20 September 2011

Peter Koppes: Australia’s Cinematic Master Of The Guitar

Read the full article here –


Peter will be performing in Experience Jimi Hendrix at the Enmore Theatre, Sydney on Oct 29th 2011 –  all all-star lineup of Australian musical greats who will pay homage to the genius of Jimi Hendrix.




8 July 2011

Dead Cool recommends Song For You


“Coolest concept award: Steve Kilbey and Martin Kennedy are offering (and have many takers!!) to ‘write a song for you for a thousand bucks!’ Wowee Zowee. If they’d write a song for us we’d be over the moon! Church and All India Radio fans this is it! Totally awesome! It’s a personalized song just for you and you get to have input up front. We love the ‘we will draw the line at hip hop and metal’ part. Classic! Click here for all the fantastic details–to die for!”

6 July 2011

Helpmann Awards Nomination


The Church and International Music Concepts (IMC) in Association With MAX have been nominated for a Helpmann Award for “A Psychedelic Symphony” – 30th Anniversary Concert – Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
The Helpmann Awards®, named in honour of Sir Robert Helpmann and to commemorate his memory and achievements, were established in 2001 by Live Performance Australia (LPA) to recognise, celebrate and promote our live performance industry, similar to the Tony Awards on Broadway and the Olivier Awards in London.
Winners will be announced at the 11th Annual Helpmann Awards Ceremony on Monday the 1st of August at the 11th Annual Helpmann Awards Ceremony at the Sydney Opera House.
29 June 2011

Steve Kilbey and Ricky Maymi tour the David Neil album – Australian & NZ Dates



Tour dates are in our calendar. Please note that the Melbourne show will now be at the Cherry Bar in ACDC Lane.

Steve & Ricky will also be at The Espy, St Kilda on Sat 23rd July w/special guests The Demon Parade, Lady Strangelove  & Crooked Saints – event invite here

View gig photos  by Cai Griffin in Tone Deaf’s gallery – click here

17 June 2011

Undercover Article: “the church revert to the refomation for one special show”


The Church Revert To The Refo:mation For One Special Show
By Paul Cashmere
Yesterday at 4:51pm (Thu, 16 Jun 2011 16:51:06 +1000)

“When Steve Kilbey, Peter Koppes and Tim Powles perform for ‘Universe Within: an Autism Awareness and Benefit Gig’ next week, it will be a reformation of The Refo:mation.

The charity event will be a very special one-off event. For the three members of The Church performing songs live from their late 1990’s period under the name The Refo:mation is extremely rare.

The Church used the name at a time when Marty Willson-Piper was unavailable for the band. Instead of treating the album ‘Pharmako/Distance-Crunching Honchos With Echo Units’ a Church album, they used The Refo:mation as a name.

“We have never played it live”, The Church drummer Tim Powles tells Undercover.fm. “Marty can’t be here so we will do a rare show”.

The show in Sydney will raise money for Autism Spectrum Australia. Autism affects 1 in 160 people in Australia.

The show will also feature a presentation of the film ‘Rainman Goes To Rockwiz’, directed by Steve Kilbey’s brother Russell.

The second half of the show will then feature a full set of songs from The Church with Ricky Maymi from the Brian Jonestown Massacre filling in for Wllson-Piper. Guests for the set will include Tom Moore from the Mercy Arms, Suzy Connelly from Butterfly G, Brendan Gallagher and Phil Hall from the Lime Spiders.

The show was put together very quickly. ‘Three weeks ago today we went we need to do it,” Tim said.

Universe Within is on at Red Rattler, Marrickville on June 23.”
* Please note that Ricky Maymi (Brian Jonestown Massacre) is not filling in for Marty, he will be one of our special guest artists.

