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From: chalkhills-request@presto.ig.com
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Subject: Chalkhills #138


                  Chalkhills, Number 138

                  Thursday, 7 March 1991
Today's Topics:
                         Theremin
                        Song Title
                       Re: theremin
                    Homo Safari Series
                     Dukes interview
                    Partridge/Blegvad
                    Several Questions
          "Making Plans For Andy" - BIG news!!!
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Date: Wed, 6 Mar 91 11:30:41 -0500
From: bvm@bu-pub.bu.edu
Subject: Theremin

I know that the Beach Boys used a theremin on "Good Vibrations"
and that Mike Love plays it on the corresponding video of the
tune......but Led Zeppelin used the theremin as part of their
stage show, on "Whole Lotta Love". Take a look at the Zep concert
film "THe Song Remains The Same" and you'll see Jimmy Page
wildly gesticulating during that song.....playing the theremin.
I've seen plans for theremins, seems like a fun thing to build.
Also, at the turn of the centuy there were lots of women who
were theremin virtuosi....and had peices commisioned for them.
Funny, the men of that time felt that the tone of the theremin
was too "femenine"......silly poseurs!

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Date: Wed, 6 Mar 91 08:49:55 PST
From: paular@eng.sun.com (Paul Arthur)
Subject: Song Title

On the radio the other day I heard an XTC song called "Generals and Majors."
At least I believe that's the title. Unfortunately I can't find it on any of
XTC's CD's at the local Tower records. Does anyone know what CD or CD's this
is available on? Any assistance will be appreciated.

thanks

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From: tamar@attunix.att.com
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 91 09:13 EST
Subject: Re: theremin

i haven't been following the theremin discussion since its
inception so perhaps this has already been mentioned but
the theremin appears prominently on the beach boys' "good
vibrations."
the "new yorker" had an article on the theremin this
past fall called "theremin, theremin". it talked about
the inventor of the instrument, where remaining ones exist, etc.
very interesting.

Tamar Newberger
tamar@sfsup.att.com

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Date:     Wed, 6 Mar 91 16:03:30 PST
From: dnonast@bonnie.ics.uci.edu
Subject:  Homo Safari Series

	I just recently purchased the "Dear God" CD single, and it came with
six songs from their Homo Safari series ("Homo Safari", "Bushman President",
"Egyptian Solution", "Mantis On Parole", "Frost Circus", and "Procession
Towards Learning Land")
	I have seen "Circus" and "Procession" as extra tracks on the Mummer
import, so I have two questions:
	1) Are there any others in the series? These are very good, and I've
heard rumors that there are more.
	2) What's the story? Did they get drunk and watch "The Gods Must Be
Crazy" and decide to write some songs about it?
	Finally, I was wondering if anybody can tell me if their "Dub
Experiments" cd is any good, and how it compares to their work from 1978-
		Thank you,
		Doug Nonast
		DNonast@Bonnie.ICS.UCI.EDU

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Date: Wed, 6 Mar 91 16:25:30 GMT
From: toby <toby@computer-science.manchester.ac.uk>
Subject: Dukes interview

This article is from the Psychedlic Fanzine "Freakbeat" (issue 4):

In 1985 people seeking the 'weirder' musical experience first came across The
Dukes Of Stratosphear in their local record shop.  I remember my first
encounter with the Dukes debut mini LP '25 O'Clock' which hit me full force
>from the record rack like some kind of dayglo pop art explosion.  The
sleeve, an amalgam of every psychedelic art style from the Oz 'Blowing In
The Mind' Dylan cover to the eye encrusted collage of Creams' 'Disraeli
Gears' was almost irresistable and still is.  Moreover the music of '25
O'Clock', I discovered, like many others, was just as colourful and as much
as an amalgam as the cover.  For those who have not heard '25 O'Clock' here
follows a brief description:

