posted on January 19, 2008 at 8:04 pm

i lost my voice last night
it was cutting in and out
i couldnt hang round and do encore
and the whole gig being filmed……
so bitterly disappointed
only once before have i lost it
i had manuka honey
lemon etc
no good
toby from youth group says try whiskey
i did
nonetheless my voice clapped out
whenever i needed it
in wide open road it would not hit the notes
instead a woeful raggedy distorted racket
graham lee donged himself in the mouth with a guitar
(thats rocknroll! says cheeky mick harvey)
at the end i whisper to him
i cant sing field of glass graham…
ok he says
go home and rest
while he dabs at swollen mouth with hanky
will try not to talk
almost have no voice at all right now
another couple of days it wouldnae have mattered
ah human frailty
killer, you starting to fall apart
and so much to do
so much left to do
praying to roman god of voices for smooth sailing
but i fear tonite could be more of the same
im so sad
damn it!

43 Responses to “lost it”

  1. avatar
    sod | 19 January 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    it’s such a bloody typical bit of bastardy that they named my law after it…

  2. avatar
    linjo | 19 January 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    sad for you too

  3. avatar
    Queen Hatshepsut | 19 January 2008 at 9:22 pm #

    I’m sorry Steve. That is really sad, considering I think you have the loveliest voice of any human being on the planet, speaking or singing. Accept the forced silence, be sad and when you can speak and sing again, know that people all over the planet will rejoice. 🙂
    love u,

  4. avatar
    Imber | 19 January 2008 at 10:20 pm #

    Sorry to hear about your voice, SK.

  5. avatar
    Anonymous | 19 January 2008 at 10:36 pm #

    swimming . 🙁 The English Channeler .;-) They came to see SK.How lucky they were to be there . love to the larynx.

  6. avatar
    annie | 19 January 2008 at 11:14 pm #

    i saw you last night. despite that you still did an awesome rendition on those songs. get well soon

  7. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 19 January 2008 at 11:30 pm #


  8. avatar
    syrinx | 19 January 2008 at 11:36 pm #

    (be well be well be well…) all i know for throats is gargling with cayenne, which has nothing to do with vocal cords.

    good luck.


  9. avatar
    princey | 19 January 2008 at 11:43 pm #

    Oh no, so sorry to hear that too sk. I can imagine how down you feel right now, but you’ve given it everything sk, and I’m sure everyone (the band and audience) appreciate it all. Take care and I’ll be praying for ya.
    Love and a hug,

  10. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2008 at 12:11 am #

    Hi Steve,

    Concert sounds great, wish i was there…
    there’s only one thing to do i reckon to push through – make offerings to Dionysus and lubricate your larnyx liberally with a good red…coupla years ago my band did a gig in Sydney and our singer was blighted with a similiar affliction (wanted to call gig off etc), however we plowed on and in the process discovered a new instrumental side to the band that we never new existed (now aptly titled “Jazz Odyssey”!)…anyway, our singer had tried all the soft approaches – honey, herbal tea etc..then when it came to crunch time he said fuck it, and got on the red…blow me down if it wasn’t a gig to remember! He found a new threshold with his performance and hasn’t been troubled since if he feels a bit shaky coz he knows the cure…that’s rock’n’roll i guess (just like bangin’ yer head on a guitar!)

    “Do a good show alright” as Nigel Tufnell would say…i’ll be crossing my fingers for ya!:)


    Jon from Geelong.

  11. avatar
    Ethereal Butterfly | 20 January 2008 at 12:23 am #

    I’ve known a few people who have lost their voices – public speakers & singers – it’s usually a physiological problem caused by nodules, polyps etc & the only thing to do is to change the vocal habits which caused the problem. Seeing a speech pathologist solved their problems. If it was me today I’d not talk at all, but meditate & see if I could see a doctor or Speechie today! I hope & pray that your amazing stage presence & golden voice, albeit sexier & husky will see you thru. Really consider giving up smoking. Take care, we are all thinking & sending you positive & healing vibes dear Killa…..