Update 18/6/11


Autism Awareness and Benefit Gig
with members of the church


Steve Kilbey, Peter Koppes and Tim Powles  (also  appearing at this one-time only
as The Refo:mation)

and special  guests (in no particular order) including

Phil Hall (Lime Spiders)
Stan Holroyd
Craig Wilson (astreetlightsong)
Jak Housden (The Whitlams)
Thom Moore (Mercy Arms)
Ricky Maymi (Brian Jonestown Massacre)
Jimmy Hilbun (San Franciscan Lover)
Brendan Gallagher  (karma county)
Suzi Connolly (Butterfly 9)
Russell Kilbey (songs from the Crystal Set)
Nick Kennedy (Knievel)
Sandi Chick
Daniel Darling
Mark Moldre (Hitchcock’s Regret)
David Skeet

Intermission : showing of Russell Kilbey and Amy Scully’s award winning doco Rainman Goes to Rockwiz’

MC – Jamie Holt (The Camels)


Thursday June 23. Red Rattler. 6 Faversham Street, Marrickville.

Doors Open at 8pm

Entry via recommended $60  donation to Aspect being collected at the door.
Exclusive items for silent auction on the night.

If you can’t be at the Universe Within Autism Awareness and Benefit Gig you can now donate to the cause via the following link



25 May 2011

The Refo:mation : Dead Cool album recommendation


Some of the Refo:mation songs will be performed during the June 23rd church gig (Steve, Peter  & TimEbandit) at  The Red Rattler Marrickville (Sydney). A special one-off benefit gig to raise awareness and funds for Autism… .details coming soon

12 April 2011

The Courier Mail : Still Popular after 30 Years



“RIGHT from the start The Church had their own sound. Hear them play a few bars of a song and you know who it is straight away.

“That’s the hardest thing to get,” says Steve Kilbey, the band’s singer and bass player.

“There are a zillion guys out there playing guitar, but only 100 might have that original take. And luckily we stumbled on it. I had been in bands before, writing the songs and singing, and that didn’t sound original at all.

“Suddenly, The Church came along and we sounded like The Church.”

Which is why, 30 years on, people are still listening . . . to their concert this Sunday at the Sydney Opera House, where they are playing with an orchestra for a DVD recording, or to their excellent 2009 album Untitled #23. Or to the reissues of the band’s ’80s albums. The latest of these is Starfish, the 1988 album that was biggest for them overseas and contained the classicUnder the Milky Way. It was only by a stroke of fate that the song even made the album.

“The producers didn’t even think the band should waste their time rehearsing it,” Kilbey says. Instead, he went to a studio up the hall and recorded it.

“There was a guy there with an instrument called the synclavier. We recorded the song there and it had artificial drums, recorded to a sequencer and a click track. Because no one wanted to spend the time recording it, it came out sounding the way it did and it was a big hit.”

Kilbey is a big believer in the random element and instinct.

“Yes, we worked with American producers on Starfish and it kind of worked. But we tried it again with (next album) Gold Afternoon Fix and it didn’t work. A lot of the best things I’ve ever done have been me trying to be like something else but not having the chops, to use a muso word, to pull that off and out of that failure to, say, write an Aerosmith song, I’ve written something else. There are a lot of failures that turn into successes.”

Church fans are lapping up the reissues, which feature detailed liner notes from guitarist Marty Willson-Piper.

One of the insightful comments from him: “A band has to be able to not listen to what people say.”

Kilbey concurs: “Critics lavish praise on stuff that’s rubbish or destroy something that’s valid; everyone’s in your ear telling you how great or woeful you are. That’s been one of The Church’s greatest virtues and one of our failings. We never listen to anybody and plough on regardless.”

HEAR Starfish (EMI) out now.

READ Find the full Steve Kilbey interview on The Courier-Mail iPad.



12 April 2011

Daily Telegraph : 8th April 2011

Using their god-given talents

3 April 2011



“Despite what many would like to believe, being in a band is hard work. You don’t get to knock off at the same time every weekday; the commute varies every day, whether it be to the studio or a far flung part of the world to play a gig; and more often than not the pay is far less than that of a first year apprentice brickie. Even with a modicum of success, most bands only last a few years. The Beatles lasted barely 10 years, Nirvana less. Even those that persevere, such as The Rolling Stones and AC/DC , have endured numerous line up changes and a dwindling of quality in their creative output.

