posted on October 16, 2009 at 4:15 am

richard from darwin has requested a blogge about fame

although i have never had true fame
i have had a little taste of it
i wanted to be famous and rich
but who didnt?
i felt like i was destined for something
and i was always sick of real life
i wanted to be famous because
i thought that life would fall in my lap
and for a short while life did indeed fall in my lap
ive never really been particularly materialistic
among my many many faults and defects
greediness for possessions has not been one
nevertheless i would have enjoyed a villa and a pool
and a flash car
the flashest car i ever had was a renault
the only house i ever had was a little terrace in dirty rozelle
mice fleas mozzies pollution
no pool no library no grounds
my money all went into musical equip then into drugs
i felt dissatisfied with my bit of fame
it seemed like an ever receding horizon….
just around the corner was the real thing but it was ever elusive
in the fleeting long ago days when teens mobbed me
i was embarrassed and then angry with the stupidity of it
luckily that only lasted a few weeks
then my fame was in drips n drabs
i’d be famous at a gig on saturday night
but by sunday morning i was back to being an idiot again
to some i was the marc bolan character that bolan had been to me
some mythical angle-faced rockstar plunking a bass in sydney
to some bedsit fanboy in england
or to some shy awkward girl in the usa
sydney would assume mythical status
as london had to me when i lived in canberra
the grass is always greener n cheaper on the other side of the pond
kids in new york city used to say to me
wheres it happening…i bet its happening in sydney…
kids in sydney say to me
wow! i wish i could go to new york….
but my fame wasnt anywhere
occasionally i got spotted somewhere
sometimes in my tired/emotional days too
when i didnt wanna be spotted
hocking my guitars or selling my vinyl
or waiting for some dealer in an alley
or walking up the steps to the methadone clinic
or coming out of a courtroom in new york by an aussie reporter
or at an NA meeting or in a rehab joint
or by customs officers
hey its steve kilbey!!
my fame is like an untended garden half ruined half overgrown
in the one year of semi-fame in america i was fighting with other members
i woke up one morning n it was over
and i hadnt really enjoyed it
i went to game theory show once in 88
and the whole audience were gawking it me instead of the band for a minute
that was about as silly as it ever got
i perceive fame as ruinous thing
many think that they could take it on
but only the strong can withstand it
it has always amazed me how normal paul n george n ringo were
after all that they went thru
it is unimaginable what their lives were like..the unreality of it
but absolute fame fucked marc bolan in about five minutes
left him clueless and ridiculous
it also musta done elvis in
can you imagine his sorry life…?
bob dylan had to go sideways to get away from it
dya know what i mean?
he had to kinda enter another place to avoid the hugeness of his fame
n then theres all those actors that were done over by fame
not many can handle it
especially these days when all the gloves are off
posh spice n all that crowd…do they look happy to you?
and of course we’re going thru those times
when fame n infamy blur
as long as you had yer name in the news
you can sell yer story
look at ronnie biggs n oj n paris hilton et al
but you cant ever turn it off
you cant stop em gawking at ya just coz you dont want it
fame is a gonna crave it when its gone
and you can never get enough even when its making you sick…
when you feel like a wreck
but you gotta be famous on some stage
or get on some plane somewhere
or some guy has cornered you at a party
and hes in yer face n hot under the collar
coz youre famous n hes not
but he thinks he should be
so he wants an argument with ya
and people have to be doubly rude to ya
coz they assume that yer a arrogant prick
coz you were on mtv last night
and other people just stare at you like youre a statue
and others think you got the power to help their career
and others want to pick your brains
and others wanna tell you how much they dont know who you are
excuse me but ive never heard of you
and others dont like you clowning around
and blah blah blah
i knew i was gonna be famous
i knew right from the start
n when i 1st saw the beatles i thought
thats it…my way in…
lucky i had a little music in my genes
n lucky i was vaguely good looking
n lucky i could vaguely manage to sing
n lucky that i was smart enough to figure it all out
n lucky that i lived in a day n age with no wars n plagues
so idle young fops like me could explore dissolute fame
and for a little while it was ok
am i famous now?
no not really
i’m a micro-celebrity at best
isnt that a thing to be?

33 Responses to “famous last birds”

  1. avatar
    Saint Louie | 16 October 2009 at 6:30 am #

    Steve…you know that Ringo hid away with depression for years and never came out of his house? pretty sad really.

    As my Dad always says when watching celebs on tv, "Boy i'm glad I'm not famous, happy to be poor, cause that way I'm not a target and I have the best fame in life, is life itself! Lucky to be a nobody cause fame will kill you faster than being a nobody"…that's what my Dad always use to say.

