,idosyncratic vision.

Balley's since steered The Saints through innumerable line-up's and through thick and thin. Although (as yet"1984") the band is still yet to make a breakthrough into the mainstream proper - i.e., have a real international hit record - it survives thanks to Bailey's commitment and the dedicated support of fans all over the world.

More recently also revealing roots in Celtic folk, Bailey has honed the Saints'sound, on record. to one that's at best Shimmering and soulful and still rock-solid. But if the Saints as a performing entity can be shambolic as much as anything, that too is part of their charm. Chris Bailey retains a healthy irreverance for convention, and the trappings of showbusiness success.

This album brings together some of the rare and unreleased material from The Saints recording career up until 1984, thus covering the band's original incarnation, and then the first phase under Chris Bailey's tutelage.

Chris Bailey can be dismissive of his earlier achievements. But if that's so, it's the reason why THE SAINTS were great back then -because they were looking forwards not backwards - and also the reason why they're still great today,still making vital music.Chris Bailey doesn't dwell on his past,or trade on it, because he doesen't need to; he's got new songs, a new band.

Long may THE SAINTS march on.

Clinton Walker