Not so the church. Arguably one of the greatest Australian bands of all time, this weekend sees them celebrating their 30th anniversary as a band with a one off performance at the Sydney Opera House billed ‘A Psychedelic Symphony’. Joined by a 60 piece orchestra under the baton of celebrated conductor and composer George Ellis, the band will be playing an epic orchestral set which mines their unequalled back catalogue. Jim Murray caught up with front man Steve Kilbey ahead of the show.

The church’s history arguably stretches back to Canberra in the mid 1970s when Kilbey and guitarist Peter Koppes crossed paths playing in bands, but the church itself came in to being in 1980 when both musicians had moved to Sydney. Much has been written about the band’s third ever gig, when a young Liverpudlian named Marty Willson-Piper, possessing to-die-for high cheekbones, came to see them and then joined them after the show; but less is known about the band’s first ever gig.

As Kilbey recalls, “The first church gig was at the Metropole Tavern opening for a band called Moving Parts who one day became Jump Inc. who had that sex’n’ fame hit. We weren’t quite sure what we were supposed to be but someone had said “Cream” and so I imagined myself as Jack Bruce. There were probably 50 people there who didn’t really mind us much either way. I thought we were quite promising.” Promising the band were, for a music exec named Chris Gilbey signed the band on the strength of a few self –recorded demos and released their debut album, Of Skins & Heart in 1981. This spawned the enduring Aussie classic ‘The Unguarded Moment’ and set the band on a path that was to prove that fame is fickle and fortune is relative.

Remembering his first appearance on the ABC’s music TV show Countdown performing ‘The Unguarded Moment’ in mascara which saw the band’s star rise exponentially, Kilbey puts the moment he realised he had become a rock star in to numbers. “I realised after the first Countdown at the next gig because we went from twenty people a night to about six hundred every time we played.”

The number of punters at gigs would rise and fall over the next thirty years, which would see all members of the band bar Kilbey depart at some point, although Koppes and Willson-Piper were to both return. Considering the group had more than the usual level of internal band friction, 30 years is a phenomenal length of time for a band to exist and certainly longer than most marriages. Indeed, being sentenced to be in a band with several other unrelated men for 30 years is longer than many murderers receive. Kilbey doesn’t see the band’s longevity as akin to a jail sentence, however. “Sentenced together for crimes against music ha ha” he muses. “…Actually we just seemed to have the right conditions for longevity, just like some people live to 100.”

Occasional internal strife aside, the church have also had an uneasy relationship with the music business over the years, continually following their artistic vision rather than that of record companies and managers. However, this approach has paid off in spades in terms of the level of respect they are now granted within the pantheon of Australian rock n’ roll. Indeed it could be argued that the music industry in Australia now venerates them. Could this turning of the tables elicit a moment of schadenfreude for Kilbey? “Fuck that’s a big word for a rock interview” Kilbey says in mock indignation . “I had to look it up to get the exact meaning you know…well it’s nice to be venerated. But I guess veneration requires one to let go of petty misgivings and so no, the long years have knocked the schadenfreude out of me.”

Schadenfreude or not, the church now find themselves being name checked and aped by a whole new generation of Australian bands, not to mention cult American bands such as the Brian Jonestown Massacre, members of which frequently collaborate with the church. Kilbey agrees it’s a good feeling. “I love to be name checked – yes that is gratifying!” Indeed, Mike Joyce of no less than the legendary The Smiths has revealed that he only agreed to join the band after going to see the church play a gig in Manchester. He recently told an interviewer “Johnny Marr hounded me to be in The Smiths. One night soon after, we (Johnny Marr & Mike Joyce) went to watch the church and I decided I would”.

Name checking aside, the band are now playing to some of the biggest audiences of their career and there was just the little event in which the band were inducted in to the Australian Record Industry Association Hall of Fame last year. Should anyone have had a doubt about the band, Steve Kilbey’s acceptance speech has fast moved in to Australian music folklore. Kilbey spent a good 15 minutes alternately praising and lambasting the Australian music scene and also reflecting on his career, for which he earned a well deserved standing ovation.

