Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #209

                  Chalkhills, Number 209

                  Monday, 13 April 1992
Today's Topics:
                   Dudgeon Bludgeoning
                     get a clue, dude
                   Re: Chalkhills #208
                    The Disappointment
                      which to buy?
                     xtc meditations
                    Time of the Season
                        Re: Reflex
                   i'm not disappointed
             But I am a bit tired these days

Date: Wed, 8 Apr 92 17:42:20 EDT
From: (Tim Snyder)
Subject: Dudgeon Bludgeoning

Hi, all.  In 'Hills #208, Karl Elvis MacRae laments the production
decisions concerning Gus Dudgeon and the choice of him.  I have yet
to hear the disk, but I will be reluctant to buy it unless we get
some monster reviews here (and not just from the "fans," many of whom
overhailed _O&L_, which was not pretty).

I liked the Lillywhited productions of XTC (_Drums and Wires_, _Black
Sea_) the best.  When I heard here that he was returning for the new
one, I became excited about XTC for the first time since _Big Express_.
I thought that Paul Fox really hacked the last release (_O&L_), padding the
brilliant moments with some monstermundane ones and not having a keen
eye for fixing or eliminating the weak tracks.  The Colin songs are
especially blowworthy.  (That means not good, i.e., "suckulent"!)

When I heard that Dudgeon, the "great pop genius" from yesteryear,
was doing the work, my heart sank like Karl's.  I do not understand
why bands with pop drives like to ressurect the ancient producers.
Indeed, Dudgeontypes had a wonderful sensibility and worked magic
in the past, but picking Dudgeon is like replacing Peter Jennings
with Walter Cronkite!  _It will not work_.

A great analogy is the death of Ultravox.  When their career was showing
signs of waning, they enlisted George Martin as producer for _Quartet_.
There were lots of mag articles where drummer Warren Cann was expounding
how Martin, at a party, had blown him away with knowledge of sync tracks,
MIDI timing, and so on.  Then the LP came out, and it was a disaster.
The album did generate a tiny single for them ("Reap the Wild Wind"),
but it really brought on the band's death.  They never recovered.

The Beach Boy days are over.  If we need to hear them, we can wheel out
their disks.  (Or we can go see 'em!)  But XTC, while always being quite
poppy, were also cutting edge, "poppy" in a different sense.  I predict
that Dudgeon will produce a mess.  Because we are all dying for new
stuff, many of us will like it and listen to it a lot.  There will be
the usual brilliant moments.  A few of us will think it is great.

But, all told, when a year has passed, the Dudgeondisk will end up
with _O&L_, in the dungeon.

Best, and Hi Andre!
 Timothy Law Snyder
 Department of Computer Science
 Reiss 225
 Georgetown University
 Washington, CD 20057
(202) 687-6208


Subject: get a clue, dude
Date: Wed, 08 Apr 92 15:21:18 -0700
From: Jemiah Levon Jefferson <>

Sorry if this sounds a bit terse, but the comments made bya
a certain denizen of the armpit of Silicon Valeey just made my
blood boil.  I like Skylarking and Oranges and Lemons, for
heaven's sake.  I hate overproduction as much as they next guy,
but for heaven's sake don't write off the songwriters and the
musicians because the producer leaves something to be desired.
I started liking XTC because of the force of the writing,
not how many strings are layered on top of what.  I'm so
sick of this "good old days" whining from people.  The first
couple of albums are great for what they are.  Let the new
albums be great for what they are.
I haven't seen or heard Nonesuch yet; where the hell are you
people getting your advance copies from?  Oh, well.  I'll just
wait and hop over to Music Millenium on the 17th like I'm
supposed to.  This is the first XTC album to come out since
I discovered the band in a real sense, in the winter of 1989,
and I'm really apprehensive about what it's going to do to me.
Oh, well, time will tell.  (sounds like a Moulding line,
doesn't it?)
Eeyore (


Date: Wed, 8 Apr 92 16:38:18 PDT
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #208 rants and raves:

>	For years, I have used Dudgeon's name as an example of the
>	worst production I can think of
> the man
>	does not understand pop music. He put strings all over
>	everything with no clue as to what the feel of the songs were;
>	he mixed the guitar far too low, the base inaudible, the
>	vocals too clean, etc, etc.

