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Steve on GAF and why lyrics are not included Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 March 1990
Steve Kilbey, describing The Church -

"From what I can gather, each album we do has a particular sound which needs
to be listened to.  The more you listen to it, the more you get into it.  We
don't come along and immediately bang you over the head with a big hammer,
we're subtle.  I mean for a rock band, rock music is not founded on subtlety
and I think we are reasonably subtle."

The latest album from The Church, Gold Afternoon Fix, is soon to be released
and like many other Church albums its subtle nature draws you closer to it.
As usual you're infected to the point of addiction.  Songs like Fading Away,
Laughing and Disappointed elicit different emotions that are common in
Church tracks.  The album will not disappoint Church fans, because once they
look beyond the obvious, the intricate music and lyrics combine to create a
unique sound.

Gold Afternoon Fix is a stock market term and is a title which is somewhat
obscure for the Church's album.  "Naming an album is very much like naming a
dog or a a child.  It's just sort of a phrase," says Kilbey.  "We had a whole
lot of names written down in a book and this one really appealed to everybody.
There was no real reason, it's just very random.  The album has nothing to do
with the stock market.  Starfish was called Starfish but it wasn't about
little crustaceans in the bottom of a rock pool.  Everything about The Church
is random, all the notes are random, so are the lyrics therefore why not
choose a random title."

Speculating for a moment I wondered if the success of The Church was solely
based on being 'random'.  Each member lives well apart from one another, and
Peter, Marty and Steve have obtained recognition for their solo careers.  "We
all like to do our own thing, " states Kilbey.  "We all have different
backgrounds, there's no one thing.  It doesn't matter where anyone chooses to
live, we just get back together, strap up our guitars and go for it."

While Kilbey makes this all sound so easy he denies that the band are
complacent about their work.  "Sometimes we get together and it's like we're
the worst amateur band in the world, it's horrible."

Steve Kilbey believes another reason for success is that each member has a
different background.  "We all have different musical influences.  I like
early to mid T-Rex, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, your "real songwriter"
type songwriters.  I really like that sort of stuff but I never really liked
lead guitarists and heavy metal and Ritchie Blackmore stuff.  I hate that
stuff but Peter and Marty swear by it.  So a bit this and a bit of that
results in something."

The band's democratic attitude allows Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper to
show off their singing ability in Gold Afternoon Fix as they had done on
Starfish.  One track off the latest album, Russian Autumn Heart, is very
characteristic.  The Church have variety, there is no one particular
protagonist, the process of making music is combined.

Frontman Steve Kilbey is often praised as an excellent songwriter and many
expect to see lyrics packaged with the album.  Yet as with Starfish, Gold
Afternoon Fix supplies no lyrics.  Many fans would be disappointed with this
omission, however Steve feels that the "...lyrics should be heard and not
seen.  It bugs me when I'd write lyrics to a song and it was written on paper
for people to quote and judge it as a piece of poetry.  It's there to be sung
and not read, people should have it with the music."

Kilbey is adamant that the whole band writes material, and it's this unique
marriage between music and lyrics that sets the band apart.  Thought provoking
lyrics and subtle sounds are the essence of the band's work.  Producer Waddy
Wachtel, who also produced Starfish, monopolises each member's individual
talents.  For his work on Gold Afternoon Fix, Kilbey says: "Starfish started
something we didn't finish with Waddy.  I thought towards the end of Starfish
that we worked out a way of working with Waddy and he worked out a way of
working with us.  He saw the appeal in us and we saw the appeal in him.  It
would have been a shame not to do another album with him."

A further reason for the success of The Church is their ability to shun the
limelight.  The band has avoided television and radio saturation and have come
out smelling like quiet achievers - a situation which has led to many critics
admiring them.  Kilbey says that " order to be successful people have to
do what they want to do.  I think a lot of people admire the fact that we've
kept on keeping on, just doing it over and over, and not chasing what
everybody else is doing.  People seem to like that."

With all the baited anticipation of not only a new album but a tour, one sour
fact remains.  There has been a line-up change and drmmer Richard Ploog has
left the fab four.  This hasn't pleased Kilbey.  "Richard lost interest and
when he lost interest, I lost interest in him, so Jay Dee Dougherty from the
Patti Smith group is going to play with us for at least the next year.  It's
not necessarily permanent, nothing is permanent any more and if Richard got
his act together again I think he might rejoin the band, but I don't know if
he'll be able to."

After the Australian shows The Church are heading off for the U.S and Japan.
Kilbey explains that chasing money in the States is not the reason for their
U.S tour.  "you can't say 'what's The Church's attraction to the U.S', it's
more the attraction of The Church to the U.S.  We're doing really well there,
our records are selling and a lot of people want to see us play.  The idea of
a band is to go where people want to see you, this what we're doing."

Makes you wonder what the Americans see in The Church that we don't.  Has the
Australian public neglected them ?

"I just think that the Australian music industry is about twenty years behind
the U.S, but the beauty of Australia is that it doesn't stomp on our
individualism.  At least here you're given an opportunity.  We may not have
made it if we began in America."

Melbourne's opportunity to see The Church comes on April 9 and Kilbey believes
that they'll have more bite in their live performance, although he admits he's
not quite sure what to expect.  "We haven't played together for two years,
we've got a new drummer, a new album which no-one has heard and a new crew.
It might be sheer genius, it might be the most mediocre load of tripe you've
ever seen in your whole life, but I hope it isn't.  I hope we don't disappoint
people, it's important to me and Melbourne's always been a special place for
The Church.
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