The Church - C or D/S&D/CB&TT

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So one of Oz's greatest bands up there with the go-betweens and the saints, or vacant druggie fucks. Metropolis - acoustic version - beautiful evocation or druggie fuck?

Geoff, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Up until Starfish (their utter pinacle, the quintessinal "Church" sound, combining psychedelic jangley 60s guitars with lush synth textures) they were untouchable. The early garage-psych jangle of "Of Skins and Hearts" and the lush soundscapes of "Seance", the warm perfection of "Blurred Crusade" and "Remote Luxury". They truly were one of the most criminally underrated bands of the 80s. Classic and retro, yet at the same time totally of their time and strangely forward looking. They reached their pinacle with "Starfish" (the sublime "Under The Milky Way") and then sort of faded away. "Gold Afternoon Fix" was just patchy, and then the band suffered from personal conflicts and revolving door membership.

I must, however, say, that Marty Willson-Piper is probably one of the most pretentious human beings ever to have lived. But you can't blame that on the Australians, as he's from Liverpool anyway. You get the feeling he'd have been much happier in Echo and the Bunneymen.

exile on krumkill rd, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I always felt bad for them, because the Cure ripped "Under the Milky Way", added a moronic Casio riffette and Smith's ghastly punchable whine, titled it "Love Song" and cleaned up. Bastards.

dave q, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Their last proper album, Hologram Of Baal was my favourite rock album from '98, so, yeah, classic. What I really like about The Church is the fact that they can do the psyche-out texturology thing to perfection while still making great songs (see also the Kitchens Of Distinction). In fact I'm hard-pressed to think of many better *produced* rock albums than Hologram of Baal. Also Kilbey does the whole pretentious lyricism thing but in a thankfully quite understated way - usually.

Search: Heyday, Starfish, Priest=Aura, and Hologram Of Baal are the four pivotal albums IMHO, though I've never heard Seance which everybody seems to rate highly.

Tim, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ugh, no, sorry, Heyday is a terrible album. It's like they set out to write a Great Album Of The 80s and then ruined it with all those horns. No, no, no, no. Bad Church. Oh, but the pretention of the lyrics is half of the point. Steve Kilbey is best known for some of the worst puns in rock. "Constant In Opal" oh, stop it. "Trance Ending" just cut it out. You get the feeling that he's one of those people who stares at doors for hours at a time, and if you go over and ask him why, he will turn to you with a blank expression and claim "but it says 'ENTRANCE' on it. I was being entranced."

exile on krumkill rd, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

You know, the connection between "Lovesong" and "Under The Milky Way" never struck me before. Upon reflection, there are similarities in tone, but the underlying chords are sufficiently different that it sounds to me like two songwriters with similar ears wrote similar- sounding songs.

Now, "Dreams Even Here" -> "Inbetween Days" or "Just Like Heaven" - > "All The Way" is much more blatant (although probably also coincidental).

Dan Perry, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Hmmm. I paid some kind of attention to The Church from the debut up to Heyday, after which I gave up. I'd rate them as perennial Div 3 material - the odd engaging track, nothing dire, but ultimately not worth the effort.

The big drawback for me is that on the earlier albums, (I can't comment post-Heyday, except to say that the later albums are in every bargain bin I've ever rummaged through), they're pretty half-hearted in everything they do - never really rocking, never really letting rip on the psyche influences, just kind of chugging along....hoping. The productions do them no favours - Blurred Crusade, and particularly Seance sound muted and dull. The debut does have energy, and Remote Luxury has the best choons.

Biggest drawback of all is the drummer, Richard Ploog. You just can't pull off what (I think) they're attempting with such a wooden, plodding beat. Ploog has no feel and no drive and plays like he's holding a cricket bat in each hand.

Dr. C, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"Seance" is just beautiful, a real undiscovered gem. I like "Heydey" too, even the horns. I saw them on that tour, and was surprised how much they rocked. In the grand scheme of things, they may be a slight band, but I'll always pull those records out now and again. Ok, classic.

Sean, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I disagree with all of you. ;-) I've pretty much cornered the market on Church reviews in the AMG, so you can find more detailed thoughts there, but in brief: Heyday is great and the horns just make me think of the Teardrops anyway, not a bad thing, Ploog wasn't that bad but was replaced for some bizarre reason at points by bad drum machines on some earlier albums, The Blurred Crusade has so much energy to it at its best that I'm convinced Dr. C is on crack but hey ;-), Starfish succeeds much better as an encounter between LA studio boffins and the band's own bent than anyone might have guessed, and the recent albums have had plenty of highlights while the covers album A Box of Birds is flat out great. Oh yeah, and they can still blast through everything live and then some, Koppes in particular being the underrated guitar god. So yeah.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Two people in one day to accuse me of being on crack - first Nick Dastoor and now YOU, Ned! It must be true then.

