The following article appeared in the Metro liftout of the Sydney Morning Herald Oct 31 - Nov 6 1997 accompanied by a recent photo of the church and another of SK. Reprinted exactly as it appeared with spelling mistakes in both album titles! - Matt

Note : In case you hadn't heard, the breakup of The Church as discussed in this article has been postponed indefinitely :-) Don't panic !


OF SKINNED ANKLES & HEART

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to worship at the feet of The Church. Matthew Buchanan partakes of the last supper. For a busy man, Steve Kilbey, soon to be ex- of The Church, things sure have been quiet. After the last Church album, Magician Among The Spirits (1995), his projects have included collaborating on the Blackrock soundtrack; an album, Reformation [sic], with Church guitarist Peter Koppes and Guilt Trip [sic], a collaboration with his younger brother Russell. So, you knackered or what?

"People say, 'Ooh you've been really busy,' but it doesn't really feel like I've been doing much. In fact I'm not really busy at all. The only real thing I'm doing is moving to Sweden permanently. I've got children there. What's been taking up my time is thinking about packing up my home."

Packing up. So that's really it. No more The Church? At all?

"I know I've said this a million times, but I really think this is going to be our last record. I'd like this to be our last one. I just think it's run it's course. I don't think everybody's really incredibly interested in The Church. But from a completist's point of view I'd just like to finish it and say 'This is our last album, it's a good album.' Not like the last one which was so patchy. Peter was half in, or half out. Now he's back in and has a complete say. Marty and Peter are back in, so hopefully they've reconciled their differences, whatever they were."

Differences? Why, did they fight a lot?

"They weren't fighting. They just had this kind of stand-off, you know [Kilbey adopts a remonstrating tone]: 'You said this back in 1982,' or 'You played that,' and 'You trod on my foot.'"

It's surprising to hear this. The Church seemed as serene as a tranquilised dream. But he's not exaggerating. Particularly, as it turns out, about the feet.

"There was a lot of bad will in The Church because people were treading on people's feet. Not metaphorically, but literally. Like in the dressing room, you tread on someone's foot in the dressing room and they didn't speak to you for a month. There was this time backstage in the Murwillumbah RSL and there's all these bowling balls and [now ex-drummer] Richard Ploog - he's a f---ing maniac - he starts bowling them at our feet and we have to go on stage with chipped ankles."

We had no idea. In 1988, The Church released Starfish. It was huge, particularly in the US, where it sold over a million copies. Out of the garage and into the showroom. They'd made it. So what happened?

"We blew it. The funny thing was, we thought that when we'd had a successful record we'd be more free. But it was the complete opposite. We had a record company saying, 'The last album sold this many. The next one's gotta sell twice as many.' Suddenly we were locked in. Suddenly we had all these people saying 'You're the star, kick him out, get rid of him, you don't need him.'"

Kilbey slid out of a life of "doing yoga and being pretty happy" into drugs, and the tailspin had begun.

"All that stuff, it's all kind of boiled over now and everybody's wiped the slate clean. Whether anybody buys it [the new album] or not is really immaterial."

But what if the album does do well beyond your wildest dreams?

"Well, avarice will hold us together, I'm sure."

The Church play their last Sydney gig (no really) at the Metro, tonight.


My thanks to Matt for transcribing and supplying this article.

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