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The band discuss Priest=Aura with B-Side magazine Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 April 1992
 Publisher:  B-Side Magazine (New Jersey, USA)
     Issue:  Vol.6, No.2
      Date:  Apr, 1992

    By Sandra A. Garcia

Paradoxes, puzzles and lotus buds.

    By Sandra A. Garcia

Priest might equal aura, but to the Church interview equals
torture. Figure out both equations and the prize is yours.

Granted, the prolific Church has been doing the interview
circuit for many years. Formed back in 1980 in Sydney,
Australia when bassist/ vocalist extradionaire Steve Kilbey
teamed up with guitarist Peter Koppes, the band later
expanded when Marty Willson-Piper decided to ditch
Liverpool and head south. They're on their third drummer
with veteran percussionist Jay Dee Daughtery, no stranger
to high quality recordings coming from years with Patti
Smith and Tom Verlaine.

And yes, the Church has been misunderstood, misclassified,
(woe to the inept critic who still lamely insists on
referring to them as psychedelic) and very under
appreciated for too many years.  But so have many bands.
It's also known that The Church have always regarded
interviews as spurious endeavors, but now the task is a
Herculean hassle. They don't relish being hauled about the
country talking to dullards who often ask the same
questions over and over. Steve detests being herded about
in limos ("We feel really stupid.") And unfortunately, the
final round of their days of torture is in my lucky hands.
Words cannot describe my dread.

"Writing is not a profession but a vocation of
unhappiness." - Georges Simenon

Watch the birdie! Out of the corner of my eye I see Steve
joking "just call me Marie" as he makes a slicing motion
across his neck.  Lovely. Jay Dee and Peter quietly wait;
Marty is friendly but extremely anxious. And a delay due to
a stubborn piece of equipment finally annoys everyone.
After a half hour of massive head butting (how many times
can you say 'please get closer together' without gritting
your teeth) Steve decides he's had enough.

Finally they're off to be further tortured by other evil
journalists.  My photographer and I decide to shop, this
action a sure cure for anxiety. Unfortunately by the time
of our rendezvous for our "relaxed" dinner the Church has
diminished from a quartet to a trio: Marty Willson-Piper is
lying incapacitated in the back seat of their limo plagued
by the mother of all migraines. No wonder he was so
jittery: he only had to tell us... we're not that cruel!

"When you release an album you can't be forced to come up
with this anecdote... so suffice to say I stumbled across
this phrase, it was an accidental phrase and I just thought
it would be an good album title cause it felt profound when
you think about it but it doesn't really mean anything.
Depending on what level you think about it, it doesn't have
any meaning or it does. It's a good album title. Just like
Pass the Wine could be an good album title."

That's Steve response to nothing I asked, just a random
sampling of free floating conversation about their album.
There's a strict set of rules I live by, and one of them is
not to ask the album title's meaning. But since it's been
brought up, fine. And Steve, we do realize that everyone is
going to read what they want into a title so... who really

"That's right. So why not call the album Pass the Wine and
they'll go 'oh geez, that really means something. Something
to do with the last supper or something,'" he murmurs.

Now there's a creative link. Supper's (hopefully not the
last) arrival provides a wicked exchange between Peter and
Steve. Peter has ordered the mock duck at this vegetarian
restaurant deliberately offering some to Steve, who
violently recoils.  "No, it tastes like fucking duck. Just
the thought that it's trying to be duck makes me feel sick.
I just don't want it.  Imagine if it was called Caucasian
slices or bits of Indian's toes. And you knew that it was
fake human, you know?" he complains.

"Look mate, if I saw a duck and I was hungry I'd fucking
kill it and pull its bloody feathers out and stick it over
a fire and eat it," Peter needles.

"Well, you would, I wouldn't," retorts Steve with disgust.

"Pass me a piece of that mock duck," rubs in Jay Dee.

"Mmmm, just like duck," he savors, giving a laugh. "Not

"No, not really. This duck is just like the music business,
where people compare bands to others and they're not alike
at all," Peter points out.

"Mmmmm, that was a clever way to get the conversation back
around to music," mumbles Steve dryly.

"I've been doing too many interviews and I want to go
home," laughs Peter with a wince.

I'm trying hard to be sympathetic but the band did come
over here specifically to encourage interest in their
tantalizing Priest=Aura album.

