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Laughing Clowns

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Ed Kuepper's Laughing Clowns were a bit more off the beaten path than the Saints, the infamous Australian punk band Kuepper played guitar for during the '70s. Integrating jazz influences into their unique take on post-punk, the Laughing Clowns released several records between 1980 and 1985, before Kuepper began his solo career. They made their debut in 1980 with a self-titled, six-song EP on Aussie independent Missing Link. At the time of its recording, the band was Kuepper on vocals and guitar, Ben Wallace-Crabbe on bass, Dan Wallace-Crabbe on piano, Jeffrey Wegener on drums, and Bob Farrell on saxophone. In 1982, after the release of a clutch of singles and a compilation of old material, called Reign of Terror/Throne of Blood, the group relocated to London and underwent some major lineup shuffling. Only Kuepper and Wegener remained on board, with bassist Leslie Millar, saxophonist Louise Elliot, and trumpet player Peter Doyle filling out the lineup. After another single, they released their 1982 debut LP, Mr. Uddich Schmuddich Goes to Town, on the Prince Melon label. Confusingly, another self-titled release was in Australian record shop bins by the end of the year, which extended the reach of Reign of Terror. An album of new material, Everything That Flies, was also issued by the end of 1982, but it only received distribution in Germany through Rough Trade (in another perplexing move, a truncated version of the record was later released in the U.K. under the title Laughter Around the Table). The Law of Nature studio LP was released in 1984 through Australia's Hot label, followed closely by History of Rock N' Roll, Vol. 1, a best-of package. The band's final studio LP, Ghosts of an Ideal Wife, was released in 1985. After breaking up, Kuepper flew solo and also formed the Aints. In 1995, the repackaged/recycle-happy Hot label released Golden Days: When Giants Walked the Earth, a -- you guessed it -- highlights compilation of Laughing Clowns favorites. ~ Andy Kellman

Top Songs


1979 in Australia

Years Active:

'70s, '80s