posted on November 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm

the 57 year old child


i believe in music

indeed music can do something nothing else can do

even what that is…is a mystery in itself

even to people like me who make it and play it it is mysterious

music and music only can express such sublime ineffabilities

the best music seems divinely inspired

music is very very important to us :

to those of us that love it

it is much more than entertainment

i have always expected magic from my music

i always try to put some into my own

its hard to tell though

after all which magician can do his magic on himself……


music slowly reveals her secrets to me one at a time

a new idea occurs to me and i take it into consideration

i realise i have many rigid rules that i seem to follow unquestioningly

each idea must be examined

each parameter must be tested



the tuning

time signature


every instrument  and its interaction with the others



the intent

the performance

the recording

the sound

the emphasis

the melody

the harmony

the lines

the riffs

the backgrounds

the solos

the effects

the mixing

etc etc

with so many variations music can never be exhausted

no : all the good songs have not yet been written!

in the total bedrock of all possible song we have excavated one inch

there are new worlds yet undiscovered and abounding forever

there will always be new beautiful forms as yet undreamt of


having taken another incarnation in the 1950s

i grew up with rocknroll

it is my natural milieu

it has many uglinesses

it contains many wondrous beauties too

i used to say rocknroll is a cartoon medium

yet i now recant this opinion

the glorious peaks of rock are as high as any other

i dont understand ballet and opera and classical

but i sure know

that it cant get you much higher than strawberry fields forever…right?

and herein lies the true wonder of rock

the ability to express vague fleeting incredible ambiguities

strawberry fields forever…you think thats not as good as the mona lisa?

you think bach or someone used an orchestra as  weirdly?

you think wordsworth or someone had a better handle on english than john?

i bless the muses and my own muse that i was a child to witness it

can you imagine this?

strawberry fields forever

its everything at once

first of all its massively popular

then its almost totally unique

i mean who else had written such a song?

its out of the blue genius

in a single stroke of detached vision

john and george martin and the other beatles

they cooked up this four minute bit of art

redefining everything that rock or pop could be

and here our music becomes serious art

you know that can sometimes accidentally happen

you start out four moptops singing about teenage love

and through some rapid metamorphoses evolve into

some kind of aural dali

complete with melting feelings and bizarre juxtaposition

strawberry fields forever showed what was possible

i mean the beatles were moving in this direction a bit

but who could have expected this …..this exquisite song?

in this one song i would rest my case

and argue it out with whoever you got

show me something out there

a film a dance a poem a sculpture a painting a symphony

show me something thats both a popular commercial item

and a distant essay on isolation

and some sadness that can never be named

and every instrument collaborating in this dislocation

sure any idiot can dislocate you with a racket

any turkey with a weedblower can do that….

but to dislocate so dreamily so gently so warped and wonderful

to me this song is as high an art as any art ive seen

its an untouchable masterpiece

it remains unsurpassed and probably unsurpassable

at this point rocknroll turned into real art

real proper hang it in the museum stuff

alongside all the other geniuses

for me this was a new beginning


i hate ugly music

i abhor ugly sounds

i disdain dissonance

it is indeed easy to make a horrible ugly racket

just like its easy to do a horrible ugly painting

or make a horrible ugly dinner

or insert your own horrible ugliness here

as i get older and older

the horrible bloody rackets get harder and harder to take

i hate morbid stupid violent entropic deliberately ugly art

no hang on a minute

yes i get the point

yes i have done time with my own rackets

not because of tradition but because of experience

i avoid noise in music

a little bit of noise and ugliness never goes astray

but its like pepper or spices and you mustnt overdo it

the prospect of a bunch of middle aged white guys

bellowing out their impotent angers over a metallic racket

well it doth fill me with entropic inertia

rock should never be the same song after song

this great lesson we should have learned from the fab four

a record of angry ugliness or a night of ugly angriness is too much

its like a play which is all violence and nothing else

or a painting which is a pitch black giving way to nothing

the beatles constantly experiment

recombining old forms and new techniques

they are the ideal

they are rocks holy quadrinity

you see they were both esoteric and exoteric

they included everyone into their strange worlds

the beauty seduced you

before you knew it you could be in the unfamiliar

i demand some diversity therefore

and a bloody horrible racket by a rock band is anathema to me

i dont care if it supposedly has humour or irony or self-depracation

(though i sincerely doubt it does)

endless stuff about death and decay and disease and misery

accompanied by tuneless noise

it seems thats art out of balance

for are we not surrounded by these very things?

surely then the musician within whichever field he  jams

has a duty to capture only the sublimest emotions

the ones which heal and refresh and make one wonder

the ones which bring sex and love and heaven and earth

it doesnt make sense to me to listen to ugly stuff

youre indoctrinating yourself

youre uglifying your mind and it might be hard to get it out again

i can understand youthful musicians making rackets

it is understandable like youthful painters painting a mess

i guess the rock racket could be likened to an abstract painting

some abstracts are things of beauty while others are not

sometimes the rock racket contains beauty

heroin by the velvet underground

some neil young stuff

it exists

dont waste your time trying to find the artiness in a racket tho

theres always a construction site near you somewhere

go and interpret that….!


