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Marty speaks to Print E-mail
Monday, 30 December 2002

Marty Willson-Piper is the seminal guitar player of the legendary rock band The Church.  If you have not heard the new Church release After Everything Now This (you can preview some audio clips here), it is well worth your time to check out this timeless album.  We lost this interview in a computer crash for a few months so it is just a few months dated. 

Marty also has a great catalog of solo releases and may be on the road from time to time.

 Fretweb: Hello Marty, how are you doing and what part of the world are you in right now?

MWP: I'm fine, busy as usual and in Sydney.

Fretweb: Congratulations on After Everything Now This. It is a rich, warm, and incredibly enjoyable album both aesthetically and musically.  I believe it is the best Church album to date (and that is saying a hell of a lot).  Did The Church create all of these songs in the studio or did each of you bring pieces or songs to the sessions and work though them?

MWP: We created them in the studio. That is how we usually do it. It works for us.

Fretweb: I caught the San Diego opening show of the last tour and it was great.  It was interesting to see you and Peter Koppes playing acoustic most of the show.  How did you decide to use that configuration for the tour?

MWP: mixture of things really; do something different, play quieter on stage, try to capture more of the subtleties of our music.

Fretweb: What have you been listening to lately?  What bands could a fly on the wall of the Church van on tour expect to hear coming through the speakers?

MWP: Well, I ?m  eclectic in my tastes and we do occasionally find something we all like, but last tour Steve and I were in with the crew in Europe and Pete, Tim and Laney were together. I think theirs  was the music car and ours was the rye comment car. In the States I was with the crew again I think, unless  we flew ,because I tend to be the navigator too. Is this true?? Mmm?"?? Anyway , music...........I had a bout 200 Cd's with me.....and I can't remember one single CD over another. I listen to too much music to pick out half a dozen.

Fretweb: Are The Church finished with the After Everything Tour?

MWP: Oh yes!

Fretweb: Can you elaborate a bit on the guitars and amps you used on the After Everything now This album?

MWP: Well, we did it in four countries and I used my own Vox AC30's, and borrowed AC30's in Oz. Guitars, A lot of my 59/60 (Nobody is sure) Jazz  Master.  I suppose my ?'66Rick 6, Not a lot of 12 string Elec from me on this one I have a Burns  as well as a couple of Rick12's and I use both. Can't remember specifically.   I'm sure I used my Hagstrom 6 string acoustic and my Takamine 12

Fretweb: You are known to play the Rickenbackers, primarily I have seen you with the 360's can you speak a bit to your relationship with these instruments and the company itself?

MWP:  The company is great. They've fixed a couple of seriously damaged guitars for me. They really have fixed the unfixable. I've had necks broken off and guitars broken in half they have been really good to me.
I always said I liked Ricks because they are hard to play. For me they have small necks and I have big hands, they don't play themselves like Strats do!!  They feedback, they get thin, they are fragile but when you get it right  there's nothing like them, magnificent guitars.

Fretweb: Do you have any opinion on the tube amp and solid state debate?  I know some players are strongly biased against solid state amps and some are content with whatever sounds right for the situation. You are a guitar player that has always managed to have a very original tone and style and I'm curious to hear your take on this topic.
MWP: Well, yes I'm valve crazy, but I've found you can still get a good tone for certain parts through anything. What my ears want to hear as far as taste in tones is one thing but what is right for a particular piece of music is another. Remember you are not always trying to make a guitar sound like a guitar!!

Fretweb: Any personal favorite effects units you have relied on and used consistently throughout the years?

MWP:Ibanez UE405 Multi Effects, The very first yellow Boss OD1 , Watkins Copycat (the valve one,Ha Ha!!), Roland Space echo 301/501, Boss chorus CE1, (The metal one), Original Big Muff('71), Roland Long volume pedal...Very important........and a whole lot more in the studio.
Fretweb: Your last solo album Hanging Out in Heaven is a fresh sounding album.  The production is really nice.  Songs like Sanctuary and Forget the Radio are very timeless sounding songs. The guitar work on Swan is really big and strong, can you talk a bit about your guitar setup on that song and the album in general?

MWP: Yes I can It was a Gretsch Duo Jet borrowed from  Keith Joyner who used to be in The The. What else though , effects wise I can't remember
The album was a project started , a project stopped, a project taken over by somebody else, moved to another country , re-mixed and finished with 5 new songs added. It was a frustrating trial to complete but there's some very cool songs on there.

Fretweb: The band on Hanging out in Heaven sounds very cohesive, who are those guys playing with you on that album and have you played with them previous to this album?

MWP: Erm.... well, Keith's on there. He's done some live stuff with me before , Patti Hood the same on her 1926 Lyon and Healy harp, Christer Bjorklund on drums for the Swedish section, Andreas Ahlenius on piano. I have produced records in Sweden where Christer has drummed and Andreas engineered. We have a little production team that works on records from time to time..when we get asked. is there anybody else...ah yes the person who will kill me for not mentioning them!! Shep Lonsdale played drums on some tracks.  He started the record.  He engineered Starfish and GAF.

Fretweb: Are you working on any other projects right now and if so what are they?

MWP: Oh yes, my long time collaborative creative partner outside The Church has been Dare Mason. He has co produced and worked on all my solo records except "HOIH". He also produced "Sometime Anywhere" for The Church. We have a new project coming out very soon called Noctorum on Heyday records in the States and Um & Ah in Australia. Nobody in Europe as yet. We wrote the songs together I sing and write the words, play bass and guitar. Dare does ,some bass, some guitar, Bv's, Keys and makes it sound  amazing. He is the Producer and mixed and also sings one of the tracks. Release date, Well Jan /Feb 2003.
There is a Swedish band called Dorian Gray who have asked me to Produce and play on 2 or 3 tracks , just trying to work the logistics out on that one.
My other project is of course the E Zine that I have started with Matt Denyer a great Web Designer. The premise is musicians reviewing records. Getting a lot of positive feedback
If you are a musician please get in touch. If you are a music fan please read.

Fretweb: Any solo tours planned or is the Church going back out on the road next?

MWP: I will do some solo dates in Australia in December and January. Hopefully some Noctorum dates in Feb in the States. I guess the next Church dates will be around the middle of 2003

Fretweb: Any plans for the next Church album?  

MWP: Two months into it and sounding great. (Update: I just talked to Marty and right now the album is being mixed)

Fretweb: What would Marty Willson Piper be doing for a living if he wouldn't have been able to make a life of music?

MWP: Language teacher

Fretweb: Thanks Marty, best of luck and see you on tour.
Last Updated ( Monday, 22 November 2004 )
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