posted on June 13, 2012 at 11:27 pm

mile after mile burn after burn return

i first met donnette thayer in 1984 in san francisco on tour

4 years later despite both having someone else

we fell into an incredible glamourous decadent collaboration

and called it hex

in fact dt had put a bit of a hex on me

one day after catching up with her in san francisco

i woke up and realised i was totally hooked on this person

i could not think straight

my system had delivered some kind of endorphin hit

and it was screaming out for more

but she lived with a guy who was a lead singer

he was the main man in her group called game theory

who were an eccentric and quite wonderful band

who had absorbed some big star and were incredibly melodic

the songs had strange turns

dt was the other guitar player n sometime vocalist

game theory were doing pretty good they were doing ok in their scene

make no mistake their records had some brilliant bits

anyway i was touring america for almost a year straight

and calling dt for an hour during her lunchtime at the lab

she had a fucking degree in chemistry for christs sake

but eventually she flew out occasionally to where i was playing

and we entered a world of our own conspiring

in strange and luxurious and run down and nondescript hotel rooms

we began to hatch hex i guess

when donnette wasn’t around i stayed in my room and wrote music

i vividly remember certain hotels in certain cities

in tampa florida on a warm night

after the show

i plugged in my sequencer

and i composed the songs that would be on our album

all this pent up confused feeling i had

came out as this music which i diligently crafted into the night

the next day i’d ring her at lunch n play her stuff over the phone

i wrote the music to impress her

it was the best i could do

i was hearing a new sound in my head

electro pop music that would feel like romantic acid

incorporating lots of reverb and howling guitars

incorporating the sampling of voices and re-playing them back in

incorporating weird sad beautiful lyrics

and here was donnette thayer

in some parallel universe she could have been a pop star

to me she was like one of those heroines in forties n fifties movies

she contained many opposites and was of a feline bent

and she oscillated between the sacred and profane

she could be urbane american or goddamn cowgirl from denver

she seemed dedicated to me like an apostle or something

and yet she was tough cynical and resilient

the fact that someone like her thought i was so great impressed me

it was 1988

my life was now in a whirlwind

after a long slog to crack it

we are touring the states incessantly

only interrupted by brief stabs at europe

then back in the usa

so i put a lot of work into the record

as i get insulated from this real world out here

into a strange bubble oh boy

at the end of 1988 dt and i go to nyc where we record hex

we were staying in my managers apt uptown somewhere

it was winter and dark and snowing

at night we worked during peoples off hours

donnette and i worked on the lyrics together

theres some real good things here …some great words

it all kinda started to coalesce for me

i added the guitars and basses and percussion

i played around with different recording tricks and techniques

i think the singing on here is pretty good

it was exactly what was needed

some of the songs on this record suddenly burst through the clouds

and hit ecstatic plateaus

we were influenced by absolutely no one here

this was instant hex

as a labour of love i had conspired these songs

guided by my intuitive instinct for pop

and my intrinsic desire to transcend

the music and the words we summoned out of the ether

because something told us to do it

we bickered a bit and sometimes she rebelled against my meglomania

but she endlessly concentrated on working

she was ready for experimentation

and she usually sang quite in tune

and she could suddenly get very shrill very fast

like cilla black could

go from soft velvety to passionate and edgy in no time

usually i liked this tho dt sometimes had a tendency to overdo it

but mostly i was able to get these great performances as you hear here…

when margot smith heard the last song on hex

she insisted on doing it on the spot

so you will hear it on her album touch

anyway it got some good reviews but generally it sank without much notice

i don’t know why

in 1988 this was quite a futuristic record

the final piece in the hex puzzle was engineer bryce goggin

we met him in new york and he mixed it for nothing

he not only mixed it

but he contributed greatly to the albums sonic wallop

by replacing some of my dodgy sounds with some very cool ones

and then he mixed it and nailed it in a crystal dreamy innovative way

i will always believe this record was a masterpiece

it was just too good to be understood then

the few people who came across it were amazed at the songs herein

we were searching for euphoria

sometimes we goddamn almost find it

vast haloes is a different story

hex was written in a fevered dream a honeymoon period

i had been reborn a star and i had dt as my disciple

if you’ve seen judy davis playing william burroughs wife in naked lunch

you can kinda get the idea of how donnette was

languid sleepy tired sometimes

funny the more tired she looked the more i liked it

she looked good tired i don’t know why

she really knew a lot about guitars and amps

she was a good guitarist too actually

she could actually play

but i was a tyrant

and the purity of hex depended me playing everything

that having been said donnette ran into a guy called jim mcgrath

he was a percussion master

and he played all over this record and added much colour and spice

he added organic energy too

now while hex had been very sparse electro and in some ways restrained

vast haloes took on other genres with varying results

vast haloes has a bigger sound in some ways

a few songs on here are pop masterpieces i have no doubt

recorded in la at various studios including a+m

its a record made on the way down

its high points are maybe higher

its low points a bit lower

over all its still a special record

i played it produced it co-mixed it

i controlled everything

sometimes i lost my judgement

sometimes i came up with fantastic lush stuff like aquamarine

imagine this

a room at the hollywood roosevelt in the dead of winter

dt had her own joint down the road

she wasn’t always there

alone in a wet cold alien winter

i looked out onto the empty blue pool and jacuzzi

smoking new strains of powerful ganja

i came up with this music

dt would come back we’d think up the vocals

we’d get another few days somewhere on the cheap

or as a favour to our manager mike lembo

he never realised hex was actually pretty good

it got a couple rave reviews in england too..but….