The most obvious and stunning aspect of the LP is the production which is
wide and crystal clear.  Side one opens up with an Electric Prunes
influenced space rocker that materialises from the ticking of some huge
clock.  Every effect pans between the speakers (try it on headphones!) and
the cheerful(!)  song is broken by fuzzed out guitar and swirling good old
English mellotron which is Pink Floydish but with a very Caravanish edge.
Pink Floyd looms tall on the second track 'Bike Ride To The Moon' a tale of
cosmic pushbiking with sing along, strum along lyrics and ever-present
'whizz bang' noises.  The third track totally fuzzes out as the Dukes
proclaim that their 'Love explodes'.  This song gives the strongest clue to
the true identity of the band which if you did not already know will be
revealed shortly.  Well side one ends with a firework display (literally)
and some maniac shouting down a phone about how bad everything is so far.
Side two opens with a great distorted booming piece of psych called 'What
in The World?' that contains some great wibbly-wobbly sounds and lyrics
much as, '2033 Cannabis in tea, What in The World?  Acid is Free, What in
The World?' - What in the world indeed!  The next track 'Your Gold Dress'
crams virtually every 60's UK psych effect into the song.  There's Eastern
guitar riffs, backwards bits, the obligatory honky-tonk piano, fuzz guitar,
demented monk vocals and of course phasing.  Phew!  In contrast the last
track 'Mole From The Ministry' is a pure Beatles pastiche.  Imagine a cross
between 'Strawberry Fields' and 'I am the Walrus' and you're somewhere near
the mark.  There's even the fade-out, fade- in plonking chant hit from the
end of Strawberry Fields.  The lyrical subject of 'Mole From The Ministry'
seems political (remember the Belgrano Government Mole Shock Horror Scandal
in '85?).  Finally as the stylus nears the end of side two lo and behold a
backwards message which when deciphered proclaims 'You can fuck your atom
bomb!'

25 O'Clock came and went with rumours abounding as to who was behind the
Dukes.  Anxious psych heads scoured the live gig listings in the vain hope
of finding a small ad that announced the Dukes performing live at some drug
ridden seedy dive - but no - 1986 passed and the Dukes had been filed under
'D'.  Rumours circulated that they had something to do with XTC and the
fact that the Dukes LP was included in the XTC section of a Megapriced
superstore in London (beginning with V) confirmed this.  It was only this
year that it was officially announced that the Dukes of Stratosphear were
indeed XTC in disguise lead by discerning Andy Partridge.

The Dukes second LP 'Psionic Psunspot' was released in August of this year
and takes the whole concept to its conclusion.  However one approaches
Psychedelia it cannot be denied that 'Psunspot' captures the essence of the
British Psychedelic Sound of 1967.  The American sound does also get a
slight exposure, but in honesty, only the poppy chart orientated Psych
Sound of say The Electric Prunes and some of The Byrds material are
included.

Freakbeat asked Andy Partridge, after kindly being invited to his home in
deepest Steam engined Swindon, why he decided to make the two Dukes LP's.

'Well really because I love that kind of music!  It's been creeping into
XTCs music over the years.  Slowly our album tracks have been getting more
and more colourful.  I really do love that kind of music.  It's sort of a
nostalgia thing, because I just wasn't old enough to be a hippy.  MY
parents wouldn't let me grow my hair long.  I was still at school and I
could see all these older kids who'd been buying all these brilliant albums
and going to Jimmy Hendrix gigs and stuff walking past the school wearing
all these amazing clothes.  This was when I was about 12 or 13.  I'd buy
singles like 'My White Bicycle' and 'See Emily Play' with what pocket money
I had and record vouchers I was given.  Then I got hold of a copy of The
'Stones 'At Their Satanic Majesties Request' which is still be fave psych
LP by anyone.  It totally did me in at that age.  I thought, when XTC
started years later, wouldn't it be great to do an album or albums in the
style of that sort of music, you know, pre-dominantly 45 material, very
compact not long rambling stuff but three minute slabs.  Eventually we got
to the position where we'd made several LP's and I decided it was the right
time to pop the question to our record company Virgin.  They said 'mmm I
don't know, who's going to buy it?' so I said to them 'look if we do it for
virtually nothing would you finance it?' and they said yes but only if we
could do it for #5000 quid.  It's pretty hard these days to make a good
quality LP for less than about #10,000-#15,000 but we eventually did 25
0'Clock for #4000 and gave 'em #1000 change!  I even did the cover on the
kitchen table to cut costs!  I copied lots of bits out of books on a copier
and drew the heads etc.  Virgin put the LP out and it sold pretty well
especially in America as an import, in fact it sold embarassingly well 'cos
it sold something like 50,000 copies, twice as many as the last XTC album!
and it cost nothing!  Virgin said to us 'Well you really must do another!'
So I said it was a one-off thing and I had done it but then all this mail
started arriving saying how brilliant people thought the LP was.  People
were writing to Virgin asking who the group were.  Some people had no idea
it was us and some people just thought we knew the Dukes.  I wanted the
Dukes to be an unknown band so that XTCs past career for good or bad did
not affect them.  I resisted for two years from doing another LP but Dave
(Gregory) and Colin (Moulding) said 'We really should do another one 'cos
we really enjoyed it so much' and because I'd been writing these tracks in
secret ('Have You Seen Jackie' - left off 25 O'Clock and 'Collideascope')
so I said yes.

