posted on October 24, 2009 at 3:18 am

i am becoming shocked and bemused
at whats happening with my little song
in 1986 i was up at my mothers house at smiths lake, nsw
she had a lovely house on a lake just across from the ocean
there were birds and flowers and snakes and everything
i was up there with my then girlfriend karin jansson
who would later give birth to anna miranda and elektra june
my first set of twin daughters
identical as 2 peas in a pod
but exact opposites of each other in almost every other way
miranda being like karin
elektra being like me
anyhow this was 5 years before those twillies showed up
i ate my dinner…i believe my mum had cooked something
so we ate upstairs with her
she had a big deck you could sit on n see the sea
sometimes we had sandwiches n sat outside n ate
the nightsky was much much blacker than the sydney sky
because we were in the country
and the stars were verily a’twinkling
karin missed sweden a bit and was always trying to find certain stars
in the australian sky…tho she mostly couldnt
so obsessed with finding the big or little dippers was she
that some people started calling her k.j. dipper n then
just dipper
believe it or not
this has nothing to do with the song, really
so after dinner
i probably snuck off to get out of any washing up
and i had a smoke of neils purple heads
or maybe it was richards caterpillars
at any rate
i became
as we druggies say in our vernacular
however unlike a good 95% of people who get stoned
and switch off in front of the telly eating toast
or retreat into headphones world with their fave music
(tho i do that too n heartily approve of course)
some people
like me
n ricky rene maymi
n grant mclennan
n a few others i know n know of
(the beatles fr’instance)
we harness the incredible ability of this plant
to inspire new works of art n music
listen to me n listen fucking hard kids
pot may stunt yer growth
it may send nutty people nuttier
it may give ya cancer of the balls…even if youre a woman
it may promote laziness dirtiness lasciviousness
n a bad attitude towards work n war n phoney baloney bullshit
it makes yer teeth yellow
it makes yer breath stink
it makes you eat toast n watch telly
yes i agree
it is definitely addictive
but something
no one can argue with
no n.a. no scientist no sensible “straight” or whatever
can bloody well argue with
it is extremely condusive to certain types of art
that is my claim
and if you contradict that
then you dont know yer arse from yer elbow
yes this is important to the story
no i am not advocating the use of marijuana to anyone
other than geniuses about to create art
alex grey whom i consider the greatest living artist in the world
says this in his incredible book art psalms
cannabis allows the flowing tongues of bards contact with new modes
of knowing and speaking
(and then)
opening the third eye allows the artist
in everyone access to the divine imagination

