Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #217

                  Chalkhills, Number 217

                   Tuesday, 5 May 1992
Today's Topics:
                       hello world
                     Nonsuch Thoughts
      Backmasked message in 'Mole From the Ministry'
                  NONSVCH Initial Review
                     mattacks on xtc
                   Re: Chalkhills #215
           It COULD have been a VERY nice week
                    very little to say
                     Chalkhills #216
                        a thought

Date: Thu, 30 Apr 1992 22:58:43 HST
From: Galen Tatsuo Komatsu <>
Subject: hello world

	Ah well, being new here, I guess it's my small obligation to say how
I got interested in XTC & Chalkhills.  In a nutshell...  a few years ago I
saw the "Dear God" video ONCE on MTV.  I liked it, also liked the name of
this new (to me) group, so much that I began using it as my handle, while not
being a "fan" of the group!  Though, I use lowercase letters for my handle.
(If ever you're in an arcade in Hawaii, and see "XTC" in thh high scores, it
could be me!) anyways... sometime later I saw the "Mayor of Simpleton" video
on MTV, liked that one too.  And that was that for a few years...
	RECENTLY "Dear God" kept ringing through my mind that I HAD to get
that album! (see below) but couldn't find it, and ended up getting "Oranges &
Lemons" (for "Mayor of Simpleton")  Poking around the net, I saw the info
about Chalkhills, and here I am!

QUESTION:  Is "Skylarking" an insanely popular album?  Looking around I found
it in only ONE store, but didn't have the money to buy it at the time.  Well,
I went the next day, money in pocket, and IT WAS GONE!  I WANTED that album!
"Dear God" is on it!  (Not all is lost though, browsing through another
store, I found the "Dear God" CD5 among the used Singles... hope it's still

(another question):  How does one pronounce "Nonsvch"?  Originally I learned
about it looking through the Oricon, Japan's equivalent of Billboard,
"Nonsvch" (written "nan saachi" in Japanese) entered the Japanese chart in
the mid 40s.  (Really, I'm a fan of Japanese artists.)

Galen Komatsu


Date: Wed, 29 Apr 92 22:57:45 -0700
From: Chalkhills Administration <>
Subject: Accounts!

It's spring, and most people's thoughts turn to finals and a summer
job.  My thoughts (besides turning to seeing as much of the great
outdoors as I can) turn to bounced mail from email accounts that
disappear when Spring {Quarter, Semester} is over.

If you read this mailing list through an account that is going away,
*please* send me some email telling me when it's going away, or when
you'd like to be taken off the mailing list.  It makes my job much
simpler, as I don't have to do as much cleaning up of bounced-email
messes when I know to remove someone from the mailing list beforehand.

If you're going to be switching accounts, tell me that, too, and I'll
change the mailing list to reflect your changed account name.

If you're going away for the summer but will be back in the fall,
follow the instructions above, and then send me some email in the fall
when you get back.

Thanks for listening.
Chalkhills Administration (thats me!)

P.S.  Some of you may read this as a local newsgroup.  You don't have
to worry about removing your name if your account is going away -- it
will be taken care of automatically, as the local newsgroup does this

P.P.S.  Oh BTW, this WAS stolen from the indigo girls list, it was
soooo well written, I couldn't help but use it...

P.P.P.S.  Actually, most of the above was subsequently stolen from the
They Might Be Giants list, and I thought it was relevant, so here it is.
Thanks, Julie!


