Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #221

                  Chalkhills, Number 221

                   Monday, 18 May 1992
Today's Topics:
                    "Ella Guru" on CD
                  Keep your eyes peeled
                     Chalkhills #220
               How I heard about Chalkhills
                 _Spin_ review of Nonsuch
                  Japanese "NONSVCH" CD
             French Interview II Part 1 of 1
                  THE BOOK!! THE BOOK!!!
                  finely chopped machine
              XTC Article - Chicago Tribune

Date: Wed, 13 May 92 09:46:26 PDT
Subject: "Ella Guru" on CD

I finally decided to pick up a CD called 'Out of Time'.

This is one of those Imaginary label tribute CDs; in fact, this one
is a 'Very Best of..." the whole series.

"Ella Guru" doesn't sound at all like XTC! Is that Andy growling
out the lead vocals? The guitar solo is good, and it reminds me
of the way the band sounded doing those "Homo Safari" songs.
"Ella Guru" is one of those songs that sounds so dissonant and
untogether on first listen; actually, it grows on me each
time I hear it. This song is originally from Captain Beefheart's
'Trout Mask Replica' LP.

In addition to the XTC track, the band Cud (remember them from
when Dave Gregory produced?), does The Kinks' "Lola," and
the CD also includes very bizarre covers of songs by Hendrix,
the Stones, and Velvet Underground (there's an especially good
version of "She's My Best Friend").

Sonic Youth and Ride also provide tribute songs.

Does anyone know if the Captain Beefheart Tribute II is available
yet, with XTC doing "Humanoid Boogie"?

By the way, I'm getting Cud's 'Elvis Belt'. (Dave Gregory produces
"Hey! Wire"). I really like Cud. (Don't tell anyone, though).



Date: Wed, 13 May 1992 12:36:38 -0500
From: "Bird Rendell H." <>
Subject: Keep your eyes peeled


Last week on MTV (U.S. version) during the show _120 Minutes_ there
was a 'bumper' between the show and a commercial break. It went
like this:

Colin : Hi, I'm Colin Moulding
Andy  : And I am Andy Partridge
Dave  : And I am Dave Gregory
Andy  : and we are collectively known as <STRUM> XTC!

There were sitting on bar stools, in front of a very plain set.
Each of them was holding a guitar.

I *assume* this was part of the stuff they taped (or were taping)
for their _Unplugged_ session which was rumored on this list.
I sincerely hope the _Unplugged_ I missed because of a VCR mishap
(which comes on before _120 Minutes_) was *not* the one with XTC.

I will start taping EVERYTHING on Sunday nights until I see them, or
hear otherwise here on Chalkhills.

Immediately after the bumper, Dave Kendall 'played' the "Peter Pumpkinhead"
video. I was impressed. I liked it. But then, I was born on the day
of the Kennedy assassination, so that particular subject has always
fascinated me.

Rendell  (yes; who is 28 right now)

p.s. This was the first time I had ever seen XTC other than in pictures.
Andy turned out to be much taller and less heavy than I thought he would
be. His face is so round, that I thought the rest of him would be that
way too.


Subject: Chalkhills #220
From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>
Date: Wed, 13 May 92 10:06:26 PDT

joe turnip says:
>But listen to the "live room" sound on TBE - "You're the Wish You Are
>I Had", for example, or "Wake Up!", or "The Everyday Story of

you obviously have a different definition of "live room" than i do.
that's the last i will say on this topic.

>No, seriously.  I can hear Drukman writing a lengthy tome of rhetoric
>about pop music and such, but I'll do mine anyway.

i'm too tired.  we'll have to make do with yours.
---------- expounds:

>'My Bird Performs' - This is actually a wonderfully complex song
>with great lyrics.
>The narrator, in rejecting Shakespeare, ironically expresses the
>sentiment the Bard himself did in one of his most famous sonnets,
>"My mistress's eyes are nothing like the sun."

shakespeare's sentiment is one of the oldest ones known to mankind,
ie: "gee, you're cute!"  he just said it with a little more finesse.

