posted on April 22, 2006 at 9:09 pm

sometimes when im doing yoga
or sometimes when i smell a perfume
go by in the crowd
sometimes when i hear a song
or onstage
or driving a car
i am whisked off
into the past
when i was not me
i wassa buncha other characters
but i experience it all again
as this wiser older sadder me
teenage years hot canberran summer nights
riding in my car with fernando
he played “rhythm” guitar
(but probably couldnt spell it)
he went to the catholic school
we smoked galaxy cigarettes
they were sawn off but they were the cheapest
fernando n others would go into
canberras only music shop
fernando would distract the owner
who was a real grumpy olde codger
unaware of the magical electric guitars
he had hanging up in his shoppe
and while he was asking mr t
some real stupid question
we would bury our heads
pen n paper in hand
to pilfer the chords out of his meagre catalog
of music books
fernando (excitedly)my brother got the chords
for rock round the clock!!!
me(disappointedly) oh wow….
but what about the rolling stones…?
fernando:no the olde manne caught em at it…
chased em all out of his shop..ha ha ha!
we’d all plug into my one amp
god no wonder my ears are so ruined..
ive been listening to other dudes
blast me since way back when
different guys would show up
on different weekends
one day a guy turned up with a lectric 12 string
a burns i believe
i swapped him for my bass for a few weeks
but in those days without a tuner
it was so hard to get it in tune
and it had a whammy bar(!?)
some times we jammed down in watson or dickson
at this guy mark tolleys who had a drumkit
he was a great lookin drummer blond prince val cut
flannel shirt levis n thongs
he predated curt kaboom by about 20 years
he also had an older sister who went out
with the bass player in one of canbras biggest bands
so this was all quite exciting and authentic stuff
to me
tho im sure our music was woeful
(3 17 year olds bashin thru rock round the fucking clock
for a whole sunday arvo is not my idea of fun
and i was a part of the racket)
someone stuck their head in the door and says
whos winning?
sometimes thered be 3 or 4 guitarists
n me
all in my one amp
all playing the same dreary thing
over n over
how i longed for some like minded compadres
who hated 12 bar blues and foghat and savoy brown
and wanted to do something a bit different
but these guys looked at music
the way they looked at footy
it was for men
by men
and should be mennish at all times
sensitvity or originality were frowned upon
back in those garage days
after a while i answered an ad in the paper
to join a 50-50 band
that played gigs and got paid(!!)
boy what a unimaginative bunch of ordinary turkeys
they hired me but i dont know why
they decreed that we should all wore these lilac
safari suits with crimson velvet bow ties
i was already writing songs but you think
these wallies coulda appreciated me back there n then
did they realise they hadda 18 year olde bouy genius?
like fuck they did
i was a thorn in their side
these guys were only like 21 22 themselves
but they seemed like grand dads to me
mind you
we made loadsa money for those days
yep i was sometimes making 150 bucks a week
believe me that was a lot in 1972
i hadda a car some equipment the lot
i remember one night asking the diminutive scottish
drummer called dave why he was so angry
you….you make me so fuckin angrrry
he hissed back over his drum kit
the singer was called ron
and he hadda nice voice actually
my mum n dad didnt mind when this group
borrowed the garage on satday arvo
ooh steven hes got such a nice voice son
joycie would say
he can arf bloody sing said my dad
but these guys hated me
why? you ask, good reader
not fully realising the nuisance
the 19 year olde sk could be
to “grown ups”
but boy
before they kicked my mischeivous ass
outta their tinpot groop
we played a lotta gigs
gigs in tiny little towns like gunning
captains flat (a ghost town, fiendss)
narooma on the coast
we played at weddings
christmas parties
wests footy club on sunday nite
where our piece de resistance
was ghost riders in the sky
yippee yi aaaeeee
yippee yi ooo ooo
the crazed rugby players and their sloshed mates
galloping round the room
whooping and braying
you can imagine how i was enjoying that, fiendss
sometimes wed back female impersonaters
hotly debating if theyd had the snip or not
sometimes ron the hilarious jack the lad that he was
would slip in “rude” lyrics
like in black magic woman instead of
might pick up your magic stick
hed sing
might pick up my greasy prick
that kinda thing
still it hurt when i sensed they were plotting
against me
and i finally i was axed in the carpark
one freezing fucking night
while i loaded up my amp
we been rehearsing with another bass player
ron told me
trying to put it in more euphemistic terms
why? i asked puzzled, not understanding
he just kept looking at me and smiling
gradually the horrible truth sank in
id blown it
id pissed these idiots off enuff
and now i was out
no more mauve safari suit
no more gigs 5 nights a week
no more 50 bucks a gig
the fat lady had sung for me
it was the twilight of my 50-50 career
(50 percent oldies, 50 current)
i was washed up on the canberra caberet circuit
i retired back to the garage
to plot my revenge
my olde band got bigger n bigger on the circuit tho
everytime i heard their name blasted from a
community announcement
saga playing tonite at the polish club
i would think dark thoughts
my resolve would be supercharged
i will form a band
that will obliterate all those
who doubted my true genius
i will eclipse all of their careers
i will form the cchhru
and baybee
we will ROCK!!!
sunday 20something of april o6
bondi beach, nsw

