Jason Withrow:
This is my transcription of a swedish radio interview/performance that Steve and Marty did on September 19, 1994. I have left out a lot of the "yeahs" and other filler to make the conversation flow easier. The name of the interviewer isn't given, all I know is she is female and very careful not to step on the guy's toes or egos. I decided to leave out her periodic bursts of Swedish as I don't know the language myself. Ok, here goes...
{Steve and Marty play 'Shadow Cabinet'}

Interviewer: Welcome to the Table, guys. How are you, by the way?

Marty: Fine, thank you.

I: Great. Both of you wrote... Steve in Australia. Marty in Liverpool, England. And you live in Sweden now and then, both of you?

{Marty and Steve agree}

I: Where do you feel you are really at home?

M: Prague.

{Marty and Steve burst into laughter}

I: Prague. To be honest?

M: No, I've never been to Prague. But you just get used to being in lots of different cities in the world really. I think Steve and I are really familiar with a lot of different places. We know the best cappucino bars in about seven cities in the world. More probably.

I: So you learn to feel at home everywhere?

Steve: Yeah I guess you have to.

I: But isn't there any place that you prefer? I mean, maybe it depends on how you're feeling on that special day or week or so on.

M: The thing is that you start to learn that everywhere has got bad and good things about it. And what you want is a utopian state which is a mixture of all the great things from everywhere you've been. Which is of course impossible. That's why we're always depressed!

I: {laughs} No you're not.

S: I think that one thing that happens when you're in a band is that you see cities through a sort of weird perspective because you're always...you're staying in a hotel and you've got someone showing you around and buying you dinner and your entertainment's ready and then you're off the next morning. So you tend to see to sort of see them all through this rosy glow. For example, Rome I thought was a great place. But I'm sure that if I was back there getting pick-pocketed and paying exorbitant prices and stuff...

M: Well, you were staying in the Hilton, that's why you like Rome. {everyone laughs}

I: But don't you ever go there as tourists?

S: Not very often, no.

M: Occasional holiday, I suppose. But generally our experiences of the world have been as band members...

S: I don't know how to book a ticket, myself. {laughs}

I: You need a secretary there. But your phone books are stuffed with different kinds of numbers from different kinds of places in the world. You've got friends all over.

S: Few enemies all over, too. {Marty laughs}

I: Is it important that you feel that somewhere you have some roots? Marty talked about Liverpool earlier this evening, that you would go back there some time and feel the sadness...

M: Well in England...in Liverpool its a particularly difficult place to go back to for me because I just know what I escaped. But England in general still kind of feels like home really. I sort of go through the countryside and the green and meadows. I know what the birds are and the insects are called and the flowers. Everything's so familiar. So that obviously has a great feeling of belonging.

I: Steve?

S: I don't really mind where I am as long as there's something happening there. Places are all the same to me. All the western cities are all basically the same. Differences between Stockholm and Melbourne are much less than the similarities between them. The only place I've ever been in my life that really shocked me was Thailand. America or Europe, it's all pretty much the same game.

M: Western civilization plays by basically the same rules.

I: But Thailand was different...

S: Thailand was weird. I couldn't understand why there were people with leprosy standing under a piece of tin being rained on with no food and no clothes who were really happy.

M: Haven't you been to New York? {VERY sarcastic tone}

S: Yeah, but they're not happy. I have seen people like that. And the strange thing was that they were happy and they were kind of looking at the Westerners walking past like we were the fools.

I: Do you think they have a knowledge that we in some way miss?

S: I guess because they're Buddhists. We as westerners think this is our one life, this is who I am and this is the only role I'm gonna get to play. Whereas they're kinda standing there going "You know this time I'm a leper standing under a piece of tin and you think you're clever because you got a pair of Gucci shoes on. But next time..." {laughs}

I: Maybe they're right, maybe they aren't. We don't know.

S: They are really happy, though.

I: Yes they are. So how about some more music from the Church?

M: More music?? Oh right, that's what we're here for.

{Steve and Marty perform 'Tristesse' and 'Hotel Womb'}

Interviewer: In between, through all these years, both of you have made solo albums. You've been involved in different kinds of projects with a lot of other musicians. But you never quit The Church. You come back to The Church.

Steve: Yeah.

I: Why is that?

S: We signed in blood when we first got together.

Marty: Joined at the hip.

I: You're like an old married couple, aren't you?

S: Oh, don't say that. {all laugh}

M: PLEASE don't say that.

I: I didn't. Forget it. But when you get together do you say to each other "so now we're back together again and we have to do something Church-ey."

M: Well it isn't even so premeditated as that. We sort of get together and sit opposite each other with a guitar in our hands and that's basically it. We're together because we write songs well together. I mean that's really where it begins and ends. If we couldn't do that it wouldn't matter we wouldn't be doing it. We just sort of have a...

I: But do you have different kinds of rules? Who comes up with what in your collaboration?

