I was surprised at the number of wonderful memories and postings this observation sparked. Marcelo Guevarra suggested I collect them together and make them available over the web. Here they are.
Wow, did it blow me away! Synthpop was fading a little (I begrudgingly had to admit) and I finally opened my eyes to something without a drum machine. I was crammed into a house with four other guys, had no car, worked at a grocery store (= no money), and lived across town from the college campus (which made it a challenge, with my car-less status, to get to class every day). And life was great! I can still remember going to bed at night, with probably more than a few domestic brews settling in my stomach, listening to "Destination" and drifting off to sleep...What about the rest of you? What were you doing when Starfish hit the shelves?
Nights that went until 3 AM - and I had to be at my day job at 7AM.... It was really exciting to have been so involved in the music biz when Starfish came out. I was left with a real sense of the level of success - and the general industry buzz they caused at the time. I had been such a follower of the band - and they had released nothing in 2 years - there was a great deal of anticipation when Starfish was finally released - and as much for the re-issues when they turned up a few months later.
Personally, I never have fawned over that lp. (Hey Sue - obligatory Waddy sucks comment) I liked it. I liked the fact that soooo many kids liked it. And that this caused many to investigate the other lps.... As for many of us, the Church are kind of a *cause*... a Blurred Crusade, so to speak, and I was happy that one of my *pet acts* had finally gotten near the top.
I also look at those daze fondly as they were the edge of my impetuous youth and all that. The last years of having fun with 'rooms and vitamin *a* - smoking joints in the back seat and all the really crazy fun one has before they *settle down* (like silt on the bottom of the riverbed) and do something absurd like get married... and have children.
This music was a part of it.
john said there was only 1 left at stinkweeds (records) when he was there last. after a little of begging him to drive me there, i finally submitted to riding my bike about 2 miles in the aforementioned 110 heat, and there spent my last 7 $ or so on it, sped and sweated all the way home and played it endlessly.
p.s. the tape finally died about summer 1993 in my car after winding itself around the insert inside the cassette... i promptly unscrupously traded it in for 2 $ and bought a new copy.
Plus, it was always great to see a band I liked played on MTV.!!!!!!!!!
I was happy.
That is why Starfish is my favorite album, though I love them all.
I was a junior in high school at the time and living on St. Simons Island in Georgia. One of my best friends at the time, Tina Szelist, and I were always checking out new bands and sharing them with each other. I also remember reading Rolling Stone and any other musical magazine I could find and perusing the reviews for new bands to listen to. At the time I was into a lot of English and American music such as The Fall, Fetchin Bones, The Housemartins, The Pixies, The Godfathers, Robyn Hitchcock and so forth.
I was also dabbling in Aussie music and had found The Lime Spiders, Mental As Anything, Midnight Oil, The Go-Betweens, and Exploding White Mice. Tina told me one day about the Church and how Starfish was an excellent album. I had seen/heard Under the Milky Way and for some reason it just didn't connect with me. However, shortly after I was in a mall and Camelot Music was selling the cassette for $5.88. I decided to pick it up based on her recommendation. When I listened to it I had a magical experience. The album just connected...I have no other way of explaining it. When I heard Lost, A New Season, and Hotel Womb I was swept away. (Even now I wish the intro and outro to Hotel Womb were longer...) Needless to say I plunged into the deep, swirling seas of The Church and never looked back.
Certainly, I wasn't the first fan the band ever had. But I love them as if I were.
Also, in March, I was on the guest list to see the Church at the Roxy in Hollywood but for some reason Mike Lembo cut the list and we never made it in. To this day I still think I have that little Lembo doll somewhere around here with pins sticking out of it....no matter, I caught them that August at the Palladium and my life was changed forever...
