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Early interview with Steve Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 January 1981

An interesting but short interview with Steve from very early on.

Going to the high altar of Oz rock


Amid the ever-increasing mediocrity of Australian rock, this year's surprise success story surely belongs to The Church.

Only a few months ago, the band was playing second-rate support gigs; now, it's riding high with a single, Unguarded Moment and an album, "Of Skins and Heart", climbing the charts.

"We accidentally stumbled upon our sound," Church singer/bassist/songwriter Steve Kilbey said, "And now that we've got it we want to develop it."

The Church, which started in 1979 with Kilbey and guitarist Peter Koppes, will be in Adelaide this weekend for a concert at the Stage Door. Sponsored by Radio 5SSA-FM, the entrance fee will be $1.07.

"I was just writing by myself," said Kilbey, a former computer programmer. "Peter liked the songs, so we decided to get a band together."

Recruiting drummer Nick Ward and then another guitarist, Marty Willson-Piper, The Church began gigging. Soon disillusioned, the band poured all its (meagre) resources into a making a demo tape which was to be its saviour. Chris Gilbey, of Parlophone/EMI "listened to the tape", said Kilbey, "liked it, and signed us up."

Almost immediately the band began recording and early this year released its debut single "She Never Said". But it wasn't until "unguarded Moment" and Of Skins and Heart that The Church looked like real contenders. The next Icehouse, perhaps?

Although Kilbey cites his influences as "mainly chemical", "Of Skins and Heart" simply begs comparison with the Byrds, the Beatles and, in more contempary terms, Bowie or the Only Ones.

"We're really going for that sweet, melodic guitr sound." Kilbey said. "That's what I like.

"I think we've defined our sound and I think I've defined a persona for the band. I know what we can do, and that's what we do."

Kilbey desribes his songs as "deep without a meaning," an excellent catch-phrase if ever there was one.

He's still not satisfied with Of Skins and Heart, though. The Church has just put down five songs for a double-single to be released next month and, according to Kilbey, it "achieves what Of Skins And Heart almost did. When people hear it they'll release where we're heading."

Since the release of the album 18-year-old- wonder-drummer Richard Ploog has replaced Nick Ward. And The Church's sound on stage is arguably superior to that on record - punchier and yet retaining its intricacy and subtlety, and with much more immediacy.

Nothetheless, Steve Kilbey's aim is to eventually"get out of live performing and just make records." Already, the band has secured an overseas recording deal.

"I really just want people to enjoy it," Kilbey said.

Clinton Walker, Sydney. 

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