posted on November 30, 2006 at 8:17 pm

it was nearly twenny yeers ago
the cherch made that record in l.a.
that one with that song
that song about the whatsisname
the song that got used in that tv show
yeah ya know the one i mean
out of nowhere
after being dropped by warmer brothers
and capitol punishment
we were signed up by a-wrister records n tapes
who insisted that we come to l.a.
so they could keep an eye on us
they say why dontcha work with waddsy wok-tell
and grog lady-ani
we thought
why not?
that sounds ridiculous
so we turn up in la
and we get put in the oakwood apts on sepulveda, west la
ploog n i in one apt
mwp n pk in another
swimming pool
underground carpark
locked gates
the whole deal
first time i heard rap music
i lying in bed the 1st morning
i hear this ‘orrible ‘orrible loud noise coming up the street
i thought it was the end of the world
a car pumping out rap at a mighty volume
a revoltin’ way to wake up
we go down the studio to meet our pro-ducers
grog is a rude talentless macho buffoon
he owns the complex
the studio we’re recording in
he thinks we’re small fish
and he dont bother hiding his contempt
hes “worked” on jackson browned
and dong hen-lee
so boy hes a big-headed turkey
waddsy is a lot nicer n friendlier
they both snorting cokey-dokey like fiends, fiendss
all the time
it dont seem to affect ww too much
hes pretty affable
he can see we aint too bad
grog on the other hand is a mess
when hes just hadda snort
hes clammy n enthusiastic …for about 5 minutes
he wants to listen to everything at top volume
thru these huge speakers
i cant even bear to be in control room
its louder than a gig!
so anyway we go to this soundstage
in santa monica
where we rehearse all the life outta the songs
for 4 tedious weeks
they start wearing down ploogys confidence immediately
they try to start picking on me bout my voice
but im untouchable in my self-confidence
but they hurt pks n ploogs feelings all the time
grog especially treats us like second rate time-wasters
“look at this” he screams out to ww one day
“that fucking blah blah got a gig doing springsteen..”
“and youre stuck here with these useless australian nobodies”
i said….
grog looked at me searchingly and he cracked an ugly smirk
“thats right…..thats fucking right…!”
grog n waddsy didnae think much of u.t.m.w. neither
it was a kind of addendum to the rest of the album
i did most of it on my own
in a little programming studio
ploogy didnt play on it
they didnt wanna waste their time putting real drums on it
waddsy even tried to dissuade me from putting it second on the record
“you want em to hear some good ones before they get to that one!”
he said…
meanwhile we all had our own cars
and were getting into our own adventures
particularly ploogy who brought a constant stream
of hippies, druggies, ratbags n rastas round our apt.
we ate mexican food a lot
and roamed venice beach
grog sent me n pk for singing lessons in hollywood
we hadda crazy singing teacher
a guy whod played hercules n sampson in some b-grade flicks
he talked about sex non stop between singing instructions
hey steve do the girls in australia like to give head?
he would ask every week between la la la la las
hey steve i had a girl in here last week
she said ” im the queen of head jobs”
i said get down on yer knees and win the title
etc etc etc
in the middle of a c scale
he’d interrupt to tell me
of his latest conquest
and then straight back to the lesson as if nothin’ had happened
i didnt learn nothin’
but grog insisted the lessons were helping my hopeless voice
he hated pks voice even worse than mine
and made him feel real bad about it
one day waddsy stumbled on a huge cache of very very cheap cocaine
the boys bought a small mountain of it and started sniffin’
i had one line of that stuff n i felt sick for 3 days
grog made a pig of himself with it the first day
and stayed home for a (blessed) week
when he finally reappeared his skin was grey
and he lay on the couch softly moanin’
but not saying much
gee i didnt have a lotta sympathy for the olde wanker
waddsy on the other hand just piled in harder
he seemed fucking indestructible
with his diet of coke, winston ciggies, hamburgers, n sodapop
he was always alert n on the ball
3 months we were there
spending so much money that we’d never recoup
(we still probably havent)
day in day out of insults n abuse from these 2
driving round la scoring pot n getting into trouble
ploogy screaming out at the merry barbequers at our apts
“i dont dig your fucking altar!”
arista pouring money into the record
hey its sold almost a million in u.s. alone
but we’ll never see any money
cos it cost so much to make
days n days wasted buggering about
moving all over l.a. to other money eating studios
our stupid manager dont care
hes already commissioned the huge recording advance
now he dont care or know …
if you listen to the record
its actually flat lifeless n sterile
great songs, sure
but the performance, the sounds are ordinary
we coulda got that in australia in a week or 2
for a 20th of the money we spent
but what did we know
these were the ex-spurts
big shot american hard-assed turkeys
they knew best!
the rest is history
utmw accidentally became a hit
and everyone said
“whatta great record!”
is it really?
it aint a patch on heyday or priest
it was successful despite of grog n waddsy
not because of….
so there ya go
dont expect me to be all excited about sel-fish
it was purgatory having to cope with grog
waddsy i gotta bit of a soft spot for
he does know a bit about music i guess
not the kinda music i like, mind ya..
you dont hear much about grog these days
i mean i dont think his “producing” career went much further
he turned up at a gig after utmw wassa bit of a hit
trying half-heartedly to ameliorate it with me
but i just fucking smiled at him like
are you fucking serious… i fucking hate ya!
waddsy we worked with again
that was gaf
ha ha
lets all sing it now
“i shoulda known better!”
theres the short sordid history about our big one
too much money…tho none for us
too much cocaine
too much argy-bargy
just too much
can ya believe it was almost 20 years ago?
seems like only last century…
more tails tomorrow!

