Steve Kilbey – circa 1990
“So deep / Deep without a meaning” – ‘The Unguarded Moment’ (Steve Kilbey, Michelle Parker)
Who is The Church? They must be a religious outfit singing songs of praise for Jesus. That’s not the case. The Church is an Australian rock band. There may be a reason why the band is called The Church rather than The Christians; mainstream western religions are not the only organisations to worship in a church. There may be a vaguely spiritual element to some of the group’s lyrics but really any attempt to discuss religion based on the words of the songs performed by this band is doomed to failure. The songs of The Church are “so deep / deep without a meaning.”
The genesis of The Church’s story begins with their usual frontman, Steve Kilbey. Steven John Kilbey is born on 13 September 1954 in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England. His father is Leslie John Kilbey and his mother is Joyce Kilbey (nee Bennett). Steve’s father had been in the Royal Marines. The Kilbey family immigrates to Australia when Steve is 5 years old.
In Australia, the Kilbey family increases in size. Steve gains three younger siblings: a brother named Russell (born in 1961), a sister named Kathy (born in 1962) and youngest brother, John. The Kilbey clan seems to move around a bit. At first, they reside at Billabong Avenue, Dapto, New South Wales before relocating to ‘working-class’ Wollongong, New South Wales. However, it is Canberra with which Steve Kilbey’s youth is associated. Canberra is the seat of Australian government and the main city of the Australian Capital Territory (A.C.T.); the A.C.T. exists as a separate territory within the geographic boundaries of the State of New South Wales. As a youth, Steve Kilbey loses a debate with a fellow school boy, future Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Steve Kilbey develops an interest in rock music. His influences include 1960s icons such as The Beatles, The Byrds and Bob Dylan, 1970s glam rockers like David Bowie and T-Rex’s Marc Bolan, and Australian performers including The Easybeats and Russell Morris. When he is 17, Steve Kilbey joins a five-piece Canberra ‘cabaret band’ called Saga. A stint in a band called Beyond Beavers follows. In 1974 Kilbey is part of a group called Precious Little. It is in Precious Little that Kilbey first works with Peter Koppes.
Peter Koppes (the surname is pronounced KOP-iss) is born on 21 November 1955 in Canberra, A.C.T., Australia. “My father’s ancestry is Dutch,” Koppes explains, “and there’s southern French and Portuguese possibly, and my mother’s ancestry is northern German but she says there’s a Danish ancestor.” Peter says of his hometown, “I found Canberra an interesting place…it’s got the highest rate of occultism and the highest rate of adultery. It’s a quiet place but with a seedy underbelly.”
Peter Koppes’ father is a guitar teacher. Peter becomes a highly regarded guitarist. Logically, it follows that his father taught him the instrument – except that is apparently not the case. “I started playing drums with an interest in [British instrumental act of the early 1960s] The Shadows,” Peter reveals, “and then [guitar legend] Jimi Hendrix’s [drummer] Mitch Mitchell really inspired me with his jazz style. I think [Latin American act] Santana had the same effect and the guitar playing seeped into me as well, although, musically I think of [British art rockers of the 1970s] Pink Floyd as my template for a band.” When he is 12 years old, Peter Koppes plays drums in a rock band called Bacchus Marsh. Reportedly, he learns to play guitar from the other members of the group. Peter Koppes then goes on to play guitar in a band named Timelord. The church hall where Timelord rehearses is also used by a band called Beyond Beavers, whose membership includes Steve Kilbey. This is how Kilbey and Koppes meet. In 1974 Koppes is invited to join Kilbey’s group – as the drummer. Koppes accepts but the group soon undergoes a membership reshuffle. The singer leaves the band so Steve Kilbey steps up to assume that position and the act is renamed Precious Little.
Later in 1974 Precious Little mutates into a new band called Baby Grande. In addition to Steve Kilbey and Peter Koppes (now back on guitar), the band’s line-up includes Dave Scotland (guitar) and Joe Lee (bass). Baby Grande record demos for EMI in 1977 but miss out on a recording contract. Baby Grande reaches the end of its existence and, for a time, Steve Kilbey and Peter Koppes go their separate ways.
Steve Kilbey finds work as a computer programmer’s assistant, but he is asked to resign after writing a program that prints out poetry instead of agricultural data. Kilbey joins Canberra rock band Tactics for about a month in 1977 before being asked to leave by Dave Studdert, Tactics’ leader.
Peter Koppes leaves Baby Grande in order to go to college and study electronics and engineering. After twelve months, Koppes leaves Australia. He travels around England and Europe. Armed with a guitar, Koppes writes folk songs in this period. In March 1980 Peter Koppes returns to Australia. Settling In Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales, Koppes forms a three-piece band called Limazine. The drummer in Limazine is Nick Ward (a.k.a. Nigel Murray) ‘who, interestingly, was a less-than-favourite school colleague of Steve Kilbey.’
Shortly after moving out of his parents’ home, Steve Kilbey marries Michelle Parker (a.k.a. Mikela Uniacke). The wedding seems to have occurred sometime around 1979. Guitarist Pete Koppes claims that Michelle Parker was his girlfriend before she took up with Kilbey.
Steve Kilbey and his wife Michelle Parker move to Sydney. There, Kilbey meets up with Peter Koppes again. With Kilbey on vocals and bass, Koppes on guitar and Nick Ward on drums, they form a new three-piece band in 1980. Steve Kilbey proposes the group should be called The Church Of Man, but this is soon shortened to The Church. ‘The early days are inauspicious with a handful of low key shows in their adopted hometown of Sydney.’ One of the people who come to see one of The Church’s performances in May 1980 is a young man who arrived in Australia from England only days earlier. His name is Marty Willson-Piper and he is invited to become the fourth member of The Church.
Marty Willson-Piper is born on 7 May 1958 in Stockport, Greater Manchester, England. “The Willson comes from my grandmother’s side and the Piper from my grandfather’s side,” Marty says of his family’s hyphenated surname. “During World War Two my father was a fighter pilot,” he adds. Marty is the family’s second child. He has a brother who is seven years older than him. Another child, Robin, was born between Marty and his elder brother, but Robin dies soon after birth. The family is completed by Marty’s sister. Mr and Mrs Willson-Piper run a pub called ‘The Commercial’ in Compstall. When Marty is 3 years old, the family relocates to a house just outside Marple Bridge near Glossop. Marty’s father loses his job because the company for which he works goes bankrupt. Then, around 1970, comes a move to Birch Village in Derbyshire where the Willson-Pipers have another pub called ‘The Grouse Hotel.’ Mr Willson-Piper gets a job in Liverpool and moves his family into a small flat in Thingwall. Marty grows up in Thingwall on the Wirral, about seven miles from Liverpool.
The elder brother of Marty Willson-Piper plays in a cabaret band called The Hiltons. When Marty is 14, his elder brother teaches him to play guitar. Marty forms his own school band, Uncle Rufus, with his friends Andy ‘Dare’ Mason and David Mason. Marty Willson-Piper later lists his influences as a guitar player as two people from bands active in the mid to late 1970s: Bill Nelson (of Be-Bop Deluxe) and Tom Verlaine (of Television).
Marty Willson-Piper leaves school when he is 18. Marty does a variety of odd jobs such as working at a Wall’s ice cream factory and working as a door-to-door salesman. He travels to Europe where he busks in the streets and works picking grapes. Willson-Piper later says that if he hadn’t become a musician, he would have become a language teacher. He can speak Spanish and Swedish. (Steve Kilbey will also later learn Swedish.) Returning from Europe, Marty Willson-Piper resides in London. Then, aged 21, he travels to Sydney, Australia, in April 1980. Soon after arrival, the newcomer checks out a gig by a local band, The Church. Marty Willson-Piper is invited to join The Church on 6 May 1980.
The first version of The Church is now fully assembled: Steve Kilbey (vocals, bass), Peter Koppes (guitar, vocals), Marty Willson-Piper (guitar, vocals) and Nick Ward (drums). The quartet records a four-song demo tape in Kilbey’s bedroom studio. The only song from this demo that survives to become part of The Church’s later repertoire is ‘Chrome Injury’. The demo tape scores a publishing deal with ATV/Northern Songs for the group’s music. Chris Gilbey from that organisation then helps The Church obtain a recording contract with EMI Australia. Although Gilbey does not become The Church’s manager, he seems to be an early mentor for the band. It is Gilbey who buys a twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar for Marty Willson-Piper, an instrument that becomes so essential to The Church’s future sound.
The Church is usually described as either a psychedelic band or an alternate rock band. They are out of step with many other Australian bands of the same era, acts such as The Angels, icehouse and INXS. “Loathed all those bands, loathed the whole Oz rock thing,” claims The Church’s leader, Steve Kilbey. “I never liked new wave and new romantic,” he says, dismissing the prevailing trends of the day. Kilbey asserts, “The way we reacted to that was to go back to something that was unfashionable, and that was psychedelic for want of a better word.” Psychedelic music was strongest in the mid to late 1960s. It encompassed the pop mastery of The Beatles, the jangling twelve-string guitar of The Byrds and the poetic, oblique lyrics of Bob Dylan. “Much of what we did was enormously influenced by The Beatles, The Byrds and Dylan,” acknowledges Kilbey. The aim of psychedelic music was to aurally simulate the experience of taking mind-expanding drugs. The Church are said to ‘smoke dope’ and Kilbey ‘maintains marijuana amplifies his creativity.’ Psychedelia comes with its own fashions too. “I think we overemphasised that by wearing paisley shirts,” admits Kilbey, referring to garments with gaudy, swirling, colourful patterns. Many of the group’s paisley shirts are designed and made by Kilbey’s wife, Michelle Parker. The Church’s brand of psychedelia is not simply derived from the 1960s. Steve Kilbey’s deep vocals merge the intonations of early 1970s glam rockers like David Bowie, Marc Bolan and Lou Reed. Nominally, Peter Koppes is the lead guitarist of The Church and Marty Willson-Piper is the rhythm guitarist, but those designations are sometimes ill-fitting. Koppes and Willson-Piper develop a sympathetic interplay that is virtually telepathic and a constant point of interest. In the later stage of their career, The Church may be more deservedly considered an alternate rock act. In simplest terms, alternate rock is music that is not made with an ear to commercial conventions and pop charts; it is an alternative to the mainstream. “It’s better not to be successful on your own terms than to be successful on someone else’s terms,” says Marty Willson-Piper. Steve Kilbey adds with a laugh, “And we’re very unsuccessful on our terms.” Kilbey insists, “The Church never made depressing music…It’s sort of dreamy, melancholy, water-coloured stuff.”