i myself am pleased where my music is going

my recorded works at any rate

i keep improving as a singer thats good

i couldnt have got any worse than when i started

i was not a natural singer

i kinda started to figure it out as i went along

i hate my singing on that first church record

its mannered its stiff its flat its pretentious

its so fucking pretentious its a joke

i was pretending not to be me

it wasnt really until heyday a real me emerged

all that singing on heyday was me

all the harmonies and back ups

(bar the choir on already yesterday and on youth w.)

peter walsh made me do it

he thought of most of the harmonies

my mind is strangely limited when it comes to harmonies

they never come that easily to me and theyre hard to sing

but suddenly there on heyday i emerge as a bit of a vocalist

i like myrrh from heyday the first track

i wish every one of my tracks was as good as this

it had everything i like in rock

it had a real sense of travel

it was about everything at once in a way

that song may be approaching art a little

the hex albums have some real art

so too jack frost

priest and narcosis

forget yourself


theres not much art on GAF tho

pop music but not much art

real art requires a lot of effort and will

sometimes you even have to fight for your right to  be arty

by the time the fights over you aint got the energy to be arty

eg kilbey in a studio with an engineer sometime in the eighties

me : please can we put some effects on the backing vocal now

him : it can be dry for the moment

me : no, i said can we have some reverb…or something..

him : not now because of blah blah blah

me : look i really wanna hear some reverb on it

him : reverb wont fix it if its outta tune…


him : ok, fuck, jesus ok….now what kind of reverb..

me : uh….? what…?…oh i ….never mind ..get on with it

him : no i’m gonna give ya some fuckin’ reverb steve …

me : fuck the reverb and get on with it …

him : you dont know what you want do ya…?

me : uh yeah um no i dont do i……

a stalemate


i take the challenge of reconciling old age and rocknroll seriously

the grandmaster painters painted on till they dropped

so too the jazz and bluesmen

what goes wrong in rock?

theyre are notable exceptions of people who keep their edge

or their esteem or the demeanour or whatever it is

we should not expect less from the old rocker

we should expect more

we should expect more beauty i guess in a nutshell

like a jeweller of 57

or an architect of 57

or a brain surgeon of 57

you should be pretty good by now

since 1970 you’d usually find me in bedroom studying music

or in a garage or hall rehearsing or jamming with guys

or sitting on my bed trying to force out songs i knew were within me

but nonetheless would not come without much more experience

ive lugged the gear

ive done the drives

ive been at airports on new years eve

the glory and the disappointment

always playing playing playing

listening analysing incorporating

surely then i must improve

surely then i must have improved

or at least continued at the same rate

with obvious ups and downs included


isidore life somewhere else is a real treat

it has wonder and beauty

it does have some ugly heavy handed moments

caliban comes on stage and says his lines

the beastly is represented here as well as the angelic

jeffrey samples myriad guitar phrases and everything precise

yet always jeffreys beatlesque turn of chords

a composer like caino has little need of dissonance

(tho i warn you it exists on this record!)

if you could pull endlessly beautiful things out of thin air

why would you ever wanna do ugly more than occasionally

you wouldnt would you….?

cainos music is sophisticated modern

and yet with a traditional aesthetic

its perfect for me to sing over

sometimes it takes me a while to figure it out

jeffreys music slips into fluxes inexplicably to me

at first until i understand his more fluid structures

i listen to each piece and the music write the words

i’m looking forward to its release














104 Responses to “thoughts of chairman meow”

  1. avatar
    BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 6 November 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    That was a fantastic read. I never was a big Beatles fan but I do understand their importance in the creation of music as art. For me it was the Who, ‘behind blue eyes’ shook me to the core in my youth. The power of percussion was never defined more than by the late great Mr. Moon. I grew up and contributed to the ‘noise’ you speak of. I played in hardcore punk bands and thrash/speed metal groups. I believed faster was better. You,Richard,Marty,Peter changed my thinking one night in 1984 here in Chicago. I still am open to some forms of that noise because my 20 year-old fills the house with it. Than I will catch him singing ‘Ritz’ and I smile. Yeah, I influenced him onto you and the church and now he’s copying your catalog and arguing with his girlfriend that the church trumps Floyd because of loyalty besides perfection in performance. What I enjoy most about music, besides creating it, is the impact it has on my emotions. I can change any moment of any day with a song. I have control over it. It is the perfect art form because it can be enjoyed wherever, whenever, you want – with no restrictions.

    I belive that Uninvited …. is so underrated and misunderstood. I have said in the past that I, in my opinion, believe that P=A is the greatest album of all time. But I will also go as far to say that ‘Block’ may be the church’s truly defining song. It has all the elements that make it accessible to any other full length album that the church has ever created. It can be on any album because it, in my humble opinion, contains everything that the church is to me. It , outside of ‘behind blue eyes’, is my strawberry fields forever.

    I truly enjoyed this blog entry and I am printing it up so I can revisit it often. Thanks for sharing your honesty and insight.


    • avatar
      Watcher465 | 11 November 2011 at 3:51 pm #

      I agree with Steve.Unfortunately my agreement would put me on the same pedestal as Steve and that would make me smartarse of the year (or more). But I cannot agree with the idea that “Behind blue eyes” has any value. It’s a fake. Study it more closely.There are no values except ‘poor, poor gutless me’. I can afford to write shit about myself.Sorry buddy.