  12. avatar
    fantasticandy | 20 January 2008 at 12:26 am #

    you can only do what you can do….
    your own stuff…
    the best stuff…
    you can’t be someone else,
    you don’t need to be some one else,
    WE don’t WANT or NEED you to be someone else.
    you are not falling apart…
    you are making the best new music on the planet.
    get on a stage with that stunning band of yours,
    you know…the one in which your voice is an integral part.
    you can not be ‘bolted on’ to something else.
    eventually damage would ensue.
    a few nights….ok,
    i want to hear more kilbey!
    not mcomb or whatever his name is!
    …ripping yer voice box ta bits tryin’ to sing like someone else!
    you’ll be doing much better than you give yourself credit for.. because you always do!
    you slogged all round europe giving it everything…despite everything!
    blah ,blah, blah….
    great, wonderful, teriffic!
    except when compared with the last TWENTY YEARS of you ‘n the druids.

    give it your best shot…it’s all good…
    but don’t bloody well crucify yourself over it!
    do you really know how good your own music is?
    to those who actually understand what great music is?

    the important work starts when this is over.

    there’s a church album on the horizon.

    a lot of people are waiting…for them it will be the biggest musical event for years.

    i bet you are giving it everything,
    and enjoying the good vibes from the crowd, great reviews and positive press….

    but don’t anyone try to tell me any of this stuff is in the same league as the choich!
    luv to all,
    andy L.

  13. avatar
    Imber | 20 January 2008 at 12:55 am #

    SK, have you tried steam inhalation? That’s meant to be helpful. Hope you have a speedy recovery.

  14. avatar
    Melby Symon | 20 January 2008 at 1:14 am #

    Bad news Steve…but it sounds like you still provided an awesome performance even with a fading voice. Hope the voice mends quickly and thoroughly.

    My(our)thoughts are obviously with you. Remember….it’s great to be ALIVE…and even with the little hiccups that life sends along every now and then, there is always so much to be thankful for.

  15. avatar
    matt davison | 20 January 2008 at 1:30 am #

    Dam Damm……… whata shame sk!!

    well that was yesterday

    …and yesterday has gone..

    .. many more s!**t kikkers on the horizon killer, I bet you sound heeps better then you think anyway.


    PS: Dayvddsons back, that punk!! thought you fuc’d him up manne.!!??

  16. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2008 at 1:42 am #

    * Don’t take any alcohol – it dries the cords
    * Drink plenty of water to hydrate the voice box
    * Warm your voice up for about 15mins before you go on tonight – ascending and descending scales, starting from your low register all the way up to your highest, comfortable note – then push up another two notes … three max. Use only vowels and sustain the last note of each scale. Also try climbing pitch with alternating vowels: “A!A!Ah(sustain) … E!E!E(sustain)”, etc.
    * On stage: when phrasing, speak most of it – don’t sing EVERY word – and when you go for the higher, longer notes at the end of the phrase, kind of whisper the word but say it firmly in your throat BEFORE you give breath. You’re not a fish so don’t breath all over every word, and especially not before (firmly) SAYING – not SINGING – the last word of each passage, which happens to be the MOST important
    * Think about the words – don’t focus on the pitch of each note. If you believe in your mind that the notes are too high you won’t reach them. If you have to think about them at all, try thinking they’re low, that way you’ll fool your mind into believing this!

    Still … you’re obviously singing out of your comfortable range – up where your voice seldom goes or is little practiced. Plus – if your eyes are grey, they’re grey! You should have altered the key/s to suit your voice.

    Good luck, man. Be confident. Sing with conviction and you’ll make it through.

    MangoPushul x

  17. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2008 at 1:45 am #

    * breathe, not “breath”

  18. avatar
    veleska1970 | 20 January 2008 at 1:49 am #

    oh no!!! i’m with denise~~you possess the loveliest voice in all of music~~past, present and future.

    but falling apart? no way!!! you’re just having a run of bad luck, that’s all. it’ll pass.

    sending more good vibes your way.

    lotza love…

  19. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 20 January 2008 at 1:56 am #

    Sk gave it his best. Nothing to be ashamed of. It’s not like blowing a show from being too intoxicated or stoned into oblivion. When I saw Led Zeppelin in 1979?Jimmy Page was out of it. I saw Freddie Mercury do an entire show with his voice ravaged. Worse concert ever was Bowie with his voice ravaged. Fifteen years later he sounded like a live opera singer. Give Sk credit. In the precvious blog he clearly inferred that nature was telling him that something was wrong.