In the first part of their career (1980-1984), The Church’s leader Steve Kilbey is their main songwriter. Unless otherwise stated, all songs from that period cited here are written by Kilbey. His baffling, opaque lyrics offer hours of contemplation without yielding any definite answers. From 1985, the norm becomes group compositions. Accordingly, all songs referred to here from 1985 onwards are group compositions by The Church as a whole unless the contrary is stated. It seems likely that Kilbey remains the main driver in this latter period but there is a significantly higher level of participation from the other members in crafting the sound of their music.
The Church’s debut single, ‘She Never Said’ backed with ‘In A Heartbeat’, is released on 13 November 1980. These two songs perhaps rock a bit harder than The Church’s subsequent output, but most of the hallmarks of the band’s sound are present. Consider these lyrics from ‘She Never Said’: “I’m not exact, but I’m not insane / I clutched at someone in the dark again / It’s so hard to remember her name / She never said.” The single goes ‘unnoticed’ by the charts but this is no reflection on the quality of the material.
On 14 March 1981 The Church issue their second single, ‘The Unguarded Moment’ (AUS no. 22). The songwriting is co-credited to Church leader Steve Kilbey and his wife Michelle Parker (a.k.a. Mikela Uniacke). Guitarist Peter Koppes claims that, “The intro and outro of ‘Unguarded Moment’ came from me.” Kilbey says the song was “actually recorded as an afterthought” for their debut album. The song’s central riff is a close relation to The Beatles’ 1965 hit ‘Ticket To Ride’. The high harmonies are provided by Peter Koppes as opposed to what would become the band’s usual practice of employing the harmonies of The Church’s other guitarist, Marty Willson-Piper, to Kilbey’s lead vocal. More traditionally, the guitar playing is stunning, from Koppes’ unhinged solo to the way the interlocking guitars unite and splay over and over again. “We got the video of ‘The Unguarded Moment’ on ‘Countdown’,” says Kilbey, referring to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s influential Sunday evening television rock program. “The next week we were pop stars…For us, it was like a classic overnight success story,” he attests. “We knew how critical it was to do ‘Countdown’,” says Peter Koppes. ‘The Unguarded Moment’ is a ‘classic single’ and, in Kilbey’s words, “the one that made it all possible.”
‘Of Skins And Heart’ (1981) (AUS no. 22) is the debut album by The Church. It is released on 13 April. ‘Of Skins And Heart’ is the first of four Church albums released by EMI/Parlophone. The disc is co-produced by Chris Gilbey (the band’s publisher) and Bob Clearmountain. The cover drawing, reminiscent of an anatomic model of a heart, is the work of Michelle Parker (a.k.a. Mikela Uniacke), the wife of Church leader Steve Kilbey. ‘Of Skins And Heart’ includes the previous singles ‘She Never Said’ (but not its B side ‘In A Heartbeat’) and ‘The Unguarded Moment’ (the latter co-written by Kilbey and Parker). Also present is the hard-edged ‘Chrome Injury’, the only survivor from the demo tape that led to a publishing deal and recording contract for The Church. The first lines of the opening track, ‘For A Moment We’re Strangers’, provide the album with its title: “In the empty place / The soul stripped bare / Of skins and heart / And I come apart.” A signpost towards the future is the lyrical ‘Bel Air’: “A palm tree nodded at me last night / Said, ‘Hey, you look so pale’ / I don’t know if it was the air / Or the breeze in my hair / I had a feeling I had failed.” There is also ‘Is This Where You Live’, which Kilbey describes as “our first epic [7:38]. There were all sorts of traumas recording this one. I remember that. Backwards guitar solo and first use of vocoder [a mechanical voice distorter].” The closing track, the piano ballad ‘Don’t Open The Door To Strangers’, is co-written by Steve Kilbey and guitarist Marty Willson-Piper (Kilbey plays the piano). ‘Of Skins And Heart’ has a ‘harder, more new wave influenced sound’ than other Church albums.
Prior to the release of ‘Of Skins And Heart’, drummer Nick Ward was removed from The Church. Ward played on all the tracks on that album though and did a good job. In the wake of the album’s release, in leader Steve Kilbey’s words, The Church “got ourselves a big old manager.” That person is Australian tour promoter Michael Chugg. It is Chugg who recruits Richard Ploog to replace Nick Ward in 1981.
Richard John Ploog is born on 29 October 1962 in Adelaide, South Australia. His early bands include The Name Droppers, The Brats and Exhibit A. Although Nick Ward was a good drummer with a firm and forceful style, Ploog is a more versatile percussionist. As The Church’s music becomes more subtle, Ploog’s finesse as well as power proves a potent part of their sound. The addition of this new drummer creates the definitive Church line-up: Steve Kilbey (vocals, bass), Peter Koppes (guitar, vocals), Marty Willson-Piper (guitar, vocals) and Richard Ploog (drums).
Around this time, the marriage of Church leader Steve Kilbey and Michelle Parker comes under strain. Kilbey says, “I’d been doing an interview [with disc jockey Greg Evans] at radio station 3XY in Melbourne [the capital city of the Australian State of Victoria] and I locked eyes with a young woman named Jennifer who was reading the news. I loved her immediately.” This is 21 year old Jennifer Keyte. Steve Kilbey and Jennifer Keyte become a couple and Kilbey’s marriage to Michelle Parker ends. His relationship with Jennifer Keyte is reasonably short-lived. Jennifer Keyte goes on to become a Melbourne television news reader from 1987 for the Seven Network.
The next project for The Church is ‘Too Fast For You’. The five songs recorded for this effort might be considered to constitute an EP [Extended Play recording – bigger than a single, smaller than an album], but they are actually released as a ‘double single’ in a gatefold sleeve on 13 July 1981. The double single idea is the brainchild of Church leader Steve Kilbey and the group’s music publisher and co-producer Chris Gilbey. The novelty is designed to let The Church get two singles on the chart at the same time. Chris Gilbey co-produces the recording sessions with Bob Clearmountain. Paul Pattie provides the cover illustration of a toppled angel statue whose head and wings have broken off. ‘Too Fast For You’ (AUS no. 43) has an authoritative ringing twelve-string guitar. The other A side of these twin seven-inch singles is ‘Tear It All Away’ (AUS no. 81). Steve Kilbey says, “I like this a lot better than [‘Too Fast For You’]. The Church sound really beginning to come together on this one.” Of the other three songs included here, the delicate ‘Sisters’ is the first group composition recorded by The Church. ‘Fraulein’ and ‘You’ve Got To Go’ are both noisier and more hard-rocking than the rest of the songs on these singles. The ‘Too Fast For You’ recording sessions are the first to feature The Church’s new drummer, Richard Ploog.
The Church obtains an overseas record deal. Carerre, a French label, will release their works in England and Europe while Capitol obtains the rights for the U.S.A. ‘The Church’ (1982), released by these labels, mixes tracks from the debut Australian album ‘Of Skins And Heart’ with material from the ‘Too Fast For You’ double single.
The Church’s second album, ‘The Blurred Crusade’ (1982) (AUS no. 10), is released in Australia on 25 March. This album is produced by Bob Clearmountain. Paul Pattie is the artist for the cover image of four medieval knights in armour gathered about a colourful songbird. The album begins with the single ‘Almost With You’ (AUS no. 21), a piece that Church leader Steve Kilbey describes as “the definitive Church song.” Marty Willson-Piper’s jangling guitar introduction gives way to what may be a meditation on romantic feelings as a form of astral travel: “Who you trying to get in touch with? / I’m almost with you.” The catchy, building drama is punctuated by Peter Koppes’ acoustic solo on a Spanish guitar. The cosmic scope of ‘When You Were Mine’ (AUS no. 77) is matched by its intense, lengthy instrumental opening, featuring a guitar break that sounds like a cockerel sliding down a sheet of ice. The song’s words envision, “Plenty of islands between now and then / Rocks break the boats of the painted face men / And they drown / And they’re born / And they live once again.” Although ‘Field Of Mars’ may sound equally spacey, it has a more earthy origin. “I wrote that song about a graveyard in Sydney called the Field of Mars, which was where my neighbour [Ron Wiseman] was buried,” explains Steve Kilbey. Actually, Kilbey co-writes ‘Field Of Mars’ with guitarist Marty Willson-Piper and it is Willson-Piper’s first song as lead vocalist. Subsequently, he usually gets to sing one song per album. Steve Kilbey’s girlfriend Jennifer Keyte claims to be the inspiration for one of the tracks on this disc, ‘To Be In Your Eyes’. Two songs on this album, ‘An Interlude’ and ‘You Took’, are group compositions. ‘You Took’ is another epic [8:09] and furnishes the album’s name: “It’s a shame it’s not a game / We’re playing in / It’s just the blurred crusade.” ‘The Blurred Crusade’ is described as ‘a classic’, ‘excellent’ and ‘a stunning effort.’