  2. avatar
    Julia | 6 November 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Thoughtful. I’m sorry you think you sound pretentious on Of Skins & Heart but I have to disagree with you. I love every second of that album and I think a lot of that has to do with your vocals. I completely understand that you can grow away from your beginnings and mature in many, many ways, and often for the better. But it was that very sound that brought people like me here in the first place. So it’s fine for you to crap on it now, but I still love it.

  3. avatar
    Daniel Watkins | 6 November 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Well written, Steve. There is so much that I was nodding my head and agreeing with in all of that, that I can’t even think of where to start. Glad you are still making the music and the magic.

  4. avatar
    Ryan | 6 November 2011 at 3:25 pm #

    great blog steve. i really enjoyed reading that and hearing your take on your music and it’s space. looking fwd to isidore.

  5. avatar
    DavidP | 6 November 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    the question I was going to ask when you did the ask sk a question blog was:
    have you ever been a part of writing a song where you really felt it was divinely inspired? like god walked through the room or something as it was being written? maybe it was the whole song or only part of it. if so, which song/s?

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 6 November 2011 at 4:01 pm #

      sadly i would not go as far to say god inspired

      but certainly inspired from something out there other than me

      • avatar
        DavidP | 6 November 2011 at 4:44 pm #

        well maybe not literally god, but some other level, divine muse or higher self

        • avatar
          thetimebeing | 6 November 2011 at 5:31 pm #

          yes then
          all the time
          i just think that god would come up with something better dont you?

          • avatar
            DavidP | 6 November 2011 at 10:56 pm #

            I wonder what god would come up with within the rock/pop genre. if things can be divinely inspired i guess they can be evily inspired too then, evil art, black magic music, what examples are there of that, I’m just thinking out loud. Music is redolent of emotion, each emotion has a certain note you could say, a certain vibration and when those notes/vibrations appear in music it evokes that corresponding emotion within. There’s depressing music, then there’s uplifting music and loads in between. Music is as mysterious as the workings of the human psyche, our range of emotions and inner states and intellectual webs and I think somewhere in this mix is our spark of divine consciousness.

          • avatar
            thetimebeing | 7 November 2011 at 1:13 am #

            yes exactly

  6. avatar
    princey | 6 November 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Thank you for continuing to make beautiful music sk. Heyday was “the one” that turned me onto The Church :), I’ll never forget my first live Church experience…WOW, blew me socks off and I’ve never looked back!! Can’t wait til December 17th 😀

  7. avatar
    Michael | 6 November 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    lovely essay steve, would have to concur. As I head through my 40’s I’m not getting nostalgic for much of the grunge that my buddies were piling into. My holy quartet seems to be with SK/Church, D Sylvian, K Bush and Popul Vuh, music played to help you transcend somewhere

  8. avatar
    Anonymous | 6 November 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    sure you know this, but anyway did you know… when you sing, your voice settles in a reverse resonance to what is expected and I haven’t heard this ever accomplished by any other singer… like where someone else would put the emphasis on a part of a lyric (go louder/scream it), you take it low and fade (yet keep a strong smoothness through to the end) which holds much more power… and same the other way — like you hear the music and the lyrics together but keep everything as multiple parts purposely then take the separate relationships equally back into form/importance woven in and out, each one at times letting up to let the other parts lead through — and they play together back and forth into these marvelous blends perfectly spread out within the songs so that the listeners truly do float (literally) through both the lyrics and the instrumental parts simultaneously.

    it is evident Strawberry Fields played a huge initial part in your music’s imaginative development – I just think you’ve been lucky enough however it is you’ve progressed, to take the whole process past those first magical fields. and you still keep changing it up a notch; always. and God forbid and thank God at the same time, (none of you guys) try to be other than what you are… that alone is perhaps why (you guys) continue to stay forward.

    again, induction congrats…

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 6 November 2011 at 8:08 pm #

      thank you
      i’m grateful that you like the way i sing
      your lovely comment has made my day

    • avatar
      Anonymous | 7 November 2011 at 2:43 am #

      wow this is an amazing analysis… very accurate observation.
      it really does happen like this — you play you voice like a fine instrument and with great skill, it is definitely one of the main magic ingredients — and holds power completely out of proportion to its understated subtlety.
      — lustre comes to mind more than anything else with that nebulous vocal underscoring — i remember when i gave it more that a cursory listen i was properly astonished at the chorus — everything that starts with “ride” — those parts are the softest yet the intensity is unreal
      and it stirs the soul so deep — it’s hard to dissect the very thing that got you so steeped in emotion — so i’m glad someone else did it so well… i’ll be content to just curl up and live inside it till i get kicked out

      • avatar
        thetimebeing | 7 November 2011 at 8:23 am #

        stay in there forever , its ok by me

        • avatar
          Anonymous | 8 November 2011 at 1:31 pm #

          good going, स्तीव्… sure, let some undocumented unidentified bums take up residence in you vocal cords… next thing you know — they’ll be asking for a lullaby

        • avatar
          Anonymous | 11 November 2011 at 8:02 pm #

          ok i think i’m finally ready… so… here’s my request:
          one lullaby, please
          for someone extremely neurotic and stubborn
          with all the condensed magic you can summon
          all alone
          i really mean it, steve

  9. avatar
    forgot | 6 November 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    ps – reading a previous comment, can’t find it, a couple of entries ago, read someone was “putting on their headphones…” As much as possible at least, I’ve always thought our ears were meant to hear things from all around to enable them to stay buoyant; not directly taking sound “un”filtered in via those ear things everybody wears now all the time… leaving our ears without movement being allowed to echo from the chambers and back out into the world, I always thought it maybe just got all stuck inside there. A study’s report reported on…

  10. avatar
    davem | 6 November 2011 at 6:56 pm #

    Thanks SK. This has made for a lovely Sunday morning read. When do you think we’ll be able to buy the new Isidore release?
    I have to agree with Julia. That first album will always be the most important I’ll ever hear and I love it dearly. It may not still be my favourite album, but it will always be the most significant and I still listen to it every few weeks.