>The theme of both poems is rejection of established norms of
>beauty in favor of something more 'common' which provides
>the poet with something he understands to be beautiful, on
>his own terms.

i think moulding's song puts more stress on the "i don't know art, but
i know what i like" angle.  established norms of beauty have nothing
to do with it.  the clue is in line one: "fine art never moved my soul."

>"War Dance" - Yes, the theme is ancient..."ain't war terrible"
>goes back to Homer. Still, I like the clarinet sample; the
>whole song has a moody, troubling feel.
>"Smartest Monkeys" - Another well-trodden theme. But he has a
>point, doesn't he? How DO people accomplish such great things
>like space travel and then have no plan to deal with the
>homeless? (Point to ponder.)

i don't like the music on war dance, and the lyrics are a well-worn
theme, so the song just loses for me.  on the other hand, smartest
monkeys has a tired old lyric as well, but the music really does it
for me, so i like the whole package.  i think we can derive from this
that if the lyrics suck but the tune is great, i will enjoy the song.
well, up to a certain point anyway...

>I'm curious about the CD track sequence vs. the cassette: does
>"That Wave" come at the end of the CD? On the cassette, it's
>the second song on Side 2. This is one of my least favorite
>songs, despite the nice guitar solos. It's just too overblown
>for me; too much.

That Wave is track 11 out of 17 on the CD.  I think That Wave is
currently my favorite track from the album.  It's just incredible.

Jon Drukman (finely honed machine)              uunet!sco!jondr
Distrust all blueprints.


Subject: How I heard about Chalkhills
Date: Thu, 14 May 92 11:46:55 +0200
From: Christopher Lishka <>

[You asked, so here's my reply!  I am not sure yet if this is
appropriate material for Chalkhills; feel free to add it to the digest
if you think it is!]

I also participate in the Crowded House mailing list.  The moderator
mentioned Chalkhills as an example of a digest format during one
discussion.  Since I really like XTC's music, I decided to check out

I have been a fan of XTC for years, ever since I picked _Mummer_ up as
a freshman in college back in '85.  Since then my wife and I have
slowly built up our collection of albums/CD's/tapes.  I have heard
almost all of their stuff, with the exception of one or two of their
early albums (although I do have _Drums and Wires_).

I think XTC is one of the most talented and original bands around.
Even though there are a couple XTC albums I don't listen to much,
every single record has at least a few great songs on it.  Personal
favorites are _Oranges and Lemons_, _Skylarking_, _Mummer_, and _The
Big Express_, and the EP with "Don't Loose Your Temper" on it (I
forget the title).  My favorite songs include "Fly Upon the Wall",
"Skeleton Steps Out", "Alchemy", "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her",
"Grass", "Don't Need Another Satellite", ...  and about a million
others!  I also enjoy their Dukes of Stratosphear stuff as well.

I just picked up the latest CD (_Nonesuch_).  It is nice to hear XTC
continuing along with their usual style, although Andy Partridge seems
to be heading towards stock tunes again.  It is not my favorite work
of theirs, but there are some real gems on it.  Colin Moulding's
experiments with slightly off-kilter tunes make up for some of
Partridge's lackluster ones, and both of them are still writing very
interesting lyrics.  It might not be their best, but then again it is
rather hard to followup great albums like _Skylarking_ and _Oranges
and Lemons_.  I think they did a decent job.

Well, enough blather.  I am glad to be a member of this list!

	"Heroes and rogues together surrounded by daisies"

							.oO Chris Oo.

                                                           Christopher Lishka
 Keep on skankin'!                                         PPE Division, CERN
                   -- Bob Marley                


Subject: _Spin_ review of Nonsuch
Date: Thu, 14 May 92 10:24:05 BST

The latest issue of Spin magazine contains a generally positive review
of Nonsuch.  But the writer refers to the previous album as "Apples and
Oranges".    In case anyone cares....


P.S.  I agree that "Colin has blown his musical wad."   I only wish I
could have seen it happen.


Date: Fri, 15 May 92 09:21:59 PDT
Subject: Japanese "NONSVCH" CD

I have in front of me the Japanese CD of NONSVCH.