86 Responses to “sel-fish”

  1. avatar
    leelinau | 30 November 2006 at 9:33 pm #

    I was 14.
    a long time ago indeed.

  2. avatar
    a2 | 30 November 2006 at 9:47 pm #

    you can hear la between the cracks in destination – the crowning glory of sel-fish – and yes heyday and priest are all over it not to mention sometime anywhere, etc

  3. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 November 2006 at 9:49 pm #

    I been listening to Heyday a lot lately , bought it in that cheap CD shop in Bondi the other day – there were about 5 copies of it there so had some fun bringing them all to the front of the pile like it was a new release.
    Oh well small things amuse small minds.
    To me Heyday is one of the best tho so how bout the Heyday story next.
    As for sel fish – you guys should make a movie about the recording.

    You know – in that Borat kinda style.
    Do you get royalties from UTMW?

    Dutch Pierre

  4. avatar
    John Garratt | 30 November 2006 at 9:49 pm #

    Although you don’t remember “Starfish” that fondly, you just have to trust us when we say that we do.


  5. avatar
    verdelay | 30 November 2006 at 9:57 pm #

    Yeah, I was 14 too. Or was it 40?

    I spent 1987 listening to Heyday.

    Never really heard anything quite like that before or since.

  6. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 November 2006 at 9:59 pm #

    A brave account…damn, Kilbey, no wonder we like you so much. You’re fucking honest and forthright. Nice bit to know, all that, just so we can see more and fill in the cracks. Thanks, always innarrested…said HOODWINKED aka Dee…way over in Austin Tx…Word~****also, nice to see ya feel the same way bout rap..its bloody awful…..pretty obvious.

  7. avatar
    nickfiction | 30 November 2006 at 10:01 pm #

    hmmmmm, it sounds like a mess. But that was the record that caught my 16 yr old ears and made me goto my first ” church ” show ever here in Cleveland. I can remember there were numerous technical difficulties throughout the nite and SK kept embarrassingly apologizing time and again for the delay. But I was sold forever. I love the shimmering guitar parts. The amazing guitar lead out on ” Hotel Womb ” . Koppes enigmatic vocal performance on ” A New Season “, or how about the amazing mood, set-up and story told in ” Destination ” a song very much unlike anything i’ve ever heard. What about the melancholy and breathtalking ” Lost ” with it’s lush chorus and great lyrics. UTMW is an unbelievable song that i love, but it’s been played into the ground. It’s kind of like an anthemic Aussie ” stairway to heaven” Simply put one of my favourite albums of all time. It just sets a mood. It’s ironic the creator has attached such negativity toward it , but it seems many listeners have attached better more favourable memories. Hate it if you want , Steve , But i fuckin love it ( as i love the others, except for maybe GAF ) hahhah jk Lets hear more, perhaps about P=A a frickin masterpiece for sure/ NF

  8. avatar
    the dean | 30 November 2006 at 10:05 pm #

    Starfish has a certain bleakness that appeals to lost souls.

    Many moons ago I wondered asia with that as the only surviving balo cassette, destination, lost, hotel womb, starfish is the journey.

    Sk, does aura describe the US experience? Tell us about P=A, please uncle stevie, please

  9. avatar
    syrinx | 30 November 2006 at 10:12 pm #

    I dunno. That makes me kind of sick to my stomach. To hear about artists being treated that way. Anyone, really. But you guys were so young. How many others broke under that kind of psych-abuse. How much music the world been gypped out of because of it.


    “Well, ‘E goes and then ‘E goes and then “E goes! That should do it!”


  10. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 November 2006 at 10:12 pm #

    Dutch, that movie would probably look like a cross between hurly burly & laurel canyon. Both are worth checking out if you haven’t seen them.

  11. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 November 2006 at 10:21 pm #

    Hoodwinked said…oh yeah, I remember y’all played Austin back in 87 or 88 at the Backroom( a heavy meddle dive) and I was a lad of 18 or 19( time is blurry)…in a very chaotic juncture of my life….maybe too many mushrooms and all that, and other serious issues as well…but anyway, I remember Steven’s first words to us being” Is anybody on acid tonite?” I thought that was pretty funny…but i wasn’t tripping …just high as a kite…as usual…Cool show, of course, but i kinda recall some rushed tempos- of When you were mine-or a month of sundays- I think- and thought Steve would look at the guys like, what the fuck? but of course they were great..>>>>>>Dee

  12. avatar
    The Carrier of Fruit | 30 November 2006 at 10:50 pm #

    Despite all the shit in recording it, I think The Chruch’s style n substance songwise still made it through. As many fans on this blog and on the fansites, s/fish is either the album that brought The Chruch too their attention , or it is their [or one of their] favourites. So go figure. Me I am a [rena]seance man myself although that can and does change.

    Cheers big ears.

  13. avatar
    Renee | 30 November 2006 at 10:57 pm #

    your right…heyday and p=a are better
    but there’s a reason for everything
    i remember the first time i saw one of your videos
    it was constant in opal
    i was watching 120 minutes on mtv at my grandma’s house at about 1 o’clock in the morning,
    we didn’t have cable so that was a real treat!
    i remember loving the song and
    thinking you were really sexy!
    (i was also about 11 at the time)
    but i never heard or saw anything else until utmw came out,
    and i thought,
    WOW there’s that sexy guy again and what a great song!
    (i was also about 14!)
    so if it wasn’t for that song, i wouldn’t be writing this to you right now, would i?
    so although the circumstances sucked when it was made,
    it made you alot of dedicated fans
    and we know your better work came after that album
    and the best is yet to come!!

    luv ya

  14. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 November 2006 at 11:13 pm #

    I remember eating shrooms for the 1st time at the Oakwood.
    Slinking through the dark corridors and being swallowed up by the garish carpet design.
    Sitting by the undulating pool as it turned into a vat of serpents.
    Walking through the neighborhood with hardly a care in the world.
    Feeling like a lost roaming locust.
    What a magical time that was.