i stayed there for quite a while in that same room

there was no one on hollywood boulevard it seemed

slightly unhinged by my whole life

its successes and failures

and reacting badly to too many bad things

too bad i didn’t know then what i know now

still theres some stirring moments here

some unusual things some arcane and fabulous moments

after the first records austerity necessitated by time and technology

i crammed everything but the kitchen sink onto this record

in an effort to emulate todd rundgren a la wizard a true star

so theres stuff going on everywhere

sometimes its vulgar and comedic

sometimes its intricate and quite mysterious to me now

how did i ever dream some of this stuff up

yes there is some great transcendent pop music here

the birth of trip hop someone once said

during the making of the first hex one day donnette and i got food poisoning

and we both lay in bed hallucinating in a cold fever

one day i looked in the mirror

there i was gaunt dishevelled tired stoned unshaven

man i was every popstar i ever wanted to be rolled into one

my head was bursting with ideas for music

people in australia were beginning to twig i was drifting off

they would ring me and persuade me to come back

but i didn’t want to

i was in new york city

it was winter

i had a bit of money

it was cafes and restaurants and cabs to the studio

i bent all my focus on the first record

my life was suddenly impossible groovy and alien

i really was a bit of a popstar

we went to bars and we drank a bit and watched comedians

once in the middle of a deadcold winter night

a comedian stopped the show and pointed to dt and said

hey lady you got something going with this guy aint ya?

at christmas time instead of returning to australia

i went to donnettes mothers place in denver colorado

oh man!

a truly extraordinary time!

donnettes mother and boyfriend were quite youngish

they were extremely groovy and turned on hipster types

they made me more than welcome

they also laid on many many special refreshments

my christmas gift was a wonderful refreshment

her mother was an amazing character

madeleine stowe always reminded me of her mother

we used to go to the best mexican restaurants

and we’d drink beer and have a really cool time

these were no byron bay hippies

these were the real deal

travelling all over america

her mother was like a tough pretty funny classic american type

the type i had seen in the movies so much as a young kid

feisty women who chart their own course for reasons known only to them

donnettes  sister turned up too

she looked like donnette maybe not so tired

she kinda kept up a mostly good natured string of little jibes at me

i didn’t mind that much

it all seemed like a movie

my first american christmas

i’m in denver colorado

my record is in the charts here in the US

i’m staying in the suburbs of denver

its snowing and all that

sometimes i take a walk with her mother

she remains totally unimpressed by my stoned blather

its a thing i liked about her

we did lots of touristy things with the family

there was another half sister who only lived nocturnally

one did not see much of her

we went skiing we went to the hot water springs on freezing days

we hit the most authentic mexican places a lot

sometimes we would play some new board games at night

but the refreshments were there too

but the atmosphere was very relaxed and warm

it really was like being in a film

eventually of course

rightly or wrongly

i was compelled to return to australia

hex was done

i had no pretext whatsoever to tarry

the brief golden age of hex was already over

the first record represents that on every level

the second record represents hexes glorious fall

on every level

you can download either of these records now from this site

see details on the left about bandcamp





124 Responses to “hex : the search for euphoric music”

  1. avatar
    A.M. | 13 June 2012 at 11:49 pm #

    I purchased both Hex productions, and loved them both. They were, to borrow from an Annie Hall character, “transplendent,” echoes of another world, a possible one no less. Thank you for sharing part of the backstory today. It only enriches the meaning of the work.

  2. avatar
    David | 13 June 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    I always thought Hex was so overlooked! Of course living in Houston Texas that was not too surprising (the city was always a bit slow when it came to new ideas). The Church, Hex and your solo records were a big inspiration for me musically and still are. I always find myself hoping to capture a bit of magic similar to that contained within those records when writing my own songs. Thanks for this – I have been hoping to be able to replace my worn out cassette versions! I’ll be downloading directly!



  3. avatar
    p webb | 13 June 2012 at 11:52 pm #

    I love these posts that are a look back into the past and talking about the process and period surrounding those releases. The first Hex is still one of my favorite of the SK non-church collaborations. Great stuff from start to finish. I’m curious about “An Arrangement” – the short versions on Hex and Margot’s album vs. the longer version from “Freaky Conclusions”. Did the long version pre-date Hex, in which case you decided to shorten it for Hex, or was it written for Hex and then expanded upon later?

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 14 June 2012 at 12:02 am #

      i wrote the longer one first
      i realised at some stage that i could chop off the chorus to this old unused song
      it could have a new life slowed down and sombre and donnette singing it

  4. avatar
    eekie | 13 June 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    I really like the first one, but could never quite get into the second one. Some songs, yes, but overall it felt to me as if you were trying too hard on Vast Halos. But the first one….

  5. avatar
    Boriah | 14 June 2012 at 12:05 am #

    I have both albums. Sometimes her voice reminds me of beautiful Julianne Regan (on “Antelope”, for instance). You fell in love with her, living two different lifes in parallel. That rocks. With age I have lost the capacity of falling in love. Now is just sex…Ahhh, I envy the f teenagers…

  6. avatar
    Ryan Murdock | 14 June 2012 at 12:41 am #

    I love these blogs that look back at a period of your artistic development – it’s really interesting to read how you evaluate these works now, while still recapturing that period, how you approached it, what you intended, and how it all related to your life at that time. I always learn something really cool when I read these.

