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Peter talks American success and English press reception Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 June 1988

A brief interview with Peter about the band's success in America with Starfish, and the reaction of press vs. fans in England. I think this is from the Sydney Daily Mirror


Church Rocks 'Em In the Aisles

Sydney Daily Mirror, 1988?

Much-maligned Australian band The Church are finally starting to make their mark on the massive American market, and guitarist peter Koppes says it's not before time.

Their single, Under the Milky Way, has climbed to No 50 on the prestigious Billboard Top 100 and their latest albu, Starfish, is almost as strong at No 61.

Yet, though the Americans are warming to the Aussie guitar band, the British music press remain cold.

The band may not set the charts on fire in England, they have a dedicated band of followers and play to sellout crowds in London.

Koppes, who has been with the band from the early days in the late 70s, said the band were confident they would make big inroads in the US.

"It's about time," he said. "People's ears are widening to a broader spectrum of music
"It hasn't been a compromise, but we're certainly a lot more accessible than we've ever been with the single, Milky Way.
"The heavy-metal stations play it like a Stairway To Heaven and the easy-listening stations play it like a moody balled.
"If you get air play, you get a reaction on the charts - and that's what's happened.


"We've always been liked in a big way by Americans - some of our fans over there say we're their favorite band in the world.
"Milky Way has been a great introduction for us to a lot of people."

The Church recently flew out on a four-month tour of America, England and Europe, which will include a three-week European holiday.

Koppes said the main reason for the English press's indifference was that they didn't understand the band.

"Some of them love us, some of them like us, and some of them hate us," he said.

"The provincial papers and radio stations love us, but the main rags prefer to misunderstand us - that's the way I like to see it.

"Their criticisms are levelled at us from a purely fashionable point of view - which they're obsessed with - and other derivative angles.

"I'm not saying we're unfashionable, but we try and maintain a non-fashionable stance for independence and longevity.

"We've definitely been misunderstood - they're still tagging us as a band trading on 60s psychedelia. They call it psychedelia, but lyrically there's no one in the world like Steve Kilbey (bass guitarist and songwriter) as surrealism goes."

But while the press don't understand, their English fans are the most enthusiastic in the world.

He said all the criticism is forgettable after playing to full houses on tour and at one show at London's Town And Country Clubs the fans were literally jumping over backwards.

"They were jumping backwards off the stage because it was so packed in the crowd - they were just so ecstatic," he said.

Graeme Pringle

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