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Steve talks about the first two albums in this excellent interview Print E-mail
Saturday, 26 June 1982

The first half of this interview was first printed in Juke on June 26th 1982.  If the second half was printed by itself, I don't think I have a copy, but luckily I found a reprint of the ENTIRE interview from December 18th, 1982. Here it is.

One notable point in this piece: Steve says the lyrics to Unguarded Moment were assembled partly from thoughts jotted down while watching the movie Ned Kelly on television. There's a lot interesting discussion about what the music of The Church is intended to achieve.

MEMORIES IN FUTURE TENSE -- IT'S JUST THE BLURRED CRUSADE
by Michael Delaney
From Juke magazine, June 26, 1982 and December 18, 1982 (under the title "The Unguarded Kilbey")

The Church play a stylish and articulate hybrid of contemporary folk-rock and neo-psychedelic powerpop, its roots as much in the foppish, Dylanesque idiosyncrasies of Steve Harley/Cockney Rebel  ("Make Me Smile", "Sebastian", Mr Soft") and the throbbing,  medium-weight insistency of mid-period T.Rex ("Hot Love", "Get It On") as in the east coast electric folk of The Byrds ("Eight Miles High", "Mr Tambourine Man").  But more so than ever  it's that reflective, sonic, solipsistic jingle-jangle mesh of chiming 12-string guitar and sunburst vocal harmony so much the latter's stock-in-trade that has determined the present (and one would suspect future) profile of The Church.

Lead by vocalist/writer Steve Kilbey, The Church is fundamentally the result of his vision, his persona, astutely imaginative, some would say eccentric, yricist and tunesmith, Kileby's engagingly eclectic blend of myth, mystery,romance, wonder, exotica and wide-eyed esoterica has fashioned  some of the most interesting, memorable and distinctive pop/rock currently on vinyl.

Though they quite openly flaunt their influences, The Church at no stage content themselves with mere imitation.  They may owe a great deal in form to the music (and spirit)  of The Byrds, but, simply this, no-one sounds like The Church.  No-one else has quite the same magic.  No-one else has quite so effectively joined together such seemingly oppositional characteristics: vulnerability and tensile strength;  insight and, at times, flagrant naivete.

To repeat, The Church are distinctive, different.  They have a sense of integrity, a sense of  integrity, a sense of honor, a nobility in what they say and in the way they say it that has both substance and pertinence.  They make a whole lot of  valuable sense  to a whole lot of people.  At the same time, they're like quicksilver, elusive and illusive, hard to pin down -- not that you would want to, or, for that matter, should, because that denies them their subtlety, their space.

And space has a lot to do with what The Church do and say.  Inner space. The space in between the words and the music.  The space in between us all.  The illusion of space between us all.  And The Church needs a lot of space within which, unfettered, they can ebb and flow, soar and shimmer, build to furious intensities and then evaporate clean and clear away leaving naugh t but their bitter-sweet afterglow to permeate like incense.  Put it like t his:  you don't break the butterfly on the wheel.

The Church have confidence and tremendous personality, a considerately energetic yet curiously implosive edge that, despite its exuberance and s ense of grandeur, retains a gentle, reflective, almost self-effacing sensitivi ty.  Intriguing and genuinely insidious, The Church exhilarate a sense of maj esty and a fullbodied emotional presence as intangible as it is thoroughly pervasive/persuasive.  It's there, but don't try and pin it down beca use it'll just spill right through your fingers.  That's their nature.  T hat's The Church.

Derek Taylor once said of  The Byrds that they were "one of the few groups with value who could relate to values beyond the sound of music, who coul d reach to the ends of the world and touch, just touch a human spirit and l eave that touch to work and activate what it may..."  Like The Byroads, The Church are one of these groups and one cannot say why, because it isn't FELT, then it isn't to be explained in words.

EVEN THOUGH THE FIRST OVERSEAS SET IS DOING SO WELL, YOU'VE INTIMATED THAT CAPITOL IN THE STATES ISN'T ALL THAT IMPRESSED WITH THE BLURRED CRUSADE.  WHY IS THAT?