    >all this pent up confused feeling i had
    came out as this music which i diligently crafted into the night

    That really jumped out at me. I get it now why I liked that first Hex record so much. I found it on ebay when i was living in Japan. I used to sit up writing until 2 or 3am, working on my book, and then I would listen to Hex or Remindlessness on headphones. Something about those albums really spoke to how I felt at that time. Sort of lost, working on something I knew was important but existing on the fringes of life to some extent, living in this disconnected world of images and books and memories that had nothing to do with the streets I walked through each day. It was the perfect ethereal soundtrack for that period. And it still holds up when I listen to it today. Every time I put it on the headphones, I’m right back in that tiny room with the futon on the floor, and the little table with fold down legs piled with handwritten sheets of yellow paper. It reminds me of silence of the nighttime Tokyo suburbs. That feeling of spent creativity after you’ve just poured it all out. And that hint of sadness that seems to float around the edges when you’re dealing with memories.

  7. avatar
    anthony | 14 June 2012 at 12:48 am #

    The first record is such an overlooked masterpiece. It always sounded like it was from another time but I could never tell if it was the past or the future. I first met Donnette after a Game Theory show in Charlotte, NC. She was wearing a Red Eye records pin on her denim jacket. So of course Ronnie Estes (RIP) and I struck up a conversation with her. We exchanged letters for awhile until Ron and Angie moved to L.A. and stayed with her while they looked for an apartment. I spent a few nice nights hanging out with her when I visited R&A in the early 90s. I especially remember playing a game she taught us called exquisite corpse. A bit of a surreal night as it took place in this tiny tiki bar named the tiki-ti on West Sunset while on LSD and Ecstasy. The rest of the night is kinda fuzzy. Ever thought of collaborating with her again? What an angelic voice.

  8. avatar
    Tanya | 14 June 2012 at 12:50 am #

    I don’t often have time to compose meaningful comments but want to, at the very least mention my appreciation of your nostalgic musings today. I enjoy reading what you occasionally reminisce about. The Rundgren reference was a nice touch too!

  9. avatar
    Daniel Watkins | 14 June 2012 at 12:53 am #

    I really enjoyed reading that. HEX is one of my favorites, and yet I’ve never heard anything about it’s making.

  10. avatar
    colette | 14 June 2012 at 1:23 am #

    How sweet I’m so happy for you

  11. avatar
    plumlady | 14 June 2012 at 2:19 am #

    Romantic acid…wow. I’ll have to obtain Hex. Whatever become of Donnette? It’s never too late to rekindle old flames for whatever outcome. Loved this blog today.

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 14 June 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      i believe she is an alaskan scientist
      jesus it could have been a line in one of the songs
      must say that I’ve just realised donnette was good in left AND right brain hemispheres
      most musicians aren’t scientists and most scientists aint musicians I’m sure
      but she could do both unlike most of us
      she has a lovely daughter and a’happily with someone

      • avatar
        Wayne | 14 June 2012 at 4:47 pm #

        Didn’t you have some vaguely scientific occupation many years ago – agriculture/primary industries? I seem to remember reading that in a past blog & it stuck in my mind ’cause that’s what I do. I’ve got a Game Theory album kicking around the house somewhere. I think that they’re vaguely connected to the mighty Thin White Rope (another of my fave bands) through the Davis scene. Guy Kyser (singer guitarist from TWR) is now a professor of botany or some such!

        • avatar
          thetimebeing | 14 June 2012 at 7:29 pm #

          i was a drone in the bureau of agricultural economics
          i was just a nobody

          • avatar
            BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 14 June 2012 at 9:06 pm #

            But I bet you caused some trouble, didn’t you ???
            To hard to imagine you not makn a ruckus …
            As I read your exploits and whatnot , makes me wish that NCA
            didn’t exist and that you would/ could write up that life of yours…
            by yourself…Lurie did an okay job I guess, I sense plenty of liberties
            he took and the last chapter or so feels muddled, to much about him –
            not enough about you. That’s just my opinion. Maybe you should get a
            digital copy and even some hard copies out here in the ‘shop’ , I kinda get
            the sense that many people may not even know the book exists. It’s a solid
            book with some flaws, most are. Just , after reading ‘any’ story from any time period in your life, that I wish you wrote your own bio . I guess you still can, easily, if you chose to. Heres to that idea !!! The humor that you create would be
            well worth the admission.


  12. avatar
    BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 14 June 2012 at 2:49 am #

    Thank you for sharing that with all of us, a wonderful read on a sparkling day here at home…

    Your Starfish indeed…

    ‘One would travel the layers of time for such a love , only to be washed overboard again and again…’

    You are reminising quite frequently as of late, it feels good to try on the clothes from our past…
    what might feel painful for some to revisit often just places a wonderful smile for the world to see,
    though we cannot live there…it is healthy to walk amongst the ghosts from a time long ago.

    Really enjoyed this today !!! Thank you !!!


  13. avatar
    Javier | 14 June 2012 at 4:14 am #

    The other day I was listening to both albums in my car and I can’t say which one is better, but the thing I like most is that they are full of sounds, details and great guitar playing. I was thinking as I was driving: “Wow. These are some of the best things Steve Kilbey has ever written”.

  14. avatar
    Brian Ison | 14 June 2012 at 5:06 am #

    thank you, Steve for sharing some insight to you and DT. Vast Halos is an album that transports me.

    “someone melting in the room next door”

  15. Kraig
    Kraig | 14 June 2012 at 8:50 am #

    Awesome you have this available for download. Heck, i don’t think i’ve heard the first Hex album, but i’ve only heard the Vast Haloes album…and really liked it but haven’t heard it for ages! Have any deals for SKP’ers? Hey thanks Steve! cheers!