Look, I've no idea what happened after Heyday, but on the evidence of the first 4 or 5 albums these guys are also rans, for f~@cks sake!

"The Blurred Crusade has so much energy".....

.....Then we mean different things by energy, Ned. Not that all music needs energy, but if you're attempting a kinda upbeat guitar pop- rock/psyche thing you'll be needing some. Yes indeed. Not on every track, but you'd better have some gas in the tank when needed. Some examples : "In Shreds" "This Perfect Day", "Reward", "Crocodiles". These have what I mean by energy. And decent drummers.

Dr. C, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

What, and you're saying "The Unguarded Moment" and "You Took" don't, to name two examples? ;-) I think this in part has a lot to do with Kilbey's singing style, which in its way makes things seem less immediately active than they really are. Strange but true. As for Ploog, I'm not saying he's a god among men, but he's not just sitting there.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Have you seen the video for... erm... I think it's "You Took" where all the band are playing in the middle of a forest, and Ploog is playing drums with two LOGS? I wonder if that was an underhanded comment on his playing style... (Though I do have to say, The Church were never a good band for videos. In fact, some of their most beautiful songs have been *ruined* for me by images of women in bathing suits and cloaks stalking through cartoon castles.)

Live, the Church RAWKED. This was always such a surprise, considering the gentle, textured, multi-layers of their albums. But when playing live, they became monster rock gods with blinding guitar solos. But when they ditched Richard Ploog for Jay Dee Daugherty, they didn't rock so much, so Ploog, in all his stoner glory, clearly was contributing something.

They're one of those weird bands who have had far more importance in my life, and on my friends' lives than they really should have.

exile on krumkill rd, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ned - look at my first post - I said that the debut does have energy. I had "Unguarded Moment" in mind.

Where the f@ck do you see Church videos, exile?

Dr. Crack, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

They put out a video compliation! It's called... "Jokes, Magic, Souveniers" or something like that. I just found a copy while clearing out my record collection at my mum's house, so it's quite funny that this thread popped up at the same time. Back in the 80s, when I first saw many of the videos, they were ordered specially from Australia, and then we had to have a friend with the correct zone VCR dub them to a watchable format, so I was glad when the comp was finally released (around the time of Gold Afternoon Fix) in the US. Though I warn you, the videos truly are dire. Many bands of the same era had fantastic videos (The Cure, Love & Rockets spring to mind) but The Church just never quite got the hang of it.

exile on krumkill rd, Monday, 10 September 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
Two years later, time to revive this thread! (There have actually been a couple of other threads since.) Mainly doing this because I've just finished listening to a leak of the newest album, Forget Yourself. Last year's After Everything Now This was a very fine album and the tour with it equally great, but this, man, this is good. In fact I think this could just be their best since Priest = Aura, and I'm not saying this lightly. I'll need to give it a second listen to be sure on the point, but in terms of the band now perfectly adjusting to their mode of careful exploration and restrained power rather than letting all blast free, I think they've damn well nailed it. Really something, the tour should be grand.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 05:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Super! I didn't even know a new one was on the horizon. Be sure to come back with more details after listening a little longer.

(this leak -- was it via p2p?)

Andrew Frye (paul cox), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 05:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I'd be willing to check them out again. I still stick with my asessment of them as being slight, but a lot of life's pleasures are relatively slight.

Sean (Sean), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 06:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I had the pleasure of seeing the Church a dozen or so times during their ... heydey. Purely due to geographical advantages, being from Sydney. And of the many bands I was into when I first started seeing live performances they still pay repeated listening, and god bless them, are still performing. Marty Wilson Piper recently did a residency at the Sandringham (Sando) in which is a dog kennel sized pub in Newtown, Sydney.

mentalist (mentalist), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 08:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

From their website:

"It has been confirmed that the album will be released in Australia on Cooking Vinyl through Shock Records in mid October. FY release date elsewhere is January 2004 in the USA (Spinart ) and UK/Europe (Cooking Vinyl), both special edition most likely with bonus disc, the delay being due to an error in the mastering/ manufacturing process. Australia won't miss out on the international special edition as there will be a unique re issue to coincide.....more to come.The Australian tour will start early November (stay tuned for venues and dates), and Europe and USA will be early 2004. HANG ON !!!!!Great things come slow !!!!!!"

