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Steve on the band's labelling over years Print E-mail
Sunday, 25 April 2010

Brief interview with Steve about how the band has been labeled over the years. Originally at

Aussie quartet the Church brings act to Lakewood's Winchester

Most bands celebrate 30-year anniversaries with nostalgia. The Church is doing it with songs.

A ton of songs -- even if only one became a hit.

The Australian quartet hit the charts in 1988 with the moody ballad "Under the Milky Way." It never came close again.

That would qualify most bands as a one-hit wonder. Or even worse, a one-hit wonder making a comeback -- to play a set's worth of material while the audience waits for the one song it came to hear.

Not the Church.

The band -- vocalist-bassist Steve Kilbey, guitarists Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes and drummer Tim Powles -- continued to play on long after its hit, as a cult band with a loyal following that remains three decades after coming out with "The Unguarded Moment," one of the early '80s catchiest rock songs.

"We always got lumped in with these movements when we started," says Kilbey via phone during a tour stop in Minneapolis. "For a while, we were new wave. Then we were 'mope rock.' "

The latter tag referred to bands that, well, mope around on stage while performing brooding, melancholic strum-alongs.

"It was like 'emo,' I guess," says Kilbey. "Except it never really took off."

Neither did the Church, which suits Kilbey just well.

"Yeah, we come out of a melancholic tradition. You know, writing songs about yearning, like walking down a foggy beach at dawn after you've lost your lover and all," he says. "But we were basically these scruffy, long-haired blokes that wanted to play rock 'n' roll."

The tag that really struck Kilbey, though, is Aussie rock.

"Being from Australia is more of an attitude than a sound," says Kilbey, who was born in England and moved Down Under as a child. "We never had much in common musically with Midnight Oil or INXS, and, no, not AC/DC."

Saturday, when the band hits the Winchester, it will play acoustic versions of songs from every album, in reverse chronological order, including last year's "Untitled #23"disc.

"It's a bit of trip down memory lane," says Kilbey. "We'll provide a musical retrospective, but also talk about the band, the songs and the past."

When it comes to Cleveland, Kilbey remembers a certain unguarded moment that took place during a 1986 show at the old Peabody's DownUnder in the Flats.

"Peter had to play the whole time behind this pillar and no one could see him," says Kilbey. "He was so upset that he upended this big table backstage -- food, drinks and all."

Ah, nostalgia.

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