So we spontaneously played in Tucson on 7th January 2018:
“In their heyday, with chart topping hits like “Metropolis” and “Under the Milky Way,” Australian neo-psychedelic/dream poppers The Church became a staple during the MTV Era of the 1980s into the early ‘90s (when MTV actually played music videos back-to-back). Saturday, a small gathering of devotees were privileged to a rarified event. An intimate performance by Marty Willson-Piper (co-founding member of The Church) accompanied by his lovely bride Olivia Willson-Piper on violin. The newlyweds, on a cross country trek, made a stop in The Old Pueblo. The venue: The inviting living room of close friends. I must say, in this context, to hear Willson-Piper’s rich, resonant voice sing “Spark,” a song that he penned off of Starfish (Arista, 1988), while slashing away on twelve-string acoustic guitar was just too much to bear. Overstimulated neurotransmitters flooded my brain with epinephrine, unable to fully process the surreality and sheer awesomeness of the moment, resulting in a Cheshire cat grin that remained affixed long after the final chord rang out.” (Xavier Omar Otero)
“Truth is indeed stranger than fiction in this strange world of ours. Sometimes the impossible happens. Sometimes, unexpected treasures do, indeed land on your doorstep (literally).
Last Saturday evening, we were visited and charmed by a travelling minstrel and his beautiful bride. What followed was a night of enchantment, melody and magic that I will never forget. Thank you Marty and Olivia Willson-Piper for filling our home with your very special brand of ethereal, spellbinding, mellifluous wonder. It was as beautiful as it was surreal.
To have followed the career of such an exceptional musician and to have held him in such high regard for so many decades, to watching in awe as he painted the air with mesmerizing, haunting melodies and poetry in the comfort of my own home, was a full circle, very personal experience for me.
I met Marty the first time at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater backstage, after The Church (on their “Heyday” tour) had just opened for Echo & the Bunnymen. In those moments just after their performance, they informed my band at the time (Rex Estelle, Paul “Arki” Wolfe), that the following night they would be playing in our home town of Tucson at a place called “Nemo’s” (they meant Nino’s). Knowing that the boys would be in shock transitioning from a concert performance to nearly 50,000 people to a sardine can-sized watering hole that barely held 75 people with the assistance of a crowbar, we decided to jump in the car, fuel up and race back home to the Old Pueblo to meet them there to assist and show them around town (I was living in the Valley at that time with The Watch). We arrived at their sound check the following day at Nino’s, took them to lunch at the Blue Willow then shopping at Aardvark’s before their show, where Marty purchased the famous captains jacket he wore in the “Under the Milkyway” video. Thirty years later, he spent the evening at my house, delighting us all in my very living room.
It’s not every day that we are given the opportunity to meet and spend quality time with our heroes. You will always be my favorite guitarist of all time, Marty. Your violin was heavenly, Olivia Willson-Piper. Congratulations to you both. I wish you both much prosperity and bliss!” (Dennis “Spyder” Rhodes)
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