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 6 November 2011 at 8:06 pm #

      thanks davem
      and that means a lot coming from you a very long term fan
      youll get an izzy 2 as soon as they appear
      youre on skp arent you?

  11. avatar
    Anonymous | 6 November 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    yeah i could have tried to defend of skins and heart even song by song starting with is this where you live? — oddly my favorite — but what is the point? certainly not to prove you wrong… there’s no right or wrong here — you have the unique insider perspective, intimate knowledge of the ugly sides etc.etc. — and we’ll continue to love it no matter what…
    another thing though —
    the “old rockers’ challenge” — i concur there shouldn’t be deterioration, theoretically, yet it happens all the time. long-cycle fatigue building over decades…?
    once again curiosity gets the better of me — what if someone asked you to evoke magic all alone rather than within the kk team? would that be a challenge… enough?

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 6 November 2011 at 8:05 pm #

      i will invoking the magic soon totally on my own
      yes it will be a challenge
      i trust i can overcome it

      • avatar
        Cocoamo | 14 November 2011 at 4:51 am #

        Don’t know if you get these slow-to-come messages but..

        OOOhh. Can’t wait for pure SK. You can do it! How absolutely exciting.

        Your Friend in Pennsylvania
        (Now in Cocoa Beach)

  12. avatar
    Michel | 6 November 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    “and none may know how much love is contained in my aspirations
    towards beauty”
    Isidore Ducasse, Comte de Lautréamont – Les Chants de Maldoror (1969)

    • avatar
      Michel | 7 November 2011 at 11:11 pm #

      sorry, that’s from 1869…but this poetry piece nicely applies to SK & Jeffrey Cain’s Isidore, doesn’t it ?

  13. Jmb066
    Jmb066 | 6 November 2011 at 10:49 pm #


    What a post today Steve

    Yes I believe in music

    for me it is the closest thing to a drug related high, the best sex, and a beautiful sunset on the ocean all rolled into one.

    music is the only thing I could not live without from a media perspective.

    You said somewhere, sometime about the sadness of being a human being, the self awareness that all of this beauty will end someday. music, especially yours still allows me to smile knowing we have an end date. Thats the magic for me, takes away my fears, encourages my hopes and dreams, helps to rememeber the best parts of my life. Many of my happiest moments have music tied to that memory and most memories have The Church attached.

    I grew up with rocknroll in the seventies and eighties, the beatles were a cartoon on after school. It would be many years later before I could see their importance, The Church are The Beatles for me. Everything you have said about them resonates with me regarding you and The Church.

    I like and have liked other bands, usually becuase they are similar but all fail in comparision to the magic delivered as a band or solo.

    I love the fact the every new release has the feel, sound, passion, and magic descibed yet are different. As you age you have not lost a step, both KK albums pull at many emotions and are simply elegant releases and then comes David Neil totally different and yet satisfies just the same with an entire set of different emotions.

    Yes you have evolved since the 1st album, but Bel-Air is magical as presented.
    Myrrh is amazing and probably the best lead track on any album and it really sets the pace for all of Heyday.

    Starfish is where my journey began and will always be magical, GAF at the time it was released I would argue with you, through time I see your point compared to albums that followed, though I still love it.

    Priest is amazing, though I would rank After Everything higher, still your best album in my opinion.

    Back With Two Beast, please get if you do not have it, Uninvited terribly underated. Someone at Hotel Womb said it would have been better if the art work was more commercial or inviting. Words could not explain that thought process for me but it was their opinion. I love that cover and album, of all your albums it reminds me of The Beatles more than anything else.

    U#23 spellbinding, I am still hearing new things everytime I listen.

    I dont think you have released one thing where I could not find beauty and magic even within the ugliness.

    Looking forward to Life Somewhere Else and all that you have planned. If on your own means solo you have done it many times before and look forward the next one.

    Take Care,


  14. avatar
    Jesiah6 | 6 November 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    I’m really impressed at how your creativity seems to be endless.
    How do you keep coming up with great stuff?
    I’ve never been sure what actually makes a great song for me,
    I just know it when I hear it.
    The isidore album seemed like it must have been a challenge, but your
    lyrics and voice to Cain’s music is magic.

    I’ve really been enjoying “No Agenda” too.

  15. avatar
    lotus | 7 November 2011 at 1:11 am #

    I too was very moved by this essay, and I want to thank you for offering it. Particularly your invective against “ugly” art; we are indeed surrounded by too much ugliness in the world — mankind’s collective failure to treat his/her fellows (and the planet itself) with dignity and respect. Any artist given the sacred gifts of insight and creativity, I believe, has an obligation to use those gifts toward beauty and good – to elevate life and celebrate the divine, and the wonderful mystery of it all.

