XTC in the Press: 1997

Addicted To Noise
Dec 11, 1997
Music News of the World
Edited by Michael Goldberg

You Say It's Your Birthday: XTC's Andy Partridge

XTC singer/songwriter Andy Partridge was born 44 years ago today in Swindon, England. The band's smart lyrics and Beatle-esque pop sound, exemplified on such songs as "Senses Working Overtime" and "Dear God," have earned it a devoted core audience over the years but not much in terms of mainstream chart-success. The first inception of the group was in 1973, when Partridge, second songwriter Colin Moulding and drummer Terry Chambers were all playing in a New York Dolls-influenced band called the Helium Kidz. In 1976, the group changed its name to XTC and restructured its sound to reflect Partridge's love of the Beatles, the Small Faces and Captain Beefheart. XTC's first two albums were released only in England and were largely, and mistakenly, grouped with the legions of new-wave bands emerging from the punk scene in the late-1970s. 1979's Drums and Wires was the group's first U.S. release, and the wry humor of its "Making Plans for Nigel" made an impression on a small group of fans, who helped send their 1980 release, Black Sea, into the U.S. top 50. 1982's English Settlement was praised by critics but was a commercial disappointment in the United States. In the U.K., the album's single, "Senses Working Overtime," hit #10 on the pop charts. The group attempted to tour the U.S., but birthday boy Partridge suffered a nervous breakdown due to stage fright and the rest of the tour was canceled.

The group released a series of albums that received much critical acclaim in the mid-1980s, but it was 1986's Skylarking that finally helped them to secure a solid cult audience in the U.S. Produced to Partridge's initial chagrin by Todd Rundgren, the album gained fame because of a track that almost was left off the album, an acoustic anthem for agnostics entitled "Dear God." From there, the group's success on the college charts was pretty steady. Both 1989's Oranges and Lemons and 1992's Nonesuch [sic] hit #1 on the college charts, with Oranges and Lemons' "The Mayor of Simpleton" reaching #72 on the pop charts. Although XTC haven't released any new material since Nonesuch, they currently are in the studio working on a new album that is set to be titled Firework, which should be in stores next year.

Other birthdays: Nikki Sixx (Mötley Crüe), 39; David Gates (Bread), 57; Brenda Lee, 53; Jermaine Jackson, 43; and Mike Mesaros (Smithereens), 40.

-- Randy Reiss

Copyright © 1997 Addicted To Noise. All rights reserved.

Addicted To Noise
July 18, 1997
Music News of the World
Edited by Michael Goldberg

You Say It's Your Birthday: ex-XTC drummer Terry Chambers

Today is the birthday of former XTC drummer Terry Chambers, who was born in Swindon, England and turns 42 today. XTC's folky, crafted pop has been a consistent reminder of how intelligent popular music can be. With hits such as "Dear God" and "The Mayor of Simpleton," they made their mark on the charts. XTC formed in 1976 out of the Helium Kidz, a glam-rock outfit which included Chambers, vocalist and guitarist Andy Partridge and bassist Colin Moulding. XTC claimed influences including the Beatles and Captain Beefheart, adding keyboardist Barry Andrews (formerly of King Crimson) before the recording of their debut, White Music, in 1978. That album was lumped in with the New Wave craze gripping England, and it wasn't until the band's third album, 1979's Drums and Wires, that their albums began being released in America.

XTC rose to considerable fame in England without making a splash over here; albums such as Black Sea and English Settlement broke away from the band's early freneticism, allowing mellow phrasings to take over. A 1982 single, "Senses Working Overtime," went to #10 in the UK. The band toured extensively, but Partridge's extreme stage fright led to a nervous breakdown which canceled their tour. At this point, Chambers jumped ship, and the remaining duo resorted to session musicians to replace him.

The band continued to record, making such trademark albums as Mummer and Skylarking. A non-album track, "Dear God," splashed onto the airwaves, and with Oranges and Lemons came another hit with "Mayor of Simpleton." When they released their 1992 album Nonsuch, it entered the college charts at #1. Although the band has not dissolved, they haven't had any major releases since.

Other birthdays: Danny McCulloch (Animals), Dion DiMucci, Martha Reeves, Phil Harris (Ace), Wally Bryson (Raspberries), Glenn Hughes (Village People), Cesar Zuiderwyk (Golden Earring) and Nigel Twist (Alarm).

-- Beth Winegarner

Copyright © 1997 Addicted To Noise. All rights reserved.

Addicted To Noise
April 23, 1997

Compilation Album Coming From XTC

Andy Partridge has this little problem with performing live...

Addicted To Noise staff writer Gil Kaufman reports:

Talk about your untenable situations. Not only have XTC been unable to tour for over a decade due to singer/songwriter Andy Partridge's crippling stage fright, but they've also been barred from releasing any new material since 1992's Nonsuch due to a protracted contractual battle with their international label, Virgin Records.

So, as a sort of stop-gap peace offering to fans, their U.S. label, Geffen, is releasing a 19-track greatest-hits compilation called Upsy Daisy Assortment (The Sweetest Hits) on June 3.

The album contains all the classic oddball anthems you'd expect: "Life Begins at the Hop," "Making Plans for Nigel," "Generals & Majors," "Senses Working Overtime," "Grass," "Dear God," "Earn Enough for Us," "The Mayor Of Simpleton," and "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead," plus some less radio-friendly fodder, like: "Respectable Street," "Ball and Chain," "No Thugs in Our House," "Love on a Farmboy's Wages," "This World Over," "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her..." and "Chalkhills and Children." Other songs on the collection include: "Funk Pop A Roll," "King for a Day" and "The Disappointed."

According to a source at Geffen, the band has recently freed itself from their Virgin contract and are in negotiations with a number of labels to release the multiple albums they recorded during the limbo years.

Go back to Chalkhills Articles.

9 December 2012