posted on May 17, 2008 at 9:14 pm

be obsessed
that focus and determination may be good for you
i was obsessed by pop music
i was obsessed by the hair by the guitars by the personalities
i was obsessed by the record sleeves by the producers by the money
i wanted in
i wanted in
i wanted in!!
at first when you want in
you cant always see youre own way in
you wanna go his way or her way
you see a picasso in a museum
oh i wanna be a cubist you think
you hear the ramones
ok now i wanna be a punk rocker
you read dylan thomas
hmmm now im gonna write in fiddly archaic detail…
this is ok
this is perfectly normal
we are idolising creatures
i love to find people to idolize , dont you
yeah you know bolan was the first
when i completely fell under someones spell
you give yourself up to some artist
whose work fills you with such bliss
bolans records were like drugs
everytime you had em you got high…
the bedroom door closed
the needle would hit that groove
“we are the children of rarn…”
slim lays down on his narrow single bed
its lyneham 1970 but this boy is in some arcadian haven
while i was blissed out and dancing with the nymphs n fauns
another part of me
the sk computer was in overdrive
in my brain a team of scientists was slowly deconstructing t rex
trying to find out why this stuff was so effective
how could we use bolans mojo for our own purposes
like capturing an enemy aircraft
it was taken apart bit by bit
strangely enough
such is the magic of certain great artists
even when you think you can “see” how its done
it doesnt lessen the thrills….
eventually came bowie and kid strange and bill nelson
john foxx and all the others
all different aspects of who i was aspiring to
pop music aspirations are funny things
you trying to get it right on many levels
you gotta look right
you gotta sound right
you gotta say the right things
you gotta choose the right people
you gotta have thick skin
you gotta be cold too
you gotta be harder than you could ever imagine
of course i didnt know any of that
was it my sheer ego arrogance and laziness motivating me
after all i didnt have much fucking chop being anything else
unable to concentrate
physically unexceptional
no people skills
no motivation
no real interests outside music
sullen foppish and poncy
i was a perfect candidate
after all show biz was where they accepted my type
but i drove other musicians up the wall too
i formed bands
did dismal gigs
wrote rotten songs that sounded like the sweet on bad acid
i flounced about in silly clothes dyed my hair etc
looking for myself in there somewhere
my obsession was a raft i clung to
through all those times lifting amps up stairs
hefting drums and p.a.s into vans
paying off loans to the bank for equipment
playing to people who ignored me
going deaf and hoarse
narrowly avoiding electrocution
long drives to places where they hated us
my obsession was a little fire warming my heart
it wouldnt couldnt let me quit
i was like a fisherman with his line in the sea
for 10 years without even a bite
but still i couldnt pack it in n go home
i had no home
rock was my home
my house were the words n chords of my heroes
my creed was the latest reviews in the nme
my garb was the tight pants and high boots of the rocker
my hair was dark n long
my face was starting to look ok
i could play and sing but no one understood that i was any good
i went to england in 1978 and stayed with numerous rellies
i sent copies of my latest meisterworks to every frickin’ label
and got a rejection from everyone
i was sure the english was gonna understand but they didnt
i was constantly faced with the thought that maybe i was rotten
maybe i was having myself on…..
for some reason tho’ that thought couldnt take hold
i refused to believe i was useless
even tho’ it was looking grim out there
i just kept on writing
i kept on writing and i started to improve my presentation
i had thought that such was my genius
people wouldnt mind me singing out of tune
or that the guitars were scrappy or whatever
my demos were like a chinese torture garden
no one coulda listened through the crud to hear the good stuff
in fact eventually i was operating in isolation
my last band baby grande
had kicked me out
and tried to sue me
and make me pay off a p.a. they were intending to keep
i was the singer n songwriter n they kicked me out
my songs were useless
my singing was useless
no gigs
we had signed a deal with emi
but they dropped us after one days recording
thats where i first met ed kuepper but he wouldnt remember
he was doing the saints up at emi at the same time
we had the same producer
any way
no one in the whole world liked what i did
my girlfriend a the time wasnt even interested
only my brother russell understood
and he was 14 or 15….
i was working in a vacuum
still i believed in myself
still i made music for myself
hundreds and hundreds of songs
i loved em n i left em
some lovely songs still in there
forever maybe to be undiscovered
but baybee
although i did not know it us such
i persevered
i was resilient
my belief in myself at a cellular level
the future whispered to me
its coming its coming
i continued to write
if you continue you usually improve
people get put off when theres no progress
i did too
but i still fucking kept on n on on
just for myself
because a real artist cant just stop
i never stopped
i wrote lyrics all day at my “job”
i read the music rags religiously
every last chart and advertisement
i memorised whole chunks of writings which
i regurgitated at appropriate moments
which impressed absolutely no one
but i kept on believing
look
never under estimate luck
in the end i got lucky
it coulda turned out
i was still sitting in a bedroom somewhere
no one ever hearing the songs i write
no one ever reading my words or seeing my art
i was lucky that circumstances finally came together for me
you can help your luck along of course
things got better for me when i moved to sydney
i didnt have ONE friend in canberra
but in sydney i started to meet all the freaks i needed
i’d meet people at the markets
theyd come round n i played em my stuff
my abstract model
insect world
chrome injury
like a ghost
it was late 79
for the first time
i had cats saying
hey man this is rough but its good!
remember what i said about not showing your stuff
to people who dont understand the genre…
if you make death metal dont play it to yer aunty flo
if you do avant garde poems dont read em to the post man
see
you gotta find an appropriate audience or get yer heart broken
so eventually
a combination of luck n perseverance paid off
of course its easy to look back on it now
and see it as such
at the time i was just so hot headed over music
then as the church started to take off
i had a magical transformation
i got skinnier and paler
my hair got longer and darker
i adopted the second hand shop psychedelia look
it was just a stab in the dark
but it had resonance
my group looked like a group
everyone could play
and when ploog arrived the puzzle was complete
nick ward had been shooting us in the foot the whole time
he had demoralized n destabilized us from the inside
plus he was a lousy drummer
he fucking carped on at me n marty all the time
when he was gone we were allowed to become ourselves
so note that well
jettison callously any ninny holding you back
i used to get kicked outta bands the whole time
and i will sack any slacker who thinks hes gonna ruin it for me
of course marty n peter n i argued all the time
but we didnt demoralize each other like nicky the murray ward did
choose your cohorts well
and then we all believed
the 4 of us
we believed vehemently and unquestioningly
we persevered thru thick n thin
we still do
just keep on going
manufacture luck as best you can
ie big cities n interesting friends
vacuums are hard places to work from
but if thats all you got
embrace that void
my isolation in canberra
(from any other groovy likeminded people)
helped me grow and get it together
a more distracting city could have distracted me
see? i turned the bad luck into good luck
accidentally
go with the accidents
go with the flow
what have you got to lose
and when ya get there
to those lofty hallowed heights
tell em kilbo sent ya!
and then hit me with yer biggest cheque
and give praise to the gods of art n music
n send me another cheque
n
keep on keeping on!