alex cautions to use cannabis as a sacrament….wise words indeed
i drift to the piano
in the garage/flat out the back
it was an old pianola n slightly out of tune
old childhood toys of my brothers sat on top
the flat was set slightly high up with a little balcony
out onto the lake and the bush
the insects were out there signalling
the nightbirds were singing etc
i sat down at the piano
i played a standard A minor chord with an A bass note one octave down
actually that was probably the way i always approached a piano
just like i always start on a guitar with one of my G chords
being stoned
i could hear a world of possibilities in that chord
to most other muggles
they wooda heard an A minor chord
but me
being a pseudo genius n being loaded on that sacrament
i go
a ha
a ha ha ha ha
and out comes a little chord progression
gee the second chord sounds good with the A sus chord
but a ha ha ha
on the bass note is a fucking F#
not anF or a G or a D but an F#
the rest o the chords kinda unfold without much effort
indeed the whole thing may have taken a minute if that
my chord progression fell out of the sky
into my random half stupid half genius lap
and guess what?
oh happy day
the melody was simply the notes in the chords modulating a little
so i start humming away
after a while (about another minute) i’m bored with this
and ive lost interest in my little creation
n just about to start mucking around with something else
when karin comes in n says thats good
i say you mean this
i play the progression again
she says yeah..thats good
we then worked on it a bit
sketched out some words
and later that night
i did a really wonky version of it on my ensoniq keyboard
which had a little sequencer in it
its the sound of most of earthed n hex etc
anyway this version was pretty rinky dink
i shrugged my shoulders
whatever…and didnt think that much about it
after all i wrote 4 or 5 songs a week….it was just one more
sometime later
i re arranged it for guitar n bass on my home 8 track recorder
the bass guitar playing that low F#
against the acoustic guitar A sus 4
is much more emphatic than when it was being done by the piano
it had a strange feeling when it hit that was unexpected
but after you heard it once
it seemed so obvious
a weird effect n i’m not sure how its done
anyway i just chuck the C and G and A minor in the middle bit
the bit where the bagpipes are…
when i did my demo
( which is very much the same as the final version)
i had left some space for something there
ie i had 16 bars or whatever of just drum machine
after that second double chorus
i was gonna put something really strange in there
this wasnt gonna be a church song after all
because the church wanted to just write together
which was a very good thing
i probably thought this song a candidate
for what would become the slow crack or something..
so i was gonna do something ambient or electronic in there
after having done the guitars n electric guitars n bass n keys n stuff
but i was tired by then
so i stuck in these most obvious of chords
put a bit of e bow on
and wrapped it up
it sat there on a reel for a while
on a shelf
unaware that it was going to be one of the most covered songs ever
to come out of australia
richard ploog heard it one day at my place n was struck with it
he insisted i played it to the group
the other 2 kinda liked it
but our manager heard it n he insisted it went on next record
me..i was kinda like the other 2
i thought it was ok
but richard (who ironically never played on it)
and manager lembo really dug it n thought it was special
the rest is history
arista immediately saw its potential
promising me it would be a mega hit
i scoffed (as did a few others )
but arista were right
on you tube
i was on there yesterday
i searched utmw
n blow me down with a feather
but everyone n their grandmas hyaena has done a version
theres some walloping successful acts
theres some humble gooseballs at home
just so they can post themselves on youtube playing an easy song
“its a great song..its hard to get it wrong”
says mr brandon flowers very kindly at the end of the killers live version
and thats why on youtube
there are tons of gooseballs at home strumming it on the geetar
and posting emselves on the net
utmw has become this decades knocking on heavens door
can you believe it
your humble scribe has written a fucking gen-u-ine standard
they get the fucking words wrong
they almost always get the chords wrong
they leave out bits…who fucking cares
play it how you like it
it doesnt matter
its a standard
instantly recognizable
for any occasion
from a mega-gig
to a bedroom webcam
for weddings funerals parties bar mitzvahs bah humbugs
birthdays celebrations official ceremonies whatever the hell it is
utmw is yer song
easy ambiguous inoffensive yet with that slight sense of intrigue
a bit of ye olde yearning …or something
check em all out on youtube
some fucking woeful versions there are too
get ready to have a good laugh
i did
i wasnt laughing at them though
i was laughing in delight
that my simple easy song
has gone on to become
an institution in its own right
its an extremely funny thing to watch
coming very soon you will hear more of it
in a big hbo series
and in a big movie just out
hey…its that kinda song

81 Responses to “utmw”

  1. avatar
    emeb | 24 October 2009 at 5:19 am #

    Love it & thanks for the background.

    Have noticed that there's a car commercial using a cover of it here in the US for the last few weeks. Not so crazy about that, but I hope you're getting something out of that.


  2. avatar
    loolaabillions | 24 October 2009 at 5:51 am #


    you know
    everything happens
    for some
    i imagine
    you wish
    you knew
    what you
    were looking for……xx

  3. avatar
    glynnisjohns | 24 October 2009 at 5:52 am #

    The one version with the melodicas was quite inspired.

    i don't give a fig how popular this
    audio albatross is.

    it will always be listened to till the end in my presence.

    the bridge bit is the kicker…
    i like to wonder how sounds are made and that bit had my head wondering for years.


  4. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 7:02 am #

    Good one sk.

    Peace & love

  5. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 7:48 am #

    How nice for you! That song really deserves the world`s attention!

  6. avatar
    Richard | 24 October 2009 at 8:42 am #

    it's odd
    UTMW isn't my favourite of your songs
    but it spends as much time in my head as any other
    it seems to 'fit' there somehow

  7. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 24 October 2009 at 9:37 am #

    by itself it's a wonderful song….

    in the context of starfish it's magnificent……

    love always…..