  15. avatar
    CeciliaGin | 30 November 2006 at 11:22 pm #

    Hellay, can’t say that I miss it but I do have some fond memories of that town during that time which include the cherchies…maybe it was my geographical detachment.
    Learning to play a month of sundays on mwp’s geetar, shhhhh, don’t tell ‘im!

  16. avatar
    Richard | 30 November 2006 at 11:22 pm #

    I was a bit of an old stager by the time Stafish came out. It never grabbed me in the way of Seance and Heyday – although UTMW and Antenna will always have a place in my Church favourites list (which I can shoe-horn on to two and a half cds!). I remember the album being promoted for its ‘live’ sound, but it always seemed to me cold and a bit too shiny (frozen and distant?). Your blog today helps explain why. Thank god Arista never got hold of Forget Yourself.

    What I liked about UTMW (apart from the song!) was that it succeeded despite being such a Church song. It didn’t mark a change in direction. It wasn’t like ‘Barbados’ for the Models.

    Is there a musical equivalent of “jumping the shark”? If there is, you haven’t done it yet. Though “Maybe these Boys” was an early scare!

  17. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 November 2006 at 11:24 pm #

    Sorry you had to deal with such jerks. People like that killed the creative side of making music and turned it into the soulless industry we see today.

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 November 2006 at 11:26 pm #

    funny stuff…Ive got every church album ever made except for starfish. I cant listen to it cos of the sound…it always sounded wrong to me. so there u go, glad u feel the same. great songs, shit production.

  19. avatar
    Todd | 30 November 2006 at 11:36 pm #

    When you put your life in then hands of other people the results are rarely good!

    Still, we got a good album out of it.

    As for voices, yours (Steve) is one of my favourites- it has a richness and warmth that is rare. I can’t see any reason to change it!

  20. avatar
    Krissythegroupie | 30 November 2006 at 11:48 pm #

    Well, me n’ my starfishy tattoo think it’s one of the best of all timez. I’m no expert I guess, but you had a 17 yr old me from the opening of Destination, cos I just hadn’t heard anything like that album before. I think Lost might be my fave all-time Church song. And as amazing as Preist is, there was always something prettier and hopeful and wondersome (i think i made up that word) bout Starfish. I dunno..ramblessss! Good story!

  21. avatar
    Daberhasher | 30 November 2006 at 11:55 pm #

    that read like a bare knuckled ass kicking… tell it like it is, killer!!!
    coke is just ugly, poo poo…

    yon Aussies go to Oz
    peek behind the curtain
    oh! a sham, a shambles
    such waste……
    party on
    and put it on the tab
    we haven’t wasted it all

    ah, this is why buying directly from you lot feels so damn good!!!

    well told tale…

    ta ta,

  22. avatar
    Buckmoose | 1 December 2006 at 12:02 am #

    A cautionary tale, children…hit record does not necessarily = $$$$.

    I too prefer Heyday and P=A…but I wouldn’t have found them without

  23. avatar
    Adam | 1 December 2006 at 12:06 am #

    Interesting divergence of opinions about Starfish and Heyday…for me, production aside, Starfish leaves Heyday for dead. Heyday has 2 or 3 decent songs, the rest filler imo. Oh what might have been, though, without those wastes of space in the control booth.

  24. avatar
    bint | 1 December 2006 at 12:06 am #

    Dear daddy, please tell us some Heyday stories. please please please.

    I lived in Saudi for a few years and one night in 2005 my boyfriend took me shopping downtown…we had the radio on and all of a sudden I heard the unmistakable start of UTMW. I started having coniptions in the front seat. man I was so excited to hear The Church on the radio in Saudi. LOL

  25. avatar
    veleska1970 | 1 December 2006 at 12:10 am #

    this experience you had proves that a person definitely suffers for his/her art. i think it’s wonderful that you went through hell and came out so triumphant, with a hit song and all. has it been twenty years??!?!!! wow. i was 17 and a senior in high school. but i had discovered y’all during “heyday”, and by the time “starfish” came out i had already acquired all your back albums and was one of your faithful devotees.

    fucking unbelievable~~you were forced to take singing lessons?? there is NOTHING wrong with your lovely voice. after listening to you for 20+ years, you still give me goose bumps, steve. it appears to me that *somebody* was jealous. or maybe he was just an asshole. or both. i’m so glad you had enough self-confidence to shield yourself from that idiot. i shudder to think that if you hadn’t, you may have quit.

    but, unlike him, i don’t mind being stuck with you guys. i certainly don’t think you’re useless OR nobody. and i think it’s safe to say there’s a heck of a lot of others out there who think the same.

    thanks for always taking the time. lotza love….

  26. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 12:12 am #


    This is “Grog.” That wasn’t very nice of ya to say all those things about me. Since I’m working at a Subway making sandwiches for five bucks an hour, I figure I better hire a lawyer and try to sue you for libel, just to help pay the bills. I know you don’t have much since you need to pester people for money to run your blog, but I’ll try and get all I can from you. No hard feelings, mate, just need the cash (‘n some more coke). PS: Still hate Under the Monkey Way.

