Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #100

                  Chalkhills, Number 100
                  (Can you believe it?)

                 Wednesday, 27 June 1990
Today's Topics:
                        just stuff
                   Re:  Chalkhills #99
            The Great Album Debate, part XLVII
            O&L, and the 'best of' collection
                    RE: Chalkhills #97
                    More Rock History

Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 09:34:53 -0400
From: King Hell Wombat <>
Subject: just stuff

How dare you readers let my favourite album ("Big Express") come in
next to last!  Get some taste, y'all!

Anyway, someone (Joe Lynn?) asked who we would all like to see
producing the next XTC album.

My top three producers list (for them) would be:

1. Thomas Dolby
2. Clint Ruin (aka J.G. Thirwell aka Foetus)
3. George Martin (anybody remember this dinosaur?  :)

"Christian Zombie Vampires!!!"

+---------------------- Is there any ESCAPE from NOISE? ---------------------+
|  |   |\       | | ZIK ZAK - We make everything you need, |
| \|on |/rukman | jsd@umass.bitnet  | and you need everything we make.       |


Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 09:50:13 EDT
From: (John White (x37690))
Subject: Re:  Chalkhills #99

>From: oconnor!keaton! (Joe Lynn):
>If you were an exec at Virgin and you were assigned the task of
>lining up a producer for the next XTC album, whom, if anyone,
>would you hire?

Andy Partridge
The guy who produced Good for your Soul by Oingo Boingo
The guy who produced Cosmic Thing by The B52s
The guy who produced Captain Swing by Michele Shocked
The guy who produced The Big Express
Todd Rundgren


>...Then, the second Dukes LP really dissappointed
>me (am I the only one that didn't care for it? I loved the first one)

Maybe it's because I had the 2nd first, but I like it more. The only
song I don't like (read: hate) is Leave Jackie Alone (or whatever - the
2nd song.) I really like Vanishing Girl, She's a Little Lighthouse,
Kollidascope, and others which I can't think of right now.  When I taped
25 O'clock from the radio I didn't like it, could be my poor recording
job, or that the joke was already told once before (as someone once said
of #2).


>From: John M. Relph <>:
>    9.  Favourite album
>            E. Mummer

No shat! I still don't like this album. Why? Well, (from possibly
corrupt memory), I still like In Loving Memory Of A Name. I used to like
Funk Pop A Roll, Ladybird, and Wonderland but I'm tired of them.  I
might someday like Me And The Wind, Love On A Farmboy's Wages, and Human
Alchemy. I don't like Great Fire or Deliver Us From The Elements.

The songs I like I tend to like too much and burn out on them. The songs
I hate I tend to dispise. There are some songs that are coming on, but
the album is just too damn uneven. What's the deal with Funk Pop A Roll?
Who thought that fits? Who likes Andy's voice on Great Fire? Deliver Us
From The Elements drags on (a left over problem from English Settlement
ala Leisure).

Please, someone tell me why I should like this album. Give me a list of
the songs with your ranking of best and worst and explain how you can
deal with the bad ones. Me? I'd put Psonic Psunspot, O&L or D&W as 5th

Peace, Love, Nuclear Weapons,

	- John (

"I'm not nobody" - RE: my return address


Subject: The Great Album Debate, part XLVII
Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 11:27:46 PDT

John Relph quotes Joe Lynn quoting me as saying:

>>> "Great Fire" (which seemed to me like a bit too obvious attempt to
>>> replicate "Senses Working Overtime" -- quirky rhythms in the quiet verses,
>>> which are linked by a big stompy chorus).

(Geez, you mean somebody's archiving all this stuff?  I'd better stop
spouting nonsense all the time, lest someone call me on it...)

Anyway, John replies:

>Oddly enough, "Great Fire" was not originally part of the _Mummer_
>album.  Virgin Records did not think there was a single on the album,
>so XTC went back and resequenced the album to include "Great Fire".

If I recall correctly, that's the context out of which my original
comment came.  I think that's why it ended up sounding like "Senses";
it was sort of an under-pressure bit of songwriting.

>It still flopped.  Here's another excerpt from _X-plaining XTC Part 2_,
>by Steve Kolanjian and David Dasch:
>    The following finished songs have been recorded with Steve
>    Nye as engineer.  All the songs, except "Jump (Love And
>    Swimming Pools)", are to be included on the next XTC LP.
>    Some of the working titles were to be FALLEN FROM THE
>    GARDEN, later FRUIT.

Wow!  When I read this, it instantly occurred to me that either of these
would have been better titles than "Mummer".  I like "Mummer", in its own
way, but "Fallen From the Garden" is really the perfect name for that
album.  The earthiness of it...the sense of struggle in "Deliver Us"
or "Farmboy's Wages" my mind, it fits perfectly.