  8. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 9:50 am #

    use as a sacrament…
    I'm going to use that when I discuss pot with my 14 yr ols muso son.
    It's a great line/angle.

    I know I enjoy the stuff and find it very usefull but worry about the new strains of hydro… and just generaly worry as a parent,

    but emphasising use as a sacrament is the way to go.

    and it must be a gas watching your song take on a life of it's own…and hopefully the cash will follow.

  9. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 10:16 am #

    UTMW is even my dads fav song!

    it's a brillliant track from a brilliant artist who has written so many of my favs

    Aura !


  10. avatar
    b Charlie c | 24 October 2009 at 10:29 am #

    I wonder if you ever wonder how many folks have been touched by utmw…I know when I try to explain my fave band the church to newbies, all I have to do is play utmw and shazam!…theres that familier grin and the always same response…"ahh yes…" Beautiful song by an even more wonderful band…

  11. avatar
    Shawn El | 24 October 2009 at 11:20 am #

    I agree with you SK, it's hard to put a finger on what makes this song special to so many. I don't think it's *that* great in comparison to many of your other n the cherch's works. I always have been more fond of the acoustic version with the muffled harmonica-sounding solo in place of bagpipe in fact, and think the regular studio and album version are a little on the cheesy side in terms of production value. It's a very lovable song though, some great memorable lyrics in there that only previewed some of your best turns of phrase to come in the 2000's. Hope you're getting some windfall from the continued commercial use.

  12. avatar
    fantasticandy | 24 October 2009 at 11:41 am #

    so glad your'e beginning to like again the song youv'e considered a millstone for so long.
    it IS a classic.

  13. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 11:43 am #

    I love this version, his voice is great, she is cool

  14. avatar
    matt davison | 24 October 2009 at 12:57 pm #

    Hmmm, Well' I am more interested in Telepath and Crash/ride… -Anyway good work killer, that song is the door to the Crunch and it is bloody awesome! BTW… sooo there you go!! just went to Shane Carter AKA Dimmer… Very loud and Very very good "Shane say's Gidday mate"…


  15. avatar
    lily was here | 24 October 2009 at 1:19 pm #

    the child that exploded into the universe. congratulations on all it's successes!


  16. avatar
    iseult | 24 October 2009 at 1:20 pm #

    lovely story
    most beautiful detail
    I just found this

  17. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 24 October 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    Nice video for Operetta, Richard! πŸ™‚

  18. avatar
    matthew | 24 October 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    So well I remember keenly awaiting, then grabbing a 12-inch vinyl single copy of aforementioned song… after listening, fascinated, I perceived something had shifted significantly in the Chruch's universe… this was certainly a new heyday dawning!

    (in a sad sidenote, my UTMW 12 inch went missing after a house move circa 1988, along with many other cool vinyl artifacts including Marty & Peter's first solo outings!)(Marta [surname?], former housemate – if you're out there, even reading this – contact me!!!)

    Oh yeah, and the A minor with F# bass was immediately recognizable, apparent and effective!


  19. avatar
    matthew | 24 October 2009 at 2:29 pm #

    PS – bring The Church to Canberra already! C'mon, it's been several years…

  20. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 2:32 pm #

    Steve –
    First off, I hope with increased UTMW play you will see some finacial rewards. You've been pretty open about how you had it & lost it after UTMW. But at least you & the Church kept going & creating great new music; you deserve at least a positive bank balance every month.

    UTMW (for me anyway) is a song that literally gives me goosebumps everytime I hear it. Don't know how to describe the effect other than it's like a key that opens something in my brain. There are a few other songs that have same effect on me (Chameleons 'Is It Any Wonder' for example). I'm guessing UTMW is popular not becuase it's 'commercial' but becuase you found something that tapped into something common with a part of the population (your scribe Robert Lurie comes to mind).

    So my guess here is that it is doing something similar

  21. avatar
    cazziem | 24 October 2009 at 2:37 pm #

    It was really great to learn how UTMW came about. With so many of your wonderful songs, I listen and find myself in another time and place, then wonder where, when, how and why these masterpieces were created. With regard to the numerous good, bad and ugly renditions of this simplistically created yet awesome sounding track, the least these performers should do is acknowledge the fact that they wouldn't all be on YouTube without you!!!

