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The Great Revival: Marty talks about the band's gruelling schedule Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 January 1987

As Starfish climbs the US charts, The Church are touring hard.

Unknown Australian Source
Late March 1988

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The Great Revival

by Greg Taylor

For a member of a band many thought moribund, 30-year-old guitarist Marty Willson-Piper is pretty active.

Here’s a bit of The Church’s itinerary for the last six weeks: “We played in Belgium, Holland, London, Madrid, Munich, London, Paris, Toronto, Minneapolis, Los Angeles. Then New York for a week in the studio...

“Next we did Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Rome, Milan, Valencia, Madrid, London, Paris...

“I’ve been here for a week, and on Saturday I go to America.”

Eighteen months ago, you wouldn’t have thought The Church could rise to a bus trip to Dubbo. EMI had decided that, after seven years and six albums, the group was not displaying the expected commercial potential, and unceremoniously dropped them.

The band appeared to wither on the vine. But the foothold gained in the US by the Heyday LP was reinforced by some judicious if low-key touring, and when a new record deal was completed, The Church were ready to come back in force.

Starfish, the new album, and the single, Under the Milky Way, are surging up the middle of the American charts. Meanwhile, back in Sydney, Milky Way hit No 1 as the band reassembled in its nominal home town for a few lightning gigs before the next US assault.

“Nominal” is appropriate, at least as far as Marty Willson-Piper goes. The other three members -- Kilbey, Peter Koppes and Richard Ploog -- are still based here, but Marty, the former Liverpudlian, now lives in Stockholm with his girlfriend, singer Ann Carlberger.

And he wouldn’t come back permanently for quids. “I love Australia, but I don’t want to live here. I think it’s a great...town.”

Besides, he’s not too happy about current local reaction to The Church. A Sydney Morning Herald review a fortnight back, which spoke of “the same dreary little outfit they always were”, has him incensed,

“Australia is the hardest audience in the world to impress,” Marty fumes. “We got a No 1 single, a mild reaction and the worst review we’ve had in our lives!”

But he’s a trooper, our Marty. “We’ll keep on coming back,” he says.

Still, it sounds like The Church will spend more and more time where the audiences are wilder than mild, and the reviewers are kinder.

In any event, Marty will be keeping busy. He’s releasing a second solo album, Art Attack, on Survival Records next week, and writing a semi-autobiographical book called Swallowed.

And he still finds time to tour manage the band on Australian gigs. “I am a bit of a workaholic. I’ve still got this Liverpudlian mentality that ‘If I’ve got a job, then I must be doing all right.’

“And the job I got just happens to be pretty cool....”

-----

Transcribed by Mike Fulmer

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