Well, I spoke to Bruce Raywood who's the guy that initially signed us u p, and after he'd heard the album, he said he was a bit worried that there was n't a hit single on it and some of the tracks were a bit too long.  He said it wasn't as punchy or as poppy as the first album.  I keep hearing report s through various sources that, despite listening to it over and over again , they still don't think the second album'll go all that well in Americ a.

THERE'S NOTHING ON THE BLURRED CRUSADE QUITE AS HARD-HITTING AS "MEMORIES IN FUTURE TENSE" OR "FOR A MOMENT WE'RE STRANGERS".

Oh, I like "For A Moment We're Strangers", but I don't like "Memories...."

WHY NOT?

That was a song that I think got a bit our of control.  It's ended up very different from how it was originally intended.  I think there's enough bands around already playing that sort of music without us doing it as well.

I DIDN'T THINK THE SECOND SIDE OF THE FIRST ALBUM WAS AS GOOD AS IT COULD'VE BEEN.  I FOUND IT REALLY PATCHY.
Really?

YEAH.  I'VE NEVER LIKED "SHE NEVER SAID".  I THINK IT SHOULD HAVE B EEN OMITTED FROM THE LP -- I THINK IT DESTROYS THE CONTINUITY.  IT'S A REAL LY DISPOSABLE SONG, CERTAINLY IN COMPARISON TO "THE UNGUARDED MOMENT", " FOR A MOMENT WE'RE STRANGERS" AND "FIGHTER PILOT -- KOREAN WAR".

Yeah, that's true.  "She Never Said" was done really early.  In fac t, it was the first thing we ever recorded.  I don't think it was recorded as wel l as it could've been .  I mean, that was the first time we were ever in a p roper studio.  If we did it now, I think we could fulfill the potential that th e song had, but really, it was a bit of a rush job on that first album.

YOUR GIG SCHEDULE IS FAIRLY EXHAUSTING.  WHEN DO YOU FIND THE TIME TO WRITE?    

I haven't written any songs for a while, but every now and then I'll just sit down and write three or four songs over a period of one or two days.

DOES YOUR WRITING COME FAIRLY EASILY?
Yeah, no worries!

YOUR SONGS HAVE RECEIVED A LOT OF CRITICISM FOR WHAT SOME CONSIDER TO BE THEIR LACK OF SUBSTANCE;  AURAL BROCADES, ALL FORM AND NO CONTENT.

Well, you know, it's like "Blue Poles"  One man sees a thousand things in it, the destiny of mankind, and someone else'll just regard it as a blob of  paint smeared over a piece of canvas.  What can you say?  To each his own.

WHERE DID THE CHURCH SOUND ORIGINATE?  THERE'S ALWAYS LOTS OF OBVIOUS REFERENCES TO THE BYRDS, T. REX, STEVE HARLEY.  WHAT IS IT ABOUT THESE PEOPLE, IF IN FACT, IT IS THESE PARTICULAR PEOPLE, THAT HAS PARTICULARLY INFLUENCED YOU?

I just think The Byrds is like taking a trip.  They're like seeing a re ally sad film that has this strange type of triumphant ending, or something. I don't know.  See, I always think that if I knew what it was that I like d about those people I could say it, but it really is something that you ca n't quite....

SURE, IT'S THEIR FEELING!

Oh, definitely!  It's very difficult to pin an emotion, the sprit of what's happening.  How do you contain that?  It is what it is and everybody'sinterpretation and reaction is different.

IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO PIN DOWN SOMETHING AS ELUSIVE AND EVASIVE AS THE BYRDS!  I'VE BEEN TRYING TO DO THAT IN PRINT FOR FIFTEEN YEARS!  THEY' D BEWITHOUT DOUBT, THE MUSIC THAT'S AFFECTED ME THE MOST OF ALL.

Yeah, they were very special.

AND T. REX?  MARC BOLAN?  WHERE DOES HE FIT IN?

Oh, I was just totally infatuated with Marc Bolan for two or three years!  When I was 17 or 18.  The albums A Beard Of Stars, T. Rex, and ElectricWarrior are probably the most played records in my collection.

I THINK THE T. REX ALBUM WAS THE BEST THING HE MADE.

Just with him and Mickey Finn on the cover?