But Ned, how did you manage to snag a listen? I thought "After Everything" was much better than I thought it would be, so I'm really looking forward to this one. And a tour, too? So cool.

Erick H (Erick H), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 17:11 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Connections, that's all I can say (and it wasn't p2p).

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 17:23 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i think every woman that i know got a mix tape in 8th grade from some weenie boy with "under the milky way" on it, a concept that was so dud it was classic.

lauren (laurenp), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 17:40 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

My favorite Church song is "No Explanation" off Remote Luxury ... once of those blissful happy sounding songs with completely despondent heartbroken lyrics.

zaxxon25 (zaxxon25), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 18:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i found "Unearthed" in an old shoebox a few nights back. 1987hmmm did he split from the band or something? i get the feeling people hate this album . i like it more than i imagined.

kephm, Wednesday, 10 September 2003 22:59 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I think 1987 is when all the members started putting out solo recordings. Koppes' albums usually came out on top.

Andrew Frye (paul cox), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 23:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I think the band did an intentional temporary hiatus around that time, because Kilbey, Willson-Piper and Koppes all released solo debuts at that point. I like the album myself.


Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 23:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Actually, wait, you liked Koppes' the best? Wow, that's a minority opinion! Willson-Piper's are generally my fave.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 23:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

(just put it on again) tyrant and judgement day have george w all over them

kephm, Wednesday, 10 September 2003 23:37 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Church has a new song out? My childhood calls, and I'm praying it doesn't scream "rehash of warmed-over synths"

Nichole Graham (Nichole Graham), Wednesday, 10 September 2003 23:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Willson-Piper's songs within the confines of The Church are usually great, but left to his own devices I find he loses focus. Koppes is more restrained both with the band and solo and that makes repeated listening an easier task.

Kilbey's somewhere in the middle.

Andrew Frye (paul cox), Thursday, 11 September 2003 00:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, "After Everything" was their best album since "Priest=Aura", so I'm interested to hear the new one. The title track was in my Top 5 of 2002.

blutroniq (blutroniq), Thursday, 11 September 2003 01:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

They are one of the most consistently good bands I can think of, so I bet it will be a pretty great album.

As for S&D I actually (contradicting my above statement a bit) Don't like Starfish nearly as much as Heyday or also Remote Luxury (which I feel are the 2 best). This was one of the first bands I got into when I started listening to music. They have such a nostalgia for me, and thier sound only encourages this.

A Nairn (moretap), Thursday, 11 September 2003 01:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I've been listening to Forget Yourself for the past week and I can't think of many other bands (maybe The Cure) that 20 years into their career puts out an album as inscrutable as this. No one track has grabbed me in the same way that "Numbers" did, but as a whole the album is one big sprawling splat of brooding ruminations. Can't listen to it as a collection of songs, but as a linear piece. It reminds me more of T.Rex than anything else and I mean that in the best possible ways.

Best since Priest = Aura. And P=A is my fave album of theirs.

Chris Barrus (Chris Barrus), Thursday, 11 September 2003 03:08 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Chris and Ned are taunting us, and I don't like it one bit.

Andrew Frye (paul cox), Thursday, 11 September 2003 03:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

These guys are my brother's favorite band. I think they're like a wannabe Chameleons and pretty boring. Their only album I've heard of 4 or 5, that I think is more than so-so is Starfish- but their best of "Almost Yesterday" is 1/2 decent and 1/2 absolutely classic. Well, thanks because this is good stuff to pass on to him.

sucka (sucka), Thursday, 11 September 2003 04:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

a wannabe Chameleons

As a Chameleons hyperfanatic, I see the point of comparison, but really I think they're two different bands with a slew of shared core influences in common, nothing more.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 11 September 2003 04:59 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Most of the Church's pre-Starfish albums are their best. Starfish is more or less where the rest of the world discovered them courteousy of Under The Milky Way. The Blurred Crusade is my personal fave, one of those rare beasts that you can play from woe to gowithout pressing the skip button once.

mentalist (mentalist), Thursday, 11 September 2003 05:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

This isn't usually the case, but The Church's most popular album, Starfish, is actually my favorite. I usually dig it out every October and listen to it habitually for a couple weeks. At first, this practice was just a cyclic coincidence, but has since become a planned ritual...I may start early this year.

