7 November 2010, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
Steve Kilbey is the lead singer-songwriter and bass guitarist in The Church.
Wow. George Negus. Next time I appear in Waverley Court, will you come and be a character witness for me, please? That's gotta carry some weight, right?
Oh, look. You know what, you know in rock n roll we procrastinate a lot, and I said, I was saying to these guys (who were saying) are you gonna have a speech? No no speech, no speech, and then I haven't got a speech. I could have had a speech going on the thing down there [autoprompt] like Chuggy did.
I haven't got a speech. The truth is, as I was sitting here, I realised something that I've always thought -- I think people in Australia, I've felt sorry for people in England. When I first met Marty, he didn't know about all the amazing music we had in Australia. And I spent all this time, we were playing him The Real Thing and The Masters Apprentices, and I grew up in Canberra and to me Australian music, there was no question about whether it was as good as the other stuff –- it was.
There was the American stuff, there was the English stuff, and there was the Australian stuff. And the first thing that I ever saw was a package tour with Normie Rowe, and the Easybeats, and MPD Ltd, and Bobby & Laurie – you know they did the 'When I hear a love call', everyone was stamping on the floor and it was amazing. And then all the bands that came up , bands we don't think of a lot now, like the Dave Miller Set, do you remember that song? 'He's Got His Love To Keep Him Warm'?
It was amazing stuff. People overseas never got to hear it.
Peter and I went and saw Hush at the Canberra Theatre -- we thought they were amazing! When Les Gock did this... we were going wow, this is great! Get Rocked! And then we did a gig, and we turned up and Skyhooks were playing. I couldn't believe how amazing Skyhooks were, not just 'cos they were funny and stuff, but there was the dual guitar thing that they had going on.
Years later, The Church were supporting The Sunnyboys at a festival, and we decided to be late, 'cos we weren't going on before The Sunnyboys, and we were standing there and we had explained it quite adequately why we were legitimately late, and Red Symons came in and said 'I know you meant to do it, it's all part of the game, you meant to be late, you didn't want to go on before them', and he kind of re-opened the whole thing up again.
It was great to be busted by Red Symons. So many amazing, amazing Australian bands. The people we have been inducted with - I almost said induced - the people we have been inducted with tonight are amazing. The Models, an amazing band, I read a review of myself that said I was weird and angular. I went and saw The Models play and when I saw Sean Kelly, I felt like Doug Parkinson, he was so much weirder and more angular than me.
A year later, I went to a party in a house in Melbourne, and I chatted up a girl with red hair, and it turned out to be Sean's girlfriend. And when we received our awards from 3XY for The Most Promising Bands of 1981, they said go and shake hands with your award, and Sean lent in and said 'Steve you're a …' And it put me off awards until tonight -- this is the first award ceremony I've been at.
The Models -- a really truly amazing band.
Ok, The Loved Ones, I agree with Chuggy, The Loved Ones insinuated so much raw dirty sexuality, much more than Mick Jagger, much more than anyone else, when you heard them you knew, even though I was twelve, I knew there was something very rude going on in the world of the adults. An Amazing amazing -- the way he sang was just like that (flips the bird) to authority, but not with the sort of blatant stuff you have nowadays of axing school teachers, and strippers, it was just implied, and that's why it was so much better. And I still don't know -- was Gerry Humphrys Barry Humphries' brother, or not? He wasn't?
Ok, Ok. He what? Oh, he encouraged the rumour.
Wow, The Loved Ones, 'Magic Box', I remember in the '80s we were still raving about Magic Box all the time. Listen to Magic Box, a fantastic record.
John Williamson, look I'm not a huge ... I don't know a real lot about Country, but I've had five daughters and all of them at some stage, I've amused with that 'you silly gallah, I'm better by far than a white cockatoo, or a budgerigar, they squeak and squawk and try and talk, why me and them's like cheese and chalk'.
Johnny Young, I remember I used to do an imitation of you at school, 'Car-olyn' (*clapping*), you used to clap, with your hands straight out when you clapped. Where is he? You did didn't you. Your records were on Clarion label, Normie Rowe's records were on Sunshine, and Ray Brown's were on Leedon. But they all kind of looked the same, they were all Festival. I seriously, I reckon Smiley, I reckon The Star, which is an amazing song, the bit, the 'step aside', and 'The Real Thing', I had the pleasure of playing bass for Russell when he was induced -- inducted -- a couple of years ago. I was so overcome that I completely fucked up most of the bass line in it, and our Mellotron blew up, but still, what an amazing...
I was living in Canberra at the time. 'The Real Thing' was number one for about sixteen weeks. It was number one, it didn't go away, it was just, like, omnipresent. I hadn't had any LSD by that stage, but I knew what it was going to be like when I finally had it. Amazing. And the wonderful Irony that you're Mr Clean, and you wrote these songs!
He wasn't Mr Clean? Wow.
And then of course with that whole thing with Molly had the coaxial cables with the two 8-tracks in Melbourne, it's just an amazing legendary record. People overseas are just crazy to have missed out on that, why weren't all those songs hits in England and America? I don't know either.
Who else was there? Was that everybody that was on with us? We had some amazing adventures in the old days with Chuggy. Back in 1981, Chuggy was our manager, he was fantastic.
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Chuggy, we had some amazing adventures, I remember the night when you signed us up, I was sitting there, and I was scared to say 'no', and your henchman, instead of putting a cigar in my mouth, he put a joint in my mouth, and I sat there and he said, 'so that's it then, ' and was like 'Yes!'.
And then in 1981 Chuggy organised our first tour of Tasmania, and aviation was a little different in those days. It was an old World War I, World War II – sorry Chuggy – it was an old World War II aeroplane, and the gear, in those days bands carried these colossal Pas with them, and it was all strapped down one side and the band was down the other side, and when we took off, the door opened. And we're looking at Melbourne through an open door, and the gear broke free and was running around, I had a four-way bin rolling towards me. And Chuggy, you know what you said? You said, 'Michael Chugg, killed in airplane crash. The Church were there, too'.
(From the audience, Chuggy yells, 'I have no memory of that at all!')
No, I bet you don't.
On the same tour, we played a gig in Launceston, and as we exited the venue, a young Taswegian lady was standing there with her bosoms bare, and she said, 'look, you mainlanders. Genuine Tassie tits!' and Marty walked over and went over and went, 'Cheers'. She would be a grandmother now, that woman.
On the same tour, our front of house man, punched an overzealous reporter in the eye and gave him a big black eye. And he stood right in front of me all night, crying. That was very daunting.
We've had loads of marvellous adventures in the music business, and I should have some poignant memory for each and all of you, like sailing in yachts in the Mediterranean with Michael Gudinski and stuff like that. But, my mother's here, so all of those anecdotes are no longer applicable.
I'm still amazed by Richard Wilkins' hair! I am. I'm sitting, I'm looking at it from behind, and I'm thinking he looks like a schoolboy from behind. It's so thick and fluffy and blond. It's amazing. And I can remember when you were Richard Wild. Was it like, Wild, or were you like Oscar Wilde?
Anyway, look, we've been kicked off the best record companies in Australia, we've been kicked off all the best publishing companies, and look, this is a great honour and I hope our foot is still in and out of the, in and out of -- what is it? In and out of the grave.
And thank you very much for this great honour. I know some of my friends here want to thank some people, so thank you very much.