    –Greg L.

  27. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 1 December 2006 at 12:22 am #

    our lives do seem more familiar as me read me choich pals’ past history…

  28. avatar
    ambnt1 | 1 December 2006 at 12:27 am #


    At least they let you do your own songs the way you wanted, didn’t force you to get stupid haircuts/wear ridiculous clothes. Sounds like it was “interesting” experience, if not quite the way you would have liked or imagined. I’m sure something positive came out of that whole thing, though (a learning experience? more recognition? a cool videeo on MTV?). You’re right the sound on the album was kinda flat, but not near as bad as GAF! Please keep the stories coming, loving it.


    n.p. Wire, “The Scottish Play” (geriatric punk)

  29. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 12:34 am #

    The music biz sounds like a flock of greedy sharks in a small pond (or should that be a flock of segals?).

    Either way it sounds mighty unpleasant. Thanks for sharing Steve.


  30. avatar
    Thomas Irvin | 1 December 2006 at 1:19 am #

    I find that creativity benefits from unexpected constraints. It’s not unlike the way forcing yourself to do the blogge every day creates a constraint that makes the blogge better than it would be if you just blogged whenever you felt like it. Maybe when you hear Starfish all you can think of is the crap that went into making it, but I have no doubt that there are a lot of creative bits in there that wouldn’t have come up without the four of you being forced to work in weird, unfamiliar conditions.

    Here’s to constraints, and the wonderful creativity that they produce.

  31. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 4:58 am #

    I wish that when you were interviewed people asked you about the recording process and some of the stories that are behind those great songs you write. This is what I am interested in, not what is the meaning of every line in every song you wrote. No offence, but I don’t care what it means. Your songs to me are like dreams. When I listen to your songs it takes me to places that I can only reach through my dreams. Your singing is amazing by the way and anyone who says different is a fuckwit! Before Starfish and after Starfish. That also goes for the other guys in The Church. I am not biased either as I like many, many different kinds of music. Some which may make you wonder how someone can listen to The Church followed by Iron Maiden or something.

    I’d love to hear more stories about the rest of your albums. I must admit I like to hear your family stories too. I am a bit of a sticky-nose I must admit.

    Thanks for letting us in to your life a bit and I’m sure there are many more sides to ya. You are one interesting character. Looking forward to many more insights from the life of young Steve Kilbey!!!

    This blog thing you have going makes my day. You have inspired me, shit me, made me laugh, made me sad but most of all made me realise to enjoy life’s journey. As well as to finish what I start. Let me tell you, thats a hard thing for an Aries to do.

  32. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 4:58 am #

    I wish that when you were interviewed people asked you about the recording process and some of the stories that are behind those great songs you write. This is what I am interested in, not what is the meaning of every line in every song you wrote. No offence, but I don’t care what it means. Your songs to me are like dreams. When I listen to your songs it takes me to places that I can only reach through my dreams. Your singing is amazing by the way and anyone who says different is a fuckwit! Before Starfish and after Starfish. That also goes for the other guys in The Church. I am not biased either as I like many, many different kinds of music. Some which may make you wonder how someone can listen to The Church followed by Iron Maiden or something.

    I’d love to hear more stories about the rest of your albums. I must admit I like to hear your family stories too. I am a bit of a sticky-nose I must admit.

    Thanks for letting us in to your life a bit and I’m sure there are many more sides to ya. You are one interesting character. Looking forward to many more insights from the life of young Steve Kilbey!!!

    This blog thing you have going makes my day. You have inspired me, shit me, made me laugh, made me sad but most of all made me realise to enjoy life’s journey. As well as to finish what I start. Let me tell you, thats a hard thing for an Aries to do.

  33. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 5:15 am #

    great blog SK, gee sell amillion and you don’t get a cracker that sucks

  34. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 5:17 am #

    An assemblage of allegories
    A plethora of parables
    You are a teller of tales.

    Steven, you have a real Poets Corner happening here.

    I know you will surprise me tommorrow – can’t hardly wait.

    Thank you so much

  35. avatar
    captainmission | 1 December 2006 at 5:33 am #

    Far out, that was insane, i had no idea recording starfish was so difficult, i just play it and listen to it, and love it along with all your stuff.
    I guess these kinda sycophant personalities are attraccted to artistic people the way vampyres are to blood, sucking the talent from yr bones so they can sustain themselves, its a crime. i felt really bad for the four of you reading how badly you were treated, fucking no respect. makes me angry. but soon the church ship is gonna come in, i know it.

  36. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 5:45 am #

    I think Disenchanted on Heyday is so good-100% jingle jangle pop!- the Electric Lash of Heyday!

  37. avatar
    Tony Pucci | 1 December 2006 at 6:42 am #

    what a tail, sk
    puts 99% of mine to shame
    although there was the time
    i got a
    “you’re a fucking idiot” look
    from grant hart of husker du
    i can understand how
    your experiences recording starfish
    bring it down in your mind
    and yeah, heyday and priest are amazing
    but remember, to some teenager
    in minnesota, it was magical
    and music suddenly made sense
    that’s worth something
    thanks man

  38. avatar
    Noel Christian | 1 December 2006 at 6:57 am #

    Waddy Wachtel (and his wife, if I remember correctly) were nailed in a kiddie porn sting. YIKES!

    Thanks for sharing that, Steve. Like many of the others here, I was a teenager still trying to chart my course. The Starfish constellation helped guide me along.