    Our lives are, ultimately, a quest for meaning. As individuals, we may find that meaning in various spheres – companionship, love, grace, nature, our shared humanity, spirituality, or the many combinations thereof. Negative and ugly art rejects not only possibilities of transcendence, but the quest itself.

  16. avatar
    edd | 7 November 2011 at 2:42 am #

    GAF- not bad for a pop record…..

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 7 November 2011 at 8:23 am #

      not good neither

      • avatar
        Kristina | 9 November 2011 at 11:24 am #

        I still think Grind off GAF is one of your best – has a certain jaded, weary other worldliness that really resonates…

  17. avatar
    davem | 7 November 2011 at 4:09 am #

    I don’t know if I’m on SKP or not Steve. I like to buy everything you do anyway? It’s one of the joys of my life to have new SK/Church releases to look forward to.

  18. avatar
    Once | 7 November 2011 at 6:35 am #

    Great post, SK. I was never into (read: able to appreciate) the Beatles until fairly recently. I still struggle with this, and consider it an affliction – an abnormality. “you start out four moptops singing about teenage love…” I despised those songs so vehemently (and have heard so many ‘elevator music’ renditions), that I just shut down to the rest of it…but the way you’ve described “Strawberry Fields”, I’d never seen it (emotionally) that way…it really IS a lovely song, isn’t it? Chalk up another one that I can actually stand listening to.

    George Harrison = LOVE. Got that part down a long time ago, but the group stuff has been challenging…Across the Universe is my fave so far…

    I’m getting there…hey, I didn’t even like Dylan till a couple years ago when a friend burned me a CD of all his best (he called it, “Distillin’ Dylan” – brilliant!) and I fell madly in love with it.

    There’s hope for me yet…of that, I am certain. Not liking the Beatles has actually lost me some friends over the years…I’ve got some ground to cover. Wish I lived nearby, we could have a “Beatles Night” and you could help to dispel my ignornace. In the meantime, I do have Facebook friends who are sympathetic.

    Cheers, and thanks for this blog…


    • avatar
      Once | 7 November 2011 at 6:36 am #

      …ummm…”ignorance.” Good word to misspell, no?

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 7 November 2011 at 8:21 am #

      thou shalt love and honour thy beatles childe!

      • avatar
        Once | 7 November 2011 at 8:36 am #

        How very odd…there is now on television an ice skating special to the music of the Beatles…performed by that tribute band, Rain (they are rather good)…Brian Boitano is going to skate! I am psyched!! My FB friend Pat (from Liverpool) clued me into it…



        • avatar
          Once | 7 November 2011 at 8:46 am #

          Brian skated to “Let it Be”…OMG! Photo clips on my FB page…

          Ah, today is a good day indeed!!


  19. avatar
    . | 7 November 2011 at 7:10 am #

    love one another, all ye sisters and brothers
    stand a little taller, vow to be a little stronger
    depart with your sorrows, vow for a brighter tomorrow
    today, now, and forever, you can do it, music is the power
    to let go of what brings us down, let’s come together
    and be better than we are today, be the magic flower,
    colorful and brilliant for all to admire and see, follow
    your true heart and be a vessel for love and tolerance

  20. avatar
    . | 7 November 2011 at 7:22 am #

    by the way, there’s nothing pretentious about tear it all away
    it’s been one of my favorites almost forever
    it was quite comforting during those turbulent pre-teen and teenage years

  21. avatar
    Freddie | 7 November 2011 at 7:40 am #

    Music is so totally woven into our existence. Even as a small child, three or four years old perhaps, I had to sit in my lil’ red rocking chair and sing every song I knew. I had to do this at least once a day everyday until I discovered the record player and all that magic on those black round things. I got into my older brother’s 45s all the time. I can remember playing Bobby Gentry’s songs “Fancy” and “Ode to Billy Joe” over and over. I loved the Beatles too.

    I suppose I was rather young when The Church put out their first album but unfortunately I wasn’t exposed to your music until I was an adult. In about 1999 or was it 98(?). I went to a Church concert in Atlanta and the rest is history. There really is nothing else like y’all. I came home and immediately tried to obtain every Church CD I could find, totally enchanted. Love the KK songs, Isidore, Jack Frost (#1) and most of the solo stuff. It is music you can get lost in and that is what we need sometimes.

    If it isn’t pleasant to listen to, isn’t it noise rather than music? Some “music” is noise.

  22. avatar
    ASSMIDGET | 7 November 2011 at 8:13 am #

    I hope it’s not metal/hc punk cause I see you as a subversive. Teen angst maybe less intelligent form of art but there is great power behind it. If earth became this perfect peaceful hippy wonderland I’d probably start a war. Oh yeah and I love GAF!!! Essence grew on me recently, always liked metropolis,city, russian. Gonna hate me for saying this but the engineering is great.

  23. avatar
    M | 7 November 2011 at 9:00 am #

    great read…I sure hope the Adelaide details get finalised soon. we’re getting edgy here. will travel if no Adelaide. but kinda hope there is so I don’t have to travel on a non existent budget…

    much love


  24. avatar
    bc | 7 November 2011 at 9:35 am #

    rock wisdom…thx!

  25. avatar
    Lara | 7 November 2011 at 10:01 am #

    You go, Mr. K! I agree with the others about the special quality of your voice: so full of dimension and texture, sculptural more than calligraphic. Just keeps getting better too.

