XTC in the Press: 2000


KKMR Merge Radio 93.3 FM
2000

XTC interview w/ Jeff K

At the turn of the millennium I was fortunate to interview my heroes - Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding of XTC. They rang me up in-studio one afternoon and we had a lovely chat about their most recent release at the time Wasp Star Apple Venus Volume 2. This is only a 2 minute snippet. One day I'll locate the entire tape.. yes tape, but for now this is all you get.

Jeff K: We're in deep privilege to be sharing bandwidth with the greatest band in the world, in my humble opinion...

Andy Partridge: You obviously got the check.

JK: Yes! A true wordsmith and craftsman of fine pop music, Mr. Andy Partridge, and Mr Colin Moulding of XTC. Gentlemen, welcome to Merge Radio in Dallas.

AP: Hi how are you? They're cheap swine, they've only got one telephone, so Colin's waving at the moment. But I assure you he's sitting in the room and wearing a clockwork kilt.

JK: Are you as inseparable away from recording as you are on record?

AP: We're totally sewn at the hip. Siamese twins.

JK: Do you live in the same proximity?

AP: Actually, Colin is about five or six miles outside of town. He's lucky. He escaped the maelstrom of apathy that is Swindon. I still find myself entrenched in the middle of it, for all my sins.

JK: But on holiday and when it's each other's birthdays, you make a point to get together and take care of each other, things like that?

AP: Once in a while. We're grown up fellows now so we don't go out on the pool together, or anything like that.

JK: Now Andy, you guys are very good at being able to capture a vibe or a theme on each album. Big Express felt very "blue collar" and Skylarking felt very summery, so, in your opinion, what is the vibe of Wasp Star?

AP: It's really up. I think it's largely optimistic. There's a sort of a static of optimism about it. There's a kind of a static electricity, that "Ooh, something good's going to happen, something good is happening, I'm feeling good about this". I think that was quite natural, the songs, a lot of them are optimistic kind of songs, or even if they about subjects that are down subjects, they look at them on a kind of a not too depressing an angle. I think the instrumentation is immediate. I think it's uncluttered. I think it has the best rhythm feel of any album that we've ever done. I think it's just up, it's an up record.

JK: I agree. I've been having religious experiences with the album over the past three or four days. To me, it's probably the best complete XTC album since Skylarking, and I hope you take that as a compliment.

AP: My good man, thank you!

[Thanks to Jeff K.]


TheWB HEARD ON Gilmore Girls
Music XTC
Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)

Gilmore Girls
 
Featured Music
In the Gilmore Girls episode "The Lorelais' First Day At Chilton" (October 12, 2000), Lorelai and Lane freak out to XTC. The new XTC album, Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2), is nothing like its more orchestral predecessor, Apple Venus Volume 1. This album returns more to XTC's roots, specializing in smart pop with bouncy hooks and wickedly clever lyrics. The British band is often compared to the Beatles, and XTC's sound, quality and staying power give that comparison credence.

XTC members Andy Partridge (no, he did not grow up travelling to gigs in a school bus with his musical family) and Colin Moulding originally played together in the bands Star Park and Helium Kidz in the mid-'70s before becoming the band XTC. The band was signed to Virgin records in London in the heyday of the punk movement and went on to release 10 albums on that label. XTC had a four year recording hiatus due to a contractual dispute with Virgin. In 1997, they began to record again with TVT Records and have released a box set and two albums on the new label.
© 2005 The WB Television Network

Musicblitz
2000

Andy Partridge of XTC XTC
I'm the Man Who Murdered Love

Album: Wasp Star (Apple Venus II)
Genres: Pop
These Beatlesque purveyors of pure pop pleasure are guilty as charged. Now if only the judge would stop humming along and impose a sentence....

Critic's Review: * * * *

Singer-songwriter Andy Partridge once again displays the wicked humor and shiny, happy pop sense that are XTC trademarks. The pairing generally makes for a knockout combo, and this song's no exception. "I'm the man who murdered love/Yeah! Whaddya think to that?" Partridge boasts with glee as a giddy melody bounces beside him. "There'll be no more pain from broken hearts/And no more lovers to be torn apart/Before you throw me in your dungeon dark/You oughta film me putting statues up in every park." Cold-blooded Partridge may be, but he sure can write a good hook.

Jackie McCarthy

Jackie McCarthy is the former music editor of Seattle Weekly, and writes about music and other topics for CMJ New Music Monthly, Seattle Weekly, and Resonance on paper, and CDNow and Wall of Sound on the web.

©1999-2001 MUSICBLITZ. All right reserved.


Flagpole, Athens
12/8/00 3:42:50 PM
Joe Silva

John Lennon's Disjointed Noodlings and Immeasurable Resonance

Be advised, they're already out there - the sloshy magazine tributes, the slick and useless TV retrospectives, and one cringe-worthy exhibit of blood-splattered assassination garb for those with enough bank to fly to Cleveland's Rock Hall.

But at best, any of the above routes are bound to get you only a whiff of Lennon. Whether on his own or fronting the best pop band ever - or should we say “most significant” to reduce the message load on the e-mail server - what John Lennon was to most people was a burst of brilliant, tinny static on an AM transistor radio, a jumble of entertaining poetics and sketches from an anxiously gifted receptor or a convenient figurehead for a youth movement that needed to wield potent icons just as the riot police they often faced needed pointy bayonets. Not bad for a lower-middle-class delinquent from some grimy English port.

From his (often pickled) viewpoint, it must have seemed almost as lunatic as the visions that prompted him to forge such great art. Consider that in the space of less than 10 years, John Winston Ono Lennon, went from being an amphetamine-fueled guitar player in a small cover band, to one of four suits at the center of a storm of mass hysteria, to some not-necessarily-shapely artist with his axe hanging out nude on an album cover. Things couldn't hurtle forward for one individual any faster. The fact that he wound up with a few years of relative, if not slightly paranoid-skewed, peace during his Dakota days, is only mild comeuppance for the period that preceded that. All told he was one of the most well-documented people of the past 30 years, but what the curious and the genuinely inspired are really left with are news fragments, a self-absorbed widow who's only too keen to mass market a legacy, and an atonal heir who probably shouldn't be let near any recording equipment. If he ever had a chance for honest reflection on the spectacle that his life often became, it has perhaps only partially surfaced.

“I'm sure he would have been cynical about any personality cult arising around his memory,” speculates Paul Du Noyer, British music journalist and author of We All Shine On, a popular U.K. title that examines Lennon's solo work. “He was a musician and that was his contribution to the world. The rest is just celebrity tittle-tattle.”

But that celebrity tittle-tattle helps to propel a huge trade in Beatle books, memorabilia and record sales. This year alone, fans world over are collapsing under the weight of The Beatles Anthology book, an extended transcript of the TV series of the same name, and a 27-track re-packaging of the Fabs' greatest hits, with the patently severe and ominous title of 1. If it weren't for the Lennon legacy, popular English music journals like MOJO and Q would be noticeably far leaner beasts... but probably no less expensive. And think of the muddle Macy's might be if the officially authorized Lennon-Ono baby wear was excised from its infant department. But there's no telling if, in this era of recycled and hyper-marketed nostalgia, whether the man himself would have caved to pressures of the day and happily sanctioned the whole business. As a person, the varying public shades of Lennon - acerbic wit, chemical dependent, orphaned and abandoned son, or rock and roll addict - make it nearly impossible to say. Several people, including his assassin, have made a posthumous attempt.

“I'd read where Chapman said that he thought Lennon would have forgiven him,” says longtime fan and singer/songwriter Robyn Hitchcock. “But Lennon was a violent man, a tortured geezer, but I think he actually would have wanted his head smashed instead.”

Hitchcock, like many musicians who carry a tangible appreciation of Lennon in their own work, remains stunned by Lennon's murder.

“It's something that has carried on being a shock to me. After 20 years I still can't quite believe that he was shot dead. You know, I can accept my own father dying, but Lennon... I still can't quite believe it. We were recording songs for my first solo album, and the engineer didn't turn up for hours, so we just sat in a café. And [my bass player] Matthew Seligman said, ‘That's the price you pay for invading people's minds.’ Which I thought was a pretty fair comment. But, then again, it probably spared the world a Beatle reunion.”

“I don't think I would have got on with him, if I'd have been a contemporary of his.” muses Andy Partridge, one half of pop wonders XTC. “I mean, I read that Albert Goldman book [The Lives of John Lennon], and it didn't shock me. I just thought, ‘Yeah, I sensed he was like that.’ You know, he was just a person, and that's what people are like. This thing about people in the limelight getting deified is just stupid.”

