Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #132

                  Chalkhills, Number 132

               Wednesday, 13 February 1991
Today's Topics:
                boneheaded Dukes reference
          Record Collector article (final part)
            Re: Producers (there we go again)
                    Stupid XTC Trivia
                   RE: Chalkhills #130

From: Eric Wilson Muhlheim <>
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 91 19:25:32 EST
Subject: boneheaded Dukes reference

Tim Snyder asked for old Dukes postings, so here's a new one which is painfully
obvious and I'm sure has been mentioned to death:  "Have You Seen Jackie" is
Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play," even to the silly organ solo in the middle.
Actually, the backing vox sound a lot more like Bowie's recording of the
song on _Pin-Ups_ -- so what kind of cross-pollination is going on, I don't

Eric Muhlheim (


Date: Mon, 11 Feb 1991 15:33:33 PST
From: John M. Relph <>
Subject: Record Collector article (final part)

The fifth and last part of a recording history of XTC found in the
November 1990 issue of the U.K. magazine _Record Collector_, by Gary

      As far back as 1978, Andy Partridge had wanted to record
    a psychadelic record, and his interest had been rekindled
    after hearing a modern psych recording by Nick Nicely
    called "Hilly Fields 1892", issued in 1982.  Dave recalls:
    "Andy said, `Let's do it!  I've got a few songs.'  We
    could just about afford to stay in the studio for two
    weeks to make this record with the 5,000 pounds Virgin
    gave us to do it.  We taped six songs, and it was the most
    fun I'd had since `Drums and Wires' because there was no
    pressure.  We could do whatever we liked so long as it was
    done in one take, just like they used to in the Sixties
    when bands had to record an album in three days!"

      With as much vintage gear as they could find, XTC went
    into Chapel Lane studios, Hereford, with their old
    producer John Leckie and with Dave Gregory's older brother
    Ian on drums.  The Dukes of Stratosphear (a name bandied
    about back in the days when they were called the Helium
    Kidz), the guise they adopted for this project, had five
    songs: a sixth, "The Mole From the Ministry", was written
    on the spot in the studio.

      The resulting mini-album, "25 O'Clock", was an authentic
    slice of 60's pop psychadelia and, embarrassingly, outsold
    the previous XTC album!  The sleeve was designed by
    Partridge on his kitchen table with the aid of a few
    colouring pens and some photocopied 19th century
    lettering.  "The Mole From the Ministry", which could
    easily pass for an out-take from the Beatles' "Magical
    Mystery Tour", was issued on 45 several weeks later, and
    promoted by a film made specially for BBC West's "RPM"
    music programme.  Dave recalled: "That was just a piece of
    self-indulgent fun and I'm glad people saw the funny side
    of it.  Personally, I could carry on making Dukes albums
    for the rest of my career, but there's only so many laughs
    you can get out of one joke!"

      When the laughing was over, the serious business of the
    next XTC album beckoned, and they were packed off to
    Woodstock to work with producer Todd Rundgren.  Dave:
    "Todd and Andy were like chalk and cheese as
    personalities, they didn't hit it off from the start.
    Things just went from bad to worse.  Andy was saying how
    much he hated the album, and when we returned home, he was
    very depressed about it.  My only misgiving was that it
    was badly recorded.  Perhaps Todd was trying to recreate a
    Sixties sound to capitalise on our Beatles fixation: but
    having said that, `Skylarking' is probably my favourite
    XTC album.  Personally, I like what Todd did with the

      The first single to be issued from the Woodstock
    sessions was Grass. . .  Two months later saw the release
    of the "Skylarking" album . . . with the overall 60s pop
    sound showing a definite Dukes of Stratosphear influence.
    A U.S. promo-only interview disc, "Skylarking With Andy
    Partridge", spiced with added comment from Rundgren, was
    circulated to radio stations. . .

      The next 45, "The Meeting Place", spawned a clear vinyl
    edition. . .  Most notable, though, was the surprise U.S.
    hit the band scored with "Dear God", which had appeared on
    a four-track promo 12" and was previously only available
    as a U.K. B-side.  Virgin/Geffen decided to add the song
    to future editions of the "Skylarking" album, where it
    replaced "Mermaid Smiled", and it was also revived for the
    home market.  The 12" edition boasted a rare live outing
    (their first since 1982), with a version of "Another
    Satellite" taped for a BBC radio performance. . .

