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Steve talks about longevity and getting better Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 September 2006
Originally published in Queensland street paper "TimeOff". THE CHURCH by Steve Bell

Plenty of bands on the international scene have been around as long as Australian rock icons The Church  -  who have been together now as an outfit for more than a quarter of a century  -  but very few can match their history of putting out consistently strong and invigorating music after that amount of time in the game.

Given that between them the band’s four members reside on three different continents, the fact that they’ve released an album a year for the last decade or so is quite astonishing. But it’s the fact that these records rarely retread the same ground and verge on being visionary -  as evidenced by recent release Uninvited, Like The Clouds  -  that is really quite phenomenal.

“The ‘longevity’ question is raised quite a bit,” singer and bassist Steve Kilbey muses, “and I think it comes down to the fact that we have a chemistry between us as players  - one that’s always been there. Occasionally, personalities interrupt that and people drift off the path one way or another, but we’ve always had a chemistry playing together, even if it’s just two of us. Sometimes I’ll go out and buy a coffee and when I come back my three bandmates will be playing, and it still sounds like The Church. So we’ve got a good thing happening between us and it’s just too good to walk away from.”

This obvious rapport may explain The Church’s longevity, but it doesn’t shed light on the unwavering quality of their output.

“We seem to be one of the few bands in our position, where they’ve been going for a long time but are not giant mega-bands like The Eagles,” Kilbey continues. “I mean nobody expects The Eagles to put out a brilliant new album, and they don’t have to and they won’t. They probably couldn’t, but they can still tour around the world and get a million people to every show.

“The Church are in a different position. Our albums have to be good, because that’s what we depend on. But if we really slip up and put out something middle-aged and tired, then people are going to say ‘That’s it!’. So to even justify our existence it has to be as good as we can come up with every time.

“I think we at the moment are revelling in that challenge to get better and better. Even though we’ve been together all this time
, we’re still discovering stuff. I’m discovering so much more about music  -  about playing, performing, writing songs, and just getting wild ideas and trying to be different all at once. The whole band’s into this notion that we’re going to be the band that gets older and better, because it seems like not many bands do it.

“There’s people wh
o get older and are still cool, like Dylan and Johnny Cash  - but is their new stuff as good as their old stuff? That’s what we’re want to try and do  - not to be a band that goes around on the nostalgia circuit because that’s got no appeal to me, and it’s not really what we’re good at. I think this is what we have to do  - keep blazing the trail until one of us drops dead.”

The Church play The Tivoli Saturday Oct 7. Univited, Like The Clouds out through Liberation.
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