Andrew Frye (paul cox), Thursday, 11 September 2003 05:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Hologram of Baal is both my favourite of theirs and was, at the time at least, my favourite album from '98. But for some reason I never got the follow-up, as if one that album everything i wanted to get from The Church had been satiated. Was I mistaken? Will I like this new one if that's my point of reference? (I love Priest=Aura too).

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Thursday, 11 September 2003 06:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Knowing your current loves, Tim, I'm of two minds -- you might find this mere frosting on the cake in some cases, but I honestly think this really is a particular step up, at least in terms of rearranging and reinterpreting their own passions and approach in a (for them) strong new way. Even if the follow up (I assume you mean After Everything rather than the covers album) didn't work for you as much, at least give this one a listen.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 11 September 2003 14:51 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Can't wait to hear this new one! Going to dig up Kilbey's "Remindlessness" tonite and play it.

Jay Vee (Manon_70), Thursday, 11 September 2003 15:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

[Box of Birds] is the sleeper in the Church catalog. Remedies both the energy crisis that slowly overtook them and their collective inability to write catachphrases.

Dock Miles (Dock Miles), Thursday, 11 September 2003 17:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

six months pass...
Time to revive a bit, as the US tour is on and "Telepath" from Forget Yourself is so spectacularly good it hurts.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 02:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Search: "The Unguarded Moment", the GREATEST! INTRO! GUITAR! RIFF! EVER!!!!

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 02:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

And wasn't it all mostly improvised off of jams?

I wasn't very impressed to see them live. I mean it was interesting and all but they were doing a partly acoustic set and the recordings are soo much better. Maybe if I see them do a full electric set it'll be better.

A Nairn (moretap), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 02:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink


A Nairn (moretap), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 02:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Was this recently, A? Because the last few times I've seen them it's all been electric to my knowledge. The report of the Saturday night show was megasprawling electric stoned weirdness, which I'm all for.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 03:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

it was just after the release of after everything now this

A Nairn (moretap), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 03:03 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Blurred Crusade must be the greatest album released by any Australian band. Or maybe just the most influential.

mentalist (mentalist), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 04:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

neither, but it's good

the surface noise (electricsound), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 05:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

for all his way with a tune, i have a low opinion of kilbey's lyrical "skills"

the surface noise (electricsound), Tuesday, 30 March 2004 05:30 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Yes, that was mesmerising. As per Steve's comments, you can see how Haug's presence has reinvigorated them. I've seen the Church perform three times over the last fifteen years, and on no occasion did Kilbey sound as involved as he does in that clip. That said, I'd love to know what's going on in MWP's mind. I'm so subliminally discombobulated by his absence from the line-up that I actually had a lengthy dream about him the other night. He was house-sitting for his mum, who turned out to own a fancy Georgian mansion in London. He seemed a little irritable, so I was careful not to mention you-know-who.

Vast Halo, Sunday, 5 April 2015 21:20 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Entire SXSW show is up

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 24 April 2015 09:16 (two years ago) Permalink

six months pass...

so what's the story behind the band's working with Waddy Wachtel?

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 7 November 2015 23:05 (two years ago) Permalink

From some Aussie paper back then:

The release of their new Starfish album may see financial success coming to this popular local band

The Church has had an influence in the music world disproportionate to its sales but the group now seems set for some overseas financial success.

After a number of albums with EMI they’ve joined Mushroom and taken on New York-based rock manager Mike Lembo. Their album Starfish, which is released here tomorrow, has already made some impact on the US Billboard chart. It was hovering just outside the Top One Hundred last week. Their hooky Under The Milky Way single is Top Thirty nationally in Australia, and getting a lot of play on US college radio. If it crosses over into the pop stations it will be their first big US hit.

“The album did 60,000 on pre-sales alone in America,” Steve Kilbey reported, sounding pleased. “And Milky Way is getting flogged to death on lots and lots of radio stations in America who’ve never touched the Church before.”

Kilbey, lead singer and songwriter, said some of the credit may be due to Waddy Wachtel and Greg Ladanyi, two West Coast session experts who worked intensively on the new music.

“I was saying to the boys in the band, if the album does really well it will be because of them, and if it doesn’t it will be because we wouldn’t cooperate with them enough,” Kilbey said. “In this business if you’re not paranoid you’re naive.”

