||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2013)|
|Birth name||Steven John Kilbey|
13 September 1954 |
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England, UK
|Origin||Canberra, ACT, Australia|
|Genres||Alternative rock, post-punk, new wave, dream pop|
|Occupations||Singer-songwriter, bass guitarist, music producer, poet, painter, record label co-owner|
|Labels||Enigma, Rykodisc, Rough Trade, Vicious Sloth|
|Associated acts||The Church
Steven John Kilbey (born 13 September 1954, Welwyn Garden City, England) is the lead singer-songwriter and bass guitarist for The Church, an Australian rock band. He is also a music producer, poet and painter.
Kilbey began his professional music career at 17 years of age, when he joined a five piece "cabaret band" called 'Saga' in Canberra, Australia. He then joined 'Precious Little', a rock band featuring future Church bandmate Peter Koppes on drums, followed by 'Baby Grande' around 1978 while he lived in Canberra.
Kilbey formed The Church (band), together with Koppes, Nick Ward, and Marty Willson-Piper, in the late 1970s. After some success in their native Australia in the early 1980s, Kilbey and The Church went on to international fame when "Under the Milky Way", from the 1988 album Starfish, achieved success (Kilbey had co-written the song with Karin Jansson of Pink Champagne and Curious Yellow). "Under the Milky Way" appeared in the top-selling singles charts of both Australia and the United States (US) and in late 2011 Kilbey revealed that, at the time of the interview, the song was still used for television programmes and advertisements.
As an act of protest against the conduct of the Church's North American label Second Motion Records, Kilbey announced his resignation from the band in late 2012. The announcement was made on Kilbey's Facebook fan page following the receipt of an insufficient royalty cheque from the record label. Kilbey placed the incident in the broader context of the music industry:
it seems(tho its hard to tell) that the church might have brought in 30 or 40 grand ( i mean starfish alone brought in 6000 on itunes)…but the members of the group got 100 bucks each. i mean he couldnt give us nothing to he came up with 100 bucks each. i am insulted. i have decided to leave the church. this is not a joke. i will complete the current tour and then i’m done. i implore you all not to buy any records from second motion records. as you see none of it will come to us. same as it ever was.
Kilbey has released 14 solo music albums, one EP and has collaborated on recordings with musical artists such as Martin Kennedy, Stephen Cummings and Ricky Maymi as a vocalist, musician, writer and/or producer. One of Kilbey's early solo albums Earthed was released in conjunction with a fictional book of the same name that was also written by Kilbey (published in 1986); the album consists of instrumental electronic music and features another composition that was co-written by Jansson, "The Empire Mourns Her Sun Without Tears". Kilbey's solo albums have been released on various record labels, such as his own 'The Time Being' label, Karmic Hit, North America's Second Motion Records and Melbourne, Australia's Rubber Records.
Alongside Australian artists such as Dan Kelly, The Herd and Archie Roach, Kilbey was one of the contributors to the 2007 Kev Carmody album Cannot Buy My Soul: The Songs Of Kev Carmody. Kilbey recorded a rendition of the song "Images of London" and also performed at the Sydney and Brisbane, Australia concerts for the album.
Kilbey has founded numerous musical projects in addition to The Church, such as Jack Frost, with the late Grant McLennan of Brisbane, Australia band The Go-Betweens—Jack Frost released its debut self-titled album in 1991 and released two full-length albums prior to McLennan's death. Hex (with Donnette Thayer), Gilt Trip (with his brother Russell Kilbey) and Isidore are other examples of Kilbey's musical ventures beyond his primary band.
Between 2009 and 2013, Kilbey has released three collaborative albums with Martin Kennedy of All India Radio. Kennedy explained the inception of the working relationship in a 2013 interview: "I was working with Steve long before I actually met him. Steve had heard All India Radio, and he asked my brother John if I had any spare instrumental songs lying around that he could contribute lyrics to." Kennedy subsequently sent Kilbey “thrown-away tracks” from All India Radio recording sessions.
In addition to Earthed, Kilbey published a book of poetry in 1998 entitled Nineveh/The Ephemeron; Kilbey later republished a hard copy version that contained both books and a limited number of 50 copies was released. In 2013 he released the ironically titled Uncollected which collects all his previously published writings.
