Nick Cave pays tribute to Saints’ Chris Bailey, ‘Australia’s greatest band’ – Music Reads
“In my opinion, The Saints were Australia’s largest band, [and] Chris Bailey was my favorite singer.
The Australian music scene is still mourning the loss of Chris Bailey, frontman of punk rock icons The Saints, who died over the weekend.
Now, fellow Australian music icon Nick Cave – a longtime Bailey’s friend and collaborator – has penned a moving tribute in the latest edition of his online newsletter The Red Hand Files.
Responding to a fan’s question about Bailey on Cave’s importance as a young musician, bad seeds leader reflected on the monumental impact of The Saints’ first exhibitions on his career, with the help of archival photography.
Taken from the 1977 The Saints show at The Tiger Room in Melbourne by photographer Rennie Ellis, the image captures Bailey slumped on stage, with a visibly stunned young Cave looking on and – as he reflects in his written tribute – seeing his future unfold. unroll.
“In the photo, Chris is already committed to his life as perhaps the greatest and most anarchic rock ‘n’ roll singer Australia has ever produced,” writes Cave. “Conversely, I’m in this washed-out, uncertain state between failing art school and, well, I’m not sure what. You can almost see the thought bubble forming above out of my head as an alternate plan presents itself.”
Cave continues: “In the late 1970s, the Saints descended from Brisbane and weaved their way through Sydney and Melbourne with their famous anarchic shows. It is impossible to overstate the resulting radical galvanizing effect on the Melbourne stage – these legendary performances changed the lives of so many, myself included.
“So it is with immense sadness that we learn of the passing of Chris Bailey. Too many great singers have passed away recently and, again, I don’t have the words to adequately measure the magnitude of our collective loss. I can only repeat, for the record, that in my opinion the Saints were the biggest band in Australia and Chris Bailey was my favorite singer.”
“Chris and I got to know each other well and continued to do a lot of things together over the years,” Cave writes. “But it’s this photo that I will treasure – a moment of realization and divergence, as a drunken singer sits slumped on the floor of a stage, his very presence at that moment approaching a kind of purity morality or essential truth, and a young man staring transfixed, feeling his own best-laid plans crumble as the thought bubble above his head fills with his sudden and outrageous revelation, ‘This is what I want to do and that’s who I want to be.'”
In 2003, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds enlisted Bailey to sing on ‘Bring It On’, a track from the album Nocturama (revisit this track below). The Saints singer then joined the band for a performance of the song on Lettermanduring a 2009 tour across the United States.
Cave’s close member of the Bad Seeds group Warren Ellis also hailed Bailey as “one of the best singers. The Saints one of the best bands” in a tribute shared on Twitter.
‘Funny, articulate, smart’ Davey Lane remembers teammate Chris Bailey
Davey Lane is best known as the guitarist of you are ibut he was also one of the newest members of the ever-evolving lineup of Saints.
A singer-songwriter in his own right who has performed with everyone from jimmy barnes and crowded house for Todd RundgrenLane first got the call to join a new iteration of the Saints around 2016.
“I had met Chris many times in the past,” he told Tim Shiel on Double J Arvos. He was one of those guys that I always found incredibly smart.”
“I would put him in the same category as – also someone who is no longer with us – Spencer P. Jones. Guys like that, whose work was pretty familiar to me but had a pretty commanding presence. But the more I got to know him, the more I realized how funny, articulate, smart and sharp-witted he was.”
“It was one of those pinch moments where he started singing, ‘Oh my god, he sounds like Chris Bailey!‘,” he’s laughing.
Lane recalls preparing for his first rehearsals with the frontman and the weight of learning Saints classics ‘(I’m) Stranded’, ‘Know Your Product’ and ‘Messin’ With The Kid’ – songs that shaped the course of punk music.
“I was trying to honor those songs as faithfully as possible,” he recalls. But Chris was less valuable about it. “He said ‘F**k it up, boy. Do what you want with it. It doesn’t have to look like the record!’ He wasn’t the nostalgic type, he always looked to the next thing and wasn’t overly respectful of his own past.”
“He took pleasure in playing with it. [legacy]. A lot of music fans, and especially punk fans, the pattern is the pattern and you don’t deviate from that.”
Lane also reflected on Bailey continuing with The Saints without a co-founder and guitarist. Ed Kuepper. “It was a polarizing thing for a lot of crusty old punks. This view of ‘Oh it ain’t Saints without Ed‘. You don’t realize that Chris went on to make a plethora of records, all of which had amazing songs.”
Such as ‘Simple Love’, a Davey personal favorite from 1981 monkey puzzle, First outing for the Saints without Kuepper.
“I’m a student of pop songwriting and for me this is such a concise and beautifully written song. I love guitar pop/rock songs with cool chord changes and this is one of them .”
Lane also revealed in an Instagram tribute to Bailey that a new Saints album, featuring re-recorded versions of the band’s classic work, is in the works.
“We made one last Saints record which hopefully will see the light of day one day,” he wrote. “His record company had also requested a few new recordings of classic Saints tunes, so we spent a drunken evening deliberately rendering the songs you know and love out of recognition.”
“Laughing while reimagining Know Your Product as a demented Marc Bolan on Mandrax jam is how I will remember him.