"The worst thing about it is getting up. Really. The most
important part about being a musician is having this
freedom to get up when you like. You laugh but it's true,"
Peter smiles.

"I haven't slept these last two nights and I've ended up
with a smoking habit."

"Awwwwww," mocks Steve. "Oh, blame it all on rock and

Peter notices lotus button-like mushrooms in his food,
declaring, "I'll go to sleep right here. And I'll have
amazing dreams. He should have left them all lying there.
Most of them died after that.  Why Ulysses woke them up..."

"Exactly! He could have left his men lying on the island of
dreams eating lotus and having these wonderful dreams of
existence," Steve shakes his head.

"He's the only one that got home," dismisses Steve.

"He was just ambitious. That's the problem with ambition,"
replies Peter. "I'm not ambitious. What is ambition: to
better yourself, to get more money or to make yourself more
powerful? I think the greatest ambition is to be able to
lead a life with peace of mind.  To die without regrets."

But then there's the connection between ambition and
earning money for artistic efforts. "It is a positive
reflection. I think that if Van Gogh had made some kind of
living out of selling his paintings he probably would have
continued very happily. It's really sad that he had to

But did struggling create his mad brilliance?

"That's another point," Peter smiles. "He probably saw
purity in the essence. Certainly when you look at Bob Dylan
and the Rolling Stones you know that suffering has got
nothing to do with art cause they don't suffer," he
laughs.  "I think a lot of people put down musicians for
making music for the sake of the money. Because it's not
really that, it's the attention!"

Fans always wonder what their favorite band thinks. They
enjoy discovering the minds behind the music that excites
them.  Granted, too many times I meet bands and realize the
musicians aren't what I expected: then I have to return to
re-examine the spark that drew me to their music as I
didn't find it in their minds. I hope I'm not being too

Peter gives a little frown, "Well, you have to take into
consideration the mood of the day or maybe it's been a bad

We all know about moody, dark days. But there is a natural
curiosity to discover...

"It's also a mistake," declares Steve in a cold, hard
tone.  My hair stands on end as I almost forget he's next
to me.  "Because music is a thing that... the best music
works on vague reasons and ambiguity. And I know from
personal experience the less you know about something the
more you like it."

That's not always true. Not at all.

"It's not like falling in love, that's for sure," jokes

Steve's not having any of this. "You can meet someone and
think they're absolutely wonderful, and I am sure this has
happened to all of us, and you take up with them and the
longer you're with them something starts going wrong."

Just because you discover someone's flaws doesn't mean you
hate their creations. You can't expect perfection in

"I usually grow to like people," agrees Peter. I certainly
appreciate him just now. "I never fell in love just like
that.. .usually it just grows on you and then you

Steve interrupts testily, "OK. OK. That falling in love
analogy... as with anything you can always find an
analogy." First degree conversational murder. Silence.

Until we get what I dub as the Steve Kilbey speech,
delivered in his hypnotic voice. I truly expect him to
stand on his chair and ask for quiet when he begins. "I
think in regard to the Church, someone for whom this record
just falls out of the sky, they don't know what we are or
who we are or what we look like or what we think or why
it's called anything, to that individual that album just
falls out of the sky and they live in some remote part of
Australia or America and they just get that album and go
home and enjoy it, for them, they will have the greatest
enjoyment out of it, apart from anybody else."
 Counterpoint: if they saw an article about the Church
 wouldn't they want to pick it up to learn about the men
who have given them such intense happiness?

"They would. They would want to read it. That would be
perfectly natural but in satisfying that urge to know more
about the thing they like they would slowly be
disappointed, they may be slowly disillusioned. Or they may
think, 'oh, I thought this was all about that or this song
was that, or I thought these guys were for that but I've
misinterpreted that.' And eventually the wide source of
enjoyment that they got out of it while they read more and
more about us and if they actually met us, eventually all
those things would have limits put on it," he explains with
deadly seriousness.
 If they like the music enough, if the music means so much
 to them that isn't going to happen. Such talk reveals a
display of little faith in people's musical addiction.

"The optimum thin is to have the album exist like it fell
out of the sky as this finished thing. That's why this
hasn't got any excess verbiage on the album, it's just who
is in the band, who produced it, the label and the
picture," Steve describes. "Contractually we had to put who
the producer was cause other wise... I would just like to
have put: The Church: Priest=Aura and that's it, and maybe
the names of the songs. Even to say where it was recorded
someone's going to picture us in Sidney making it. Whereas
if you don't know where it's recorded..."