>    Beating of Hearts (A)              Jump (Love And Swimming Pools) (A)
>    Deliver Us From The Elements (C)   Ladybird (A)
>    Funk Pop A Roll (A)*               Love On A Farmboy's Wages (A)
>    Human Alchemy (A)*                 Me And The Wind (A)
>    In Loving Memory Of A Name (C)     Wonderland (C)*

Thanks to the miracles of programmable CD players, we can now hear what
the original album would have sounded like (except for the remixing, of
course)...I think I'll try it out at home.  Just looking at it, it seems
like a better running order...

-- Stewart


Date: Thu, 21 Jun 90 14:27:17 PDT
From: (I Am the Anti-Elvis!)
Subject: O&L, and the 'best of' collection

>	> The songwriting is banal, the production style is not
>	> just heavy handed, but totally wrong for XTC. It's like XTC
>	> doing a Dukes style satire of a stupid L.A. pop band.
>Karl is being a little rough on the album:

	No way. I was being gentle. See older postings on this
same subject for rough (Right, Duane?)

>  Paul Fox, after all, is
>known for producing _pop_ bands, and the band should have known this
>when he was chosen.  Perhaps John Relph was right last year when he
>said that Fox was suffering from the "you guys are great" syndrome,
>and allowed far too much 'stuff' on the record.

	I don't blame only the producer. I think XTC know that kind
	of shitty record they were making here. They made a *choice*
	to make a record lame enough to make money. More power to 'em;
	they've made music enough for a lifetime already.

>If you were an exec at Virgin and you were assigned the task of
>lining up a producer for the next XTC album, whom, if anyone,
>would you hire?

	Steve Albini.

	Just imagine it.

>From: (Mark Glickman)
>Subject: My "Best of XTC" Compilation Tape
>A couple of friends asked me to put together a compilation tape of
>what I consider to be the best of XTC.  They've certainly heard
>enough of my ranting and raving about the group to want to see
>what the fuss is about!  Here's what I stuck onto a 100-minute tape:

	Great compilation. But there's *one* glaring omission
	(Among a hundred minor omissions, of course):

	'Radios in Motion'.

	Greatest song in XTC's early career, and a perftect exampl/t
 'where they started'.


             Karl MacRae      
         Sun Microsystems, Milpitas, Ca. (The armpit of Silicon Valley)
         1550 Buckeye, Milpitas, CA 95035 Mailstop M21-25 (408)922-4996
The Capacity for innocent enjoyment-
Isn't the kind of thing you learn out of a book.
There's a river of sensation running deep and wet and wild
And you swim it when you see it
And you see it when you do not need to look....
					Shrieback - 'Intoxication'


Date: Wed, 27 Jun 90 05:22:21 PDT
From: "I put it in a letter. What could be better?!" <>
Subject: RE: Chalkhills #97

I was watching a film, "Girl in a Swing," last night and lo and behold
in the opening scenes is an aerial view of the "English Settlement"
cover. I had no idea that this is an actual site in England! Is this
a representation of a horse? Is this a Druidic structure?

One learns something every day...



Date: Wed, 27 Jun 1990 15:50:14 PDT
From: John M. Relph <>
Subject: More Rock History

An excerpt from _The Encyclopedia of Pop Rock and Soul, revised
edition_, by Irwin Stambler, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1989.
Reproduced without permission.

    XTC: Vocal and instrumental group.  Original members (1976): Andy
    Partridge, born Malta; others all born U.K.: Barry Andrews, Colin
    Moulding, Terry Chambers.  Andrews replaced by Dave Gregory in 1979.
    Chambers left in 1982.

      A group that provided melodically challenging and
    high-vitality postpunk rock, XTC might be bracketed with
    Talking Heads as a thinking person's band, though the two
    groups' styles weren't directly comparable.  XTC gained
    enormous popularity in the U.K. in the late 1970s and early
    1980s, but remained essentially a cult favorite in the U.S.
    during those years.

      The group's members mostly grew up in working class areas
    of Swindon, England, where all forsook formal education in
    their teens in favor of essaying pop music careers.  Andy
    Partridge, born on the Mediterranean island of Malta, was
    taken to England by his family at an early age and stayed in
    school until age 15.  After that, he worked as a ``teaboy''
    (English equivalent of a U.S. ``gofer'') at a newspaper and
    then took art classes at a local technical college while
    teaching himself to play guitar in his off hours.  About the
    same time, Colin Moulding, who lived on the same block as
    Partridge, was learning bass guitar while bringing in spare
    change as a milkman's assistant, day laborer, and council
    worker.  Their drummer acquaintance Terry Chambers had been
    thrown out of school at 15 for an incident in which he
    overimbibed hard cider.  Like others of his age group, he
    dreamed of music success as he worked at a series of jobs
    including builder's merchant and lithographic printer.