Nostalgia is a great drug,
When the first notes of Destination came out if the speakers, I was drawn in immediately. By the time Hotel Womb faded away, I was hooked. Next day, I bought Starfish. The day after, Blurred Crusade. After that, I went out and got anything I could get my hands on. This is the album that made me a fan. Although it isn't my favorite Church album, I have a strong sentimental attachment to it.
All this talk, about an album release from a decade ago, makes me feel old; the fact that my oldest son celebrates his 11th birthday today makes me feel older!
By the way, his favorite song is Pharaoh.
In late 1987 I got my first CD player, and the very next day, there was UTMW in the stores! I picked it up along with Seance. I started making cassette copies to listen to in the car. Wow what a group. I love those jingly minor-keyed guitar lines, and haunting vocals.
During the next few months I was able to obtain all the Arista USA releases of The Church and enjoyed them all. But nobody besides myself had ever heard of The Church!
During 1989 I would search any and all music stores for anything Church. There was no internet access back then and information about The Church was impossible to find. I would go to the stores and hope there would be something sitting in the bins. I did not even know that the band was Australian! I did find the UTMW/Musk 7" vinyl single in this way. Then in 1990 came a gold mine... Gold Afternoon Fix, Megalopolis and Russian Autumn Heart compact disc all at once! Talk about happiness. I listened to them constantly. GAF remains my second favorite Church album after P=A despite what has been said about the drumming. Something about it that I really like.
These days I still look forward to the next Church release about every other year. Let us hope the stream of fantastic music never dries up.
So I went out and bought the album on this track alone, something I don't tend to do after being burned so many times. And honestly, I thought it was a real stinker, with the exception of UTMW of course. It was extremely smooth and polished, and that really bothered me... I wanted some more bite to it. I think I was 'into' some other music at the time, probably something as simple as the Cure or Joy Division. Where these bands can get blatantly 'goth' or 'punk', the Church was neither, and I couldn't quite put my finger on the 'sound'. So I really only listened to UTMW over and over... that was good pop, good melody, but I didn't really understand it yet.
And then I found Heyday in a cut-out bin in a Musicland. I bought it mostly for the cover, thinking I was getting into some trippy psychedelic thing...and you might say the pic of Marty coaxed me into it. So I put it on my turntable... yeah, albums, remember those flat round black things? From the very opening chords of Myrrh, I thought... wow, what a gem, I've really stumbled onto something fabulous here! It was really different from what I was listening to at the time. I went back to listening to Starfish, exploring it a bit further, and just had to go out and buy all the Church studio albums the next day. Every single one I could find, scraping up all the pennies I could. At that time, finding Remote Luxury and Seance on CD was not difficult. I recall being really bored with my current music choices, and the Church offered me something fresh and imaginative. And something to sink my Brain into.
Heyday was my very first CD ever. Starfish was second. That was the year I just had to buy a CD player.
I also remember that year I was introduced to at least one Church fan, and then when I went to college, meeting and becoming best friends with a Church fan. I can recall long nights of the lights out, just lying on the floor in his room and listening to the Church over and over while occassional drunken screams could be heard around the rest of the dorm. Ah, sweet bliss. (Not the drunken screams.)
I really think Starfish opened a lot of doors for the band, and certainly opened doors in my own life, as well as my eyes as to what music could be. That was certainly an eventful year for me.
I got stationed at Travis Air Force Base which is about an hour from San Francisco. After partying all night at a club called LIPS UNDERGROUND almost every night of the week we would drive back to the base and crank STARFISH in the tape deck of my friend's Ford Galaxy 500. We were the shit. It was almost exactly enough time on I 80 from the bar to the base. Beautiful. "In my hotel womb...."
It brings a smile to my face when youngsters say to me 'oh the Church, didn't they sing that song 'UTMW'? Pity most of 'em don't say 'yeah, they also sing that song "The Disillusionist'' or some of their *other* songs too.