YEAH, THE ONE WITH THE RE-RECORDED VERSIONS OF "ONE INCH ROCK" AND "THE WIZARD".

Oh, yeah!  That's fantastic!  I've always enjoyed that sort of delicacy that T. Rex had.  I mean, it was rock & roll and it made you want to dance, bu t it wasn't oafish and brutal.  I used to sit down and listen to his lyrics over and over again!  It's the sort of music that you can just get totally l ost in.  You can retire from the real worked and just listen to that album an dlet it take you somewhere else entirely.

I DON'T THINK BOLAN EVER RECORDED A BETTER VOCAL THAN THAT RETAKE OF " THE WIZARD".  I REALLY THINK IT'S ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING AND IMAGINA TIVE VOCAL TRACKS THAT'S BEEN CUT UNDER THE AEGIS OF ROCK.  IT'S ASTONISHI NG!  THE FIRST TIME I HEARD IT I WAS COMPLETELY SUNNED!  I'D NEVER HEARD ANYTHING LIKE THAT IN MY LIFE.

That big freakout at the end!

WHAT ABOUT STEVE HARLEY & COCKNEY REBEL?  THERE'S A VERY PRONOUNCED CONNECTION IN VOCAL STYLE BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU.

I really liked the first two Cockney Rebel albums.

"ALMOST WITH YOU" REMINDS ME A LOT OF "MAKE ME SMILE" -- THE FLOWING ACOUSTIC RHYTHMS, THE SPANISH ACOUSTIC LEAD GUITAR, THE CONVERSATIONAL VOCAL, THEOVERALL LILT.

Do you really think so?  I'd say "Just For You" has a lot more in common with "Make Me Smile" but yeah, I can see what you mean.  I think the first  album,  in particular, "Human Menagerie" was wonderful!  The lyrics are just amazing!  It's a really showbiz type of album, very cinematic, very rom antic,sort of circusy.

THERE WAS ALWAYS THAT ELEMENT OF THE TRADITIONAL ENGLISH MUSIC HALL IN TH E FIRST TWO COCKNEY REBEL ALBUMS.  THE VOCALS WERE ALWAYS VERY INTIMATE, AN D THE MUSICAL SETTINGS VERY GRAND, COLOURFUL.  THE CHURCH HAVE THOSE SAMEQUALITIES.

Yeah, that's right!  No-one knew how to record my vocals on the first album except me.  No-one really listened.  Instead of standing in a room with t he microphone turned right up so I could relax and sort of, you know, croon the vocals, I had to stand there and yell because it was turned right down. It made it really difficult for me.  I wasn't particularly happy with the way itturned out, but, like, that's just part of the learning process.

YOU'RE IN A VERY VULNERABLE POSITION AS A BAND.  YOU'VE ONLY BEEN TOGETHER A SHORT TIME, YOU'VE RECORDED TWO HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL ALBUMS, BUT YOUR 91L IVE' PROFILE HAS DRAWN TREMENDOUS FLAK BECAUSE OF YOUR RELATIVE LACK OF EXPERI ENCE IN THAT PARTICULAR MEDIUM.  PERSONALLY, AT THIS STATE, I SEE YOU FAR MORE  AS A STUDIO BAND.  THERE ARE FAR TOO MANY VARIABLES INVOLVED IN 91LIVE' WORK.


We're not your basic 'meat and potatoes' group, you know?  We're not the sort of group who can just troop out on stage and run through the songs.  Ther e's a lot of very delicate personalities in the band and if somebody has a ba d night, it really tubs off on everybody.  All I can say is that, sure, we have a lot of mediocre nights, but when we have a good night I think it's re allyworth waiting for.

THE CHURCH STRIKE ME AS A VERY MOODY BAND.  IT MUST BE DIFFICULT MAINTAIN INGAN EVEN EMOTIONAL KEEL?

Oh yeah!  Sometimes it's just havoc!  I've never met anyone like the other three guys.  We're all like laws unto ourselves.

HOW DO YOU MEAN?  UNPREDICTABLE?