30 Responses to “somnambulist blues”

  1. avatar
    Anonymous | 22 April 2006 at 10:33 pm #

    Ha ha ha!
    The bass player always gets their revenge…

  2. avatar
    Ross | 22 April 2006 at 11:19 pm #

    As i sit in front of my computer, Sunday morn…hung over….

    I am overcome with laughter.

    Your the Man Steve.
    Thanks again


  3. avatar
    Tony Pucci | 22 April 2006 at 11:29 pm #

    let it be written
    let it be done

  4. avatar
    damien | 22 April 2006 at 11:58 pm #

    Love these stories set in the BC (before Church) era.

  5. avatar
    mike a | 23 April 2006 at 1:13 am #

    I always love your stories from the past – it was just like being there!!!
    I was just listening to an “Oldies” cd today and one of the songs was “Rock Around the Clock”!!! Now whenever I hear that song I’ll thing of you and your first band!!

  6. avatar
    sue cee | 23 April 2006 at 1:39 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing that flashback to the past Steve! My definition of happiness (besides getting a new unwrapt cd 🙂 …sitting here on a lazy Sunday morning after the mundane chores have been done, cup of coffee and hot-buttered vegemite toast, still in my jim-jams and Ugg boot slippers, warm as toast, Tin Mine’s in the cd player and reading your blog. Bliss. If there was a smattering of rain outside it’d be an almost perfect morning.

  7. avatar
    Anonymous | 23 April 2006 at 2:20 am #

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  8. avatar
    Graeme | 23 April 2006 at 4:44 am #

    I saw Saga in the late seventies at the Phillip Oval, or one of those Apex Fireworks nights, I was 9 or 10 – Anyway, they sucked! Well done for gettin fired.

  9. avatar
    steev kulbee | 23 April 2006 at 4:55 am #

    the saga of steve fuckin’ kilbey
    i’m killin’ time to die my hare
    you gotta look chic to get anywhere
    i get charisma injekshons
    to keep me neerer to purrfekshon
    i’m gettin away with murder

    what’s goin on down the hall
    the drummers got my chick up against the wall
    she doesn’t know that he’s dis-eased
    i hope he feels very pl-eased
    to get away with murder

    just how long we can keep this up
    i can’t possibly tell
    when I looked in the mirror just then
    the guy in there sayed get to hell

    she’s got a face to make you feel speedy
    she’s like a page in the book i’m readin’
    she’s a hawk and you’re in her talons
    but her face is so like a sighron
    she’s gettin’ away with murder

    wair all black leather
    face deadly white
    eye’m madam lash
    queen of the nite
    creeture dementoid
    inward delite

    madam lash
    took her hand off her hip
    lyin down screaming
    bitin my lip
    she said sk
    you’re gonna get my whip

    madam lash
    madam lash
    you hit me again
    eye just know eye’ll crash

    bruise me
    knock out my teef
    masochistic freek-out
    dead on my feet
    pain is the pleasure
    the pleasure is ssssweet

    ono not that
    eye canna take anymore
    lyin here alone
    half dead on the floor
    she said you’re gonna get
    just what you paid for

    madam lash
    madam lash
    you hit me again
    eye just know eye’ll crash

  10. avatar
    CAPTAIN BEYOND | 23 April 2006 at 4:56 am #

    your true destiny awaits…

  11. avatar
    ron | 23 April 2006 at 4:58 am #

    they mite av been flunkies
    but they aint no fuckin junkies
    you are fuckin ga ga
    but we never plaid in SAGA

  12. avatar
    Anonymous | 23 April 2006 at 5:45 am #

    you’re a funny bastard sk.. thanks for bothering to write on a sunday, i really look forward to reading your stuff. gotta go, girls are having a crisis over snails in the garden (to collect or not to collect)L

  13. avatar
    Mighty Ogbo | 23 April 2006 at 7:34 am #

    C’mon Steve, where’s the photo of you in that lilac safari suit? Inquisitive eyes want to see – and chortle.

    Always read your blog man – and love it. Keep writing – this is one of the best blogs that I read.