    The only drug I've had any experience of, and am sadly still addicted to, is the killer drug nicotine, which never enhanced my creativity in any way. However, I recently found out that marijuana could actually be more beneficial for a medical condition I have than all the different drugs the doctors have given me over the last 10 years, and might even mean I can avoid surgery; and if it helps me rediscover my β€˜in’ now that my kids have grown up and can I focus on my own future, so much the better!

  22. avatar
    veleska1970 | 24 October 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    it's a wonderful song by a wonderful band. you are justified to be proud of your creation. you know it is being used for an advertisement here in the states. i hope you are receiving some kind of royalties from it.

    thanks for your blog today.

    lotza love….

  23. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    So now you just need to give the Record Company the long awaited
    Blobfish album you have been keeping under wraps all these years.

    Let um have it! Hey put that song Ancient World on it as a bonus track will ya?


  24. avatar
    Belfrank | 24 October 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    It's not the Church's best song by a long way, bit it hooked me in as a 16 year old kid in Belfast in the late 80's and look what it gave me. Your music keeps on giving and I thank you all for that every day SK.
    Great great blog – even for a non smoker.

  25. avatar
    sanfoin | 24 October 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    Interesting bit of history.

    I well remember hearing that song for the first time on the radio when I was a teen and thinking how magical the song sounded, especially the chorus. It was so alluring and beautiful…

    Later, after I had learned to play music myself, I thought, "what's that F# doing in there? it doesn't fit the chords." Now I know it's the other way round!

    Funny too, I assumed K J Dipper was a clever allusion to angel dust.

    Goes to show:
    You never know

  26. avatar
    Freddie | 24 October 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    I really enjoyed reading this blog about the evolution of utmw.
    As much as i like utmw, I was never obsessed with it
    the way i was about some of the P=A stuff.
    Y’all got me with that one and Untitled is my second fav.
    Ya talented genius.
    (hugs) ooooo

  27. avatar
    vortex | 24 October 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    first song i ever learned on acoustic guitar…i think it was 2 weeks after the song first came out….
    of course i still don't know the correct chords or ever bothered to double check the lyrics.
    what does "lowerin the curtain down on Memphis" have to do with an Australian bloke…ah who cares.
    brilliant song regardless.

    and if i get stoned i can't not write music…it's always been that way for me.
    I can't sleep or eat when i'm high…too full of whatever i'm tapping into in the universe.

  28. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 6:09 pm #

    i never knew u wrote that dude!

  29. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 24 October 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    Every person I know that's Heard UTMW loves it. I think it's probably The Church's 35 best song.

    Marley, MACCA and The ORB (Doctor Alex Paterson) would concur about weed and creativity. The ORB's music is very trippy !

  30. avatar
    EDD | 24 October 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    Wish I had written it……

  31. avatar
    stealthblue | 24 October 2009 at 8:27 pm #

    Ya SEE??? It IS one of those songs that just…gets ya!! I mean, I had heard the Church a couple of years before Starfish thanks to my estranged cousin who thought he was Marty's long lost double. Anyway, he gave me a tape of some earlier stuff, but back then I thought it was cool and all, but it I don't think I appreciated yet how much that music would influence me and my creation. (That came years later …with the SACRAMENT!! Ha-ha! Coming of age thing I guess; 18 wise years old!) πŸ™‚ When I was about 14-15 I reckon is when UTMW was a hit, and I IMMEDIATELY fell in love with it and its strummy 12 strings and swirly sound…right up my alley. No doubt. I went out and found a single (Musk was the b-side, right?) and then it hit me …THIS IS THE CHURCH, that really cool, "DIFFERENT" band from the tape!!! I was floored, bought the Starfish album and listened to it over, and over, and over…and the rest is history. My life and outlook was forever changed and shaped in more ways than I could even decribe, Steve. In so many ways you and the band became mentors to me, and that is that. So, THANK YOU for finishing that special song, and thank you for partaking in that sacrament, and loving and working with Karin on UTMW. I know it ain't your fave little diddy, but it is what it is…it's the glue that bonds more than you probably even know. It seems though that you can sort of see that now. πŸ™‚ Anyway, my brother, this world and my life wouldn't be the same without you and the likes of The Church. I am truly thankful for that.

