Under The Milky Way
Almost With You
Ladies & Gentleman – What more can we say about this most iconic band than that which has been both said & written by thousands upon thousands the world over! However, what we can say without hesitation is that we here at IMC HQ have always been a little overwhelmed and quite honoured to be working with one of Australia’s finest (& most respected) musical exports… the church.
We don’t want to stumble over words hence we have borrowed bit’s & pieces from the official THE CHURCH biography + more. Thus, for your reading pleasure, we present a condensed version of an incredible & important story – ie; the ongoing chapters of the church.
Mention the church to your typical music lover, and inevitably the spectre of their biggest hit, “Under the Milky Way,” haunts the conversation (it’s pretty much inevitable that everyone knows that tune, with its crystalline 12-string guitars and its bagpipe solo). You might not know, however, that the Australian neo-psychedelic standard bearers behind that incredible creation have released more than a twenty one lush, elegant albums, (+ compilations) or that their refined and intricate music – distinguished by bassist Steve Kilbey’s mordant tenor, guitarists Marty Willson-Piper’s and Peter Koppes’ understated playing, and the melodic pulse of drummer/producer Tim Powles, continues to inspire world-wide devotion.
Now on their 30th Anniversary the church continue to redefine what it is to be a band – evolving without compromise into one of the world’s most acknowledged rock groups. Guiding the band though the ‘80s and ‘90s with a combination of chemistry, talent and a desire for excellence, their unique and distinctive guitar sounds and thought-provoking lyrics have succeeded in inspiring both the audience and the critics’ imagination the world over. In recent years the band have continued on their creative trajectory and with their induction into the 2010 ARIA Hall Of Fame, they have been able to reflect on their huge body of work as they continue to be prolific and pursue their artistic aspirations both live and in the studio.
From the debut album Of Skins and Heart (including the national hit The Unguarded Moment) to the artistically and commercially successful Starfish, charting high in both Australia and the USA, ( featuring the ubiquitous Under The Milky Way and guitar driven Reptile), through to 2009’s lush, organic masterpiece Untitled #23, lead vocalist and bassist Steve Kilbey, guitarists Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper and drummer Tim Powles (now an active member of the band for 17 years), have continued as the church through three whole decades to pleasure their fans with a unerring sense of space, melody, beat driven prose and sonic charm.
Rolling Stone Australia gave their last album Untitled #23 an unprecedented 5 star review – “a stunningly ambitious album of shimmering rock”. In the USA Rolling Stone commented, “the church have truly reaffirmed themselves as one of the world’s leading melodic art-rock bands, regarded by critics as “a powerful, progressive force in rock music”, playing “the most ethereal sounds this side of paradise” and have remained one of the world’s most innovative and enigmatic groups justifying praises from the press including “Best guitar band on Earth”, “Sonic perfection”, “Sounds that caress the senses”. “A masterpiece of stealth”.
Having followed a chequered yet auspicious path, the church undoubtedly remain one of Australia’s greatest (& most distinguished) musical exports. They continue to release incredible music with which their self-styled freedom from the burden of expectations allows them to fashion and make that music as they desire and see fit; without regard for current trend or the market, trusting in the traditional virtues of talent, chemistry and good taste to guide them, the essence of an approach that has served them well for over twenty years. As one critic stated, their “timeless, placeless songs hang in the air with a humid presence, like half remembered objects, mysterious and inviting.”
(with excerpts transcribed from “THE CHURCH” by Matthew Falk, Foundation- First Avenue issue 21 April 2002 )
Members of the church – present and past:
PRESENT: Steve Kilbey, Peter Koppes, Tim Powles, Marty Willson-Piper
PAST: Nick Ward (1980-81), Richard Ploog (1982-90), Jay Dee Daugherty (1990-93)
the church – An Important Timeline
• 1980 the church play their first gigs in Sydney, Australia.
• 1981 Debut album Of Skins And Heart makes the Top 30. The Unguarded Moment single hits #22. Original drummer Nick Ward leaves, Richard Ploog joins the band.
• 1982 US debut combines Of Skins And Heart and Too Fast For You EP. Sing Songs EP released. Classic second album The Blurred Crusade hits Australian Top 10. Almost With You is another hit reaching #21.
• 1983 Seance album serves notice of more experimental, atmospheric intent.
• 1984 Persia and Remote Luxury EP’s released in Australia. Remote Luxury album released outside Australia.
• 1985 Heyday album breaks Australian Top 15, becomes global cult classic.
