Marty Willson-Piper

The following interview is taken from 'Evezine#7' June 92, most of which was originally from a rare RYKO promo interview Circa 1988.


Art attack was recorded over a twelve day period in New York and one day in Stockholm with the luxury of eight track recording facilities ( Marty's first album 'In Reflection' being produced on four! ), and armed in the main with 12 Takemine 12 string achieving a very live feel to his performance which was the intention from the outset. But did he have that goal in mind?

Marty: " I hate albums that sound focused and I always really really impressed that 'Martha My Dear' and 'Revolution number Nine' went on the same record.....that was really special, y'know, and that's what I want to be able to do. I don't want to say 'Oh Marty....he's the guy who makes the soft sounding records' or ' he's the guy who makes the hard sounding records' or even 'he's the guitarist with The Church.....I want to be able to do anything and everything."

You open the album with the track 'Stockholm'....obviously its an important place for you.....

Marty: "Yeah, well this is where I live and this is where Ann's from. Stockholm is a fantastic town....a beautiful town and I've got a lot of friends there. I love to be there. I don't drive and (thank God I'm not in LA) in Stockholm you can just walk around it and just breathe in the ascetics"

Joni Mitchell once wrote 'life is for learning' and I sort of get that spirit from 'She's King'.....

Marty: "I'm always writing about that...I'm always writing about the quest for knowledge."

But the quest is also the reward?

Marty: "Yeah absolutely. I mean.....you don't actually have to learn anything concrete, just the fact that your learning something at all is positive. It's like trying to learn a language even if you don't speak it perfectly the fact that you speak it as well as you do gives you a whole new outlook and way of speaking and communicating, y'know?"

I think it must be interesting now when you're in a bandthat's living in Australia....it must make it difficult to communicate?

Marty: "Well, y'know, The Church don't need to play the local disco every Saturday night. We start a tour in Seattle say, and that's where we go and meet. I was in Stockholm for four or five months last year and one day I had to go to L.A. to make a film clip, so they came from Sydney and we met up in L.A., spent a week there and then back to our respective homes. It's not really a problem....it's only a day away....whats a day?"

For the other three guys in The Church, do you have the same sort of feeling of closeness when you can go for four months and then get together and it's still like....

Marty: "Yeah sure, we've been together for eight years and we've lived so close together on tours and tours...and hotels and hotels....and the days when we DID have to play every Saturday night at the local disco. We find that we don't spend a lot of our leisure time in each others company but then of course we get together for ten minutes it's as though nothings changed. We feel as though we've been on the road eight years rather than eight minutes....sure we've had our ups and downs but we're all pretty sort of adult and intelligent guys and have learned to live with each others quirks and personality traits. It's an unusual situation that the front three of us are releasing solo records and are still managing to contribute to The Church and keep it all together when we have so many other projects going but maybe that's what keeps it healthy...There is a certain kind of role for each member of the band we accept that...although I sing and write lyrics and all that kind of stuff, I don't feel that it's my position to do that in The Church. I feel that it's Steve's position to do that.....I think there's room for me to sing one song and for Peter to sing one song but ultimately it's Steve's lyrical idea which is basically the essence of the band, or at least one of the essences.....obviously it's the music that we write....the guitar style that Peter and I play and the kind of drummer that Richard is as well as Steve's voice and lyrics, y'know, so I don't feel any need....I think it would be a negative thing to get too involved with destroying the strong instinct thing the band has."

On 'Queen of England'....I think you've spent time to highlight the lyrics because there's only a bass in accompaniment.....it's rather a very biting indictment. It's the angriest song on the record....maybe that you've ever written.

Marty: "Yeah. It's my 'working class hero/ Billy Brag' song. I have political....I was going to say I have political ambitions!!.....I wanna be president!!(lol).....No....I have political ideas. I live in a social democracy and Swedish people are very politically minded and you know what's going on....living close to Russia's kind of an interesting thing to experience. Having lived in England most of my life and not having lived there for eight years, Thatcherism is to me a very important issue and coming from Liverpool, which is one of the places scourged the most by Thatchers compassionless raid....I wrote that song in five minutes....it just came flowing out and I didn't have to think for one second. I recorded it live in five minutes and it's probably one of the most powerful songs I've ever written....The whole idea behind Art Attack album was to be diverse....I wanted to make an album which challenged the borders of the pigeon holing syndrome.....that's why there is a song in Swedish and the same song in English which is 'Stockholm' and is one minute and fifteen seconds long or something....'Word' which is eight minutes forty seconds long......there's a couple of songs with electric drums.....one guitar orientated, the other keyboard orientated. There's two or three songs with very soft vocals....there's a kind of one minute outburst of poetry. And the interesting 'White Spots On My Jupiter Finger, Jupiter Blue On My White Shirt'......I wanted to make the album diverse so people would listen to it and would get an impression from on song, and then completely adjust to relate to the next."