Moving to the big smoke can be scary on your own… but the lure of Sydney was far too strong for Steve Kilbey.

Before becoming the singer of popular rock band, The Church, Kilbey was working a mundane job in Canberra.

“I was in the public service, I sat there watching the clock going around, I’d sit there going “oh it must be 4 o’clock, it must be 4 o’clock”… and then you’d look and it’s only 10 past 3” Kilbey recalls.

“It was a horrible job, when you’re wishing your time away, I reckon that’s really bad for your health”

“It [living in Canberra] was really good for me because nobody liked me there and I didn’t have any friends, it enabled me to totally focus on my music”

“You couldn’t make it from Canberra in those days, you had to move to Sydney or Melbourne”

So, he did.


The vocalist wrote a resignation letter, threw his bass and tape recorder in the car, and headed north.

“When I got to Sydney there were so many distractions, I had a load of friends, there were drugs, the sea, the surf, the weather was always nice and there were always parties” Kilbey remembers.

“I was meeting like-minded people and playing music”

“I was convinced that I was going to make it, to me it was a matter of time”

“I had a sense of manifest destiny that this would surely happen for me, not because I was good, but I’d see other people doing well at music and think surely I’m as good as them”

But no one around Kilbey thought he had what it took to “make it”.


“Whether it was the girls I went out with, musicians, my music teachers, anyone I would speak to, no one thought I was going anywhere”

But there was one person close to Kilbey who thought he was a success from an early age, his brother.

“I used to play him my tapes and he believed in me”

Steve got in contact with old friend Peter Koppes, together they formed psychedelic rock group The Church in 1980.

It was on their first album Of Skins And Heart that the band delivered their first radio hit ‘Unguarded Moment’ which smashed its way into the charts.

They were then signed to major labels in Australia, Europe, and the United States, returning to the charts with the album Starfish and the US Top 40 hit ‘Under The Milky Way’


They were inducted into the ARIA hall of fame in 2010 and continue to sellout crowds.

…it certainly beats working.

Quotes taken from Episode 6 of The Street Press Podcast with Sean Frazer

The Church are playing their first tour in four years with shows in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Margaret River.

Tickets are available at