When ‘Almost With You’ and ‘When You Were Mine’ are released as singles, they both have B sides that are songs not included on ‘The Blurred Crusade’. The B side to ‘Almost With You’ is ‘Life Speeds Up’ which Church leader Steve Kilbey calls “another epic [7:04].” The B side to ‘When You Were Mine’ is an instrumental (aside from some incomprehensible muttering) titled ‘The Golden Dawn’. The name comes from The Church’s drummer Richard Ploog. It is derived from an occult organisation called the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In the 1980s, Kilbey and Ploog become interested in occult authors such as Madame Helena Blavatsky.
In April 1982 Ignatius Jones, former lead vocalist for Australian band Jimmy And The Boys, begins a short-lived solo recording career with the single ‘Like A Ghost’ (AUS no. 83). The song is written by Steve Kilbey of The Church.
After ‘The Blurred Crusade’, The Church tours Australia then embark on their first tour of Britain and Europe. They get a gig as a support act to British pop group Duran Duran’s tour of England, but The Church is ‘poorly received.’ “The record company in England paid a lot of money to put us on the Duran Duran tour, and lost that money, so they’re not happy with us,” acknowledges Church leader Steve Kilbey.
‘Temperature Drop in Downtown Winterland’ is a ten-inch mini-album compilation of Church songs released on 3 November 1982 for the British and European markets.
While Carrere had also released ‘The Blurred Crusade’, The Church’s American label, Capitol, wants ‘more commercial material’ from the group so another five songs are recorded. In Australia, these recordings are issued as the twelve-inch EP ‘Sing Songs’ (AUS no. 58) on 8 December 1982. The best effort on the disc is ‘A Different Man’, a propulsive piece that showcases Marty Willson-Piper’s twelve-string guitar to good effect. The backing vocals for ‘Ancient History’ amusingly ping pong back and forth across the mix. Church leader Steve Kilbey evidently thinks the pick of this bunch is ‘The Night Is Very Soft’. With its images of a “sulky blonde” and a “milk white electric guitar”, Kilbey says it is “rehearsed and recorded in two nights. Very quick.” ‘The Night Is Very Soft’ is co-written by Steve Kilbey and his younger brother, Russell Kilbey. ‘In This Room’ seems both hushed and packed with dread. These four tracks are produced by The Church. The last track on the EP, a cover version of the 1965 Simon And Garfunkel song ‘I Am A Rock’, is co-produced by The Church and Bob Clearmountain. Capitol does not release ‘The Blurred Crusade’ or the additional ‘Sing Songs’ tracks. They drop The Church instead.
‘Séance’ (1983) (AUS no. 18), The Church’s third full-length album, is issued in May. A séance is a ceremony designed to contact the spirits of the deceased so, accordingly, the album cover is a photo of ‘an ashen-faced woman.’ ‘Séance’ is co-produced by The Church and John Bee. The album has a ‘sombre and otherworldly feel.’ It is ‘more atmospheric and brooding’ than ‘The Blurred Crusade’. More keyboards (played by Church leader Steve Kilbey) feature in these arrangements. The first single is ‘It’s No Reason’ (AUS no. 56), a sad song marked by thudding drums and a mournful organ. “This was a single and probably shouldn’t have been,” remarks Steve Kilbey. “This is really where rock and roll and The Church begin to part ways. My fault entirely, I’m afraid.” Kilbey’s ex-wife, Michelle Parker, provides backing vocals on ‘It’s No Reason’. The livelier ‘Electric Lash’ (AUS no. 60) is “a hit in some areas [e.g. Adelaide, South Australia],” says Steve Kilbey. The lyric mentions “the voice of the girl on the radio,” a reference to Kilbey’s girlfriend, radio station 3XY journalist Jennifer Keyte. “I wrote ‘Electric Lash’ about her and then many other songs too,” Kilbey confirms. ‘Travel By Thought’ is a rather abstract and experimental piece credited as a group composition. Steve Kilbey’s younger brother Russell Kilbey blows harmonica on ‘Now I Wonder Why’. Among the better moments in what’s left of the album are the contrastingly optimistic ‘One Day’ and the guitar rave up ‘Dropping Names’.
As happened with ‘The Blurred Crusade’, the singles from ‘Séance’ are backed with B sides not included on the original album. ‘It’s No Reason’ has the poppy ‘Someone Special’ on its flipside. ‘Electric Lash’ has the B side ‘Autumn Soon’, featuring Peter Koppes on a sitar-guitar, a hybrid of the twangy Indian instrument and the more traditional rock guitar.
When The Church goes on tour to support ‘Séance’, they are accompanied by Dean Walliss on keyboards in order to reproduce the album’s keyboard-heavy orientation. The group tours Australia and New Zealand to pay off debts from their European tour. “We’re not rich. We have to tour constantly to make money,” says Church leader Steve Kilbey. He adds in frustration, “We don’t want to break up but how do we keep going beyond a certain point?” On the fashion front, Kilbey notes, “We’d kind of worn out the paisley by 1983.”
The Church’s drummer Richard Ploog plays some gigs with Australian band The Beasts Of Bourbon in 1983.
In 1983 the members of The Church first meet the four women who make up Pink Champagne (1981-1984), a ‘Swedish feminist punk band.’ Two members of this group go on to become romantically involved with members of The Church.
The relationship between Church leader Steve Kilbey and Jennifer Keyte begins to wind down. He leaves Keyte to take up with Karin Jansson, the guitarist from Pink Champagne. Kilbey and Jansson begin living together in 1986 and Jansson comes to Australia in 1987. Karin Jansson forms a new group, Curious (Yellow) (1987-1990). Although they never marry, Kilbey and Jansson become the parents of twin daughters, Elektra and Miranda Kilbey (born in late 1991).
The Church’s guitarist Marty Willson-Piper begins a relationship with Ann Carlberger, the vocalist from Pink Champagne. Marty and Ann do not marry, but they have a daughter together, Signe Carlberger (born in 1989 in Stockholm, Sweden). Marty and Ann split up in the early 1990s.
The Church’s other guitarist, Peter Koppes, marries a woman named Melanie around 1984. Peter and Melanie go on to have two daughters, Tatiana (a.k.a. ‘O’) Koppes and Neige Koppes. As young women, the Koppes’ daughters also get into the music industry. They start out with an act called Ménage A Trois before moving on to The Kicks a.k.a. Bright Red (circa 2007). In 2010 they form Rain Party with Neige Koppes on vocals and bass and her sister ‘O’ Koppes on guitar and vocals.
The Church’s drummer Richard Ploog plays some gigs with Australian band Salamander Jim in February 1984.
In February 1984 The Church releases a twelve-inch EP titled ‘Remote Luxury’ (AUS no. 32). The disc is co-produced by The Church and John Bee. The spearhead of the disc is ‘Maybe These Boys…’, the first of a handful of Steve Kilbey songs that borrow imagery from the wild west: “Ripped and raw / Lays his glove on the door / Walks in and tells the man on the floor / Maybe these boys want to do some talking.” Unexpectedly, these dust-caked sentiments are framed by a bouncy synthesiser more in keeping with early 1980s synth pop than The Church’s usual guitar oriented sound. The tumbling, folky strum of ’10,000 Miles’ is co-written by Steve Kilbey and guitarist Marty Willson-Piper with Marty providing the lead vocal. ‘Into My Hands’ may be the EP’s best song with its philosophical musing: “It gets so uncertain / When the girl gets too near / It’s never as good as I hoped / Or as bad as I feared.” ‘A Month Of Sundays’ is atmospheric but with strong drums and a catchy chorus. Closing the disc is a languid instrumental that gives its name to the EP, ‘Remote Luxury’.
‘Remote Luxury’ is followed in August 1984 by another twelve-inch EP holding five tracks. ‘Persia’ (AUS no. 47) is also co-produced by The Church and John Bee. This disc too opens with another synthesiser-augmented track. The keyboards on ‘Constant In Opal’ are played by Craig Hooper from Australian band The Reels. The song itself is a rare instance of The Church tackling a distinctly Australian subject since it seems to be about – however vaguely – “Digging for the blue and the green,” mining opals and gemstones in the outback. Guitarist Marty Willson-Piper writes and sings ‘Volumes’, a tribute to books. ‘No Explanation’ has a soothing acoustic folk rock tone while ‘Violet Town’ uses the name of a real place in rural Victoria to express sentiments about alienation. The closing piece, the group composition ‘Shadow Cabinet’, is the disc’s highlight. It is, as Church leader Steve Kilbey puts it, “Everything that was good about us in 1984.” It transposes the political term for the opposition party’s ministry into a more literal, mystical item, “And that night she dreams ceremony and mud.” The lyrics of this song also supply the title of the EP: “The eldritch bitch must have muddled her spells / Tinges of Persia, I hope that it sells.”
In October, U.S. label Warner Bros. issues ‘Remote Luxury’ (1984), the ‘Remote Luxury’ and ‘Persia’ EPs combined as a single full-length album. (It is reissued by Arista in 1990. It is also issued by Carrere in Europe.)
Russell Kilbey, the younger brother of The Church’s Steve Kilbey, leads his own ‘Australian indie rock band’ The Crystal Set (1984-1991).
After the U.S. release of ‘Remote Luxury’, The Church part ways with manager Michael Chugg. Taking over that role is John Lee of Malibu Management. The Church tours the U.S. in October-November 1984.
The members of The Church spend some time apart in 1985 with their personnel scattered around the globe in Stockholm, Sweden, and Jamaica.
