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Timeoff Magazine, Brisbane (AUS) March, 2005

ED KUEPPER – Awesome April
Interview by Donat Tahiraj

It’s been a busy 12 months for Brisbane music legend Ed Kuepper and long-time friend and drumming cohort Jeffrey Wegener.

After touring Australia and abroad with the Music For Len Lye multimedia project, releasing the All Times Through Paradise Saints retrospective and finalising box-sets for Laughing Clowns and Kuepper’s own solo works, the pair return to Brisbane for a string of unique shows at the Troubadour throughout April.

Covering his 30-year career, Kuepper says the shows won’t just be a trip down memory lane. 

“It will give us the chance to run through some new material, try out a couple of things that we may or may not take further. It’s going to be a mixture of experimentation and a bit of revisiting some old ground,” Kuepper says.

The shows will mark the first time Kuepper and Wegener have played song-based material together since 1985. But despite the historic occasion, Kuepper’s quick not to sensationalise the impending Wednesday night residency.

“We’re doing these Brisbane shows largely because we live here – it’s a convenient thing to do, to have a bit of fun with it and basically see how it’s gonna go.

“I’ve always had a lot of regard for Jeffrey as a drummer and the opportunity arose last year to work with him. It’s still early days in some ways.”

The intimate confines of The Troubadour will perhaps be the best opportunity for seeing the engine room of the Laughing Clowns in action.

“It’s the kind of thing you can do in a rehearsal room, or take it up by a few notches by actually doing it in front of people,” Kuepper explains.

It’s also an appropriate precursor to the release of a three-disc Laughing Clowns collection, Cruel But Fair, and a Kuepper solo career retrospective, This Is The Magic Mile.

This year has also seen the re-issue of Kuepper’s 1989 masterpiece, Everybody’s Got To, featuring the swiftly deleted covers EP Happy as Hell. These follow last year’s Saints box-set, of which almost all of the original 5000 copies have reportedly sold out.

Just electric guitar and drums will replace the horn-dominated jazz leanings of the Laughing Clowns recordings for the Troubadour shows.

“With a lot of Clowns songs, there’s kind of an expectation that they’re very saxophone oriented. Strangely, a lot of those songs didn’t start off that way. The instrumentation was what the band had and so I did the arrangements according to the band instrumentation.”

Kuepper suggests some of the more obscure tracks might be thrown in, such as ‘Collapse Board’ from 1981’s Laughing Clowns 3 and ‘Crying Dance’ from 1980’s Sometimes… The Fire Dance EP.

“For a song like ‘Collapse Board’, which oddly enough started off as a guitar song, it’s easy to shift these things around. Some songs are quite flexible; other Clowns songs were written specifically as horn sections and I find them a bit harder to re-arrange.”

Ed Kuepper and Jeffrey Wegener play The Troubadour [Brisbane, AUS] every Wednesday in April (6th, 13th, 20th, 27th).


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