Beyond the Milky Way.
STEVE Kilbey is regularly asked to sign off on The Church’s 1988 hit Under the milky
Way for use in TV shows or advertisements. Some artists are precious about their songs being sold, especially with Under the
Milky Way once voted the best Australian song of all time. Not Kilbey.
‘‘ There is almost nothing, except for maybe a cigarette ad, I’d say no to Under
the milky Way being used for,’’ Kilbey says. ‘‘ It was used for a car advertisement in America, very lucratively for me.
‘‘ You’d think people would think it’s been overused, but the more it’s used, the more people seem to want to use it.
‘‘ I’m signing off all the time for TV shows or chocolate bars using it.
‘‘ Sure, have it, it’s just a song, do whatever you like with it.
‘‘ You can hear it wasn’t written for profit. It’s an accidental song I accidentally wrote and accidentally became a single and accidentally became a hit.’’ It’s been a nice earner. ‘‘ I’ve written 2000 songs. Thank God one of them came through!’’ he says.
‘‘ The others aren’t pulling their weight. ‘‘ They sit and grumble about Under the
Milky Way and I say, ‘ Well, boys, go out and earn the same dough as that one’.’’ The album that housed Under the milky
Way, Starfish, closes The Church’s latest show, which they are touring to celebrate their 30th anniversary.
They play Starfish, 1992’ s Priest = Aura and last year’s Untitled # 23 in full, and in reverse chronological order. ‘‘ We have to have the lure of hearing
Under the milky Way to make people sit through all the other boring songs,’’ Kilbey ( pictured) jokes.
The band have already taken the threehour ( plus intervals, ‘‘ so you can get breathing space and rush to our merch’ stand’’) concert to the US.
‘‘ It really is the best show The Church have ever done,’’ Kilbey says.
‘‘ It’s a real concert, a serious concert, not a bunch of scruffy old rockers coming on having a jam.
‘‘ It goes from the prog- rocky new album, to what fans think is our most esoteric and arcane album Priest = Aura and then Starfish seems like a cartoon
It’s an accidental song I accidentally wrote and accidentally became a single and accidentally became a hit
relief after the weight of those two albums.’’
Kilbey wrote Under the milky Way in five minutes not thinking it was special.
‘‘ I think it’s a really good song. People are so surprised an ambiguous song with loads of mystery and integrity can become a hit single.
‘‘ Every now and again one of them gets through. Like when Creep by Radiohead became a hit.
‘‘ Off- centre, off- the- wall songs become hits every now and again and it refreshes everybody.
‘‘ I believe that happened with Gotye [ Somebody That I Used to Know], a song that wasn’t made for money and profit and avarice and greed becomes a big hit.
‘‘ Lyrically, [ Under the milky Way] captures a feeling of sweet uncertainty. ‘‘ I’ve set up a very vague world. ‘‘ Once you enter it you populate it with your own details.
‘‘ It doesn’t mean anything but that doesn’t mean it means nothing.’’
While it may be the band’s biggest hit, there’s a large portion of Church fans who would be happy for the band not to play it.
‘‘ There’s as much agony caused by us playing it as joy,’’ Kilbey says. ‘‘ It’s on the album we are playing in full. ‘‘ Therefore people who want to hear it know it’s coming and don’t have to scream out for it. And the ones who don’t want it know we have to play it.
‘‘ It’s no surprise. It’s like a trip to the dentist – you know it’s coming, you just deal with it.’’
are touring, with their next gig at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo on Saturday, January 28.