Gavin MacKillop helped the Church produce Priest=Aura, if
you're curious. But how can most people picture the Church
in Sidney if they've never been there? I have little idea
of Sidney.

"No you don't but I am sure if I say Sidney and I said
think about Sidney you'd start thinking about it," Steve
doggedly persists.

The time has come. I loose it, breaking another
interviewer's rule:  don't loose it. All right, if Steve
really wants to know what I think about Sidney I think
about that ugly opera house or whatever the hell it is that
I see on Quantas airline commercials. I also think about my
Aussie Scrunch Spray. But I certainly don't associate
either with the Church.

"You might start thinking about kangaroos," wickedly laughs
Jay Dee.

Oh, don't you even start with bad Australian puns.

Peter is mildly upset by my attack on the opera house,
defending, "It's not ugly anyway."

Steve rapidly declares, "We're off the point now. The point
is, to me, I read the Iliad and William Shakespeare and I
don't know anything about those people, especially Homer,
no one knows anything about them, and just not knowing
where this stuff came from gives me a thrill," he

Gives you a thrill.  Other people want more information.

"Yeah, but there's a good point where you can't get
anymore. It's like a magician... OK, you go see a
magician.  He does a trick, he doesn't show everyone after
how he did it!" delivers Steve heatedly.

"That's a very good analogy," admits Peter.

"If you play a song, and someone goes, 'God, that song
moved me to tears, what's it's about, why did you write it,
what kind of person are you?' and you sit down and say
'well I wrote it because me and my girlfriend split up...'"
begins Steve.

So don't answer the question so bluntly.  Be artistic.

"But whatever you do in any way to a certain extent you're
explaining the trick! You are! And, regardless of what you
think, I'm not trying to say that the Church are too clever
to talk to any magazine. I'm just pontificating on this
vagary that the Church have finally evolved to the stage
where unfortunately, the way I feel about it, we've made
this record where obviously I want to promote it and talk
about it but I don't think there's really much to say
except here it is, we really love it, we put all our love
and care and effort into it, all the wisdom and skill we
thought we could into it. There's nothing more to say."

"If I could I would always work in silence and obscurity
and let my efforts be known by their results."
 - Emily Bronte

Albums falling out of the sky... hhmmmm. Steve feels I'm
taking him too personally and he can't understand that. I
can't understand his defensive posture before I've asked
one single album oriented question: can't we just converse
and let the information naturally appear?

"I'm saying that ultimately, for the sake of this record
especially, we've reached a point where there's no question
that can really shed any light on it. It's like somebody
does something really spontaneously and you say to them
'why did you just do that' and they go 'I don't know, I
just did it.' This album is as spontaneous as you can be
with a three month process."

Steve suddenly feels the need to further explain himself.
Perhaps I am turning purple. "This is just my spiel as it
was edging closer to questions which you find you can't
answer.  I know that I / we are difficult to interview but
we're not difficult because we are obstinate."
 This statement finally breaks the tension, provoking loud
mocking laugher from everyone. Since commercial radio
doesn't exactly appreciate the band, what about people
who've never heard the Church? Perhaps they'll read about
the band and be curious, correct? "Well, OK. Here's to the
person who's never heard us. If you never heard our music,
you should check out this album because this was made
through love, because we really love the music we're
making. If you like sort of abstract, gray European
panoramic blah, blah, blah, music, you should check out
this record.  We should be in advertising instead of doing
interviews. Unless you're going to treat your interviews as
an advertisement which is pretty inconsiderate."

Many groups treat interviews like that. What is an
interview? "An interview is you selling your magazine and
us selling our group, and we mutually get together to do
that," replies Steve.

This is getting us nowhere. I could prove by my questions,
but I won't, that I have no intention of asking the meaning
of the album's name, the meaning of the album, or the
meanings of any songs. But I don't have to prove anything.
But I still want to know about the Church as a entity, as a
band that's been going for years without any one member
feeling the need to promote themselves beyond the rest.
It's a subtle display of a non-verbal acceptance level.

"I think so. I think that's why we tolerate each other,"
remarks Peter. "We're all wildly varying individuals."