Partridge, whose work gets tagged too often with Beatle comparisons, sees Lennon as just one of the two principal elements that kept the surface tension on the great band's bubble. Without McCartney as his worthy and fluffy foil, he maintains, there's no telling how Lennon's work may have evolved.

“I don't think he was the backbone of the Beatles. I just think he was part of the balance in a set of finely balanced scales,” Partridge explains.

But some of the heft of his work may have come to ground with Partridge when, on the night following Lennon's assassination, he and the rest of XTC had to take the stage in, of all places, Liverpool.

“We were on tour, and we were playing a small club in Liverpool that night,” he said. “We agreed that on the end section of ‘Towers of London,’ which is a similar tempo to ‘Rain,’ we'd play it. I just remember standing on stage playing this and the tears just squirting down my face. It was just too poignant.”

Considering the post-punk time frame of that event, a club of weepy new wavers may just be one more testament to the breadth of Lennon's impact, hometown crowd or not. ‘Rain’ and rock psychedelia as a whole is arguably one of Lennon's own fortuitous babies. What he bequeathed to musicians by accidentally turning tapes backwards, dipping into the lysergic cookie jar and reading far beyond anything engendered by his working class upbringing, is immeasurably resonant today.

Reports WRAS Atlanta DJ Jez De Wolfe, “It's funny because we have a psychedelic and space rock show on Thursdays at 8 p.m. called ‘Postscript’ that our program director Michael Wellman does, and I know that he gets requests many times for John Lennon. So many of those artists are influenced by him, and I think now a lot of people think it's cool to say that they are. He's obviously a big influence on today's music. It's kind of a shame that many people my age or younger haven't been exposed to him and yet they hear artists like Spiritualized that obviously have been influenced by his music. A lot of DJs these days don't think it's really cool to play him and normally you just hear the biggest song, but it's always such a treat to hear some of his stuff that you don't normally hear.”

Paul Du Noyer heartily agrees: “The Walls and Bridges album I think is the most fairly overlooked of his solo records. It's one of the most direct of all his work. That was the one he made at the time that he was separated from Yoko, and it was probably one of the most emotionally turbulent periods. It just has a lot of dramatic range.”

But with radio unwilling to reach past the greatest hits records in a search for slightly less polished diamonds in Lennon's catalogue, it becomes a more personal trek to get to the other, less obvious veins worth mining. 1998's four-disc Lennon Anthology may not be the best place to start, but it pokes at the underbelly of Lennon's aesthetic - the studio bile tossed between him and producer Phil Spector, the incandescent humor of his Dylan parodies, and the “just play it from the gut boys” demeanor that he used to deal with the pickup musicians that were often too awed by his presence to do their best work.

To reach further back, there is the clever mumbo jumbo of his two volumes of verse In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works - and the disjointed noodlings of the infamously naked Two Virgins album. While never too out of touch from complete self-indulgence, Lennon's experiments in film and sound prior to his confessional primal scream album Plastic Ono Band are examples of a creativity marvelously unhinged by excess drugs, spare time and blossoming romance.

Although ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ or the score of other ace tracks included on the new stocking-stuffer greatest hits album may strike more universal appeal, they can never completely draw away from the hours of lesser known material. Out in front of the Dakota on the days immediately following December 8, 1980 - ground zero for the hysteria and continued myth-making of Lennon's legend - the grief stricken and the merely sad came clutching all manner of Lennon and Beatle esoterica. Copies of Some Time In New York City were just as in evidence as White Album and Abbey Road sleeves. To this then-15-year-old boy who had just had his world almost completely reconfigured by Lennon's music that very same year, not knowing that one of his new heroes lived only a few subway stops away, the disparate makeup of the fans and their mementos all looked equally valid. And genuinely sad.

Copyright (c) 2000 Eason Publications. All Rights Reserved.


100.3 The Q!
2000
The Q! > Downloads > Interviews

Straight from the horse's mouth
Many great artists have dropped by or dropped a line to The Q! over the years, and we thought we'd share some of their deepest thoughts with you!
XTC
Andy Partridge - Lead Singer

Talks about the album title Apple Venus Wasp Star - Listen
Talks about the song The Man Who Murdered Love - Listen
Talks about the origin of the band name XTC - Listen
Favourite thing to do on a Sunday afternoon - Listen
Personal heroes and villains - Listen

Copyright 2000 OK Radio Group Ltd.


The Sun-Herald, Sydney
October 2000
Timeout

THE HOT SEAT

XTC'S ANDY PARTRIDGE

XTC FORMED in the English town of Swindow 25 years ago. In the early 80s they had a series of hits include Making Plans for Nigel, Senses Working Overtime and Generals and Majors. In 1992, the band's fonding pair Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding began a seven-year strike, refusing to record for (now) former label Virgin.

You still in Swindon?
Yes, unfortunately, I must have committed some terrible sin in a past life because I find myself still here.

What became of the Penhill estate you grew up on?
Oh Jesus, you're joking. I'm going to go on a pilgrimage one day and wander around the alleyways and lanes and freak myself out. I'm putting it off a bit because they say don't go back.

You thank Spoofy on the new album. Who's that?
(Laughs) The house I live in is populated with an enormous amount of make-believe characters. Already I can hear you backing away from the phone. Spoofy seems to be the most mischievous of the lot; he's a demonic, chubby gingerbread boy who is the leader of a gang of two other gingerbread boys and a one-legged gingerbread dog. I suppose it's my soul really. I bet you wish you hadn't asked.


Agony and XTC: Andy Partridge (left) is back on track, albeit still in Swindon, after a seven-year strike.

Have you ever taken a swing at Colin?
(Laughs) No, but at one point during the making of Skylarking (1986) where nobody was getting on with anyone he did actually suggest I take his bass guitar and shove it up my a***. I offered him some KY Jelly and said, “Do you fancy a go? I'll call the Guinness Book Of Records.”

XTC ceased touring 20 years ago after you suffered crippling anxiety attacks. What if you'd played at 10am and didn't have all day to build up to a state of panic?
(Laughs) Then I wouldn't have slept. All through my teens and early 20s I was addicted to Valium. Coming off my Valium addiction coincided with not wanting to tour any further, thinking about where the money had gone, where my future was going, thinking deeply about stuff for the first time. Consequently I became a lot more nervous about life in general, but also I became malcontent with being stuck in this circus, I felt like a performing monkey.

How normal was it to prescribe Valium to children?
If a child was worrying or screwed up by his parents' behaviour, which I was, they didn't look at the parents, they looked at the kid - “Wow, he's really upset, he wants to urinate all the time and he's nervous and emotional all the time, he must be weird.” They didn't look at what was causing it, that I was living with these parents attacking each other with knives, hurling ornaments and torturing each other. They stuck the kid on drugs rather than smashing my parents' heads together and saying: “Bloody well grow up.”
XTC's Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) is available through Cooking Vinyl/Universal.

PETER HOLMES

[Thanks to Fiona Davies]


Music.com
2000

XTC
THE XTC OF SONG

by Matt Schild

XTC

"We just think music's music," says XTC's Andy Partridge. He's taking a critical look at XTC's latest wave of releases, 1999's Apple Venus (TVT) - a collection of fully orchestrated pop songs - and this year's Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol. 2)(TVT) featuring the poppy electric guitars sitting closer to traditional XTC fare. It's a couple of albums, especially Apple Venus's epic string arrangements, taking more than a few fans and radio programmers by surprise, a reaction he finds more than a little puzzling.

"If you want to do a bit of this, do a bit of this," he continues. "It's like if you want to eat chicken one day and you want jelly the next, why not? Why shouldn't you do just like that with music? Music's music. It shouldn't be chopped up into little boxes. That's an industry invention so they can handle people's supposed tastes easier and make more money at them."

If anyone knows the quirks of the recording industry, it'd be Partridge. A veteran with more than 20 years at the helm of XTC, Partridge and XTC co-conspirator Colin Moulding endured their share of ups and downs, with a hearty share of downs coming in recent years. Marked by a seven-year absence from the recording world during a lengthy struggle to free themselves of their contract with Geffen following 1992's Nonsuch would keep the duo out of the limelight for a gruelingly long time. While the band's return with Apple Venus wouldn't exactly extract them from their mire. Sounding closer to the indie rock of bands like Belle and Sebastian than the classic pop common to an XTC album, the act's long-awaited return proved too eclectic for many genre-oriented radio programmers to grasp. It's a state of affairs the band hopes to remedy with the straight-up pop on Wasp Star.