The popular song "Under the Milky Way" won the "Best Single of the Year" award at the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards event in 1989. For his work with The Church, Kilbey then accepted, together with his bandmates, an induction into the ARIA "Hall of Fame" in 2010—Kilbey delivered a lengthy speech as part of the induction that included stories from his musical career and a sung verse from the song "Old Man Emu" by Australian country music artist John Williamson.
In 2011, the Australian Songwriters Association inducted Kilbey into the Australian Songwriters Hall Of Fame and Kilbey performed a live rendition of the song with a backing band at the awards ceremony.
As documented in the authorised biography No Certainty Attached (written with Kilbey's involvement), Kilbey was dependent on the drug heroin during the 1990s, an aspect of the musician's personal life that was mostly hidden until Kilbey was arrested on a drug-related charge in 1999 in New York City, US. Kilbey eventually ceased using the drug after a period of detoxification in 2000. In a 2012 interview, Kilbey reflected on his personal history: "I also have a lot of regret that I didn't do it better, that I wasn't a better person, that I wasn't nicer to people or make better records and that at times I would slack off and just do any old thing. I wish I hadn't made so many mistakes with the drugs."
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (July 2013)|
Early in Kilbey's career, many of his lyrics touched upon mysticism. Examples include the lyrics for "Tear It All Away", a 1981 composition that appeared on the Church's Australian single "Too Fast for You" and their first US album. His study of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, while he was immersed in occult exploration, is reflected in the 1982 instrumental "The Golden Dawn" (originally a b-side, but later included on the Church's Hindsight compilation and reissues/remasters of The Blurred Crusade). Kilbey's longstanding interest in the writings of Aleister Crowley appears in his songwriting up until 2003—the line "They say that in the future, every man and woman will be a star" is Kilbey paraphrasing verse I:3 of Crowley's The Book of the Law.
Kilbey has revealed that he and Richard Ploog often visited Sydney's Adyar Bookshop (bookshop of the Theosophical Society) during the 1980s to read books by occultist and mystical authors such as Helena P. Blavatsky, George Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky. Likewise, spiritual mysticism is evident in the lyrics of songs such as "Invisible" from 2002 (first appeared on After Everything Now This), with its refrain: "All I ever wanted to see was just invisible to me." Kilbey's lyrics often quote historical and mythological events, and his interest in Eastern culture and religion frequently informs his music—this also applies to his painting (he often paints Hindu gods and goddesses).
More recently, Kilbey's music features Christian references. In 2009, on stage at The Toff in Town venue in Melbourne, Australia for his performance with Martin Kennedy—released on DVD—Kilbey declares just prior to the encore: "Thank you, Lord! Thank you Jesus!" Furthermore, an indirect Jesus reference appears in the song "African Jesus" from Kilbey's 2013 album The Idyllist.
- Unearthed (1986)
- Earthed (1987)
- The Slow Crack (1989)
- Remindlessness (1990)
- Narcosis EP (1991)
- Narcosis + (1997)
- Acoustic & Intimate (2000) (Note: Kilbey's record label also released VHS and NTSC video versions of this performance - see Karmic Hit)
- Dabble (2001)
- Freaky Conclusions (2003)
- Painkiller (2008)
- Art, Man + Technology (2009)
- Garage Sutra (2012)
- Addenda One (2012)
- Addenda Two (2012)
- The Idyllist (2013)
- Artifacts (2006)
- Monsters N Mirages box set (2010) - released with a bonus mp3 collection The Bedroom Demos
- Hex (1989)
- Vast Halos (1990)
Curious (Yellow) (with Karin Jansson)
- Taken By Surprise (1990)
- Charms and Blues (1990)
- Love Itself (1991) - Single.
Jack Frost (with Grant McLennan of The Go-Betweens):
- Jack Frost (1991)
- Snow Job (1996)
Fake (with Sandy Chick):
- Fake (1994)
Isidore (with Remy Zero's Jeffrey Cain)
- Isidore (2004)
- Life Somewhere Else (2012)
Gilt Trip (with his brother Russell Kilbey)
- Gilt Trip (1997)
- Egyptian Register (2005)
Mimesis (with Simon Polinski)
- Art Imitating Life (2007)
Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy
- Unseen Music, Unheard Words (2009)
- White Magic (2011)
- Instrumental & Ambient Mixes (2009)
- Live at the Toff in Town (2010) - mp3 only release.