      When Virgin made plans to transfer to transfer the Dukes
    of Stratosphear's "25 O'Clock" onto CD they realized that
    it would be too short to issue on its own so they asked
    the group to record a second album.  Initially, they
    weren't convinced by the idea, but when Andy Partridge
    penned two psychadelic songs that couldn't possibly be
    recorded by XTC, they relented and spent three weeks in a
    tiny studio in Cornwall, again with John Leckie at the
    controls and drummer Ian Gregory.

      As a taster for the forthcoming release, "You're a Good
    Man Albert Brown" was released on single in July 1987. . .
    The album, "Psonic Psunspot", appeared two weeks later,
    again in a limited multi-coloured vinyl edition.  Around
    this time, it was rumoured that another John Leckie-
    produced band, the Spys, was also a smokescreen for XTC,
    but this is completely untrue.

      For the first time since the early 80s, the band seemed
    to be in demand again, and to capitalise on their U.S.
    successes, they travelled to Los Angeles to record the
    next LP.  For the sessions, they recruited Mr Mister's
    drummer Pat Mastellotto, and spent much of 1988 in the
    studio.  It was not until January 1989 that new product
    emerged in the form of "The Mayor of Simpleton" single.
    On the 12" flip there was an extraordinary recreation of
    Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band's "Ella Guru", which
    had previously slipped out on the "Fast and Bulbous"
    Beefheart tribute compilation LP.

      Most bands only ever release one double LP set during
    their career, but with a year's material in the can, XTC
    felt confident enough to spread "Oranges & Lemons" over
    two discs.  It caught them in a more aggressive,
    optimistic mood than on previous albums and while a 60s
    edge was detectable, the sound was firmly rooted in the
    Eighties.  As an incentive to CD buyers, initial copies
    came on three 3" compact discs.

      Inevitably Virgin wanted the group to go out and promote
    the record.  As Dave explains, XTC chose to promote the
    record their own way: "The three of us took our acoustic
    guitars to America and turned up at radio stations
    offering to play skiffle versions of our new songs.  It
    was an interesting way of drawing attention to the record,
    but it was incredibly hard work, as we were carrying
    guitars and luggage to up to four radio stations a day
    over a three-week period.  We also did a live acoustic set
    for MTV in front of an audience which worried Andy a bit
    but he got through it.  We're gradually getting him used
    to audiences again!"

      The second single from the album was "King For a Day",
    written by Colin Moulding, coupled with "Happy Families".
    This appeared as a limited edition 3" CD in a crown-shaped
    box, which also included demo recordings of "My Paint
    Heroes" and "Skeletons"; and as a cassette edition which
    resurrected two 1980 singles, "Generals and Majors", and
    "Towers of London".  This was followed by "The Loving"
    which, despite appearing in four formats, failed to chart.


From: dhgpa!
Date: Tue, 12 Feb 91 08:01 MET
Subject: Re: Producers (there we go again)

Just had to respond to John Relph <>'s remark:
>  Too bad Snakefinger
> (Philip Lithman) bit the dust.  He did some wild stuff on his _Manual
> of Errors_ LP.

Well... Eric Drew Feldman, tha man that co-produced _Manual of Errors_ (now
on CD, including bonusses [Tim: BUY!!] ) and _Night of Desirable Objects_ is
still out there. Eric is (as I hope all of you out there know) former of
Captain Beefheart's Magic Band, which would make the Residents-XTC-Beefheart
connection complete!

Maybe some record company bell boy that reads this list will write down all
these producers' names and put the list in Andy's hands as the band comes
back from a lunch-break during the recording (with Steve Lillywhite) of the
long awaited album _XTC - The Comeback_ and he will remember that it's in
the pocket of a jacket he hasn't been wearing for about a year (it's his
recording-jacket) when they are going to record the killer-follow-up (and he
will barely be able to read the words, as the jacket has been to the
dry-cleaners'), but one name is saved and it's [insert favorite producer
here]. But the record company probably won't have any of that.

Back to reality, boys and girls.