Sentiment is a great thing, is it not? Keep 'em coming, folks, I'm really enjoying this. I'll admit, I'm a sporadic poster to the list, but it's so cool to see others who were equally affected by this band. I mean, think about it--we all associate this music with a certain period in our lives, a period in which many of us were a little less burdened by the responsibilities of life.That's something I've always done--associate music with the time in my life when I listened to it. I could go into "Gold Afternoon Fix," too, but I guess that's another thread. What I failed to mention in my last post about going to sleep to "Destination," etc., is that it was my favorite "sleeptime" music for YEARS after. Well, I'm looking forward to more "retro Church" memories and hoping that I'll post a "Bastard Universe (A Retrospective)" in 2008.
Glen (in Arkansas, where the grossest food we have in pork brains & gravy in a can)
And the B-side, Musk, was pretty tame too... I had not been impressed with the Heyday album either, and figured, well, they've seen their best days..
Got the album. Hmmm... same cover art as the 12"... How imaginative...Put the album on.... Where are the riffs??? Ok, UTMW is growing on me...Hmmm...this is different.... No, let's go back to "Seance"....I still played my selfmade "best of" tapes more than the album....
Trying to convince my co-workers who were 10 years younger and into the Cure, Peter Murphy and the likes.... I hated Murphy....
"Hey M, guess who's playing in San Francisco in a couple of weeks??? Murphy and the Church!!! And some dude called Tom Verlaine..." The most satisfying moment was taking the Murphy fans to buy tickets and asking the clerk which band was headlining... "It's the Church, strangely enough..." I had an out of body experience right there, just to see the grin on my own face.....
3 months later they played SF again, and I dragged 2 of my Norwegian buddies to the concert.... The fuckin' best Church concert and one of them was yawning and looking at his watch, the other one desperately trying to meet a SF hippie girl (yep, I know. I apologize...) But I ended up with 3 concert posters :-)
The best thing Starfish did for me at the time of the release was to see the exposure this awesome band finally got, and the fact that I managed to get my friends and my wife to go see them...
After a lot of listening the album of course grew tremendously and now belongs where it should be (every home should have at least one). But I really didn't get into Starfish until I started e-mailing mrg those early mornings in '91! Pre-internet, pre-seance.... Aaaah, those were the days.... :-)
-morten (wiping a tear)
My fondest memory on the release of this particular album was going to a "listening party" at a local recording studio. Friends of mine who run an alternative record store got an invitation from Arista Records and knew I would burn the place to the ground if they hadn't let me know! This, if memory serves me correctly, was a couple of weeks before the actual "street date" for the album. I think I was at the studio before the Arista promo people were there. Needless to say, I was psyched and besides playing the album, they were showing the "UTMW" video. By the time I got done with the promo guys, I ended up with an advance cassette of the album, and the video too!!!
I ended up giving everyone there an education on THE CHURCH, as I was lucky to have been into them from the very beginning. I think I still have a promotion print-out they were giving to everyone and probably a poster or two. I must have listened to the album countless times that night, as they played it for three hours straight!!! At the time, I felt, yeah this is the album that is going to finally break them at radio!! Needless to say, I was pissed that they didn't have a follow-up "hit" off the album. My only other memory of note of that time was catching them live twice and finally getting to meet all of them. I remember having them sign a bunch of my rare artifacts and that PK went nuts when I produced the "MELODIE" single. He was running around showing it to everyone there--the band, the roadies, the tour manager, etc. It was quite a year--one that I will never forget. Hope some of you found these tales interesting from an old fossil like me. But I always feel that music is what keeps me young and is the soundtrack for my miserable existence here on the planet.
Another one of my most vivid memories is hearing the song on the radio only a week later as I was driving with my friend (who died a few years ago) under the clear night sky of northern Minnesota. It was the beginning of an exhilarating 10 years during which I honed my craft and had lots of high highs and low lows. Last year I finally released my first CD proper, and although I don't know how I'm going to pay this month's rent, I am EXACTLY where I want to be in my life. I'm not one to put anyone on a pedestal, but I owe my life in its present form to that one haunting tune.
