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Steve Kilbey
, 1981 (printed 2018)

by Gary Ede

inkjet print (sheet: 49.9 cm x 38.7 cm, image: 46.1 cm x 34.9 cm, frame: depth 4.3 cm)

Steve Kilbey (b. 1954), singer-songwriter, is the frontman of the Australian band The Church. Kilbey came to Australia from England with his family as a young boy. After they settled in Canberra, the teenage Kilbey began playing bass guitar with the covers band Saga. Having played with Precious Little, in about 1974 he formed his own band, Baby Grande; for a while, he worked as a computer programmer. At the end of the 1970s, in Sydney, he formed The Church with Peter Koppes, with whom he’d played in Precious Little, and Nick Ward; they were soon joined by Marty Willson Piper, who was later replaced by Richard Ploog. In 1988 The Church broke through internationally with the Steve Kilbey/Karin Jansson song ‘Under the Milky Way’, consistently rated amongst the best Australian songs of all time, winner of the ARIA for best song of 1988 and used in the cult film Donnie Darko in 2001. The band’s other best known songs are ‘Unguarded Moment’ and ‘Almost With You’. Kilbey has released many ‘primary’ albums, but has also been involved in numerous collaborations and sideline projects, including Hex, Jack Frost (with the Go Betweens’ Grant McLennan), Curious (Yellow) with Karin Jansson, Gilt Trip (with his brother Russell) and a number of albums with Martin Kennedy of All India Radio. He is also a visual artist, whose work expresses his longstanding interest in mysticism and spiritualism. His autobiography Something Quite Peculiar was published in 2014.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased with funds provided by Wayne Williams 2018
Accession number: 2018.112