Andre de Koning


Date: Tue, 12 Feb 91 08:45:15 EST
From: (Mark Glickman)
Subject: Stupid XTC Trivia

>From the _Book of Rock Lists_ (1981, by David Marsh,,
XTC is listed as the 15th loudest rock band of all time.

Maybe if David Marsh & co. heard the 1989 radio
"thrash skiffle" tour, XTC could've moved closer to
the #1 spot (which is, not surprisingly, occupied by
the Who).  :-)

             - Mark


Date: Sun, 10 Feb 1991 12:43:15 EST
Subject: RE: Chalkhills #130

Would anybody on the list be willing to tape the acoustic radio tour tape for
me?  I've been trying to trade with people on the list for a while now and
nobody seems to reply back.  I have other bootlegs to tape, but all are non-XTC
related.  I would appreciate it if someone could help me out.  Thanks!!!



Date: Wed, 13 Feb 91 21:27:56 EST
From: David W. Millians <>
Subject: Stuff

(My inaugural posting! I feel, well, so ALIVE!)

Hi guys. This here's my first posting, and so like last issue's inaugural
postee (toastie?) I have multiple issues.
They are:

a) XTC's musical style. b) Band related addresses. c) XTC ephemera. d) Choice
of producers. and e) Partridge & the Residents.
Here we go.

a) I think more than anything what has distinguished the last albums has been
the lack of sense of public-performance of songs. In other words, by Eng. Set.
the band's "style" had been set; when listening to O&L, they don't seem that
different musically from ES. What has changed is public reaction to performing
the stuff live. The durms especially reflect that change; the semi-african
drums on ES still exist, they just are way down in importance. For that
reason, I think either a return to performing live would be necessary (GASP!
Well, Andy did mention if I recall from Creem something to the effect of maybe
doing that.)  or getting a producer who is more familiar with doing that. Of
course, all this is predicated upon the notion that you want a different
sounding XTC; I don't mind this version, but ES is my favorite . More on
producers later.
b) Are there any people out there who know Andy's address? I have got a really
cool toy soldier.... Also, what's the address of Big Express and how is mail
to there from US supposed to work? And is there anybody in particular one can
rely on to get one odd stuff?
c) Are there any good mail order shops for the videos, CD's, etc. that would
have the rarer stuff? (I guess this could have been b, but ...)
d) As far as Producers go, I have several ideas about both getting that 'live'
sound back and keeping them progressing in the same vein:

Peter Buck- yeah he got dissed earlier. Howver, he would be great! He's got a
good ear for material, he's multi-instrumental and inclined to experiment, and
he's a person who likes performing live and has done a lot of it, AND he has a
real easygoing style that would work well with the band. Don't laugh; he's one
of the coolest millionaires I know- still works at the local record store
occasionally. Might even get Mike Mills wonderful voice in the background
vocal too. And no, even though I'm from Athens, I don't think REM is god.

Prince Paul- yeah boy. This boy has done some incredible stuff, loves to
experiment, and is again easy to work with (apparently). He might not know how
to pick material, however. And XTC would probably have to work in NYC.

Trevor Horn- even though they'd be fighting within 60 minutes. I love the guy
and I think it could really extend O&L in an interesting fashion.

Rick Rubin- you scoff even louder. This boy does know his production though,
and does know songs. If you can make Black Crowes sound good, you can do
anything. And you guys wanted loud drums and a harsh edge- here you go!
Maybe even get the drummer from Slayer to play. Heh heh. Intriguing, I think.

e) finally, you say. This is to me very important, though. Andy a while back
are my FAVORITE group. (Although XTC is no. 2 of course.) I saw him mention
the experience in an article a while back, but any pointers to other mentions
anywhere else would be appreciated. Actually it was about '80, and it was the
Commercial album, if it's not in the discography. Just got rereleased on cass,
if yr interested. Also they are on the miniatures album. Anyway, the reason
for the request is because I'd like to add said references to my Hypercard
stack of the Residents (6 megs and growing).

That's it, thank you for your patience and support!

David W. Millians
University of Georgia, Athens GA USA.
"What exactly is UNIX, Mr. IFF?" "It is a P2C2E, thief Haroun, on a M2C2D."
(Apologies to Salman Rushdie)  I guess all opinions are mine and only mine.


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