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Interview with MWP during 2009 tour Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 June 2009
Originally published at http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/flint/index.ssf/2009/06/the_church_were_not_finished_y.html, Marty talks about ambiguity, song selection etc.

The Church: We're not finished yet

by Christina Fuoco-Karasinski | Contributing Writer

Calling its latest album "Untitled No. 23," Australia's The Church likens the title to a line in one of its early hits, "The Unguarded Moment."

"We tried to make things ambiguous," said guitarist Marty Willson-Piper during an interview with The Flint Journal. "There's a line in one of the first hits we had ever had that says 'deep without a meaning.'

"The thing is, the ambiguity suits the mystery of the words and the soundscape that the record presents to the listener. Meaning everything's open to your own interpretation."

A collection of 10 simplistic epics, "Untitled No. 23" hit stores in late May. A double limited edition LP features three extra bonus tracks. Willson-Piper questioned a reporter asking about the "untitled" tag.

"In the art galleries in the '50s, all the paintings by the great '50s artists, they're always called 'Untitled' and nobody ever said, 'why?'" Willson-Piper said. "They just sort of went, 'OK. It's called "Untitled.'"

"Why give it a title and make it a specific thing? It's like searching for a lost chord. As soon as you nail something, it loses its interest. It's the unknown which is attractive. Having said that I think The Church have managed to, in 29 years, still be seen as unknown. We've managed to do that some how - probably to our detriment. We're still unknown to some people. There's going to be people picking up the paper in Flint and going, 'Who? They've been together how long and I've never heard of them? How is that possible?'"

Willson-Piper explained he believes The Church - which also includes bassist/vocalist Steve Kilbey, drummer Tim Powles and guitarist Peter Koppes - has been together for nearly 30 years because, simply, the band members are not finished creating music together.

"Steve's favorite line is stealing from Roger Waters," Willson-Piper said. "When asked about Pink Floyd, he said, 'We haven't finished with each other yet.' It's a journey of discovery. As long as you keep on picking up and seeing what's underneath the stones, you always have a reason to exist. As soon as you lose interest in that, there's no reason.

"Plus, there are lots of fans who are extremely interested in the band," he added. "It's not hundreds of thousands like it is for Bon Jovi but I guess we're attempting a different trick."

The Church's fans will be able to hear "Untitled No. 23" live when it performs at the Magic Bag on June 25. Willson-Piper said fans can expect band members to trade off instruments and hear a cross-section of songs from The Church's career.

"We do try to play songs from all different eras and regions," Willson-Piper said. "We just pick songs based on the songs rather than the album. Sometimes we go, 'OK, we're not doing anything off that album.' So what do we do? The next time we come, we always look back at our set list and go, 'Last tour we didn't do that, and this tour we did. So why don't we drop that one and pull that one in.'

"But I think you might find we do two to three songs off an early album and no songs off another early album just because we're choosing them in how we feel about the songs. Of course it has to work with what the band is. Some things with the past don't fit in any more. Based on where we are now, which is the new album, we hang everything off what we think we're achieving with that and slot things in around it. We don't sort of do old songs and then say who we better put new songs in. We do it the other way around. "

One of the "old" songs fans can expect is The Church's "Under the Milky Way," a tune that Willson-Piper never gets tired of playing.

"It's still a cool song," he said. "It fits in. It works out great live. People do really like it. It's a funny song. It's an acoustic thing but it's really quite fast. You don't realize how fast it is. You think it's kind of a dreamy thing. But it's actually when the drums come in it's really kicking along there. It's not an out-of-date cliched hit. It's not sort of a bygone-era song. It's kind of a cool song that works in the set. As soon as it doesn't work in the set, I guess it won't be there."

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