Posts Tagged ‘Peter Koppes’

BG album cover

The Australian band Baby Grande surely would’ve been lost to history if not for the work of HoZac Records. The label has unearthed the Baby Grande tapes, which date from the mid 1970s, but weren’t released. The group features future members of the famed band the Church, but that’s not the sole reason the material is interesting. Formed during the period when glam was on the way out, but punk wasn’t a thing yet, Baby Grande were a little bit of both. Their glam/punk songs are really quite good, which makes their impending album of archival recordings something to get excited about.

Baby Grande got going in 1975. Singer Steve Kilbey and drummer Peter Koppes had previously played together in another band, the Precious Little. Baby Grande were based in Canberra, and started playing area clubs, though it was hard to get the attention of attendees, who were mainly there to booze it up. Even a high profile gig opening for AC/DC didn’t result in any new fans. Not helping matters, the group found they had few contemporaries, as most of the other Canberra outfits only did covers.

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Koppes eventually switched to second lead guitar and a new drummer was brought aboard, but then Koppes left the band when gigs became few and far between. The remaining four members realized they really only needed one lead guitarist anyway, with Kilbey playing rhythm guitar as needed. Despite the fact that they didn’t have much of a following, Baby Grande got their big break, signing with EMI Records. In January 1977, they went into the studio to record what they thought was a demo, but after submitting the tapes to the label, they were dropped. Turns out, the suits were expecting a finished product and were disappointed with the results. It wasn’t long before Baby Grande had broken-up.

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HoZac Records drops the album of Baby Grande studio recordings, which is entitled 1975-77, on October 5th.  Dangerous Minds is thrilled to have the premiere of one of the highlights of the record, the exhilarating glam/punk rocker, “Zephyr.” The track was amongst those rejected by EMI for being too raw, but that quality is part of what makes this and other Baby Grande songs so exciting Looking back, Kilbey is more amused than anything by the Baby Grande tunes, yet even he has to concede that the upcoming record—over forty years in the making“certainly rocks.” .The Church broke through in 1981

thanksDangerousMinds

The Church Band’s ‘Priest=Aura’ released 20 years ago today. Been listening to this one a lot lately. Where do you think it ranks in the band’s discography? Pretty near the top for me…Priest=Aura (styled as priest=aura) is the eighth album by the Australian psychedelic rock band The Church , released in March 1992

After touring their previous album, Gold Afternoon Fix (1990), with new drummer Jay Dee Daugherty (Patti Smith Group), The Church returned to Sydney’s Studios 301 to commence work on new material. With lowered commercial expectations and less pressure from Arista Records, the atmosphere was more relaxed than the fraught L.A. sessions for their previous two albums. Bringing in British producer Gavin MacKillop  to supervise the sessions, the band began to improvise the framework for the next set of songs. The use of opium and, for Kilbey, heroin, saw the material take on a more expansive and surreal quality, while Daugherty’s occasionally jazz-like approach on drums brought a fresh change.

Titled Priest=Aura, from Kilbey’s misreading of a Spanish fan’s English vocabulary notes (‘priest’ = ‘cura’), the album contained fourteen tracks, several over six minutes long. At nearly 65 minutes, it was their longest release so far. With song concepts derived from cryptic, one-word working titles (an idea originally proposed by Willson-Piper), the lyrics leaned towards the abstract and esoteric. Emphasising free association and undirected coincidence between music and motif, Kilbey declined to define their meanings. Sonically, the interplay between Koppes and Willson-Piper dominated throughout, especially on tracks such as “Ripple,” “Kings,” and the epic, aptly titled “Chaos”, whose lyrics were a reflection of Kilbey’s unsettled lifestyle at the time.

Upon its release on March 10th, 1992 (it was issued in the United States slightly before Australia), Priest=Aura had less chart success than any of its predecessors, It was given a mixed reception. Rolling Stones Ira Robbins called the album “rich in texture” but with an “arid atmosphere”. The band went on a sold-out tour of Australia (the “Jokes-Magic-Souvenirs” tour), as Kilbey prepared for the birth of his twin daughters, but after the final gig founding guitarist Peter Koppes announced his departure. Increasing personality conflicts, especially with Willson-Piper, who had been moonlighting with UK band All About Eve, combined with frustration over The Church’s declining chart success had made the situation intolerable. Koppes would eventually return to guest with the band on their 1996 album Magician Among the Spirits and rejoined permanently in 1997.

Despite its muted reception at the time of release, Priest=Aura is considered by both the band and fan base to be an artistic high point. In 2011 the album, along with Untitled #23and Starfish, was played in its entirety on the band’s 30th Anniversary “Future, Past, Perfect” tour. In his 2014 autobiography, Something Quite Peculiar, Kilbey calls it their “undisputed masterpiece”.

The original 1992 Australian release was bundled with the 1991 rarities album A Quick Smoke at Spot’s: Archives 1986-1990.

A 2-CD remastered edition was released in Australia in 2005. The second disc included the tracks “Ripple (single edit)”, “Nightmare”, “Fog”, “Feel (extended mix)”, “Drought” and “Unsubstantiated”.

In 2011, Second Motion Records re-released the album as part of their 30th Anniversary Remaster series, with the bonus tracks “Nightmare” and “Fog”, in a cardboard sleeve with a booklet containing lyrics, photos and sleeve notes by Marty Willson-Piper.