    As always, all the best to you and yours…

    Lots o' P&L,

    Ben V.

  32. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 9:22 pm #

    I always find the intro of UTMW very similar to the chorus of Youth Worshipper, but it seems I'm the only person to feel like that. It's funny both songs are composed by Kilbey/Jansson.

  33. avatar
    dc | 24 October 2009 at 9:26 pm #

    i was a college DJ at a small ag university in Oregon when UTMW came out. i didn't know the Church that well, although i had given the "Heyday" songs a spin on my show a few times and enjoyed them.

    the UTMW 12-inch showed up in the "new releases" box on a friday afternoon during my show; i played it on the air for the first time and was transfixed. i remember discussing what an extraordinary song it was with my friend and fellow DJ "Mr. Wright" (who came on after my show), and turning over the record cover in our hands as though it held talismanic properties.

    turns out, it did.

  34. avatar
    Rockystar | 24 October 2009 at 9:34 pm #

    great song and still kinda unknown, first heard utmw in an irish pub, acoustic version with harmonica, been a huge church fan ever since.

  35. avatar
    linjo | 24 October 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    I have spent quite a few nights under the stars at Smiths Lake as I have a friend there I visit. Wow, I will always think of that song now, could put Smithys on the map Steve. Its probably one of the cheapest places to buy a house by the water in NSW. Last time I looked about $250,000 for a good 4 bed home. Lovely blog thanks Steve. xxx

  36. avatar
    Anonymous | 24 October 2009 at 11:31 pm #

    Does this mean you can get your teeth fixed and the taxman off your back? Hope so.

  37. avatar
    Saint Louie | 25 October 2009 at 12:04 am #

    Man Steve, great backround history on that song. Ya know, I'll admit it…that was the first song I heard from you guys and I was driving home from a crummy job (Ponderosa deep frying and cooking greasy crap)…I drove home all greasy and was half way home listenin' to the radio in thos days (which i haven't really done in many years btw).

    Anyway, I drove home and was driving over this bridge and it was a nice clear night with the stars shining, and a very nice fall night over here like tonight is…man your UTMW song came on and I was hooked…it took me to a place far away from my crummy job at the time and other stuff. It was far out and kicked ass! I went out to buy the record right away and that was 88' and I I've been with you guys since….what a wonderful journey it's been too. You've been kickin' ass ever since bro!

    21 years later and 4 concerts I've been to I WOULD NOT believe I would still be here and ACTUALLY talking with you…there was a time or decade that you and The Church were mysteries and you still are in you own right.

    Maybe that's why whenver I listen to The Church I think of The Fall and this time of year…love that sense of season in your music.

    Your right though…simple song and you guys have SO Damn many other songs out there that I'm surprised others you've done didn't get that airplay or hit as UTMW did? Hmmmm, goes to show you that maybe it's right place right time….plus MTV prob helped a lot to promote it by the video…not much videos nowadays and iPods are rampant…I would think it's hard to get any hit out there nowadays with newspapers going under, radio only plays commercials, and there's only reality tv on VH1 n MTV now?

    I'm just glad you guys got the chance you did to have that moment, but it's still not over…


  38. avatar
    Richard | 25 October 2009 at 12:12 am #

    have been thinking lately that tourism Australia could do a whole new overseas campaign based around UTMW

    it would be themed around Australia at night and would start with early evening/sunset shots (beaches, uluru, opera house, campers) before eventually moving to things like mardi gras and the aust day fireworks etc during the solo

    lyrics would all fit very nicely (maybe change memphis to alice)

    there'd be a caption at the end showing the name of the song with "down" scribbled in front of it

    all very corny I know – but it would keep the panther in fine t-shirts and primo sacrament for many years to come!

