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Steve talks about money and El Momento Descuidado Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 December 2005

Steve talks to an Adelaide newspaper about the E.M.D album.


SE Pulse


WC 840 words

PD 7 December 2005

SN Southern Times Messenger


ED 0

PG 81

LA English

CY Copyright 2005 News Ltd. All Rights Reserved


STEVE Kilbey admits he'd gladly sell out and settle down amid the trappings of wealth, but hasn't worked out how to do it.

His 26-year-old band, The Church, has only occasionally sailed in the mainstream and any attempts to stay there have sunk.



"Believe me, if I could sell out and make a load of money so someone goes `that Steve Kilbey, he really sold out, what a joke', I'd be happy sitting at the end of Money Street," Steve says.

"But it didn't work for us and it never has worked. Every time we've made a decision because we thought it would help sell records or get a leg up in the business it always turned out really badly for us.

"So we got bitten and bitten, and after a while we just went `f--- it, we just want to do our own thing'."

Even the songs that made The Church's name, gems such as The Unguarded Moment, Almost With You and international hit Under the Milky Way, were flukes, according to Steve.

"All the hits we ever had, except maybe Metropolis in 1990, which was written as a single and sounds like it, nobody felt like they were hits . . . when I wrote them and certainly when we were recording them."

Steve describes many of the original versions as "uptight", which is why he's deriving pleasure from "rediscovering and reinventing" the songs on Liberation Blue acoustic release El Momento Descuidado.

Even he believed The Church's signature was two electric guitars weaving through his voice and words, but unplugging has been a revelation for Steve and cohorts Marty Willson-Piper (guitar), Peter Koppes (guitar) and Tim Powles (drums).

"That's what we always thought, but just rehearsing for these shows we've found there's a complete other animal inside that.

"I'd always thought that the electric thing was the way to really express something, but with The Church in the last few months I've been feeling like we really can get things across this way that we can't the other way."

The band's national tour to support El Momento Descuidado will dig even deeper into the back catalogue to reveal the "spookier, haunting" quality of the songs in skeletal form, but it won't be completely unplugged.

"I'll be playing bass guitar. I could have one those basses that looks like an acoustic guitar but the sound of it is so bad, I found it was paying unnecessary lip service to the idea.

"But everything else will be acoustic piano, mandolin, guitars, drums, percussion, harmonica. There'll be nothing electronic happening.

"We're doing some brand new songs and some other old ones, some that we've never even played before (on stage)."

It's small wonder that The Church never managed to keep its commercial foothold for long.

The band looked out of place from the moment it released 1981 debut Of Skins and Heart, opting for paisley shirts, jeans and unfashionably straggly hair over make-up, kilts and ludicrous designer haircuts.

The singer/bassist is candid about the quartet's determination to kick against everything the '80s stood for.

"We're not from the '80s, I hated the '80s, I'm not from anywhere. It gave us something to react against, all those terrible bands.

"When the Church first got together we weren't sure what we were going to do, all we were sure of was all the things we hated. And we hated skinny ties and short hair and plastic pants and new romantics.

"What we wanted to get back to was this perceived golden age of lots and lots of electric guitars and blokes with long hair, when it all seemed to mean something.

"That's why it's so painful when people go `I remember the '80s and The Church', and I go `no, no, don't lump us in with all that'. We always felt we were a '60s band in the wrong era."

Staying true to their beliefs, inspirations and instincts has never been easy, but while others have faltered The Church has remained prolific and unpredictable, both together and apart.

El Momento Descuidado came on the heels of Forget Yourself (2003) and Beside Yourself (2004), and the band has just issued an all-new album, Back with Two Beasts.

Away from the Church, Steve has expanded his creative interests beyond music, developing into rock's renaissance man.

"I'm dabbling in everything. I was in a musical version of The Merchant of Venice, playing Shylock, in Sydney this year. I've got a couple of books of poetry out, I do a bit of painting . . . it's all connected up somehow, it all seems to come from the same place.

"I'll have a go at doing anything, except ballet."


The Church at the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel on Wednesday, December 14.

Bookings: 8340 0744.

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