As reporte, it has a gold silkscreen of the castle on the front of the
jewel box. The little pictures for each song are on the back
of the CD.

The CD itself again displays the castle and only the castle (no
track listing). The track listing is on the back cover of the

Catalogue no. - VJCP-28100

It's good to have this LP on CD. "Then She Appeared" and "The
Ugly Underneath" are starting to grow on me more!

- - - - -

I also now have Saeko Suzuki's STUDIO ROMANTIC. I'll play this
one more over the weekend, but my first impression is that
it's a good CD. I especially like "Something in the Air" and
"Happy Families."

- - - - -

Some thoughts about "Rook":

Does "legend" (fable, or what have you) show this bird, along
with the crow and raven, to have "powers of telling the future"?

I'm thinking of Poe's poem about the raven, when the speaker asks
when he shall see his "lost Lenore". "Nevermore!", quoth the raven.

If anyone knows of the fable/myth from which the rook story is
derived, please share!

- - - - -

Anyone beside me notice that some of the lyrics to "Peter Pumpkinhead"
are similar to the ones in Peter Blegvad/Andy Partridge's "King
Strut"? (Man from the bottom achieves great fame, having audiences
with Popes and potentates, spending their wealth on the poor, etc.)

I don't mind; I think both are terrific songs!



Date:         Fri, 15 May 92 20:05:40 EDT
From: Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet>
Subject:      French Interview II Part 1 of 1

>From "Guitares et Claviers", May 1992 :
Quick Translation ! Don't worry about grammar or vocabulary :)

GC:"Nonsuch", this tenth album, is a bit of a birthday, in'it ?

AP: To tell the truth, we haven't counted, then the candles...

GC:It's been now ten years since you have stopped to play on stage. Don't
you miss it a little bit ?

CM:Yes, sometimes I do. I would have liked to play our music live much more,
to feel better on a stage.
AP:On stage, I hated my hands. I always had the feeling to play like a beginner
I was so nervous.

GC:And you can do without keeping in touch with your fans ?

AP:There were no real contact with them. It often was only "Thank You !",
followed by "Yeeeaaahhhh!". I much more wanted to talk to the audience than
to play guitar in front of it. I never really knew how to express myself on
CM:The ideal thing would be to be able to play only the concerts we would
like to do, after having choosed how many people could enter and after having
felt the atmosphere, but you just can't do it ! But, we nevertheless have
contacts with our fans, especially in the USA, when we meet them in the
decication sessions in the music stores. But it's true it is not the same thing
I felt some pleasure when, during an intro, I discovered a smile on the lips
of a fan, happy that we played a song he knew and he liked.

GC:Will we see you one day on stage again ?

AP:Maybe. For the moment, we have only done radio shows in the USA. It has
nothing to do with a rock'n'roll show, but is far more natural.

GC:Why did it take three years between "O & L" and "Nonsuch" ?

CM:We had a lot of problems. First with our record company : our musical
director did not like the songs we had written. He asked us to write some
others, because he was convinced we could do better. Until the day he left
the label, just when we had in mind to break the contract. Hopefully, his
substitute did like them. Then, we had a lot of problems to find a producer.
Hugh Padgham and Steve Lillywhite, whom we had worked at the beginning with,
had in mind to produce the album. But finally, Lillywhite had no time for it.
We contacted John Paul Jones, but he was too expensive. Then, Bill Bottrell,
the engineer of Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" was ready to come in our
homes with his studio. But the deal did not work. Then Gus Dudgeon produced

GC:Why didn't you produce it yourself ?

AP:Virgin didn't think we were able to. And, on a more practical point of view,
it is terribly hard to have a really critical view when you produce yourself.
You can't play and listen at the same time.
CM:We need somebody to correctly use our energy and our creation.

GC:Do you work in the same way for fifteen years ?

AP:Yes, quite the same. Each one writes in his home and then shows the songs
to the others and we build.

GC:Andy, some defines you as something between Walt Disney and Benito Mussolini
Are you a knid a dictator ?

