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

New album soon, new US tour dates, etc.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 14 July 2017 13:40 (one year ago) Permalink

The recent Kilbey Kennedy album is Quite Good.

Tim F, Friday, 14 July 2017 13:49 (one year ago) Permalink

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

Ned Raggett, Friday, 14 July 2017 13:57 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah I think Marty's out, period.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 14 July 2017 22:46 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

A full 1982 show just showed up on YouTube

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 13 August 2017 20:29 (one year ago) Permalink

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

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 13 August 2017 20:42 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

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

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

Indeed it does.

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

28 years.

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

it's easier to say fans than fanboys

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

Marty-Wilson Pipettes
it me!

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

I really love this record!

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

"before the deluge" could be a robyn hitchcock song

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

one month passes...

Couple nights ago in Sydney. Rock on!

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

two months pass...

Great interview with an unfiltered SK on The Hustle podcast

Elvis Telecom, Wednesday, 28 February 2018 03:28 (five months 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 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

whoa this thread was started 9/9/01

i have a general question about this band: how were they portrayed in marketing/media in the early years, like 1980-84? were they "new wave" or ?

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Saturday, 21 April 2018 16:27 (three months ago) Permalink

Early post/alt-rock lumped in with bands like The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Soft Boys, etc.

bodacious ignoramus, Saturday, 21 April 2018 17:28 (three months ago) Permalink

they were considered psych revival, no?

erry red flag (f. hazel), Saturday, 21 April 2018 17:50 (three months ago) Permalink

Maybe in the same way as Bangles and Dream Syndicate?

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 21 April 2018 18:35 (three months ago) Permalink

compared to psych revival... maybe as much as R.E.M. were compared to jangle pop via The Birds

bodacious ignoramus, Saturday, 21 April 2018 19:38 (three months ago) Permalink

I first heard them on 120 Minutes - it was something off Heyday and it really caught my ear. I seem to recall them in what trivial pursuit called the “Art Rock” category

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 21 April 2018 23:28 (three months ago) Permalink

oh boy
i have been having some conversations about "art rock"

so far we have:

early alt-rock
psych revival/Byrdsy rock
"art rock"

does this mean "definitely NOT new wave" or ?

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Saturday, 21 April 2018 23:36 (three months ago) Permalink

So much of that was all lumped together in the overused "college rock" category in the mid-80s American music press. If you were in a band that had at least one Rickenbacker 12-string guitar in it, you were "Byrds/psych revival" regardless if you were R.E.M., Let's Active, Game Theory, The Church, heck even The Smiths.

Anyway, the video for "Tantalized" was one of the first videos on 120 Minutes in 1986 (never heard them on the radio until UTMW). They opened up for Echo & The Bunnymen here (and completely blew them off the stage)

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 22 April 2018 21:35 (three months ago) Permalink

yeah i know that -- and what i am wondering is how they were portrayed before they were lumped into "college rock"
how were they characterized in their own marketing and in the media before that? i still see promos for super old church albums at the record store and afaict, that is a signal that they were widely distributed. just wondering how they were marketed during those early years.

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Sunday, 22 April 2018 21:41 (three months ago) Permalink

it's possible that their lack of easy categorization contributed to their "college rock" lumping

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Sunday, 22 April 2018 21:43 (three months ago) Permalink

Them also being an Aussie band must have made the marketing extra tuff on the suits.

bodacious ignoramus, Sunday, 22 April 2018 22:41 (three months ago) Permalink

Kilbey is always good for some quotes about this early time.

And with producer Bob Clearmountain handling production, the band has a guy who could bring out the nuances in the band’s moody music.

“He was the number one guy in the whole world and somehow someone talked him into working with us,” says Kilbey. “I don’t know why he did. He was an amazing producer. When the album was finished and mastered, [the record label] EMI rang me up and said there was a cassette waiting. I went and picked it up and went back to the market and my friend had a brand new invention called a Sony Walkman. I put it on, and I couldn’t believe our album sounded like that. It sounded like a million dollars. I remember other bands telling me, ‘How did you bastards get it to sound like that?’ It was rich and warm and organic. Clearmountain did a wonderful job.”