  26. avatar
    mlc | 7 November 2011 at 10:47 am #

    Steve, nice essay (as others have more eloquently said here). As a musician I got a lot from it. I’m glad you put Forget Yourself in there, as this is one of the true Church gems, despite the strange mix. I’ll never forget playing FY for my very young daughter every weekend morning; she’d always break into a big grin when the drums came in on Sealine. I wish you guys would break out some more FY tunes on stage someday.

  27. avatar
    Steven Krut | 7 November 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    As far as giving the slip to artistic decline in Rock, I think it definitely helps that you don’t do a vein of Rock that is a celebration of youth. You and the church would be just a nostalgia act now if you wrote the typical boy-girl relationship songs. Psychedelia has been one of your escape hatches from decline, I suppose. You held up Strawberry Fields Forever as your touchstone, which explains a lot. Rock’n’roll as an intellectual exploration of the mysteries of reality… you’re never going to run out of fresh material mining THAT vein. Pink Floyd would still be relevant today if they were still capable of coming up with great compositions. But they didn’t keep it cool. You can’t retain the energy and vitality of youth, but you can stay cool. And cool is cool, no matter what your age. I think that’s the elusive secret to avoiding decline in Rock. Coolness. U23 is as an example. It doesn’t have the vitality of Starfish, but it is just as cool, if not more so. Deadman’s Hand is a VERY cool song. So are a lot of the other songs on the album. How did those songs turn out so cool? That’s the key.

    It might be hard to stay cool if you have 500 million in the bank and ride around in limos, I’m not sure. That might explain why Bowie, McCartney and other once great rockers can no longer do it. Another thing I notice about artistic decline with rockers like Bowie is a lack of melody. That seems to be an element that abandons songwriters as they age. Not sure why. Does it take youthful enthusiasm to come up with a great melody? I don’t know, but I often wondered with the later albums of rockers why they couldn’t come up with those killer melodies any longer. You can’t be in artistic decline if you’re coming up with great melodies, IMO.

  28. avatar
    pain gain | 7 November 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    remember hearing P=A for the first time, a departure from Sfish and Gaf, then comes MOS,Baal,AE,Uninvited,#23,etc., some pretty gripping artsy stuff, a journey, love and loss, its good to have music heros.

  29. avatar
    Ingrid | 7 November 2011 at 6:12 pm #

    I’m playing Jack Frost now as I’m reading this – a truly great work of art, but then again all your albums are.

    I do love Priest = Aura that album is perfection, but then again I think all your albums are. I love music but Steve Kilby and The Church have always been and will always be at the top of my musical list.

    No one comes close musically or lyrically to you.

  30. avatar
    Ingrid | 7 November 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    PS I was watching Goldfish Jokes Magic & Souvenirs and wondering where the video clip for “Constant in Opal” was made. I have always loved that clip. I always imagined it to be at a house at Wahroongha, Turramurra or somewhere like that?

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 8 November 2011 at 7:06 am #

      it was a golf course in ryde

      • avatar
        Kristina | 9 November 2011 at 11:36 am #

        Yeah, that was a really good clip.
        Just out of idle curiosity, Steve, were you involved in the making of the clip for Curious (Yellow)’s Transparent Garden ?
        Have always liked this one – truly magical.
        Looks like it’s set in Sydney’s botanical gardens??

        • avatar
          thetimebeing | 9 November 2011 at 1:43 pm #


          • avatar
            Kristina | 9 November 2011 at 9:58 pm #

            Ah well, they looked like they were having fun, wherever it was….

  31. avatar
    BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 7 November 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    Have you developed an address in Bondi for fans and friends to forward to you items, such as congratulatory cards or gifts. I know this was brought up in the past and at that time you kinda of questioned yourself, why you did not have such an address. It would be nice to be able, safely, to mail you a picture or a book, from anywhere in the world. Heck…just throw us Russel’s address he would love you for that…LOL 🙂 (or is John living closer to you these days? – I envy the relationships that you have kept with your siblings , to most extent)

    Just a thought….


  32. avatar
    hellbound heart | 7 November 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    I have loved your beautiful music for, what? 25 or more years now? and I’ll keep on loving it for as long as I breathe….
    love always…..
    ps you said you tolerate ugliness less and less as you get older…..seems I’m the same way with people’s stupidity

  33. avatar
    david | 8 November 2011 at 3:27 am #

    theres a feeling to “Monday Morning” im not prepared to give up….under any circumstances …

  34. avatar
    andy | 8 November 2011 at 7:46 am #

    what a wonderful read steve!
    the learning curve never ends…..
    allthough most seasoned performers and artists would be resting on their laurels by now.
    your boundless energy and enthusiasm for this most defining human art-form
    is what makes us all love you so.
    good on ya kilbs…..your’e still the main man!

    oh…and dissonance ummm…what about that trippy track with the crazy lap-steel on painkiller eh?
    chaos….travel by thought ect.
    i love ’em all.

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 8 November 2011 at 10:11 am #

      love on you andy lee
      knight of the time being realm
      btw hows yer ticker these days?

