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Steve talks about Blurred Crusade Print E-mail
Friday, 01 January 1982

This interview mentions the name of the man, Ron Brown, who directed the videos for You Took and Almost With You, which were part of a short film to be shown in cinemas.  I saw Ron filming an interview with Marty in Melbourne a few years ago; I wonder what became of it? Interesting point: many of the BC songs were old and could have been on Of Skins and Heart.

The Church's Bifocal Campaign

Blurred Crusades

By Elley McDonald

Melbourne - "We got Album Break-out Of The Week, and we were the top moving album on the charts - not the biggest selling, but we've made the biggest jumps. As fast as they can press them, the albums are selling out." Speaking three weeks after its release overseas, The Church's mainman Steve Kilbey is understandably enthused by the success of the band's second album, The Blurred Crusade, in Canada.

"All the people I've talked to on the phone from Canada are saying 'You guys are going to be the next big thing here,' and I can see why. the Canadians aren't as critical as the English. Most English people could think of 10,000 reasons why they wouldn't like us: Are we mixed up in the psychedelic revival? Am I singing like David Bowie? Then you've got the Americans who would say we're too avant garde, we don't fit into the Air Supply mold or whatever. But the Canadians are like Australians. They don't accept just anything, but they enjoy a good time - and that's probably what The Church are more than anything."

So what is it that lifts The Church's material above "just anything" and makies it good pop - if indeed Kilbey does consider his output to be pop?

"Well, I don't really," he replies, attending to the second part of the question and gagging momentairly on a piece of toast. "There are only two or three pop songs on the new album. The rest are sort of extended pieces. If I knew what makes a good pop song, I could sit down and write hit songs from now till the cows come home [SC: "I was walking through town till the evening comes down..."] But like, a rcord can come out and everyone says it's going to be a hit because it's such an obvious pop song, and it doesn't happen."

The Church are, naturally enough hoping their current single,"Almost With You" and The Blurred Crusade album itself will happen, and happen unequivocably. The last single, "Too Fast For You," didn't, while the first LP Of Skins And Heart sold a very respectable 50,000 units. Despite their success with "The Unguarded Moment" (also released as the single overseas), The Church are not in the upper echelons of locals bands, but they're amitious and, both within the band and in terms of the resources behind it, they've got a lot going for them.

The Blurred Crusade, which found its way into the Australia record stores a few weeks after international release, was recorded over a month at EMI's Studio 301. Also released in Europe and America, it was co-produced by The Church and Bob Clearmountain, the American engineer best known for his work on the Stone's Tattoo You and Roxy Music's Flesh + Blood.

"We contributed most of the musical ideas," says Kilbey, "And he contributed most of the technical ideas. He was very honest, modest and humble - an easy-to-get-along-with person. There were no kinds of arguments or clashes, no dictatorship, at all. Bob would say 'Why don't we do this?' and if we said no, he'd say 'OK, it's your record. We'll do what you want to do." it seemed so easy - he just came in and did his job.

Kilbey, who wrote seven of the 10 songs wholly and the lyrics to the three tracks where other band members receive co-credit, says he is "more than happy" with the result: "As far as I'm concerned it couldn't have been better. I din't think there's very much that could be improved upon."

"A lot of the songs on this second album and a lot of the songs which will probably be on the third album are very old, and they would have been available to go on the first album. But because of the market at the time and the people concerned, it was relly simple, basic, easy songs that went on Of Skins And Heart. And because it was our first, we were so caught up with the fact that we were allowed to go into the studio and make an album. It was fairly overwhelming, so we didn't really fight to put on the songs we intended to. It was not the way I wanted to do things, or would want to do things again."

It's evident Kilbey likes to keep close control over the way the band functions, a role which he admits has somtimes led to "a bit of dissatisfaction and dissension" from other members of The Church. "But every band I know has arguments, obviously," he points out. "Maybe it's just that we're more honest about it, or that I'm stupid enough to talk about it..."

Assuming things continue to go well for and within the band, there's a possibility that mid-year could see them launch a North American tour. In Australia, The Church kick off a tour to promote the album in early March. By then, they hope to have most of a short film in the can. Directed by Ron Brown, who directed the award-wining clip for Mondo rock's "Cold World", the film is intended for use in commercial cinemas.

Kilbey, whose manner is strikingly less arrogant than expected, is coy about the film's format. "It's a little story," he lets on. "it's got some knights in armour in it, to tie in with the Blurred Crusade."

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