But it never came out in America because the higher-ups at Capitol Records thought Americans wouldn’t like it.

“There’s no way I would write a hit they would like,” Kilbey says. “You have to imagine what a guy working at Capitol Records in 1981 was like. There was no R.E.M. There was nothing. There were a few things, but he was already stuck in 1979 anyway. They’re always two years behind. That’s what [singer-guitarist] Robyn Hitchcock said to me. He said, ‘These guys sign you up in 1984 and they’re in 1982 and their idea of what 1982 is 1980 anyway. So by the time the record comes out, they’re five years behind the times.’ These guys were hopeless. They’re like women who see a guy and want to change that guy when they get him. EMI/Capitol looked at the Church and saw what we were — young scruffy indie guys playing psychedelic music. They wanted to turn us into the Thompson Twins. Why would they want that?”

An ill-fated tour with Duran Duran only added insult to injury; Kilbey pulled the group off the Duran Duran tour after only a few dates.

“Their audience hated us,” he says. “It was 1982 and there was no reference to this. There was nobody else out there with long hair playing 12-string guitars trying to invoke psychedelia whatever that is. It was like a One Direction crowd. It was like putting Fleet Foxes on before One Direction. That wouldn’t go down very well. We were supposed to do a whole tour and after 10 gigs, I went, ‘That’s it. I’m not putting myself or my band through this.’ We couldn’t convert [the fans]. There was no conversion going on. Not one girl wetting her pants over [Duran Duran drummer] Roger Taylor would go home and buy the Church’s album. It’s not happening."

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 24 April 2018 00:14 (three months ago) Permalink

good info, thank you!!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 24 April 2018 00:18 (three months ago) Permalink

Yeah, those quotes really nail it down

bodacious ignoramus, Tuesday, 24 April 2018 14:20 (three months ago) Permalink

pretty gross about the pants-wetting but whatever
times were different, it was 1982

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 24 April 2018 14:23 (three months ago) Permalink

Marty Wilson-Piper touches on it from time to time in his liner notes for the first set of reissues, they're all on his web site:

It's an interesting question the more you think about it. Seems like before the advent of the Internet there simply wasn't the same framework (in the sense of, like, rebar) available to hang music genres from, they're necessarily going to be really hazy for a "small-time" band like the Church back then. Once you have crossed some volumetric threshold of discussion and documentation, the taxonomies solidify. Even retroactively. I think one effect of the online music community (forums, curated streaming services, the absorption of genre into fans forming their identities) is to reinforce both the desire and reality of questions like "what WAS the Church in 1982?" It's more part of the ongoing experience of fandom than it used to be... or maybe it's just me whose primary interest in genres pre-Internet was as pathways to finding more music that I liked. Still obviously a part of it, but there are actual services... algorithms... (and marketing masquerading as such) that do that for you now. Like, I can't fully appreciate the Church now without knowing what they were back then. This medium seems to kinda drive that desire in a way it didn't for me in, say, the 80s.

It reminds me of people not part of the antiquarian book trade asking what the market value of a very rare book is, when one only appears for sale every 20-30 years. It simply doesn't have a market value the way a book that is bought and sold every week does... you need a certain volume of trading in order to establish value in that way.

erry red flag (f. hazel), Tuesday, 24 April 2018 17:28 (three months ago) Permalink

that's exactly why i asked the question here -- i guess i could google around and try to figure it out but i thought maybe someone would remember. i don't have time to read through every liner note of MWP (sadly) but it's good to know the info is there.

the church are such a weird band. this discussion helped me to figure out what to say to my students this week, so thanks for that. at least i am not the one who is "confused" -- the whole narrative is confused because ofthe times/methods of communication then vs now

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Tuesday, 24 April 2018 17:53 (three months ago) Permalink

Steve Kilbey is playing a living room show a couple miles from my house tomorrow night. Should be interesting...

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 27 April 2018 22:14 (three months ago) Permalink

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