M: Well I do all the good bits. {all laugh}

I: Oh come on, Marty.

M: Obviously there are certain things which we don't... {still laughing}

I: Is that true?

M: There are certain things that we do try to avoid like we don't sing about girls getting into cars. And we do try to have some basic intellectual thread that runs through our work. But apart from that there isn't really any rules. Because if you start giving yourself too many rules then you can't advance beyond where you were. You've got to be able to sort of jump in somewhere at the deep end and do something different. Which maybe we did with our last record. We kind of did some different things on that beyond the point that we normally do.

I: Do you feel that you've really developed through the years when you get together?

M: {agrees} It's just getting the world to notice... {all laugh}

I: That's the hard thing. What's the difference then between you two as solo artists?

M: Well we're exactly the same because nobody buys those records either. {all laugh} The thing is we're the kind of group which doesn't really work through the mainstream. We have the old cliche, we have the "cult following". And occasionally we come up with a song that for some reason sets somebody going and we have a hit. And it's happened about three times, with Milky Way off Starfish, with the Unguarded Moment which actually was a hit here and in Australia and Canada. Then we have these years in between when we make three interesting records with some of our better songs which people don't hear on the radio and consequently our records don't sell lots of copies. But actually I'm not complaining about that. I think that's a fantastic position to be in really. Making music that you want to make without any...

I: But are you really privileged doing that?

M: Yeah. Sure.

I: Have there been any problems getting signed?

M: Not yet.

S: Our problems are getting dropped more than getting signed. {Steve and Marty laugh}

M: Once they get us they won't let us go, that's the thing.

S: Yeah, we've been kicked off some of the best record companies in the world. We've been with EMI, Warner Bros., Carrerre, Arista, Parlophone...

I: You've tried them all.

M: Yeah we've tried them all.

I: Someone called in.

Caller 1: Well I'd like to ask what happened to the other guys in the band? The guitarist Peter Koppes and the drummer.

I: Interesting questions.

M: Who's gonna answer that?

S: Well they...one of them went mad and one of them got bored. Really that's what happened, to cut a long story short. Richard went mad and Peter got bored.

C1: Okay.

S: But I think Peter was a bit mad and Richard was a bit bored as well. {Marty laughs}

C1: After all these tours or what?

S: Yeah, I think... Richard just got... We'd be touring America and we'd be playing somewhere and we'd get an encore and he'd sort of say "oh no don't go out. Let's not play any more, fellas. They've had enough". And I'd say "there's 2000 people out there" and he'd say "naah...you don't want to play any more". And after a while I started to think "you know, this guy isn't as into it as he should be". And the other guy, Peter, just one day... we were doing this tour and he rang up and said "after this tour I'm leaving" and that was it. No one really asked him why.

I: Do you have any contact with him today?

M: Who? {all laugh}

I: Do you know what they're doing?

M: I sent Pete a couple of Christmas cards about 2 years ago but never got one back, so no.

S: Richard...I see Richard occasionally on the bus. He knocks at my door and when I open the door it's like he's arrived from some other dimension. He's sort of really wild. I wouldn't mind if he still wanted to play drums... But he's kind of lost interest in that.

C1: Have you lost any interest in having any drums in the band anymore? I mean, you sound more like an acoustic band these days. My kind of favorite is Blurred Crusade, Remote Luxury, and Seance and those... I like nowadays as well. My favorites are Heyday and Seance and Blurred Crusade and that.

M: Yeah, well you were younger then.

C1: Yeah. Yeah. Well I am young as well. I'm 29 now and I was watching you at the ??? [ed. note: I have no idea how to spell this venue's name] in '88 or '89 and it was raining...

S: '86. That was a really bad show for us.

C1: Well it was great for us there.

S: Was it good for you?

C1: Yeah. It was great sound.

S: Great sound?? {sounds amazed}

C1: Yeah great sound. But it was raining.

S: Well what happened to us is that we turned up and did this soundcheck and got everything sounding just nice and then another band came on and soundchecked and when we came back on everything was feeding back. Everyone got angry and the monitor man was sort of giving us the finger and the whole thing just got really...Yeah, that was a disappointing night.

C1: Thank you, guys. {all say goodbye}

I: Okay. Three in a row then.

{Marty gasps}

{Steve and Marty perform 'Providence', 'Will I Start to Bleed', and 'Mistress'}

Interviewer: I heard a story, Marty, that Tom Petty meant a lot for you when he started to play 12 string acoustic guitar.

Marty: No, he didn't.

I: He didn't?

M: No.

I: I heard a story about that.

M: I like Tom Petty. I mean for a rock-n-roller he's really good. A lot of guys who 'rock', though that's a horrible cliche, do it really badly. But he always did it really well I reckon. You know? Melodic, interesting. You know? Dunno, something great about Tom Petty.

I: Is there someone who meant a lot to you? Who influenced you to make you start great music in the first place?