Luckily for you, Gus was canned as producer before the mixing was
completed and Andy brought in someone else to do the final mix.  (Does
this remind you of _Mummer_?)

>		Fuck. I Think I'll go drink beer and play
>		White Music at maximum volume until my ears
>		bleed.

Andy is quoted in the latest issue of _Reflex_ magazine as saying, "I
mean, things haven't changed for some people.  I still get letters
>from this little fellow up the north of England that say, `Oh, _White
Music_ were your best album, and I still remember seein' ya at
sooch-and-sooch cloob. . .'  So, you've become the scenery for this
bloke's personal time machine."

			. . .

K!z!K <> writes:

>      On my "quick review of _Nonsuch_" which I sent NOT TOO LONG ago, I
>   mentioned that there are TWO Moulding tunes on the album: "The Smartest
>   Monkeys" and "Bungalow".
>      I forgot to add "My Bird Performs" as ANOTHER Moulding tune.

That's because you forgot to read your Chalkhills thoroughly.  J Ross
MacKay wrote in Digest #201, "Mr. Moulding has 4 tunes on the album:
`Smartest Monkeys', `Bungalow', `My Bird Performs', & `Wardance'".

>     The new _REFLEX_ magazine with XTC on the cover .....
>      They both contain GREAT interviews with TMBG and XTC along with
>     Skinny Puppy.

Thanks for the information!

			. . .

Toby Howard <> asks:

>Is it just me, or on "The Disappointed" (which I like a lot more now!) do the
>cymbals play in 3 against the main 4 beat? Or have I been listening to too
>much King Crimson? Nice trick, anyway.

Yes, your honor, it's true.

	-- John


Date: Thu, 9 Apr 92 12:59:08 -0400
Subject: The Disappointment

Courtesy of the good folks at Tower Records, Cambridge:

	1.  _Nonsuch_ has been delayed to 4/28.  Maybe we'll get lucky and
	    they're rerecording the album.

	2.  Domestic single delayed to 5/5.  Will still be different from UK
	    single, but no CD5.  Cassette only, I guess.


Geoff Poole


Date:         Thu, 09 Apr 92 14:57:06 EDT
From: Ben Zimmer <>
Subject:      Reflexidisc

Well, I went out and bought Reflex at the newsstand, hoping to get that
flexidisc (I love "Rip van Reuben" and I'm a TMBG fan too).  BUT... the
disc is only available for subscribers and isn't sold at newsstands!  I even
called up Reflex to see if I could get the flexidisc if I ordered one sample
issue, but they said I would need to get the $18.00 year-long subscription.
I'd really like to get a copy of the flexidisc, but I'm not willing to shell
out $18.00.  Anybody know how I could get one for cheaper?

                                                          Ben Zimmer


From: (tim clinkenpeel)
Subject: which to buy?
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 92 15:40:59 MDT

greetings all.  i have two xtc 'bums left to add to my collection (which will
go up to skylarking): white noise and go 2.  i've heard some of white noise
('i'll set myself on fire' (?) sticks out in my mind) and liked it, although
andy's spasmatic vocal style can be difficult to take for extended periods.
my question is which would 'you' suggest?  i'm certain to purchase both, in
time; however, that could be quite a while for the second due to my current
(and seemingly permanent) pathetic state of finances.  none of the titles on
go 2 were familar.

my next question:  since xtc has degenerated to the point where i no longer
confirm their existence, i've been looking for a replacement band that fills
me with the same euphoria xtc did.  i remember seeing a caption under a band
in the cbs cd club magazine describing them as 'xtc like', but for the life of
me i can't remember who it was.  now, i know cbs is pathetic and not to be
trusted AND i don't know if i want to 'replace' xtc with someone that is 'xtc
like', but i thought it might merit some further investigation.
recommendations are welcome (for both items).  you know where to find me.


