The Church next week will release “Long Distance Century Buzzes and Fades,” a 23-years-in-the-making documentary of the band’s 1990 world tour in support of Gold Afternoon Fix that frontman Steve Kilbey assembled from more than 13 hours of raw footage he filmed with a then-new Super 8 camera during the 60-concert trek.
The DVD — available for pre-order on the Kilbey’s website for AUS $44.95, and set to ship June 4 in a limited 500-copy run — features the band “fresh faced and youthful and… smiling, there’s concert footage, there’s backstage footage, on the bus footage, at the airport footage, in the restaurants and cafes footage, meeting the fans, jamming, and being interviewed footage.”
According to a Kilbey-penned intro, the film — which he tried unsuccessfully to stitch together in the ’90s before revisiting it with better editing technology more recently — is very much of home-video quality, with jumpy footage and quick, unexpected cuts (“I hope it doesn’t make you seasick”). Nevertheless, he calls it a “little slice of history” that offers unique insight to the band circa 1990.
Below, you can watch a preview for the film and read Kilbey’s note:
Trailer: The Church, “Long Distance Century Buzzes and Fades”
Steve Kilbey’s introduction:
In 1990 I bought a new fangled super 8 camera, and filmed bits and pieces of a world tour that took in Australia Europe and North America . The tour started in April and ended in August and was over 60 gigs played in all. We touring in support of our latest album ‘Gold Afternoon Fix’, which was only doing moderately compared to the previous record ‘Starfish’. Richard Ploog is no longer in the group, and our guest drummer for the tour was New York musician Jay Dee Daugherty, who had been much recommended to us by Tom Verlaine. He proved to be a great addition, and he stayed on to play on our next record. You can see a bit of that at the beginning of this video, which in true Church fashion starts in the future. I filmed over 13 hours of raw footage on that tour. There is much disproportionate footage ie I shot about 2 hours of us eating lunch in some hokey American restaurant, but there is no footage at all from Sweden or Switzerland. Of course eventually when I got back to Sydney the last thing I wanted to do was watch us all over again and I put my video cassettes away. During the nineties I vaguely attempted to get the project rolling. The logistics of editing a video in 1990 were a whole lot different than today. Just like recording. Video editing was expensive and time consuming, and it could not be done at home. So it got shelved until this year. So here it is. Some caveats for you to dig, however : the actually video tapes were somewhat aged and there is sometimes a jumpy quality to some scenes. The cameras mic couldn’t handle the loud music of the church and the sound is a bit distorted. Plus whoever was filming the various gigs often just cuts from one song to another right in the middle, there was nothing I could do about this. Also there is a lot of jerky filming, I hope it doesn’t make you seasick. Forgive me I knew not what I was doing. I knew nothing of cameras and filming. Still, I hope you enjoy this little slice of history. It was a real pleasure making it, even if it took 23 years. Now go forth and watch it!
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- ‘120 Minutes’ Rewind: Kevin Seal puts The Church under the ‘120 X-Ray’ — 1988
- The Church’s Steve Kilbey writing songs with Greg Dulli of The Afghan Whigs
- Video: The Church performs ‘Untitled #23’ album in full — preview of upcoming DVD
- Video: Steve Kilbey joins The Afghan Whigs to perform The Church’s ‘One Day’ in Sydney
This is great! I can’t wait to get a copy. I will start scraping together change today, in hopes i can afford a copy before the release!
If you’re into the band like I am then it will probably be entertaining. If you’re not…
Being a hard-core fan of The Church, I’ve literally been waiting for this for 20 years since I first heard about the project. I’m very excited!
SWEET!!! Thanks for the heads-up, Matt! Just ordered a copy. Man, we get this out of the blue and the “Future Past Perfect” DVD should be next. All from an amazing band who may not have peaked yet. Just awesome.
Can not wait for this – thanks for putting the time and effort and committment into this Steve – worth every second. Just a note though as I am a film maker/nerd – this is Hi-8 not Super 8 — analog video as opposed to film ~ but doesn’t matter can’t wait to see it :-)
Right on! I follow the band pretty closely but have been tuned out since the recent meltdown. Who would have thought this footage would see the light of day before the Sydney Opera House show?
I feel compelled to add that GAF is a badly underrated album. It had the misfortune of falling on the heels of Starfish, so was bound to suffer by comparison. And I think it’s Kilbey himself who has referred to the record as “tripe.” But most of the album is quite listenable, with typically crafty guitar arrangements and Kilbey’s poetic turns. It’s a lighter record than those that immediately preceded and followed, but that’s nothing a little extra twist of the volume knob doesn’t fix.
Agreed, lotus. “Fading Away” sounds like a hit that never was. “Essence” and “Russian Autumn Heart” are gold, too. And despite Steve’s comments about the album, I love how “Metropolis” shows up pretty regularly in their sets–classic Church. The “Megalopolis” CD Single has such a great jacket!
You’re spot on with “Fading Away,” Andy. I think that and “Laughing” are two of their more under-appreciated songs from the whole catalog. The other thing I’d say is that the guitar tones on this record, that signature, chimey “delay + chorus” sound, is on full display on GAF. It just *sounds* like a Church record is supposed to sound, throughout.
So true, and “Laughing” is more proof that, like Big Country, the Church know how to use an EBow to great effect! I played this album to death when it first came out, but think it just squeaks into my Church Top 10–because most everything else is so GREAT. Probably a Top 5 of “Priest…,” “Untitled…,” “Starfish,” “…Crusade,” and “Heyday” for me, but after that it gets kind of tricky, with albums like”Beside Yourself” and “Back with Two Beasts” being more than just dark horses.
Hopefully the DVD sells out quickly and Steve gets a renewed interest in the album, if he hasn’t already, especially after putting so much into this release. Then they might dust of some of the tunes for the next tour. Even something like “City” would sound so great live. And I could hear it segueing beautifully into “Kings,” which would be a total goose-bump moment.
DVD just arrived here! It’s already feeling like Xmas!!!