Supersession guitarist Waddy Wachtel toured Australia a couple of years ago with Joe Walsh. Their power chords and guitar heroics seem a long way from the style of the Church.

“He’s got a lot of energy for a guy his age and how long he’s been doing it. He’s got this really funny kind of Jewish perspective on how to do things. He was good; he had some valuable insights to contribute.

“We rehearsed for a month with Waddy just going over the same songs. The drummer and I suddenly became more conscious of how we should be playing together as a bass player and drummer which is something we’d never thought about before.

“The guitarists simplified what they were doing. Waddy would just sit there and go over and over the songs and pick them apart.

“Angus Young’s his biggest hero in the whole world, which is funny because I absolutely loathe AC/DC. But if it had been another producer then we would have just made another of those Church albums. It would have been the usual jingle jangle guitar.

“But all Waddy likes is AC/DC and stuff like that. And you’ve got Greg Ladanyi, who owns his own studio and is into the Don Henley set, and you’ve got us. We ended up somewhere in the centre doing something none of us had ever anticipated. It sure doesn’t sound like another Church album.”

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 7 November 2015 23:19 (two years ago) Permalink

“My late friend and partner, Greg Ladanyi, was working on lots of different projects, and when this one landed in his lap he asked me if I would do it. They were basically a guitar band, but they were guys who were not very cooperative and who needed a lot of work. I sat with them for a couple of months, having them play things over and over till I was sure they were ready.

“But the wildest thing was, Steve Kilby had this idea called Under The Milky Way, and every day they’d go off and work on it until it was a track. Finally, he brought it in. I heard it and said, ‘OK, that’s cool.’ We put drums on it and some guitars, Steve sang on it – I think I have three different drummers on there – and it came down to this mix where there were so many faders on it, all this synth-y stuff, and so I just started filleting everything.

“Suddenly, the song became this beautiful piece of music, and our tracking of it and the delivery was effective. It really worked. It was captivating, haunting. It didn’t sound like anything else on the record, though, which was probably the problem. People thought that the rest of the record was going to be like the single, and it wasn’t. Milky Way was a total departure for the band, but that track sure worked. It was a huge smash.”

“A funny story about The Church: I was working on a record with Ringo Starr, and he asked, ‘So what have you been up to? What are you doing?’ And I told him that I was working with a band called The Church. He asked me if they were any good, and I said, ‘Yeah, they’re good. But you know how it is with these bands who had a modicum of success elsewhere. They come to America, and forgive me for putting it this way, but they think they’re the fuckin’ Beatles!’ Ringo cracked up and said, ‘I know exactly what you mean!’ That was great.”

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 7 November 2015 23:20 (two years ago) Permalink

Christ Wachtel comes across as such a tool. I remember in my NYC studio rat days overhearing some guys we were working with mention him and all of a sudden all the session dudes in the room shook their heads and laughed like he was a dark legend or something haha

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Sunday, 8 November 2015 01:35 (two years ago) Permalink

From Kilbey's blog:

it was nearly twenny yeers ago
the cherch made that record in l.a.
that one with that song
that song about the whatsisname
the song that got used in that tv show
yeah ya know the one i mean
out of nowhere
after being dropped by warmer brothers
and capitol punishment
we were signed up by a-wrister records n tapes
who insisted that we come to l.a.
so they could keep an eye on us
they say why dontcha work with waddsy wok-tell
and grog lady-ani
we thought
why not?
that sounds ridiculous
so we turn up in la
and we get put in the oakwood apts on sepulveda, west la
ploog n i in one apt
mwp n pk in another
swimming pool
underground carpark
locked gates
the whole deal
first time i heard rap music
i lying in bed the 1st morning
i hear this ‘orrible ‘orrible loud noise coming up the street
i thought it was the end of the world
a car pumping out rap at a mighty volume
a revoltin’ way to wake up
we go down the studio to meet our pro-ducers
grog is a rude talentless macho buffoon
he owns the complex
the studio we’re recording in
he thinks we’re small fish
and he dont bother hiding his contempt
hes “worked” on jackson browned
and dong hen-lee
so boy hes a big-headed turkey
waddsy is a lot nicer n friendlier
they both snorting cokey-dokey like fiends, fiendss
all the time
it dont seem to affect ww too much
hes pretty affable
he can see we aint too bad
grog on the other hand is a mess
when hes just hadda snort
hes clammy n enthusiastic …for about 5 minutes
he wants to listen to everything at top volume
thru these huge speakers
i cant even bear to be in control room
its louder than a gig!
so anyway we go to this soundstage
in santa monica
where we rehearse all the life outta the songs
for 4 tedious weeks
they start wearing down ploogys confidence immediately
they try to start picking on me bout my voice
but im untouchable in my self-confidence
but they hurt pks n ploogs feelings all the time
grog especially treats us like second rate time-wasters
“look at this” he screams out to ww one day
“that fucking blah blah got a gig doing springsteen..”
“and youre stuck here with these useless australian nobodies”
i said….
grog looked at me searchingly and he cracked an ugly smirk
“thats right…..thats fucking right…!”
grog n waddsy didnae think much of u.t.m.w. neither
it was a kind of addendum to the rest of the album
i did most of it on my own
in a little programming studio
ploogy didnt play on it
they didnt wanna waste their time putting real drums on it
waddsy even tried to dissuade me from putting it second on the record
“you want em to hear some good ones before they get to that one!”
he said…
meanwhile we all had our own cars
and were getting into our own adventures
particularly ploogy who brought a constant stream
of hippies, druggies, ratbags n rastas round our apt.
we ate mexican food a lot
and roamed venice beach
grog sent me n pk for singing lessons in hollywood
we hadda crazy singing teacher
a guy whod played hercules n sampson in some b-grade flicks
he talked about sex non stop between singing instructions
hey steve do the girls in australia like to give head?
he would ask every week between la la la la las
hey steve i had a girl in here last week
she said ” im the queen of head jobs”
i said get down on yer knees and win the title
etc etc etc
in the middle of a c scale
he’d interrupt to tell me
of his latest conquest
and then straight back to the lesson as if nothin’ had happened
i didnt learn nothin’
but grog insisted the lessons were helping my hopeless voice
he hated pks voice even worse than mine
and made him feel real bad about it
one day waddsy stumbled on a huge cache of very very cheap cocaine
the boys bought a small mountain of it and started sniffin’
i had one line of that stuff n i felt sick for 3 days
grog made a pig of himself with it the first day
and stayed home for a (blessed) week
when he finally reappeared his skin was grey
and he lay on the couch softly moanin’
but not saying much
gee i didnt have a lotta sympathy for the olde wanker
waddsy on the other hand just piled in harder
he seemed fucking indestructible
with his diet of coke, winston ciggies, hamburgers, n sodapop
he was always alert n on the ball
3 months we were there
spending so much money that we’d never recoup
(we still probably havent)
day in day out of insults n abuse from these 2
driving round la scoring pot n getting into trouble
ploogy screaming out at the merry barbequers at our apts
“i dont dig your fucking altar!”
arista pouring money into the record
hey its sold almost a million in u.s. alone
but we’ll never see any money
cos it cost so much to make
days n days wasted buggering about
moving all over l.a. to other money eating studios
our stupid manager dont care
hes already commissioned the huge recording advance
now he dont care or know …
if you listen to the record
its actually flat lifeless n sterile
great songs, sure
but the performance, the sounds are ordinary
we coulda got that in australia in a week or 2
for a 20th of the money we spent
but what did we know
these were the ex-spurts
big shot american hard-assed turkeys
they knew best!
the rest is history
utmw accidentally became a hit
and everyone said
“whatta great record!”
is it really?
it aint a patch on heyday or priest
it was successful despite of grog n waddsy
not because of….
so there ya go
dont expect me to be all excited about sel-fish
it was purgatory having to cope with grog
waddsy i gotta bit of a soft spot for
he does know a bit about music i guess
not the kinda music i like, mind ya..
you dont hear much about grog these days
i mean i dont think his “producing” career went much further
he turned up at a gig after utmw wassa bit of a hit
trying half-heartedly to ameliorate it with me
but i just fucking smiled at him like
are you fucking serious… i fucking hate ya!
waddsy we worked with again
that was gaf
ha ha
lets all sing it now
“i shoulda known better!”
theres the short sordid history about our big one
too much money…tho none for us
too much cocaine
too much argy-bargy
just too much
can ya believe it was almost 20 years ago?
seems like only last century…
more tails tomorrow!

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 8 November 2015 03:48 (two years ago) Permalink

Not appreciating his taste in puns.