    • Kraig
      Kraig | 14 June 2012 at 8:51 am #

      …i meant to ask, do you have any special deals on the Hex albums for SKP’ers? Free download, % off, or anything? Thanks man!

      • avatar
        thetimebeing | 14 June 2012 at 12:48 pm #

        working on a solution to this skpers will get a 25 per cent discount

        • Kraig
          Kraig | 14 June 2012 at 2:59 pm #

          Your the BOMB like usual Steve! Thanks Brother! Awesome Cheers!

        • Kraig
          Kraig | 14 June 2012 at 3:04 pm #

          LOVE that picture BTW…captures the moment! Many memories I’m sure!

          • Kraig
            Kraig | 14 June 2012 at 3:12 pm #

            WElp, just downloaded Vast Haloes again because my album has been lost in time…but no fear…didn’t get the discount because PayPal didn’t give me the option for some reason…but nonetheless, Stevie, plese put the extra 25% toward any future Solo or Church creativeness, or groceries, LOL…BIG THANKS MAN for rekindeling my love for these tunes! Cheers! Kraig

          • avatar
            thetimebeing | 14 June 2012 at 4:40 pm #

            will look into that!

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 14 June 2012 at 2:00 pm #

      skpers will by now have received discount password
      if you don’t have it n need it get back to us

  16. avatar
    Lara | 14 June 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    I heard Game Theory play in Berkeley in ’89 or ’90 maybe (can’t quite recall the date). There was an odd vibe with that band, perhaps because they were on the verge of dis-banding. I somehow never heard about Hex at that time. Love the title, “Vast Haloes.” Time to give it a listen.

  17. avatar
    John Garratt | 14 June 2012 at 12:14 pm #

    Gosh – Hex, the Church, “Remindlessness”, Jack Frost, all trickling out of the faucet at the same time.

    I tried to write a song once. Wasn’t very good.

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 14 June 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    loved reading the backstory and now very intrigued to give the albums
    a listen. the pic of you is sizzling

  19. avatar
    KevG | 14 June 2012 at 2:31 pm #

    Such an elegant, lyrical autobiography this blog is turning out to be. It’s quite a gift, sharing this, and I hope that sharing it is some kind of gift to the sharer.

    Funny how the vibe behind the records can be echoed in the experience of them. These albums came to me in a time of strange vagueness, un-rootedness, an open-endedness that was not quite reassuring and too emotionally wearing. There’s marvelous music on both, a bright line down a path that was met with great fanfare in some alternate universe, I think. I am glad to still have both on CD.

    When the bass guitar comes in on “Out of the Pink Sky”, I still get chills.

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 14 June 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      thank you for these kind words kevin
      its reassuring to know that there were people listening

  20. avatar
    Anonymous | 14 June 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    a great read – thanks

  21. avatar
    Dhyani | 14 June 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Longtime reader moved to comment. This is truly great writing, Steve. Rich, textured and intimate. I just lived an other’s life and it made me feel yearning and winter, creation and dissolution. For those moments I was there and I thank you deeply.

  22. avatar
    Chris | 14 June 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Like ‘Monarch’…trippy and cool.

  23. avatar
    Chris | 14 June 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    “They’re just songs, man..” ~John Lennon. Wrong John…they are musical poems, and music is the language of the emotions, and poetry is subversive ideas in aesthetically pleasing cases that assault the mind, heart and soul and invite change and authentic engagement with the world. They are songs…and thank God for songs.

  24. avatar
    bernadettekeys | 14 June 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    So cute n sweet n you look happy in the photo and to me the picture says it all….
    seems like you were both matched intellectually but in an apposite way.
    real cuties. : )

  25. avatar
    Anonymous | 14 June 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    Donette didn’t play guitar on any of it? She reckons she played a guitar solo on Hollywood in Winter and you wouldn’t let her hear it, then you got her to do a second solo and you mixed the two together. Basically, the way Bolan and Visconti did Ballrooms of Mars. Have to say, it worked both times! I loved the first Hex album as soon as I heard it (1990) but didn’t even know Vast Haloes existed until 1998!
    Never knew you met Donette at that 1984 San Fransisco gig – I’ve had a great tape of that show since 1990 and it would’ve made a great live album, with the Fly/One Day opener, Night Is Very Soft with keyboards, etc.
    Hmmm, Ploog once griped that even though no one had liked recording Starfish in LA, you insisted that GAF was also done there – purely because you wanted to be with Donette. Man, you had it bad!

  26. avatar
    hellbound heart | 14 June 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    holy crap!!!!!

  27. avatar
    KevinN | 14 June 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    I got both Hex albums as they came out, and have listened to both very often. I tended to prefer the first Hex album, though I truly do love both. VH was a bit too poppy for me at times, while Hex was so deeply beautiful, more subtle, simple – some songs just floating. After reading your blog, I will definitely be listening to both albums again with fresh ears. I think Ethereal Message will be a very moving experience for me right now. I always hoped there would be a Hex Part 3, but it was not to be 🙁

  28. avatar
    verdelay | 15 June 2012 at 4:22 am #

    Oh, Hex…

    Evocative doesn’t begin to describe that record for me…

    For you it whispers winter; for me it is forever summer, forever Brisbane, sticky-hot under sheets of tropical rain with my bohemian mistress…

    I remember you played Hermaphrodite at the Spring Livid festival in Albert park. What year was that? That was the one and only time I ever met you. I could have misplaced the memory. You might not have played it. I might not have been there at all. Did you do a number about Dicky Plantaganet, or am I making that up too…?

