Monday, 24 October 2016


Peter Koppes (born 21 November 1955) is a guitarist, best known as a founding and almost-continuous member of Australian independent rock band The Church. Whilst growing up in Canberra in a musical family the sounds of the Hammond organ originally captivated him, and so began his journey as a musician. "I started playing drums with an interest in The Shadows, and then Jimi Hendrix's Mitch Mitchell really inspired me with his jazz style. I think Santana had the same effect and the guitar playing seeped in to me as well, although, musically I think of Pink Floyd as my template for a band".

Peter was 12 when he became the drummer at school in a rock band called Bacchus Marsh. He then learned guitar from the members of this early group. Later, with another band called Timelord he played guitar, rehearsing in a local church hall. Steve Kilbey, who would later become his colleague in The Church, had a glam rock band called Beyond Beavers that would play there too. An invitation came in 1974 to replace one of the two drummers with Steve's band after they witnessed a drum solo he played on his drummer's kit.

Peter joined, but the singer left and they became Precious Little, with Steve on vocals. Soon after, he reverted to guitarist as they transmuted into Baby Grande, with the addition of guitarist Dave Scotland and friend Joe Lee on bass. This two and a half year collaboration eventuated in some recordings, but he left to go to college studying electronics and engineering. After 12 months he decided to sell up and go to England/Europe for a year with a guitar, whence he began writing folk songs. Significant time was spent in Stockholm, Berlin, and London as well as on a tug boat on the waterways of Holland. An Eastern musical influence that appeared on his 1992 album Water-Rites may have been as a result of 2 weeks spent in Morocco.

As well as his contributions to The Church, he has also released several solo albums, and albums with his group The Well (1989-1995), which largely occupied his time on hiatus from The Church. The Well featured former Church drummer Richard Ploog on drums, Anthony Smith (inaugural keyboardist for Flowers/Icehouse) and Jim Leone of The Celibate Rifles on bass. The Well played live and recorded songs that were released as an EP called 'Iridescence' and later the fan favourite solo album 'Water Rites'.

There was still contact with Steve Kilbey, who asked Peter to play guitar on some songs for albums he was producing, Australian artists Margot Smith's 'Adored' and Lifetime, Stephen Cummings' 'Everything Breaks Your Heart', and Canadian Mae Moore's 'Full Circle'. Koppes collaborated on songwriting with singer Margot Smith, and played in her live band. (Steve Kilbey and Tim Powles also co-wrote, played and/or produced some of Smith's material on her first two albums 'Sleeping with the Lions' (1993) and 'Taste' (1998).

Koppes returned to The Church as a guest player on the album Magician Among the Spirits in 1996. In 1997 Koppes participated in what would become a new incarnation of the Church - under the title of The Refo:mation, Koppes, Kilbey and new drummer Powles (who had debuted on Sometime Anywhere) recorded the album 'Pharmakoi/Distance-Crunching Honchos with Echo Units'. This reunification of sorts led to a suggestion that The Church reform for a tour to raise interest and funds for recording another album. This it did, producing 'Hologram of Baal' released in 1998, marking Koppes' return to the Church fold.

During this same period Peter's Immersion Music record label was set up in partnership with mentor Sebastian Chase of MGM Distribution, to represent his previous solo catalogue and new solo release 'Love Era/Irony'. Included, was an album by Margot Smith called 'Taste' which featured Peter, Steve Kilbey and Tim Powles.

The Church reinvigorated, has since released many more lauded albums including the 'A Box Of Bird's covers album, and 'After Everything Now This'. On the Parallel Universe album, Peter sang the psychedelic 'Reward', on Forget Yourself the sublime 'Appalatia', on Uninvited, Like the Clouds he sings the epic 'Never Before', and on Untitled #23 vinyl edition, the very memorable 'LLC ' (an anagram for Little Love Central). In 2002, Peter released his 5th solo album 'Simple Intent'. He was involved in various stints including co-writing and recording the song "Moon Over Water" with Sydneysider New Folk artist David Lane in 2003, and as session guitarist on various tracks of Australian Hip Hop artist Figg Kidd's 2003 major label album, 'What Is Figg Kidd?'.

More recently he has developed a song writing relationship with fellow local/international singer/songwriter Michelle Bradford-Jones. They recently produced soundtrack material and anthem song 'Journey of Friends ' for a fund raising cancer benefit documentary commemorating the Smiling For Smiddy Foundation.



No comments:

Post a Comment