    (thanks Thomas – you might be interested in this as well US09 )

  39. avatar
    Anonymous | 25 October 2009 at 12:15 am #

    nice to hear you mention karin's part in it again, she obviously had the magic in her

  40. avatar

    …just for the record
    it was "our" formal introduction…

    …stoned immaculate i too
    tv on in another room…

    …some say the glittering moments
    jangle decades…

    …twelve years i tried to
    play that song on a 12 string…

    …i inherited from my grandmom
    merrill side…

    …spacial concepts easily are
    generated in my subversive mind…

    …lower the curtain a guitarist
    of the many things i am

    i am not…


  41. avatar
    davem | 25 October 2009 at 5:47 am #

    Let's hope it brings you a few quid.
    Over here 99.99% of folk haven't heard of UTMW. But many have seen Donnie Darko…and the party scene. It would be great to think this latest movie will open a few doors for you and the band.
    Thanks for a lovely insight into the making of a beautiful song.

  42. avatar
    Jasperina | 25 October 2009 at 6:10 am #

    Steve, you made people happy with that song.

  43. avatar
    September years | 25 October 2009 at 7:27 am #

    This song has got me laid, a bonus.

  44. avatar
    mahatma kane jeeves | 25 October 2009 at 8:23 am #

    very interesting blog today. you may like this though you might not be able to get it in oz, worth a try – watched it last night and it was excellent,

  45. avatar
    fantasticandy | 25 October 2009 at 8:24 am #

    that's a really nice pic of you.

  46. avatar
    matt davison | 25 October 2009 at 12:09 pm #

    Richards on the money…

  47. avatar
    bc | 25 October 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    to have a giant hit song (plus the multitudes of incredible songs you have written) to point to when others attempt to demonize this gift of nature…thank you sk!!

  48. avatar
    Nick | 25 October 2009 at 7:38 pm #

    great story thanks steve!

  49. avatar
    princey | 25 October 2009 at 9:55 pm #

    Your versions of utmw (electric and acoustic) are killers, killer, the others just don't cut it!
    Missed you yesterday,
    love Amanda

  50. avatar
    rectumripper666 | 25 October 2009 at 10:06 pm #

    I got censored! and anon didn't! that makes me sad

  51. avatar
    simonlawlor | 25 October 2009 at 10:14 pm #

    so thats the official begining of this great (australia's best ever!) song?

    no hash bar in amsterdam?
    no cruising the streets of vegas?

    i hope so – it's perfect

  52. avatar
    fantasticandy | 25 October 2009 at 11:35 pm #

    great vidz richard!

  53. avatar
    Warpedjohn | 26 October 2009 at 12:35 am #

    In the 70's and 80's I spent a fair bit of time in Nepal. Sometimes trekking in the Himalayas . I always travelled with a tape player and home-made cassettes . UTMW was on one mix-tape.
    Believe me it was a profound experience sitting round a fire with a group of strangers from around the world hearing UTMW while looking at the night sky over the hugest mountains in the world.

  54. avatar
    Damien | 26 October 2009 at 12:40 am #

    I did a gig with my band on Saturday night and we had to pull a few songs out of our collective unconscious to fill out the time we were alloted. At the rehearsal that afternoon our guitarist suggested UTMW, so I relinquished my bass, was given her guitar and led the group through it.

    Needless to say, at the gig, the song went down a storm. It was the first time I'd ever played a six string on stage before too.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Perth next month, Steve.

  55. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 October 2009 at 3:41 am #

    Steve: just heard the LincolnMercury car ad version during the Yanees-Angels playoff game tonight on television, so thousands of people will go to sleep tonight with your melody in theirs heads.A wonderful thing. -Mike in Chicago.

  56. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 26 October 2009 at 5:36 am #

    …have to agree with andy, veleska…great piccy!

    peace and love….

  57. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 October 2009 at 8:16 am #

    'Wish I knew what you were looking for
    Might've known what you would find'

    Now is that not the kind of phrase that would make perfect sense for a search engine?

    (Wouldn't worry about the context as far as ' and it's something quite peculiar…etc. goes. Here in the UK they've cut a Buzzcocks song so that all it says is 'Everybody's Happy now…').

