Steve Kilbey Quits The Church In Outrage Over Label Abuse
Frontman, chief songwriter and founding member of The Church has just dropped a bombshell, saying that he’s quitting the band over a row with the band’s US record label, Second Motion Records.
According to One Trick Pony, Kilbey has dropped the news via a Facebook rant that talks about how he is “totally disgruntled” about receiving an overdue royalty statement that showed that in an year’s worth of record sales, their label only forwarded on a pittance of what they had expected. Just $400 from a whole twelve months of revenue that had been whittled down after a “a fee for handling this a fee for handling that a fee for processing this a charge here deduction there.”
At his bandmates only receiving $100 a piece, “400 for me coz of my solo albums!” says Kilbey, the Church linchpin’s public disgust with his label over the group’s earnings means that he’ll be quitting his own band as a form of protest.
“I implore you all not to buy any records from second motion records. As you see none of it will come to us. same as it ever was,” writes the enigmatic frontman in not-so mysterious terms. “I have decided to leave my own band permanently as a protest to being fucking treated like this.”
The 58-year-old musician also vows to take back the earnings from his music, through some more modern, digital methods while sticking it to the labels.
“I have decided to leave my own band permanently as a protest to being fucking treated like this. I have decided to illegally and eventually put all Church records up on my bandcamp. You can buy them from me and make sure the money is going to a member of the band,” writes Kilbey.
“I may even post my Second Emotion spread sheets online if youd like to have a look at how the big boys (like me) who’ve been doing for a long time get paid off! This is no joke. if I cant get satisfaction any other way I will do everything I can of this nature to provoke some response from someone for this INSULT!” added Kilbey.
The Church frontman has always worn the popularity of his group awkwardly, particularly when he admitted last year how their iconic tune ‘Under The Milky Way’ became an accidental hit, and then a cash cow.
“There is almost nothing, except for maybe a cigarette ad, I’d say no to Under the Milky Way being used for,” Kilbey said at the time. The song won best single of the year at the ARIAs in 1989 and is regularly featured somewhere near the top of almost every ‘Best Australian Songs’ lists.
Meanwhile, last year the band celebrated their 30th Anniversary as the toast of the Australian music industry after becoming 2010′s ARIA Hall Of Fame recipients, a very special birthday celebration at the Sydney Opera House in April entitled ‘A Psychedelic Symphony’ which was a hit with punters and critics alike; before heading out an anniversary tour.
It all goes to show that no matter how important or influential an act, it’s still a difficult time to be making a living off of making music, an issue we explored when we asked ‘How much does a musician actually earn from streaming?’, the answer it would seem is clearly still not enough.
You can read the full transcript of Kilbey’s ire, in all its undedited glory, below:
Totally disgruntled! I know you guys hear a lot of musicians complaining that they never get paid…i know i know… we’re s’posed to do it for the love of it. the church got their “royalty statement” yesterday from our record company second motion. (months late as usual!)the other 3 got a hundred bucks each. i got 400 buck. oh yeah! a hundred bucks…? is that all we earned in over one years record sales in the US?
well if you look at the spread sheets seems like plenny of money coming in. but gosh darn theres a fee for handling this a fee for handling that a fee for processing this a charge here deduction there. eventually he whittles it down to a hundred bucks each(400 for me coz of my solo albums!) and i’m s’posed to go…oh thanks…a hundred bucks i made from our 30 records or so. for one year or more in the US. here are some fees deducted to whet your appetite…distribution fee, returns processing fee, license,,”less reserves”, liquidated reserves, and then the clincher due to the artist” :50% (ie he took the other 50 after hed taken everything else!) anyway what you do(if youd like your own record company) is basically kick it all around until you lose it.
it seems(tho its hard to tell) that the church might have brought in 30 or 40 grand ( i mean starfish alone brought in 6000 on itunes)…but the members of the group got 100 bucks each. i mean he couldnt give us nothing to he came up with 100 bucks each. i am insulted.
i have decided to leave the church. this is not a joke. i will complete the current tour and then i’m done. i implore you all not to buy any records from second motion records. as you see none of it will come to us. same as it ever was.
i have decided to leave my own band permanently as a protest to being fucking treated like this. i have decided to illegally and eventually put all church records up on my bandcamp. you can buy them from me and make sure the money is going to a member of the band. at the end of one year i can chuck the other guys a hundred bucks and i can call myself a real record company.
i may even post my second emotion spread sheets on line if youd like to have a look at how the big boys (like me) whove been doing for a long time get paid off! this is no joke. if i cant get satisfaction any other way i will do everything i can of this nature to provoke some response from someone for this INSULT!”
Ahh, who doesn’t like a spectacular band bust up? They’ve had it all – fame, success, money and screaming fans. Wouldn’t you think they’d be as happy as you can get? Nope – despite having it all, there’s a little problem – they all hate each other. They’ve got massive egos, and may have been mired in battles with their record company, or their manager has ripped them off; so off come the gloves and they have a spectacular falling out. While fans are devastated at the news, we can’t help but be amused as they embark upon solo careers or join other bands and spend the next few years slagging each other off in interviews. Join us as we count down our favourite band bust ups. Watch this slideshow »