I was a senior in high school. I remember it was a particularlarly dreary Michigan Winter morning and I was driving to school (in my incongrously sunshine yellow chevette) and UTMW came on the radio. I had a copy of the first Church album (the domestic release on Capitol) that I listened to occassionally, but they had yet to steal my heart as I was also busy listening to alot of U2, INXS, Simple Minds etc...anyway, UTMW entranced me. I pulled over to the side of the road to listen to the whole thing. After school I proceeded directly to the record store for my copy.
I remember sitting in my room listening to it over and over and grabbing the old beat up accoustic guitar in the corner trying ot figure out the chords... wishing I was a better guitar player, but something about the music just made having a guitar in my hands feel right (regardless of how well I could play it).
I went out and hunted down UTMW and Reptile on 45 (as I had NO money for the full album) and became a fan.... My biggest fight with my sister came about when she scratched my copy of GAF.
Much to my chagrin, I couldn't further the Church's cause among my friends. I had a hard enough time making them turn off Taylor Dane and New Kids on the Block when I entered the room. (They were nice people, but rather without taste.) This just made me an even more rabid fan... as rabid as only an early-teenager can be. I've been a fan since.
Right you are! Jen`ka (or Kave) is a russian girl, it`s me. BTW, "Russian Autumn Heart" is one of my favoured songs. "Church" albums, as far as I know, have NEVER been imported to Russia, and they`ve NEVER been released here!
Here is the short ;) story about "Church" in my life. I guess, you know about russian revolution (1917), about 70 years of lie and dictatorship, about "iron curtain" etc.? So, after that curtain was destroyed, russians could enjoy for the first time the foreign music. In 1989-1990 we could watch the "SuperChannel" videoclips, and one of them was "Under The Milky Way". I don`t remember what it was about, what was in that video (maybe, a city in the night? - I don`t remember), but these unique feelings provoked by "UTMW" remained in my memory forever. That`s what made me look for their albums for 7 years.
"Starfish" and "GAF" were my first albums, I bought them in september 97, and it was particularly magic time, because there were my first monthes of study in the Moscow University. I was walking alone on its alleys and parks with GAF in my Walkman, realizing that no-one else here knows why am I so happy. It was my own secret.
"Nostalgia is a great drug", Denise wrote. Yes, it is, although you are talking about period that was 10 years ago, and my impressions are still very fresh.
I was already familiar with the Church, having been exposed to them as early as 1982 with the "Unguarded Moment" video. I was only a minor fan at the time, however. I think I only had the first album (the US debut with the "broken statue" cover) and Remote Luxury. I remember UTMW getting widespread airplay and thinking that they had finally struck gold in America. Good for them, I thought. I didn't waste anytime picking up the album (on vinyl) as well as a promo 12" of UTMW (B/W Musk) that included a mini poster of the album cover. Yes, I was still a big vinyl album buyer all the way up to its effective demise around 1989. (Okay, my budget prevented me from buying lots of CDs at this time!)
I was listening to one of the standard rock stations in Albuquerque and they had a program called "Smash or Trash", where they would play a new song and listeners would call in and declare whether the song was a ... well, you get the picture. Anyway, one night they played "Destination" and I was delighted that they picked this song, hoping with bated breath that listeners would like it. Unfortunately, the two listeners that called in were not swayed: "Dude, I think you should trash it." Too mellow for the rocker crowd. I know "Reptile" would have gone down better. I was disappointed but not surprised -- Albuquerque is not known for being a progressive town, and its musical inclinations lean towards rockers and rednecks, if you get my drift.