  58. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 October 2009 at 8:42 am #

    So who was this black woman you met that inspired it?

  59. avatar
    Druggie | 26 October 2009 at 9:07 am #

    Steve, what's up with the drug awareness message, lol?

  60. avatar
    heatherdaydream | 26 October 2009 at 10:12 am #

    and great after stories y'all


  61. avatar
    heatherdaydream | 26 October 2009 at 10:12 am #


  62. avatar
    ross b | 26 October 2009 at 10:28 am #

    Somethings in life are symbolic of circumstance. As I was finishing high school in Oct '87 a song came on MTV and the radio that blew my mind and gave me a hint of new horizons and potentials. Still does. In '87 I liked the band, went to see them and have continued to love them more and more to this day.

    Universality can't be defined, but this song has it, it can't be denied.

    I'm not sure but I may have been at the gig where you first played the song – if you started your tour at the Tivoli in Dec '87 I was there to witness and enjoy it. I recall the song received such a rapturous reception even though it had just been released, and I remember the band all looking quite pleased with it.

    Loved your story about the song's conception!

  63. avatar
    A. Kite | 26 October 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    Never was able to truly harness the power you speak of while being sacramental. I suppose that was part of my undoing. Now, the Martin just sits in the closet. And the last time I was sacramental was your last gig in Atlanta. Great post, SK. UTMW was the first Church song I ever heard and it's been love for you and the band ever since. Although you didn't mention UTMW's neurotic cousin, "Anna Miranda", which is very similar in chord structure and also has the "Wish I knew…" line. That must have also come about around the same time, yes?

  64. avatar
    Anonymous | 26 October 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    It was the song that meant everything for a young boy on the Canadian Prairies watching the northern lights during harvest time in the late 1980s and it is still THE song that means everything and nothing (Telepath, So that love may find us and Anthem X are just as beautiful but they've have come to me as an adult and so carry a different vibration/feeling). There are some beautiful versions of utmw (e.g. The Commonwealth Games, Nicole Atkins) but the original still sends shivers through me and I play it as the final song whenever I move or change workplaces. Thank you for pulling this song that is so very special for so many of us out of the ether.

  65. avatar
    John Garratt | 26 October 2009 at 3:30 pm #

    This is going to sound bad, very bad, but…

    …before I knew who the Church was…

    …I couldn't stand the song. The only, only, ONLY reason being that my brother wouldn't stop playing the tape in his bedroom. I got sick of it fast. But I was, like, ten years old and didn't know shit about anything.


  66. avatar
    Shirley Sally | 26 October 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    I was in Turkey on holiday in the late '80s and me and my husband had gone along to a small shack on the road for a drink and something to eat. We had gotten friendly with the folk who ran the place and they put on a tape my husband had brought along and turned the volume up. When UTMW came on their sone who was about ten got excited and dragged us out onto the road away from the lights into the darkness and pointed up at the start to show us what he called "The Milky Street" – ther is was, glowing away in the huge black Turkish sky and the music booming out. Every time I hear it, that song takes me straight back to that place and time – wonderful memories of happy holidays another life ago. Thanks for writing it.

  67. avatar
    EDD | 26 October 2009 at 7:36 pm #

    Hey Steve. I remember back in 1991, you guys did one of the first mtv unplugged. I taped it but lost the tape. Anybody got that performance on tape? I'd love to see it again. I haven't checked youtube. Please let me know. I remember Metropolis very well from that. Still a favorite.

  68. avatar
    Zuma | 26 October 2009 at 9:35 pm #

    A good song will appear after composing many marginal songs, a great song appears after a lot of hard work, glad arista for seeing potential, right place, right time, stars crossed, under the milky way, a high note, and in total agreement with all that jazz.

  69. avatar
    Ellen | 26 October 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    If I was stuck on an island and could only listen to five songs for rest of my life, UTMW would be on that list.

    I've heard several versions on YouTube and they are quite entertaining. Some of them pretty good, some of them … well …

    I guess I'm one of those "straights" you talk about. Never did drugs so there is absolutely NO way I can talk about it, but a dear friend of mine was a committed "pothead" and he would get high, lie on the coach and listen to "Stairway to Heaven."