Peter's incredibly moody.  Very intense. You know, I watch the television clips back and you can just see how Peter is such a dark, brooding person 2E  He can sink to the depths of despair and then suddenly just bounce back and be extremely elated.  He tends to ping-pong back and forth between the tw o. Richard's the most blasE9 19-year-old person I've ever met in my lif e!  We could see ten million albums and you'd ring him up and tell him and he' d say, "Yeah, but have you got any good hash?!"  He just doesn't get affec ted by it, you know? Marty's generally a sort of very happy, easy to get along with person.  Every so often he'll go through this thing where he gets very unwilling and stubborn, sort of petulant in a way.  And, of course, the bigger the band gets, all of these individual qualities start to become more and more exaggerated, and the bigger you are the, the more you can afford to....

INDULGE YOUR WHIMS?

Yeah, and I don't know, sometimes it gets to the stage where we're all sort of living out our fantasies of what we think people in our position shoul dbehave.

THAT CAN BE DANGEROUS.  DO YOU THINK THE BAND HAS A FAIRLY STABLE RELATIONSHIP, GRANTED THAT EVERYBODY DOES CONFLICT AT SOME STAGE DUE TO T HENATURE OF THE CREATIVE BOND?

Yeah.  Yeah, I do.  I really hope that we can maintain ourselves, but, li ke Peter's a really unpredictable guy.  Success doesn't mean much to him 2E  It's his own personal feelings.  If he feels he's not....Sometimes Peter fee ls he's not playing up to his 100 percent potential -- which I think is cr azy  91cause, like, I really rate him as one of the best guitarists ever -- and it makes him feel like he wants to do other things, he could leave.  No matter how well or how badly we're doing, he could just leave.  I think Marty and Richard are pretty well committed.

YOU'VE BECOME PRETTY MUCH THE FOCAL POINT OF THE BAND, AS THE LEAD VOCALIST AND CHIEF WRITER.  DO YOU FIND THAT FORM OF ATTENTION DIFFICULT TO ASSIMILATE?

Yeah.  Sometimes I feel bad that the other three have to put up with the things that I say because, when someone asks you a question, everyone assumes that you're automatically the spokesman for the whole band and that's  just not the situation at ALL!  I can't speak for anyone else, that's just  not the way it is.  Like, on SOUNDS the other day, Martin was asked to justify something that I'd said about myself being the best songwriter in the world, which was a misquote anyway.  I mean, that's totally unfair.  That's putting him in a situation that's just ridiculous!  All the guy wants to do is play guitar and get on with the job.

SURE.  BUT THEN AGAIN, YOU MUST REALIZE THAT BECAUSE OF THE BAND'S RAPID SUCCESS YOU'RE GOING TO CREATE MORE PRONOUNCED INTEREST AND POLARITY. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO REGARD IMMEDIATE ACCLAIM WITH A LOT OF SUSPICION.  I MEAN, A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE OUT FOR YOU, WHICH THEY ARE.

Yeah, but that's alright!

ARE YOU SURPRISED AT THE ALBUM'S OVERSEAS SUCCESS?

I don't know.  Yeah, some days I'm full of doubt and some days I think that nothing can stop us.  Really, I try not to think about what's happening overseas.

I WAS REALLY SURPRISED TO SEE THAT QUITE A FEW OF THE ENGLISH REVIEWS HAVE TAKEN TO THE CHURCH WITH OPEN ARMS.  THAT'S SO OUT OF CHARACTER FOR THEM!

Yeah!  That was astonishing!  That really has surprised me.

ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING ASPECTS OF THE CHURCH IS THAT, EVEN THOUGH YOU DO FLAUNT YOUR INFLUENCES QUITE REMARKABLY, THE BAND DOESN'T COME ACROSS AS ANY FORM OF IMITATION.

Hmmmm.  I don't know why.  Maybe we're actually not good enough to pull our influences off.  Maybe if we were better musicians....

I DON'T THINK YOU UNDERSTAND ME.  I THINK YOU DO PULL IT OFF, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT!  I THINK YOUR INFLUENCES ARE OBVIOUS, PRIMARILY THAT OF THE BYRDS, BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, NO-ONE SOUNDS QUITE LIKE THE CHURCH.  NOBODY ELSE SAYS THINGS QUITE LIKE THE CHURCH.

I don't know what that is.  Just lucky!

