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Image for Steve Kilbey on The Church: “I feel like I should just fucking leave”

Steve Kilbey on The Church:“I feel like I should justfucking leave”

It’s been an interesting 24 hours for Steve Kilbey to say the least.

In a lengthy statement posted to his private Facebook wall yesterday, The Church frontman said he was quitting the band he formed 32 years ago following a royalty battle with US label Second Motion Records. Those comments were quickly removed – “I recant it all,” he said, “it will not help our cause” – but the 58-year-old may still leave The Church once they conclude a national tour with Simple Minds and Devo.

Speaking to The SMH last night, Kilbey said he needed to make a statement to Second Motion Records, who he alleges whittled down their royalty payments from an entire year of digital sales to $100 per member (Kilbey received a further $300 for his solo catalogue).

“I just feel incredibly frustrated that I am the geezer at the centre of a little industry and I have absolutely no control,” he told _The SMH_’s Bernard Zuel. “I can’t seem to get anything done in any way. I love the other guys in the Church, I love playing with them but their business acumen I feel is as bad as mine and their various attempts to manage the band have been failures as far as I can see.”

In the original Facebook post, Kilbey claimed the band may’ve brought in $30,000 to $40,000, but were slugged with a raft of fees – from distribution to returns processing and licensing. He said he was leaving the band in protest at “being fucking treated like this”, and had planned to illegally put up The Church’s entire back catalogue on Bandcamp.

But Kilbey has sought to clarify those claims, telling The SMH his threat to quit has nothing to do with Second Motion Records, but is rather a “scream of frustration” at the band’s mismanagement. While managed by tour promoter Michael Chugg in their early years, The Church have been self-managed for a number of years now – and Kilbey says that’s the source of his frustrations.

“Now we have reached an impasse where can’t go forward, we can’t go back and our democracy has stopped us dead in a track. The fact that we don’t have a leader and no one is in control has now stopped us, as opposed to a tyrant standing at the back screaming at everyone to make them do stuff. So I feel like I should just fucking leave.”

Meanwhile, angry Church fans have taken to Facebook to express their disappointment at the alleged conduct of Second Motion Records. “What does Second Motion have to say about this?” wrote one user. Another urged other Church fans to purchase recordings directly from the band. “Their fans buy their recordings in the good faith that a maximum return goes back to the recording artist. Knowing that very little of my $$$$ goes back to the artist I shall from here on purchase their recordings when they I see them live and advise all the other fans I know to do the same.”

FL has sought comment from Second Motion.

(Photo by Stuo)

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