    But Hex is not about the past. Like nostalgia itself, it is about all the non-existent futures we might once have imagined…


  29. avatar
    hippy | 15 June 2012 at 5:30 am #

    I saw Game Theory live around ’87 I think, in San Francisco, small club called The Stone or Keystone(?) The singer’s name was Scott, forget his last name. They were very good live. Anyways, really enjoyed reading about Hex. Don’t remember you talking much about these albums on the blog, so I was pretty surprised. What inspired you to bring it up now?

  30. avatar
    Pac Man | 15 June 2012 at 6:47 am #

    Which “Game Theory” album you like best? Want to know which one to try and listen to.

  31. avatar
    fen | 15 June 2012 at 9:01 am #

    I have had both on disc for years now. I am glad others can get them now though on your bandcamp site. Is there a way to get the bsides/mixes? I was never able to purchase the singles.
    I have turned a few people on to them. “the birth of trip hop someone once said” – I’ve said the same when introducing the music to people.
    I think the only other band to come close to sonics and the time frames(but certainly not the majesty or magic) was Single Gun Theory. Odd, the slight overlap there; also Australians, and ‘theory.’

  32. avatar
    Andrew Lockwood | 15 June 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    I think my first four SK records were Heyday, Unearthed, Hex, and Remote Luxury. I was a lucky kid.

  33. avatar
    Andrew Lockwood | 15 June 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Hex I was in first year of college, 1989, near Dallas, Texas, already in love with Heyday and Unearthed and Starfish, and can’t believe what I’m hearing. “Silvermine” came on the radio. It’s true: some syndicated “alternative” show. Went out and grabbed the record the next day, and it was soundtrack for studying, for my friends and me smoking in cemeteries and on slightly steep walls of the canal at 3AM. I didn’t know then how unlikely it was I was so lucky to mine such a rich vein of your music.

  34. avatar
    Anonymous | 15 June 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    And before it was an album title ‘Starfish’ was your nickname for her, right?

  35. avatar
    Waratah | 15 June 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    Hey kilbey, I usually just read without commenting but feel obliged to add to the standing ovation for this album. Hex just clicked with me from first listen and continued to grow on me. I always seemed to have it playing in the background. My favorite song off it is silvermine, you did a great solo version of it at the 3 weeds, rozelle in the mid 90’s. Strangely, I didn’t know vast halos existed until about 5 years ago and still yet to hear it so looking forward to having a listen. A great read today, thanks

  36. Kraig
    Kraig | 16 June 2012 at 4:41 am #

    Hell, I’ve been trying to find “Game Theory’s Lolita Nation CD” online or anywhere and the album is going for $150 bucks!!?? Man, that’s CRAZY! Would it be wrong to ask if anyone here float me a copy or I’ll be happy to trade/buy in return or pay for it? Wish the download was available somewhere? I really would like to hear this album and have heard it’s pretty good! Let me know?

    If not, guess I’ll never hear that album in the light of day, that’s for sure for that price, whew! Otherwise let me know where I can buy a decent priced copy, anyone know or any ideas?

    Thanks & Cheers!

    • avatar
      lotus | 16 June 2012 at 12:55 pm #

      kraig – what’s yr email?

      • Kraig
        Kraig | 17 June 2012 at 7:29 pm #


        I spelled it this way so no internet web spiders can harvest my email….cheers Lotus! Replace at with @ and dot with .

        I’m surey u know that, LOL

  37. avatar
    JW | 16 June 2012 at 8:05 am #

    You forgot about the boat incident!
    Interesting you mention remembering Tampa that year because that’s where and when I first met you!
    Also interesting that you bring this up now, but when I was just in Florida, I dug these CDs back up from the trenches to play some of my fav tracks for Ms. M who’s never heard any of it.
    The HEX albums really meant a lot to me when they came out. I remember for both Tuesday release days I ritually dropped acid for my maiden listen. Coincidence and synchronicity never failed with the lyrics, vibes, atmospheres, auras and musics contained within both of these magickal creations. I particularly always loved Elizabeth Green, March and Antelope (high high in the long category of beautifully sad songs of longing).
    Thanks for memories!

  38. avatar
    Chris | 16 June 2012 at 9:11 am #

    ‘Nothing in this world he can’t erase
    With his magnetic head and a well turned phrase’….love Steve’s art of language….

  39. avatar
    Once | 16 June 2012 at 10:19 am #

    I love Hex. I love Donnette. Don’t know her personally, of course (Facebook!), but she has been a mentor for my vegetarianism, and a very wise person when I am in need of an outside viewpoint. Beautiful person, beautiful voice on those records, you really cannot beat that seductive crystalline sound.

    It’s perfect.

    Thank God the two of you crossed paths. Good effects all ’round.


  40. avatar
    Once | 16 June 2012 at 10:30 am #

    I think that my fave will always be “Antelope”. Not sure why, it just moves the living hell out of me. THAT makes it a good song.

  41. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 June 2012 at 4:07 pm #

    i just love blog entries like this
    (and yes i do like hex a lot… but it’s not even the point)
    —somehow almost regardless of the subject matter
    you pull the listener in… err i meant the reader of course —
    a disillusionist moment? not quite so dark here,
    —but the effect is profound —
    the scents, the flavor, the texture,
    the mood of the moment, made so tangible, so real
    not like a photograph — more like bold brushstrokes
    the storyteller talent is yours too, sir
    — and thank you for this trip in time

  42. avatar
    Galamor the Wizard | 16 June 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    I bought the first one when it came out on vinyl. Very dreamy and late afternoony. The 2nd one came and went before I really noticed. Thanks for providing it along with the Vivid stuff. Bought!