    Thanks for revealing how one of the greatest songs of all time came into existence.

  70. avatar
    Anonymous | 27 October 2009 at 3:02 am #

    U2 is coming to Seattle next year, playing Qwest Field as part of the 360 Tour on June 20, according to the band's Web site. Tickets go on sale next month. For details, keep checking the band's site:

  71. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 27 October 2009 at 4:53 am #

    y'all ok down there?

    love always….

  72. avatar
    Mary | 27 October 2009 at 5:14 am #

    thanks anon 2:02pm now i know where u2 is going to be and how to avoid there site, they suck, but u can go, and have a boring time lol
    love ya steve!


  73. avatar
    Anonymous | 27 October 2009 at 5:20 am #

    utmw has literally saved my life on several instances. My cousin was in a wheelchair for many years, he heard utmw one time and immediately was able to tap dance and now he is on broadway. Thanks Steve!

  74. avatar
    Anonymous | 27 October 2009 at 10:45 am #

    it would've been even better with peter's guitar solo on it. fuckin fake bagpipes indeed. wachtel said that him n ladanyi pieced it together on a computer while you lot were rehearsing another song and you didn't even hear it til they'd finished it.

  75. avatar
    Rubikon | 27 October 2009 at 12:39 pm #

    I must admit when Starfish came out I never knew of your US success back here in the UK and didn't even think UTMW was the best track on the album (Reptile is my favourite – I just love your bass playing on that – 5 string bass?). I just tought the whole album was great with hardly a weak track on it. I love the mood of UTMW and the opening line just sends shivers of delight up and down my spine (like all great music does).

    I will admit to playing UTMW in in a least 2 different bands I've been involved in (I'm not completely sure If I used the correct chords πŸ˜‰ – (Marty and Pete (I presume) are playing slightly different parts on the album version).

    I hope you're getting some just financial rewards for the upcomong movie and HBO series.

  76. avatar
    Anonymous | 27 October 2009 at 7:58 pm #

    I'm glad you and Karin are finally getting some recognition – and, I hope, some well deserved royalties -from the mainstream on this. I think the secret to the popularity of UTMW is its relative simplicity.

    Good on ya's.

    San Diego

  77. avatar
    Mark | 27 October 2009 at 11:19 pm #

    All of the covers of it suck, especially the Killers' version.

    It's a great song, and you've written many other excellent songs, but for some reason it's got a certain ability to draw people in. I can't for the life of me understand why you guys don't have a renaissance of popularity.

  78. avatar
    wtbaucom | 28 October 2009 at 4:07 am #

    …its that kinda song
    and…….. and somewhere on some North Carolina back road way out in the country a 16 year old boy driving his 1984 Toyota Celica in middle of the night hears it on a college radio station and music never sounds the same again! Thanks Karin for stepping and being the first to notice, and thanks Steve being damn genius!

  79. avatar
    j. d'agostino | 31 October 2009 at 3:04 am #

    one of my favorite songs of all time, and yes every band i have ever been in has indeed covered it… i play (fender) bass also, and that's tricky to play the verse and sing it at the same time! the chorus – especially the keyboard swell – hits you right there, musically and lyrically. brilliant. i've been stuck on gold afternoon fix for the past two weeks, "laughing" is my new favorite…

  80. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 October 2009 at 5:40 am #

    I just heard UTMW for about the kazillionth time on American telly, at least once per hour on each station. Would I consider myself stoned if I suddenly go out and buy a Lincoln Continental for some strange reason?

    I'd think you've cast a spell all over again. So you're sellin' nice cars, eh? I like hearing your song mainstream. You know, I heard Reptile the other day on commercial radio in a set that began with M. J. before The Church, and followed up by The Beatles. Star power, baby.

    With Love,

    Laurie Garrison

  81. avatar
    eek | 3 November 2009 at 8:34 am #

    UTMW will always hold a special place in my heart as it's the song that intorduced me to the Church. It's also one of those songs I always find hard to switch off once it begins to play.

    It's always cool to know others appreciate it too.

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