  39. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 7:01 am #

    Friend Kilbey,

    Your music is the best reason to have headphones.

    numbers and hitspacebar just made me float off of my bed.

    Far out,

    fiend 44

  40. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 7:14 am #

    Greg Ladanyi is a fuck-knuckle of the highest order.

    Fuck him and his vaccuously nauseating west coast sound.

    Hereth endeth the lesson

  41. avatar
    craig1.618 | 1 December 2006 at 7:33 am #

    i turned to look but it was gone
    and what was left were sungs unsong
    and yeah i know it was meant to be
    cause now i see what i see

    thanks sk

  42. avatar
    eek | 1 December 2006 at 8:13 am #

    UTMW was my introduction to the Church. So all your pain and frustration was worth it Steve, ’cause you have me. (and of course we all know how special I am. 😉 )

  43. avatar
    the othertime being | 1 December 2006 at 8:14 am #

    i was 12 or 13 when i first heard utmw on the radio. you must remember i was the hugest beatles fan at the time and could and would not listen to anything else. but when utmw came on i actually listened up. i even made a diary entry about it, writing something along the lines of “wow! i just heard the most amazing song called milky way or sumthin.. if only i knew the name of the band!” 17 years later i discover the church.. well, better late than never. but utmw is still one of my all time favourites and just seems to get better each time you listen to it. i usually have it on while driving- great for calming down road rage.
    that song is pure magic.


  44. avatar
    ...being here, doing this... | 1 December 2006 at 8:59 am #

    it amazes me that beautiful art can emerge from such an ugly environment!

    Spirit rules!

  45. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 9:13 am #

    Thanks for that-
    Storytelling like that is ambrosia (tainted with acid for good measure) to a longtime fann.
    In spite of it all (as you said), your vision, your brilliance prevailed.
    That’s quite astonishing and, despite the somewhat sanitized sound etc., its a legendary record.
    Engrossing stuff, always hungry for more.
    Now, I need me a paypal account…

    c escherbach canada

  46. avatar
    Cameras 4 Eyes | 1 December 2006 at 10:01 am #

    pooh pooh voice judgments
    Tom Waites was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. A moment of zen.
    Huge Leonard Cohen fan.
    You and Frank are the smoothies at the other end of my faves list !

  47. avatar
    metal_petal | 1 December 2006 at 10:17 am #

    Part of the reason why it is such a great album is because all of that alienation shimmers through.

    I am astounded to hear you didn’t make a cent. That’s horrific.

    Please tell me the touring paid off!!!!!!!!

  48. avatar
    lily | 1 December 2006 at 10:35 am #


    I’m sorry for all the crap you guys had to put up with while making Starfish but, as you said, in spite of the producers it’s still a great record. Don’t ever let anyone criticize your singing voice either! It’s haunting, heartbreaking, melodic, beautiful, uplifting, resonating, and ethereal all at once. Quite a feat for someone who “needed” lessons, wouldn’t you say?


  49. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 10:57 am #

    No, I can’t believe Starfish is almost 20 years old, wow! Sounds like you went through 3 months of hell to get it done, thanks for sharing some of the nitty-gritty details with us.
    I’m SO thankful you and The Church are still around today making music & playing live sk. I first saw (and fell in love with) The Church back in ’83, and after all these years I still get goosebumps at every Church gig…that’s 23 years of thrills for me, thanks for that sk! I just can’t get enough!
    Have a great weekend thrashing that car!
    Love you always,
    Amanda P

  50. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 11:42 am #

    I remember the first time i played
    ‘What the fuck is this…?!’
    ‘Where’s the shimmering dreamscapes n jangling floods n blah etc’.
    Took 6 weeks before it clicked.
    But i’m still a Heyday man, meself.

  51. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 11:48 am #

    The extended elegiac notes in the UTMW live solo – christ i wish the studio version had them!
    Same wi the solos at the end of Myrrh n Reptile when they’re played live.
    But absent from the official canon n only available in the apocrypha!

  52. avatar
    indigoruby | 1 December 2006 at 11:51 am #

    Yeah, I agree that Starfish exudes a kind of bleakness and flatness – and I remember a house-mate annoying me by saying that at the time. Heyday shimmers in contrast, and I remember when it came out (just before I interviewed you)thinking how much more exuberant it was than the comparatively low-key Seance (which I also love). There was a feeling at that time – and I am also remembering the media coverage – that you guys, with your paisley smugness, were somehow really in your element. I have been a fan since the Blurred Crusade and Almost With You is still one of my favourite songs.


    Ps I can just imagine one of your “are you fucking serious, I fucking hate ya!” type smiles!

  53. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 12:30 pm #

    It was a beautiful night and I was dozing off looking up at the stars when i first heard utmw coming over the airwaves and then I thought to myself ‘f**k, where’s the ceiling gone’.. 🙂

    Tho’ i love milky way to death now, it shocked me to tell the truth, “where is MY church, what have they done”? But to hear your voice on the radio …pure pleasure. It took me till the 90’s to love that album. Its just different to the rest.

    The shit they put you through though… hell hey. Bad karma will come to those who prey!

    The upside to your experience is that you’ve come this far and I’ll bet your dad would be damn proud of all of you.

    And congrats to your mum on her book SK. As Scarlet would say .. ‘wow’
    I love the intriguing title.

