The Church circa 2010. From left: Steve Kilbey, Marty Willson-Piper, Tim Powles, Peter Koppes

Founding guitarist Peter Koppes has left Australian alt-rock legends The Church for the second time “to explore his own musical path,” bandleader Steve Kilbey announced on Facebook today, while also revealing the group is at work on a new studio album.

The departure of the 64-year-old Koppes — who previously had walked away from the band between 1992 and 1997 — now leaves Kilbey, 65, as the sole original member of The Church.

On Facebook, Kilbey wrote:

A band is like a family and over 40 years it is only natural that families will change and that members will come and go. Therefore it is with great sadness that we must announce the departure of Peter Koppes from our ranks to explore his own musical path. Peter has made the hugest contribution to the Church’s sound and he will be sorely missed. However the remaining members have decided to carry on with this immense body of work which Peter, as well as Richard Ploog, Jay Dee Daugherty and of course Marty Willson-Piper, have been invaluable in creating. We wish Peter all the success with whatever he pursues from now on.

Kilbey also announced that The Church’s new lineup will include drummer Tim Powles, who joined in 1994; guitarist and vocalist Ian Haug, who succeeded Willson-Piper in 2013; Jeffrey Cain, who’d served as a multi-instrumentalist on tour since 2017; and a new addition: guitarist Ashley Naylor. “We are already under way creating a brand new album, which so far is turning out to be a beautiful thing,” Kilbey wrote.

The last big shakeup for The Church came in 2013 with the departure of Willson-Piper, one that, on the surface at least, seemed less amicable than Koppes leaving the band. At the time, Kilbey issued a cryptic statement about Willson-Piper not being available to make a new record: “The Church will have to move on without him or have no Church at all. Which one did you want?”

The Church has released two albums — 2014’s Further/Deeper and 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity — and continued to tour extensively since Willson-Piper left.

Here’s Kilbey’s full Facebook message:






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