The burrito of ennui (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 8 November 2015 12:21 (two years ago) Permalink

Not appreciating anything about that, really.

austinato (Austin), Sunday, 8 November 2015 16:18 (two years ago) Permalink

Interesting, I guess, that after all the stuff that makes Waddy sound so terrible, Kilbey works with him again and concedes he wasn't all that bad

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 8 November 2015 20:24 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

I know Marty is estranged from this band, but I was looking at that 120 min archive website and saw a MW-P song I had never heard (Questions Without Answers? He had solo videos?). I also found this prime era Marty interview where he's sitting on a haystack.

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Saturday, 13 February 2016 15:19 (two years ago) Permalink

don't say he is estranged! he might come back. please come back.

erry red flag (f. hazel), Sunday, 14 February 2016 05:51 (two years ago) Permalink

While I'm as fond of Marty as the next Church obsessive, I have to point out that Further/Deeper is an unqualified triumph and the band's most cohesive and ambitious album in years. Perhaps MWP's "unavailability" was for the best?

Vast Halo, Sunday, 14 February 2016 21:08 (two years ago) Permalink

I've been digging back into my Church albums for a couple weeks since reading Brett Milano’s Don’t All Thank Me At Once: The Lost Pop Genius of Scott Miller (2015). I had no idea that Donnette Thayer dumped Scott Miller for Steve Kilbey, and poor Scott had to play shows with Kilbey distracting the crowds. I was vaguely aware that she left and did a couple albums with Kilbey as Hex but never heard them.

The Heyday cassette was my first exposure to The Church and still a favorite. By '88 I was into Pixies/Sonic Youth/Dinosaur, and thought Starfish was garbage. It took a decade to warm up to it. I like the sound of some of the post-1996 work, but songs aren't really sticking, though the Box of Birds covers are great. Listening to "Chrome Injury" again makes me think they were fans of early Ultravox! and Japan for a bit. I realized my version of Of Skins and Heart is missing "Too Fast For You," "Tear It All Away" and "Sisters" so had to fix that. Plus the Sing-Songs EP from '82.

Fastnbulbous, Monday, 15 February 2016 18:16 (two years ago) Permalink

fnb - you'd probably like priest = aura?!

and hold on one second -- apparently the church are playing all of the blurred crusade on tour now? without marty? or is he back? i'm thinking of going regardless but i'd be extra excited if i knew i'd share air with marty again.

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Wednesday, 17 February 2016 22:31 (two years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Entire show from last month...

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 6 May 2016 20:14 (one year ago) Permalink

three months pass...
one month passes...

Happy birthday Steve!

i’m 62 and i dont give a flying fuck!

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 13 September 2016 23:39 (one year ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

New album soon, new US tour dates, etc.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 14 July 2017 13:40 (nine months ago) Permalink

The recent Kilbey Kennedy album is Quite Good.

Tim F, Friday, 14 July 2017 13:49 (nine months ago) Permalink

Agreed, that whole sideline of releases has been very enjoyable.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 14 July 2017 13:57 (nine months ago) Permalink

Continuing Marty Absence? Marty Wilson-Piper: Further Days Without Him? The story dies, Arthur.

Anyway, new song is amazing. And the upcoming North American tour is pretty comprehensive! Definitely going to a couple of the Texas shows.

erry red flag (f. hazel), Friday, 14 July 2017 15:48 (nine months ago) Permalink

i was also wondering about the continuing marty absence
my friend who lives in asheville saw that they are offering a $99 "VIP meet & greet"
that's what made me wonder if marty was going to be there or not (i assume not?)

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 14 July 2017 20:23 (nine months ago) Permalink

I don't think he's involved in the new album or the tour, no. New song has a real Bowie thing going on with the vocals.

erry red flag (f. hazel), Friday, 14 July 2017 22:17 (nine months ago) Permalink

Yeah I think Marty's out, period.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 14 July 2017 22:46 (nine months ago) Permalink

That's a shame, although the last album was pretty strong. I'm not sure this is down to the departure of MWP but Kilbey's lyrical style seems to have shifted to a more straightforward rock and roll sort of idiom. Maybe it's the new guy's influence? I mean, it works... but it's different.

erry red flag (f. hazel), Friday, 14 July 2017 23:11 (nine months ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

A full 1982 show just showed up on YouTube

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 13 August 2017 20:29 (eight months ago) Permalink

Man, that'll be a flashback and a half.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 13 August 2017 20:42 (eight months ago) Permalink

many many thank yous for posting
the sound and video are both quite clear for being so old!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Sunday, 13 August 2017 23:09 (eight months ago) Permalink