"It certainly will be a lot easier for radio people. They didn't understand Apple Venus. That got nil radio play. I think it actually went into minus figures," Partridge says with a slightly sardonic chuckle. "I think this one is a bit more friendly, a bit more immediate. The last Apple Venus just confused radio programmers to no end."

The band's brand of music, while earning it a cult following both in the States as well as their homeland of Britain, always found it tough to fit in with the radio world. While scoring a few hits over its career, XTC's fare - mixing the sharp wit of the singer/songwriter with the sparkle of classic pop and an idiosyncratic logic - would frequently be too wide in its perspective to truly fit in with the neatly packaged world of commercial radio.

"It's definitely moronic, because they are so concerned with keeping things in their little ghettoes," Partridge says, reflecting on the state of commercial radio. "'Yes, we only play ambient-country-opera-billy on this station.' 'We only play speed-garage-folk on our station.' This ghettoization of music is really unhealthy and very anti-people."

Few bands hold true to Partridge's ideas of a music world where genres are poured down the drain like yesterday's coffee; cruising across a radio dial in any city will prove that. With easily defined segments delimiting musical areas, many bands push themselves into limiting musical confines, despite their love for wide-ranging styles.

"You'll get a band who'll just play the really flashy, brutal metal stuff, and they'll all go home and put on a classical album, or a country album they borrowed or an album of humorous songs, or perhaps some old Beatles stuff," Partridge says. "Their tastes are really broad, and they get in a rehearsal room or a studio and they go back to painting with one colored gray. They're kind of beating themselves up a little bit there, I think."

Such a spirited take on the limitless possibilities of music find themselves cropping up in XTC's work, especially in the arty Apple Venus. It's a theory of testing new waters Partridge sticks firmly to, talking about the possibilities of moving his band's sound into other pastures removed from its pop work. Be it trying out minimalist works or a cappella tracks, the future of XTC is wide open toward trying new things in the pursuit of songwriting.

"It's not so much experimentation. It's more musical masturbation, finding different ways of pleasing yourself, moving into areas you've never done before. Trying it with a different hand," Partridge says. "You just move into areas you have a little hankering for and you want to see if that's a better way of explaining what's running around inside your brain. It's almost like finding a better hole inside the attic to get this stuff out of your head."

With the ability to free the songwriting process from the chains created by the idea of pigeonholing genres, comes XTC's ability to create songs with a distinctly human side, an element of the band finding a cozy home on Wasp Star. From "Wounded Horse," struggling with the bitter realities of post-divorce depression to "We're All Light," a bubbling love song capturing the feel of a fresh love buzz, the band's lyrics dissect emotion in ways unavailable to acts regurgitating the same formulaic numbers over and over. It also provides the band a doorway into more personal songwriting, Partridge says.

"They're dead personal," he says. "I lose sleep sometimes thinking about if I'm giving a bit too much of myself here, or are people going to understand this? Are people going to think I'm a weakling or a softie, or are they going to think I'm being too nasty? You have to have lived through it to have a sensible comment on it."

With Partridge and Moulding's songwriting days stretching back to 1976, the pair also heft considerable experience when sitting down to create its lyrics. The experience pays off on Wasp Star, helping the songwriters become more comfortable with opening themselves up during the songwriting process.

"As you get into it more and more, you see you are unafraid to get more naked in public. That's really the fascination is for other people. The fascination is you're revealing more of your soul, you're revealing more of your deep down, and more vulnerability and things."

If nothing else, XTC proves it's able to stay the course. Outlasting several generations of pop acts, the key to the band's survival may be its ability to take on different textures to its sound, or maybe it's the band's knack of turning pop tunes on their ear to give them a fresh ring. Either way, Partridge says he and Moulding will continue shifting the band's sound.

"It's like making the whole meal out of white bread. White bread soup, followed by a little white bread, with white bread on top, and for desert, have white bread," he says, reflecting upon a life of unchanging musical output. "Doesn't that feel kind of deadly dull to you?"

© 1998-2000 Music.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


The Record
SEPT. 14/00
SINGLES

XTC Stupidly Happy (TVT/Universal). Another fine return to form from another act that had its biggest successes in the '80s, this chirpy and melodic mid-tempo pop song is exactly what it says it is. Andy Partridge has written another guitar-driven delight, but it's likely doomed to fall between the cracks of radio formats. Cross your fingers that it at least helps some people discover the British band's recently released Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) album. (Sept. 14/00; S.M.)

Copyright ©1999/2000 The Record


Vinile
July 18, 2000
INTERVISTE

XTC

XTC: Il gatto e la volpe
Valerio Corzani

Le salaci confessioni di una coppia di geniacci del pop.

Una strana partnership quella che regola i rapporti artistici dei due Xtc Andy Partridge e Colin Moulding. Partridge è il geniaccio che è. Un demiurgo del pop che ha trovato negli anni una spalla ideale nel mite, ritroso e abile bassista Colin Moulding. La loro è una ditta spudoratamente sbilanciata eppure sembra funzionare a meraviglia e dalle riservate lande dello Wiltshire, continuano da più di vent'anni a confezionare mirabilie sonore. Gli Xtc sono insomma gli ambasciatori di una vera e propria nicchia creativa, della quale vanno molto fieri e attraverso la quale perseguono da anni un solo semplice scopo: perpetuare l'inafferrabile segreto del pop.
La gestazione di questo WASP Star è strettamente legata a quella del vostro album precedente Apple Venus.
Partridge:Per questo l'abbiamo sottotitolato Apple Venus vol.2. Il progetto iniziale era di fare uscire un doppio;forse anche un triplo; all'epoca di Apple Venus, strutturato esattamente in questo modo con il primo album più rigoroso ed orchestrale ed il secondo più elettrico e rock. Poi il progetto è cambiato, semplicemente per una serie di contingenze: i costi dell'orchestra, i costi della sala, la dipartita di Dave Gregory... avremmo dovuto stoppare tutto e rimandare di un bel po' la pubblicazione del doppio album oppure dilazionarne l'uscita in due tranche. Abbiamo scelto la seconda opzione.
Se non sbaglio avete inaugurato uno studio tutto vostro dentro il garage di Colin?
Moulding:Esattamente, nel mio garage. Ho dovuto sloggiare la macchina e sgombrare un po' di attrezzi. Ti assicuro che l'acustica è molto buona, c'è un riverbero naturale perfetto e la possibilità di lavorarci quando vuoi, all'ora che vuoi, osando in qualsiasi direzione
Il lavoro sul suono è molto importante per gli XTC. Quali sono stati gli accorgimenti che in fase di registrazione ritenete essere diventati sostanziali e caratterizzanti?
Partridge:Innanzitutto trovare un buon tecnico del suono. Che sia allo stesso tempo selettivo e solidale rispetto alle tue esigenze. Poi è fondamentale costruire il suono intorno alla colonna vertebrale di uno strumento preciso, cui tutti gli altri fanno riferimento a livello di dinamiche. Lavorare in studio è una sorta di magica alchimia, dove il più piccolo elemento può diventare caratterizzante. Il triangolo ad esempio è uno strumentino piccolo piccolo, con un suono piccolo piccolo, ma prova a trattarlo un po' e ad inserirlo ossessivamente nelle cadenze ritmiche di un brano...avrà lo stesso impatto di una chitarra distorta.
Un'altra fetta importante del vostro mondo creativo è costituito dalle liriche. I vostri testi sono una fucina impagabile di giochi di parole, doppi sensi, paradossi...
Moulding:E' un vezzo che ci portiamo dietro da sempre. Io ed Andy giochiamo sempre con le parole. Anche mentre chiacchieriamo tra di noi. La cosa che ci piace di più è scovare parole che vadano oltre il loro significato o che ne contengano molti.
Siete alla ricerca della canzone perfetta?
Partridge:Penso che non abbia senso il concetto di perfezione nella forma-canzone. La perfezione spesso non è una virtù. E' piuttosto qualcosa di irritante, algido, glaciale.
Di esibizioni live invece non se ne parla?
Partridge:Assolutamente no. Il concerto è un mondo espressivo che non abbiamo mai seriamente contemplato. Il concerto non riesce a far scattare una vera forma di comunicazione tra l'artista e il pubblico. Il musicista si trasforma in una sorta di clown da circo nel quale inscena uno spettacolino pietoso, tutto luci e paillettes. La musica è un'altra cosa.
Forse anche a causa della latitanza live gli XTC sono sempre stati una band di culto e mai una band da classifica. Qualche rimpianto?
Partridge:Nessun rimpianto. Ho visto gente distrutta dal successo, resa intrattabile dal cambiamento di vita, logorata da impegni e pressioni. Non aver avuto tantissimo successo è stata una fortuna. Grazie per non aver comprato i nostri dischi!