  54. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 12:41 pm #

    quality blog mr k – pip

  55. avatar
    restaurant mark | 1 December 2006 at 1:48 pm #

    that sounded awful…i mean 20 years ago i can see maybe somebody like grog or someone on the street just not getting what you guys were musically about at the time. but it’s a shame to have an experience go that way when you’re trying to be creative and do your best. and then to have the people around you be not only unsupportive but rude on top of it. but there are some great songs on there…no doubt! kudos to you guys for playing and working through it. would love to know the difference in price to make the starfish record and ultc. cause ultc doesn’t sound sterile at all…it breathes. and it’s 20 years later…you’d think it would be more expensive, but i’m positive it’s not even close.
    take care man.

  56. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 2:00 pm #


    i felt really bad for the four of you reading how badly you were treated, fucking no respect.


    How badly they were treated?


    always on the same mission
    how were they treated?
    badly, u say?
    lessons n luxury
    pot loads of potency
    n prospective pussy
    takes its time


    genius above all else is
    absolute memory
    but u don’t remember
    not before 2005
    i am
    by design
    not more
    but still
    more or less
    not less
    than u

    u have
    a memory stored
    it’s there
    i’m sure
    i’m no genius
    n i recall it
    one on one
    so there’s no excuse
    when u were too proud
    and i too bold
    bold enuff to write on your memory
    and there’s somethin’ for ya
    in ya head
    if u search wide enuff
    it’s corpuscle
    likely nothin’
    to u
    i imagine
    but to me…

    do u
    at least
    remember the
    obsolete record u spoke of
    (any of) your
    atheistical declarations?

    never mind

    write a long…

    1987, eh?

    well u were friggin’ 33!
    not 16
    and u went ‘cos u wanted fame n fortune
    all the fuckwits u keep baggin’
    u shared the same breath with
    it wasn’t about the record
    u could’ve cut it anywhere
    but u didn’t ‘cos
    u wanted the la fuckheads to open the door for ya
    they gave ya the keys to the
    the pool
    n the
    n you lapped it all up
    ‘cos u wanted the
    high life
    the megabucks
    people n money
    n wads n wands
    Kilbey up on his throne
    the whole world in ore
    of the psychedelic muse-o
    the word wiz
    u didn’t expect to be
    thrown n whizzed
    down the hole of a
    wanton world
    u lapped up the luxury
    took in the c change
    saw galaxies of sore stars
    so stop ya bitchin’
    u spoilt brat!
    u burnt your bridges when u
    gaoled ya freedom
    n harboured ya scorn
    whetting ya milksop’s anxiety
    by sub-jesting yourself to the
    slatternly strokes of your skipper’s slating

    no use in sook-in now
    ya milk panned out for ya
    any way
    ya won the athar
    one whey awe un other

    as for ya voice
    i luv it
    whiff or
    whiff out muse-eek
    all its floors
    its sheltered storms of emotion
    u u u
    me me me
    i i i
    me dear
    your Svengali
    is here

    i i i…
    me me me…
    your your your…

  57. avatar
    biggle boggle | 1 December 2006 at 2:04 pm #

    They shoulda let you work with Eno or Florian Fricke instead. There’s still too much coke in the music scene. I can’t understand why people want to do that stuff.

  58. avatar
    mime | 1 December 2006 at 2:34 pm #

    My son (3) always wants me to play Heyday. And as it was my introduction to the Church, it must be a good sign.

  59. avatar
    mime | 1 December 2006 at 2:34 pm #

    My son (3) always wants me to play Heyday. And as it was my introduction to the Church, it must be a good sign.

  60. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 2:45 pm #

    why did,nt you write a blog about that pice of crap ” sometime anywhere” can you say……. whatta frigging loada shite …….. starfish was amazing …. sometime anywhere is a coaster……

  61. avatar
    CSTCoach | 1 December 2006 at 2:50 pm #

    that was a great blog today. fascinating to hear the backstory.

    i gotta agree with all those on here who expressed their love for starfish and ULTC. It was my first choich experience too. Never before had music taken me to such a place, or floated me on such a journey. never had it touched that spot deep inside, my essential nostalgic self. it spoke to ME, the real one, the essence.

    i remember when i first heard ULTC. I was 15, sitting in the car outside the Spencerville Hotel. We had just come back from a week in a small cabin with no phones or TV, this fishing trip that i went on every year with my dad (fishing was just the framework – it was finishing school to me). i wasn’t old enough to drink, so i had to sit in the car while my dad, my cousin and the other guys had one last beer in the last village hotel on the way back to my town. i sat there bored, flipping through the radio, dreaming of bigger things, when ULTC came on and i sat bolt upright. wasn’t long after that i found the album and began my journey with the choich.

    as someone said above, the best reason to have headphones.

    in hindsight (sorry 😉 the album does sound flat, especially compared to the most recent work. but the songs are brilliant, the sonic and lyric imagery sublime. i can still listen to it over and over and get lost just as deeply.

    has it really been 20 years??? i’ve been listening to this band for over half of my life.


  62. avatar
    John Garratt | 1 December 2006 at 2:51 pm #


    from Wikipedia: “In 1998 Wachtel and his wife were arrested by police on charges of possessing child pornography after illegal images were found on their computer. They were both later exonerated.”

    Doesn’t make for much of a story, doesn’t it?


  63. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 2:51 pm #

    adder dress
    i’m down on
    ma knees
    4 ya
    but ya pay pals
    gettin’ all the credit
    snaking through the internet
    current seas
    come on
    i wanna b a vip er
    write now
    a s asp p
    2 me

  64. avatar
    davidcwelker | 1 December 2006 at 2:59 pm #

    yeh, still a great album. i suspect the industry mogul wanna bees arent much better today.