After listening to one of Dave Gregorys forgeries (a copy of 'Strawberry
Fields') Andy went on to explain how the 'Psionic Psunspot' LP was put
together:

'Dave is an A1 forger.  He's got quite a good library of Psych and he
actually still had all the clothes!  Like he found in his cupboard a pair
of Jumbo cord hipsters from '68, a big wide plastic belt and a floppy felt
hat with chain ornaments!  It was quite frightening 'cos he turned up at
the photo session in all these amazing clothes!  Getting back to his
forgery, he's got this set of a four track and a few instruments with which
he re-creates his fave music, trying to get it as authentic as possible.
He does a spooking job sometimes.  He gets into the Dukes in a big way like
he has to use the right sort of amplifier and he uses his Rickenbacker 12
string or his really old Fenders and stuff connected to an old fuzzbox to
get a really ZZZZZZ kind of sound.'

Andy described how the band had spent hours sifting through old records
trying to find out how the sounds were obtained.  They would listen to
first one channel and then the other and on one song they even put a mic by
the fuzz pedal to pick up the 'click' of the switch (as heard on the
'Stones 'Satisfaction').

'We did a lot of conscious forgery, musically and vocally.  'Vanishing
Girl' is The Hollies (I wanted to add Mellotron but we let it out).  'Have
You Seen Jackie' is sort of Pink Floyd/Tomorrow/Keith West and a bit of
2000 Light Years From Home by the 'Stones (with the backward Autoharp).
'Little Lighthouse' was an XTC number that was put on the shelf because it
was too psychy for XTC thus it was an obvious choice.  It's about some one
who's exceptionally wonderful to be with and it's like something really
fantastic is shining out of their head.'

Andy does not see himself doing another Dukes LP or venturing further into
psychedelia.

'It's not serious as in 'it's gonna save the world', but what we are
serious about is that we do love this sort of music and as I say it's been
bubbling to the surface of XTC for a while now.  A lot of critics
especially in the US say some of the tracks on 'Skylarking' should have
been on '25 O'Clock'.  However I don't think we'll do another Dukes LP.
We've said thanks to the bands of that era.  We might do a beat thing
(Ventures/Shadows) or go forward a bit and change to the Stratosphear Gang
with like Flares and glitter!  I think the Dukes have done their stuff and
said thank you (- twice to The Beatles!)'

And with that the Dukes really make their final statement.  There are a few
odds and ends for the information maniacs.  As far as outtakes are
concerned a few do exist, eg. A ludicrously extended jam called 'Orange
Dust' was recorded at about the same time as the XTC 'English Settlement'
LP while the talking section of 'My Love Explodes' on '25 O'Clock' comes
not from a Woody Allen film but from an American radio phone-in chat show.
Apparently some Vietnam veteran had just sung a rather obscene and
nationally insulting song, so this crank rang up and complained - the whole
monologue lasting about 20 minutes!