In any case, I can attribute Starfish to me becoming an official Church fan. This album gave me a renewed and dedicated interest in their music, which has not waned since. I finally went back and bought Heyday around this time, which has since become my favorite album, with P=A only slightly behind. I couldn't believe I waited so long to pick it up. I already had "Tantalized," "Myrhh" and "Tristesse" on tapes I had recorded from the radio over the past couple years. I still find it amazing that Denver area (where I grew up) radio stations (namely KBCO and KTCL) were playing selections like "Myrhh" and "Tristesse" and how fortunate I was to have progressive radio to listen to back then! Jim Kee of Seattle, I'm sure you'll agree with me there!
Well, the summer finally ended, and I went back to the US for the new school year, only to find that my vinyl copy of Starfish had barely survived the trip - there was a huge, unavoidable scratch in the middle of NSEW (I ended up always having to skip that song, which is probably the reason that the song never really did it for me). So I was stuck with a cd I couldn't play, and a scratched vinyl copy.
Fortunately, my roommate at the time was program director for the campus radio station, and whenever the station received promos and freebies, they were sent directly to him first. Of course it wasn't long before a brand new vinyl copy of Starfish found it's way to him, and I seized my chance and switched my scratched copy for the new one intended for the station. Free at last!
Later I did a show on the same station, and had access to the record library myself...which explains why a few of my Church rarities and promos have "Property of WDCE 90.1 FM" written all over them.......
One night, the six of us decided to drive to a movie theatre about an hour away. It was raining hard, and it was difficult to see. "Starfish" was the only tape I had with me that trip, and I was tired of listening to pop radio, so I popped it in my cassette deck. When "UTMW" came on, I turned the volume all the way up, and all I can remember is the thrum of Steve's bass during the verses. I kept hitting rewind, and listened to the song over and over again, all the way to the movie theatre. This, of course, drove the person with me totally bannanas, but I didn't care. There was something so perfect about the way the rhythms of the song seemed to match the splashing of rain against my windshield.
I'd been introduced to the band with the "Heyday" record, and was a kinda fan. But, it was with "Starfish" that the love affair really began. The album was also the soundtrack for the first semester of my freshman year of college. I was kinda bookish, and impossibly shy - given to wearing black turtlenecks and reading Oscar Wilde. It was a not-entirely happy time for me, and the album was a sanctuary for me. The songs seemed to speak to me in ways that no other band has ever done before or since.
I went to see them twice on tour with Tom Verlaine and Mitch Easter's Let's Active that year, and the shows blew my socks off. At a show in New Haven, Conn., Marty was wearing those little leather pants, and military jacket, and I remember him coming out for the encore shirtless, and it drove all the girly-girls in the audience to absolute distraction.
The funniest point in the evening came during the accoustic part of the set. The setlist, until that point, hadn't strayed much from "Starfish." I guess the band knew on which side their bread was being buttered that evening. Anyway, Marty strapped on the Takamine, and the crowd set in with a slow, rhthymic clapping. I guess they were all psyched up for "UTMW." Steve just stopped and said, "Why are you slow clapping us? Could you stop that please. It's really unnerving." Then, just to screw with them, the band played "Unsubstantiated," before going into "UTMW" and totally blowing the roof off the place. The next day, I went down to Cutler's Records, and bought "Art Attack","Earthed," and "Manchild and Myth." I had to eat Kraft dinner for a week after, but it didn't matter.
Every time we would play it we would be back at Cades Cove and very much in love...
p.s. looking up and reading this,..i am tempted to delete the whole pile of schitte. but, since we are all "opening up" a bit on this subject,.... oh for Frith's sake,......!!
I REALLY LIKE STARFISH IT IS A REALLY COOL RECORD BY A REALLY COOL BAND AND I REALLY LIKE, LIKE IT A LOT.
now let me wipe away that tear
I had never heard of the Church before Under the Milky Way, but it really struck a chord as did Starfish when I picked it up on cassette not long after hearing UTMW for the first time. The album and Waddy's production is often criticized on the list, and in the context of the band's previous releases (I suspect esp. the relatively warm sound of The Blurred Crusade) I can see why. The album has a cold, distant, brittle sound that may have alienated many long-time Church fans, but it perfectly fit my emotional state at the time. It just connected with me in a way and to a degree that no album had before.