M: Oh, the old obvious ones...the Beatles, etc. I think you generally get the idea of great songs from... we grew up in the '60s and '70s and the song was the thing then... the SONG, you know. And I think we got pretty influenced, inspired by the capability of writing a song, a great song. Playing it was kind of secondary to how great the song was.

I: Do you see yourself more as a singer-songwriter or as a 'rock' band?

M: Well yeah, we turned into a rock band, by mistake. {everyone laughs}

Steve: One day we woke up, we all sat up in our bed together...

M: Have you ever read that Kafka _Metamophosis_? Well it was kinda like that. We woke up one morning and we were lying on our backs in a bed with eight legs.

S: He didn't have it so good either...

I: You read a lot, both of you?

M: {ed. note: Marty says some title in a foreign language, real fast. No idea.}

I: {repeats the same title, even faster. Great!!} Steve?

S: {what he says sounds like _Often Bladden_ which sends them all into fits of laughter}

Ed. note : Larry Koch commented "It's possible that he's saying _Aftonbladet_, which is a Swedish newspaper."

I: But I meant literature. Books, novels.

M: Yeah, we have. Yeah yeah we're really clever. {Steve is in a laughing fit} I mean yeah we do. Just a joke. I suppose we've read quite a lot between us.

I: And that maybe influenced the lyrics sometimes?

S: Yeah well you get a book and think "God I can rip this off out of Kirkegaard and no one will ever know".

M: Yeah that's right yeah. {laughing}

I: And you can use it.

Caller #2: {greetings all around} I would like to ask this: which one, out of all the Church albums you made, is your personal favorite? And will you ever write a 'happy' song?

I: Two questions.

S: Well I kinda like...I don't know if I...yeah, no I kinda like Priest=Aura, I think.

M: And to the second question, NO. {laughs all around}

I: Marty, you didn't mention any. What's your favorite?

M: Favorite Church album? Um... {Marty proceeds to say 'um' at least ten times fast with great effect}

S: He doesn't like any of 'em. {Steve laughs}

M: Do I have to say one?

I: Peter asked you. {ed. note: Peter is the caller}

M: Conception. {Ed. Note: This was a compilation album - no new tracks there :-) }

C2: Okay. {the interviewer asks in Swedish about the 'happy' song and UTMW is mentioned}

S: It's supposed to be like...it's supposed to be this happiness beyond the superficial happiness. It's easy to write that happy song which is obviously a happy song. The trick is to write a sort of song that for all appearances, the words and music and everything, is sad but then afterwords you're left feeling happy. And I think that... maybe we've never done it, but that's sort of the idea. From sadness comes the happiness, you know what I mean? Sort of that 'northern light' that Bergman gets in his films.

C2: I'd like to wish the two of you the best of luck in the future.

{assorted thanks and goodbyes}

I: You talked about Milky Way as one tune that is maybe a bit happier than the other. So let's take that one then.

M: What a great idea! {sarcastic tone}

{ed. note: the interviewer lets out a loud yet brief orgasmic sound which to this day makes me wonder what steve and marty showed her or did... :-)}

S: Professional. {even more sarcastic}

I: What a great idea, isn't it? And another one as well.

{Steve and Marty perform 'Under the Milky Way' and 'My Little Problem'}

Caller #3: Hey Marty, Steve. I would like to ask what you think about the nearest future? If you will keep together as the Church, both of you? What do you think about the future?

I: Make it short. We don't have much time. Talk about the future in short.

M: Two minutes about the future.

C3: Yeah, okay.

M: Well, I think America will invade Haiti...

I: About you.

C3: You will try anyway to maybe release even one more album?

S: Absolutely.

M: Yeah.

S: At least one more.

C3: I feel very happy about that answer.

M: Well I mean just because you don't see us at the top of the charts every week doesn't mean to say that's a reason to stop being in the group.

C3: Yeah, I understand.

M: I mean like success is not the point. The point is to make as good a record as you can with the greatest songs that you love with all your heart.

C3: That's right.

M: Remember that? Remember your heart?

C3: Yeah. Sure. Definitely. I hate the top of the charts so I really support...

M: Who does like the charts? That's what I don't understand. All the bands that seem to be doing the interesting stuff are all having a bit of a struggle.

C3: That's right.

M: It's a funny old thing.

I: Touring? Will you do any tours?

M: Yeah, we'll probably do some acoustic shows again in Scandinavia and you know it's for people who really like us. If they want to see a big screaming rock group, hey there's only two of us left. {everyone laughs} So, you know, I'm afraid you can't. So you just have to listen to the songs broken down and hope you like them that way until something happens which gives us the possibility of being a band.

I: But you proved tonight that you're brilliant, the two of you.

S: Wow! {sarcastic tone}

M: Shucks...

C3: Bye Steve and bye Marty. All the best in the future. {assorted goodbyes}


Kindly transcribed and sent in by Jason Withrow.

Return to Interviews Page