Awesome show! Damn, they were a tight unit, weren't they? And I hadn't known that Marty ever played a Stratocaster! o_O

Vast Halo, Tuesday, 15 August 2017 20:41 (eight months ago) Permalink

whoa @ kilbey's post on the making of under the milky way etc, missed that the first time around. fascinating stuff. while i hesitate to tell tales out of school (and those LA guys sound like tools), steve himself was a colossal conceited jerk when i interviewed him a couple years later. but i kinda liked him anyway and still love his music.

busy bee starski (m coleman), Wednesday, 16 August 2017 11:34 (eight months ago) Permalink

I like the additional gothness they throw on the vocals in this set. Also like Vast Halo says, they were really tight! This is what, 2-3 years after they formed?

erry red flag (f. hazel), Wednesday, 16 August 2017 13:47 (eight months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

new album was released last week and ~ shocker ~ it rules

reggie (qualmsley), Monday, 9 October 2017 15:19 (six months ago) Permalink

Indeed it does.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 9 October 2017 21:04 (six months ago) Permalink

I'll take the opposing view - this album is ok but it feels a bit too laid back and doesn't have near the high points of "Further/Deeper". But then I didn't rate "Untitled #23" either. Maybe I just miss the rush of stuff like "Unified Field" and "Block" from "Uninvited Like The Clouds".

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 11 October 2017 20:28 (six months ago) Permalink

o man, i loooooooove untitled #23. total hyperbole potentially but it's hard for me to think off the top of my head of an album that awesome released 18 years after a band's debut. that's one of my favorite eras of their music. i'm hoping they have some involvement with annihilation the way they "soundtracked" shriek

reggie (qualmsley), Wednesday, 11 October 2017 20:43 (six months ago) Permalink

28 years.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 11 October 2017 21:24 (six months ago) Permalink

28 years! straight = bent. reflexive mistaken underestimates when it comes to kilbey & co even among hopeless fanboys

reggie (qualmsley), Thursday, 12 October 2017 00:41 (six months ago) Permalink

it's easier to say fans than fanboys

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 12 October 2017 04:15 (six months ago) Permalink

LL is right, there's Steve Kilboys and Marty-Wilson Pipettes who are equally hopeless

I really like the new album. Is it bad to admit I'm happy that it's about 45 minutes long instead of 60+? I love the last two records but I rarely make it to the end of them unless I start halfway through. I miss the narrative lyrics of old, but the new record has sort of playful Jabberwocky kinda thing instead, which works really well with the music. It sounds like they're having fun! The openness of Magician Among the Spirits era stuff but folded down into short pop songs.

erry red flag (f. hazel), Thursday, 12 October 2017 18:36 (six months ago) Permalink

Marty-Wilson Pipettes
it me!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Thursday, 12 October 2017 18:52 (six months ago) Permalink

xpost I'm with you. I like the brevity on this one.

Acid Hose (Capitaine Jay Vee), Thursday, 12 October 2017 19:32 (six months ago) Permalink

there's only one song on the album longer than five minutes!

erry red flag (f. hazel), Thursday, 12 October 2017 20:26 (six months ago) Permalink

I really love this record!

erry red flag (f. hazel), Monday, 16 October 2017 19:00 (six months ago) Permalink

"before the deluge" could be a robyn hitchcock song

reggie (qualmsley), Tuesday, 17 October 2017 15:33 (six months ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's true. Don't forget Robyn and Steve toured together, maybe it was one they whipped up.

A few more spins and the clear winners for me are "Another Century", "Undersea", "Before The Deluge", "A Face In The Film" and the brilliant closer "Dark Waltz".

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 17 October 2017 15:42 (six months ago) Permalink

The only weak track for me is In Your Fog, the first six tracks are the best run of Church album tracks since Spark -> Hotel Womb on Starfish.

erry red flag (f. hazel), Wednesday, 18 October 2017 01:48 (six months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Couple nights ago in Sydney. Rock on!

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 11 December 2017 10:22 (four months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Great interview with an unfiltered SK on The Hustle podcast

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 03:28 (one month ago) Permalink

thanks for the link! that was a great interview, mainly because it was very long and the interviewer let him talk a lot. no further elaboration on the mysterious exit of marty wilson-piper; he just up and left and they haven't spoken since. loved how he was asked for a great rock'n'roll story and told a ghost story instead.

erry red flag (f. hazel), Thursday, 1 March 2018 01:55 (one month ago) Permalink

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