Ten years later I'm still trying to escape the shadow of those years, but one of the few pleasures I've been able to count on has been the music of the Church.
I used to listen to the first few seconds of a song and decide whether to record it. I heard the beginning of Disenchanted and took a chance on it. I didn't record the DJ saying who it was, but I loved the guy's voice and that incredible tingly intro (which I still can't figure out on guitar).
A couple of years later Mom and I had moved to Winston-Salem (cigarette capitol of the world). I was a senior in high school, heard Milky Way and of course really liked it. Didn't really connect the song with the group name or Disenchanted, had no money to buy it, but remembered it. I later found out that the Church played that town,nearly within walking distance of where I was.
One guy I met saw them and said that Steve pissed him off by saying "I can't believe we're in Winston-Salem playing to a bunch of fucking rednecks." I think that story is hilarious, because I know what it's like. I couldn't believe I lived with a bunch of them.
Three years after that, I was perusing a friend's CD collection and saw Starfish. I asked her about it, and she said "Oh that? I just listen to that one song. "As good as that song was, I thought it was a sin not to listen to the others. I recorded it from her and listened to it a few times. It didn't really stick with me although I liked the beginning of Reptile. Eventually I realized this had to be the same group that did Disenchanted. I found Heyday on a trip to the big city and bought it. It's still one of my favorite albums.
I was 23 before I ever met another Church fan or got to see a Church video. They will always be close to me, because I sought them out myself and learned their language. Steve's singing style is honest and a direct extension of his speech. It's difficult for a band to become extremely popular without knocking the public over the head with the message or being flashy.They are a band with subtlety, and I think acquired tastes are the most satisfying ones. The Church meet the listener halfway. Their sounds stand up to more repeated listening than anything else. To me,their music keeps getting better.
Well, I popped the tape in (yes, a cassette!) and when the first notes of "Destination" came on I was blown away. Needless to say I wore the tape out and when Arista reissued all the old albums, I scooped them up. (It was then I realized that I had heard a couple of songs before UTMW). Also, because I was working at a record store at the time, I was able to get a few goodies from Arista such as the Destination and Reptile promo 12", the Sum of the Parts EP, and a lovely coffee mug.
Granted my story isn't very thrilling, but dammit it's my story! :)
In the afternoon I remember having a bit of a stomach upset and I went to see the nurse who wondered whether it was something I had eaten - could have been the tuna I suppose. It was quite sunny that afternoon and I felt a lot better then. On the way home I stopped off at a grocers and bought (it seems such a long time ago now and it is difficult to remember) a bag of potatoes (the baking kind - you know they are bigger than the average potato); a pound of carrots (I love carrots - they help you see in the dark or at least that's what my mum used to say); some Mr Kipling almond fingers and a four pack of Cusson's Imperial Leather soaps. After that I stopped off at a record shop and bought Starfish. I really liked it.
By the way, the evening after I bought the album, I picked up my girl-friend (now wife) and went to see "She's Having a Baby" with Kevin Bacon. God, I love that movie!
Shortly afterward I borrowed Starfish and Heyday from him and taped them. I listened to Starfish with a renewed vigor, the guitar tones and they're interwoven parts were fantastic (where have the tasteful guitar bands gone?) SK's vocals came across as passionate, yet subdued at the same time. Even now it has a fresh sound to me, sometimes I find it 'sterile', but that doesn't detract from my enjoyment. I was so dissappointed with the music scene at the time, and along comes this jewel.
I took the tapes with me to the Mid-east during the Gulf War and used them to keep my sanity (did everyone in Persia probably feel like I did ?...) , the starkness of the desert, free from many distractions (except war) was a great place to enjoy the band. Starfish is still going strong.