NME
1st July 2000
This Week's Singles

XTC
I'm The Man Who Murdered Love (Idea)

Older students will remember Andy Partridge as the man who wrote the Britpop book 20 years ago, then threw it away at regular intervals thereafter between getting in touch with his bucolic side and collecting toy soldiers. No wonder Blur tried to work with him once, only to give up on discovering he's as mad as candyfloss. Still, just to remind wannabe whippersnapper tunesmiths how it's done, XTC are back from various excursions orchestral (and rather more interesting) with a straightforward XTC pop album, from whence this straightforward XTC pop single hails. Naturally, given Partridge's singular vision, it isn't straightforward enough, tossing at least three times too many ideas into the pot until the concoction begins repeating on this feebly-constituted contemporary consumer, who is then forced to go and lie down in a dark room and listen to Kid 606 for three days. There is a track on the new XTC album called 'Stupidly Happy', however, that is pure, dumb, simplistic pop genius. Too simple, clearly, to be released as an XTC single.

Keith Cameron


kwMusica
June 2000

XTC

XTC

Andy Partridge e Colin Moulding sono un vero e proprio caso nel mercato discografico contemporaneo. Da più di venti anni il loro progetto, Xtc, produce straordinari album di musica pop, forse non semplicissimi, sicuramente non banali, ma niente che possa tenere il pubblico lontano. La critica li adora in tutto il mondo, hanno uno zoccolo duro di fan che posseggono ogni respiro abbiano mai registrato. Sono una band "di culto" come poche altre. Allergici all'industria, a quella Londra così vicina alla natia Swindon eppure cosi lontana per atteggiamento ed attitudine, gli Xtc si portano addosso con orgoglio la non appartenenza a mode di passaggio, la scarsa attenzione ai "fondamentali accessori" del look, o dei videoclip. Eppure tutto quello che ora viene chiamato Brit Pop non sarebbe esistito senza di loro.

Il lungo ed insoddisfacente rapporto con la Virgin, loro prima casa discografica, si è interrotto un paio di anni fa e Andy e Colin si sono lanciati nell'autogestione, creando la Idea Records con al quale hanno esordito lo scorso anno con Apple Venus volume1, album meditativo ed orchestrale al quale fa seguito il recentissimo Wasp Star (Apple Star volume 2), più elettrico e d'impatto, distribuito anche in Italia dalla Sony4.

Kwmusica ve li presenta in questo speciale ricco di materiali da ascoltare, da vedere e da leggere.
Alla scoperta di "Wasp Star": in streaming, potete ascoltare due canzoni tratte dall'ultimo album, "Stupidly Happy" e "I'm The Man Who Murdered Love".
Da vedere: il cortometraggio girato da Alberto M. Castagna e intitolato La Convention, basato sulla storia di una convention di fan degli Xtc (il filmato è stato presentato a Roma nell'ambito della rassegna "Arcipelago"), e, nei prossimi giorni, l'eccezionale videointervista con Andy Partridge e Colin Moulding, in esclusiva per Kwmusica. Da leggere l'autorevole commento di Riccardo Bertoncelli sul nuovo disco degli Xtc.
Da non perdere: Partridge e Moulding saranno ospiti di Kwmusica per una chat che andrà in rete mercoledi 7 alle ore 17:00. Non mancate!

"La stella degli Xtc (alcune divergenze fra il signor Partridge e me)" di Riccardo Bertoncelli

[Thanks to Paolo Di Modica]


The Sydney Morning Herald
12/06/2000
Stay In Touch

Teen agony and XTC

While the temporary Liberal leader Kerry Chika Boom sits here today labelled a loser, XTC's Andy Partridge suggests it could be worse. She could be called Andrew. To understand this it helps to know that the teenage Partridge was known as Rocky, after the first song he learnt to play properly, the Beatles song Rocky Racoon. Does anyone call him that any more? "No, but thank God it was Rocky Racoon I could play well," Partridge said. "Could you imagine if I had been able to play Drip Drip Drip went the Little Raindrops? [Rocky] sounded vaguely exotic and vaguely tough because as a kid I always wanted to call myself something more manly because Andrew was very wet and drippy. Andrew always reminded me of the sound of somebody dropping an ice-cream on a pavement, like a toddler dropping his ice-cream. As his ice-cream was on the pavement and he was looking at his mother, he would be in an andrew of a state."

Copyright © 2000. All rights reserved.
[Thanks to Wes Hanks]


Tempo
Mardi 06 juin 2000
Musique

XTC, ou le plaisir retrouvé

XTC
XTC sera de passage au Québec après une longue absence.

Par Philippe ZELLER --Presse Canadienne

XTC éprouve de nouveau du plaisir. Le plaisir d'enregistrer quand bon lui semble. Le plaisir de lancer des disques sans que ceux-ci soient continuellement remis en question.

Engagé dans une lutte sans merci avec Virgin, le groupe de Swindon, dans le Wiltshire, avait pour ainsi dire été porté disparu. Pendant sept ans, de 1992 à 1999, aucune nouvelle de lui. Soudainement, voilà qu'il lâche deux albums en autant d'années. On croit rêver.

"A vrai dire, ça fait terriblement de bien de sortir la crème du matériel accumulé pendant toute cette période frustrante durant laquelle nous ne pouvions enregistrer", soupire Andy Partridge, chanteur, guitariste et principal compositeur du duo, lors d'un coup de fil passé depuis les bureaux de l'étiquette où XTC a trouvé refuge, TVT, en plein coeur de Manhattan.

Mis en marché le 23 mai, "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)" constitue le second volet du "grand projet" auquel Partridge et son complice depuis un quart de siècle, le bassiste Colin Moulding, ont consacré l'essentiel de ces dernières années.

Davantage qu'un ramassis de chutes de studio datant des séances d'enregistrement d'"Apple Venus Volume 1", paru en 1999, ce nouvel album en est le complément. L'un et l'autre "reflètent les deux faces du groupe", comme s'il s'agissait d'une "pièce de monnaie XTC".

"En réalité, ils auraient dû paraître sous la forme d'un album double, mais les circonstances ne l'ont pas permis. Tant qu'à réapparaître en public, je crois qu'il aurait été préférable de frapper en quantité et qualité. Mais vous pouvez toujours imaginer avoir acheté un ensemble de deux disques, et qu'il vous a fallu un an pour trouver l'autre."

"Apple Venus Volume 1" présente une pop savante, le plus souvent orchestrale, à la fois lumineuse et luxueuse. Enregistré l'automne dernier, mixé ce printemps par Nick Davis (The Housemartins, Genesis, Marillion, etc.), qui en a également signé la production, "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)" offre quant à lui une musique plus directe, plus simple. En clair, plus rock.

"Vers 1994-95, époque à laquelle remonte ce matériel, j'ai voulu écrire des chansons à la guitare électrique. J'avais alors entendu assez d'arrangements orchestraux pour tenir toute une vie, du moins un bon moment. J'ai simplement eu envie de brancher ma guitare et de pousser le volume à fond."

Habituellement, lorsqu'un groupe rock complète un album, il se hâte de partir en tournée afin d'en assurer la promotion. Pas XTC. Aux prises avec un très sérieux problème de trac, Partridge a renoncé à la scène en 1982. Et rien, absolument rien, assure-t-il, ne le fera changer d'idée.

"Non, pas intéressé. Ce que nous faisons, ce sont des disques. Je crois d'ailleurs que nous nous en tirons pas trop mal. Ce que nous n'aimons pas et que nous ne faisons pas très bien, ce sont les concerts. Je laisse ça aux plus jeunes. C'est d'ailleurs mieux lorsque les groupes sont jeunes et énergiques, et que le public est jeune et énergique. Je trouve plutôt navrants ces gens plus âgés qui prétendent faire partie d'une bande, tout comme ceux qui jouent le jeu par nostalgie ou quelque raison que ce soit."

Cela dit, il n'est pas exclu que le duo se produise en petit comité, pour le compte de la BBC ou d'une autre station de radio, comme il lui est arrivé de le faire par le passé. "Nous y pensons en effet. Mais cela ne donnerait que des représentations plus brutes de ce qu'il est possible de trouver sur l'album. Si c'est ce que les gens veulent. . . Je préférerais quand même qu'ils se procurent le disque. La musique y est telle que nous l'avons voulue."