In July 1985 Steve Kilbey becomes the first member of The Church to issue solo material with the release of the single ‘This Asphalt Eden’. From this point on, members of The Church issue a plethora of solo works and engage in a number of side projects while The Church continues to be an ongoing proposition. After the release of his first solo single, Steve Kilbey takes up yoga.
When The Church reconvenes, they alter their songwriting methods. Church leader Steve Kilbey explains: “The demo situation was getting to us – me writing the songs on my eight-track [home recording studio] and bringing them along to the band. It sounded too stiff. We’d reached this new energy level on stage which by far superseded anything we’d ever recorded, so we knew the only way to get sounding like that [on record] was for the band to write together.” All Church songs mentioned after this are group compositions unless otherwise indicated.
‘Heyday’ (1985) (AUS no. 19, US no. 146), released in November, is the best album by The Church. This disc is produced by Peter Walsh. Although Church leader Steve Kilbey stated that the band’s paisley shirt phase was “worn out” by 1983, all of the quartet are attired in paisley shirts – in front of an equally colourful rug or wall-hanging – on the album’s front cover photo. ‘Heyday’ is very loosely a concept album equating the life of Jesus Christ with the career arc of a pop star. This sounds horribly pretentious, but with The Church’s familiar tendency for wilfully being dreamlike and shadowy, the theme is never overpowering. This disc is also the closest The Church ever comes to fulfilling the expectation of those unfamiliar with the band that their music will be of a devoutly Christian nature – though it’s not very close at all really. Oblique references in ‘Myrrh’ and ‘Roman’, the songs that bookend this album, evoke imagery associated with, respectively, the birth and death of Christ. ‘Myrrh’ is named for an aromatic resin used as incense, one of the gifts bestowed on the new-born saviour by the Three Wise Men. Steve Kilbey believes ‘Myrrh’ is, “in my book, the best” song on ‘Heyday’. It depicts a “Nightmare descent into Jericho City / Camel dust heralds our arrival / New Christ beneath the drumkit moon.” Sonically, ‘Tristesse’ is a gorgeous, shimmering pillow. ‘Already Yesterday’ (AUS no. 100) reflects on the transitory nature of fame (or life?): “It’s already yesterday / We’re off the calendar.” The guitar figure is almost out of tune, again indicating the flaws of mortality. ‘Columbus’ recasts the famed explorer as messiah / pop star: “I think I just need someone’s words to reassure me / I don’t blame any of you and I don’t blame myself.” ‘Happy Hunting Ground’ is an instrumental named for the Native American people’s conception of heaven or paradise. ‘Tantalized’ (AUS no. 62) is unusual for employing a braying horn section. The perils of celebrity are enunciated in this manner: “I let their wanton flesh obsess me / I let their dreams and drugs assess me / I was hired and fired yet never inspired / Flattering, chattering words to impress me.” The theme carries through to ‘Disenchanted’, though in a more laid back, gentle folk rock framework. ‘Night Of Light’ is adorned with a swooping string section. ‘Youth Worshipper’, co-written by Steve Kilbey and his girlfriend Karin Jansson, confounds the general air of the album by draping its tale of an aging hedonist with almost satanic incantations: “Hoofs and horns and teeth and bones.” The album closes with ‘Roman’, named after the nationality of the soldiers at whose hands Christ is crucified. The song begins with a stately introduction that bends into Peter Koppes’ shape-shifting guitar riff. The lyrics ask, “Father why you leaving me? / They’ve found another martyr / Rather it was him than me.” ‘Heyday’ is an embarrassment of riches. ‘Expectations were high and the album did not disappoint,’ at least not in creative terms. This ‘excellent’ set does not sell well enough to satisfy the record companies and becomes The Church’s last release for EMI (Australia) and ‘Warner Bros. (U.S.).
The three singles from ‘Heyday’ are all backed by B sides not on the album. ‘Already Yesterday’ has on its flipside ‘As You Will’, guitarist Peter Koppes’ first solo composition and lead vocal. ‘Tantalized’ is backed by ‘The View’, a song written and sung by The Church’s other guitarist Marty Willson-Piper. The (non-charting) ‘Columbus’ has on its B side ‘Trance Ending’, a solo effort – in all ways – from Church leader Steve Kilbey, recorded on his home studio.
During the concert tour to support ‘Heyday’, guitarist Marty Willson-Piper briefly quits The Church. The band performs as a three-piece act in Hamburg, Germany, on 10 July 1986 but Willson-Piper returns to the group within a week.
The members of The Church issue a flurry of solo releases. Leader Steve Kilbey’s first solo album is ‘Unearthed’ (1986). This is followed by Kilbey’s ‘non-linear novel’ ‘Earthed’, published in 1986, and the accompanying second Steve Kilbey solo album, ‘Earthed’ (1987). Also in 1987, guitarist Peter Koppes issues a solo EP, ‘When Reason Forbids: A Requiem’ and guitarist Marty Willson-Piper releases his first solo album, ‘In Reflection’ (1987).
EMI issues ‘Hindsight 1980-1987’ (1988) (AUS no. 36), a double album compilation of The Church’s hits and some rarities – including the entire contents of the ‘Too Fast For You’ double single and a bunch of otherwise unavailable B sides. This is ‘a fitting tribute and a must for any Church completist.’ ‘Conception’ (1988) is a compilation album released by The Church’s European label Carrere. It contains tracks from the first two Church albums and one track from the ‘Sing Songs’ EP.
‘Starfish’ (1988) (AUS no. 11, US no. 41), released on 16 February, is The Church’s ‘breakthrough album.’ It proves to be their ‘most commercially successful release.’ ‘Starfish’ begins The Church’s associated with new record labels Mushroom (for Australia) and Arista (in the U.S.). The album is co-produced by Greg Ladanyi, Waddy Wachtel and The Church and is recorded in Los Angeles, California, in the U.S.A. Church leader Steve Kilbey notes that in 1987, “The Church came to L.A. and really reacted against the place because none of us liked it. I hated where I was living.” The album’s title, ‘Starfish’, comes from Donnette Thayer, Steve Kilbey’s friend and sometime musical partner, who signs the postcards she sends to Kilbey as ‘Starfish.’ The album includes The Church’s single greatest song, ‘Under The Milky Way’ (AUS no. 22, US no. 24, UK no. 90). It is co-written by Steve Kilbey and his girlfriend Karin Jansson. Parts of the song come from another composition of theirs, ‘Anna Miranda’. ‘Under The Milky Way’ is written at the home of Steve’s mother at Smiths Lake on the New South Wales mid-coast in Australia. When Steve and Karin drop by for a visit with his mother, Steve ducks out of the after-dinner washing-up. “I smoked a joint and started playing the piano and she [i.e. Karin] came in the room and we just made it up,” says Kilbey. It “just fell out of the sky within three minutes.” The title is not as cosmic as it may first appear; it comes from an Amsterdam music and cultural venue (i.e. hash bar) called ‘Melkweg’ (Dutch for ‘Milky Way’). The strummed acoustic melody of ‘Under The Milky Way’ has an almost hypnotic effect. “And it’s something quite peculiar / Something that shimmering and white / Leads you here despite your destination / Under the milky way tonight,” intones Steve Kilbey. He later tells an interviewer, “it’s not really about anything at all. I just wanted to create an atmosphere.” The heavily doctored guitar solo on reversed tape sounds surprisingly similar to bagpipes. It is actually Los Angeles session musician Russ Kunkel playing drums on ‘Under The Milky Way’, though The Church’s regular drummer Richard Ploog is on the rest of the album. “It possibly made me a million bucks,” Steve Kilbey says of ‘Under The Milky Way’ before noting that plenty of those funds were later used on drugs. ‘Under The Milky Way’ embodies The Church’s best qualities: a sumptuous, attractive melody, cryptic lyrics and masterful guitar work. Speaking of guitars, the sinuous guitar figure of ‘Reptile’ (AUS no. 99) evokes the title’s femme fatale. The lyrics note, “Your skin and your tail / Your flickering tongue and your rattling scale.” Tracks like ‘Destination’, ‘Lost’ and ‘North, South, East And West’ all seem to feed on the band’s unease in the foreign environs of Los Angeles. ‘Antenna’ lambasts a trend follower. ‘Starfish’ also includes a trio of solo compositions: guitarist Marty Willson-Piper sings his own dramatic ‘Spark’, guitarist Peter Koppes provides the lead vocal for his own soothing ‘A New Season’ while Church leader Steve Kilbey gets the last word, searching for comfort in a ‘Hotel Womb’, the closing track. With a consistently strong menu of songs and co-producer Waddy Wachtel calling upon his own experience as a session guitarist to make the most of The Church’s guitar textures, ‘Starfish’ introduces The Church to ‘a wider audience.’
Initial copies of ‘Starfish’ have a free bonus twelve-inch EP. This disc contains five songs: ‘Anna Miranda’, ‘Musk’, ‘Perfect Child’, ‘Frozen And Distant’ and ‘Texas Moon’. With the exception of ‘Musk’, they all turn up later on ‘A Quick Smoke At Spot’s’ (1991), so they will be dealt with there.
In the wake of ‘Starfish’, The Church tours extensively. They play in Europe in March-April 1988 and tour the U.S. in three instalments: May-June, mid-August-mid-September and October 1988. Support acts during that time include Peter Murphy (from Bauhaus) and Tom Verlaine (from Television). In this period, The Church struggle with pressure from their U.S. label Arista. Church leader Steve ‘Kilbey smokes more pot on tour than at any other point in his use – such large quantities that he regularly coughs up blood.’ For much of the tour, drummer Richard Ploog ‘disengages’ from the group. ‘The exact nature of his malady is unknown but most agree that [the mind-expanding drug] L.S.D. exacerbates his condition.’
