The Church – then and now

I did an interview on my radio show this morning on 4ZZZ with Tim Powles, drummer and producer of The Church. It was nominally about the 30th anniversary tour the band is about to embark on – including shows in Brisbane this month – but it really went more to the history of the band and where they and the music industry is at these days.

I remember watching The Church perform their initial hit – ‘Unguarded Moment’ – on Countdown around about 1981. I also remember a few years later playing in a local band as a support act to them in what was then called the Hacienda Hotel in Brunswick St in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley. (the name changed not too long after to Dooley’s Hotel, and in recent time the Valley Hotel – it might even be something else now).  The main thing I remember about that show was the stage being positioned in the middle of the long side of a long rectangle, rather than at the top of said rectangle – meaning most people were standing to the side rather than in front (and the associated issues with getting the sound ‘right’).

I have far more vivid memories a year or two later supporting The Church at the student union/guild club/bar at QUT (it may have still been QIT then – it’s hard to keep up with all these name changes). The main thing I remember was the ‘reward’ of being the support band, which included having being part of the crew lugging the PA out of the venue after the show was finished. This included having to lug some massive speaker boxes down some steep steps with a 180 degree turn in them – now that I think of it, that might even be where my long-standing back pains started.

Anyway, I didn’t self-indulgently raise any of those memories during my interview today – I thought I’d just mention them on this blog, given blogs are all about self-indulgence.

Forgetting about me for a moment, I found it an interesting interview not only in regards to the band’s upcoming tour, (and the world exclusive first ever public mention of The Church’s upcoming April 2011 gig at the Sydney Opera House with orchestral accompaniment), but also because of how it explored the unique journey of the band.

I was especially interested to hear Tim mention that a band who had been around since the vinyl era had been ‘saved by the internet’ – describing them as a band who had “popped through out the gap and on the other side”.  His evocative description of the band was as “the real books on the shelf”

In regards to the eclectic, ever changing nature of the band’s output over 30 years he described them as “a funny mix of The Who and Pink Floyd and The Chemical Brothers and Radiohead and (Brian) Eno and Enya” – and “a big reflective pool or lake for everything that’s happened that’s outer worldly”.

Anyway, he also said their upcoming shows – which will involve one song from every album the band has ever released, along with some insights into the song or the band at that time – will be “probably the most entertaining show The Church have ever done”, which sounds like a pretty good recommendation to me.

You can listen to or download a podcast of the interview at this link:

(and as a (non) disclaimer, I didn’t get paid for this interview/blog post) (although I could probably get a free ticket to their Brisbane show if I asked, (which I might do), but I could have anyway regardless of whether I’d done this blog post or not).

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