Andy's working overtime on XTC, A musical paradox

Hi all, This is a copy a interview with a Andy in the Swindon Gazette and Herald and it was printed around the time that Oranges and Lemons was released. I hope that it is of some interest.

Bye for now

Kevin L. (NR. Swindon)

Andy's working overtime on XTC,
A musical paradox

"HELLO," said Andy Partridge. "It's been a hectic day. This is my eleventh interview."

Eleven interviews. Things are certainly looking up for XTC - Swindon and England's seemingly forgotten band.

A new album in the US charts, selling at more than 5,000 copies a day; best selling foreign band in Japan (pipping Elvis Costello); and even an appearance with stars such as Sting on Spirit Of the Forest - the latest conscience-prodding disc with proceeds going to save the rain forests.

There's a small matter of repaying a £750,000 advance from Virgin Records, but Andy's not fussed.

"It's so stupidly large I don't care about it," he said. The same attitude applies to a lack of commercial success, or even recognition, in England.

"The only place we don't sell records is in Britain. It's frustrating because it's my home country but I'm not going to ram XTC down their throats. You make it here for two or three weeks and then you're a has-been." And Swindon? Andy snorts. "Swindon is it law unto itself. The people are not bothered about anything. They are so apathetic. I am not interested at all in being accepted in, Swindon. It's just a town where we live.

"It could be a good place but unfortunately it took a wrong turn in the '50s - down the concrete road," said Andy, bred in Penhill but now living in Old Town. If this makes XTC's front man sound cynical 35-year-old then maybe he has good reason to be. Perhaps they deserve a higher profile instead of, as Andy says, being recognised more on the streets of L.A. That is certainly where the band's market is now - among the college kids of America. "I don't mind, we'll have dollars," he beams. Not that money's important of course.

"It never was just money otherwise we would not have sounded like XTC. Instead would have sounded like [long pause] the Thompson Twins. You have to please yourself as an artist first."

This motive was certainly true with the Dukes of Stratosphear - XTC's psychedelic alter ego - which has now been killed of after two albums.

"They were 1967 and how many times can a tell the same story? It was something had to get off our chests."

And the future, bearing in mind the success of Oranges and Lemons, an album even Andy agrees is their best since Black Sea in 1980.

"I don't know. I don't even know what I'm doing tomorrow. I never knew I would still be doing this back in 1977 when we started recording. It's good fun. That's all.

"I never thought we would be as ignored and, by the same token, as accepted as we have been," he adds, summing up the musical paradox that is XTC.

"I don't know how to write a big hit song," sings Andy on the recent single "Mayor of Simpleton", perhaps carrying with it a dig at the superficial pop values which make XTC so unpalatable to British mainstream music.

Perhaps. But as Andy - a family man now with a little boy and girl - might say: "Who Cares?"

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