  43. avatar
    blessed one | 16 June 2012 at 5:35 pm #

    Got’em both original CDs, first one was still in college, loved it immediately…second one I could not find for ages in the god forsaken place I live in, but later I discovered there was a sense to this…I only got it par hazard in a run down little record shop in the period I started dating the girl who’s now my wife, we listedned to it together, and loved it, and dusted off my guitar with her singing à la dt, and myself playing à la sk…love the second one more than the first, for this reason..thanks sk and dt, for hex

  44. avatar
    Anonymous | 16 June 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    I got the first hex lp in may 1990 & played it for the first time on headphones at 5.30 a.m. with the sun starting to come softly into the room through the trees in the park across the road. Couldnt have been more perfect. I sat there amazed at how good it was – so many wonderful songs one after the other. I love it to this day.

  45. avatar
    Linjo | 16 June 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    omg just listened to Antelope, thanks Donna, Steve that is sublime xxx

    • avatar
      Once | 17 June 2012 at 4:08 am #

      Awesome, isn’t it? The first time I heard it, I just had a weird feeling that it was “more than music”. It’s like a speaking soul.

      • avatar
        Once | 17 June 2012 at 4:26 am #

        Pulled these lyrics from the web – may or not be 100% accurate – but whoever wrote the line, “And seal my chilly envelope around you” (if that is indeed correct) is a freaking god/ess!!!

        It gives me chills, no pun intended…

        Antelope tramped into town
        Twin sons bravado and despair (and despair)
        Tiny sounds followed him all around
        All through the evening air (evening air)
        He didn’t realize
        That time keeps passing on and on and on and on
        Hours unsynchronize
        Forty years in forty years are gone and on and on and on
        The* Church Discography
        In the smallest room I’ll think of snow
        And seal my chilly envelope around you
        While the dusk settles in you know
        Some unheard of antelopes without you
        Heliotrope behind thick glass
        I’d like to take you there someday (some day)
        South Dakota comes with icy grass
        When the painted backdrop molds away (away)
        You’ll never realize
        Time keeps passing on and on and on and on
        Memory solidifies
        Twenty years in twenty years are gone and on and on and on
        In the smallest room I’ll think of snow
        And seal my chilly envelope around you
        You can see you’re only free to go
        Your sky uncloudy antelopes without you
        Antelope sloped out of town
        Twin sons bravado and despair (and despair)
        Bells were ringing from the underground
        All through the evening air
        We never realized
        While watching time pass on and on and on and on
        We never realized
        Until the wolves stopped howling what was gone and on and on and on

        • avatar
          Once | 17 June 2012 at 4:29 am #

          Oh, sorry, there are Church discography links interspersed in this…not that that’s a bad thing!!! LOL!

          Please excuse commercial interruptions!

        • avatar
          thetimebeing | 17 June 2012 at 1:22 pm #

          the tiny bells from the underground
          thats donnettes idea
          she used to read a lot of poe
          it was about people who were presumed dead being able to signal the living that they were still alive
          by being buried with this bell arrangement so they could signal the ones up above
          (was this narcolepsy?)

          • avatar
            andy | 17 June 2012 at 6:34 pm #

            as the father of a child with narcolepsy i can reply with some authority…..
            and the answer is yes.

          • avatar
            Once | 18 June 2012 at 3:38 am #


            ** more chills **

  46. avatar
    david baalnzeus | 16 June 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    “my pleasure to tell it and re-live it….!”< that my dear killer is an extremely healthy statement..i still have the "March" promos ..i d like to send you them …maybe you could auction them off here at ttb im sure theyd be gobbled up ..have to wait till i can afford it ..and where do i send them to.. and does any one know if there is one courier better than another for vinyl..ive only been holding them for you for twenty two years..

  47. avatar
    Jesiah6 | 16 June 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    I searched the internet a few years back and managed to get my hands on both albums. There’s some real gems on these. Thanks for sharing the story of their creation.

  48. avatar
    Cocoamo | 17 June 2012 at 4:23 am #

    Thank you for making Hex available for us – much appreciated.

    You have lived such an interesting life, careening between pleasure and peril; it really should be made into a movie. But, who would play Steve Kilbey and how would the movie end?

    Did you ever see Walk Hard, the Dewey Cox Story? This comedy/parody has some surprisingly good music as well as being really funny.

    Your Friend in Pennsylvania

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 17 June 2012 at 1:23 pm #

      i believe john cusack will play the “young” me!

      • avatar
        BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 17 June 2012 at 4:43 pm #

        Oh ya , that I can see…Chicagos very own playing the grand wizard….
        or we time machine Mr Eastwood to the year of your liking (Play Misty For Me ???).. he also has a quiet command of the world around him and appearance is quite similar…thats a huge compliment for both you fine gentleman.
        Andy has seen a wedding pic of me recently…I’d like
        to have a young Andy Garcia playing myself in a made-for Lifetime telly bio. We share
        the same size, hair, and sparky style of always on the edge with rage barely controlled…

        Happy Fathers Day to you Killer and to all the fantastic fathers in the universe…

        (that especially includes you also…Mr Lee)


      • avatar
        Anonymous | 18 June 2012 at 2:01 pm #

        right… he played poe already… how very fitting

  49. avatar
    BJM | 17 June 2012 at 4:57 am #


    So glad you brought up the Hex albums. I have many thoughts and feelings connected to both of them. To me, the first album is just an amazing and mesmerizing landscape of channeled words and moods. I favor it over the second, but album #2 still has many high points such as Monarch, Shelter, Antelope, Auqamarine and the closing track Vast Halos. The song “Vast Halos” still raises my Kundalini energy whenever I hear it.