      • avatar
        andy | 8 November 2011 at 11:23 pm #

        oh…the olde ticker is in fine fettle!
        lost some bulk too….thanks for asking.
        very busy working on new things…not in the same league as your stuff
        but not too bad!
        still making a concerted effort to produce something of worth…..
        your daily musings continue to inspire.
        love on you to kilbs,thanks for all you do,

        p.s for those wishing to know: despite being way,way ahead in the public vote,the judging panel only awarded april a runner-up position.
        still,it’s all good eh?
        many thanks to those of you who took time to help…your’e wonderful.

        • avatar
          andy | 8 November 2011 at 11:24 pm #

          love on you to?

        • avatar
          Anonymous | 9 November 2011 at 2:36 pm #

          so what’s your ejection fraction andy? surely above 60%? — watch ol kilbs smirk, his is probably in high 80s with all that running-swimming…

          • avatar
            thetimebeing | 9 November 2011 at 4:14 pm #

            dunno what that is but it sounds norty

  35. avatar
    andy | 8 November 2011 at 8:35 am #

    bloody hell……………….!
    just saw the ‘tantalized’ opera house vid on you tube.
    hands down the best band on the planet.
    just stunning.
    finest rock vid i have ever seen.
    MOST exciting!

    • avatar
      Anonymous | 8 November 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      thanks andy — just watched it too — i have to concur — the best in the solar system

  36. Kraig
    Kraig | 8 November 2011 at 9:16 am #

    Easy to see things in hindsight! It’s really hard to interpret which albums have art and which do not in my opinion. I love GAF! At first, not so much, but after the years went by it grew on me a lot. I think art can do that too a person. It either catches you or grows on you. Some art i wouldn’t categorize as art, but trash like you said. With that said. Same thing with food, some foods are better than others but it’s up to the eater to decide. Some foods even grow on you and tastes change. I think that’s a good thing, change. I challenge you to go back and listen to all those GAF cuts, well damn..there’s not a song on there we don’t like! Very eclectic, soothing, guitar, drum drivin’ record! Art is in the eye of the beholder for sure…I love this non-artistic album very much! This album got me through some tough times and try listening to it traveling across the country…it especially sounds cool driving through the desert. It’s art to me! Every damn album you or The Church made is ART! Better than all the other crap out there, fo show!

    • Kraig
      Kraig | 8 November 2011 at 9:32 am #

      Also forgot to mention, what i love about your music, is that it is “Timeless” and that in itself is art! When a medium becomes timeless it becomes art. It’s great to listen to GAF and not remind us it was the late 80’s and early 90’s…that album and all the others don’t contend to the sign of the times. In other words, it isn’t outdated. Is the Mona Lisa outdated, are Pablo Picasso’s outdated? No. It’s easy to be disappointed in something you did 30 years ago, then again isn’t Music about moods, a year from now your mood might strike GAF as being art.

      • avatar
        thetimebeing | 8 November 2011 at 10:09 am #

        gaf is outdated but priest and heyday arent!

        • Kraig
          Kraig | 9 November 2011 at 2:59 am #

          Never in a million years! I’ll have to disagree with ya on this one Sir Meister Kilbey! I love Priest and Heyday too, Priest of course kicks ass and is #1, but in a different way. How can you say that Laughing, City, Monday Morning, Grind, is not art? There’s some great guitar & singing work on there. Doesn’t sound outdated to me. If that’s outdated so is Starfish. LOOOOVe both! You should do a running pole from all the fans of which albums rate from 1 to 33?

      • avatar
        Narelle | 8 November 2011 at 4:34 pm #

        absolutely no Kraig, Pablo Picasso is not outdated and happens to be but one of many artists that remains known and popular
        there is just so much art, music, sculpture out there…past and present that most of us will never see or hear in a trillion lifetimes
        PS there is a Picasso exhibiton, Sydney, starting 12 Nov and I can’t wait!!!

        • Kraig
          Kraig | 9 November 2011 at 2:50 am #

          I agree, that’s exactly what i said above…please re-read. I said “are Pablo Picasso’s outdated? No.”

    • Kraig
      Kraig | 8 November 2011 at 9:38 am #

      Really enjoyed your insight on this writing today! Very Interesting! Can’t wait for Isidore to come to my door!

    • avatar
      thetimebeing | 8 November 2011 at 10:10 am #

      yeah the songs are ok but the recording of em is static
      therein lies the problem kraigy!

      • Kraig
        Kraig | 9 November 2011 at 3:11 am #

        I’m looking from the outside in, your looking from the inside out…so I disagree 180 degrees and say they are not static at all! Maybe static compared to the previous album or album after that, but not at all static compared to some crummy Rap Album or Death Rock album! You have to compare to ALL that’s out there, not just your catalogue! You’ll think differently several years from now i’m sure. Let’s say you never made any of those albums, just the artsy ones as you call them, then i don’t think you would be where you are now? Just sayin’…That’s my argument, which i probably won’t win because your the Sir Meister Killbee, the ruler of the meantime, in-between time, just like Halloween time

  37. avatar
    captain mission | 8 November 2011 at 9:31 am #

    abbey road is my beatles moment, when i first heard that i understood why they were the iconic band they are. it’s magnificent but then i think that about the church on a regular basis, each release gets closer and closer to something i can’t begin to describe, a plato like ideal i guess.

    guilt trip = nails it for me, i’m blow away by it’s brilliance. a monumental achievement in my humble opinion. i’m always drawn to words yet this cd has none, if music is an ocean this is the one i will drown in. brilliant and i love the little painting included, what a surprise. i’m going to frame it and find a place for it in mission control. thanks.very much, i hope there’s more music like this to look forwards to.

