STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Tim Powles is experiencing extreme jet lag.
Fresh off a flight from Australia, the drummer of The Church is in Sacramento, Calif. and on his way to Canada for a tour kick-off show in Vancouver. The tour, which coincides with the band’s 35th anniversary, comes to World Cafe Live Philadelphia March 10.
It also gives the band a chance to perform songs from their latest album, “Further/Deeper,” which was released in the U.S. at the beginning of February.
“We’ve come a long way, and it cost us a lot to get here,” Powles said — a remark that could be interpreted as being about the North American tour, or about The Church’s career as a whole.
Down under, The Church are rock royalty enshrined in the Australia Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame, which would come as a shock to those that only know them for their 1988 hit “Under the Milky Way.”
According to Powles, with a possible rotating set list still being finalized — and sounding like it will represent a good cross-section of the band’s sprawling catalog — they realize it’s impossible to satisfy everyone that comes to their concerts. “There’s a huge part of the fans that love … that we’re courageous and keep going on. There are a huge part of the fans that are into nostalgia — people got married to this record,” he said. “We can’t try and double guess what people want. In the end … we’re just doing what we want to do.”
Although longtime guitarist Marty Willson-Piper departed in 2007 (Ian Haug has since stepped in to fill the role), it doesn’t seem to have noticeably derailed the shimmering, chiming guitar sounds that drive their brand of dreamy pop psychedelia. “There’s a fairly heavy, intense dark side of the record. There’s a light side at the end, and there’s some pretty stuff in the middle. It’s got space and it’s a bit blacker,” Powles said of “Further/Deeper,” which also features him singing backing vocals and playing keyboards and bass. “This is a really natural record — it just happened.”
Powles made a telling remark that The Church have no intentions of settling into becoming a nostalgia act for those that discovered them on MTV’s “120 Minutes.” “The reality is without a good record, there’s no sense being a band,” he said.
“It’s the best and the worst thing I can do,” said Powles, of being a member of The Church since 1994. “It’s just an intense relationship.”
“I love Steve’s (singer and bassist Steve Kilbey) ability to make something out of nothing. (Lead guitarist and singer) Peter (Koppes), he’s just on fire. He’s playing the best guitar he’s ever done. He understands real jazz, like (Jimi) Hendrix was a jazz player.”
IF YOU GO
What: The Church in concert, with opener The Sharp Things.
When: 8 p.m. March 10.
Where: World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia.
Info.: Call (215) 222-1400 or visit www.worldcafelive.com.