YOU DO COME ACROSS IN SOME SITUATIONS WITH FAIRLY, AH, AMBIGUOUS STATEMENTS.

I'm becoming aware of this, yeah.  I just want people to get what they want out of what we do:  to enjoy it for whatever reason they want to.  The reason I've been very reluctant to say what the lyrics are about is because I haven't wanted to spoil it for people.  Anyone who's interested enough can interpret them to suit their own perceptions.  I mean, everyone's point of view is different.

YOU DON'T WANT TO TAKE AWAY THAT SENSE OF MYSTERY?

Yeah!  But, like, what's happened now is that everyone's saying, "oh, the lyrics are meaningless.  You've said the lyrics are meaningless, so if you don't see anything in them then I'm damned if I'm going to look for  anything in them."  That's not what I wanted to happen at all!  I really thought that people wouldn't take me so literally.  Of course the lyrics mean something tome, but I don't want to spoil it for everyone else.

I THINK IT'S A LITTLE DANGEROUS TO NOT EXPECT PEOPLE TO TAKE YOU LITERALLY. THAT'S JUST BEING NAIVE.

Well, yeah, perhaps you're right. I think that if I had something definite to say abut, like, reincarnation or some of the other things that the songs are about, I'd write a book on them. But I don't know what I think about reincarnation, I don't really understand it myself. I write songs to sort of help explain it to myself, to try and discover something and hope that I can trip my subconscious out into saying something. And then it's up to other people to interpret. Maybe, you know, there might be just a little idea, in the song that'll unlock something for them, but I don't want...You know, it's really difficult: you can't say what the song's about, any of them really.

THE BLURRED CRUSADE IS MUCH MORE DIRECT, MUCH LESS EVASIVE LYRICALLY. IT'S A NOTICEABLY MORE INTROSPECTIVE AND REFLECTIVE SET OF SONGS.
I'd definitely agree with that.

DO YOU SEE YOUR SONGS GRADUALLY BECOMING MORE DIRECTLY PERSONAL?
Oh, yeah! I think the second album is much warmer than the first. I was listening to it the other day for the first time on my new stereo and I think you really do get the feeling that the voice is in the room with you. The Blurred Crusade isn't a sort of distant, metallic sound like the first. that's one of the things that really disappointed me about of skins & Heart. I don't like that sort of distance . it wasn't just the overall sound, it's so much more than the actual production and who did what. The whole atmosphere of the album was very alienated and cold, slightly hollow. I don't think you could say that about Blurred Crusade.

OF SKINS AND HEART DOES HAVE A VERY ALOOF QUALITY, A VERY CAVERNOUS SOUND, BUT I WOULDN'T CALL IT HOLLOW. THE VOCALS REALLY MITIGATED THAT CATHEDRAL EFFET VERY WELL. AT THE SAME TIME AS THE CHURCH COME ACROSS WITH THAT VERY OPEN, SPACIOUS QUALITY, THE SONGS ARE VERY DEFINITE IN THEIR FORM, VERY ARRANGED. THAT'S AN INTERESTING COMBINATION. I THINK THIS IS ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL CONNECTIONS THE BAND HAS WITH BYRDS, THAT JUXTAPOSITION OF ALMOST CONFLICTING STYLES. HOW INVOLVED IS THE REST OF THE BAND IN THE ARRANGEMENTS?

Usually, the general melody line comes from me - the lead motifs. the solos come from Peter and Martin. The way they interact, the jingle-jangle and the rhythms, the counter-point, comes entirely from them. it's purely their own thing and I couldn't take any credit whatsoever for what they do. althhough it sounds relaly intensely arranged, like, a lot of thought has gone into it...when I take a song along, all of that kind of thing just starts up automatically. The first time the band plays it, the guys just start doing it straightaway. So, even though it sounds incredibly arranged and quite complex, it insn't at all. it's quite natural. That's the way it just comes out.

THE BLURRED CRUSADE IS MUCH MORE OPEN AND EXPANSIVE IN ITS ARRANGEMENTS, IN THE INSTRUMENTATION. IT DOESN'T HAVE THAT NERVY, SLIGHTLY TENSE ELEMENT OF THE FIRST SET. THERE'S A LOT MORE ROOM ON THE NEW ALBUM FOR THE SONGS TO BREATHE.