"I think there's a lot of subjugation in this band.
Individual tastes that go to make the conglomerate that is
the Church. Some guy asked us our influences and we claimed
the Church is influenced by the Church. We've become a
self-defining mechanism that is sort of largely a
non-verbal band," describes Jay Dee.

"We don't know anyone else like us, especially with this
album," muses Peter. "We've left comparisons behind. And
that actually confuses us too. We don't know if we've done
something great or not. In our own hearts we think it's
good but we don't know if it's going to actually

Apparently when people first heard the advance of
Priest=Aura a major response was 'there's no single on it!'
What a horrible, materialistic way to judge such a
beautiful, sensitive experience.

"There you go," murmurs Steve softly. I said something

"It's the public that has the ultimate decision," remarks

The first triumph is The Church feels what they've done is
the best they can do. They can stand by Priest=Aura to the
fullest. "If you feel that you can impress the people who
think you're important, that's all that counts, not if you
sell a lot," explains Peter.

That was the case with the Starfish album. One break
through single latched listeners onto the Church in America
for that album.  But did they come back for the amazing
Gold Afternoon Fix?  "Mainstream people who heard 'Under
the Milky Way' on mainstream radio could have heard new
tracks from the next album and didn't buy it cause they
didn't even know it existed.  That kind of thing happens,"
claims Peter. "But you know what? I don't think we ever
actually annoy people. Steve makes a joke of this as it's
one of my things when someone asks what do you think and I
comment 'It's inoffensive.' I think that's a compliment. I
mean if something is offensive it turns people off. We
don't bother anyone. But therefore the people who really
like it really, really like it. We have a special

And new percussionist Jay Dee felt this special feeling,
noting he felt he immediately fit into the band for the
Gold Afternoon Fix tour.  "Aside from the initial
nervousness of joining an entity that's preexisted for ten
years before I've come along, which was a bit nerve
wracking for me, I was put very much at ease. I was treated
very graciously by the band. And what the Church is getting
at are pretty close to some of the same aims of the Patti
Smith group or Tom Verlaine. There is really a major thread
running between the people I have worked with and the
Church. It wasn't difficult to fit in at all."

"Well, after he punched everyone in the group out," jokes
Steve.  I will resist comment. I will. Really.

"We had to sort a few things out," agrees Jay Dee,
bellowing, "Yo, Kilbey," as he pretends to throw a punch.

"I think the Church is vastly improved by Jay Dee's
presence. He's just as much a part as anybody else. And he
really contributed to the last album in a lot of different
ways that Richard (Ploog) never did. He would sit in when
we were doing vocals and make comments on the vocals and
the lyrics and he was there for the mixing.  Richard never
did that, Richard would play drums and piss off as quick as
he could. So if anything Jay Dee is more of a contributing
member then Richard was," praises Steve.

Notice that the initial aggression has diminished.
Invisible white flags wave overhead with out any
causalities on either side. Imagine that.

Another intriguing aspect about the Church is their ability
to create such coherent music without constantly working
together.  Marty lives in Sweden, J.D. still resides in New
York, Steve is in Sidney and Peter gravitates between
Sidney and a small coastal New South Wales town. The magic
is to make these distances translate into music that feels
like the band meets once a week to refine ideas.

"Well, we just ring up everyone and say 'we' re going to
start work on April the 4th, everyone be here' and everyone
turns up and we all go 'oh no, we're all back together
again,'" jests Steve. "We jammed for a month, wrote this
record and recorded it."

There's the self-described spontaneity. That's an amazingly
simple process for such complex sounds.

"That's how we write songs. I grew up not thinking that
people actually wrote songs. I used to just listen to
them.  I was quite shocked to realize that human beings
actually write those," describes Peter.

"We don't slave over the music. If it doesn't seem
spontaneous right at the get go it's like," as Steve makes
a dismissive buzzing sound. "We record a whole lot of songs
on a tape and we give it the old Roman," he theatrically
pointing his thumb down. "Sometimes you have to beg for
something's life, and hope that it doesn't get too many
thumbs down. But usually the really good ones everyone
likes. So that's what you just aim for, to have the really
good ones that everyone likes. There's always a couple of
dogey ones that get axed along the way. But everything we
recorded went on the album except two songs which are for
single A-side's." Steve's continuous control of the lyrics
also accounts for the coherent tones within Church sounds.
Normally whoever sings the songs write the lyrics. I don't
like everyone collaborating on lyrics like 'woke up this
morning'...'So, what do you think, lads?" 'Uhh, why this
morning?' Why not today?' Words are best left to one
person. I don't think we'd get anything done otherwise. "I
can well imagine with these men.

