Thursday, December 10, 2009

me and the Church (part 1)

in 1986
when i was 19
my brother and i had a best friend
his name was Jeff G.
he had an older cousin who was Californian and cool
his name was Tom L.
Tom would blow in from CA
and tell us wild stories about all the girls he dated
and all the concerts he’d been to
we sort of admired him
‘cause we’d never done much of anything
one summer he brought a record with him called “Heyday”
it was by a band called the Church
they were from Australia
on the album cover they were sporting colorful paisley shirts in front of a Persian rug
it was strangely exotic
i was intrigued
when “Myrrh” came outta my bedroom speakers for the first time
i was instantly hooked
“emerald haunt in overdrive…nightmare descent into Jericho City/
oh lord i trust your intentions but money strangles our love/struggling like a fool with my junk and my jewels/you would have thought i'd had enough”

with shimmering 12-string guitars
insistent drums and slippery bass
they wove an evocative sonic tapestry
leader/bassist Steve Kilbey could not only turn a phrase but also wrote timeless melodies
i was hooked
“Heydey” overwhelmed me
i played it religiously
within a month i’d tracked down their 4 other records
a couple of them available only as Australian imports

in the early spring of ’86 Jeff called one day
he coolly stated “the Church are coming to Las Cruces”
i said
“what? are you absolutely sure? i don’t believe it…”
“yeah, just read it in the paper…4pm, April 23rd”
the University of New Mexico State was in Las Cruces
about 45 minutes away
they were slated to play there outdoors
i was beyond excited
you see NO ONE cool ever came to play where we lived
it was a heavy metal classic rock wasteland
the day of the show i wanted to drive to Cruces early because i’m nourotic
i wanted to make damn sure nothing went wrong
Jeff was driving so i was at his mercy
he didn’t want to stand around in the hot sun for too long
he burned easily
the whole drive out to Las Cruces i was squirming with anticipation
i had this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was gonna go wrong
when we got there Faris and friend John K. came running up to us
“we only caught their last chord…the show's over now…”
i couldn’t believe it
i grasped at straws
"were they at least coming back for an encore?"
F said "i don't think so...there was hardly anyone here to watch them"
nice job

i stood there in a daze
i was crushed
what a colossal bummer...

i still regret missing the Church play Cruces 23 years later
does anyone out there happen to have a bootleg video?

p.s. 9 years later i ended up playing the same concrete slab they'd played
after watching my vintage SVT bass head topple 5 feet off of my bass cab
with glass tubes spilling out onto the concrete
i decided that for me
this concert site was CURSED FOR ALL TIME!!!


Blogger faris said...

i still remember seeing that SVT head kiss the pavement as if in slo-motion.
crazy though, those things are built like tanks and it was up and running in no time!

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Jvoxx said...

I remember seeing the video for Tantalized & being blown away. That song still gets me charged up!

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou for this! Been mentally in a very black hole and your blog lifted my spirits immensely. Born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, I've managed to see a few favourite overseas bands tour. Luckily, many favourites were local - The Church and The Go-Betweens amongst them. In fact, I've paid to see The Church more times than any other band and I only make the paying distinction because my partner throughout most of my 20s was in a band that I got to see more times than I cared to...

11:31 PM  

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