AP:Let's say I am a kind dictator. I have very precise ideas upon what I want
to do. And when things don't happen the wrong way, I don't like that.

GC:You have written some songs on keyboards, though you don't know how to play
them. Why ?

AP:Piano is an instrument which is exciting to explore. It is a brand new
territory. I know guitar too much. With piano, you don't know what is going
to come out of your songs, especially because I only play it with two or three

GC:One has the impression that on "Nonsuch", the Beatles shadow is much more
present than before. How do you explain it ?

AP:I find afterthoughts that "O&L" was more influenced by the Beatles. But
you may be right. The Beatles always had an influence on us. They have done
so much with two guitars, a bass and drums that he is very hard not to
follow the paths they created.

GC:As they do, you seem to have always pay much more attention to the song
and the melody than to the music itself.

AP:Yet, it is rather the drums which I have taken first into account : I
always wanted to write with the drums rather than with the voice. Colin
worried about the melodic aspect a long time before I did.

GC:Can we expect a new Dukes Of Stratosphear album ?

AP:No. They are dead. It was a joke we had invented and loved. But it fitted
in a very determinate period. It has been done. It was good. Now, it is over.
What we would like to do now, in contrary, is to release an entirely
instrumental album, to appear as something else than singers.

GC:What do you like in the music nowadays ?

AP:I have liked a lot the Cocteau Twins, and more recently, the LA's 'album.
They have the potential to become excellent.

GC:Yet, they do not like their own album.

AP:Well, you know, there are just poor little bastards (laughs).

GC:And what do you think of people like Costello, Cure, Police or Joe Jackson
who began almost in the same time than XTC ?

AP:Costello is good. But he should pay attention not to look like Jerry Garcia
(ha! ha! ha!). Joe Jackson is a mystery. He keeps on changing his musical
style, and then you are lost with him. But he writes a lot of good stuff.
Police could have come near the Beatles. They did excellent things but also
awful ones like Canary In A Coalmine. And about Cure, well sorry, it is not
exactly our cup of tea (he imitates Robert Smith, crying)(laughs). The
best things in Cure, are Tim Pope's clips.

GC:What would like XTC to leave to the English music history ?

AP:What we have done. That in a century, these pretentious bands like
U2, Simple Minds or Cure will be forgotten, and that XTC will be reminded,
surely more simple and not pretentious at all.

That's all.



Date: Fri, 15 May 92 19:42:03 CDT
From: margaret ann quinn <>
Subject: THE BOOK!! THE BOOK!!!

Ok. I have just spent the last week reading EVERY SINGLE back issue of
Chalkhills. (I just started subscribing last week.) I must tell you all that I
am duly impressed that such a wonderful piese of work exists for the XTC
fanatic. I now know that I am not the only person in the world (or at least,
in the US) who truly loves this band. I was often told that I was the only
person who had ever heard of these guys...How wrong I was!!!!

                     *END OF THE EMOTIONAL BIT*
Anyway, this is my question.... This biography!!! I must have it!!! I read
about it a couple of digests back. I can't believe no one has made further
mention of it! It was supposed to be out in England last month. Any news,
prices? I hope they found an American distributor.

Oh, I'm sorry, this goes off topic. Does anyone know about what Paris
Promotions has to offer in the realm of posters of XTC? I would love to put
Andy, Colin, and Dave's mugs up in my dorm room and my room back home in
Dallas. (My mother just LOVES my taste in wall decoration.) Thanks...

					TaTa from Marg at the ole' U of C

{Insignificant space}


Date: Mon, 18 May 92 11:38:48 BST
From: Toby Howard <>
Subject: Omnibus

Call me slow... but it suddenly struck me the other night that the effect
of the rhythm arangement of Omnibus really reminds me of an old-style
English bus (with one entrance at the rear, like the tourist London buses).
In the outro, you can hear the little bell (ding!) on the cymbal, which you
press on these buses to tell the driver to stop, and the brakes' sssssss...
on Omnibusssss... I love it!