    Hey man, your doing good and YES, it is all about luck and talent. We're glad to have ya man! What is fame anyway…what good is fame if you end up like Elvis? Fame doesn't do anyone any good unless you can enjoy it. Looks like your enjoying it, so that makes you Famously Successful 🙂

  2. avatar
    cazziem | 16 October 2009 at 7:12 am #

    I've always felt that being famous was a bit like selling your soul to the devil, cos let's face it, when you're that well known your life just isn't your own. Yeah, you may have had your five minutes of fame way back when, but like all true talents of music and art no doubt Steve Kilbey will live on in the hearts and minds long after you've gone. All it takes is us guys out here to enlighten the ignorant. I know this for sure cos I was one of them only 4 months ago, and now not only am I well and truly hooked, I've even got my 17 year old humming the tunes!

  3. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 October 2009 at 7:16 am #

    well thats just silly

  4. avatar
    fantasticandy | 16 October 2009 at 8:22 am #

    i pondered so long over your seemingly simple request yesterday….
    a silly question that needed a serious answer…..
    you have just confirmed my thoughts on the matter.
    the silliest thing in all of rock'n role is that after thirty-odd years of being one of the finest talents the genre has spewed up you don't even have your own place and have to worry endlessly about the pennies.
    i think that sucks.
    as for fame?
    it's all relative,
    your'e famous in the circles i move in!
    but i guess that gives you 'cult status' rather than outright fame.
    i'd be ok with that……..
    i love ya for your sheer guts!, another entry today that blew me away….such honesty coupled with great sageness.
    after reading something like that it seems hard to grasp the idea that you ever were as 'hard' as you claim to have been in days past.
    there's no hype about you steve, your'e 100% real…all the people you mention today, posh spice et al….i don't give a rats arse about any of 'em.
    talentless parasitic twats all!
    you have been a genuine 'star' for three decades.
    fuck fame.
    love to all,

  5. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 16 October 2009 at 9:57 am #

    nuh, don't think so…..

    love always….

  6. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 October 2009 at 9:57 am #

    Ah so ya could of been kicking back
    pissing in pammy andersons pool
    if the stars had aligned better.
    So what? ya know?
    David Gilmour thought you had the
    vibe of Syd! Way better credentials!

  7. avatar
    Altres | 16 October 2009 at 10:33 am #

    Poem in October
    by Dylan Thomas

    It was my thirtieth year to heaven
    Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
    And the mussel pooled and the heron
    Priested shore
    The morning beckon
    With water praying and call of seagull and rook
    And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
    Myself to set foot
    That second
    In the still sleeping town and set forth.

    My birthday began with the water-
    Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
    Above the farms and the white horses
    And I rose
    In rainy autumn
    And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
    High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
    Over the border
    And the gates
    Of the town closed as the town awoke.

    A springful of larks in a rolling
    Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
    Blackbirds and the sun of October
    On the hill’s shoulder,
    Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
    Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
    To the rain wringing
    Wind blow cold
    In the wood faraway under me.

    Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
    And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
    With its horns through mist and the castle
    Brown as owls
    But all the gardens
    Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
    Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
    There could I marvel
    My birthday
    Away but the weather turned around.

    It turned away from the blithe country
    And down the other air and the blue altered sky
    Streamed again a wonder of summer
    With apples
    Pears and red currants
    And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
    Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
    Through the parables
    Of sun light
    And the legends of the green chapels

    And the twice told fields of infancy
    That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
    These were the woods the river and sea
    Where a boy
    In the listening
    Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
    To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
    And the mystery
    Sang alive
    Still in the water and singingbirds.

    And there could I marvel my birthday
    Away but the weather turned around. And the true
    Joy of the long dead child sang burning
    In the sun.
    It was my thirtieth
    Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
    Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
    O may my heart’s truth
    Still be sung
    On this high hill in a year’s turning.

  8. avatar
    Richard | 16 October 2009 at 11:23 am #

    thanks for the thought you've obviously given this

    it's easy to lose sight of the distinction(s) between fame and success and popularity

    I'm not sure which I crave most, or why I crave any

    I was pondering your words, and these very thoughts, when picking up a bottle of red, a six-pack and some chips at the bottle shop tonight (as you do)

    … and lo and behold, up pops a decidedly less mangy panther on the in-house plasma screen singing UTMW

    and I listen for the thousandth time to the fractured eloquence of the lyrics and the beauty of the solo and think "one year of semi-fame…"

    thanks again

  9. avatar
    veleska1970 | 16 October 2009 at 11:24 am #

    yet another excellent blog today. fame is not something i would ever want. as cazziem says, your life is not your own. i think you lose your identity. and you're definitely NOT happy.

    lotza love….