The Dukes have left us tow delightful collages of 67 sounds, which
admittedly are not original but all the same evoke the fairytale naivety
that prevailed within the UK charts for good or bad 20 years ago today.

by Richard Allen

PERSONNEL

Sir John Johns - Andy Partridge - Name taken from a '67 DC comic about a green
Martian detective.

Red Curtain - Colin Moulding - Name refers to the previous length of his hair
which was like a curtain.

Lord Cornelius Plum - Dave Gregory - Was going to call himself 'US of Arthur'
but a 60's group had already done it.

E.I.E.I.OWEN - Ian Gregory - Dave's brother - the non-XTC member.

DISCOGRAPHY

LP's

25 O'Clock - Virgin - Wow 1 1985.

*Psionic Psunspot - Virgin - VP2440 1987.

CD

CHIPS FROM THE CHOCOLATE FIRE-BALL - Virgin - Com CD11 1987.  (Featuring all
of 25 O'Clock and Psionic Psunspot).

45's

The Mole From The Ministry/My Love Explodes - Virgin - VSY982.

*You're A Good Man Albert Brown/Vanishing Girl - Virgin - VS98212 (Also
available as a 12" VS98212).

*COLOURED VINYL - First few pressings multicoloured as intended - the
remainder went out a muddy purple!

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Date: Mon, 4 Mar 91 16:36:15 GMT
From: toby <toby@computer-science.manchester.ac.uk>
Subject: Partridge/Blegvad

Fellow Chalkhills-dwellers,

>From this month's Q (p.34):

   Peter Blegvad is at work on a new project: a collaboration with XTC's
   Andy Partridge "along the lines of, dare I say it, jazz poetry. It's a
   cycle of pieces about Orpheus in hell."

Hmm... :-)

Toby

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Date: Thu, 7 Mar 91 06:00:49 PST
From: "WES WILSON, PKO3-2/T12, 223-4891" <wilson@psylo.enet.dec.com>
Subject: Several Questions

I recently sent a letter to The Communion Label, an Atlanta, GA
based CD distributor that did the Syd Barrett, Kinks, and yes -
Captain Beefheart CD tributes. The CB tribute contains XTC
doing "Ella Guru."

Anyway, if I get a catalogue from them, and it contains "1967,"
I'll post info here about where to write for a copy, since
no buddy seems to know where the hey this disc is. In several
postings I've received no info about this disc, but I'd
love to hear "Colin's Hermits" doing "Strawberry Fields
Forever."

Um, a tidbit. In "Generals and Majors" the background vocal is
"Fight Fight Fight Fight Fight Fight, etc." while Andy is
singing "Generals and majors always seem so unhappy 'less
they got a war." I just noticed this a few days ago. Before,
I'd just thought they were singing "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey,"
or somesuch.

Another tidbit: is The Compact XTC a disappointment sonically?
I have the same versions of many of those songs and they
sound better on the "album" versions of the CDs than on
The Compact XTC.

A final question: Does the UK version of SKYLARKING
contain "Mermaid Smiled" instead of "Dear God"? I'd
like to purchase this version if it does, since
this was the original intent of the album.

RE: "Sacrificial Bonfire"...I like this one. I think Colin
(or someone) plays a classical guitar in it. For me, this
has good dynamics, reminding me of the way The Who used
dynamics in their later material.

Wes

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Date: Thu, 7 Mar 91 13:35:12 PST
From: "Materials Program Mgmt., Ayr 823-3189  07-Mar-1991 1546" <drobb@ayov18.enet.dec.com>
Subject: "Making Plans For Andy" - BIG news!!!

      Hey!  All you XTC fiends,

      I have some *incredible* news to share with you all - this past
      week-end, a very good friend of mine in The Netherlands walked
      into one of his local 'record' stores and stumbled across the
      super-rare "Making Plans For Andy" CD!!  Good enough news for
      him, but there's more ... the store owner has half a dozen
      copies in all!!

      So, the question has to be, are any of the 'chalkhills'
      subscribers in need of a copy of this highly-desirable item?

      Those interested, please send me mail direct (AYOV27::DROBB).

      Dougie_the_eager_to_help_Scotsman            [ Dougie Robb ]

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