PS Before any non-UK people ask, the word "clippie" is an old slang word
for bus conductor (or conductress in this case). There used to be an old
early-seventies UK TV comedy show called "On the buses" (starring the
wonderful Reg Varney) where all the girls were referred to as clippies.

Other snippets: SELECT magazine reports in an interview with AP that the
inspiration for Peter Pumpkinhead came from a pumpkin impaled on his garden
fence! And that his keyboard skills are such that he stuck little labels on
the keyboard when his hands found nice chords, so he'd remember how to play
them again! And this is the guy who wrote Chalkhills & Children...!


Date: Mon, 18 May 1992 13:30:12 -0500
From: "Bird Rendell H." <>
Subject: finely chopped machine

John Drukman writes:

>basically, the conceit in "rook" is that the bird, by virtue of its
>ability to fly and watch over humanity, is more or less omniscient.

This is exactly what many of the American Indian tribes believed.
The crow (or the raven) has been a mystical symbol in many cultures
in many parts of the world.

[concerning events Andy is experiencing being mirrored in his writing]:
>nice idea but we all know that skylarking was todd rundgren's conceit.

Todd Rundgren didn't write the songs, though. He picked among the
different demos the songs which would fill his (Todd's) scheme for
the album. Andy's songs were already about relationships/commitments before
Todd poured his derisions all over them. **

** a Pink Floyd reference

>i play the piano and i don't care that much for `rook.'  try again.


The requirements seem to be:
a) A working knowledge of piano chord structure
b) The ability to decipher cryptic lyrics
c) The ability to appreciate a song that is not in 4/4 time
d) An IQ above -25

I am willing to wager that everyone on Chalkhills knows which one of
these 'requirements' you do not meet.


p.s. The local new music radio show played 'War Dance' the other day.
     I was pleased.


Date: Mon, 18 May 92 15:06 CDT
Subject: XTC Article - Chicago Tribune

  Thought I would copy this recent article from the Chicago Tribune
for you all to read.  Apparently, the writer called Andy and did an
interview, so that there's a smattering of semi-intersting "Andy-isms"

Enjoy, hope it's worth the bandwidth..

Rick Rock



           Pop group XTC succeeds by doing only what it wants

                              By Greg Kot
                     Rock Critic - Chicago Tribune

                     Reprinted without permission

Imagine how a deer reacts when caught in the headlights of an oncoming
truck, and you've got the idea of how the members of XTC relate to the
record industry.

Every three years or so, the three members of the British pop group --
singer-guitarist Andy Partridge, singer-bassist Colin Moulding and
multi-instrumentalist Dave Gregory -- release an album, hold their noses
and emerge from the British countryside for the obligatory publicity blitz,
then go back to live relatively undisturbed with their families in the
town of Swindon

The band hasn't toured since 1982, has never had a Top 40 single, and yet
its critical and commercial success has accelerated.  The group's last
album, "Oranges and Lemons," was the No. 1 college album of 1989, and last
week, Geffen Records released "Nonsuch" with even higher expectations.

The irony of the group succeeding despite its massive indifference to the
ways of pop stardom isn't lost on Patridge.  A witty and thoughtful
conversationalist, he is calling from his home in Swindon, a fact confirmed
by occasional gentle reminders to his daughter to "shut the door because
daddy's working right now."

"We get loads of pressure to tour again, but we're used to shrugging it
off," Partridge says.  "Actually, these are bad life lessons we're learning.
The more selfish I've been toward the music, the more people like it.  It's
like 'Naughty boy!  Here's your reward!'"

It was Partridge who put the kabosh on further touring after he collapsed
on stage in 1982.  "Stage fright was the final straw," he says.  "It was
like the teenager in me finally died that night."

In so doing, XTC joined a small hadful of groups who have become famous for
confining their music-making to the studio, including the post-"Sgt. Pepper"
Beatles and Steely Dan.

Like the songwriters in those groups, Partridge became increasingly
dissatisfied with the band's inability to duplicate its studio perfection
on stage.  He dismisses XTC's early albums as the work "of teenagers
running around with forks in their head."  XTC's first two albums, which
created a niche in the emerging new wave scene in England during the
late '70s, are "naked baby photos," Partridge says.