  20. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 20 January 2008 at 2:18 am #

    Re: Lovely And Cool !

    Sk has the coolest human voice on the planet. Birds rule the vocal world. What’s left of them.

    Veleska and Denise are simultaneously cool and lovely commentors.

    Sk is not even close to falling apart. I’m an expert because I was torn asunder and became unhinged years ago. I am a was !

  21. avatar
    lily was here | 20 January 2008 at 2:40 am #

    “Moment #1: Steve Kilbey, Church singer/songwriter, contemporary of David McComb and a besotted Triffids fan. His face bore the unmistakable glow of a little boy who had dreamed of standing on stage playing with his heroes and he didn’t need the lyric sheet for Wide Open Road, Stolen Property or the driving, pulsing with hot blood and fevered brow Lonely Stretch (one of the night’s highlights) because he had been singing these songs in his head for years.” SMH 18/1/08

    Youve been giving it so much that you ran out of steam last night (good idea Imber)…water hydration is probably the best thing today.

    You’ve given it your all, the reports have been saying ‘Brilliant, awesome and more’. In a perfect world there would’ve been a day off inbetween the 4 gigs to rest your voice but the show must go on. The main thing is that while you couldnt repeat the previous nights performance vocally, you still gave it your all and tonight you’ll sing for nk too, your voice is pure magic to me when its in the soft range, ie acoustic Unguarded Moment. Good luck Steve, will be thinking of you, hope you can get through it without too much pain. I hate seeing you so disappointed. Im sure the others are pretty awed and totally moved by what you’ve given them so far.

    love S

  22. avatar
    steve kilbey | 20 January 2008 at 2:56 am #

    my dearest friendss and fiendss
    thank you all for lovely encouragements
    i know some of you dont love the triffids like me
    but this is a labour of love for me
    i love these songs im singing more than i could love my own
    and david isnt around to sing them anymore
    and i know i could do them justice
    if i kick the bucket
    i hope someone would carry the flame for me
    the triffids are such incredibly nice people
    these songs are sacred songs to me
    yes yes
    the church starts up tomorrow again
    new album etc
    but tonite
    im gonna try n sing these favourite songs of mine
    songs i wished i’d written
    these songs part of my life

  23. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2008 at 3:19 am #

    i was there and although your voice was missing in places the authenticity of you came through and it was a passionate beautiful performance and i pray you get your voice back for tonight

  24. avatar
    ...being here, doing this... | 20 January 2008 at 3:23 am #

    as i read this, i think of the late marc h…straining his throat for many years….trying to ward off the huskiness, the lost high notes, the rasp….he was fighting against all those years of smoke and strain, lodged in his throat

    but you’re still here….look after yourself!

    marc williams took over the marc h role….singing his songs, reaching for the highest of notes…till he too lost his voice singing the songs of another

    he rested for many months….no singing, just guitar…until he was well again

    the band had 2 other singers alternately filling in for him….and the gigs continued

    listen to your body…it’s telling you to give your voice (and ears!) a rest.

  25. avatar
    linjo | 20 January 2008 at 4:01 am #

    With regard to the beautiful Butterfly’s eat not smoke advice, I had a boyfriend once who made the most wicked cookies out of just leafy crap. He put a whole knob of butter in a crock pot with water and the chopped up green stuff then simmered for 36 hours. When cooled, he used the green butter for anzac bickies and rockcakes. Made me see aliens!!
    Good luck tonight Steve

  26. avatar
    Anakki Mayhem | 20 January 2008 at 4:12 am #

    the voice is the most temperamental instrument of all – your love & passion for the songs will see you thru any missed notes – & i know your voice will be better again soon!

  27. avatar
    CSTCoach | 20 January 2008 at 4:17 am #

    ahh fuck. i’m so sorry to hear it, druid. check yer mail. some training stuff that might help, from that vocal coach i’m working project with. i second imber re: the steam inhalation, and Mango re: plenty of water and avoiding alcohol.

    really hope things come together for you. but whether or not you hit the “right” notes, your expression, your love for these songs, your deep respect for the songwriter, and above all your connection to them will come through. it comes through here, even as you type it. on stage your entire body and your voice will be pouring it out.

