During the show we were standing in front of Marty-Willson Piper. There was no distance separating the stage from the crowd so he was maybe 2-3 feet from Matt and I. Everyone kept yelling out songs they wanted to hear and would not stop. So in between songs I yelled at the top of my lungs "You guys can play anything you damn well please" which got a loud cheer from everyone around me.
Next, I yelled in a quiet moment "To the most underrated and unrecognized band in the fucking world" which got a few people clapping. I know it was a little obnoxious but I couldn't help it. I think I got a smile from Steve and Marty.
Then someone had given a note to Steve and he paused to read it on stage, he mumbled and goes "I wonder what this is going to say" to which Matt yells "IT SAYS THE CHURCH ARE FUCKING AWESOME". I had to laugh. This coming from a guy who owns only Gold Afternoon Fix -- and on cassette. He was getting taken in by seeing them live, as I knew he would.
I won't go into the show since the set list was the same (BUT WHAT A SET LIST !).
Finally, at the end of the show, during "You Took", I leaned up against the stage while Marty was wailing away on the solo -- LITERALLY got about 6 inches from his guitar, just staring. He even let me and a few other fans touch his guitar while he was PLAYING the solo. Pretty cool.
When the song was over, Marty gave his guitar to me (Yes, to me) and I was mobbed by everyone but carried it backward into the crowd to give myself enough time before the security guards snatched it back. Matt and I started strumming it like crazy -- just pawing at it. I cut one of my fingers on a string, so did Matt. Marty was still at the amp turning knobs while we were PLAYING AROUND WITH HIS FUCKING GUITAR! (although unplugged at that point) We got some screwed up sounding distortion out of that thing. Then other fans started joining in, grabbing at the guitar, before security finally recovered it.
BUT THAT WASN'T THE HALF OF IT !
Conversations with the Church, 12:30 to 1:15AM October 15th
Upstairs in the House of Blues in New Orleans. (Taken from notes written down on a highway map during the 6 hour drive back to Tallahassee FL.)
While walking out the House of Blues, somebody walks out of a door on the front sidewalk and Matt and I just walk right up some stairs going up over the stage. Members of the opening band were up top in a hallway
Walking down the hall I looked through a door and turned to Matt and said "That's Steve Kilbey on the couch." I was thinking My God how the hell did we get here?
The CHURCH are sitting up here in a small room with food and drinks and a couple of fans. Matt and I walked in and Marty, who was sitting near the entrance, started talking to us, asking us our names:
I remember asking Marty if anyone had ever compared him to the Edge. He said "nobody has really asked me about that". Then Marty says playfully "we write better lyrics than U2 anyway" and says that "we influenced them." I then said "you both came out with your debut albums, U2 with Boy and you guys with Of Skin And Heart, in 1980 so that can't be". He started laughing. Also, he said about U2; "since 1980, we both sure have taken very different paths, haven't we -- they make millions of dollars and we are barely surviving." At that point I felt like an idiot discussing an overly excessive popular band with one of the most underrated band's guitarist.
I asked him what he thought was a strong point in the Church history and he mentioned that he really likes Disappointed from the Gold Afternoon Fix album. I asked him why they didn't do that live and he said it would not come across well live, which is also how they pick a lot of the songs they do live. Then Matt chimed in that he first heard of the Church from that album (GAF) but said he did not know much by them and came with me because I was the huge fan and I just had to take someone to see this concert with me (especially after going solo to the Atlanta show). Marty then asked Matt what he liked by the Church (he seemed very interested in getting a new guys view on the Church) and Matt responded avidly with North South East and West. Matt said he was glad they played that to which Marty asked him if he played guitar. Matt said no and then, I couldn't believe it, Matt and Marty started air guitaring that jangly little riff that's in the NSEW song. Just two weeks prior I had turned Matt on to that song at a tailgate for a Florida State football game and now he was sitting in a chair next to Marty-Willson Piper air-guitaring it!
I then talked to him about how the crowd seemed more subdued here in New Orleans than in Atlanta, to which he agreed. I asked Marty if he was going out on the town since this is New Orleans and all and he said no because he felt sick and said he was also sick in Atlanta. I asked him how was it to be back in the States and he said he loved it, he really enjoys playing live.
I asked him about a favorite album of his that he might recommend to me and he mentioned a band called Porcupine Tree and said the name of the album was called "The Sky Moves Sideways". (I will be buying that).
We then got into a discussion about how American Radio just outright sucks and he replied "American TV sucks too". I said that all these alternative stations play is boring grunge influenced music like (the bands) Fuel and Filter ( I still don't know how the hell those two bands popped into my head) to which he replied that he never heard of them but agreed that because American radio does not play the Church that they indeed "do suck".
