arrowHome arrow Written arrow Interviews 1996 to 2001 arrow Marty talks to InPress comparing The Church to British rock bands Friday, 19 January 2018  
The Church
  All I ever wanted to see...was just invisible to me.
Lyrics (ext. site)
Discography (ext. site)
Image Gallery
Video and Audio
Guitar Tab (ext. site)
- - - - - - -
Buy Church Music
Contact Us
- - - - - - -
Old Shadow Cabinet
Top Sites

Official band site
Official Site


Discography and Lyrics
Discography, Lyrics, Tours


Hotel Womb - Bulletin Boards Dedicated to the Church Fan



Steve Kilbey's blog
Steve's blog

Immersion Music - Peter Koppes' label
Peter's Labels' Site


Spacejunk - Tim Powles 
Tim's Studio Site


Marty Willson-Piper's Official Homepage
Marty's Facebook


 Heliopolis - a Steve Kilbey site now hosted here

Steve Kilbey fan site, 

(archived here)

Marty talks to InPress comparing The Church to British rock bands Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 February 2000

The Church -Revelation
A Box of Birds
by Everett True
Inpress issue 600, Feb/March 2000

Irony is the great curse of the late 20th century. Fuck everything else. I'm not talking about good, old-fashioned criticism. As the Surrealists had it, life should be a continual process of critical re-evaluation. There's nothing wrong with having a sorting swtich in your head, an ON-OFF button which you can press when encountered with such supreme dullards as Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure and whatever other purveyors of mope rock happen to be passing. There's nothing quite as annoying as bands attempting to recreate the music of their youth, dusting off tired old motifs and refrains that should be left in the museum alongside whichever corporate moron it was who decided that what we really needed in the mid-90's was good healthy dose of "punk" - like there was any relevance left in the term...

No, I'm talking those arch-ironists Beck, the Beastie Boys and Boyzone. Bands who think there's something smart in creating crap music and then throwing us a wink, a nod, as if to say, "hey we know this is crap too". What, like that excuses your fundamental banality? NO NO NO! Knowing that you're crap and remaining the same, means you're even more crap. Look at my colleagues left back in England on magazines like the NME and Q, left scrabbling in an ever-diminshing pool, reliving the same cliches of criticism for 20 years because they won't acknowledge this one self-evident truth. IRONY STINKS! It was useful once in popular culture - about 25 years ago - but now it's used as an excuse for pretty much everything from The 10.30 Slot to Beat magazine, from Jim Carrey to whichever flavour of the month British music has vomited out recently, from Powderfinger to Silverchair to techno to the hideously overacted Friends.

I shouldn't like The Church. They're gloomy, morose and ultra-serious. They're archivists -as evinced by their new collection of cover versions A Box Of Birds. They are about as white, as middle-class male, as unfunky as rock bands come. They're like The Cure, washed clean of all make-up and jangly pop tunes. They're everything that the music of my youth - punk rock, loosely - found revolting and revolted against.

The Church write music like they are trying to continually underscore the message THIS IS IMPORTANT in triplicate. No, pop music should not be important - it's there to be listened to one moment, digested, enjoyed, and thrown away the next. Like this magazine that you're reading, the whole purpose of popular culture is that it's transient. Isn't it?

And yet, listening to their covers of songs like Hawkwind's magnificent, brooding Silver Machine and Television's intricate on-fire Friction (which still sounds vital, 25 years on), I can't help but feel myself warming towards them. The Church put so much passion into the one, supremely meaningless line "Oh man, who needs TV when I've got T-Rex?" from Mott The Hoople's teenage wish fantasy All The Young makes one almost want to re-evaluate one's whole basic core value system. Because they -and David Bowie who originally wrote the song - are right. It's the insignificant details that matter. Always. The big picture is out of our reach. Always has been, always will be. In the main, we can only affect and be affected by what is immediately around us, the trivialities.

It's true that all of the songs The Church cover on A Box Of Birds were recorded by artists in the prime of their youth (Neil Young, George Harrison, Ultravox included) It's true that by recording them 20 years on, Steve Kilbey and The Church are betraying the values that rock was built upon - loosely, sexual tensions and naive passion. There again, rock is a reprehensible beast at best. Yet it doesn't matter.

The Church have such a love for their music, that I can forgive them anything. Really. It's so fucking refreshing to hear a band so totally lacking in irony. Love is still the motivating factor.

"Should music always be this serious? You should see us when we're together in the van, joking about," guitarist Marty Willson-Piper laughs. "Fatboy Slim's music sounds like comedy to me, but he's always serious in conversation. We're the reverse. It's like the Beastie Boys, their music sounds like comedy. I know it's uncool not to like them, but I've never liked them - it all sounds like a bunch of hoons in a comedy shop to me. Everyone goes on about how deep they and Beck are about the emperor's new clothes. Beck is the worst offender. It's just so obvious what's wrong with them, and yet both the public and the critics love them. I don't go along with it. That new Beck single is absolute rubbish."

With your guitar-laden rock music, and reverence for what went before, you're indirectly responsible for that whole wave of "dad-rock" from England, from Oasis and The (ugh!) Verve downwards. Do you feel you're an influence on them?

"No because we're a hell of a lot better than Oasis,"Willson-Piper replies simply. "If we're responsible for them, then they didn't do their homework properly. One too many F sharp minors. Lyrically, they're an abortion. I heard recently that they sold 150,000 in the first week of their new single - 130,000 copies more than it usually takes to get to number one in Britain. They've just added another Wembley date and are playing Reading for a couple of million quid. Yet if The Church comes to London, we're lucky to sell out a couple of nights at the Garage and sell a couple of thousand records. What's going on? Sure, Oasis have a nice couple of tunes and Liam has that cliched rock star yob attitude. Maybe that's all the public want...

"I don't mind Oasis," the guitarist continues, "but when you think how huge they are, it doesn't make sense. The fact they can get on the radio and many great bands can''s like a moron's monopoly. They're all right, the Charlatans are probably a better band than them - but they aren't selling out Wembley. There again Ocean Colour Scene are playing six nights at the Astoria...What's going on? They don't even have a good image! Average songs, average look, average band. I can't work out why something's huge and something isn't. Look at The Verve - do you think The Verve have heard The Church? We're lucky to get a couple of lines in Mojo occasionally, but they sell a million copies...
"We were doing it while everyone else was still fucking around with syn-drums, so we have an excuse. When we started, we had to compete with Duran Duran. And we've always been far more lyrically interesting than all those groups.

Last Updated ( Friday, 21 January 2005 )
Most Read

Mambo is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.
design by
Page was generated in 0.032410 seconds: Left = 0.015707, Top = 0.015638, Main=0.016261, Right = 0.014778 Bottom=0.016418

0 queries executed