Si l'avenir immédiat de XTC n'est pas fait de spectacles, de quoi l'est-il donc? "Je n'en ai pas la moindre idée."

Chose certaine, il ne faudra pas patienter pendant sept ans avant d'entendre parler de XTC à nouveau. "Oh! mon Dieu, non! Non, non, non, non, non, non, non!"

Copyright © 2000, Société en commandite Canoë. Tous droits réservés.


Sonic Barbecue
Lundi, 5 juin 2000, 01h00 HAE
Entrevues

Etat d'extase

XTC éprouve de nouveau du plaisir. Le plaisir d'enregistrer quand bon lui semble. Le plaisir de lancer des disques sans que ceux-ci soient continuellement remis en question. Le plaisir de... enfin, le plaisir.

Engagé dans une lutte sans merci avec Virgin, XTC avait pour ainsi dire été porté disparu. Pendant sept ans, de 1992 à 1999, aucune nouvelle du groupe de Swindon, dans le Wiltshire. Soudainement, voilà qu'il lâche deux albums en autant d'années. On croit rêver.

"A vrai dire, ça fait terriblement de bien de sortir la crème du matériel accumulé pendant toute cette période frustrante durant laquelle nous ne pouvions enregistrer", soupire Andy Partridge (ci-dessous, à gauche), chanteur, guitariste et principal compositeur du duo, lors d'un coup de fil passé à Sonic Barbecue depuis les bureaux de l'étiquette où XTC a trouvé refuge, TVT, en plein coeur de Manhattan.

"Ils ont eu la curieuse idée de me faire venir jusqu'à New York rien que pour parler au téléphone. Essayez d'y comprendre quelque chose", laisse-t-il tomber avec cet humour délicieusement "british".

La voix est posée, mais le ton léger. On l'imagine confortablement installé sur un Chesterfield, tasse de Earl Grey à la main. On le devine surtout soulagé. Après l'enfer, le paradis?

"Je n'irais pas jusque-là (rires). Non, ça va, il s'agit d'une relation beaucoup plus saine, beaucoup plus respectueuse."

Mis en marché le 23 mai, "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)" constitue le second volet du "grand projet" auquel Partridge et son complice depuis un quart de siècle, le bassiste Colin Moulding (ci-dessous, à droite), ont consacré l'essentiel de ces dernières années. Davantage qu'un ramassis de chutes de studio datant des séances d'enregistrement d'"Apple Venus Volume 1", paru en 1999, ce nouvel album en est le complément. L'un et l'autre "reflètent les deux faces du groupe", comme s'il s'agissait d'une "pièce de monnaie XTC".

"En réalité, ils auraient du paraître sous la forme d'un album double, mais les circonstances ne l'ont pas permis. Tant qu'à réapparaître en public, je crois qu'il aurait été préférable de frapper en quantité et qualité. Mais vous pouvez toujours imaginer avoir acheté un ensemble de deux disques, et qu'il vous a fallu un an pour trouver l'autre."

"Apple Venus Volume 1" (ci-dessus), incluant "River Of Orchids", présente une pop savante, le plus souvent orchestrale, à la fois lumineuse et luxueuse. Enregistré l'automne dernier, mixé ce printemps par Nick Davis (The Housemartins, Genesis, Marillion, etc.), qui en a également signé la production, "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)" offre quant à lui une musique plus directe, plus simple. En clair, plus rock.

"Vers 1994-95, époque à laquelle remonte ce matériel, j'ai voulu écrire des chansons à la guitare électrique. J'avais alors entendu assez d'arrangements orchestraux pour tenir toute une vie, du moins un bon moment. J'ai simplement eu envie de brancher ma guitare et de pousser le volume à fond."

Plusieurs chansons de "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)" (ci-dessus) sont nées de cette impulsion, notamment "Stupidly Happy", "au sujet de cette espèce de transe dans laquelle on entre lorsqu'on est amoureux". Voilà un morceau qui ne déparerait certainement pas "Between The Buttons", le plus anglais des albums des Rolling Stones.

"Un après-midi que je m'ennuyais, je me suis installé avec ma boîte à rythmes. J'ai songé: 'Quel rythme Charlie Watts joue-t-il sur "Jumping Jack Flash"? J'ai programmé ce qu'il joue puis, histoire de m'amuser un peu, je me suis mis à faire des riffs du genre de ceux de Keith Richards. Soudainement, ce riff est sorti de je ne sais où. Je me suis dit: 'Hé! pas mal!' En quelques minutes, une chanson était née."

Habituellement, lorsqu'un groupe rock complète un album, la coutume veut qu'il se hâte de partir en tournée afin d'en assurer la promotion. Pas XTC. Aux prises avec un très sérieux problème de trac, Partridge a renoncé à la scène en 1982. Et rien, absolument rien, assure-t-il, ne le fera changer d'idée.

"Non, pas intéressé. Ce que nous faisons, ce sont des disques. Je crois d'ailleurs que nous nous en tirons pas trop mal. Ce que nous n'aimons pas et que nous ne faisons pas très bien, ce sont les concerts. Je laisse ça aux plus jeunes. C'est d'ailleurs mieux lorsque les groupes sont jeunes et énergiques, et que le public est jeune et énergique. Je trouve plutôt navrants ces gens plus âgés qui prétendent faire partie d'une bande, tout comme ceux qui jouent le jeu par nostalgie ou quelque raison que ce soit."

Cela dit, il n'est pas exclu que le duo se produise en petit comité, pour le compte de la BBC ou d'une autre station de radio, comme il lui est arrivé de le faire par le passé. "Nous y pensons en effet. Mais cela ne donnerait que des représentations plus brutes de ce qu'il est possible de trouver sur l'album. Si c'est ce que les gens veulent... Je préférerais quand même qu'ils se procurent le disque. La musique y est telle que nous l'avons voulue."

Si l'avenir immédiat de XTC n'est pas fait de spectacles, de quoi l'est-il donc? "Je n'en ai pas la moindre idée.

"C'est comme si nous venions de présenter un film qu'il nous avait fallu trois ans à tourner. Le film vient de prendre fin, l'écran est vide, les lumières rallumées. Nous en sommes encore à l'étape où, dans le foyer, nous marchons d'un pas traînant à nous demander: 'Hum! qu'as-tu envie de faire maintenant?'"

Chose certaine, il ne faudra pas patienter pendant sept ans avant d'entendre parler de XTC à nouveau. "Oh! mon Dieu, non! Non, non, non, non, non, non, non!"

© SONIC BARBECUE Tous droits réservés


The Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, June 5, 2000
Stay In Touch

Rocker working overtime

No-one has ever argued that making music, particularly rock and pop, will keep you sane. Andy Partridge may be living proof.

Who? Partridge has been making music for nigh on 30 years, mostly with XTC, a band more known for a drug they don't take than for years of fine British melodic pop (though you may remember Senses Working Overtime and Dear God).

Having just released album number 12, Wasp Star: Apple Venus Volume 2, Partridge is contemplating if not retirement, then certainly old age.

"I hope I'll still be making music when I'm old and daft," he said. "Being young and daft didn't stop me. I like the idea of being really blues-man old, that old, and still making pop records and people not quite getting it."

There is something attractive about old blues men still writing songs beginning with "I woke up this morning" presumably on the basis that that is an achievement in itself. Partridge gleefully agreed. "He doesn't tell you how long it took him to get up. ‘I woke up this morning, and I finally achieved it in the evening’."

So happy or sad, lucid or mad, it all works? "I don't see anything wrong with having any emotional state at all," Partridge replied. Do you try to have as many as possible? "Well not at once. One or two a day will do me. Having more than half a dozen can be a bit troubling."

Copyright © 2000. All rights reserved.
[Thanks to Paul Culnane]


Chapters.ca
May 2000

Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol. II)

by XTC

It's been a long time since any new music from the XTC camp has reached the ears of the listening public. Finally ending a long self-imposed, hiatus, Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding return with the sunny tunes that fill Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol. II). Opening with the slightly trippy tones of "Playground," XTC quickly show that their time out of the spotlight didn't curb their stylistic development. The chugging guitar strums of "In Another Life" and the minimalist melancholy of "Boarded Up" also display a supreme pop polish. These guys have obviously been putting in the work, 'cause there's no rust at all on this comeback release.