37 Responses to “percy veer ants”

  1. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 May 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    “if ya get lemons?…make lemonade!” 🙂 xo thank you.great blogge .

  2. avatar
    the black box removalist's instruction manual | 17 May 2008 at 10:54 pm #

    “if it’s wet?..drink it. if it burns?..smoke it. if it moves?..hump it. if it doesn’t?..Put it in the back o the truck.” ;D

  3. avatar
    ML | 17 May 2008 at 10:59 pm #

    nothing wrong with setting high standards for oneself…catch is you’re forever chasing shadows….

  4. avatar
    athanasiuspernath | 17 May 2008 at 11:10 pm #

    > even when you think you can
    > “see” how its done

    the famous nuts & bolts? or…kola nuts and thunderbolts? “don’t, don’t, it kills the magic!!”, the usual blah goes. don’t ask the magician how he’s doing his trick. don’t analyze chords/structure/timbre.—

    no, it doesn’t kill anything. it makes the work of art even more admirable. i have taken apart “the moon and the sea” a 1000 times. i know every single note, every chord. i wrote its “script” down in my head. but as soon as i reassemble the parts, the song stops being a song, the guitars transcend guitars, and it’s an Antonioni ocean scenery instead of g/b/dr/voc through a console.

    love
    a.p.

  5. avatar
    A.M. Polydora | 17 May 2008 at 11:18 pm #

    Dear black box removalist’s instruction manual:

    Thanks for the chuckle. That was rather funny (your comment above). I liked it.

  6. avatar
    A.M. Polydora | 17 May 2008 at 11:20 pm #

    Sometimes, killer, there are just so many good bits in yer blogs I’m overwhelmed and left speechless. If I don’t comment directly on a post that’s usually why.