Date: Fri, 1 May 92 23:55:05 -0700
From: (Daniel S. Rice)
Subject: Nonsuch Thoughts

	As a longtime lurker on this mailing list, I thought I'd speak
up and share my impressions of _Nonsuch_.
	After hearing lots of griping from various folks here on
Chalkhills who had advance copies, I was perhaps overanxious and ready
to be difappointed (couldn't resist!) by the new album.  For my first
listen, I followed along with each song in the lyric sheet, which was
a mistake.  I wish there were some way to skip the first listen to a
new album -- it's hard to appreciate a song when you're waiting for it
to end so you can hear the next one.  So I had a bitter taste after
the first go-round.  But subsequent listens have made me a real fan of
the album.  I find myself singing the songs all day, and I made a tape
and started carrying my walkman around so I wouldn't have to stop
listening.  My fear that is, like some others have observed, the
albums that grab you the most at first often don't withstand the test
of time.  I certainly feel that way about _Oranges and Lemons_, which
I listend to incessentantly at first and now seems somehow too sweet,
or too contrived, or something.
	Well, enough ranting, here's my opinion about the songs:

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead: This sounds like song one, side five
of _Oranges and Lemons_.  Still, it's infectuous if a bit too generic

My Bird Performs: I really enjoy this song.  It has a nice, airy sound
with spaces between the instruments.  The lyrics, like all of Colin's
lyrics on this album, are a bit simplistic, but somehow seem to be a
sincere reflection of the author's personality.  I do think that the
word "performs" seems a little too sexually-focused; I doubt that
that's all the singer wants to refer to, but it leaves that
impression.  A nice use of the flugelhorn.

Dear Madam Barnum: At first the lyric seemed much too cute, but now I
find it sort of clever in a dumb way.  The music under the line "the
last in line in your circus parade" is way too silly, though!  This
song also has the _O&L_ approach of lots of compressed layers of
sound, which I could do without.

Humble Daisy: Very _Skylarking_.  The transition from the introduction
to the solo guitar is a bit abrupt.  This was a song that I initially
thought was hopeless, but now like very much.  The lyric is nice, the
sort of thing that only Andy could write.  The Beach Boys "doowa
doowa" backing vocal is a tad much.

The Smartest Monkeys: The chorus is lots funkier than the verse, which
makes it sound like an ill fit.  The bridge just sort of peters out
into "wee-oo wee-oo" and then the chorus comes charging in.  But, the
parts are enjoyable on their own.  Even given Colin's
unsubtle/sarcastic approach to social commentary, the lyric doesn't
even come close to a _Generals and Majors_ or _Making Plans for

The Disappointed: Whoever likened this to _Everybody Wants to Rule the
World_ was dead on.  It's an O.K. song, but I can't get excited about

Holly Up on Poppy: This song reminds of _Mummer_-era XTC.  There are
parts that I find a little weak, like the "Everyday I..."  sections,
but the overall style and sentiment is pretty without being cloying.

Crocodile: To disagree with another Chalkhillian, the part I like
least about this song is the call-and-response.  The country-style
instrumentation is great.  This song also reminds me of _Mummer_ in
some weird way.  Love Dave's solo!

Rook: Tries a little too hard to be poignant.  Obscure lyrics and a
string quartet layered on until you pull out the handkerchief.  I do
like the line "If I die and find that I had a soul inside" and the
repitition of some of the lines which gives a sense of the singer's
powerlessness over the rook and the crow, whoever the heck they are.

Omnibus: I don't really care for this one. The keyboard sound is
awfully clanky and the song is just too busy in general.  The lyrics
are cute and trite and somehow the idea of complimenting the women of
various races on their babeitude seems questionable.

That Wave:  The slowed-down beginning lasts too long and detracts from
the song.  There are so many beautiful melodies in this song, like the
one underneath "I flew down to the bottom of the sea", but they come
and go too quickly.

Then She Appeared: What can I say, backwards drumming!  They must have
taken some tips from the Dukes (or borrowed their guitars perhaps).  I
love the line "All Edward Leared," I don't know why.  I mean, what
word does "Edward" replace?  I like this song in a Dukes-y way, but I
wouldn't rank it as a great XTC song.

War Dance: Again, simplistic lyrics, but a neat musical concept in the
combination of the bass grunt and the synth-bassoon riff.  I like that
way Colin's voice sounds rough and cynical and then softens for
certain lines, and especially the "they're resurrecting Churchill"

Wrapped in Grey: I think of this as a second attempt at the same style
that _Chalkhills and Children_ imitated, and a very successful one.
The layering of the instruments and vocals seems very well thought out
and produce the right emotional effect.