Arista releases the compilation disc ‘Life Before Starfish’ (1988) for new converts to The Church.
Church guitarist Peter Koppes breaks up with his wife Melanie in 1988.
The members of The Church again branch out to individual projects before regrouping. Drummer Richard Ploog works with Damien Lovelock in 1988. (Lovelock is best known as the frontman for Australian band The Celibate Rifles.) Guitarist Marty Willson-Piper issues ‘Art Attack’ (1988) and ‘Rhyme’ (1989). Guitarist Peter Koppes releases his first full-length solo albums, ‘Manchild And Myth’ (1988) and ‘From The Well’ (1989). Koppes also forms his own backing group, The Well – taking their name from his 1989 album. The members of The Well (1989-1995) are: Anthony Smith (keyboards) (from Icehouse), Jim Leone (bass) (from The Celibate Rifles) and Richard Ploog (drums) (from The Church). Church leader Steve Kilbey issues the single ‘Transaction’ in June 1989, the mini-album ‘The Slow Crack’ in 1989, the double album ‘Remindlessness’ (1990) and two albums attributed to Hex, a duo consisting of Kilbey and Donnette Thayer, the woman whose nom de plume gave the ‘Starfish’ album its title. The two albums by Hex are ‘Hex’ (1989) and ‘Vast Halos’ (1990).
‘Gold Afternoon Fix’ (1990) (AUS no. 12, US no. 66) is released on 22 February. The album’s title refers to a stock market term relating to the daily price which is set for gold. The Church had hoped to use John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin fame) as the producer of this album, but the band’s record label rejected the idea, fearing the result would be ‘too arty.’ Instead, Waddy Wachtel, co-producer of ‘Starfish’, is recalled to act as co-producer with The Church. The first single from this album is the fluttering ‘Metropolis’ (AUS no. 19). It turns out that ‘Metropolis’ is the highest charting single in Australia for The Church in their career (‘Under The Milky Way’ retains that honour for the U.S. and U.K.). Ironically, ‘Metropolis’ is also the last Church single to reach the commercial charts. “Back in Metropolis, circuses and elephants / Where the oranges grew / And back in Metropolis nothing can ever topple us / When I’m standing with you,” sings Steve Kilbey with a curious mixture of world weariness and self-satisfaction. Guitarist Marty Willson-Piper provides the lead vocal on ‘Russian Autumn Heart’, ‘a crisp rocker’, and co-writes with Kilbey the spacey ‘Terra Nova Cain’. This is the only Church album on which Willson-Piper plays that has no twelve-string guitar – because Marty’s distinctive instrument was stolen during the band’s previous tour and had not yet been replaced. ‘You’re Still Beautiful’ is a punchy retort to an aging and vain woman. The glorious opening track, ‘Pharaoh’, musically evokes ancient Egypt while the pop star princes sit upon their thrones, “Making grown men weep…with boredom.” At the other end of the album, the closing track ‘Grind’ is a ‘slow, destructive burn.’ The ennui-soaked ‘Disappointment’ and the philosophical ‘Transient’ (the latter with a lead vocal from guitarist Peter Koppes) are written without the input of drummer Richard Ploog. In fact, Ploog only plays on three songs from ‘Gold Afternoon Fix’, the balance of the menu uses programmed drums. ‘Despite moderate success,’ ‘Gold Afternoon Fix’ ‘fails to deliver mass commercial appeal.’
The Church’s drummer Richard Ploog leaves the group in 1990. His exit is blamed on ‘internal band tensions.’ Church leader Steve Kilbey says Ploog left “because of musical personal differences.” Perhaps the most detailed explanation is the following: ‘He was becoming too unreliable and patchy in his performance, either due to his drug habit or just lessening interest in being part of the band.’ Richard Ploog continues to work with The Well, the backing group for Church guitarist Peter Koppes, up to 1995. Later, Richard Ploog works with The Sleep-Ins (2004).
When The Church goes on tour to promote ‘Gold Afternoon Fix’, the position of drummer is filled by Jay Dee Daugherty (born on 22 March 1952 in Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A.). Daugherty is best known for his stint backing the queen of punk poetry in The Patti Smith Group (1975-1979). Jay Dee Daugherty becomes co-writer of The Church’s material with the band’s other three members.
‘A Quick Smoke At Spot’s (Archives 1986-1990)’ (1991) is a collection of rarities, outtakes and unfinished tracks by The Church. As the time span in the title indicates, all the songs on this set were recorded when Richard Ploog was still The Church’s drummer. Among the more interesting pieces are ‘Anna Miranda’ (co-written by Steve Kilbey and Karin Jansson), the ancestor of ‘Under The Milky Way’, and ‘Texas Moon’ (a group composition) and ‘Ride Into The Sunset’ (co-written by Kilbey and Peter Koppes), two songs that are further instances of Kilbey playing with wild west imagery. Karin Jansson co-writes with The Church on ‘The Feast’ and ‘Nose Dive’.
Guitarist Marty Willson-Piper, in addition to his work with The Church and his solo recordings, works with British band All About Eve in 1991 to 1993. He plays on their albums ‘Touched By Jesus’ (1991) and ‘Ultraviolet’ (1992). A second period of time with All About Eve will follow for Willson-Piper in 1999-2002.
‘Iridescence’ is the title of a 1991 EP attributed to Peter Koppes And The Well. ‘Narcosis’ is a 1991 EP by Steve Kilbey. ‘Jack Frost’ (1991), released in December, is the first album by the act of the same name. Jack Frost is the duo of Steve Kilbey from The Church and Grant McLennan from fellow Australian band The Go-Betweens.
Jack Frost is not the only thing to come out of the collaboration between Steve Kilbey and Grant McLennan. The Church’s leader is introduced to heroin by McLennan. “And within six or seven weeks I was a total f***ing addict,” admits Kilbey. He uses heroin throughout the 1990s and Kilbey says he was a “hopeless, flaky, unreliable idiot,” during that period. A complicating factor is that Kilbey and his partner Karin Jansson have twin new-born daughters. Elektra and Miranda are born in late 1991 and Kilbey began using heroin around the same time as Karin Jansson learned she was pregnant.
‘Priest = Aura’ (1992) (AUS no. 25, US no. 176) is released on 30 March. This album is recorded in Australia with Gavin McKillop sharing production duties with The Church. In Australia, ‘Priest = Aura’ is the first of two Church albums issued on the White label, a boutique subsidiary of Mushroom known for allowing greater creative control and being more oriented towards alternate rock acts. The recording sessions are characterised by ‘lowered expectations…[and] less commercial pressure’ from the band’s U.S. label, Arista. While Church leader Steve Kilbey is using heroin, the rest of the group employ opium. As guitarist Peter Koppes puts it, “When we made ‘Priest = Aura’ we were completely opiated.” The album’s title comes from Steve Kilbey’s misreading of a Spanish fan’s English vocabulary notes. ‘Priest’ = ‘Cura’ becomes ‘Priest = Aura’. On this album, the ‘lyrics lean towards the abstract and esoteric.’ At the suggestion of guitarist Marty Willson-Piper, most of the tracks have single word titles. The opening (sort of) title track ‘Aura’ furnishes the strange equation (and album title): “The fauna ought to equal the flora / But priest = aura.” Many songs on this album have a dark and brooding emotional tone. ‘Feel’ poignantly asks, “Why can’t I feel it? Can you tell me why?” The throbbing chords of ‘Ripple’ are put in service to lines such as these: “Now I don’t want to bring up a delicate matter / No, I’d much rather bribe and flatter you / ‘Cos flattery gets me everywhere…I lent you some collateral to buy new clothes / It went out the window and up your nose…Ripple / Broken like a wreck in the cold, grey sea / Ripple / Like you were a ripple in my memory.” Other stand-outs such as ‘Swan Lake’ and ‘Lustre’ share the bleak mood. ‘Mistress’ is the only track not written by the group as a whole; drummer Jay Dee Daugherty is absent from the songwriting credit for that one. This is Daugherty’s first album as The Church’s drummer – and it turns out to be his only album with the group too. Steve Kilbey later describes ‘Priest = Aura’ as an “undisputed masterpiece.”
The Church tours Australia to promote ‘Priest = Aura’. After the final concert of that tour, founding member guitarist Peter Koppes quits. It is said that Koppes ‘grew tired of the lifestyle that goes with being part of a touring band.’ The album ‘Water Rites’ (1995) is the last attributed to Peter Koppes And The Well as his backing group disbands in 1995. Peter Koppes’ next album is ‘Love Era / Irony’ (1998).
Marty Willson-Piper issues the solo album ‘Spirit Level’ (1992). ‘5 Days In A Photon Belt’ (1992) is attributed to Warp Factor 9, a name used by the duo of Steve Kilbey and his brother John Kilbey.
Drummer Jay Dee Daugherty leaves The Church in 1993.