Cut to the summer of '87. I see a young, unknown band in a rundown club on a Weds. night. I can't believe what I'm hearing and seeing. It's the American version of the Church. Their songs are like lost Church B-sides. The bass player is all Kilbey. Looks like him, plays like him - affects his singing style. The drummer has blond shoulder length hair and flowers painted on his drumkit. The guitar player has all the sounds: echo, chorus, delay which he milks from his Strat. I'm blown away. After the show I introduce myself and start "hanging" out with the band. We share the same taste in music: Echo & the Bunnymen, Wire Train, the Cure, the Beatles, etc. But mostly it is our passion for the Church which binds us. On Labor Day weekend, I fulfill a long held dream and buy my first guitar. In October, even though I can barely play and hardly sing, they ask me to move in with them and join the band.
Why? Hmmm...looking back on it I can see now that I was exactly what they needed at the time - an extrovert - all energy and enthusiasm. Probably because of this, I ended up taking over the lead singing chores after a couple of months, but I was also the missing link: a fourth member to complete the tribute and flesh out the sound on rhythm guitar.
Besides, I fit the bill. I was the consumate MWP wannabe: bi-level shoulder length haircut with bangs, large silver hoop earings, paisley shirts, tight jeans, black boots, and a motorcycle jacket to top off the ensemble. Sort of heartwarming when I think back on it. The innocent days of yesteryear.
We toured around the Midwest playing colleges and clubs. Endless roadtrips in our van. "Remote Luxury" was a favorite for all night drives and "Heyday" was at the top of our rotation. I remember a particularly memorable fall trip to Southern Illinois University and staying at the house of someone who worked at the student radio station. All the people who lived in the house were heavily into the Church and they had a promo poster from Heyday up with a picture of the band sitting in a row. After a lot of alcohol and drugs were consumed, one of the girls in the house cut all our hair to fit our particular favorite Church member. From then on we called her "Astrid".
So when "Starfish" came out all I can remember is that we were all psyched for another Church record, but only the bass player had enough money to buy the record. We were all idealistic young punks, so when UTMW started playing on MTV and commercial radio we felt like something had been taken from us. I seem to remember a time when we would only play side 2 of the album, which does appear to be quite ridiculous now, however, we did discover that if you immediately followed that with side 2 of Heyday it was quite a trip - and also quite a good soundtrack to our frequent "apartment vacations" as we referred to them. One vivid memory I do have is that a casual aquaintance of mine, a girl who was totally into the suburban heavy metal scene, told me she had just discovered her favorite "new" band, The Church. I couldn't believe it - her favorite band up 'til then was Iron Maiden! But she worked in a local record store and actually had Starfish on CD and a CD player. I brought all my old Church albums to her apartment and we would listen to the old stuff on vinyl and then the Starfish disc. She got completely into the boys. I even turned her into a Wire Train fanatic.
She eventually moved - and took all my albums with her. I'd give anything for my old copy of Blurred Crusade...
Cut to the fall of '88. Due to our irresponsible ways and immaturity the band is now history, but not after opening up for Richard Marx in Panama City, Florida on Spring Break. God did they hate us. We even had a gig supporting Otis Day and the Nights. Same deal. I think that tour broke our spirit. Anyway, I now needed gainful employment and I landed a gig in the mailroom at BMG. I ran the mailroom and was in charge of the promos. Close your eyes and envision mountains of Starfish posters, album flats, band photos, press kits and promotional items such as little desk notepads, coffee mugs, pencils, etc. Not to mention piles of CDs, cassettes, singles, cassingles and videos.