The Ugly Underneath: Andy's compressed vocal and the driving
instrumentation in the opening portion of the song harks back to
_Drums and Wires_ or _English Settlement_, and then we switch into
Brian Wilsonville, with a huge Hammond Organ sound and wide, airy
backing vocals.  Love the guitar vibrato.  I think the combination of
the two styles creates a very powerful song, a real roller coaster

Bungalow: Not up to par with Colin's others, but listenable once the
cheesy soap-opera organ intro ends.

Book are Burning: It seems that this song could have been made more
powerful, perhaps bulding to a crescendo of some sort.  The use of the
word "I" weakens the song for me, I'm not sure exactly why.  Somehow
the line "I believe the printed word should be forgiven" comes off as
too blunt a songwriter's trick, anthropomorphizing the book so that
we'll say "Yeah, of course the printed word should be forgiven, pull
it from the fire, please."  But then you realize, "Hey, wait, the
folks who burn (or ban) books aren't doing it to punish the books,
what is Andy really saying?"

	Well, thanks for bearing with me and I'd just like to say that
I've enjoyed hearing the reactions of other Chalkhillians to this
great new album.



Date: Sat, 2 May 92 18:57:40 EST
From: (A Son of the Silent Age)
Subject: Bootlegs...

I just picked up a pair of bootlegs today. Both tapes, one called _The Rhythm_
(primarily from a NY show, 16 January 1980), the other from a gig at Emerald
City (Cherry Hill, NJ: 17 April 1981). They're both good shows (IMHO, of
course: I've never actually seen an XTC show and I never will), and the
sound is quite good for boots (again IMHO). If you should see these,
they're well worth snapping up.

[Obligatory goofiness: while _The Rhythm_ is labelled with loving accuracy, the
other one is obviously a rush job: "Burning With Optimism's Flames" is titled
"Burning With Oppression's Flames." Interesting substitution.]


"I would have made this instrumental, but the words got in the way."


Date: Sat, 2 May 92 19:07:13 EST
From: (A Son of the Silent Age)
Subject: Stuff

It's been a long time since I've posted anything, so here goes.

First: I got _Nonsuch_ yesterday, and I _really_ like it. First listen was
a bit confused, second more amenable, third (I like new albums!) was
downright lovely. It's not over-produced at all, in my opinion: the sound
is wonderful, and the songs sound just like XTC to me (different bits
remind me of _Mummer_, _Big Express_, and _Skylarking_, but a lot sounds
totally new). On the whole, excellent ... perhaps even better than _O&L_
(and yes, I do like _O&L_). The only song that hasn't yet really grabbed me
is Colin's "Bungalow," but the other Moulding contributions are great (as
is Dave Mattacks' drumming: if he does become a permanent member, I
wouldn't mind a bit).

Second: Just to change the subject from all the _Nonsuch_ discussion, what
is the nature of the connection between XTC and Talking Heads? I have heard
that Andy was responsible for the title of the Heads' second LP, _More
Songs About Buildings And Food_; I know they both made overtures to Brian
Eno in the late seventies; and both of them have songs with the cryptic
phrase "we kill the beast." (It's in XTC's "The Rhythm" and Talking Heads'
"Making Flippy Floppy") What's the deal here? Anyone know? Anyone care?

Bye for now,



Date: Sat, 2 May 92 23:48:32 -0700
From: (Daniel S. Rice)
Subject: Rook

	Here's something interesting I didn't know: a rook is a type
of crow.  So the narrator of _Rook_ is only talking to one being, not two.
I still don't understand all of the meaning of the song, though.