  10. avatar
    Freddie | 16 October 2009 at 1:47 pm #

    You look normal size to me.

  11. avatar
    Celticat | 16 October 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Killer, just a heads up. Phoned Albies Bar in Busselton tonite.

    Has you down as there 4th Nov. Bird taking booking assures me its the 5th so I haven't booked yet. I will catchyou in Perth, Busso anybloodywhere but thought you should know maybe check?

    love Celticat

  12. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 16 October 2009 at 2:52 pm #

    SK does have a few million diehard music fans and the truly erudite and impartial music critics admire The Church immensely. I am a was but I truly think Sk is as talented as John Lennon. John without Paul and George could not have had a band in the same pantheon as the 1992-2009 Church.

  13. avatar
    bc | 16 October 2009 at 3:18 pm #

    sk still has more fame than most musicians/artists will ever have…is still making killer music/art…and is sharing his truth with others. top of the charts if you ask me.

    like new ian brown song, marathon man…"got miles and miles already run,,,and miles and miles still left to come"

  14. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 October 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    You know, the mindset of people looking at fame from the outside is
    an opinion formed with not too much thought involved.
    "Oh man…all the girls you want."
    (Uh…most of them jailbait)
    "Being on tour, going from city to city."
    (Very little sleep and truck stop food)
    The only exhilarating moment would truly have to be one stage in front of an appreciative audience.
    Other than that…it really doesn't look all that it's cracked up to be.
    Elvis was a prisoner in his own home and was miserable.
    Who the hell wants that?!?
    I like ya just who you are Steve.
    Don't ever change.

    St. Petersburg, Fl

  15. avatar
    davem | 16 October 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    You were and still are "Bolan" to me. I was sat in my bedroom in England in 82 playing the first two albums over and over with just a handful of press clippings to read.
    No internet in those days and it did add to the magic.
    Like andy I wish you were better rewarded for the incredible stuff you produce. You truly deserve it.
    Have a great weekend. I've got The Slow Crack playing at the mo..

  16. avatar
    John Garratt | 16 October 2009 at 4:17 pm #

    Funny. Just today I came across the millionth internet headline about Jon & Kate and whatever the hell they are up to now. And I was thinking about how the more coverage we give these losers, the more important they think they are to us. How can we get a message across, like "you're not special, you assholes! Go home!" Really, does Paris Hilton have anything to do with anybody at all in any way?

  17. avatar
    Mr. Argent | 16 October 2009 at 4:48 pm #

    Fame, makes a man take things over
    Fame, lets him loose, hard to swallow
    Fame, puts you there where things are hollow
    Fame, it's not your brain, it's just the flame
    That burns your change to keep you insane
    Fame, what you like is in the limo
    Fame, what you get is no tomorrow
    Fame, what you need you have to borrow
    Fame, 'Nein! It's mine!' is just his line
    To bind your time, it drives you to, crime
    Could it be the best, could it be?
    Really be, really, babe?
    Could it be, my babe, could it, babe?
    Really, really?
    Is it any wonder I reject you first?
    Fame, fame, fame, fame
    Is it any wonder you are too cool to fool

    Fame, bully for you, chilly for me
    Got to get a rain check on pain
    Fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame,
    Fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame,
    Fame, fame, fame
    What's your name?


    Feeling so gay, feeling gay?
    Brings so much pain?


  18. avatar
    Peter Mirkwood | 16 October 2009 at 5:55 pm #

    It's a well known fact that fame brings misery gradually.
    Check out ABBA 's chronological discography .
    Watch how their cheerful faces gradually sink into a sorrowful scowl ! Example below !

  19. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 October 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    What did Flippy the Fish say to Otto the Sea Otter?

    A: Can I have yer Otter Graf?

  20. avatar
    m.p.k | 16 October 2009 at 7:42 pm #

    Most people who are famous are nothing special. Raised to status by banal media corporations. Most talented and special people aren't famous. I myself would never want that attention. I'll take all the money I can get, but don't let anyone know I have it and I'll be happy.

  21. avatar
    Saint Louie | 16 October 2009 at 9:33 pm #


    I've been meaning to tell you that I really enjoy and love this cut:

    "Pure Chance" version from "el Momento Siguiente"

    Who's the female singer in that version?

