Monday, August 25, 2008

Laughing Clowns - Live to Air 1981

"The Clowns weren't a jazz band, We certainly weren't a jazz-rock band . . .
We were looking to stake out our own turf." - Ed Kuepper

"It's almost like we're talking about the Clowns' lack of success,
but we were actually quite a successful, dynamic group,
The history written by rock journos is an out-and-out quantitative lie . . .
I think journalists just put us in the too-hard basket." - Jeffery

"OK sure, we weren't as big as INXS, but we did reasonably well,"
- Ed Kuepper, on the Laughing Clowns.

This short set from one of the most successful, if you ask me,
of bands to come out of Australia is amazing,
an incendiary performance of some of their best
songs. The insane improvisation of "When what you see"
is alone worth paying for.
One of life's great misfortunes is I never saw the Clowns play,
but I thought that about the Apartments so I live in hope.
I have seen the 2 most permanent members play together
quite a few times now and it always is fantastic.
I think the Clowns success was to create music that was
truly unlike anything else in the world, that was also
some of the most entertaining, engaging and intelligent
music ever.

Track List

1. Nothing That Comes
2. Everything That Flies Is Not A Bird
3. Year Of The Bloated Goat
4. I DonĂ­t Know What I Want
5. Come On Come All
6. Theme From Mad Flys
7. When What You See

Download Here


duckdogtwo said...

Hey Bob

I have a tape of this from the original broadcast. It's not as good quality but the first song, 'In Front Of Your Eyes' is not included in this recording. Also, it was winter 1981, broadcast live by 2JJJ, I think from the Trade Union Club.


Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

I got the idea from the inner city sound site that it was 1980, I'll take your word for it, the files were
labeled 1981 originally, but I'll change it back.
thanks steve
ciao bob

Bottlelow said...

This is great Bob, at first glance I thought i had this recording after listening it was clear I was wrong - so big thanks!!! Fantastic sound quality.

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Makes you wish you were there,no prob bottelow.
ciao bob

Roger said...

Hey Bob - that's cool. You've ended up with one of the live CDs I sent out into the world. I think so cos that's the artwork I made. I can't say for sure what the date is. I had 1981 on it for reasons long forgotten. The source is a cassette taped from the original radio broadcast on 2JJJ-FM, which I may still have at home.
It is indeed a great show - the restless crowd adds to the edgy ambience.

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

I just realized I stole that art work from your site, I often do image searches and steal pics if I have nothing to accompany a post.
This pic was from Laughing Clowns
Live 1982/83 Vol 1 and I altered it to read 1981. Which is a whole lot less work than you did, great art work and I love the photos,looking at your site reminds me I have to drag out all those dropbears singles I have and digitalise them. At least I'll have the real artwork for them.
I got the recording separate from soulseek, so it maybe the same I think it the same as one on
innercitysound however.
Still confused about the date
ciao bob

duckdogtwo said...


I say 1981 because I taped this as well and I was in Sydney. I think I got my flatmate to tape it and was actually at the show. Also, that sounds like Les Millar on bass so the Wallace-Crabbe brothers (piano and bass) were gone. Also, as I said before, my tape has an additional song at the beginning.


Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Im leaving it at 81 then, the bass being a compelling reason to agree.
ciao bob

Anonymous said...

Bob, Rog and DD2,

I'd just like to wade into your discussion regarding the date of this show. The 1981 suggestion seems too early based on the inclusion of "Everything that Flies" and "The Year of the Bloated Goat" which weren't played as far as I can remember until sometime into 1982.

Supporting my argument would be the extant Seaview Ballroom September 1981 and Astor Theatre January 1982 recordings which showcase the impending Uddich- Schmuddich release.

Also the set list is very similar to the Trade Union broadcast of June 1982.

DD2-any chance of posting that extra track you have?

regarde jules

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

So jules you have a good argument for this being 1982,it should'nt be this hard to date being a radio broadcast and not a Audience recording.
ciao bob

Anonymous said...


This show has been very hard to date- Muzza at innercitysounds didnt help by putting up the 1980 live to air poster as a graphic next to his listing- i always thought it was another Ian Davies product from the STUC prior to the Clowns first Euro trip.

Another point to make about 1982 vs 1981 is that the two tracks i mentioned in my previous post do not appear on the setlist of another gig from July 1981, lending further weight to my argument.

Other remaining mysteries that could be turned to include tracking down the 1981 2XX Canberra broadcast and the rest of the 1983 Blondies broadcast and STUC "flexi" gig, amongst others.

Looks like you've now got an opportunity to see the Clowns in action again Bob seeing you were unlucky enough to have missed them the first time around...

regards jules

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Thanks jules, thats the first I've heard of the ATP line up for next year and I'm excited.
Not to mention all the others that are playing.
Riverside Stage, Brisbane - QLD - 15th January

A series of one night stands in Brisbane culminating in one large outdoors afternoon/evening show featuring both local and international acts.

Line-up: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Saints, Spiritualized, uck Buttons, Harmonia, The Necks, Laughing Clowns, Robert Forster, James Blood Ulmer, Michael Gira, Afrirampo, Silver Apples, Bridezilla

Its looking like this clowns gig date will remain a mystery however.
ciao bob