  65. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 3:27 pm #

    me dear
    technique lee
    i’m yer boss
    i’m gonna pay ya
    2 put up wiff me
    n me use yers n yas
    effen wen dare scattard

  66. avatar
    Anthony | 1 December 2006 at 3:30 pm #

    Great blog today Steve. Please give us the backstory on P=A, my personal favorite. I was in the studio once with Gavin MacKillop in 2000 and he told me a few stories. He had great things to say about your ability to be umm, so chemically altered and still write those amazing songs. Said it was his favorite record he ever produced. So come on, let’s hear it all!

  67. avatar
    Noel Christian | 1 December 2006 at 3:44 pm #

    Glad to hear he was cleared, John. As Pete Townshend will tell you, it’s not big news when you’re exonerated.

    Waddy played guitar on Warren Zevon’s ‘Lawyers, Guns, and Money’ too. 🙂

    Now back to the Starfishery.

  68. avatar
    biggle boggle | 1 December 2006 at 4:55 pm #

    Anyone who says Sometime Anywhere is a bad album needs their brain examined.

    Wasn’t Waddy involved with Keith Richards in some way as well?

  69. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 5:00 pm #

    That’s almost kind of liberating to hear you talk about Starfish. I always thought it was my imagination. “Wasn’t Ploogy a better drummer on all the other albums,” I’d ask myself. Any plans to include some of these songs for the “perhaps” better on the new acoustic-y album?

  70. avatar
    mandn | 1 December 2006 at 5:14 pm #

    damn Orpheus!

    you mean to tell me we were all crawlin’ around LA at the
    same time and didn’t know it?! What a shame.
    We coulda had some fun then and I wouldn’t have had
    to wait 25 years…


  71. avatar
    davem | 1 December 2006 at 5:16 pm #

    Hi SK.
    Great blog today. I love Starfish but you’ve made (& are still making) better albums! ULTC is awesome. I hope you keep writing & recording for another 20 years!
    Love you more,

    Dave M

  72. avatar
    John Garratt | 1 December 2006 at 5:54 pm #



    I fell asleep to that album in high school. Almost every night. I didn’t do drugs, but I had “Sometime Anywhere.”

    I even had it with me on the bus this morning.


  73. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 6:03 pm #

    do you remember ronnie estees?

    anyone, anthony?


  74. avatar
    Valerie | 1 December 2006 at 6:09 pm #

    Heyday was the one that captured my heart! I saw The Church open for ego and the waffelmen and I was hooked! Nothing has touched my soul as much as your music until the birth of my daughter.

    Much love to you and yours!

  75. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 6:15 pm #

    what ever happened to Ploogsy?! Please!

  76. avatar
    gareth,notts | 1 December 2006 at 6:37 pm #

    greg n waddy sound like a coupla bell-ends! whats all this bandwagon-jumping bollox slagging off church albums?so the band didnt have the best time making em,dont make em bad records,infact SF and GAF are awesome albums,better than most that the big bands were churning out at the time.P=A,what can i say,AURA since about the 6th listen has been and still is my all-time favourite song,and to the nonny-mouse who slagged off the masterpiece that is SA,you must’ve been overjoyed when the spice girls album came out!!!!!!!

  77. avatar
    Anthony | 1 December 2006 at 8:11 pm #

    Anonymous said…

    do you remember ronnie estees?

    anyone, anthony?


    of course i do. steve does too… we discussed that subject in atlanta or chicago last tour. so r. is either ronnie himself or richard from asheville? no?

  78. avatar
    Larry | 1 December 2006 at 8:18 pm #

    I was 17-18 and living in an obscure corner of the western world, northern hemisphere, and a local radio DJ had a habit of playing ‘Destination’ every evening at 6 but never announcing it, so I didn’t realize it at the time. I did read the Rolling Stone piece about ‘disciplined hippies’ but it just seemed like so much music I would never be able to hear.

    Then at university someone lent me a tape of GAF (‘not as good as Starfish’) which intrigued me … and ‘Metropolis’ seemed to be on the radio every day as I emerged from a late-afternoon nap. Finally bought Starfish without much of a clue about its creation and have been a fan ever since. I think there’s something about the fact that you and MWP and PK and Ploog were struggling against the producers that actually makes it sound spare (after all, they were trying to get you to turn off your effects, right?) but really powerful as well.

  79. avatar
    JJ | 1 December 2006 at 9:38 pm #

    Maybe Grog is a homeless bum somewhere now with a massively deviated septum to show for his efforts – hope so. What a dick. Waddy….um, well you overcame him. But the album, the songs – Starfish was incredible! For me, Heyday was the apex of your early period; love that album like a child. Starfish began the rich and fertile middle period, culminating in Priest=Aura, which (I know, I sound like a pandering sycophant here, but being as objective as I’m capable) was just a masterwork; sonically, lyrically, thematically, conceptually…I liken it to Dark Side of the Moon in the pantheon of great albums – one that demands headphones to fully appreciate all the nuance and detail that informs that work.

    I think Tim P. is great, but I have a soft spot for Ploogy. Hope he is doing well, wherever he rests his head these days. Wish the band could have kept the rewards for Starfish’s success – none of the Arista people involved have ever created anything. It’s criminal. Oft-repeated story of Neville the Devil, I suppose.

    But…the difference between you and your musical peers is, and it’s a major distinction: this band is still creating compelling music, the well has not run dry as it has for so many of your predecessors. For some, it’s totally empty.

    Great read today; love these anecdotal stories and fireside reminiscings.