- You Are Everything (2013)
- Damage/Controlled (2010)
David Neil (with Ricky Maymi)
- The Wilderness Years (2011)
- Falling Swinger - producer and writer
- Light Sleeper (1998) – guest vocalist
- "Hear In Noiseville" (2009)
- Semaphore(2012) – producer, vocalist, bass and keyboards
- Weakness of the Beautiful Souls (2012) - guest vocalist
- Earthed, Nineveh, and The Ephemeron, 2004, Impressed Publishing, ISBN 978-0-9751618-9-0
- "Steve Kilbey". the church. the church. 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "The Church Perform ‘Starfish’ in its Entirety as it Marks its 25th Anniversary. Watch it Here". Cool Album of the Day. DILAPIDATED. 17. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Nicholas Jones (19). "How The Church Turned Accidental Hit Into Corporate Cash Cow". Tone Deaf. Tone Deaf. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Al Newstead (4). "Steve Kilbey Quits The Church In Outrage Over Label Abuse". Tone Deaf. Tone Deaf. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- B (4). "Frontman Steve Kilbey "I Have Decided To Leave The Church"". One Trick Pony. One Trick Pony. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Sean Sennett; David Gilliver (1994). "Beware The Falling Swinger". Lovetown – the Stephen Cummings site (originally from Time Off magazine). Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Steve Kilbey". Discogs. Discogs. 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Jack Frost (Grant McLennan & Steve Kilbey):: Cambridge, MA 1991". Parasites and Sycophants. Parasites and Sycophants. 16. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "about". The Time Being. The Time Being. 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Ross Clelland (15 May 2013). "STEVE KILBEY & MARTIN KENNEDY You Are Everything". TheMusic.com.au. Street Press Australia Pty Ltd. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- Patrick Emery (May 2013). "Steve Kilbey & Martin Kennedy". Beat. Furst Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 5 July 2013.
- "Earthed, Nineveh, & THe Ephemeron hard bound book by Steve Kilbey". Steve Kilbey – Paintings in pastel and gouache. Steve Kilbey. Unknown. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Jim Murray (29). "The Church Toast Of The Aussie Music Biz". Tone Deaf. Tone Deaf. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "The Australian Songwriters Hall Of Fame". Australian Songwriters Association. Australian Songwriters Association. 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- AustSongwriters (11). "ASA2011Awards 14 Steve Kilbey Under The Milky Way Tonight. Songwriter of the Year ..." (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- Graham Reid (16). "STEVE KILBEY, THE CHURCH, INTERVIEWED (2012): Thirty years of keeping the faith". Elsewhere. Elsewhere Ltd. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- John Bergstrom (29). "No Certainty Attached: Steve Kilbey and The Church by Robert Dean Lurie". Pop Matters. PopMatters.com. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- Robert Dean Lurie. No Certainty Attached: Steve Kilbey and the Church. Portland OR: Verse Chorus Press, 2009, Ch 14 'The Golden Dawn' pp 146-49
- Interview with Leigh Blackmore 2013, for Spirits Undergoing Transformation: Steve Kilbey in Conversation with Chris Beal (forthcoming)
- "Steve Kilbey rarities". the church. the church. 21. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- SLIS (18). "Album Review: Steve Kilbey ‘The Idyllist’". Smells Like Infinite Sadness. Smells Like Infinite Sadness. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "About". Starling. Starling. 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Polaroid Kiss debut with 'Weakness of the Beautiful Souls' album holding massive collaborations". Side-Line Music Magazine. Side-Line. 29. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Steve Kilbey|
- Kilbey's official site
- Kilbey's biography on The Church's official website
- Art gallery selling Kilbey's art
- IMDB entry
- Video interview with Steve on InFrame.tv
- Amplifier Magazine Interview
- Solo acoustic performance
- Kilbey's blog (no longer updated)
- Official website for Isidore