PUNK innovator Ed Kuepper, 62, made a surprising discovery during the making of The Aints!’ album The Church Of Simultaneous Existence; that his 20-year-old self still exists.
“One thing I got from it was, I haven’t actually changed all that much,” Kuepper said. “Certain things I knew intuitively fairly young, that I think were right, and it’s good to remind myself of those things.
“That means excluding stuff. You need to narrow your focus down to get something that actually works.”
Kuepper has spent the past year analysing his formative days as The Church Of Simultaneous Existence is essentially his fourth Saints album that never was. The 12 tracks were originally written during the period from the late ’60s to Kuepper’s departure from The Saints in 1978.
Some of the tracks were stored on cassette or notebooks, while Kuepper relied on his memory to retrieve others. Kuepper was faithful to the chord progressions and melodies, but rewrote most of the lyrics.
“The hardest part was finding this stuff and remembering it,” he said. “Some of the memory triggers were odd ones like someone that I worked with back in the mid ’70s reminded me of something which then reminded me there’s a song about that.
“My memory is reasonably good with the right triggers.”
It’s been 42 years since The Saints released their seminal debut single (I’m) Stranded, which is among the most important songs in punk rock history, as it predates The Sex Pistols and The Clash.
After his acrimonious split from The Saints in 1978, Kuepper continued his music career with The Laughing Clowns and as a solo artist before forming The Aints! in the early ’90s to recapture the visceral energy of The Saints.
READ MORE: Ed Kuepper refuses to trade in nostalgia
The Church Of Simultaneous Existence, The Aints’ first new material since 1995, has also managed to replicate the energy of The Saints. It’s in the buzz-saw guitar and driving horns of Red Aces, which immediately conjures up comparisons to Know Your Product, while the seven-minute Goodnight Ladies (I Hear A Sound Without) broods with the velocity of Neil Young & Crazy Horse.
Kuepper and Saints frontman Chris Bailey have long endured a tempestuous relationship, despite playing one-off Saints reunion gigs in 2001, 2007 and 2009 and shows as a duo in 2010.
When asked if he’d had any feedback from Bailey regarding The Church Of Simultaneous Existence, Kuepper said: “The last time we spoke about The Aints! I asked did he want to join and he told me to ‘f--k off’.
“I generally say these days that he absolutely adores it. Spreading good vibes, rather than his jealousy. To be honest, I never ask Chris what he thinks of what I do and he never asks me what I think of what he does.”
The Aints! perform at the Cambridge Hotel on November 10.
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