‘Sometime Anywhere’ (1994) (AUS no. 27), released on 31 May, is the next album for The Church. Without guitarist Peter Koppes or drummer Jay Dee Daugherty, The Church is effectively only the duo of Steve Kilbey and Marty Willson-Piper. This album is co-produced by The Church and Marty Willson-Piper’s old school friend Andy ‘Dare’ Mason. This is a sprawling album of disparate moods and directions. Early pressings come complete with a bonus disc called ‘Somewhere Else’ containing another seven songs and two different edits of songs from the parent disc. The best known track on the album proper is ‘Two Places At Once’, a dusty acoustic number for which Kilbey and Willson-Piper each sing separate verses. Other tracks to draw some attention on this disc are the ‘hypnotic, brooding’ ‘Day Of The Dead’, the instrumental ‘Eastern’ and ‘Angelica’ (co-written with producer Dare Mason). ‘The Time Being’ – one of the tracks on the bonus disc – has its title recycled in later years for Steve Kilbey’s blog. Boris Goudenov (credited with ‘drum loops’) gets a co-writer credit on two songs on the main disc and one song on the bonus disc. Similarly, drummer Martin Rossell (who recorded and mixed in Sweden a couple of tracks from the bonus disc) gets a co-writing credit on one track from the bonus disc. However, aside from Kilbey and Willson-Piper, the most notable extra musicians are violinist Linda Neil (who plays on ‘Two Places At Once’ and also makes appearances on the next couple of Church albums) and Tim Powles who will become The Church’s new drummer though he is only a guest at this time. ‘Sales, however, are paltry’ for this album and The Church’s U.S. label, Arista, does not renew their contract after this disc.
Tim Powles officially joins The Church as their drummer in 1994. Timothy Guy Gerard Powles is born on 21 December 1959 in Wellington, New Zealand. He attends Nelson College from 1973 to 1977 and begins gigging with bands during those years. Prior to joining The Church, Tim Powles is best known as the drummer for Australian synth pop band The Venetians (1982-1989). Powles also plays drums for Scribble (1985-1986), The Divinyls (1989) and The Angry Anderson Band (1990). Tim Powles first meets The Church’s leader Steve Kilbey when Powles works with Kilbey’s side project Jack Frost in 1991. Aside from his skill at the drumkit, Powles brings with him a knowledge of record production through his own recording studio, Space Junk.
Australian record label Raven Records issues a Church compilation album titled ‘Almost Yesterday 1981-1990’ (1994).
Around this time, Church leader Steve Kilbey breaks up with his partner Karin Jansson, the mother of his twin daughters Elektra and Miranda. The girls were born in late 1991 and it is said that Kilbey and Jansson split ‘a few years into their [i.e. their daughters’] lives.’ Karin leaves and takes the girls to Sweden. In later years, Karin Jansson survives a brain tumour and goes on to open her own yoga studio in Stockholm, Sweden. As young adults brunette Miranda Kilbey and her blonde twin Elektra Kilbey do some work as models before starting a recording career of their own under the name of Say Lou Lou in June 2014.
Having split up with Ann Carlberger in the early 1990s, Church guitarist Marty Willson-Piper begins a new relationship. By 1996 he is married to a woman named Zoe. Marty and Zoe have a daughter, Charlotte Sophie Willson-Piper (born on 14 August 1996).
‘Magician Among The Spirits’ (1996) is released on 19 August on The Church’s own Deep Karma label through Mushroom’s White label. The disc is co-produced by The Church and Simon Polinski. The album’s title is inspired by a 1924 book written by famed escapologist and illusionist Harry Houdini and (uncredited) C. M. Eddy Jr. The book discusses Houdini’s interest in spirit mediums. The album’s cover image includes a photo negative portrait of Houdini. Although The Church is officially a three-piece band at this juncture, ex-Church guitarist Peter Koppes is a guest musician on four of the album’s songs – including the massive (14:01) title track ‘Magician Among The Spirits’ (co-written by Koppes and the three members of The Church). The song also name checks Elektra and Miranda, the daughters of Church leader Steve Kilbey. The opening track, ‘Welcome’ (co-written by Steve Kilbey and Marty Willson-Piper), is basically a recitation of names that has shout-outs to The Church’s first drummer Nick Ward and former producer Gavin McKillop – as well as more famous people including Madame Blavatsky and Harry Houdini. Perhaps the best known song from this set is the Steve Kilbey solo composition ‘Comedown’ which has a contrarily bright sound. Violinist Linda Neil gets a co-writing credit on the two of the album’s three instrumentals: ‘Grandiose’ and ‘Romany Caravan’; the third instrumental, the closing track ‘Afterimage’, is attributed to Kilbey and guitarist Marty Willson-Piper. ‘Ladyboy’ (co-written by the three official members of The Church) is one of the better tracks on this set. By this time, The Church has parted ways with manager John Lee. “There’s no one really managing us,” says Steve Kilbey. ‘Magician Among The Spirits’ doesn’t make it as far as the album charts of Australia, the U.S. or the U.K. Increasingly, ‘the group find themselves restricted to a loyal cult following.’
Steve Kilbey and Grant McLennan release a second – and final – Jack Frost album, ‘Snow Job’ (1996).
Steve Kilbey issues the solo album ‘Narcosis +’ (1997), an expanded version of his 1991 EP ‘Narcosis.’ Joining forces with his younger brother Russell Kilbey, the two issue an album titled ‘Gilt Trip’ (1997).
Steve Kilbey and drummer Tim Powles work with former Church guitarist Peter Koppes under the name of The Refo:mation and put out an album on Phantom Records. This disc has the jaw-breaking title of ‘Pharmako / Distance-Crunching Honchos With Echo Units’ (1997). Guitarist Marty Willson-Piper is not involved with this endeavour. However it does lead to Peter Koppes re-joining The Church in 1998 and restoring the group to a quartet.
The Church’s next album has a rather difficult genesis. Its working title is ‘Au Revoir Por Favor’, which roughly translates as ‘Goodbye (French) And Thanks (Spanish)’. This is indicative of the group approaching this as their farewell. It doesn’t work out that way. Steve Kilbey then offers two alternate album titles, both of which are rejected. The (uncensored) ‘B*st*rd Universe’ is ruled out because of its coarse language – but it does become the title of the bonus disc included with early copies of this album. ‘B*st*rd Universe’ is a seventy-nine minute instrumental divided into six stages. Kilbey’s other suggested album title is ‘Hologram Of Allah’. This is rejected for being too inflammatory amid fears that it would offend Muslims. When the disc is released on 8 September, it comes out under the title of ‘Hologram Of Baal’ (1998) (AUS no. 68). Baal is a deity from the Canaanite pantheon, their master of thunder. The Canaanites dwelled in the areas that today are Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Their civilisation was at its height from the middle of the third millennium B.C. (Before Christ) to just after the turn to A.D. (Anno Domini – modern recorded history). The Church toured Australia – with guitarist Peter Koppes back in the fold – during the recording of the album. The disc is produced by the band and released through a patchwork of three labels, Festival, Cooking Vinyl and Thirsty Ear. All the songs on the album are group compositions. The best known piece is probably the languid and steamy ‘Louisiana’, with Linda Neil playing violin. ‘This Is It’ is said to be about the death of Michael Hutchence, frontman for Australian rock group INXS. Other notable tracks include ‘Anaesthesia’, ‘Ricochet’ and ‘Tranquility’. The last-named is rather contentiously described as ‘the most beautiful Church song ever.’ ‘Hologram Of Baal’ achieves a modest ranking on the Australian album chart but that is more than will be done by any other Church album until 2014. All the intervening albums do not reach the level of sales required for the mainstream album chart.
The Church’s drummer Tim Powles releases a solo album, ‘Tyg’s In Space’ (1999).
The Church’s guitarist Marty Willson-Piper has a second stint with the band All About Eve from 1999-2002. During that time he plays on their live albums ‘Fairy Night Lights 1 & 2, Live And Electric At The Union Chapel’ (2001).
The Church release ‘A Box Of Birds’ (1999) on 21 September through Festival / Cooking Vinyl / Thirsty Ear. This album is produced by Dave Trump and The Church’s drummer Tim Powles. The material is recorded and mixed in a mere ten days. ‘A Box Of Birds’ consists entirely of cover versions of songs by other recording artists. The Church started out with a list of forty songs for the project and whittled that down to the ten tracks on the finished album. Some songs – for instance, the 1969 Beatles song ‘It’s All Too Much’ and the 1968 Monkees piece ‘The Porpoise Song’ – The Church had previously performed live. Church leader Steve Kilbey wanted to do 1973’s ‘Decadence’ by Kevin Ayers; guitarist Marty Willson-Piper voted for ‘The Faith Healer’, a 1973 song by The Sensational Alex Harvey Band; guitarist Peter Koppes recommended Neil Young’s 1975 song ‘Cortez The Killer’; and drummer Tim Powles selected ‘The Endless Sea’, an Iggy Pop tune from 1979. All of them are on the album. The balance of the disc consists of: ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ by Ultravox (1977); ‘Friction’ by Television (1979); ‘All The Young Dudes’ by Mott The Hoople (1973); and ‘Sliver Machine’ by Hawkwind (1972).
After the release of ‘A Box Of Birds’, in 1999 Church leader Steve Kilbey is arrested in New York while trying to buy heroin. With Kilbey in police custody, The Church performs that night as a three-piece; guitarist Marty Willson-Piper acts as lead vocalist on the night. “A drug bust is something every aging rock star should have under his belt,” says Kilbey with some black humour. He is given a community service sentence and set to sweeping out New York subway train cars. Steve Kilbey detoxes in 2000. He doesn’t completely abandon heroin but from 2002 uses it only occasionally, preferring marijuana.
In 1999 Church leader Steve Kilbey marries an American-born woman named Natalie Dalton. Steve and Natalie go on to have three daughters: twins Eve and Aurora (born in 1999) and Scarlet (born in 2005). Note: Steve Kilbey, Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes all have daughters, but no sons.
U.S. label Buddha Records releases ‘Under The Milky Way: The Best Of The Church’ (1999) on 28 September. Australia’s Mushroom Records puts out their own ‘The Best Of The Church’ (1999) on 16 November. It includes a couple of tracks from The Church’s earlier period at EMI but the bulk of the album is, understandably, drawn from their years at Mushroom.