  80. avatar
    stealthblue | 1 December 2006 at 9:58 pm #

    Hey Steve-o
    I love ALL your records. Each one has its own distinctive spirit about it, and “Sel-fish” is no exception. That’s really sad you had to put up with ‘Grog” though. He sounds like a downright prick. FUCK HIM! Waddy just sounds cool enough to hang with, hell even his name is kinda cool…”Waddy” Besides, even though you are not rich off the records, you just have to love the poetic justice of everything, no? I mean seriously, what the hell has that guy done since? What makes anyone an “ex-spurt” anyway, especially a guy like that?? For him to insult your and PK’s voices like that is ridiculous. It’s one thing to give/take constructive criticism, and another to abuse someone, especially when you are trying to get the best result possible. So, again, fuck that pecker. You are so above that, and it was a blessing that you finished the recording, even if all that money was blown. Sounds like you just had a memorable experience. Honestly, if it weren’t for UTMW, I might not have explored the Chrunch as much. I heard some earlier stuff from my older cousin, but it didn’t really hit me so hard in all of my ten years or so on Earth. It was around then that I was discovering “my own” music and getting away from my dad’s records etc. In 1987, I was all of 13, and my tates were a little bit more refined, as I was now a big, bad teenager…oooohh. Hey, you gotta thank KMart for selling that single , because that is what I first picked up. I loved that Milkyway song” and I thought the cover was brilliant. I thought “These dudes look COOL, I want to be like them!” Thus the beginning of my long and very blessed career as a fan of the coolest band in the world…The CHURCH! I love ya, man. All the very best to you , the rest of the fellas, the family and all TTB gang.
    Ben V.
    P.S. I am throwin’ in my “2 bits” today for the pleasure. (finally got paid) 🙂

  81. avatar
    Anonymous | 1 December 2006 at 10:07 pm #

    Yeah Allister,

    Sometime Anywhere has moments of total bliss. DEAD MANS DREAM is pure aural heaven to me, one of my church addictions. They just need to record it again with PK and I’ll be happy .. and then play it LIVE! Well, is nice to have dreams 🙂

    Every church album means something special to someone, a matter of being in the right place at that time. Starfish songs reach their zenith for me ‘live’ but when you play the album you can add that extra dimension in your head.

    Steve, man I’ve heard the good, the bad and the ugly about you thru’ all these years and tears. Its damn good to hear you tell it.

  82. avatar
    damien | 2 December 2006 at 1:22 am #

    There are a few events in my life where I can remember where I was and what I was doing when something earth-shattering occurred – September 11, the death of Kurt Cobain and first hearing Under The Milky Way on the radio. I was in my old Ford Laser at the intersection of Coode Street and Hensman Street in South Perth when that chorus – “Wish I knew what you were looking for/Might have known what you would find” – kicked in. I looked up at the blue sky and felt elated. I still remember that.

    Your music is so powerful in so many ways, Steve. Just imagine how many people your music has moved over the years. You are a powerful magician!

  83. avatar
    ripple | 2 December 2006 at 12:28 pm #

    *ur so 50 lite yrs ahead of the time*

    *and you = me*

    *the end always = the start*

    just some of my fave lines..
    v cool indeed.


  84. avatar
    don joe | 2 December 2006 at 12:49 pm #

    Well as others wrote UTMW was one moment intime i still remeber as a defining one. Seeing the clip on rage the swagger of the band. Marty jumpin around in the solo etc just captured something and connected with me. Same with Reptile which had been preluded by Columbus on hr 2.4 of a 3hr rage video i taped. It does have the slick LA, FM sound and studion production. It is a slick album which doesn’t sound as dated (production wise) as Heyday. It still sounds crisp and minimalist in structure which i liked about it. I can’t say I have heard too many songs which have no standard chord shapes played, which makes Reptile such a stunning achievement. 2 riffs, bass drums vocals. To say that Starfish isn’t quite there compared to Heyday and P=A is quite frankly loathing in self abasement. Would you be today were it not for this album? It may not have made you a great deal of money but it allowed you to continue your chosen path to this very day and in the process opened up X amount of ears to your music. I am a tad blunt in what i write but it is and was you that has created your existence and what you have experienced, no one else, not even a higher power.

    Still bitter about the dreaded evil, money as well. get over it and do what you do best. It will come.

    “True greatness merely refuses to change in the face of bad actions against one – and a truly great person loves his fellows because he understands them.” LRH

    don joe

  85. avatar
    Andromeda7 | 3 December 2006 at 2:02 pm #

    Sorry the LA heads didn’t totally get you, but they didn’t totally miss you either. They did coke, you did smack. UTMW was not an obvious face-slapping hit, but it was just so much classier than the average top tenner. And although it’s about that delightful Amsterdam club, that delirious den of hash-dealing, it also speaks of all of us lost in wonder under the firmament. It has that inspired songwriting and two incredible guitarists playing with electricity like children. And yeah, a great band, a beautiful vocal. It’s an inspirational song about the innocence of the human condition… Maybe it’s more than you know.

    So many great songs and performances on that elpee. Call it flat? I love it’s clarity. The Church were never about bubbliness.

    I always wondered… Was Reptile about Bowie?

  86. avatar
    Anonymous | 6 December 2006 at 2:08 am #

    I think it was the struggle that made that album so great! I can listen to it over and over again and it doesnt get old for me, but I dont do that because im afraid it will. Its that good. I like to listen to it on the beach, under the stars. Inspiration at its best.
    galveston tx

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