Date: Mon, 4 May 92 02:01:15 EDT
Subject: Backmasked message in 'Mole From the Ministry'

I don't know if this already known, but I figured out what that VERY fast
backmasked message is at the end of 'Mole From the Ministry.' After slowing
the tape down with my 4-track and duping it about 5 times, I get a clear
and snide remark from Andy(?) saying, "Go f*ck yourself with your atom bomb!"

So if that has remained a mystery for some people, now you can relax by
knowing exactly what the Dukes trying to put in your head. ;)


Date: Mon, 4 May 92 05:04:33 PDT
Subject: NONSVCH Initial Review

I'm still waiting for my Japanese version of NONSVCH to show up in
the mail, but over the weekend I bought the cassette.

My initial reaction is that there are some songs that I took an
instant liking to ("My Bird Performs", "Omnibus," "Rook," "Then
She Appeared") and others that I'll have to take some time
digesting. I ESPECIALLY like the Moulding contributions.

"Crocodile" is, as others have noted, reminiscent of THE BIG EXPRESS.

I laughed at the opening of "Bungalow"; sounds like a radio soap opera
excerpt! And I'll have to listen to the lyrics s'more, but isn't
the theme sort of like "When I'm Sixty-Four"?

Wow, after all of the words of the doomsayers in Chalkhills of late, I
think that this is a good album, with some VERY good moments and
some not-so-very-good moments. Not the disaster I had braced myself

More to follow!



From: (Colm Mulcahy)
Date: Sat, 4 Apr 1992 19:51:54 -0500
Subject: mattacks on xtc

	[ Colm Mulcahy interviewed Dave Mattacks.  -- John ]

what i remember:

the 17 tracks posted are the only ones.,  no outtakes.  no drums on one
(Book?  Rook ?  about track 14 or 15).  however he said they were writing
at quite a pace while in the studio, and thinks demos may surface as
12" extras etc

two videos have been made, which DM missed out on being in due to touring
commitments with other acts.. i DIDN'T get the tirtles alas

the way they got hooked uo was this

dave gregory's brother is a big fairport fan, and went to see them in
bristol about two years ago.  in the winter tour program ther4 was a
section on "who you would like to play with", and DM listed XTC
among others.  Gregory took it back to his brother,and it took him monmths
to convinve Dave that it was evena a serious possibility (ie, that DM
was more than a clapped out old drummer for a has been band)

eventauly ANdy called DM ( i think Gus D may have helped, he's worked with
DM a lot oin the past), and a series of phone calls ensued.

then months of rehersals.  DM recorded over a 3 week period last June/July

DM's conclusion: it pays to advertise!

he's really proud of his drumming here, and says it will turn a few heads

says the LP is "at least as good, if not better, than the last one"
whatever that means!



From: (Colm Mulcahy)
Date: Mon, 4 May 1992 14:09:29 -0400
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #215

i spoke to dave mattacks a few weeks ago, and he told me that two videos
had ben made, but due to other commitments he'd missed filming for both,
he sounded annoyed!

he does look incredibly young, BTW for a man of 43 or whatever, but
it isn;t him in the viedeo


Date:         Mon, 04 May 92 20:09:55 EDT
From: Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet>
Subject:      It COULD have been a VERY nice week

Yes indeed !
It began last Friday, with a letter from ... Lumiere !
(Read carefully Skylarking sleeves notes if you do not know about it...)
It was (is ??) the French fan club.
Well I have written to it about two years ago... I had almost forgotten
It was just a handwritten paper, but full of informations :
- the "Rapido" program I have already told you about was announced
- so was this famous-but-wait-no ! CD collector
- and most important : the comeback on stage of XTC for an acoustic performance
in a Parisian shop called "Fnac des Italiens" (incidentally the same day than
the acoustic radio concert).
Wow ! I thought. I went then to this shop, and, yes, there was this huge
Nonsuch sleeve (about 2m x 2m) near the concert room...
But the most annoying fact is that there was also this huge "CANCELLED" sign !!
Hmm ... hmm ... it seems Andy just tried to come back but just couldn't, no ?