• 1986 Steve Kilbey releases first solo album, a precedent Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes soon embrace with gusto.
• 1988 Starfish LP #11 in Australia, marks new worldwide commercial peak. Under the Milky Way, #24 in US, #22 in Australia wins Best Single ARIA 1989. (Australian Recording Industry Association Award)
• 1990 Gold Afternoon Fix LP. Richard Ploog leaves the band. Metropolis single reaches #19.
• 1991 A Quick Smoke At Spot’s rarities compilation.
• 1992 Priest = Aura, Jay Dee Daugherty long time drummer from The Patti Smith Group temporarily joins the band. A new career high as the album becomes fan favourite and signals the end of an era.
• 1994 Kilbey and Willson-Piper reconvene for epic Sometime Anywhere set with guest drummer Tim Powles on some tracks, then tour as acoustic duo.
• 1996 Magician Among the Spirits. Koppes makes guest appearance that leads to full band tour, with drummer / producer Tim Powles completing most cohesive church line-up.
• 1998 Hologram of Baal cements new line-up, Bastard Universe first 70-minute improvised album.
• 1999 A Box of Birds covers album.
• 2001 Under The Milky Way features in cult classic film Donnie Darko
• 2002 After Everything Now This achieves biggest international success in almost 10 years. Parallel Universe remix album.
• 2003 Forget Yourself sparks another sweeping world tour headed by a stunning launch at the Sydney Opera House.
• 2004 Three albums find the band at a new peak of creative health: Jammed is second 58-minute improvised album, Beside Yourself a second B-sides compilation, El Momento Descuidado first Liberation Blue acoustic album, the latter featuring re-invention of classic songs alongside new material initiates trading of instruments as an element of live performances.
• 2005 Back With Two Beasts, outtakes album with another selection of strong songs. El Momento Descuidado nominated for ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary album.
• 2006 Uninvited, Like The Clouds released to rapturous reviews, band performs Under The Milky Way with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to open Commonwealth Games.
• 2007 Tour with The Pretenders in Australia, EMI release double CD Deep In The Shallows – The Classic Singles Collection.
• 2008 Collaboration with renowned American Science Fiction writer Jeff VanderMeer unleashes the eerie, Shriek: Excerpts From The Soundtrack, a companion soundtrack to his latest book.
• 2009 Coffee Hounds EP released. Untitled #23 and two EP’s from the album Pangaea and Operetta released with extra tracks. Double vinyl version of the album sells out quickly. Yet another major international tour follows. The “So Love May Find Us Tour” kicks off in Australia and continues into North America. The band establishes its own Unorthodox label through MGM in Australia to release their music.
• 2010 EMI re release the first four albums in luxury packaging with extra tracks, rare photos and detailed sleeve notes written by Marty Willson-Piper. EMI simultaneously release a new compilation, The Best Of The Radio Songs. The unique “An Intimate Space 30th Anniversary Acoustic Tour” with 28 page program and EP of unreleased material included in the ticket price, begins in the USA and rolls towards Australia, performing a song from each album in reverse chronological order. The Church are inducted in to the ARIA Hall Of Fame by George Negus
• 2011 After years of planning, The Church celebrate their 30th anniversary with a sold out concert event under the banner of ‘A Psychedelic Symphony held at the Sydney Opera House performing with noted conductor, George Ellis and his 70 piece orchestra. The event was again introduced by the legendary George Negus.
Stay tuned for important tour news.
Albums / Lp’s
|Steve Kilbey (vocals, bass)||Of Skins and Hearts (1981)|
|Peter Koppes (guitar)||The Church (1982) USA|
|Marty Willson-Piper (guitar)||The Church (1981) UK|
|Tim Powles (drums)||The Blurred Crusade (1982)|
|Remote Luxury (1984)|
|Gold Afternoon Fix (1990)|
|A Quick Smoke at Spots(1991)|
|Sometime Anywhere (1994)|
|Magician Among The Spirits (1996)|
|Hologram of Baal (1998)|
|Magician Among The Spirits and Some(1998)|
|A Box of Birds (1999)|
|After Everything Now This (2001)|
|Parrallel Universe (2002)|
|Forget Yourself (2003)|
|Beside Yourself, El Momento Descuidado, Jammed (2004)|
|Back With Two Beasts (2005)|
|Uninvited Like The Clouds (2006)|
|El Momento Siguiente (2007)|
|Shriek: Excerpts From The Soundtrack (2008)|
|Untitled #23 (2009)|
|Untitled #23 (2009)||www.thechurchband.net|