Church guitarist Marty Willson-Piper releases a solo album, ‘Hanging Out In Heaven’ (2000). Church leader Steve Kilbey issues the solo album ‘Acoustic & Intimate’ (2000). The book ‘No Certainty Attached: Steve Kilbey and The Church’ (2000) by Robert Dean Lurie is published.
From 2001 Kevin Lane Keller assumes the role of The Church’s manager. Keller is an American fan and a marketing professor.
Church leader Steve Kilbey releases the solo album ‘Dabble’ (2001). EMI Australia issues ‘Sing Songs / Remote Luxury / Persia’ (2001) on 15 October. As the title suggests, this assembles the songs from the three cited Church EPs on a single CD.
‘After Everything Now This’ (2002) is released early in the year on Cooking Vinyl. The album is co-produced by The Church and drummer Tim Powles. The album’s best known piece is perhaps ‘Numbers’, which has a structure similar to a nursery rhyme. Other notable tracks include the spiritual quest for the ‘Invisible’ as well as ‘Chromium’ and the (sort of) title track, ‘After Everything’. Davey Lane, guitarist for Australian band You Am I, plays piano on this album. The focus is on the ‘softer elements’ of the Church’s sound on this disc.
‘Parallel Universe’ (2002), issued by Cooking Vinyl on 14 November, is a double album of remixes and outtakes from the recording sessions for ‘After Everything Now This’.
Church guitarist Peter Koppes issues a solo album titled ‘Simple Intent’ (2002).
Church leader Steve Kilbey puts out the solo album ‘Freaky Conclusions’ (2003).
The Church releases ‘Forget Yourself’ (2003) on 27 October through Cooking Vinyl and spinART. The disc is co-produced by Tim Powles (The Church’s drummer), The Church and Nic Hard. The album is primarily performed live in the recording studio with very few overdubs. The key track from ‘Forget Yourself’ is ‘Song In Space’ which counsels, “You can’t spend the whole song in space.” The resolute ‘Sealine’ has drummer Tim Powles on guitar. ‘Appalatia’ from this set is also noteworthy.
‘Sparks Lane’ (2004) is the first album credited to Noctorum. This is a project bringing together Church guitarist Marty Willson-Piper and his old school friend (and co-producer of ‘Sometime Anywhere’) Dare Mason.
‘Jammed’ (2004), released on 30 August, is a Church album only available through the band’s website or at their gigs. It is now out of print. It is produced by The Church. ‘Jammed’ consists of only two very long instrumental pieces: ‘The Sexual Act’ (38:44) and ‘Interlock’ (20:00).
‘Beside Yourself’ (2004), released on 4 October, is released on Cooking Vinyl. This obscure disc consists of outtakes from the ‘Forget Yourself’ recording sessions so it is also co-produced by Tim Powles, The Church and Nic Hard.
‘El Momento Descuidado’ (2004) follows just over a month later on 29 November. This album is produced by The Church and released on Liberation Blue. This is an all acoustic recording. ‘El Momento Descuidado’ has fourteen tracks; five new songs and nine of The Church’s earlier works given new acoustic arrangements. Song like ‘The Unguarded Moment’ are reinvented in acoustic form. (‘El Momento Descuidado’ is a rough Spanish translation of the words ‘The Unguarded Moment’.) The five new songs are ‘0408’, ‘November’, ‘All I Know’, ‘Till The Cows Come Home’ and the instrumental ‘Between Mirages’. The cover painting with individual portraits of the four members of The Church is by Church leader Steve Kilbey.
‘Egyptian Register’ (2005) is the work of Church leader Steve Kilbey and his brother Russell Kilbey, though it appears to be credited to Gilt Edge (which was the title of the 1997 album by the Kilbey brothers).
‘Back With Two Beasts’ (2005) is a Church album released on 4 November. Like the earlier ‘Jammed’, this disc is only available via The Church’s website and at the band’s gigs. Unlike ‘Jammed’, ‘Back With Two Beasts’ is later rereleased via Unorthodox Records in 2009. The disc’s title, ‘Back With Two Beasts’, is a play on the expression ‘the beast with two backs’, a euphemism for sexual intercourse. The material on this disc is outtakes from the recording sessions for The Church’s next album, ‘Uninvited Like The Clouds’ – though the outtakes are released first.
‘Uninvited Like The Clouds’ (2006) is released through Liberation Music on 20 March. The album is produced by The Church. The cover painting of the band wandering about a rather stylised garden is the work of Church leader Steve Kilbey. The lyrics to the songs on this disc remain as inscrutable as ever. Some of the best songs on ‘Uninvited Like The Clouds’ include the epic ‘Block’ (6:20), the close to pop ‘Easy’ and such cosmic flavoured pieces as ‘Unified Field’ and ‘Space Needle’. ‘Uninvited Like The Clouds’ is described as a ‘career high album.’
Liberation releases the compilation Church album ‘Tin Mine’ (2006) on 20 March, the same day as ‘Uninvited Like The Clouds’.
‘Offer The Light’ (2006) is the second album by Noctorum (Church guitarist Marty Willson-Piper and Dare Mason).
‘El Momento Siguente’ (2007), released on 3 February, is The Church’s last album for Liberation. It is produced by The Church. ‘El Momento Siguente’ – Spanish for ‘The Following Moment’ – is, as the title suggests, a sequel to ‘El Momento Descuidado’ (2004). Once again, the bulk of the album recasts pieces from The Church’s history as acoustic works. ‘El Momento Siguente’ also includes a cover version of The Triffids’ 1986 song ‘Wide Open Road’ and three new songs: ‘Song In The Afternoon’, ‘Bordello’ and the instrumental ‘Comeuppance’. As with ‘El Momento Descuidado’, Church leader Steve Kilbey paints portraits of the group’s members for the cover, though this time the background is black rather than orange.
EMI releases the two CD Church compilation ‘Deep In The Shallows: The Classic Singles Collection’ (2007). This set spans The Church’s career from their first single to ‘Uninvited Like The Clouds’. The collection is released on 14 July.
‘Misty Heights And Cloudy Memories 1987-2002’ (2007) is a two CD compilation of Church guitarist Peter Koppes’ solo recordings.
The Church’s album ‘Shriek: Excerpts From The Soundtrack’ (2008) is their first release on their own Unorthodox label. Unorthodox is distributed by MGM.
Church guitarist Marty Willson-Piper releases the solo album ‘Nightjar’ (2008). Church leader Steve Kilbey also puts out a solo effort, ‘Painkiller’ (2008).
‘The Coffee Hounds’ is the title of an EP released by The Church in February 2009. Its contents are an original non-album track called ‘The Coffee Song’ and a cover version of the 1985 Kate Bush song ‘Hounds Of Love’.
‘Untitled # 23’ (2009) is The Church album issued on 6 March. While it is on their own Unorthodox label in Australia, in the U.S.A. it comes out via Second Motion. Whether this is truly The Church’s twenty-third album is a bit debatable. That count excludes all EPs and compilations (e.g. ‘Remote Luxury’, ‘Hindsight 1980-1987’) but includes such things as outtakes and reworkings (e.g. ‘A Quick Smoke At Spot’s (1986-1990)’, ‘El Momento Descuidado’) and obscure limited releases (e.g. ‘Jammed’, ‘Back With Two Beasts’). ‘Untitled # 23’ is fairly rare among Church albums because all the lead vocals are by Steve Kilbey; neither Marty Willson-Piper nor Peter Koppes gets a moment in the spotlight. The album is produced by The Church. ‘Pangaea’ takes its name from the land mass that existed on Earth prior to continental drift. By implication, the lyrics sketch out personal relationships drifting apart in the same way the continents once did. ‘Operetta’ is a stately, dreaming piece. ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ also comes from this album. All three of these songs are featured on their own EPs; the rest of those EPs being devoted to unused outtakes from the recording sessions.
Church leader Steve Kilbey releases the solo album ‘Art, Man + Technology’ (2009). Kilbey also begins a series of collaborations with Martin Kennedy. The duo releases both ‘Unseen Music, Unheard Words’ (2009) and ‘Instrumental & Ambient’ (2009).
EMI releases a Church compilation album titled ‘The Best Of The Radio Songs’ (2010) on 22 October. On 27 October 2010 The Church is inducted into the ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Association) Hall of Fame.
On 10 April 2011 The Church performs ‘A Psychedelic Symphony’ at the Sydney Opera House with George Ellis and the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra. A live album of this concert is issued…but not until 2014.
‘Honey Milk Forever’ (2011) is the third album by Noctorum (Church guitarist Marty Willson-Piper and Dare Mason).
‘White Magic’ (2011) is the third album by Church leader Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy. ‘Garage Sutra’ (2012) is a solo album by Steve Kilbey. The prolific Kilbey also trawls through his archives for ‘Addenda One’ (2012) (which includes material by his pre-Church group Baby Grande) and ‘Addenda Two’ (2012). Returning to new material, Kilbey releases ‘The Idyllist’ (2013). Then it’s back to the past to recast songs from his catalogue with violins and such for ‘With Strings Attached’ (2013). Kilbey’s fourth album with Martin Kennedy is ‘You Are Everything’ (2013). ‘Miscellanaea – Whispers In The Static’ (2014) is Steve Kilbey’s next album.
As The Church prepares for another album, they find themselves without the services of long-time guitarist Marty Willson-Piper. Apparently Willson-Piper had also been acting as The Church’s manager prior to this – though it’s not clear when he took over this role from Kevin Lane Keller who became The Church’s manager in 2001. “Marty wasn’t kicked out or asked to leave,” insists Church leader Steve Kilbey. “He went to Sweden and when I started writing to him to say, ‘Let’s make a new album,’ he didn’t even write back.” Some fans react badly to the news that The Church will continue without Willson-Piper. Kilbey tells them, “If you can’t dig it, I’m sorry. This is my f***ing band after all.”