I then started to tell Marty about my conversation I had on the radio last week with 101.5 in Tallahassee Florida -- concerning Church music. What was interesting about this is that while telling Marty, Matt noticed that Steve Kilbey had become focused on this conversation. Anyway, I had requested the Church on 101.5's 80's show at noon. I told the DJ I was going to see them in Atlanta next week (not knowing about the New Orleans show yet) to which he replied "I didn't know they were still together. I said yeah, they survived grunge (as well as a lot of other things), and have a great new album out. I told him that I had been trying to get the station to play some stuff off the new album and that it was really sad that a modern rock DJ does not know the Church are still together. Needless to say he started to cut me off there. 10 minutes later I hear myself on the radio -- I couldn't believe they played my conversation. And then of course they played Under The Milky Way.
I then started listing songs off of (new album) HOB like Anaesthesia, Ricochet, Louisiana, Tranquility, Buffalo, Another Earth and Glow-Worm and told Marty that these songs rank up there with some of the Church's strongest work. He liked that. I had overheard him talking to another fan that the crowd was here for our past, not our present. Personally I disagree as I would have liked to have heard more off of HOB.
I told Marty he was a spectacular guitarist and a joy to see play live. He responded with "But not as good as Carlos Santana" and told me to pick up a 3D live set by Santana.
I then asked him if he had heard anything by the Go-Betweens since I has started to get into them (fellow Australian band). He said that's Steve's area (since Steve teamed up with one of the Go-Between [Brian: Grant McLenna] members to form Jack Frost) (Matt told me later that he really wanted to ask them about Midnight Oil at this point and kicks himself for not doing it).
I started talking to him and blurted out something of the sort: "What is it about your 11 albums that I find so spectacular and just "do it" for me. The question didn't come out right but Steve knew what I was getting at and replied with "Thank You for those kind words." I then thanked him for having the guts to be different and helping to create an incredible sound like no other in music today, to which he smiled.
I then asked Steve if he heard my yell that they were the most underrated band in the world while they were on stage and he said he did and appreciated it.
Then, what has got to be the all time dumbest conversation between the lead singer of the Church and a fan began to transpire. I still don't know how it happened but we wound up talking about his white jeans. Somewhere in this conversation I asked him how he keeps them clean (maybe the 7th beer just kicked in or something). He laughed and said "don't you have a washing machine? -- How do you keep your pants clean? --Oh! And the Church don't wear shorts" (Matt and I were in shorts). I said that's because we live in Florida and he said "Well Sydney is as fucking hot as Florida". He then said jokingly "You can't wear shorts if you want to be Marty Willson-Piper (possibly alluding to the fact that most of my talk had been with Marty up to that point). Definitely one of the more surreal moments of my life.
I started talking to Tim and said thanks for rejuvenating the band and helping to create (and produce) one of their best albums. He said "thanks - I really appreciate that." I then asked him how he first got acquainted with The Church. He said he knew (followed) them since 1984 and since then knew he was destined to meet up with them and play with them. I told them that all four of them played incredibly well as a unit. He then gave me his autograph. Really a nice guy
I thanked him for his longtime contribuitons to the band and for being back with The Church. He said thanks and gave me his autograph.
I found Marty to be extremely nice to talk to -- very open. Steve seemed a little more introverted -- but not in a bad way at all. He kind of had a sly sense of humor. Peter seemed nice but a little reserved. Tim was really appreciative of the fans. The whole atmosphere was really laid back and friendly. I do remember one moment during the time I spent with them that I got a feeling inside me of outrage that this band never got the recognition they deserved. I wanted to scream it out and say there is no justice in this stupid world.. But after 18 years of this I'm sure that would be like beating a dead horse.
There was more but this is all I can remember. I still can't believe it, just me and a friend I dragged over from FSU -- two Meteorology graduate students who decide to screw school for a while and at the last minute drive over from Tallahassee and then meet up with THE CHURCH. It doesn't get much better than this.
Paul Hershberg / Matt Duke
My only personal contact with the band was with Peter late in the afternoon. I happened to catch him going into the House of Blues and asked him to sign my copies of BC and HOB. He is indeed a very shy person. I pulled a Chris Farley when I told him how far I had come to see them. Being from Oklahoma, I babbled something about the line from Texas Moon that included Oklahoma and Soma. After reading some of the posts from other Sťance members about their experiences meeting the band, I vowed that I would be cool and in control. That didn't happen.
One interesting thing happened during the day. When I was in the restaurant portion of the House of Blues waiting on a friend, I went to the restroom. As I was leaving, I bumped into John Goodman, the actor. He hung around the bar for a while but I don't think he stayed for the show.
-Steve Return to Hologram of Baal tour page.