XTC in the Press: 2002

The Student Zone
circa 2002


The Power of Pop - the Most Powerful Tracks Ever

`Science Friction' - XTC, from Fossil Fuel (Virgin, 1978)

Though their albums were a little hit and miss, XTC were one of Britain's greatest singles bands. Later hits like `Sgt Rock', `Love On A Farmboy's Wages' or `Dear God' were classic Pop, but it was in their early days that they were at their most Powerful. Those lucky enough to have seen them play live rue the day Mr Partridge decided to pack up the touring thing, because they were one of the most wonderful and brutal live bands of their day. This, their debut single, is one great adrenalin rush of smartass flash: "Science friction burns my fingers" indeed!


Channel 4 (UK)
December 12, 2002

"What do people think of XTC now?" asks Andy Partridge, a tad rhetorically. "I imagine they think we're that bunch of crazy old gnomes from Swindon." Which would be a somewhat harsh verdict on one of the most engagingly maverick Brit psychedelic pop bands of the last 20 years, but . . . well, there you go.

With XTC on the back burner, Partridge has issued a pair of CDs of oddities by the name of Fuzzy Warbles. The CDs form dispatches from XTC and Partridge's archives, released under Partridge's own name as fellow XTC-er Colin Moulding opted out.

Both albums contain demos, re-workings of classic tracks and curios such as Wiltshire Radio jingles and answerphone messages in the style of Bob Marley. "They're a junk sculpture of rejected songs and embryonic tracks," Partridge admits. "Colin is more cautious than me and didn't fancy getting involved."

Recent years have seen XTC work in splendid isolation with little interaction with the mainstream music industry: "Virgin tried to make us pop stars," he chuckles. "They'd want bright clothes, hit singles, Saturday morning kids' TV! And we'd say ‘oh no!’"

"We always wanted to be an album-based entity, like Captain Beefheart or Led Zeppelin and Virgin laboured under the misapprehension that we were The Monkees."

Partridge accepts that XTC drifted out to music's peripheries largely due to their entrenched hostility towards going out on lengthy tours. "We toured for five years solid, but by the end it began to seem like some kind of mobile prison terms," he says. "I found it totally unnatural. The only people you see all day are the rest of the band, then suddenly you're in front of thousands of people. It made me ill . . . and we haven't toured for twenty years."

After a quarter of a century in music, Partridge is resigned to being regarded as a musical cult figure approaching national treasure status. "Mojo interviewed me the other day for a series on great British eccentrics," he says. "I must admit my first thought was that it's an offensive phrase."

"I'm not a wacky nutcase who goes around with a cardboard box on his head making giraffe noises. I'm a songwriter. It's a craft. Like being a chair maker."

The clinically amiable Partridge gets up a rare head of steam as he sets about explaining why he's immutably out of step with contemporary music. "It's a shame, but fun and levity have vanished from music in the last twenty years," he says. "Everybody is just so desperate to be cool."

"There is no Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, no Mothers Of Invention nowadays. Music should be allowed to express humour and joy as much as any other art form."

Partridge gestures vaguely towards another XTC album -- "maybe next year, maybe not" -- but is happily involved in a plethora of side projects. "I'm releasing an album I've recorded with Peter Blegvad early next year and I'm doing a record with Robert Schneider of Apples In Stereo," he says.

"I've also got enough archive material for 10 Fuzzy Warbles CDs and I'll go on making music anonymously." Why? As ever, the question is, why not?

[Thanks to David Smith]


XTC für Komplettisten

Virgin bringt Boxset mit 41(!) unveröffentlichten Tracks heraus.

In Zeiten, in denen selbst eine Mariah Carey nicht vor einem Rausschmiss gefeit ist, erstaunt es schon, dass Virgin mit der neuesten XTC Veröffentlichung ausgerechnet einer Band die Treue hält, die sich dem großen Kommerz immer verweigert hat. Ganze vier CDs und ein 60seitiges Booklet enthält die "Coat Of Many Cupboards" betitelte Box, die mit 41 bislang unveröffentlichten Tracks (größtenteils Demo- und Live-Versionen bekannter Songs) vor allem die richtigen harten Fans der Partridge Family anspricht. In England erscheint die Box am 25. Februar, für Deutschland gibt es noch keinen Termin.

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Lycos Music
Jan. 23, 2002
Music Notes

(NEW YORK) - An XTC box set titled "A Coat From Many Cupboards" will be released stateside on March 26 through Caroline Records. A U.K. version will precede the U.S. release Feb. 25 through Virgin Records U.K. Chronicling the Swindon, England-bred band's prolific 1978-1989 period, the four-CD, 60-track retrospective garners material from the influential pop group's first 10 studio albums and its Dukes of Stratosphear side project. Aimed at completists -- 41 of the tracks have never before been released -- "A Coat From Many Cupboards" features demo versions of most of XTC's singles plus a wide array of rarities. Favorite selections from long-standing members Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding are paired with stories in the liner notes. In addition, a fully illustrated 60-page booklet contains a specially commissioned essay by XTC devotee Harrison Sherwood. Among the outtakes is an early Partridge demo for "Senses Working Overtime," an acoustic reggae version of "Mayor of Simpleton," a rehearsal tape of "Generals and Majors," and Dave Gregory's home recording of "Dear God." A thundering London concert recording of "Ball and Chain," and a take of "Yacht Dance" from the BBC television program "The Old Grey Whistle Test," can be counted among the live material. For the full track listing, visit the official Web site of the band's own Idea Records label. Shortly after the release of the box set, look for Caroline Records to begin reissuing the first 10 XTC studio albums in digitally mastered form. Initial limited edition packaging will replicate the cardboard style of the original vinyl album releases. Most of these reissues -- released last year in Japan and the U.K., and available as pricey imports in the U.S. -- will feature additional tracks, none of which are duplicated from the box set. Additionally, XTC is hoping to put out a companion DVD representing this same era. According to Web site, the group is in negotiations with Virgin to compile all of their promo films for a possible home video release. (Billboard.com)

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14 October 2012