  28. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2008 at 6:25 am #

    The voice is no more temperamental than any other instrument. If you misuse it, naturally you’ll experience hoarseness and the loss of your higher end notes. Steve’s voice is suffering because he sings incorrectly not because he is ill. The (substandard) remedies – for throat and larynx – recommended here today are useless – so save your breath!

    I love Steve’s voice, so I’m with all of you. His voice serves him more than well for HIS style of music. However – and this is bloody true! – some styles require a higher level of technique to deliver WELL, especially if practiced long-term and, importantly, if you want your voice to serve you well EVERY time! Otherwise, I’m afraid it will be hit and miss: a voluminous maestro early in the piece and an asthmatic crow for the encore. Anyway, not to worry ‘cos it’s a short stint.

    With regard to interpretation, phrasing, feel and passion, I’m sure Steve is doing a smashing job. I really can’t see any other singer in Australia doing better in his shoes. Steve’s a perfectionist so he’s probably being really hard on himself and giving more than he’s got, which is his nature, bless him.

    I’m with the good coach at 3.17. Steve – regardless of what you think – the love and respect you feel must be making these performances exceptionally good. I’m sure all will fondly remember your performances with the Triffids.

    MungoPushul x

  29. avatar
    davem | 20 January 2008 at 7:04 am #

    Gutted for you sk.
    We know this is important to you. Great news about Chrchie album but in meantime got everything crossed for your lovely voice tonight. I hope it holds out for you.
    Peace and love to you and all your wonderful fiends.

  30. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2008 at 7:52 am #

    Right. I was there last night and so I could do a review….maybe not a whole review (it was a three hour show) but maybe the bits that stood out and my general impressions.

    It was packed. We arrived a few minutes before 8pm expecting to have to wait around, but no, Sydney Festival is all very prompt and on time about these things and we had to hustle in. Next shock – it was full unallocated seated. We ended up having to sit a few rows from the back which does not make me happy. I normally like to be close enough to the stage to inspect the quality of the artist’s dental work….but this is a sold out gig.

    To my friends from over the seas who do not know the Triffids, it’s hard to encapsulate how very unique they were and how much they meant to so many people. Like the Go-Betweens, they were uniquely Australian and they sang Australian songs. Not songs about Australia, nothing as obvious as that, but songs that are informed by an Australian sensibility. McLennan and Forster did the same thing but they were ‘cleverer’ about it. McComb was an honest poet who reached into love, loss and landscape like no other. Make no mistake, this band was loved and from the vibe in the crowd last night they still very much are. I see faces from the past, now lined and weary from life’s toils, and a good smattering of gray haired heads throughout the audience. Not so our heros, who could have walked straight off the cover of one of their albums (thats how they looked to me anyway…I told you I was seated way up the back).

    The evening was star studded to say the least. SK has already listed them, but there seemed to be a revolving door or luminaries coming on and off stage all night. Personally, I found the Snarskis to be great – effortless showmen with great voices. Mick Harvey’s second song was also a standout for me, he is a good singer, as you say SK. I greatly enjoyed Melanie Oxley’s interpretations – she has a truly unique voice and a beguiling stage presence (also the only gal to sing apart from Jill Birt) and then we have SK’s three tracks. These songs are full of light and shade, as great songs are, and I can understand SK feeling daunted by not being in full control of his vocals. But truly, the singing was the least part of your performance, old chap. For me (and maybe I’m biased, but I think not) you were the only singer that night to truly channel Mr McComb. All of your power does not come from your voice when you are on stage. Last night you were the front man that was needed and if anyone remembers the Triffids live McComb was a passionate front man. Everyone else was great, but almost polite in their reverence for these great songs and their writer. I was so pleased that you truly rose to the occasion in spite of your voice. You did a great job (and you know I do not ladle out praise willy-nilly) and it’s a great shame you were not there for the encores. Three encores in response to three standing ovations!!

    A great show. Well done to all, Mr McComb would be pleased and so should you be, old fella.


  31. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2008 at 8:25 am #

    nice review. thanks b.bon.
    wish you a great night, killer.

  32. avatar
    melissa | 20 January 2008 at 8:41 am #

    yes, thanks B.Bon for the wonderful review. 🙂 I would definately agree with ‘All of your power does not come from your voice when you are on stage’.