Electric Guitar Happiness

By Deena Waisberg

"Phew," says Andy Partridge, XTC's lead vocalist and guitarist, when asked how he feels about the release of Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2), the companion album to last year's Apple Venus Volume 1. After a lengthy contract dispute with their record company where they were prevented from making an album, the songs on Volume 1 and 2 are the first XTC has been able to share with fans since 1992's Nonsuch.

"Sending these two discs out is like finishing a big film project. We've been in and out of the studio for three years. The first one [Volume 1] was a difficult birth, but the second one just shot out like a greased banana," explains Partridge with a laugh.

On Wasp Star, XTC returned to the electric guitar

While Volume 1 was an orchestral album employing flutes and violins, Wasp Star is a more straightforward pop album, with the band returning to the electric guitar. "The orchestral stuff was written between '92 and '95. After that I fancied to do something noisier. I said ‘Where's my electric guitar?’"

For the most part the Wasp Star is an upbeat album. "We're All Light" and "Stupidly Happy," songs about Partridge partaking in a new relationship, convey a joyful mood. "You have a mood and you plug in your electric guitar and jump straight in," says Partridge. In "Stupidly Happy" Partridge programmed what he describes as an idiot Rolling Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash" drum rhythm, stumbled onto a Keith Richards-esque guitar riff and found a whole song coming out.

While light poppy melody characterizes the album, there are a few darker songs. The first track, "Playground," has a nursery rhyme quality that's reminiscent of XTC's past hit "Senses Working Overtime" from 1982's English Settlement. However, Partridge points out that it's really the menacing bully theme that recalls his earlier hit. "It's a recurring theme for me. I was bullied at school and I dislike bullies," he says.

XTC will not be touring Wasp Star

Another weighty song, "Wounded Horse," is about Partridge's divorce. It's a heavy, plodding track where Partridge brays and slurs his words. With country blues chord changes, Partridge invokes a hurtin' tone. "I felt like a victim. I wanted to do a cartoon of a country blues tune and sing it drunkenly and depressed," he says.

Structurally the most interesting song on the album is the last track, "The Wheel and the Maypole," which combines two songs. "I wrote this song ‘The Pot Won't Hold Our Love’ and didn't have an ending for it. And I didn't have a start for ‘Everything Decays’." Like an architect he put one on top of the other and created a spire by smashing the two refrains together. "The two songs are in similar keys that speak to each other, so they worked when I sewed them together," explains Partridge.

As expected, XTC will not be touring this album. In 1982, Partridge fell ill and had a nervous breakdown. Though English Settlement reached number five on the UK charts, Partridge, who has stage fright, announced XTC would no longer tour, a decision he's maintained to this day. "I really do hate the stage. I never go to see other bands. It's boring. I always think they are spoiling my chances of picking up a girl," he shoots out.

"I can be picky," he adds, before expressing his frustration about constantly being asked about touring. "We've been a non-touring band since 1982. You think people would have got the message," says Partridge with a sigh. "It's like when a chrysalis becomes a butterfly and then you ask the butterfly to become a chrysalis again. Good live bands are in their late teens, early 20s. We've outgrown that," he continues.

So with no tour in the works, what is XTC planning? "At the moment it's a great big blank screen," says Partridge. The possibilities are wide open and for now, that's exactly the way Partridge wants it.

Deena Waisberg is the Music Editor at Chapters.ca

Chapters.ca. Protected by Copyright. All Rights Reserved.
[Thanks to Jennifer Ralston]


MTV Asia
May 2000
Outer Rink
By Kevin Mathews

Give in to XTC!

By the time you read this, the new XTC album -- "Wasp Star: Apple Venus Volume 2" should be available in the stores. The release of this remarkable album completes the XTC comeback after last year's well-received "Apple Venus Part 1."

With two studio albums in as many years, it is hard to believe that the band had been on an enforced hiatus for seven years, thanks to a contractual dispute with erstwhile label, Virgin.

After all, when XTC delivered their last studio album, "Nonsuch," to Virgin in 1992, they had spent 15 years with the label. Upset with a disadvantageous royalty rate which left them living from hand-to-mouth despite their U.S. successes, XTC went on strike -- refusing to record any new material for Virgin -- and demanded that they be released from their unfair contract. Virgin ultimately capitulated and the demo recording activity that took place during the sabbatical meant that very quickly, XTC had enough material to fill two new albums. This process is now behind them and all that is left for the band is the future.

However, it is primarily the past we're concerned with.

The story of XTC and Virgin began in 1976, with the onset of the punk explosion in the U.K. With the success of the Sex Pistols, British record labels were on the mad lookout for punk bands, and whilst XTC were a bit too clever to be punks, they were signed based on their spiky guitar/crazy keyboard sound.

Consisting of Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Barry Andrews, and Terry Chambers, the band released a fine debut -- "White Music" -- that is best described as Captain Beefheart playing Beatles tunes! Throw some Brian Eno influences into the mix and the result would be the sophomore release -- "Go 2."

Both albums were modest achievements sales-wise, but the band was gaining a reputation for putting up great "live" shows. However, internal friction between Andy and Barry led to the latter's departure. Barry was replaced by Dave Gregory, and Dave became the only trained musician in the group.

With Dave's musicianship, the XTC sound became tighter. This factor, along with the band's hooking up with producer Steve Lillywhite, led to their first bona fide Top 10 hit -- "Making Plans For Nigel." The consequent album -- "Drums & Wires" sold well on the back of "Nigel."

The subsequent album -- "Black Sea" followed the established pattern and produced three hit singles -- "Generals & Majors," "Towers Of London," and "Sgt. Rock." The band also began making inroads into the U.S. market, touring with the Talking Heads and The Police.

The big time was beckoning for XTC and this seemed to be confirmed when the opening single from the pastoral, acoustic-based double album "English Settlement/Senses Working Overtime" crash-landed into the U.K. Top 5 in 1982.

Then, disaster! In the next three years, a series of events would occur which would almost break the backs of XTC forever!

The beginning of the end?

First, Andy suffered a nervous breakdown while the band was on tour in Paris, and he would never return to the stage. Drummer Terry, bothered by the band's retirement from "live" performing, quit the band and immigrated to Australia. The next two albums, "Mummer" and "The Big Express" were commercial duds and their relationships with their managers and their label led to legal suits and acrimonious splits.

Rather fortuitously, the band with producer John Leckie (who produced their first two albums) recorded a 5-track EP called "25 O'Clock" under the name "The Dukes Of Stratosphear," parodying, as well as paying homage to the psychedelic era of 1967. The EP became a minor hit and eventually sold more than "The Big Express."

Convinced that XTC could again shift considerable copies of records, Virgin put the band into the hands of ace producer Todd Rundgren. Whilst the resulting album -- "Skylarking" -- was a masterpiece, it belied the endless conflicts that surrounded the recording with Todd and Andy unable to get along.

The album was a big hit on the U.S. college radio circuit, thanks to a song that wasn't even meant to be on the album. "Dear God" -- an anti-religion rant -- had been consigned to B-side obscurity but college radio DJs loved it and played it constantly. The record label caught wind of it and recalled the album to include this popular track.

Flush with renewed acceptance, XTC paused to deliver a full-length follow up to "25 O'Clock" called "Psonic Psunpot."

With "Oranges and Lemons" (1989) and "Nonsuch" (1992), XTC cemented their cult status in the U.S., and the XTC revival was on a roll before it was brought to a halt by the strike against Virgin.

Whilst the contractual wrangles have been worked out, the band weren't able to keep drummer Dave. But the remaining members of XTC have proven with "Apple Venus" and "Wasp Star" that they are still a musical force to be reckoned with.

[Thanks to Kevin Mathews]


Adresseavisen
Torsdag, 25. mai, 2000
Musikk

God gammel årgang

SWINDON: Ord og toner flommer atter fritt fra overflødighetshornet til XTC.

Og, etter langvarig frigjøringsprosess fra platebransjens strømmer de ordene og tonene helt fritt?

- Nei, kommer det unisont fra Andy Partridge og Colin Moulding i XTC der vi deler te på kjøkkenet til Andy. - Vi vil ha enda mer kontroll. Du kan simpelthen ikke ha full kontroll som artist. For mye penger blir investert, og de som støtter oss økonomisk vil ha noe tilbake for dollarene sine. Men det er greit så lenge vi slipper å gi kommersielle innrømmelser.