  38. avatar
    caitbrid | 8 November 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    This was fabulous! Thank you. And I love your voice too–from the beginning. No one in music sounds like you. My mom was a beautiful singer and she always thought you had a unique voice and she loved it. I do love Myrrh, too. It’s an aural feast for me. I wish I could comment as eloquently as everyone else…

    Kathleen in Philly

  39. avatar
    BROKEN TOYS AND HEROS | 8 November 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Regarding the last couple sentences of your blog, can you remember the last song ( church-solo-or collaboration ) where you found yourself with more than one idea for theme and lyrics, and did u ever halt the process and redo the song. Or is it simply, your at the creative edge and instead of doubting – you go with your gut instinct and don’t look back. Because I have always been amazed at how you lyrically complete the design. I often break up a song in quarters for this way I can only doubt myself 25%.

    Really miss you here in the states, I know there really is no ‘down’ time for you but I get a sense that you are recharging yourself- any return visits yet to Dr. Gary?


  40. avatar
    Richard | 8 November 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    I think I find it easier to see you as a child
    than as a 57 year old man
    now maybe that’s a little bit because 57 somehow isn’t as old
    as it used to be
    but mainly
    I think it’s because you are still
    in important ways

  41. Kraig
    Kraig | 9 November 2011 at 3:37 am #

    Oh, and forgot to mention that i can totally agree with you on The Beatles…my first album was the Blue Album, even though not a true album, it really got me familiar with them back then and now I’ve probably listened to everything they have. At first i was only into their later stuff (Sgt.Pepper, etc)…but then later started getting into the Red Album stuff…earlier stuff…now i just can’t get enough of them! They come up a lot on my iPod and all is good with the world! i have a friend that hates The Beatles and i think he was dropped on his head as a baby.

  42. avatar
    rockstar2969 | 9 November 2011 at 6:23 am #

    hey steve, just downloaded the soundtrack from the movie DRIVE from Amazon, $5, sounds alot like your solo stuff.

  43. avatar
    That Girl | 9 November 2011 at 1:04 pm #

    I’m not a musician but music has been in my head since my first remembered thought. As a child it was once quoted did I ever speak as singing was my only way of communicating. I’m all grown up now and music , it is still in my head . Songs kidnap me all the time I catch myself singing out loud when I least expect it. On a daily basic music keeps me sane. Am I a happy person ? Yes I am. Thank you for being part of all those wonderful sounds.

  44. avatar
    eekie | 9 November 2011 at 2:10 pm #

    For whatever reason I didn’t pick up the church’s back catalog when I first got into you so when I did finally go back and pick them up I found many songs I liked, but I remember being disappointed overall — especially with Of Skins and Heart. I remember thinking you didn’t seem to know quite who you were yet so your singing showed marked affectation — something I find very difficult to take. So I find I rarely listen to those early studio albums, but when the songs are played live, I usually very much enjoy them. I do think you (both the singular you and the plural you — band) really came into your own around Heyday — I feel a much greater sense of confidence and mastery of your medium. To me it was around Heyday that the church became much bigger than the individuals contained within. (I’m sure many here feel it happened earlier) That’s when you really took off to me.

    Rock music is a relatively young genre and it’s initial push was one of rebellion against the status quo, so of course it has been dominated by the young. And most people can’t keep up the pace on innovation needed to keep creating vibrant work which grows with them. Interest, curiosity, love…keep those alive and your music will be alive.

  45. avatar
    Crasher | 9 November 2011 at 4:48 pm #

    as a similar vintage chairman meow, i was weened on buddy holly, the big bopper and elvis. my dad loved this stuff.
    but the beatles issued forth the music of the next generation.
    they even played at the dunedin townhall around 1964 or ’65.
    i was about 10 or 11 at the time, so never saw them.
    as the teen years came, it coincided with the more adventurous period.
    i remember the hype and anxiously awaiting abbey road finding it’s way
    onto the shelves of russell oaten’s disc den.
    i highly highly recommend buying the recent remasters.
    they’re so good you should toss the old cds.
    hope that’s not being sacreligious.
    i’ve been a church fan for 30 years and am amazed you chaps are still making adventurous music also.
    from HoB to the present every record has been excellent.
    of the earlier times, seance would be my favourite.
    i never use headphones..i get this horrible tickling sensation wearing them.
    so it’s the stereo at home or driving colin the camry.

  46. avatar
    23flies... | 9 November 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    ive always imagined steve smiling while singing every word he sings…

  47. avatar
    Cath | 9 November 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Now that Steve was beautiful and you know what, the three greats in my books, The Church, the Beatles and Pink floyd all wrote sublimely beautiful music xx Never ever cease!:)

  48. avatar
    pernath | 9 November 2011 at 8:29 pm #


    if i could print that and tattoo it directly into my students’ brains…
    hey i’m gonna print it.
    best stuff about music theory i’ve read in a long long time.
    best stuff about that secret mystery i keep thinking and thinking about
    answer to my unanswered question in “go n ask SK” poll some weeks ago (i was lazy)
    a valid n logical system of esthetics, nevertheless with lots of dark exits n hallways…the conscious touching the unconscious…getting in a balance.
    while sinking deep into those (absolutely perfect) Hammock tracks – A.P.

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