Subject: xtc meditations
From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>
Date: Thu, 9 Apr 92 12:42:29 PDT

i'm listening to the lilac time album "& love for all" (great
production job by andy) and thinking some random xtc thoughts:

somewhere andy partridge once said that his favorite record was "mommy
gimme a drinka water" by danny kaye.  so, i got my officemate to loan
it to me.  weird shit - songs written from a child's perspective, sung
by kaye in a voice that sounds pretty close to elmer fudd over
wonderfully overdone orchestral arrangements.  andy is a weird dude.

in the latest little express, dave gregory says he's seen printouts of
chalkhills and finds it odd that we slag off O&L while praising The
Big Express even though both are "very produced."  well, i think what
dave is missing is that while both _are_ elaborate productions, O&L is
more "cluttered" whereas TBE is more directed.  there aren't lots of
little fiddly things zipping around the mix on TBE - there are lots of
layers, but they are all pushing together (like a large train engine?
hmmm, don't pick at the metaphor, it leaves a nasty scab.)  just a
personal observation.

five days til NONSUCH.  still haven't heard any tracks from it - maybe
i'll find the disappointed single this weekend.

apparently the bay area listening party is a bust - nobody responded.
maybe next album...

Jon Drukman (finely honed machine)              uunet!sco!jondr
Cars are good.  They let us cause trouble faster and better!   - Milk & Cheese


Date: Fri, 10 Apr 92 08:17:26 PDT
Subject: Time of the Season

I think it was mentioned in a previous issue about Gus "Time of the
Season" Dudgeon.

Hmmm...I just bought The Zombies' ODESSEY AND ORACLE on CD, and it
has a blurb, "Written, produced, and arranged by The Zombies." No
mention of Gus on the liner notes. ("Time of the Season" is one
among several fine songs from this 1967 album.)

I realize this is reaching, but...anyone know the name of the
album that The Zombies released BEFORE ODESSEY AND ORACLE? And
any cuts from it? I'd be gratefully eternal for this info. :-)

I just sent my cassette contribution to Karen Schipper for the
XTC tribute tape. Let's keep the ball rolling!



From: Ray Sherrod <>
Subject: Re: Reflex
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 92 9:19:14 PDT

  Umm, excuse me, but the "free" flexi in the latest issue of Reflex
magazine is available to subscibers only.  It's not like the good old
days when you could buy The Bob or Bucketful of Brains magazines with
a flexi of your favorite group inside right down at the corner newsstand.
  So, in order to obtain the flexi of XTC's "Rip Van Rueben" I have to
get a subsciption.  Most likely what will happen is I will receive as
my first issue next month's issue, which will have a flexi of Foghat
performing "Free Bird" or something, which I would of course be completely
ecstatic about.

                rush to greet truth like a dart


Subject: i'm not disappointed
From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 92 9:50:37 PDT

ok, i picked up the disappointed single on saturday and the only thing
disappointing about it is the import price and the slightly dull
cover.  big deal.  i love `the disappointed' and `smartest monkeys'.
nothing wrong with the production or mixing or anything like that.  in
fact, i was rather surprised at how un-cluttered and clean the
production is.  whoever complained about the over-the-top throw it all
in and hope it works attitude of oranges & lemons should be well
pleased by this one.  it's obviously not a punk band with an eight
track, but hell, they haven't been that way for years and i would be
disappointed (no pun intended) if they went back to that sound.

Jon Drukman (finely honed machine)              uunet!sco!jondr
When I go to my Greater Reward it's a throne I'll take on my own...


Date: Wed, 08 Apr 92 22:03:29 EDT
From: Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet>
Subject: But I am a bit tired these days

Les Inrockuptibles, March 1992
Interview by Christian Fevret
Translated by Emmanuel Marin
Part Four of Five

                  A MASK AND ARMOUR

Les Inrockuptibles: Your forthcoming album, Nonsuch, will be released
three years after the previous one, as usual.  Is it perfectionism, lack
of inspiration or laziness?