      Those three played with many different bands, sometimes
    together, sometimes separately, including Star Park, the
    Helium Kids [sic], Skyscraper, and Snakes, before getting
    together to found XTC in 1976.  The group started as a
    foursome with Barry Andrews joining as keyboards player.  By
    early 1977, they had build up a substantial following in the
    Swindon area.  Encouraged by that reception, as well as
    favorable comments by local writers about the band's
    combination of humor and incisive comment on the depressing
    teen-employment environment, Partridge and friends felt the
    time was ripe to move to London, where the punk movement was
    in full flower.

      In mid-1977, the group signed with Virgin Records, which
    issued its debut single, ``3 DEP,'' [sic] in October,
    followed by five more singles through 1979 including
    ``Making Plans for Nigel,'' a top 20 U.K. hit in late 1979.
    In 1978, Virgin released the band's first two British
    albums: _White Music_ and _Go 2_.  Both made the English top

      The band supported its records with almost non-stop
    touring, initially in the U.K., but later in Japan,
    Australia, New Zealand, Venezuela, Continental Europe, and
    eventually the U.S.  The band's debut in the States came on
    New Year's Eve 1978 on a bill that included the Talking
    Heads.  The audience reaction was good enough to bring
    porposals for a dozen more appearances in 1979.  It also
    spurred the record company to make plans for a more
    ambitious tour later in the year to coincide with the band's
    first LP to be released in the U.S., _Drums & Wires_.
    Before that took place, XTC had to reorganize a bit back in
    Swindon when Andrews decided to leave.  His place was taken
    by Dave Gregory, who had played keyboards on occasion with
    the band in the past.  His previous credentials included
    working as a guitarist/keyboardist with Dean Gabber and his

      The new alignment still won praise from British critics.
    Writing in _New Musical Express_, Paul Morley enthused that
    XTC continued to excel at ``making multilayered music of wit
    and elegance . . . music that demands new adjectives.''
    John Orme of _Melody Maker_ called _Drums & Wires_ a very
    impressive album in which ``with a bit of complexity,
    contrast, fluency, and humour, XTC has broken cover and
    broken ground.''

      Partridge stated in record company bio notes: ``I came
    into music about the time of psychadelia and it was magic.
    It was sort of R & B plus magic -- which is really what we
    do. . . .  I like lumps and spike bits and music that makes
    you think `Oh! Gosh!  What's that?'  XTC have always made
    people say `Gosh' and for all the right reasons.''

      The _Drums & Wires_ album, backed by a number of live
    appearances in the U.S., made a respectable number of
    stateside fans aware of the band.  Its excellent follow-up,
    _Black Sea_ (1980), moved into the top 50 region.

      However, by late 1981, there were signs of burnout among
    band members that caused a hiatus in live performances.
    Partridge, for one, had developed a strong antipathy to
    crowds of all kinds.  The band's newest LP, _English
    Settlement_, was released both in the U.K.  and in the U.S.,
    but while it did well at home, it didn't expand the audience
    acquired with _Black Sea_, perhaps becuase of the dearth of
    concert support.  In late 1982, Terry Chambers, disgruntled
    with the lack of activity, left the group for new pastures
    in Australia.  Partridge, Moulding, and Gregory decided to
    carry on as a threesome.

      During 1983, they began work on another studio album, one
    that emphasized acoustic instruments.  _Mummer_ (fall 1983)
    was released on a new U.S. label, Geffen Records.  The album
    did not spend much time on the charts in either Britain or
    the States, suggesting some confusion among fans about its
    softer tone compared to the previous album's.

      In 1984, band members returned to the hard-blues approach
    of its salad days for the next studio compilation.
    Partridge stated: ``With our new album I wanted to crank it
    up again, to let the music have a more boisterous feel.  The
    lyrics of _Mummer_ had a very small horizon about the size
    of my back garden.  The new album (_The Big Express_) is a
    harder record that has us looking out at the world again.''

      The album, released by Geffen in the U.S. in October 1984,
    was an interesting one, but again did not catch fire with
    record buyers beyond the band's hardcore following.  (In
    1985, the group's psychadelic alter ego, the Dukes of
    Stratosphear, completed the LP _25 O'Clock_, issued only in
    England.)  Geffen executives expressed confidence that the
    band's importance would eventually be realized by a lrger
    number of rock fans as the label issued the new LP
    _Skylarking_ in 1986.

      Despite the group's problems in winning large-scale
    respect outside England, optimism has always been part of
    Partridge's outlook.  He expressed that to Kristine McKenna
    (_Los Angeles Times, April 4, 1982): ``Pop music is full of
    lots of fun and carnage -- the microphone bending,
    shirt-slashed-to-the-waist stuff.  We don't deal with that,
    not only because we're not particularly handsome,
    shirt-slashed-to-the-waist types, but because we have
    different goals.  Music can't change the culture, but I do
    believe it can reflect hope.  Perhaps it's naive of me, but
    that's something I want to do.''


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