"I think you can really tell when people agonize over
songs. We don't. People get shocked by our casual
attitude," Steve shrugs.,

But as we said, people project opinions onto a band. Most
probably envision the Church as deadly serious about every
aspect of their music. "And I think it's nice to let people
think that way.  Steve. "For some reason, some people like
things less if you say, 'Yeah, l just knocked that off in
five minutes, that's just some stuff I made up.' They don't
want to :hear that about something that .  helped them
through the death of their parent. They want more like 1
worked on this for five years, man, and every word I
sweated blood for.' People want that."

People would like every utterance from an artist they
admire to carry weight. Wonderful, now he's starting to
make me analyze an interview's worth. I may be destroying
someone's grand illusions about the creative process. Oh,
too bad. "I don't think I've ever taken more than ten
minutes to write lyrics to a song in my whole life. If it
isn't there in ten minutes then I think I'm doing something
really wrong," admits Steve. No one will appreciate Church
music any less for that natural skill.

Now that's he's relaxing into talk (see, no nasty
questions...), Steve comes up with another point. "'There's
this other principle that kicks in when you've written a
lot of songs, you get the weight of your reputation behind
it. If you're a brand new song writer and you want to write
'I really love you,' you feel awkward and mawkish about it.
But if you're like Richard Butler, he can say 'I really
love you,' and the whole weight of him and everything he's
ever said and done is behind it, and it becomes this
twisted thing of 'oh, that means something.' So that's a
good thing that kicks in after you've been writing for a
while and you have a few records out. As long as you're not
too abusive with your privilege you don't have to try quite
as hard. You can toss things off and go 'hey, I can say
that!'" he grins.

"I don't have to explain myself now!" jests Peter in

The Church's music has always been hard to explain. Those
psychedelic tags and Byrds comparisons still being used by
the feeble minded trying to perpetuate a fallacy aren't
tolerated anymore. Those tendencies were dropped by the
Heyday release. Peter's non-offensive description really
says it better. Steve amusedly replies, "'Chaos' is a bit

No, that's a stunning song. "I was playing it when my
mother was around and she found it offensive. She said 'I
don't know when you can make such nice music why you have
to go and make such an awful racket like that.' And she
turned it right down," Steve laughs.

Priest=Aura languidly funnels to that explosive point so
'Chaos' works fantastically where it is as it is. Another
surprising aspect of recent Church albums is one can listen
to them no matter what the mood. As much as I love a band
like Nirvana, I can't listen to them in any mood. They're
not great for depression. But the Church takes on so many
shadings the music is there for the mind at all times. It's
the special feeling Peter mentioned.

"One of our main aims, and not to say this in a new age
sense at all, one of my aims is to make music that
soothes," explains Steve.  "Because I think it's really
easy to make music that irritates. I'm not saying Nirvana
here at all cause I like Nirvana, but it's easier to make
irritating confrontational music than it is to make
soothing music that isn't schmaltzy music. The real trick
is to write this beautiful music that isn't schmaltzy or
too wimpy. That's difficult, it's difficult to always get
that right and go 'A-hah!' Sometimes we succeed and
sometimes a song gets irritating through being schmaltzy.
Most of the time I think we have achieved that."

Steve gives a good-natured grin when I innocently inquire
if he feels the Church have let some schmaltzy stuff slip
through their quality. "I could sit down and list about
twenty songs but..."

Please, we'll pass on that. I don't want to discover the
songs I love are your schmaltzy pablum.  This is an old
theory but I will repeat it. I think there's a lot of
ugliness in the world, there's a lot of noise in the world,
and there's a tot of ugly noise in the world . You don't
have to go to a Meatpuppets concert to hear a lot of loud
angry noise," muses Steve.

"It's a reaction to the frustrations in society," cautions

"Oh no, I'm not denying the need for that," Steve quickly
asserts.  "But. there's also the need to create some
pleasant sounds. Not pleasant in a negative way but
soothing music that isn't necessarily dissonant. I think
there's a need for a group like us to create soothing
beautiful music or mysterious music or sad music. Music
that isn't confrontational, commercial or schmaltzy, but
stuff that can perform a function. You can fall asleep to
it or dust your house to it or doing the washing up. I will
always do the washing up if I can be alone in the house and
put on a record I like and turn it up really loud. Then I
have no problem washing up. If I can't do that then I can't
do the washing up," Steve smiles, adding, "You can imagine
how easy it would be for the Church to make a noisy,
dissonant album."