Oh, it's fantastic that you think like this! Yeah, I listened to Under ture" by the Who the other night and it does that same sort of thing. it really does breathe. i think all good music does that to a certain extent. I was really pleased that we broke away from a pop forumula for the new album and were able to let the music meander and build up and die down and move sideways. I was really surprised that so much of that got past the editing board cecause I thought that some of the things we'd done were probably a little too expansive. I think that's probably the reason why the record company in Canada doesn't like The Blurred Crusade so much. The same thing holds for America too.

DO THEY SEE IT AS BEING SELF-INDULGENT?
Yeah. I mean to me, it's a psychedelic jam. To someone else it's just self-indulgence. You know, why didn't we put another song on instead. I mean you just can't keep pleasing everyone, so we just please ourselves.

WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR THE LYRICS OF THE UNGUARDED MOMENT COME FROM?
Well, once and for all, the true story! I had the title. I was sitting down with the title and I started to write...I started to feel like I wasn't going to come up with anything so I wrote down: 'it's so hard finding inspiration/ I knew you'd find me crying.' Ned Kelly, the movie, was on television, and from time to time, when I'd get stuck for something, I'd look up and see what was happening on the show and write down something like 'the horses for hearts' and 'the rifles for minds', 'their minds don't make me hang'. And coupled with that, although the song isn't about Ned Kelly, I was using that as an input into what else I was writing. I was trying to write a song about myself, how people try and hurt you, but they hurt you in a different way to what they imagine. I thought that that was probably happening to Ned Kelly to a certain extent because apparently he was just trying to do some good things. That's what it's all about. then again, it's not about any of those things at all.

HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO GET WORK WITH BOB CLEARMOUNTAIN? FOR AN UNKNOWN BAND, THAT'S A PRETTY HEAVY SET OF CREDENTIALS! I RATE CLEARMOUNTAIN AS ONE OF THE FINEST ENGINEERS AROUND.
Yeah. That was lucky! Bob's not the sort of guy who'd say, 'Who are The Church- I've never f'n heard of those guys. I don't want to work with them.' He listened to the music and liked it and it was arranged that he'd be interested in mixing our first album. And then he just got more and more involved . He mixed the double single and then came out here and did the new album with us.

WHICH YOU CO-PRODUCED?
Yeah. I mean, he got paid a lot of money to do it, but, by the same token, the guy was totally into it. I don't think he gets the chance to produce many things. he's often used as an engineer, which means that he doesn't get to put a lot of his own ideas forward as much as he'd probably like.

DO YOU FIND HIM AN IMAGINATIVE PRODUCER?
Oh... he's a genius! But instead of him being a Marc Bolan type genius who sort of flaunts it, he's just a very natural, humble guy and he's just so good at what he does that he just doesn't even realize it! I mean, people would be phoning up wanting to do interviews with him and he'd say 'why do they want to talk to me? I'm nobody. I'm just an engineer.'

I TRIED A SESSION WITH HIM AND IT WAS COMPLETELY POINTLESS. IT WAS LIKE 'I'M REALLY VERY FLATTERED, BUT I REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHY YOU'RE HERE'. VERY GENTLE MAN.
I mean, to lots of people, someone like Mick Jagger is a god, but to an engineer who works with him for two or three months at a time, it's nothing. Jagger's just a person. he's just doing his job. bob gets up at 7.00 am and rides his bike down to the Power Station from his apartment and, like, to him he's just another average guy. Instead o being good at plumbing or building houses, his gig is music.

WILL BOB BE INVOLVED IN THE NEXT CHURCH PROJECT?
There's very vague talks about us recording the next album at the Power Station in new York. that's his own environment. he built it. I can't see how we could do anything better than that. i f the record doesn't sound good after that then, you know, there's no-one to blame.

THERE'S BEEN MENTION OF YOU RECORDING SOLO MATERIAL?
That's still on the cards. Seems though that every song I was going to do myself Ignatius Jones is doing. i take them in to Chris Gilbey and next thing I know he's got someone else planning to record them.