Etter 25 år sammen kjenner duoen Partridge og Moulding platebransjen bedre enn de kanskje skulle ønske. I ung alder ble de fanget i det de kaller en slavekontrakt med plateselskapet Virgin, som de ble løst fra midt på 90-tallet. Men ikke før bandet gikk til streik og nektet å gi ut flere plater etter «Nonsuch» i 1992. Men XTC, som er redusert til en duo siden Virgin-tiden, lå ikke på latsiden mellom 1992 og fjorårets comeback «Apple Venus». Egentlig planla de å slippe fire album med musikk fra denne perioden, men etter fintenkning nøyer de seg nå med to plater. Den andre av disse foreligger i disse dager under tittelen «Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol. 2)» og plasserer seg elegant blant årets pop-album.

- Det finnes så utrolig mye gammel musikk. Lite av dagens musikk har noe å stille opp mot musikken våre foreldre hørte på, mener Colin. - Pet Shop Boys victorianske aura, foreslår Andy før han fortsetter. - Blur er tidvis ganske gode. De er litt gammeldagse på samme måten som oss.

Faktisk ønsket Blur i sin tid å bruke Andy Partridge som produsent. Det resulterte i tre spor som ikke ble utgitt.

- Plateselskapet deres mente at låtene og særlig rytmene ikke var sexy nok, forteller Andy oppgitt.

Uforståelig, for «Wasp Star» viser at XTC fortsatt har en gudbenådet evne til å leke seg under mottoet «hvorfor bruke to ord når du kan bruke tusen». Så punkteres da også intervjuet ustanselig av at de to oppdager nye ord underveis. - Vi ønsker å skrive bedre melodier enn våre helter fra oppveksten. Klatre høyere enn dem. I verste fall dør vi i forsøket. Som kamikaze-piloter! I musikken vår er det stadig mer inspirasjon fra banal repetitiv musikk, og mer blir det fremover, sier Partridge om også inspirasjon fra sin samling av flere tusen tinnsoldater, som han stolt viser oss et utvalg av.

SVERRE OLE DRØNEN

A Good old vintage

SWINDON: Words and music again flow freely from XTC's horn of plenty

And, after a long liberation process from their previous record label the flow of words and music is completely unhindered?

-No, Andy and Colin answer in unison, as we sit in Andy's kitchen, having a cup of tea. -We want even more control. You simply can't have too much control as an artist. Too much money is invested, and those who support us financially are eager to have something in return from their dollars. But that's okay, as long as we are not forced to compromise.

After 25 years together, Partridge and Moulding know the music business better than anyone might wish. As a young band, they were lured into what they consider a slave contract with the record label Virgin, from which they were released in the mid-90's. But not until the band went on strike and refused to release more albums after Nonsuch in 1992. But XTC, reduced to a duo since the Virgin years, did not lapse into idleness in the years between 1992 and last year's comeback album Apple Venus. Originally they planned to record four CD's with songs from this period, but after giving it a second thought, they decided to limit it to two albums. The second album has been released recently under the title Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2), and it places itself elegantly among this year's pop albums.

-There is just so much old music. Most music of today can't even be compared to the music that our parents listened to, Colin says. -The Victorian aura of Pet Shop Boys, Andy suggests. -Blur are occasionally good. They are a bit old-fashioned in the same manner as us.

Actually, at one point in time Blur wanted to have Andy as a producer. This resulted in three tracks, which were never released.

-Their record company felt that the songs, and particularly the rhythms, were not sufficiently sexy, Andy says, resigned.

This is unbelievable, as Wasp Star shows that XTC still has a divine gift of playing, under the motto "why use two words when a thousand will do". This applies also for this interview, which is continuously interrupted by the two inventing new words as the conversation passes. -Our goal is to write better songs than the heroes of our youth, to climb higher than them. In worst case we will kill ourselves while trying. Like kamikaze pilots! Our music contains more and more inspiration from banal, repetitive music, and there will be even more in the future, says Partridge, who also gets inspiration from his collection of thousands of tin soldiers, from which he proudly shows us a selection.

© 2000 Adresseavisen ASA
[Thanks to and translated by Espen Stemland]


La Vanguardia
03:30 horas - 20/05/2000

ESPECTÁCULOS

El grupo XTC supera las expectativas con "Wasp Star (Apple Venus vol. 2)"

ARCHIVO
Andy Partridge y Colin Moulding

BARCELONA. (Redacción.) -- El grupo británico XTC vuelve estos días a la palestra de la actualidad con "Wasp Star (Apple Venus vol.2)" (Cooking Vinyl/Discmedi), disco con el que continúan el trabajo emprendido en su aclamado "Apple Venus vol.1", publicado en 1999. El nuevo álbum saldrá a la venta simultáneamente en todo el mundo el próximo lunes.

Andy Partridge y Colin Moulding, fundadores y únicos componentes de XTC en esta nueva etapa, muestran en "Wasp Star (Apple Venus vol.2)" su cara más rock, incluso hard rock en algunos momentos, sin por ello desterrar del todo su característico sonido pop. De hecho, tras un silencio discográfico de cinco años motivado por diversos problemas legales con su anterior casa discográfica, Virgin Records, el dúo planeó su retorno en dos etapas. La idea del proyecto que culmina ahora era separar claramente los temas de visión experimental de las canciones de estructura sencilla a través de dos discos cercanos en el tiempo aunque distantes en intención y sonido. La apuesta ahora pasaba por revalidar el éxito internacional alcanzado con aquel "Apple Venus vol.1".

Grabado entre el otoño de 1999 y comienzos del 2000, el nuevo trabajo discográfico de XTC consta de doce temas de ritmos e intensidades muy diversas, entre los que se incluyen títulos como "Playground", "My brown guitar", "I'm the man who murderd love", "Church of women", "Wounded horse" o "Boarded up"; una colección de canciones cuyo principal denominador común es una esmeradísima producción en la que se ha cuidado hasta el más mínimo detalle.

© Copyright La Vanguardia Digital 1995 - 2000. All Rights Reserved


Spin
May 19, 2000
News

XTC

See XTC Play For First Time In Years!
This is big news indeed. Last week, during a video interview with Guitar.com in New York, the notoriously bashful Andy Partridge of XTC surprised the hell out of everyone by unexpectedly tearing through a handful of songs off the band's upcoming Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) (out Tuesday). Basically, Partridge was fiddling with his guitar and demonstrating fingering techniques for the camera. But then, my friends, he proceeded to tear shit up. Word. Without warning, Andy began playing entire chunks of new songs. This is all captured on film! The video interview will be posted on Guitar.com Monday, and should be on the site for about a week. Now if this were, say, Jon Bon Jovi or maybe Santana, we would not think twice about it. But this is Andy Partridge of XTC, and they have not played a proper live show since 1982, due to Andy's severe stage fright. Do you realize that this band has not played live for like 20 years? Appreciate greatness, dammit! Partridge reportedly played "Playground," "Stupidly Happy," "Church of Women," and "I'm The Man Who Murdered Love," all off of Wasp Star. A spokesperson for XTC said he's sure this will fuel speculation from fans about a possible tour for XTC (which includes Colin Moulding, as well), but that there are no plans for that as of yet. Who knows, though? Dreams can come true. That's www.guitar.com. And enjoy Spin.com's own review of said XTC album today at http://www.spin.com/heavy/dailyrotation/.

[Thanks to Jessica Kashiwabara]


Spin
May 4, 2000
Noise | News

XTC on Meats, Gary Glitter, and Napster

XTC's Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding stopped by Spin yesterday to discuss a variety of topics--including their favorite meats! (Andy: "billie sausage" and Colin: "lamb"). They also shared funny jokes. Here's an example: "What's the most common thing that Gary Glitter hears at the beach? Excuse me but you're in my son!" Partridge also shared thoughts on contemporary country music: "Does such a thing exist? It's never contemporary, it's always at least 30 years behind. It's like English intelligence-it's an oxymoron!" And of course they had their say about Ebay (where an advance to their new CD, Apple Venus Vol.2: Wasp Star, recently sold for more than $200). "People are always going to bootleg you, someone sent me two bootlegs recently including one of the Helium Boys (a pre-XTC band circa 1973) demo sessions with a singer who sang in a cheesy niteclub voice...It could be us selling those things on Ebay you'll never know," quipped Partridge. And then there was Napster. Partridge: "Oh yea yea yea I've heard all this. Well I think that's kind of low. Musicians are trying to pay the rent by selling their record and they get crappy enough deals as it is. So don't steal the last pennies from them or else no one will make music anymore."