  7. avatar
    Anonymous | 17 May 2008 at 11:27 pm #

    Never knew you had such a struggle

    In the end your gift to the world was much more resplendent

    Cheque is in the mail

  8. avatar
    sharka | 18 May 2008 at 12:18 am #

    Beautifully said!

  9. avatar
    linjo | 18 May 2008 at 12:41 am #

    Jettison callously any ninny holding you back! oh man I love it, so funny. Got a ninny in mind to jettison here. familiarity often breeds a contemptible ninny. Needed todays inspirational words. Slipped up last night and feeling hollow. Linda x

  10. avatar
    linjo | 18 May 2008 at 12:46 am #

    on the way home, triple j playing, getting away with it all messed up by James, havnt heard that brilliant song for ages, very apt today!

  11. avatar
    Anonymous | 18 May 2008 at 1:26 am #

    This one again resonates with a lot of great, helpful ideas and positive energy.
    When I was a kid…Jim Morrison was my idol.
    He was my Marc Bolan.
    The first…the best for me.
    I didn’t think there to be a cooler dude walking the face of the earth than Morrison.
    I wanted to be like him in every way, shape, and form.
    In the end though…you learn not to copy.
    But to take what that particular individual does for you personally and put it towards your own inspirations.
    That takes time I think.
    Especially when one is young and impressionable.
    Thanks for this gem today Steve.

    Mark
    Tampa, Fl

  12. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 18 May 2008 at 1:59 am #

    Another inspirational and erudite blog. Indeed Steve Kilbey is perseverance blessed with talent incarnate. My obsession in life is animal rights for the past 30 years. Such an emotionally painful and sad cause. I incessantly write letters, do research and make donations to animal shelters and sanctuaries. I feel that I have God on my side. But this fallen world is increasingly evil, malevolent and hellish for man and beast. I will never give up the battle even though I have been physically, emotionally and psychologically damaged beyond repair. No more slaughterhouses, hunting, fishing, vivisection and trapping. That’s my stupid dream. Time for a drink and it’s no small wonder that my favorite Church song is “Tranquility.” Good one Steve Kilbey. Solacing indeed!

  13. avatar
    Anonymous | 18 May 2008 at 2:46 am #

    😉 😀 beautiful one,thank you.

  14. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 18 May 2008 at 3:23 am #

    ditto…
    Jonny

  15. avatar
    ...being here, doing this... | 18 May 2008 at 4:34 am #

    “remember what i said about not showing your stuff
    to people who dont understand the genre…
    if you make death metal dont play it to yer aunty flo
    if you do avant garde poems dont read em to the post man
    see
    you gotta find an appropriate audience or get yer heart broken”

    ~

    sometimes the one who
    needs it most
    may only discover it
    if it is

    nestled

    within the familiar

    .

  16. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 18 May 2008 at 5:17 am #

    …and the experiences and trials of yesterday help make you the brilliant and creative person that you are now…was listening to ULTC this morning…your music never fails to affect and transport me…
    …still waiting on anyone who knows something about V.A.S.T….are their albums worth buying??
    love always…

  17. avatar
    nickfiction | 18 May 2008 at 5:54 am #

    i just saw MWP here in Cleveland, what a great time , and a great show….. you church guys are over flowing with talent…… Bravo!

  18. avatar
    davem | 18 May 2008 at 6:26 am #

    7am in blighty and what a brilliant blog to start the day.
    Yeah, many of love to have idols….I found you 26 years ago and you’re more of an inspiration now than ever.
    xx

  19. avatar
    pat | 18 May 2008 at 6:28 am #

    this makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. none.

  20. avatar
    salim nourallah | 18 May 2008 at 7:07 am #

    great post – i’m duly and truly inspired SK. as soon as the check comes i’m sending a cut your way!!! love SN

  21. avatar
    chitty chitty bang bang's plate of TTB | 18 May 2008 at 7:07 am #

    Pat:welcome friend.you must be a kin to genii to have found the place so beautifully lit.:)

  22. avatar
    Anonymous | 18 May 2008 at 8:40 am #

    comment #2: very funny!you must be a drummer;D 😉 :Dor some kinda muso…how many stairs did ya say there is????