Definitely. They possess the ability to create a wall of
noise with the best of them. But then people would wonder
what the Church is up to if they suddenly started bringing
their live noise to record .  "I don't know. I don't know
if people sit around and wonder about anything we do. We're
not that kind of group, are we? It's hard to judge n Steve

"I think more people know the music than know the name. And
that's a pretty sad thing to say, too," sighs Peter without

The fortune cookies arrive and Steve enjoys his fortune.
"'A pleasant surprise is in store for you.' I hope that's

"Mine's philosophical. 'The only good is knowledge and the
only evil is ignorance,"' reads Peter.

"A record in the top twenty,"' reads J.D. with a grin. Now
there's a fortune!"

Ill avoid a misfortune, thanks. Speaking of misfortune
since Marty's not here I don't want anyone to get the
impression I want to talk about him behind his back. But
keeping to my vague topic of the Church as a band entity, I
did want the band's reaction to Marty's being recruited
into All About Eve after Tim B. answered Andrew Eldritch's
siren call.  Steve  doesn't surprise me when he claims
there was no discussion about Marty's move. "I'll tell you
what, this band is the intersection of our four careers,
and other than that what anyone else does is:' as Steve
shrugs, exclaiming, "I mean he can go join the bloody
Buddhist choir in Tibet for all I care. Jay Dee could join
the Vienna Boys choir."

That may be dangerous.

Steve nods, declaring, "Then I may ring him up to come play
with the Church and he'll answer 'Yes," as he adopts a high
pitched squeak.

Jay Dee just grins as Steve continues, "From my point of
view I was happy to see Marty in All About Eve. I hope he
joins another half a dozen groups. I mean we're all doing
different things..."

Yes, there's the large amount of solo work and even duos
like Jack Frost and Hex but All About Eve is an already
established group.  That's a little different.

"It is?" queries Steve.

Marty could decide to leave the Church permanently.

"I think it's really healthy though. But... imagine if I
went off and joined Guns 'n Roses. And what is the rest of
this band going to say? 'Don't do it?'" Steve's overstated
analogy causes Peter to mock, "I'd say 'you don't look good
in spandex'!"

Hold on, my only point was if the rest of the band really
cared about Marty's decision. That's all. "Maybe a
disparaging comment or two was made," admits Steve. "But I
think musicians should play with as many different people
as they can. The thing about this

group we've been around so long we don't have that silly
thing...  I imagine if that happened when we were first
starting up we'd feel like they were poaching him... But
now..." as he shakes his head . "I think that stuff is
necessary when you're in a young band.  That's the way you
suffer all the slings and arrows. When you play a nowhere
club at five in the morning and no one comes. You get back
in the van and go 'we hate the world, we're the only thing
that's good, we're in this for 115.' But after a while
that's no longer appropriate. Groups that still have that
mentality when they're older..." he frowns dismissively.

As long as Marty brought something positive back from his
moonlighting experience... Steve grins, "He did actually,
cause he came back playing guitar with a volume pedal,
cause he got a free volume pedal out of the deal. It
sounded good."

Jay Dee and Peter are choking on chuckles. Let's make it
obvious how little Marty gained artistically. Steve smiles
anew, "Even if you go away and realize how good you've got
it with your own group, that might be a good thing. The
only bad thing would be to go with another group and they
were suddenly successful and made a lot of money and then
asked you to stay with them full time. I'm sure someone
could be bribed out of the group. I know I could! If I was
offered enough money I'd be out of the Church! Honestly! If
someone came along and said we'll pay $10,000 a week to be
under exclusive contract to us and not to play with anybody
but us, you'd go 'where do I sign?'" laughs Steve.
Honestly?  Steve is serious. "You'd do it! Say it was an
offer like the Beatles were reforming and 'we want you to
be in it.  We're going to give you a million dollars a year
but you can't be in anything else' and they say 'but we
still want you to write songs and be yourself' you'd go...
'sorry lads,' and I am sure they'd understand! And I would
understand it for them. And if All About Eve did become
huge and Marty had to leave, then that would be part of the
evolution of the band.  I wouldn't hold it against him, as
long as he gave us enough notice."