Andy Partridge: I humbly apologize for this delay.  But none of those
reasons is the right one.  It is a rather sad story, a big melodrama.
We were ready two years ago, but our English record company refused
all our songs.  Then, we were unlucky with the approached producers.
I am very annoyed with it, because I would like to release an album
every six months, I feel I am gagged.  The ideal solution would be two
albums every year, but the situation is for the most part beyond my
control.  I would like to release a huge amount of albums: if the
audience is not seduced by quality, it will give way beneath quantity.
I will study the American zen: always more.

LI: Todd Rundgren, who produced Skylarking in 1986, had a very precise
concept for that record.

A: While listening to the demos, he noticed that a lot of songs were
precisely situated in time and space: in the open air, during the
summer, in fine weather, each one was related to a precise hour of the
day.  He chose a very precise order and asked us to perform these
songs one after the other, without any pause between them.  It was
very tiresome to achieve, because Todd Rundgren's ego was huge enough
to keep everybody else in the background.  Despite the difficulties
getting along with him, he may have been our best producer thanks to
his brilliant ideas about arrangements and his overall view of the
project. We need somebody from the outside, the goldfish would not
know the shape of its bowl if he had nobody outside to tell him about
it.  We are three goldfishes.

LI: It is rather astounding you had not been working with more nutty
producers.  When you were immersed in your experimental bath, you
never thought about appealing to people like Brian Eno?

A: Brian Eno had been contacted to produce our second album, GO 2.  We
met him, he came to a few concerts, but he explained to us that we did
not need anybody.  I think he emphasized what we had in mind but that
our modesty prevented us from saying.  In the beginning, we had
thought it would have been a great honour to work with someone like
Brian Eno, very innovative, with good taste, who ploughs his furrow,
as farmers say.  We have become what we are with the passing years,
with our way, we are like nobody else.  I know who my heroes are, I am
old enough to recognize what has had a lot of influence on me: the
Kinks, the Beatles, loads of singles from the end of the 60's, some
noises and psychedelic wailings two minutes long.  Some strangeness of
a day, like Tomorrow's "My White Bicycle", or some psychedelic
incarnation of the Small Faces.  The psychedelic singles had a great
impact on me.  With the passing of years, jazz from the 50's and
be-bop have become to come back, all that I had been injected with
when I was young, by my father, all that I had initially fought
against.  And recently, during the last five or six years, I realized
the influence of the Beach Boys.

LI: Each of your albums is packaged with a strong image.  Which one is
the most representative of the spirit of XTC?

A: They are all very light and level-headed, you will never see one of
us wearing latex, with chainsaws and wigs, it is always politely
English.  They all have tried, in their time, to approach this spirit
as nearly as possible.  Except for the sleeve of Skylarking, which was
not the original project.  The initial sleeve opened at the top: there
were then two fronts, or two backs.  On one side, pubic hairs of a
woman photographed very closely, with meadow flowers tangled, on the
other one, pubic hairs of a man with flowers tangled.  You then could
choose the side you wanted to see. But we had problems with our record
company and the record shops.  Yet, one could see almost nothing, all
was in the imagination. . .  I found that it nicely summarized the
time, the place and the feeling of the album, and there was a Lady
Chatterley's Lover side, mischevious outdoor sex.

LI: Yet sex is not a primordial theme of XTC, your albums are almost

A: It is because I find that a lot of pop musicians become too easily
besotted with sex.  It is after all just one of the marvellous
physical and spiritual functions, in the same way as eating, shitting,
reading, listening.  I cannot see why nine pop musicians out of ten
concentrate themselves on their cock, that is not in the image of
life. . .  Our next sleeve, Nonsuch, reproduces a castle which does
not exist any more.  It was called "the summit of ostentation".  It is
a very beautiful word, but also one of my favorite record companies,
the American record company Nonsuch, which releases this old music I
like a lot.  I then discovered it was the most marvellous castle ever,
covered with gold, sculptures and paints, it looked like a fairy
tale's wedding cake.  It was built by that tyrant, Henry the eight,
who razed a village for it.  The edifice quickly disappeared, it
exists only on two second-rate drawings.

