News: Chris Bailey from the legendary Brisbane band The Saints has died.

We at Backseat Mafia are thoroughly saddened to hear of the passing of the iconic and enigmatic Chris Bailey, singer from Brisbane’s legendary The Saints.

The Saints 2 hours ago announced:

It is with great pain in our hearts that we have to inform you about the passing of Chris Bailey, singer and songwriter of The Saints, on April the 9th 2022.
Chris lived a life of poetry and music and stranded on a Saturday night.
Family and friends

The Saints were punk before the word was even developed – their single ‘I’m Stranded’ often being cited as the first ever punk single to be released. Recently, fellow Saint Ed Kuepper released a incredible video of the band playing at Padding Town Hall in Sydney in 1977, and you can see there the brilliance of the band: visceral, passionate and uber cool:

In recent interview I did with Kuepper, he describes the scene in Brisbane in the seventies:

Overall, we were a group of musicians and artists who were pretty much in our own territory artistically, I don’t think there was anything remotely like us in Brisbane or Australia, really. I think we were distinct from the Radio Birdman scene in Sydney. I think we got to know them later, but it was unique here and it would have been unique if we had of been in London. Maybe if we had been in London, we would have got a lot more famous, but we were not, we were in Brisbane and there was no music industry to speak of. It was very much a learn as you go kind of thing.

Bailey kept the Saints going for decades after the departure of Kuepper releasing some iconic singles in a more restrained and incredibly melodic form, including the classic ‘Ghost Ships’ and duos with luminaries such as Nick Cave (‘Bring It On’):

Bailey was a poet and had an indelible ear for melody and arrangements, with his distinctive tenor voice and magnetic stage presence. I have a distinct memory of chatting to Bailey after a gig at Macquarie University in the mid eighties: he was an affable and enigmatic character, full of passion for music, articulate and lyrical. He was always and will continue to be an important figure in the Australian musical scene. He will be sorely missed.

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