Before to end, let me tell you one of the event of this XTC week : I was told
(I was in a train at that very time) that XTC was the guest of the French
charts TV show last Friday. Too bad I missed them. But in the same way as
John (I think it's him who told about that) tell us that Geffen really promotes
for the first time XTC, I tell you that I have never heard about XTC in such
a "popular" way. I think "Peter Pumpkinhead" could do well in France, but
won't probably be ever released. I hope "Nonsuch" will do at least 50th in
the charts... because in France, if you are not already known, the key of
success is in the 50 LPs charts, 'cause it is the only popular musical TV

That's all, folks !  Hope the acoustic radio concert WON'T be cancelled !


PS: I have just read in the English Record Collector that in
this year's poll about the Top 500 Collectable Artists, XTC is 113th.
Last year saw them at the 61st place. Well, remember it was BEFORE Nonsuch.


Subject: very little to say
Date: Mon, 04 May 92 13:50:46 -0700
From: Jemiah Levon Jefferson <>

Except ARGHH!  You guys are torturing me!  Am I the only person
in the country who doesn't have the album yet?  Look, I'm a
student, I don't have time to go off campus and get albums.
The radio station apparently has the CD single of "peter pumpkin-
head", but someone has already horked it, so I can't hear it.
I guess they play it on the alternative station here, but I'm
a student, I don't have time to listen to the radio.  I think
I just have to run out today and plunk down my filthy lucre.
As someone (I don't rmember who, and my computer expertise is
too lame for moe to copy it) said, They liked Nonsuch too much
on the first listen.  You never know, you might still like it in
a year or two.  I loved the much-maligned O&L immediately,
being only a bit confused by the complexity of it at first.
So anyway.  Much love to all.
And yes, I do know all the Moulding sex references, John.  Hee.


Subject: Chalkhills #216
From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>
Date: Mon, 4 May 92 12:56:27 PDT

john relph writes:
>Geffen USA included a booklet advertising their XTC back catalog in
>copies of NONSVCH.

it wasn't in MY copy.  damn.

mr relph further comments:

>Has anybody noticed that while the song "The Vgly Vnderneath" is listed
>as being 2'37 in length, that actually the main part of the song is
>2'37, and the wonderful little organ "outro" lasts for another 1'17,
>making the total length of the track 3'54 (or so).  I wonder if the song
>had been timed in a different mix (perhaps without the ending)
>originally, and the Nick Davis mix made it longer...  The world may
>never know...

yeah, i noticed that as well and promptly went back and checked all
the other times.  that's the only one that's off.  your theory is as
good as any other.  it's such a hassle having to do the artwork prior
to mastering the disc...

Jan Schiffman <> expounds:

>How Disappointing that XTC has turned into an easy listening band for
>the middle aged population.

does anybody really consider them "easy listening"??

>XTC is no longer interested in pushing the envelope of music
>creativity as they once were.

oh please.  explain to me how recording verse/chorus/verse pop songs
with guitar, bass, drums and keyboard is "pushing the envelope of
music creativity" compared to the current musical experiments of the
band., the unmitigated Joe Turner writes:

>First off, I LOVE the sound of this album.  The big drum sounds are
>straight out of "Big Express", which is just peachy with me.

black sea.  no question.  big express had that lovely 8-bit Linn whack
all over it.  nothing like it here.

>The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead - Just wow.  Just WOW.  VERY "Big
>Express", to these ears.

black sea.  no question.

>Dear Madam Barnum - a little hokey, but the Gus Dudgeon cameo is cool
>and it does chug along nicely.

it's one of my favorites now.

>Humble Daisy - sounds like a "Mummer" b-side, or "Seagulls Screaming Kiss
>Her Kiss Her" on valium.

sounds like "chalkhills and children" minus anything of interest.

