XTC in the Press: 1989


Spy
July 1989

That'll Be The Day

popular figures answer questions about the future of rock 'n' roll

Spy: Musically speaking, what's the next hot country?

Andy Partridge: The thing to steal from? As Russia opens up more and more, you're going to see lots of their sort of music — their version of cajun, or their version of rap, or their version of folk.

Spy: What do you think Bob Dylan will be doing in 20 years?

Andy: I'm tempted to say pushing up daisies. To be truthful, who cares? Mrs. Dylan might care. Mrs. Dylan is a very nice lady.

Spy: What do you think Debbie Gibson will be doing in 20 years?

Andy: I think there's going to be a fund to reinstate her. You know, “Save Debbie Gibson.”

Spy: What do you think David Byrne will be doing in 20 years?

Andy: I hope he isn't doing a Talking Heads revival tour.

Spy: What will you be doing in 20 years?

Andy: I shall be a belligerent drunk.

[Thanks to Joe Lynn]


The Edmonton Journal
June 8, 1989, page C1

One-day-at-a-time lifestyle pulls Partridge from abyss

by Helen Metella

"I'm drunk on the everyday," enthuses Andy Partridge with an uncomplicated sunniness that runs counter to everything you might expect.

Partridge is the co-founder of XTC, a brainy British act that's made nine intricate, ambitious, often demanding albums which, save for one hit 10 years ago (Making Plans For Nigel), have caused barely a ripple of recognition outside of England.

The band (originally a quartet, now a trio including Colin Moulding and David Gregory) hasn't toured since 1982 because the strain proved nearly lethal to Partridge's physical and mental health.

Partridge himself is an outspoken atheist, who antagonizes many with his resolutely rational views. One of his few songs to garner overseas airplay recently was a tune from XTC's last album, Skylarking, called Dear God.

A sweet melody programmed by many radio managers who had not really absorbed its vicious denunciation of religion, it subsequently caused a storm of self-righteous censorship.

And as if all this angst wasn't sufficient to weigh down the shoulders of any contemporary poet, there are the standard insecurities of a mid-'30s writer, father and concerned-citizen-of-the-world to contend with.

"I feel what I do is so pathetically unimportant. For goodness sake, I'm dealing in three-minute pop songs and I play guitar. Come on!"

But last week, as Partridge conversed from his record company's Toronto office about XTC's acclaimed new album Oranges and Lemons, he belied all preconceptions of a moody, difficult, "artiste."

He expressed himself in beautifully literate language sprinkled with umpteen chuckles of a self-deprecating nature and gentle, thoughtful views of the human condition circa 1989.

He began by confirming that his, "repulsively optimistic," personality and the youthful buoyancy of the new album (despite its typically serious themes) can be directly traced to XTC's metamorphosis from a live to a strictly recording band.

"I feel a much happier person not to be prodded from van to hotel room to stage in front of 20,000 people. After five years it seemed like a prison sentence. We weren't growing musically, the music was bad on stage. Our health was suffering and we were being ripped off by managers and agents because we were out of sight. We weren't selling records because we were touring in the wrong places to make them a quick buck.

"And I was developing stage fright. I felt lonelier, more disturbed, until the point where I developed serious stomach pains and dizziness. I couldn't get off the bed to go to the show because my legs were paralyzed when I thought of standing in front of 15,000 people who wanted me to be wonderful. I didn't feel wonderful. I was a farting, sweaty, normal, balding, globby person."

Creatively, the liberation from the road has meant that, "the music has become technicolor. We went from the enforced order of bass and drums (so we'd be able to reproduce it on stage) to saying, 'Gosh, we can use bassoons, two drummers, a whole pallette of different colors.' "

Partridge's innate happiness is also a result of having time to father and raise two toddlers, Holly and Harry.

While Oranges and Lemons' underpinnings of nursery-rhyme cadence and soothing optimism is an accidental by- product of being surrounded by children, the refining of Partridge's vision of the universe is quite deliberately a message to the children of the world.

"I don't want to give them a fairy-tale that won't evaporate. I want them to grow up with the ability to investigate (for example) religion, which in my view is a man-made, idiot rationalization of the unrational.

"I realize there in no Holiday Inn in the sky. When I die what's inside the black body bag is going to be worm fodder. I'm not going to fly up and meet all my past relatives, I'm not going to be reincarnated.

"THIS is our one shot. If you're just biding your time, saying this doesn't matter, God will forgive me, you're just passing responsibility. You must be responsible for yourself. This is the one chance we get and we should be having a huge party. The big rule for me, is to be good to folks. They're just trying to have as much fun as you."

[Thanks to Kenn Scott]


Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin
May 1985

By ROQUA MONTEZ IV
Staff Writer

An 18-year-old Binghamton High School student held administrators at bay with a survival knife for almost six minutes Thursday [May 4, 1989?] while he broadcast a rock tune on the school's intercom system.

Richard Head [name changed by request] of Lisle "isn't sure" what spurred his actions about 9:25 a.m. at the principal's office, he said after his arraignment in city court Thursday afternoon. He pleaded innocent to first-degree criminal trespass, a felony, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and menacing, both misdemeanors.

Head was ordered to Broome Country Jail without bail. A psychiatric evaluation was also ordered.

No injuries were reported.

As he was taken to jail, the lanky soft-spoken youth would say only that he wasn't sure what motivated his actions and that he "wouldn't do it again."

City police said Head, who wears the hair on half of his head shaved, walked into the office and requested that a secretary, Jane H. Downey, broadcast Dear God, a tune with an anti-religious theme by the British rock group XTC on the school's inter-communication system.

Downey initially denied the request. Head then brandished the survival knife and "started to push buttons, which activate the intercom," Downey said in a sworn statement. She added that Head also pushed her to the side "two or three" times when she tried to turn off the music.

Assistant Principal Robert E. Baxter, who was in a nearby office an unaware of Head's action, yelled to Downey to turn off the music because it could be heard on the system. Downey responded that "a guy was behind the counter and wouldn't leave," Baxter said.

Baxter ran behind the counter, tried to turn off the music and turned to grab Head.

"I grabbed him by his left arm and as he turned around, he had a long knife in his right hand," Baxter said. "He said he didn't want to hurt anybody, but that he had to play this music. . . We then backed off and let him play his music. Then he turned off the P.A. system, gave the knife to (Principal Joseph) Holly and was handcuffed by the police."

Holly said Head will be suspended and further disciplinary action, if any, will follow the police investigation.

Holly said Head was in "good standing" at school and that Thursday's action was "quite out of character for him."

Students described Head as "weird," but intelligent. "I think he's a bit weird, but I really don't say much to him," said a junior who requested anonymity.

Another student said Head "was always strange, but now he's an instant folk hero."

Head's parents could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Some students thought at first that the incident was some sort of an attack on the school, said Karen L. Grimes, a sophomore who was in biology class at the time.

"We thought some terrorists were going to attack," she said. "Everybody started freaking out. We didn't know what was going on."

As a precaution, teachers were told not to allow students to leave classrooms at the end of the period.

[Thanks to Steve Granados]


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