Verse Chorus Verse, 2009
Enigmatic and outspoken member of Australian ex-paisley, ex-pop, now quasi-Space rock adventurers The Church, Steve Kilbey has always been a hard man to put down, let alone encounter. Despite his regular blogging he’s one of the original churlish and resolute pop stars that myths are made of. Tight-lipped and clipped, Steve Kilbey has been known not to suffer fans, fools or fiends lightly.
This biography is about due. The Church’s star has long since ascended and fallen, Kilbey is more a parent than a musician, and his erstwhile bandmates keep themselves busy. The Church is only an occupation while somebody is there to pay the bills. No disrespect to Robert Lurie’s ability as a writer, but his perspective is from a devoted fan, and unfortunately that of an American fan who caught the band well into their career. Beggars can’t be choosers but one wonders if there were people who’s contributions don’t rely so heavily on that of the band and their acquaintances.
Too often he falls into the fan-ish trap of holding Kilbey beyond reprieve. He does undercut the man but often falls under his spell. Those familiar with the band no doubt have their own stories. This writer recalls sitting in the studio during the making of Hologram of Baal whilst Kilbey made many trips to and from the bathroom to shoot up, each time coming back cracking wise, or sitting backstage in Sydney at the Metro before a show, the main conversation points being who’s got the eyeliner, who’s got the coke? Kilbey’s predilection for drugs is universal with The Church and something he’s made no bones about.
If anything, No Certainty Attached left me wanting more Kilbey. It was neither as insightful in the working mind of the artist nor historically in depth as it could’ve been. Church fans are notoriously eager for the dirt behind the dirt. The stories behind the songs. The Unguarded Moments that become Milky Ways. With Kilbey the ever public diarist, such a biography almost becomes null and void. Too often is Kilbey lured into treading the memory boards and soliciting the meat (poor analogy for a voracious vegetarian) for free and leaving Lurie to strip the bones. Like any good artist, Kilbey leaves you wanting more, and you can’t help but feel that despite all his good intentions, Lurie barely scraped the surface.