The Church “Starfish”

Posted 21 Dec 2011 in 80s, Albums of 1988, Albums of the 80s


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#585 in the Series) is The Church, Starfish. (Arista)

The Church was/is an Australian band that, although still together and touring, had their most success in the late 80s, early 90s. That success was surrounded by the wonderful album, Starfish.

When I was thinking one day if I should feature this album, my friend Terry Witmer mentioned “Sure, You never heard anything like that on the radio at that time.” That made me think, “yup.  Gotta do The Church.”

Starfish was The Church’s fifth full album released. They had a bunch of EPs tossed in there as well.  It held their highest charting single “Under the Milky Way.”

When this was released in 1988, The Church consisted of Steve Kilbey, Marty Wilson-Piper, Peter Koppes and Richard Ploog. Besides the aforementioned “Under the Milky Way,” other highlights included “Reptile,” ” Blood Money,” “North South East West” and “Destination.”

One thing I didn’t realize until now was that Starfish was produced by Greg Ladanyi and Waddy Wachtel.   How did I miss? Waddy added some backing vocals on the album, but left his guitar home.  Another name that you probably recognize is David Lindley. He played some mandolin on “Antenna.”

Starfish peaked at #41 on the Billboard Top Album Chart. “Under the Milky Way” peaked at #26 on the Billboard Singles Chart.

Be sure to check out some of the solo album Steve Kilbey and Wilson-Piper also recorded in this era.  I loved Unearthed by Kilbey and Art Attack by Wilson-Piper.

Track listing

  1. “Destination” (Kilbey/Willson-Piper/Koppes/Ploog)
  2. “Under the Milky Way” (Kilbey/Jansson)
  3. “Blood Money” (Kilbey/Willson-Piper/Koppes/Ploog)
  4. “Lost” (Kilbey/Willson-Piper/Koppes/Ploog)
  5. “North, South, East And West” (Kilbey/Willson-Piper/Koppes/Ploog)
  6. “Spark” (Willson-Piper)
  7. “Antenna” (Kilbey/Willson-Piper/Koppes/Ploog)
  8. “Reptile” (Kilbey/Willson-Piper/Koppes/Ploog)
  9. “A New Season” (Koppes)
  10. “Hotel Womb” (Kilbey)


  • Steve Kilbey: bass guitar, lead vocals
  • Peter Koppes: guitars, lead vocal on “A New Season”
  • Marty Willson-Piper: guitars, lead vocal on “Spark”
  • Richard Ploog: drums, percussion

Additional musicians

  • Greg Kuehn – keyboards
  • David Lindley – mandolin on “Antenna”
  • “Awesome Welles” – Synclavier
  • Waddy Wachtel – backing vocals


You can listen to the full album here.

Here’s a great unplugged version of Under the Milky Way. It’s followed by a Live version of Repitle

Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. coachmaddog (22 Dec 2011, 17:09)

    These guys are gods. Marty Willson Piper is one of the top guitar players at my house (behind Rory, Schenker, Ronno, and Thunders). I don’t think that this lp is their best (Blurred Crusade or Hey Day is), but they are great.

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