ARE THERE MANY PROJECTED COVERS ON THE WAY?
Ignatius has done "Like A Ghost" and there seems to be interest in another song called "Love Is What We Came Here For". He might well record that one too. it's a parody of Dylan, but I don't really know if anyone'll pick up on that.
The last time I did some work in the studio it was originally supposed to be for me, but Marty and Richard came along and it gradually turned to The Church. The guys really liked the songs so they came in and played. We cut three songs; "Electric", "Electric Lash" and an instrumental called "The Golden Dawn". There was a bit of trouble because I was supposed to be using the studio for myself, but I snuck the band in. Those tapes could end up in limbo for a while.

EMI OBVIOUSLY WOULD LIKE TO PULL AT LEAST ONE MORE SINGLE OFF THE BLURRED CRUSADE.
Yeah. I'm sure.

WHAT SONG WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE RELEASED?
Well, I'd like to see nothing else come of because, the way I figure it, I'm not greedy, so I don't see why everyone else should be. I've never liked the idea of milking albums for singles, but I'm told I'm naive, as you say.

NOT IN REGARD TO THAT.
I'm told that you have to release second singles off albums because look what it did for Moving Pictures. That kind of thing. I'd rather leave it as a body of work on its own. I'd prefer to just leave it alone, move on to the next thing. I mean, anybody who wants to discover that album, it's there for them.

COMPARING THE CHURCH WITH MOVING PICTURES IS LIKE CHALK AND CHEESE.THEY'VE GONE ABOUT THEIR CAREER IN A VERY DIFFERENT WAY.
Oh yeah, but the marketing strategy is the same. After they released "What About Me?", the album started selling all over again. That's good economics and that kind of thing, but the way I look at it, I write a lot of songs and I'd like to get them all out. we've just recorded some new stuff. id like to release that instead, but it won't happen. The next single will either "Just for You" or "To Be In Your Eyes" [Note: neither of these was released as a single - Brian] . There's also a version of "I Am A Rock", which is the first cover the band has ever done.

THE PAUL SIMON SONG?
Yeah! I turned out really well. So, that's floating about waiting to come out too. [Note: It came out on the Sing-Songs EP, after Seance.]

HAVE YOU BEEN INFLUENCED BY ANY POETS?
Ah, there are a few other bands that I'd like to mention. I don't know if you've heard of the Doctors Of Madness? I saw their last concert in London and I was just amazed that rock music could move anyone as much as I was moved by that.

THEY DEAL IN PSYCHOSIS AND PARANOIA. THAT'S PRETTY FAR REMOVED FROM THE CHURCH. YOUR MUSIC IS VERY ROMANTIC, VERY SOLIPSISTIC.
For a long while after I first started writing songs I was projecting all these personalities.  I'd read that the New York Dolls'd do this and the Clash'd do that and this group would confront their audience and someone else'd sing about madness and some other band'd sing about groupies and drugs, you know? And after a while I came to the conclusion that I'm none of those. I'm a very mild-mannered person and I don't like confronting a child on the street let alone a thousand people in an audience! I don't feel like I'm going mad and I don't feel particularly angry, so I thought I'd be totally honest and write about the things that I'm genuinely interested in and let my real persona come out. That's what I do on stage and that's what I do on record. That's been the most successful way for me to do it. I think the trouble with a lot other people is that they're projecting things that just aren't them, and I think an audience sees through it even if they don't consciously know.
I mean, people say why don't I dance around on stage and why isn't there more interesting things said, but that isn't me. When I go to see a rock band I just stand there and listen and shut my eyes if I enjoy it. I don't dance. I've never danced in my whole life. there are no politics because I don't know anything about poitics, whether they be personal or world-wide politics or politics in Australia or those sort of things. The little I do know I couldn't really articulate, so none of those sort of things come within the Church's sphere of reference. I know the others fell much the same. We just love music and what music can do to you rather than all the paraphernalia which leads you away from it.
There is one school of thought, because our songs tend to deal with the soul, the spirit, the intangible, which is ultimately more important to us than politics anyway.

YOUR SONGS DO DEAL WITH THE POLITICS OF THE HEART.
Yeah, right! I mean, no matter what is happening in Cambodia or Uganda or whether you think women should be treated like this or like that, regardless of what your political beliefs are, we're all going to die. that's what a lot of the songs on the second album are about. Thinking about and confronting death.