After leaving The Church, Marty Willson-Piper keeps busy, working with a number of different acts. At first he is part of a Swedish band called Moat who record the self-titled album ‘Moat’ (2013). Next, Willson-Piper shows up with French band Sweet Gum Tree, appearing on their album ‘The Snakes You Charm And The Wolves You Tame’ (2014). By 2016 Marty Willson-Piper is playing with a Swedish prog rock band called Anekdoten.
Meantime, The Church is minus a guitarist. Church leader Steve Kilbey says, “When we realised Marty [Willson-Piper] wasn’t going to get back to us, I said to [drummer] Tim [Powles], ‘We have to find someone with stature. It has to be somebody with experience and gravitas.” The surprising choice of replacement is ‘mainstream rocker’ Ian Haug. He meets with The Church in September 2013 and officially joins the band in November 2013.
Ian Haug is born on 21 February 1970 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. He is best known for being part of the Australian rock band Powderfinger (1989-2010).
‘A Psychedelic Symphony: Live At Sydney Opera House’ (2014) is released on 16 May. This is a two CD recording of The Church’s concert on 10 April 2011 with George Ellis and the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra.
‘Further/Deeper’ (2014) (AUS no. 50), The Church’s first album with new guitarist Ian Haug, is released on 17 October. The album is co-produced by The Church and their drummer Tim Powles. ‘Further/Deeper’ is the first Church album since ‘Hologram Of Baal’ (1998) to sell well enough to reach the album charts – albeit at a fairly modest level. This could be partly attributable to the publicity and curiosity associated with the transition from Marty Willson-Piper to Ian Haug. The five year wait from ‘Untitled # 23’ (2009) is also the longest gap between new studio albums in The Church’s history. Perhaps the best song on ‘Further/Deeper’ is ‘Miami’. Its nagging notes are distributed across nicely balanced guitars with a refreshing clarity to the arrangement. By contrast, songs like the cavernous and echoing ‘Delirious’ and the ominous and sprawling ‘Toy Head’ are more dreamlike.
Steve Kilbey’s autobiography ‘Something Quite Peculiar’ is published by Hardie Grant books and released on 1 November 2014. The title is taken from a line in the lyric for The Church’s 1988 song ‘Under The Milky Way’.
A new album by The Church, ‘Man Woman Life Death Infinity’ (2017) (AUS no. 64), is released on 6 October on the Unorthodox label. ‘Another Century’ has orchestral strings and a cosmic ambience. The music still has beats and guitars but the overall effect is very spaced out and trippy. The sparkling ‘Undersea’ has what sounds like a sitar and is another spacey piece. However the title provides more of a clue to the album’s theme. Church leader Steve Kilbey says, “This is The Church’s water record. I’ve always marvelled at the seas, rivers and rain. It wasn’t conscious at all, but on reflection, it definitely is a preoccupation on this record.”
The Church support ‘Man Woman Life Death Infinity’ with gigs in North America in September-October 2017 followed by Australian shows in November-December 2017.
The Church was never a gospel music act. A couple of their songs (‘Myrrh’ and ‘Roman’) may have had sideways references to Jesus Christ and some tracks may be interpreted to have a vaguely spiritual bent (e.g. ‘Almost With You’, ‘Invisible’), but it would be a major distortion to see The Church as deeply Christian and religious, irrespective of the band’s name. The Church’s best work was in the period 1980 to 1992. Although The Church’s worshipful cult of fans would rejoice in their complete works, in later years their triumphs were more scattered and less frequent. The Church was ‘one of rock’s most innovative and enigmatic groups’. They created ‘a lush melancholy brand of neo-psychedelia rich in texture and melody’.
- wikipedia.org as at 20 August 2016, 3 January 2018
- ‘Something Quite Peculiar’ by Steve Kilbey (Hardie Grant Books, 2014) p. 1
- ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia newspaper) – ‘Steve Kilbey, at 60, on The Church, his Heroin Decade, the Band Wars and their “Best Album Yet”’ by Rick Feneley (24 October 2014) (reproduced on smh.com.au)
- blogger.com – Kathy Kilbey – as at 22 August 2016
- themusic.com.au – ‘Sex, Drugs & Molly Meldrum: An Excerpt from Steve Kilbey’s New Book’ (31 October 2014)
- ‘The Big Australian Rock Book’, ‘The Church’ by Bruce Elder (Megabooks, 1985) p. 57
- popjunkielondon.wordpress.com – ‘Steve Kilbey’s Biography – Something Quite Peculiar – A Fascinating Read for Church Fans’ by ‘popjunkie’ (Victoria Shortt, Ashley Norris, Sean Hannam) (16 November 2014)
- ‘Stranded – The Australian/Canadian Music and Talk Show’ (Canadian radio program, CiTR 101.9 fm, Vancouver) – Interview with Peter Koppes of The Church (23 September 2011)
- ‘No Certainty Attached: Steve Kilbey and The Church’ by Robert Dean Lurie (first published 2000, Verse Chorus Press, 2009) p. 49, 65, 96, 144, 145, 279
- beat.com.au – Beat Magazine – ‘The Church’ – Peter Koppes interview conducted by Bruce Laird (3 December 2010)
- shadowcabinet.net – The Church FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) – no author credited – as at 22 August 2016
- ‘Friday On My Mind’ by Ed Nimmervoll (Five Mile Press, 2004) p. 132
- church.tristesse.com – ‘Church Biography’ by Trevor Boyd as at 27 September 2001
- shadowcabinet.com – Marty Willson-Piper Questions with Answers Vol. 1 (14 October 1996, 31 August 1996)
- ‘The Age’ (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia newspaper) – ‘Born Again’ – interview with Steve Kilbey conducted by Michael Dwyer (3 May 2002) (reproduced on theage.com.au)
- ‘Sunday Herald Sun’ (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia newspaper) – ‘Church Lets Guard Down’ – interview with The Church conducted by Graeme Hammond (28 November 2004)
- ‘Hindsight 1980-1987’ – Sleeve notes by Steve Kilbey (EMI Music Australia Pty Ltd , 1988) p. 5
- ‘Deep In The Shallows’ – Sleeve notes by David Fricke (EMI Music Australia Pty Ltd, 2007) p. 6
- ‘Of Skins And Hearts’ – Sleeve notes by Glenn A. Baker (EMI Records Pty Ltd, 1990? reissue) p. 2
- news.com.au – ‘The Church’s Steve Kilbey Reveals TV Newsreader Jennifer Keyte his First Real Love in New Autobiography’ by Cameron Adams (1 November 2014)
- discogs.com as at 22 August 2016
- allmusic.com, ‘The Church’ by Jason Ankeny as at 22 August 2001
- saltyka.blogspot.com.au – Music blog of Saltyka and his friends – Peter Koppes (26 December 2009)
- fasterlouder.junkee.com – ‘Bright Red: Living in the Church of Rock’ by Clare McLay (10 September 2007)
- triplejunearthed.com – ‘Rain Party’ – no author credited – as at 22 August 2016
- ‘Sonics’ – ‘Heyday: The Church’ – Steve Kilbey + Peter Koppes interview with Lesley Sly (May/June 1986) via 1 (above) – ‘Church Discography’ – ‘Heyday’ album
- ‘The Australian Contemporary Dictionary’ – Edited by J.B. Foreman, M.A. (Collins Books, 1959) p. 331
- ‘Your Name’s on the Door’ by Tracee Hutchison (ABC Enterprises, 1992) p. 167 via 1 (above) – ‘Church Discography’ – ‘Under The Milky Way’ single
- metrolyrics.com as at 30 August 2016
- ‘The Australian’ (Australian newspaper) – ‘Under the Milky Way Judged the Best Song from Down Under’ by Iain Shedden (20 September 2008) – via 1 (above) – ‘The Church’
- azlyrics.com as at 31 August 2016
- allmusic.com – ‘Gold Afternoon Fix’ album review by Ned Raggett as at 31 August 2016
- shadowcabinet.net as at 22 August 2016
- ‘Herald Sun’ (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia newspaper) – Keeping it all in the Family’ – Miranda and Elektra Kilbey interview conducted by Kathy McCabe (12 June 2014) p. 34
- sonicnet.com – ‘The Church’ – no author credited – as at 27 September 2001
- news.com.au – Church Frontman Steve Kilbey Admits Violent Attack’ – no author credited – (1 October 2010)
- ‘Herald Sun’ (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia newspaper) – ‘A Broad Church’ – Steve Kilbey interview conducted by Noel Mengel (30 October 2014) p. 45
- bostonmagazine.com – ‘Checking in with Marty Willson-Piper about The Church and his Musical Legacy’ by Matthew Reed Baker (23 June 2016)
- E-mail from Mikella Parker (14 March 2017)
Song lyrics copyright Sony / ATV Music Publishing Pty Limited (1980-1984); Campbell Connelly Australia Pty Limited (1985-1990); Sony / ATV Music Publishing Pty Limited / Universal / MCA Music Publishing Pty Limited / Peermusic Pty Limited / Copyright Control (1992); Mushroom Music Pty Limited / Peermusic Pty Limited / Universal / MCA Music Publishing Pty Limited / Universal Music Publishing Pty Limited (2003) – with the exceptions of ‘Under The Milky Way’ (Universal Music Publishing Group) and ‘Metropolis’ (Music Sales Corporation)
Last revised 7 January 2018