    It sounds to me that SK has done an exception job so far over the last few nights .. please don’t be too hard on yourself Steve, as disappointing as it must be for you.

    All the best for tonight and take good care of yourself.


  33. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2008 at 8:53 am #


  34. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 January 2008 at 9:08 am #

    Hi Steve
    This is the first comment I have ever left on your blog. I went to both the Friday and Saturday night performances. Both nights you were truly amazing and powerful. Everybody I spoke to thought the same and a number of people commented on the shivers being left down their spine). It literally moved me to tears many time especially during Stolen Property and Wide Open Road (“She dont belong here anymore, learn the HARD way”!). Your contribution will always be remembered as an amazing performance. I understand that you would want it to be perfect, but in so many people’s eyes it ways. No one at all that I spoke to thought it was a “racket” and instead they were all glowing, so I was very surprised to see some of your comments. Instead, you should treasure what was really wonderful.

  35. avatar
    eek | 20 January 2008 at 10:15 am #


    I just want you to know I am so proud of you. I know you are disappointed that you weren’t able to give the performance you wanted to on Saturday and I understand and appreciate that. But what you have done is wonderful — you’ve thrown your heart and soul into this project and pushed yourself well beyond your comfort zone vocally. What you helped create has been by all accounts a powerful, emotional, beautiful tribute to David McComb that according to several people I’ve read seemed to have coaxed his spirit into the venue. How fantastic it had to be for his family, friends and fans to be able to hear many of his songs done with such passion and obvious love. Because you did put that love and passion for the songs into your singing you were able to transcend your voice giving out in spots and still deliver a powerful and moving performance. That’s what makes me so proud of you — not absolute technical perfection (although I do admire you for aiming for that) — but the care you put into performing these songs which mean so much to many people.

    I hope it goes/went really well tonight — I know you want to want to finish on a really strong note — but no matter how you do tonight you have already succeeded.



    PS Yet another fan review. Scroll towards the bottom of the page to get to the entry.

  36. avatar
    isolde | 20 January 2008 at 12:25 pm #

    rough or smooth you are still a diamond and i adore you

  37. avatar
    Verdelay | 20 January 2008 at 12:43 pm #

    Cheeky ghostly lesson?

    (what it’s like to be cut short in prime and left voiceless…with so much left to sing)

    Karmic reaping?

    (innumerable diatribes against ‘angry shouters’ over the years)

    Bad preparation?

    (she’ll be right on the night…right?)


    (coulda happened to any old bean)


    (yeah..but why me? Why now?)

    Whatever the reason, as the sticks say: “NO BLAME”.

    (Yea, verily, and it doth further one to cross the great ocean, Neptune).

    We cannot always choose our circumstances, but we are always free to provide the meaning we attach to them.

    Just let it go and maybe another voice will be heard among the ashes of the old one.


  38. avatar
    matthew | 20 January 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    Oh crap Steve, and your voice of all voices! Will hope ‘n’ pray at this end that it returns to you. Best wishes man.

  39. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 20 January 2008 at 3:19 pm #

    I’m not a Triffids fan, but I definitely understand where you’re coming from, Steve, in terms of wanting to do justice to these songs that you love so much. I’d feel the same way if I were to perform a bunch of songs by my favourite songwriters (The Church, of course) – how could you not?

  40. avatar
    scorpio moon rising | 20 January 2008 at 8:26 pm #

    ouch.much love,and immense healing vibes to youSK.:-)

  41. avatar
    knotme | 20 January 2008 at 8:52 pm #

    I will light a candle for your darkness. Sorry to hear about the voice. I would send you mine to borrow, but ’tis likely all the wrong ranges. It also has a tendency to ask for cappuccino too much.

  42. avatar
    fantasticandy | 20 January 2008 at 9:35 pm #

    urrrm….i think i may have been a bit of a ‘hard-arse’ earlier….
    it must be a great honour to perform with a band you hold in such high esteem.
    good on ya killer…your’e one of the best.
    andy L.

  43. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 January 2008 at 3:17 am #

    Steve,heard it was a great gig!proves that you are NOT a defeatist.You SHINE ON ..REGARDLESS!proud of ya man!

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