"Drums and Wires," which introduced the band to America with the single
"Making Plans for Nigel," he brushes off as "teenage and spotty," while
the near-classic "Black Sea" "is a bit loud and gaudy."

The singer is more satisfied with the band's six albums since then.
"They're more natural and more wonderful.  They're more us."

"Us" is a group that enjoys puttering around Swindon, frequenting book
stores, spending time with family and creating music.  Partridge and Moulding
are prolific songwriters and Gregory is the group's ace arranger -- he kills
time by creating elaborate replicas of classic rock songs such as "21st
Century Schizoid Man" in his home studio.

"One of us will be walking down the street and hear the muttering: 'Why,
he doesn't look like a millionaire,'" Partridge says.  "Everyone assumes
that if they see a video of you on TV, you're supposed to be a millionaire.
Other than that, we do a very good job of just forgetting about the
business for two or three years at a time."

And then there's the wife and kids to keep inflated pop-star egos in line.

"We'll get this ludicrous fan mail, where people compare you to God, but
I've got a house full of critics if any swell-headedness occurs," Partridge
says.  "My wife will be the first to say if a song isn't very good."

Partridge says the band's relatively reclusive existence doesn't stifle the

"Swindon is this incredibly dull place, but it's fine for escaping all the
insanity of the pop industry.  And it enables us to draw colors all over
it in our songs.  The problem is not where to get ideas, the problem is
too many ideas."

For "Nonsuch," Partridge and Moulding wrote 32 songs and pared them to 17.

But though Partridge compares the winnowing process to a "very democratic
knife fight," he has no trouble singling out a favorite song: "Rook."

"I had this incredible cas of writer's block, something very close to
physical constipation for two, three months," he says.  "I was desperate
to get something out of the way, but I got to the point where I feared
nothing would ever come out."

"All of a sudden, in the most depressed state, I started tinkering at
the piano, and these chords came out that literally made me cry.  These
were known chords, but it was sort of like I stubbed my toe on them, and
this song just when, 'Blah!' and came rushing out of me."

Later on, Partridge realized, "I was shaking, I could barely get it on
tape.  'Why is this song frightening me?'  I concluded that in some way
or another it was about confronting my mortality, the fear of dying."

He suspects the song is connected to a dream he has "almost every night."

"I dream of flying, and when I awake there's this terrible darkness,"
he says.  "It's like there's this fantastic life and aching darkness in
your head all at once."

When he brought the song to Moulding and Gregory to be considered for the
album, "I felt like I had just put my testicles on a Formica table and
handed baseball bats to these other two guys."

Much to Partridge's relief, Moulding and Gregory were as taken with the
song as he was and recorded it virtually unchanged -- not a common
occurrence in a band that takes its songwriting very seriously.

"[Colin and I have] made a few tentative stabs at writing together, but I
found there's no way on earth that I can describe what's in his heart,"
Partridge says.  "We found ourselves arguing over the choice of one word."

Partridge says XTC found its true calling that night in Paris, when he had
to be helped off the stage during the concert.

"All my stupid, crass, college delusions got killed," he says.  "That's
when I realized I didn't want to be a pop star anymore.  Something died
in that inferno, but something also was born -- the ambition to be
the world's greatest songwriter, better than Lennon and McCartney!"

So, how's he doing in comparison to his heroes?

"Jesus, it's tough at the bottom," Partridge says with a laugh.  "It's like
one by one I have to kill off these people inside me.  I finally got rid of
Lennon and McCartney, and then Burt Bacharach is in there grimacing.  Then
I discovered Thelonious Monk and the wonderful triangular symmetry of
Charlie Parker.  It's endless.  Eventually I'll exorcise them all, until
only Danny Kaye is left."


Welcome to new subscribers Andrew Prock, Kim Gillies, Tom
Isaksson, Christopher Lishka, Dave Glenn, and Greg O'Rear.
Nice to `see' new faces aboard when the end of the school
year beckons many away.

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