YOU DON'T SEEM TO HAVE ANY FEAR OF DEATH JUDGING FROM THE LYRICS.
Oh, sometimes, I do. Sometimes it really intrigues me. Like, I'd say that just about every song on that album in some way concerns itself with some aspect of death; death and reincarnation.

ARE YOU VERY SPIRITUALLY MOTIVATED?
Well, I don't really have any set beliefs that I could talk about other than the fact that I know there's something happening, but I don't really know what it is, so I try and write about it in songs and hopefully I can turn myself and other people on to whatever it is. I have basic belif that music can say more to you than words.

SO, RATHER THAN MAKE A SPECIFIC STATEMENT AND/OR VALUE JUDGEMENT, YOU'RE MORE INTERESTED IN CREATING MOODS AND ATMOSPHERES THAT PROMPT A CERTAIN EMOTIONAL OR SPIRITUAL REACTION?
Oh yeah! When I see a band that I really enjoy, I often find that they put me in a mood, and being in that mood enables me to think of a lot of things for myself that I wouldn't have necessarily thought about otherwise. Thousands of images start flashing through my mind. It's like having a trip, I suppose, but music does that naturally. And that's what I've always tried to do with The Church: to be able to put people in that mood and then let their own sub-conscious do the talking.

YOU LEAVE ROOM FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE THOSE SPACES THEIR OWN?
That's what we try to do, yeah.

WITH ALL ITS OBVIOUS CONNOTATIONS, WHY DID YOU CALL THE BAND THE CHURCH?
Well, there are so many reasons, yet there's no reasons whatsoever. I feel that people come to see a band...like, I know that this sounds arrogant, but, hopefully, people come to see us and we can and we do put them in some kind of spiritual mood, which is what going to a church will do. It's a good collective noun. It's a bit cheeky.

YOU'VE GENERATED AN AMAZNG POLARITY IN PEOPLE.
Yeah. I think this is probably a very broad generalisation, but i believe we appeal to very sensitive, introverted people rather than...

YOU'RE NOT EXACTLY A DANCE BAND.
Oh, no! But, even on a sort of sitting home and listening level, I don't think we appeal to logical, arithmetical people...

LINEAR THINKERS...
Yeah. We're sort of aesthetes, i guess. I just hope that we're turning people on to something a little bit different. I mean, I know when I was fifteen or sixteen listening to Marc Bolan, it turned me on to something that I've never forgotten.

MARC ALWAYS MAINTAINED THAT THE POP SINGLE WAS LIKE 'A SPELL'.
Oh, yeah! I'd agree with that.

THE MAN WAS A GREAT MUSICIAN, FOR A TIME.
Definitely. I mean, why do people pay six or seven dollars to see a band, when, for the same amount of money, they can go see a film which has taken a year to make and it's got millions of visual effects, and yet, the fact is that cinema attendance is dropping off and rock'n'roll patronage is increasing. I mean, it is a spell. It's magic. It might be just three guys standing there playing guitars and another one hitting drums, and I'm not referring to just The Church, it's a common phenomenon and people don't know why. For most it's so hard for them to try and articulate what that indefinable quality is. The magic. And if you do try and chase it down, you can analyse it out of existence. It just appeals to the spirit, and the spirit won't be pinned down. I don't think the reasons that music does what it does can be pinned down.

I BELIEVE THAT YOU'VE DEVELOPED AN INTEREST IN THE WORDS OF ALEISTER CROWLEY?
I've read a bit of Aleister Crowly, a couple of his books. I've read the Illuminatus trilogy. There's a new one out called Masters Of The Illuminati which Richard and I both read and really got into.
I've written a few songs that I've never really done anything with as yet. They're supposed to be invocations and things like that, but I don't really want...

YOU COULD UNWITTINGLY OPEN PANDORA'S BOX?
Yeah, that's right. And when you open Pandora's Box you have to accept whatever it is that comes out.

----------------------------
First half transcribed by Cath, second by Brian Smith

Last Updated ( Friday, 22 June 2007 )
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