    I have tried with varying degrees of success to get friends and family into the Church and the various Kilbey solo albums and side projects. For my artsy younger sister Michelle the first Hex album seemed to connect all the dots. I remember her feeling inspired to write poetry after absorbing it for weeks. She loved Mercury Towers and wrote about the world she imagined from it’s lasting impressions.

    Steve… if you have time to comment, the album jacket mentions “automatic writing” to generate lyrics and ideas (on the first?). Any truth to that? And I seem to recall reading something from Donnette where she said while recording vocals for a song, you dropped a bunch of percussion instruments on the floor to spark a reaction. If I remember right, she said it pushed her to a different place and described it as a peak moment. Would love to hear more about that.

    Talking about the Hex albums prompted me to pull these off the shelf for a listen. Was sitting in my car at a beautiful park just down the road. The wind and sun playing on the trees and water… Time to queue up “Vast Halos”…

    One in the hips
    One in the spine
    One in the body
    One in the throat
    One in the mind

    I don’t know why – it captures some feeling of grief and euphoria over this fleeting transcendental experience we are having here in our brief little lives.

  50. avatar
    Once | 17 June 2012 at 6:59 am #

    There is ony ONE musician in existance that shares your greatness, SK. I post this for info purposes only.

  51. avatar
    John | 17 June 2012 at 8:41 am #

    Purchased them Friday and have been listening non-stop. Mysterious, mezmerizing, stunning music. I don’t think I could pick a favorite but if I had to I’d say for me it’s Elizabeth Green, God so haunting. Thanks for sharing that SK.


    • avatar
      Serge Zéni | 26 June 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      Bought the 1st Hex album in Paris, 1990. “Vast Halos”, I got it from Ryko, a couple of years later. Shit, I never heard anything from Game Theory…!
      Still great records to me, Steve!

  52. avatar
    Erik Eklund | 18 June 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Two golden greats those records!

  53. avatar
    colette | 18 June 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Yes Debussy is pretty feckin mervellous although I only know the odd bit and piece of him but that’s quality not quantity and I feel I should say that in spite of the fact he’s ‘dead’.

  54. avatar
    Kitty Kat | 18 June 2012 at 9:43 pm #

    Rivetting, my eyes were saucers

  55. avatar
    Heather Daydream | 18 June 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Ok I want to buy Hex now…what extension should I get? I have a mac and an iphone and itunes…. will the corporates let me or lock me out with some crappy codex crap thing?

  56. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 June 2012 at 6:58 am #

    But what do you think about donette’s chaos & wonder lp?

  57. avatar
    Once | 19 June 2012 at 9:43 am #

    “Even before reason there is an inward movement which reaches out towards its own.” – Plotinus, III 4.6

  58. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 June 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    Is it true there’s a quick shot of donnette in the reptile video, wearing a black dress &dancing in the crowd?

  59. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 June 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    So, Excerpt From Charlotte’s Bay Pde…

  60. avatar
    Michel | 19 June 2012 at 11:35 pm #

    I first bought “Hex” in 1989, not for its cover but for a sticker “produced by Steve Kilbey” put on it.
    My vinyl is a bit old but still listenable. I found a rather cheap cd of it on e-bay last year, but I definitely prefer the sound of my vinyl…
    The website “Shadow Cabinet” made me aware of a second Hex album (you can’t imagine how hard it was to find information about The Church -and their records- in the 80s and the first half of the 90s in France !). So I only could listen to Vast Halos years later (on Napster or Soulseek I think). I bought a cd copy recently on e-bay. Of course it is not as great as the first one, but some tracks (shelter, aquamarine, antelope…) are really interesting.
    I have always been very naïve about records involving a woman and a man, thinking it is only a musical partnership. Robert Lurie opened my eyes on Hex…
    “Hex” will remain one of the most beautiful stained-glass windows in my cathedral of Music.
    Oh, and “Mercury Towers” will always dissolve my heart !
    I will probably never meet Donnette Thayer so The Time Being is the perfect place to thank her very much…

  61. avatar
    DogWater | 20 June 2012 at 2:17 am #

    “Hex, the seven piece band” ??

    There’s a Rkyo various artists album with an acoustic version of Shelter, from Vast Halos, and it says “This exclusive acoustic version was recorded with Hex, the seven piece band.”

    What band?? Did Hex tour, or something?

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 20 June 2012 at 11:44 am #

      there was a band donnette put together in 1989 -90 for a while playing hex songs
      i never actually heard em…

      • avatar
        anthony | 21 June 2012 at 1:20 am #

        i saw them play once in los angeles. i don’t remember anything remarkable about it other than they were nice guys. i remember bruce, the drummer and montana dave on keyboards i think. i designed some posters for her when ron and angie were living with her temporarily. they told me they thought you saw them when they delivered them to mark geiger’s house and you were there. no idea if that’s true or not. here’s a link:

        • avatar
          DogWater | 23 June 2012 at 12:22 am #

          Thanks for the replies, guys. I’ve been wondering about that for YEARS!

