XTC in the Press: 1993

The Big Takeover
Issue No. 33, 1993

A Conversation in Two Acts — Act Two: The Shark Attack

BT: A friend of mine asked me to ask this to you and I don't know what it means, but he wants to know: if you did and why you took a blow-up shark to Australia?

ANDY: Ha-ha! It wasn't a blow-up, it was just hollow rubber. It was the best blow-job that I could transport with me. I was in a Woolworth's in...Melbourne? I was in Melbourne, and I saw this rubber shark. And I thought, fuck, look at the mouth on that rubber shark! And I picked it up and it was really soft and spongy, and I thought, hey! So I tried it out, and it was great, so I took it around the whole tour of Australia and New Zealand and I bought a little box for it. Really foxed the customs men, cause they'd say "What's in the box, mate?" And I'd say, "Rubber shark" (general hilarity). "Okay, get it open, get it open" You'd open it up and there's a rubber shark. "Okay, fuck off, willya, mate?" So yeah, it was an interesting masturbatory device for awhile. Cause, you know, you can't go too careful with some of them diseases out there.

BT: You gotta leave the wife at home and all.

ANDY: Yeah, you know, and you don't want to go back with guilt, so at least you can go home and say "Darling, I've been fucking a rubber shark for the last two months!" S'great, you want to try it. Don't get the hard rubber, they're really painful. A soft, spongy rubber shark is the best blow-job you...

BT: Lemme write this down: soft rubber... This bit is definately for CREEM, isn't it?

ANDY: The whole suction process and the shape of the innards of the rubber shark is just phenominal.

BT: We'll follow up your distaste for religion with this particular.

ANDY: Yeah, right. And it was only like ninety cents. The best blow-job for the best price.

BT: Is there anything we haven't covered that you'd like to talk about?

ANDY: No, kind of the rubber shark is pretty good, there. Ah, there's all sorts of stuff. We'd better go, I think (laughs). It could get worse from this point on.

. . .

Dave: You ever hear his Utopia record Deface the Music?

Andy: Uh. . . yes. (whispers conspiratorially) Do you think it was as good as the Dukes “Mole From The Ministry?”

JR: No. But it was better than the Rutles. Vaguely. Andy: Yeah. . . yeah.

Richard: It was closer to the Rutles when Todd did it.

Andy: We actually used, I just remembered, we got the master tapes of Deface the Music out of the cupboard at his studio, because we wanted a really ringing tin can snare drum and he said, “Ah, we have one of those on a track on Deface the Music”. And we went through them and found it and sampled it, and Prairie Prince ends up playing the sample on “That's Really Super, Supergirl” — that real offensive tin can snare drum is a sample off of Deface the Music. (sings) Donk! Du-du-be-da-bum. . . donk! Buh-dah-duhn. . . donk! That's a little sample.

. . .

Andy: Yeah, well, we used lots of sampled sounds and messed with them in ways. Like all the little bits of percussion on “Seagulls Screaming” are all things like milk bottles, thumb pianos. . . all odd natural things, like Pyrex dishes, plates, just stuff that was in the kitchen, struck.

. . .

Andy: And we dressed up in the gear, and we had a dummy piano painted in psychedelic swirls, and just made every pop promotional film from 1967 all together in one film. Including this cod Pathe News voiceover at the start which said (plummy newsreel voice) “Here we see Chittingfold House, home of the Frobisher-Harrises since 1667. Some three hundred years later, the English pop group The Dukes of Stratosphear have decided to perform their latest pop recording, ‘The Mole From The Ministry’.” And then it went into this piece of cod. And we were so happy with it, cause it was the only video to that date where we'd had total input and we'd been listed to instead of, oh no, we're gonna do it my way instead. Cause that always happened on our videos, we just had to shut up and do as we were told. But that one came out great. And then Virgin Records said no, we're not going to spend any money on it. We said, look, it already exists! You just pay two thousand pounds to the BBC and you can buy it from them! And they wouldn't do it. So there is a video in existence — it's quite long, it's about five minutes long. . .

[Thanks to Jeff Venverloh and Patty Haley]

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20 May 2010