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Shake Some Action : My life in music (and other stuff) - Stuart Coupe

Shake Some Action

My life in music (and other stuff)

By: Stuart Coupe

Paperback | 8 August 2023 | Edition Number 1

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The story of how a gangly, music-obsessed kid from Tassie did everything and met everyone - Shake Some Action is a rip-snorting rock 'n' roll ride through a life of power and passion.


For over four decades, Stuart Coupe has been at the heart of the Australian music scene, experiencing the giddy highs, crushing lows and everything in between that comes along with a life lived in the creative fast lane.

When he wasn't writing a weekly music column in the Sun-Herald or contributing to the likes of RAM and dozens of other publications, he was manager of Hoodoo Gurus and Paul Kelly. When he wasn't trekking to Paris to interview Springsteen or consuming way too much cocaine before interviewing Bob Dylan, he was writing books about the burgeoning New Wave music movement, a biography of Michael Gudinski or collaborating with Tex Perkins. When he wasn't organising tours and publicity for a string of overseas acts, including Gary Glitter, Harry Dean Stanton, The Cramps and The Clash, he was establishing ground-breaking indie record labels, or dialling into a generation as the music critic for Dolly (or infuriating them by labelling Duran Duran 'Yawn Yawn').

Sometimes, he was doing most of the above all at once. Always at full throttle. Always with an unwavering belief in the artist in the art, in the next album, the next set, the next project, the next big thing.

Shake Some Action tells the story of Coupe's remarkable life as a music obsessive, one that started in Launceston, Tasmania, but would take him around the world and back, and into the orbit of some of the greatest artists of our time. It's a book about fandom and burning to find the perfect words to pass that love on to others - and the myriad adventures, misadventures and personal costs that come with staying true.

Get ready to kick out the jams!

About the Author

Stuart Coupe has worked as a journalist, author, editor, manager, record label director, radio presenter, publicist and tour promoter.

After growing up in Launceston, Tasmania he attended Flinders University in Adelaide where he became editor of the university magazine, Empire Times, and founded the music magazine Roadrunner. In late 1978 he was poached by Rock Australia Magazine (RAM) and moved to Sydney. After 18 months at RAM he became the music writer for the Sun Herald for the next decade as well as freelancing for countless publications ranging from the National Times to Dolly. Stuart is the only Australian to interview Bob Dylan twice and has conducted thousands of conversations with musicians from around the globe. He estimates that he has had in excess of eight million words published over the years.

Stuart also managed the Hoodoo Gurus, and then Paul Kelly through the period when Kelly recorded the quartet of classic albums Post, Gossip, Under the Sun and So Much Water, So Close to Home.

As a tour promoter Stuart was responsible for Australian tours by musicians Lucinda Williams, Link Wray, Dick Dale, Harry Dean Stanton, Rosanne Cash, Mary-Chapin Carpenter and others. He also promoted events and tours with authors James Ellroy, Ed McBain, Lawrence Block, Elmore Leonard and PJ O’Rourke.

After a stint co-presenting the album show on 2MMM in the 1980s, Stuart has spent the past fifteen years presenting a weekly show on FBi radio in Sydney. For five years he has also presented the nationally syndicated radio show entitled ‘Dirt Music’ on radio 2SER and ‘Wildcard’ on FBI radio. He is also a frequent commentator on radio, TV and in print media on matters relating to music and popular culture.

Stuart has frequently worked as a publicist, starting with The Clash, The Cramps and other international artists. He currently runs Stuart Coupe Publicity with a wide range of clients from the independent music world in Australia as well as international touring artists. He was a founder and director of Laughing Outlaw Records which released music from predominantly new and emerging Australian artists.

For 17 years Stuart was the crime fiction book reviewer of the Sydney Morning Herald. He also founded and edited Mean Streets magazine, co-edited three crime fiction anthologies and co-founded the Ned Kelly Awards. In 2005 he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Ned Kelly Award for his contribution to the crime fiction genre.

Among the books he has written, edited or collaborated on are The New Music (1980), The New Rock ’n’ Roll (1983), The Promoters (2003), Gudinski (2015), Tex (2017). Roadies (2018) and Paul Kelly (2020).

Stuart, the father of four adult children, lives in the inner west of Sydney. He likes talking about Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and the Sydney Swans, not necessarily in that order.

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