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ON DISPLAY

The Saints
, 1978 (printed 2018)

by Gary Ede

inkjet print (sheet: 50.8 cm x 50.8 cm, image: 45.0 cm x 46.1 cm, frame: depth 4.2 cm)

The Saints, formed in the mid-1970s in Brisbane, has been described as ‘one of the most sporadically brilliant, frustratingly uneven and most undeniably important bands Australia has ever produced’. Widely credited with releasing a punk song before the Sex Pistols or the Clash ever did, the band was founded in 1974 by Brisbane boys Chris Bailey, Ivor Hay and Ed Kuepper. First playing together as Kid Galahad and the Eternals, they were joined by Kym Bradshaw and became the Saints, playing some gigs in their own shared house - which they called the 76 Club - before releasing ‘(I’m) Stranded’ in 1976. The song was taken up by a UK label and reviewed by Sounds as ‘Single of this and every week’. Late in 1976 the Saints supported AC/DC on tour. Having undergone several personnel changes, they relocated to Sydney before moving to the UK in mid-1977. Bob Geldof is said to have asserted that ‘Rock music in the seventies was changed by three bands – the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and the Saints.’

Ede's photograph shows Ed Kuepper, Alasdair ‘Algy’ Ward, Ivor Hay and Chris Bailey in London in the band’s 1978 iteration. In 1979 Kuepper returned to Australia where he founded the cult band the Laughing Clowns and later the Aints; he has had a very successful career in live performance and recording, and a park in Brisbane is named after him. The so-called Saints have been through countless lineups in the ensuing decades (their Wikipedia entry lists 36 former members) with Chris Bailey the only constant; Bailey has also performed solo and in collaboration with other major Australian musicians. Algy Ward, who played on the Saints’ third single ‘This Perfect Day’ still performs in the UK. Ivor Hay moved out of the music business but has played in reunions of the band from time to time.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Wayne Williams 2018
Accession number: 2018.113