"And enough money!" laughs lay Dee.

"Yeah, if he called in on a tour and said 'hey, I'm not
showing up tomorrow'..." as Steve mock pummels Marty in

After the laughter dies again Steve offers, "As a musician
you're an amoeba floating through a sea of financial offers
waiting to sort of take up symbiosis with the big one.  The
trick is to try to hold down as many as you can as you
float along.

"But I think with a band with the Church it's like four
freelance musicians who get together and do this thing
every couple of years."

And it just happens to work incredibly well. That's more
then a special feeling. . . that's luck. "It is one of the
lucky combinations that works in the studio." agrees

There's that branching out for solo albums and the return
to the lode. "But none of our solo albums have been
particularly successful anyway. So you've gotta say it's
not exactly like we have this big choice: the Church is our
main shot," Steve confesses.

Usually solo albums are a prime indication that somebody
isn't getting all they want from the group entity. Steve
notes, "That's true. And I think that's slightly the case
here, for this band and other bands. But also here there's
very prolific musicians who write lots of songs and lots of
pieces of music that can't be contained in one album every
two years. I write like three songs a week. They're all as
good as 'Under the Milky Way' or anything that' s on our
new or old albums. They're all as good as each other. So
what am I going to do with them? I just can't wait for the
Church. So I just do as much as I can."

Steve acknowledges that working on his solo projects helps
his growth with the Church. "Writing songs with other
musicians is great. You really do learn things from other
people. Everything you learn with one you can bring to the
next one. I know I brought positive things from Jack Frost
to this album with the Church. I don't know what they are
but I just know it. I got ideas from Graham for doing
things.  It would be useless being a complete bighead like
'oh, what have I got to learn from you?' I wouldn't choose
to interact with that person."

A touring discussion brings up the fact that the Church's
management helped set up Lolapalooza. This in turn sparks
complaints about why were so few female performers
presented? After some discussion Steve finally claims, "I
seriously think that women are more evolved than men, as
men cause most of the problems in this world. Cause they
have the opportunity to... I just had two daughters, and I
am so happy they're girls cause it's so much nicer bringing
up girls than boys as there's so many horrible things I can
now avoid. I don't know... I'm pro-women, I just produced a
woman, and I'm always looking for good women singers to
work with. Women make the best singers as well.

"But there are very few women producers. Why is that? It
may be that men are more interested in that.. sometimes you
just have to say there's a point when it comes to mixing
boards and playing around with machines I know a lot of
women musicians and too many of them are not interested in
playing with the silly little machines in order to get
their song across. Maybe for some reason it is in the
upbringing," he reasons.

"And I definitely think that the Church is aimed at the
female aspect. Our music is definitely aimed at that
source, a female state of mind, not necessarily a feminine
state of mind. It's not aimed at a territorial 'we want to
rock.' It's more of a contemplative, gentle, emotional, sad
kind of thing."

No one would accuse the Church of being testosterone
driven.  It's that non- offensive attitude. It never
bludgeons, it beguiles.

"The romance has a lot to do with it," states Peter.

"There was a guy who interviewed me this week who said on
this album I played this character with this tough
anti-female stance. I was like..." as Steve looks
completely disgusted. "Like on 'Ripple' and others but
that's just an honest thing with one girl who you really
feel did you wrong, it's not an attitude. It's 'why did you
do this, this is what you did to me,' and I'm reacting like
this to it. It's not like 'yo, all women are the same.' So
there you go," he asserts.  "More women engineers and
producers. This is what we need."

"Here, here," grins J.D.

These guys are alright. Being that Marty is still out in
that back seat we call it an interview. It's off to New
York, to return to home points next day. Steve promises
better things next photo shoot and I just smile. We shake
on it.

New rule to add to the list: never art direct the photo
shoot before the interview. Never. And never be the last
interview. Perhaps it's the confrontational personalities
that can make such soothing, magical music. You learn
something new each day.

And I still absolutely adore their infuriatingly beautiful

"If we had to say what writing is, we would define it
essentially as an act of courage.."  - Cynthia Ozick

Sorry all, I forgot I had this one!! I hope no one has spend any effort
typing it in already. 
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