The Church: Heyday. Purchased April 1986. Thrown Away August 1986. Repurchased January 1988
he Albums that Shaped Me Microblog: The Church Heyday
I spoke at length over the past month about 20 albums that truly inspired and shaped not only my musical outlook, but the mental attitude of who I am. I’m going to continue this micro blog for the foreseeable future but perhaps go off on tangents from time to time. I like tangents. Like a road trip pre-GPS, sometimes it’s just more fun to get lost and meander about.
I bought the January 1986 release of The Church’s fourth studio album sometime around April 1986. It may have been part of a big purchase I made before a long road trip. It lasted a few listens, and several months later around August 1986, when while visiting my friends girlfriend at the Fatima Shine gift shop, it started to hiss. Before it destroyed my Pioneer Supertuner Three cassette deck, I ejected it and threw it away. I just didn’t care for it. Why did I buy it in the first place? Peter Walsh, the producer of Simple Minds New Gold Dream produced this for Arista Records. It was that simple. Walsh amazingly produced New Gold Dream at 21 and was still only 25 when he produced this. It’s always amazing to me when I hear young people say their are no opportunities. You have to make your opportunities. I digress.
Flash forward to March 1988. The submarine I was on, The USS Louisville, relocated to San Diego a month earlier and a Tower Records on Sports Arena Boulevard quickly became my hangout. The “Coming Soon” board stated that The Church would release Starfish in April. The Church had a bigger presence in San Diego. Hailing from Bondi Beach, Sydney Australia, San Diego’s music scene was much more fond of them than a place like Toronto, or even the British music magazines I drew most of my ideas from. I bought Heyday for the second time in advance of Starfish’s release.
I had nothing else to compare it to in terms of the Church’s catalog. I liked the keyboards, the shimmering production, the guitars and the lead singer, Steve Kilbey. The album was a gateway drug. It lead me to solo works which seemed to populate the music “art house ” label Rykodic. Marty Willson-Piper‘s Art Attack blew me away. Peter Koppes ( Peter Koppes – fans of ) Desert Flower Bride was a melancholy masterpiece. Then Starfish came. “…a bucket full of Starfish, warm rain, the long sleep…” A commercial peak but still plenty of elevation yet to climb artistically.
Why do some bands with seemingly little talent (I’m looking at you Aerosmith) make it big, when other bands, bursting with ideas and talent don’t? I dunno, but what I do know through the wisdom of age and perspective is it doesn’t matter. If music truly is art, then it is created not for money, not for clicks or download counts, or oppulant lifestyles, but simply as art. The Church created art and it worked. Kilby’s side project Hex, with a Facebook favorite of mine, Donnette Thayer, created two albums I hold dear and God knows how few they actually sold. It was a brilliant period, too short to contain the creativity that these musicians had.
No story of the music that shaped me could be complete without a discussion of the Church. It didn’t matter how popular they were, they mattered an awful lot to me.