  14. avatar
    Anonymous | 23 April 2006 at 9:22 am #

    That’s karma for you sk.

    I can’t wait to hear Mimesis! The way you describe it sounds incredible! When you say it’s finished, do you mean finished AND ready for us to get a hold of, or just “recorded finished”? Now that you’ve dangled the carrot, please don’t let it be another 2 years like ULTC for it’s release, that would be t o r t u r e!
    I don’t care if it comes in a brown paper bag, just get it out there!!!!
    I don’t sound greedy do I?

    love Amanda

  15. avatar
    Anonymous | 23 April 2006 at 9:22 am #

    good work sk. we’re all the same except i never got anywhere…fuck aussie rock.

  16. avatar
    Anonymous | 23 April 2006 at 11:43 am #

    aren’t you glad that they fired your arse from that band [mauve suits or not]? imagine if you had not had imagination or determination. What would you have done, I wonder? Anyhow, your music is brilliant and you are an enigma – I often wonder had your band had a different name, whether your commercial success would have been much larger (we live in a world of god-fearers). Incidentally, I don’t think you should knock Harry Potter…..the stories are great, the movies are fantastic and if someone can make a killing out of any idea, I take my hat off to that!!! Maybe you should have called the band Hogwarts?

  17. avatar
    Anonymous | 23 April 2006 at 11:46 am #

    Better still, how about you engage my services…I will rebadge your product and make you a very rich man in 5 years….there is no shame in making a buck out of a fantastic product….the name is the only thing that has stood in your way.

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 23 April 2006 at 12:20 pm #

    i’m listening to arvo pärt’s “alina im spiegel” and reading this is almost making me cry.

    maybe it’s the music?

    but i just wanted to say:

    you have nothing to prove to anyone. you are STEVE KILBEY and that’s all that matters.

  19. avatar
    damien | 23 April 2006 at 1:46 pm #

    Gotta disagree. The Church is one of coolest names for a band ever!

  20. avatar
    east of eden | 23 April 2006 at 1:50 pm #

    kubla khan friday grapes of wrath saturday sweet bird o youth sunday were swell
    but I’m headin west to a quiet front monday back in a week fare thee well

  21. avatar
    gavgams | 23 April 2006 at 2:41 pm #

    G’day all.
    Little story to share in similar vein.
    We also used to all plug in to one amp. A 30 watt “Bassking” : bass, guitairs, mics, maybe the red Italian organ that was slightly untuneable. Guitarist mates girlfriend, when confronted with massive four way rig at big gig said something along lines of: “Geez, they’ve got a big Bassking”.
    Good will to the Kilbey clan.

  22. avatar
    Andromeda7 | 23 April 2006 at 3:32 pm #

    oh god make sure you print all this out. this is cherry blossom time kilbey snr rave on you crazy diamond

  23. avatar
    John Garratt | 23 April 2006 at 9:26 pm #

    Ditto on the suit photo. Where is it? Make with the picture already!

  24. avatar
    eek | 23 April 2006 at 11:24 pm #

    I love stories of your youth — they are so beautifully told. I’m so glad you had dreams and ambitions beyond Saga. When I think of what would not be if you had been content with that life I feel ill.

  25. avatar
    si-kli | 23 April 2006 at 11:32 pm #

    Aren’t you glad you got somewhere and didn’t blow it and end up back in now-wheres-ville like the rest of those guys trying to explain yourself if&when you ran into them again, oh The Shame….. Keep steerin clear of failures and sharing the insite.
    They can be pretty amusing those country gigs, in a perverse sort of way.

  26. avatar
    Anonymous | 23 April 2006 at 11:46 pm #



  27. avatar
    Anonymous | 23 April 2006 at 11:58 pm #

    That was so fucken funny.. What drummers arent moody c*nts?? Every drummer I’ve played with has been moody or an angry f*cker.

    Ask Dutch Pierre. he was chased down the road at Solid State’s first gig at the remote Glenbrook Hall in 1977. Merely for simply turning around and saying; “Listen C*nt, when the fuck are you going to play this fucking song in time???!!!” That was our last gig too by the way..

    Paul L,


  28. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 April 2006 at 12:41 am #

    Sooooooo! Thats where the inspiration for Maybe These Boys came from eh?

  29. avatar
    rubikon | 24 April 2006 at 8:48 am #

    I think that everyone who’s ever been in a band has been through some of that stuff – playing covers/chart songs to nobody in particular – soul destroying stuff all of it – but it’s all a lot of musicians seem to want to do – WHY?. I can remember myself and another guitarist playing through my old WEM dominator valve amp – it blew up in the end – cloud of smoke coming from the back of it.

    Do you still have the suit?

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