    That song kicks ass bro among many many others you guys have done of your own music, of course, but lately I really like that re-done version for some reason!

    P.S. That's TRUE Fame and Success…to have your music heard and imagine how many years into the future your music will STILL be reaching people…a thousand years or more into the future, hmmmm.


  22. avatar
    Ellen | 16 October 2009 at 10:08 pm #

    Steve, thank you for writing this insightful blog (as if the others aren't?!) I love your honest description of what it feels like from the "inside."

    I've always been intrigued with fame and, like so many others, thought I wanted to be famous, too.

    But now, I can honestly say I have no use for it. Fame? No. Money? Yes.

  23. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 October 2009 at 10:50 pm #

    always felt bad for me and my friend intruding upon you and donette(?) at the roosevelt in LA in 90 something. oh, how the eyes rolled. with fans like us, i can see how a man would want to shoot a little dope every now and then. glad to hear yer clean. hope you've been well.


  24. avatar
    Tim_G | 16 October 2009 at 10:59 pm #

    "… my fame is like an untended garden half ruined half overgrown …"

    Another eloquent blog, and a heart-felt one too. The words here come from someone who has seen it from the joys of having it and the misery of losing it, but now being able to look at it from the outside. As someone earlier wrote – sage-like.

    But why is it that artists can become more famous after death? Jeff Buckley has had more albums released since his death than he released during his life – and was it fame that led him into the river?

    Yes, some manage to handle fame better than others, and I'm glad you survived it, even if it has been a journey. It's this journey that shapes you and your art, and as someone who takes no BS, thanks for being you.

  25. avatar
    Rockstar | 17 October 2009 at 2:03 am #

    A villa would be nice.

  26. avatar
    Rubikon | 17 October 2009 at 2:39 am #

    I agree that not many people can deal with absolute Fame.

    I think the Beatles and Dylan had all the fame they ever, ever wanted back in the 60s – people forget just how famous they were back then.

    Some people use their fame to try and do some good. Bono uses his to try and change the world for the better (I know sometimes his head appears somewhere up his own derriere but I think his heart is in the right place most of the time).

    Back in the 80s I thought the Church would become one of the biggest bands in the World (but then I also thought the same thing of the Stone Roses in the 90s).

    I don't think Absolute Fame would have done you guys a lot of good and whether or not you would all have survived it.

    As for myself i wouldn't have minded a taste when I was younger but I would probably have ended up FUBAR.

  27. avatar
    hw'd u evr get 2b so enchanted? | 17 October 2009 at 3:55 am #

    like tears…
    …in rain

  28. avatar
    You Serious? | 17 October 2009 at 4:01 am #

    What are you talkin' bout dude!!?? YOU ARE FAMOUS and don't tell me you are poor? Come On! You've got a big enough fan base to bring in the riches don't you? Be Reasonable, sigh.

  29. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 October 2009 at 4:14 am #

    I'd like to think when your kid's wake up and say, "good morning daddy, would you please play with me today?" that's all the celebrity a person really needs.

  30. avatar
    Forbes | 17 October 2009 at 4:50 am #

    I just heard your song on the Lincoln commercial today. Congratulations. No one can really cover that song but I suppose if you never heard the original it strikes you as a great tune anyways.

    There is a band I have seen called Seven Nations that does your song (the monster) as you call it with real bagpipes. The bagpipes sound good but they serious screw up the tempo of the song.

    You are more of a legend than a famous person, your catalog of work speaks for itself.

    Did you hear about kid hiding in his attic while his parents told the police he was trapped and flying away in a UFO balloon. There is someone craving fame eh?

  31. avatar
    eek | 17 October 2009 at 9:26 am #

    If I had fame I'd have to do the Greta Garbo thing.

    Money, on the other hand, I would happily take and spend. 🙂

  32. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 October 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    Fame is a four letter word beginning with "F".

    Great post Steve…I identified with a lot of it…though on a much, much smaller scale (ie fame in NZ).

    There was a time when I couldn't go to the corner store without signing an autograph or being pestered for a photo with 'our little girl'…20-odd years later I take comfort in the fact that a whole new generation of music-lovers don't know me from Adam…now it's their PARENTS who want photographs taken with me!!

    Love your work SK. You're a true gent.

    Rik Rehab

  33. avatar
    Work is a 4 Letter Word | 23 October 2009 at 7:54 am #

    Didn't The Smiths do a song called "Work is a four letter word"…i think johhny marr broke up from Morrissey because of that…haha

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