  23. avatar
    Anonymous | 18 May 2008 at 9:10 am #

    good on ya killer fer stickin with it, otherwise some of the best sounds and words woulda remained unwritten
    cheers from Germany via Estonia

  24. avatar
    fantasticandy | 18 May 2008 at 9:14 am #

    what was that about drummers giving you a hard time?
    welcome ro MY world too!
    nice one steve!
    andy L.

  25. avatar
    Peter Podcast | 18 May 2008 at 9:51 am #

    Loved those days in the bedroom home studio.
    “mind your mind” all that stuff.
    Will use this in rock school t’morrow.
    Sage words indeed.

  26. avatar
    captain mission | 18 May 2008 at 9:52 am #

    oh i am a bit blown away after reading that, feeling a motivated again, i’m going to keep on going, thanks.

  27. avatar
    princey | 18 May 2008 at 11:13 am #

    You ARE the Aussie Apollo sk, God of music&song&poetry. Forget the “Temple of Apollo” in Greece, the “Temple of Stavros” in the heart of Nth Bondi is now the place of worship. Long live Stavros!

  28. avatar
    Ross B | 18 May 2008 at 11:22 am #

    Steve in mentioning Canberra I do believe it is a special place (easy for me to say as I never lived there) but that opaque vibe coupled with cold clean air and those wonderful forests just south of the city make that whole area quite magical imo. I used to go hiking every midwinter down at subalpine Namadgi & Tidbinbilla and I’m sure as hell missing it, ..to me that was an absolute recharge of Spirit. I love those forests…there is a sense around there that ‘anything’ is possible, that there are no boundaries and dimensions exist beyond what our 5 senses register. Stunning place. They’re heavy with emotion and feeling too, all that granite.

    Brien, Blurred Crusade, track 9, You Took, have your stereo on near-full volume and the bass sliders up!! And sit back and let it swallow you! 🙂

  29. avatar
    cita | 18 May 2008 at 12:04 pm #

    Yes praise to the gods of art and music. A great mantra. Yes if you are a real artist you can’t stop. The weaving of your own story gives powerful resonance to the nature of the creative being.

  30. avatar
    veleska1970 | 18 May 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    very inspirational one today, steve. i know i can speak for all of us when i say i’m glad you stuck with it and kept going, because if you had given up, the loss to us devotees would have been immeasurable.

    thank you.

    lotza love….

  31. avatar
    veleska1970 | 18 May 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    to hellbound heart: i have heard a few tunes by VAST. i definitely think they are worth a listen. their music is a little dark and moody, i find.

  32. avatar
    restaurant mark | 18 May 2008 at 2:50 pm #

    just read yesterdays and todays…you’re on a roll! so dead on…so inspirational…preach on white, hippy moses. every other line i was saying to myself, that’s it…exactly right! thanks for your words and thoughts steve. you are one of my musical idols whose work fills me with bliss…i just feel it. at the same time my analytical virgo mind can’t help but try to break it all down to the tiniest parts…and they still don’t lose their magic.

    take care
    mark

  33. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 18 May 2008 at 6:50 pm #

    Thanks Ross B:

    I’m finally appreciating the musical splendor of many great pre HeyDay Church songs !!

  34. avatar
    princey | 18 May 2008 at 10:55 pm #

    Hi sk, any news on THAT album, Painkiller??? The waitin’ is a killing me, I might have to take up MD’s offer and go have a listen to the bootleg!!! I know there’s alot of stuffing about with new releases from start-to-finished product, I’m just a bit hungrrrrry for it, that’s all. What about the Martin K thingy, hope that’s coming along too…what’s that line again..”a bowl of hashish for a fiend of miiiiine” 🙂
    Luv,
    Amanda

  35. avatar
    Ross B | 19 May 2008 at 1:33 pm #

    Conversely Brien it was your influence primarily that got me out buying Priest=Aura (damn fine move!) and to rediscover Hologram & Forget Yourself…these albums have taken ‘fraulein’ & ‘you got to go’ off heavy rotation from my computer!!

    Have a great day, kind regards r.

  36. avatar
    ScaughtFive | 19 May 2008 at 3:25 pm #

    The Sweet on Bad Acid? I might actually want an extra piece of that with ice cream, truthfully.

  37. avatar
    lily was here | 23 May 2008 at 7:28 am #

    This blog really got to me SK! You sounded so lonely. If only you knew some of us were out there, we just didnt know where to look. I would never have thought of looking in Canberra though!

    xxx


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