Happy Birthday Andy

Issue 3, Spring 1983

On November 11, 1982 Radio One's Simon Bates rang up Andy Partridge.

The telephone call went as follows:

Simon: Happy Birthday Andy

Andy: Thanks Simon.

Simon: How does it feel to be a year older?

Andy: A year older? I feel about a thousand years older actually.

Simon: What have you been doing with yourself 'cause you vanished from view?

Andy: That's right yeah. We're playing the four Howard Hughes of rock and roll and we're hiding away. Right now we're rehearsing for a new album which we start next week, so we'll pick up our bicycles and rush to the studio and build something wonderful.

Simon: Well that's kind of a surprise be cause you vanished from view and then Waxworks / Beeswax came out, which is all old stuff, I mean, did you stop playing for a while?

Andy: Well what happened is lots of ill health and things. We were just touring ourselves stupid and just killing ourselves on the road. So what happened was, we said 'O.K. lets stop touring and concentrate on what we really want to do', which was actually making the music in the first place in the studio and videos and things like that. So it was a great time all through the summer just to get a whole new batch of songs and ideas and we've just worked up a load of ideas and things which, as I say, we shall be recording next week.

Simon: Well you said you were rehearsing, when are you going to record, next week?

Andy: That's right yeah. We're actually rehearsing in a...how can I describe it? It's an old Great Western building down here, deep in the heart of Swindon so there should be a few puffa train vibes on the album I think.

Simon: Now this will be all original stuff as opposed to Waxworks / Beeswax.

Andy: Oh yes It's kind of like the next official well this is an official album, but it'll all - brand new, with a brand new drummer. We've had a line-up change.

Simon: Who's that?

Andy: We've actually got the drummer from the Glitter Band. I don't know whether I should say that.

Simon: Really?

Andy: Yeah. I know it sounds a bizarre combination.

Simon: That's Pete somebodyorother isn't it? Whatsisname?

Andy: Pete Phipps is the drummer we've had, and Terry has just left.

Simon: Oh I see. Why did Terry leave?

Andy: He just got sick of music, he just got tired and put his sticks down one day and said "I don't want to do this anymore." I believe he's gone to live in Australia or he's going to live in Australia.

Andy: Well good luck to him, good luck to Pete with the new band. Does recording and doing videos and so on mean you won't be touring at all?

Simon: I don't like touring it's basically kind of a brain crushing process. I much prefer the initial creation, the videos and television and records and things. I might be doing a little spot for a show that is going out on American TV. It hasn't got a title yet, but I play a nutty professor in kind of a 'Ready, steady, go' like club in which pop groups and people drift in and out.

Simon: Does that mean you're going to end up like Sting, acting as well?

Andy: Well if I can end up as handsome. Yeah. I' Il probably end up more of a Charles Laughton type character I think.

Simon: What swinging from the bells in black and white?

Andy: Yeah, I'll play the Hunch.

Simon: Well look, don't give up touring altogether because in the five years you've been together, well, obviously your drummers left, but in the five years the band has been in existence you've made a heck of a lot of fans and I would have thought they' d want to see you live.

Andy: Well we get the most amazing fan mail, especially from America, where these people who write to us, they make me feel really humble 'cause they'd literally do anything for us They write these letters and treat us almost as quasi religious characters. So I know that a lot of people out there really like us' intensely.

Simon: Well good luck anyway. I mean a happy birthday, don't give up touring. Look forward to the videos, the records and possibly even a movie in about five years.

Andy: Well I'll stick me head in and have a look if you can't get enough of me. I'll come up and see you.

Simon: Why don't you?

Andy: Alright, you're on.

Simon: Happy birthday.

Andy: Alright Simon.

Simon: Bye bye.

Andy: Bye.

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[Transcribed by Marcus Deininger, thanks to Mark Fisher]