I was there when Arista re-released the back catalogue and I had every release on vinyl, cassette, and CD. I was giving copies of "Life Before Starfish" on CD to all my friends who were into the band. At the time Beggar's Banquet was distributed by BMG so I had access to all the Go-Between's stuff. There were countless stories and anecdotes about the band, like the time the Church came to the office and Marty was barefoot. Who would have thought all these things would be "rare" someday, "collectors items". It seemed as if the world would always be full of readily available Church product. They appeared to be headed the way of U2 and REM, an early eighties underground guitar band destined for superstardom and sell-out stadium tours. But alas, it never came to pass. I joined this list in the fall to hear that Marty had to auction his personal guitars. That hurt. And just last week I had to have Seance on CD sent to me from a kind hearted list member halfway across the country. Ten years, full circle.
I was 14 when i bought the thing...after seeing the video for UTMW on MTV (Aust.) and taping it, i just fell in love with the song, playing it over and over. That chorus is so simple, but it really spoke to me, as a very impressionable and shy kid. It just seemed so out of place on MTV back then, slotted between Sabrina, Motley Crue, Icehouse and the rest. My tastes up until that point were so conservative that all i listened to were compilations of top 40 hits. However, when Starfish was released, i ventured into my local department store with a mate, and thought about what tapes i'd spend my pocket money on. Starfish and Terence Trent Darby were my selections. Needless to say, Terence didn't get much of a look in after a couple of plays of Starfish. At the time, i thought guitar bands were all long haired metal heads, but Starfish was different. It had lots of guitars, but the atmosphere that the band created was so different to anything else i'd heard before, and the band didn't look stupid. (Although PK to me at the time looked like a metal head, just look at him in the video for Reptile when he's jamming with Marty). SK's singing was also a factor. A cover story in Rolling Stone, with vague drug references about hash bars in Amsterdam just added to the mystery of this band.
From there, i found cassette copies of Heyday and hindsight, and was hooked. Not long after, i travelled to europe and found vinyl versions of the other albums, which hadn't yet been reissued in Australia. I found SK's "unearthed" in London on tape, and fell asleep to it's mystery every night for the next 6 weeks in the motels we stayed at. To a 14 year old, this album was like a strange dream that you could relive every night.
Also this was the beggining of a new era in my life - I was 12 years old and i started to listen to bands that my friends considered very exotic and unpopular, you know: Love and Rockets , Cocteau, Pixies, This Mortal Coil, Swams, Leonard Cohen, Belcanto,James,etc. Finally let me tell you that once in "WFM 96.9" they released a survey about the best altenative song of the 80's and UTMW was the number one between Love will tear... I melt with you...A forest... The killing moon...She's in parties... I don't know why i love you... Bizarre love triangle... etc. I hope that somebody here in Mexico shares the same [way] that I fell for STARFISH and THE CHURCH and their solo projects.
Fortune had me listening to a local "make it or break it" feature on a local Top 40 station. Incidentally, the song to be introduced was UTMW. After hearing the opening acoustic strings and haunting, eloquent melody, I was hooked. This WAS music. Unfortunately the rest of the listeners did not feel the same way having "broke" the song. It seemed so much at odds with what was "popular" at that point. However with myself, I was an avid convert instantly recognizing a vastly superior art form ripe with sophistication, texture, and atmosphere. UTMW opened up a portal to a higher plane of consciousness in some fashion...nothing less. I also had seen the accompanying video for the song and it immediately reaffirmed what I had initially perceived. The video seemingly depicted transient imagery shimmering and evocative set amidst a nocturnal city and strange grandeur seeking an expression. I was captivated.
I ordered "Starfish" from a record club and was not disappointed. The Church was undoubtedly and is very much to this day, my favorite musical entity. Some time later, I discovered that there were other people(though a minority it seemed)also bewitched with this great band. Several former girlfriends of mine also appreciated The Church(this did not hurt things!). As time elapsed, I made every endeavor to procure any and every recording from The Church; with much success. And to this day 10 years later, despite a number of enormous personal changes in my life since that time, The Church is one vestige that still remains with me. An enduring testimony to artistic greatness, this is what The Church mean to me. And Starfish, its harbinger.