LI: A much more complicated and much richer image than the one which
ornated the sleeve of English Settlement.

A: It was a chalk sculpture on a Cornwall hill, from the iron age.
Iron age man pulled up the grass to expose the chalk ground: a piece
of art and a very primitive sign of a village or a group of persons
beginning to live and work together.

LI: This sleeve is very representative of the album and of the very
beautiful acoustic, rich and rough, sound.  How do you explain this
radical change?

A: If that record was made of wood, the first, White Music, was made
of fluorescent plastic, with an excessively shiny surface, and rather
impersonal, because the songs were very early attempts of songwriting.
Progressively the songs were less and less intended to make an an
effect -- with noisy bells, fluorescent lights and all this stuff.
With English Settlement, we finally made music to please ourselves and
which, apparently paradoxically, affected much more people.

LI: On the album, one of the tracks is "All of A Sudden".  This change
happened all of a sudden?

A: For the most part, because the previous album, Black Sea, had been
in my mind the last record for a tour, the last time I would ever
write songs to play them on stage, with two guitars, bass and drums,
harmonies to a minimum.  It was our concert on vinyl: a perfectly
oiled machine, geared for performance at that time.  When we were
writing, Colin and I were very much fed up with the incessant tours
and wanted to try different musical textures, maybe more difficult to
reproduce on stage: acoustic guitars, more keyboards, more subtleties.
A lot of bands of that time, people like Aztec Camera, became
conscious that that was something to follow, that the acoustic guitar
brought a bit of fresh blood to a world made of electricity, synths
and electronics.  We were looking for a more personal domain.  We
spent more time at home, less on the road.  Since English Settlement,
the English countryside setting is much more present in our music.

LI: The songs that ends the album, "Snowman", is amazingly personal,
you seldom expose yourself so much.

A: I found it hard to take the mask away.  I usually wear it to
protect my feelings.  I call myself "them", or "she", I even sometimes
hide behind an inanimate object.  A way of writing behind a mask of
metaphors.  From time to time, the mask slides a bit and then I simply
must be myself.  It may be wrong to think one increases his strength
with armour and a mask.  Even if it was hard to let so much out of
myself, I felt stronger by getting away from this stuff.  I had
difficulties with "Hold Me My Daddy" because I imagined my father
listening it.  He could have taken it for weakness, to expose my
feelings in front of him in such a way.

LI: It didn't happen?

A: No, I am from a family rather not much emotional, we had
difficulties to show our emotions, we were real icebergs.  The English
are for the most of time icebergs, then imagine frozen icebergs
[laughs] . . .  In my family, we had difficulty to give a cuddle, to
say what we felt.

LI: You say you have a very ordinary everyday life.  Is it really

A: Yes absolutely, very ordinary, with the only difference being that
I do not work at the factory but in a pop band.  I try to immerse
myself in the world of children, to guide them, to show them the

LI: No vices?

A: I drink a bit, that is all.  I have never taken any drugs.  I had
consumed prescribed medicines for ten or eleven years, valium.  The
docs prescribed it to me because of a nervous system in poor
condition.  I did not know what these tablets were, but I was addicted
to it during all my adolescent years.  Until an American tour.  My
wife, at that time my girlfriend, did not like to see me taking all
these tablets, increasing the doses.  She threw everything in the
toilets one night.  I became raving mad, I turned all the hotel upside
down thinking she had thrown away my emotional crutch.  After feeling
very bad for two weeks, I felt good.  I now distrust medicines and
drugs, even if I sometimes drink a lot.


Hello Christopher Seatory, Paer Nilsson and David (Gent-Secret A)!

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