Heyday is the fourth album by the Australian psychedelic rock band The Church, released in November 1985. The album marked the first occasion when group compositions dominated one of the band’s releases. Steve Kilbey has said: “The demo situation was getting to us – me writing the songs on my eight-track and bringing them along to the band. It sounded too stiff. We’d reached this new energy level on stage which by far superseded anything we’d ever recorded, so we knew the only way to get sounding like that (on record) was for the whole band to write together.”

As the band began cutting the album at Studio 301, it became apparent that there had been a dramatic change in Steve’s voice.Perhaps it was the extended break from performing, or abstaining from drugs, or the hours of yoga; in any case, Steve’s singing was now much more relaxed and warm, and he possessed a wider, more dynamic range. For years, critics had pointed to Steve’s sometimes dour voice as the Church’s weak point. Suddenly, during these new recording sessions, his distinctive vocals became one of the band’s greatest strengths — its signature, in fact. In addition to singing all the leads, Steve also tracked multiple harmony parts for each song, sometimes singing an entire octave higher than his normal register.”

Although most of the keyboards utilised on previous recordings had been stripped back, the album saw a greater amount of embellishment with the addition of strings and brass. While at the time Heyday featured more focus on the guitar interplay than anything since The Blurred Crusade, solos had been cut to a bare minimum.

Despite some critics and followers taking issue with the brash horns on some songs, the album regularly lists among the fan base’s (and even band members’) favourites. Tracks such as “Myrrh” and “Tantalized” have been featured in live shows even up to present day. It is notable for being, to date, the last album by the group to feature a printed lyric sheet – Steve Kilbey has declined to include lyrics with any subsequent albums.

Despite the increased amount of studio collaboration on Heyday between the members, while the band was on tour in April 1986 to support the album, Marty Willson-Piper suddenly quit mid-tour after rising in-band tensions. On 10th July, The Church performed as a three-piece in Hamburg, Germany; Willson-Piper returned within a week after Kilbey agreed that future releases would contain more group efforts.

In 2002 the album was remastered and reissued by EMI Australia, with a bonus disc including promo videos for “Already Yesterday”, “Tantalized” and “Columbus”.

All songs written by Kilbey/Koppes/Ploog/Willson-Piper, except where indicated

  1. “Myrrh” – 4:19
  2. “Tristesse” – 3:29
  3. “Already Yesterday” – 4:14
  4. “Columbus” – 3:50
  5. “Happy Hunting Ground” – 5:31
  6. “As You Will” (Koppes) – 4:44
  7. “Tantalized” – 4:59
  8. “Disenchanted” (Kilbey) – 3:55
  9. “Night Of Light” – 4:47
  10. “Youth Worshipper” (Kilbey/Karin Jansson) – 3:43
  11. “Roman” – 3:51
  12. “The View” (Willson-Piper) – 3:44
  13. “Trance Ending” – 4:48

     Personnel

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The Church, a mystical indie band from down under; known well for the imagery layered under lush guitars and stand out riffs, absolutely met the expectation of a one of a kind, dreamlike experience. On this day in 1988, The Church released its fifth album, ‘Starfish,’ featuring the singles “Under the Milky Way,” “Reptile” and “Destination” One of that decade’s best works. it certainally has aged so much better than most albums of that era. Starfish is the fifth studio album by Australian alternative rock band The Church, released in February 1988. It was the band’s big breakthrough album, “Starfish” went gold in America and has remained the band’s most commercially successful release.  The first single, “Under the Milky Way”, charted well into the USA  Top 40, leading to significant exposure of the then relatively underground Australian act.

Starfish is a beautiful, magical album that stood out “Under the Milky Way”. The track has continued to be a from it’s usage in the movie Donnie Darko, “Reptile” is another specific track from Starfish that has just held so much power from the opening riff both powerful and sinister; the overall message of learning from your mistakes and moving on, but always seeing the past as it was, not through the rose colored glasses that color reality given enough elapsed time.

“A New Season” sung by Peter Koppes, was even better live that it was on the album. The band took a break after completing “Starfish” . The album was recorded/produced in Los Angeles by L.A. session musicians Waddy Wachtel and Greg Ladanyi.  The recording is more sparse and open than its predecessor,Heyday, which featured orchestral arrangements with brass and strings. Many of its songs have seen heavy rotation in live set lists, and the album remains a favorite among many fans.

The song “Under the Milky Way” was co-written by Steve Kilbey with his then-girlfriend Karin Jansson of Pink Champagne. Because the band was unable to get a drum track which sounded right live in the studio by Richard Ploog, the band played to a click track and later session musician Russ Kunkel was brought in to add drums and percussion.

The album’s title was taken from singer/bassist Steve Kilbey‘s nickname for friend/ musical partner Donnette Thayer, who signed herself that way on postcards she sent to Kilbey. Kilbey contributed a long untitled poem to the album’s liner notes. “Hotel Womb” has dream-themed lyrics relating to an imagined wedding. Music videos were filmed for “Under The Milky Way” and “Reptile.” The fifth season of the US TV show, Miami Vice, featured two songs from the album. “Under the Milky Way” was used in an episode called “Asian Cut”  and “Blood Money” was showcased throughout “Heart Of Night” (18 November 1988).

  • Steve Kilbey – bass guitar, lead vocals
  • Peter Koppes – guitars, lead vocal on “A New Season”
  • Marty Willson-Piper – guitars, lead vocal on “Spark”
  • Richard Ploog – drums, percussion
Additional musicians

Check out The new album “Further Deeper”

The Church is a Australian Rock band formed in Sydney in 1981 associated with Psychedelica and the paisley underground .