>Crocodile - WOW again.  This is probably my favorite song on the album
>so far.  The drum sounds are terrific.  I'm a sucker for
>call-and-response vocal/guitar bits anyway.  VERY VERY "Big Express";
>ask Drukman about our fights over "I Bought Myself a Liarbird", of
>which this very reminiscent in the break.

i like this MUCH better than "i bought myself a liarbird."  this is
also one of my current nonsvch favorites.

>Omnibus - Another "English Settlement" song, played by "Oranges &
>Lemons" musician.  The verse is ok, but the refrain ("Ain't nothin' in
>the world like a...") makes the whole song worth it.  My 2nd favorite
>song on the album.  I think this should have ended the album.

i hate this.  way too brassy.  *dumb* lyrics.

>That Wave - I dunno.  The starting vocals turn me off immediately (I
>think it should have been just Andy's solo vocal for two lines or so,
>but that's just me).  More "Big Express" sounds.  Goes on a little too
>long, but the ideas in it are cool.

not really very big expressy at all.  i love the "i flew down to the
bottom of the sea" bits - very "mummer".

john relph returns to say:

>But if you take "my bird performs" literally, what is he saying?
>That she's great in bed?  Or merely that her actions provide him with
>all the `entertainment' that he needs?

that's really my main beef - either interpretation is pretty
horrifying.  objectification of women went out years ago, right?

>>dear madam barnum - i intepret this as a kissoff from andy to the
>>record industry that has treated him like so much shit.
>Gee, I thought it was about a dying relationship in which the woman
>treats the man poorly and prevaricates to him.  So he's saying, "Hey,
>I've had enough of this, I'm getting out, I quit".  I especially like
>the lines "If I'm not the sole fool \ Who pulls his trousers down"
>which for me mean that there are probably more fish in the sea for
>Madam Barnum...

i dunno.  i'll do a real college english major explication for you:

"children are clapping/as i fall to the floor
my heart torn and broken/and they just scream for more"

i just can't fit this into the dying relationship theme.  i do admit
that almost all of the other lines can be neatly shoehorned in, but
what does this have to do with it?  this intimates some sort of "i'm
putting my heart on the line with what i do, and nobody can see how
much it's killing me, they just take take take..."  i mean,
metaphorically, it works in the relationship thing, but why is this
relationship exhibited to the public for the children to clap at??

>Yeah, that's the "groovy Gretch" sound.  Same guitars that The Byrds,
>Robyn Hitchcock, The Beatles, The Bangles, and others used and use.
>Gotta love it.  Or not.

the BEATLES?  must be their "early, funnier" stuff (cf. Stardust Memories)

Jon Drukman (finely honed machine)              uunet!sco!jondr
Don't worry - we're on the back side of the moon, they'll never know...


Date: Tue, 5 May 1992 10:21:38 -0500
From: "Bird Rendell H." <>
Subject: a thought


I *think* I have figured out a natural progression / continuing thread
in the last few XTC albums:

_Skylarking_ : concerns relationships (Andy gets married)
_Oranges and Lemons_ : many songs which mention children (Andy has first child)
_Nonsuch_ : many songs have 'infantile' titles or are about animals **
                          (Andy teaches his children to read)

** - Holly up on Poppy, Rook, Crocodile, etc

I supposed the next album will have multiplication tables set to
a rock-n-roll beat!       ;-)       ;-)

You mileage my vary (read: I could be incredibly wrong here),

p.s. To all of you who don't care much for 'Rook': y'all obviously
don't play the piano!   Dave is really working hard in that song.
It is my second favorite song after 'Peter Pumpkinhead'.


Welcome to all these new subscribers: Craig Hamm, Stephen
Ryner Jr., MA Lotocky, Dave, David Fox, and returning
subscriber Dan Schmidt!  Chalkhills now has over 300
subscribed addresses!

For all administrative issues, such as change of address,
withdrawal from the list, fan club addresses, discography
requests (last update 29 April), back issues, etc., send
a message to the following address:


The Chalkhills archives are available at "".

All views expressed in Chalkhills are those of the
individual contributors only.  You wait and see.

Go back to the previous page.