        • avatar
          angie | 18 July 2012 at 11:43 am #

          wow. i remember those posters anthony. that was a flashback.
          this was quite a good read. brought back great memories of staying with donnie and dave. i have some great pics from that time period i am going to scan when school is OVER in a few weeks. hope all is well with you and yours.

  62. avatar
    Chris | 20 June 2012 at 11:50 am #

    every glorious or sordid moment

    every weird wonderful cerebral sexual transcendent thing

    ‘…puzzles dilemmas mazes phrases proverbs lies

    big words because i write for MY audience

    and they are mostly educated intelligent people

    and they demand something worthwhile in their music

    and the church provides something worthwhile…’ … true….

  63. avatar
    Steven Krut | 20 June 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    I’d never heard either album, but I just got Hex. Thanks for the discount. I’m only three songs in as I type this. My first thoughts are: nice compositions, lovely voice Donnette has. Ethereal Message is playing now and it’s VERY beautiful!

  64. avatar
    matthew | 20 June 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    I was only vaguely aware of Hex at the time; just bought it from yon left linky, and loving what I’m hearing!

  65. avatar
    Tom | 21 June 2012 at 12:56 am #

    Another article by David Lowery on artists compensation that might interest you.

  66. avatar
    hippy | 21 June 2012 at 5:21 am #

    Jonesing for a new blog. Earth to Kilbey…Earth to Kilbey…

  67. avatar
    Steven Krut | 21 June 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    Fire Island makes me think of Portishead. And they formed just a few years later in ’91. Hmm…

  68. avatar
    Chris | 21 June 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    ditto @hippy….I am getting withdrawal and reading meaningless crap on FB…..

    • avatar
      Anonymous | 21 June 2012 at 9:13 pm #

      Hey – why don’t u guys live in reruns, that’s why there is an archive. SK isn’t a trained seal for your
      amusement. He is taking a break and that’s that. Have some courteousy – the guy kept writing while his beloved child was having surgery and now its not good enough and people are complaining about withdrawls, you just stepped into the ‘line’ occupied by those who constantly expect something from him while you post your own dribble and talentless poetry. Have some patience, this blog and site is a gift from Steve , its not owed to any of you.
      Or why don’t the couple of you just keep posting nonsense and continue taking over the comment section as you have been doing now for some time.
      Go out and ‘get a life’ !!!


      • avatar
        rerun | 22 June 2012 at 8:49 am #

        …..hey hey hey….get a clue…
        you sound new….

  69. avatar
    Chris | 21 June 2012 at 7:33 pm #

    The concluding melodic hum on Monarch sounds like sexy bees……

  70. avatar
    colette | 22 June 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Dear sk, you are great in your own right. I feel a little empty as I get ready for work. Listening to Dakota. No poem. I feel like laughing at my self pathos. I feel a little sorry for you as we clamour for your words. May you enjoy some quiet time with your muse. Thank you for anything ever. We are fortunate for the accord you bring and even the discord. It has fended off numbness. It has induced a luxuriating in light and excitement that carries through into this mist… ‘Miss Ette’.

  71. avatar
    Anonymous | 22 June 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    don’t read the comments here too often but just caught the one where someone is calling for ‘talentless’ poetry. I can help out there. Here’s a quick talentless contribution as I pass through today:

    my skin prickles
    a sliver of sweat shoots down my forehead
    it was always his shirts i noticed
    before the slope of his shoulders
    or the quirky movement of his head
    or his long slender hands
    but as he moves closer i know our skins have not parted
    i see that this shirt belongs to another
    this man is more angular
    less awkward
    more sincere in his stride
    my adrenaline holds its fire
    old lovers take their own time to leave our bodies

  72. avatar
    Anonymous | 22 June 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    and another talentless offering to fill the space on this cold winter night:

    i touch but i am ever numb
    i taste without my tongues
    the sun burns my eyes as the rain spits at my cheeks
    my shoes are leaking
    the earth is moving
    i am out of kin and carriers
    i know thousands of people
    but no-one knows me
    i am a stranger
    exposed to the rocky bottom when the tide goes out
    scorched and scorned amongst the craters and carnage
    under slime and sludge
    protecting each layer with my tiers of ignorance
    cold on the outside, chilled inside
    excavation still ahead

  73. avatar
    Mark Staples | 18 July 2012 at 8:45 am #

    I thought this was beautiful. HEX will always be special to me. I listened to it in the evenings the fall of 1989 on vinyl in my Charleston SC apartment’s living room, sipping coffee while sitting in my third floor window watching the sun set. This not-so-ethereal message was meant for you, Steve Kilbey.

  74. avatar
    christine c | 4 December 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    thank you so much for that music, and for sharing these moments. I’ve loved this album since I first heard it in the 90’s and always thought it was a brilliant work. you did find euphoria…I felt it with you

  75. avatar
    Joe | 9 December 2014 at 4:17 am #

    Steve, this is an excellent post. Thanks for recalling these memories for us. I read it when it was initially posted, but I’ve found myself coming back to it after hearing about the very sad passing of Scott Miller. In the ’80s I had a handful of go-to artists that I listened to most: you, especially your Unearthed album, Game Theory, and Mitch Easter’s band Let’s Active. I had always enjoyed Mitch’s production on the GT albums, then, when Hex came out, I was thrilled and felt it sort of wrapped everything up with a nice bow, so it’s great to read these behind the scenes stories.
    As a fan who probably dwells too much on stuff like this, I can’t help but feel that there is an epic rock and roll story bubbling beneath all of this waiting to be told. But perhaps it is too personal or too soon. RIP Scott.

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