So was his infamous acceptance speech rehearsed? Apparently not. “It was spontaneous yes, though my mind is of such a nature that it is continually putting bits and pieces together for a rainy day. Some of those ideas had been chucked around in my mind starting from the beginning of the evening until when we got up. I had recently been in a play and the character I played tended to ramble on and I think I was a bit inspired by him to keep going on and on. But most of it fell out of the sky that night as I was going, a bit like when you hit a run of good luck in a card game…it could have gone horribly wrong. I understand that I got real lucky and it made them laugh….phew!”

During this infamous speech, music promoter Michael Chugg, who once managed the band, stood up and exclaimed ‘Why couldn’t you have been like this 25 years ago?’ Kilbey’s notoriously reticent manner has noticeably mellowed in recent years, which sees him reaching out to fans on the internet and engaging with people more than ever. However, Kilbey says that the reputation for being aloof and enigmatic is a just a perception that is far from the truth. “The boring troof, is I’m not aloof and anyone who loves my music I’m interested in hearing from them I guess.”

The fans are out in force at the moment, however, as the band have just completed their ‘Future, Past, Perfect’ North American Tour which sold out and saw fans flying across the country to make shows. It has also been described by the church as their ‘best ever tour’. Give or take one Top 20 hit, (1988’s ‘Under The Milky Way’) what does Kilbey think it is that has made Americans such fervent fans of the band compared to say, Germans or the Brits? “I think having that hit in the U.S. exposed us and all our other records to enough people that would realise we were more than that one song,” he explains. “We were building up an entire body of work but not having a hit in Europe it never really properly happened.”

The church have also been prolific as individual musicians in addition to their efforts in creating some of the finest records in the Australian music canon. The list of individual member’s solo efforts and collaborations with other artists could run to thousands of words, and they’re a necessary outlet for the band as musicians. As Kilbey explains, “The outlets are important for people to get things off their chests AND to improve and bring the new improvements back into the church.”

Kilbey has himself been prolific of late outside of his work with the church, collaborating with artists as diverse as Glenn Bennie from the legendary Underground Lovers, Martin Kennedy and Ricky Maymi of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. As he explains, these efforts keep pushing him to excel. “Other artists provide stuff that inspires me in different ways than my own stuff because I know how my own was done. It also inspires me to do better to hold up my side of the collaboration.”

Kilbey, and to some degree his bandmates, were once synonymous with the use of exotic stimulants to explore their muse and drive their creativity, but as these days they’re all clean living parents; fans must wonder how Kilbey approaches his craft now that he’s fuelled by green tea and yoga? Kilbey’s mischievous response is “Not as clean as you might think. My songs are hurled forth regardless of anything else. Whatever is going is the input: yoga, pot of green tea or sheer memory or loneliness or anything at all.”

Capping off a remarkable existence as a band performing their songs with a symphony orchestra at the Sydney Opera house is a career defining moment, but it begs the question: did Kilbey expect that this would be the outcome 30 years after the band’s humble debut at the Metropole Tavern in the same city? He concedes that this show was not part of his band’s original vision. “There never was a grand plan. The Opera House idea is fairly recent, it was never a particular ambition.” Nonetheless, the band is still producing some of their best work to date and playing to some of the biggest crowds of their career.

So what can we expect from the band next? Kilbey isn’t entirely sure of what’s in the pipeline for the church but he’s hopeful that they’ll be able to do a 40th anniversary tour. “What’s next I don’t know? Another album I guess. Do our Past, Perfect, Future tour here and maybe selected European cities. I do hope there is a fortieth tour. I’ve grown fond of the old beast you know. I’ve spent more of my life in it than out of it.” It’s a life that the fervent army of church fans are grateful for, however, knowing that this band, as Kilbey sings on their song ‘Block’; “…will make you all so beautiful”. – Jim Murray

30 March 2011

the church – Dead Cool

the church’s Sydney Opera House event “A Psychedelic Symphony’ on April 10th gets a special mention on the very Dead Cool site. The click-thru link is to the ARIA Hall of Fame acceptance speech.