- By Dan O'Conor (doconor@spinmag.com)

[Thanks to Ben Gott]


Wall of Sound
Release Dates
April 2000

XTC: Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol. 2) (TVT Records)
XTC's second disc for TVT finds the duo of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding picking up where last year's Apple Venus Vol. 1 left off. No, this isn't a collection of also-rans, as Partridge is quick to point out. "I don't want people to think of Wasp Star as all the tracks that weren't fit enough to go on Volume 1 - that's not the case. It's two different animals. We had pigs that we herded into one area, and we had sheep that we herded into another. But they're all four-footed farm animals with 'XTC' branded on them." OK ... Though it's been just a year since their previous TVT record, prior to that, the band was in label limbo for seven years, which explains why now they seem so prolific.

[Thanks to Todd Wells]


TVT Records
Monday, April 10, 2000

XTC Plug Into "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)" on May 23

Brit-pop legends XTC are set to release "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)" on May 23. The 12 song disc is the followup to last year's "Apple Venus Volume 1", which was one of the most acclaimed albums of 1999. This time the band has dusted off their electric guitars for their first "plugged-in" record since 1992's "Nonsuch". The first single from the new album will be "I'm The Man Who Murdered Love", which is set to hit radio in the coming weeks. XTC's Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding are choosing a director for a video to the track. XTC will head to the U.S. in early May for a bicoastal publicity run that will include several TV appearances (non-performance, of course) and a lot of radio promotion. Though rumors of a "flatbed truck tour" still run rampant, it is unclear whether XTC will lift their 18 year tour embargo.

[Thanks to Jason Consoli]


ICE
March 2000
New Releases

XTC

Although they laid dormant for much of the '90s, XTC's Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding sprang back to life at the end of 1998 with the release of Transistor Blast, a 4-cd live box from the BBC. Last year saw TVT issue two XTC discs: the orchestral / acoustic mix of Apple Venus (Volume One), followed quickly by Homespun, the demos for that album. With Wasp Star, the group has once again gone electric. In a press statement, Partridge enthuses, "I've made a lot of records in my career, and this is one of the good ones." The tracks: "Playground," "Stupidly Happy," "In Another Life," "My Brown Guitar," "Boarded Up," "I'm The Man Who Murdered Love," "We're All Light," "Standing In For Joe," "Wounded Horse," "You And The Clouds," "Church Of Women," and "The Wheel And The Maypole."

[Thanks to Danny Phipps]


allstar
March 22, 2000

XTC Launches Wasp Star In May

XTC has added a prefix to their upcoming sequel to Apple Venus Volume 1 -- Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) will hit stores on May 23 on TVT Records. The album was originally slated to be titled simply Apple Venus Volume 2.

The first single from the album has been narrowed down to "Stupidly Happy" or "I'm the Man Who Murdered Love." Rumors of singer Andy Partridge's much-ballyhooed flatbed truck tour following the album's release continue to circulate. XTC is also expected to be in the States for some TV appearances sometime in April.

Here is the track listing for Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2):

  1. "Playground"
  2. "Stupidly Happy"
  3. "In Another Life"
  4. "My Brown Guitar"
  5. "Boarded Up"
  6. "I'm the Man Who Murdered Love"
  7. "We're All Light"
  8. "Standing in for Joe"
  9. "Wounded Horse"
  10. "You and the Clouds"
  11. "Church of Women"
  12. "The Wheel and the Maypole"

-- Kevin Raub


Fox News
March 9, 2000
Fox 411
by Roger Friedman

XTC Fires Up the Wasp Star

The good news yesterday about Steely Dan and Santana could be an omen. Also yesterday I received a copy of XTC's forthcoming album, Wasp Star (Apple Venus, Volume 2). It will be released on May 23 and my bet is that "Stupidly Happy," the second track, will get a lot of attention.

This is the second Apple Venus album in a year from TVT Records. If you've never heard of XTC, they are a 20-year-old British ensemble with Beatlesque tunes and rich melodies. Their recordings back through 1986 (Skylarking, Oranges and Lemons, Nonsuch and Apple Venus (Volume 1) make a startlingly terrific library of underrated, eminently hummable, intelligent pop music.

The Billboard magazine web site ran a story yesterday about XTC not being part of a Paul McCartney tribute album. Sadly, this is true, because there is no such project happening. Too bad - whoever started the rumor included Crowded House and other McCartney-ites as possible participants. XTC would have been perfect. Instead we'll just have to settle for their own records.

© News Digital Media 2000. All rights reserved.
[Thanks to Barry Koch]


Western Daily Press
March 6, 2000

Majesty on the move
New home for King of steam

Barry Leighton

SOME say it is Diana Dors, others believe it is Desmond Morris, while Melinda Messenger, Billie Piper, Mark Lamarr, Julian Clary and pop heroes XTC all have their supporters.

Soccer fans are convinced it is a toss-up between England international Harold Fleming and League Cup wing wizard Don Rogers.

But if you asked the hundreds of people who lined the streets yesterday to name the greatest thing to come out of Swindon they would have replied 'King George V' - the loco, that is, not the monarch.

And it would have been hard to disagree as the jolly green giant, glinting in the afternoon sunshine, provided a magnificent sight as it emerged from its home of the last decade.

About 1,000 people turned up to see the most famous of all Swindon-made locomotives hauled on to a low-loader and driven half a mile to its new home - the town's 11-million railway heritage centre STEAM.

The King-class colossus was the last of five engines to have been transported from Swindon's GWR museum in the town centre to the heritage centre which will open on the historic railworks site this Easter.

Among those watching was Tom Conduit, aged 75, who drove the mighty loco on numerous occasions during his career as an engine driver from 1956 to 1986.

Mr Conduit, who still lives in Swindon, said: "It doesn't surprise me that so many are here."

Mr Conduit, who worked on the footplate of locos for 45 years, said the King-class locos were the best ever produced in Swindon - and King George V was the cream of the crop.

He said: "This was the flagship engine for GWR."

King George V was built in 1927. After hauling passengers throughout the West, London and the Midlands it spearheaded the return of steam traction to British Rail in the Seventies.

[Thanks to Wes Hanks]


allstar
March 6, 2000

XTC's Andy Partridge Clears Up McCartney Tribute Rumor

March 6, 2000, 1:25 pm PT

XTC
XTC

After online magazines reported last week that XTC, Brian Wilson, Owsley, and other major acts are contributing to a Paul McCartney tribute album, many of the publicists for the artists were a bit puzzled. It seems that the bulk of the acts "confirmed" have actually heard nothing about the project.

The album, Listen to What the Man Said: A Tribute to Paul McCartney, was said to have featured -- among many other artists -- XTC covering McCartney's "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" with John Cleese of Monty Python fame as a guest.

But, XTC's Andy Partridge tells allstar that, "We really like McCartney and he's been enormously influential, but we really don't want to mangle one of his songs. My opinion is that if someone's song affects you so much that you want to cover it, that's nature's way of saying 'Don't' because you might ruin the magic of that song for yourself."

Spokespeople for Brian Wilson and Owsley -- who were also said to be contributing tracks -- have also denied any involvement. The Foo Fighters are considering contributing a cover of "Jet" to the compilation, but it's not a done deal yet. As previously reported (allstar, Jan. 28), at least one band is confirmed: Sloan.

In other XTC news, the group's Apple Venus Volume 2 will be in stores on May 23 via TVT Records.

-- Carrie Borzillo

[Thanks to John Gardner]


Bristol Evening Post
February 24, 2000
Features

A touch of glass

SIX piece Cornish band Glass Planet arrive at the Louisiana tonight.

Glass Planet were formed in 1996 by guitarist and songwriter Greg Edwards, vocalist Lily Fraser - who made her recording debut on an XTC album at the age of nine - and bass player Ryan Champion.

In 1998 the band moved to Bristol, recruiting keyboard player Tom Soper and drummer Sam Muscat. The line up was completed when Jimmy Lundie joined as guitarist and programmer.

Glass Planet spent last month recording and excerpts from these sessions can be heard on the band's website.

Copyright 2000 Bristol United Press
[Thanks to Wes Hanks]


MCity.fr
02/02/2000
Accueil > Vinyl Cult > Le Mag > news

Le retour de XTC

Le second volet de l'album " Apple Venus ", qui marquait le retour de XTC après des années de silence, ne devrait pas tarder à débarquer dans nos bacs.

XTC, les génies de la pop anglaise (désormais réduit au duo Andy Partridge et Colin Moulding) sont actuellement en train de mixer " Apple Venus Vol. 2 ", suite directe de leur " Vol. 1 " sorti l'an dernier. À l'inverse de ce dernier, qui était essentiellement orchestral, le second opus sera ouvertement électrique, mais toujours aussi coloré et mélodique. Une sortie est prévue au printemps. On n'en peut déjà plus !



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