Errors-To: chalkhills-request@presto.ig.com
Reply-To: chalkhills@presto.ig.com
Sender: chalkhills-request@presto.ig.com
Precedence: bulk
From: chalkhills-request@presto.ig.com
To: chalkhills@presto.ig.com
Subject: Chalkhills #227


                  Chalkhills, Number 227

                  Thursday, 18 June 1992
Today's Topics:
                   Two Short Questions
                     Chalkhills #226
                      _Demo Tracks_
                     Chalkhills #226
                       The Envious!
                         Mod Lang
               Andy on _120 Minutes_, etc.
                        XTC on NPR
                   Acoustic Tale of Woe
                  120 Minutes with Andy
[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: Mon, 15 Jun 92 17:47:26 PDT
From: syd@almaden.ibm.com
Subject: Two Short Questions

"Ziggedy Zig Zag just look at 'em" is what I hear ...
(followed by Ziggedy Zig Zag hey hey)

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Subject: Chalkhills #226
From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <jondr@sco.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 92 17:49:40 PDT

Treefrog@cup.portal.com inquires:

>Hi!  First question:  What is _XTC_Explode_Together_(The_Dub_Experiments_
>1978-1980)_?  I saw it at a local CD shop, and need to know is it worth
>getting?  Is it not redundant (relative to the rest of the catalogue)?  Is
>it rare at all?  Thanks for any answers!

Not redundant.  It is a collection of the Go+ EP, and Mr Partridge's
"Take Away/Lure Of Salvage" LP on one CD.  Those items were Andy's
experiments with taking the XTC master tapes and doing weird dub
excursions with them.  If you don't know what dub is, well... hard to
say succinctly, but you basically smash the originals beyond
recognition, running them through all manner of noisesome effects and
whatnot.  Just listen, that's all I can say.  The Dub Experiments are
not pretty pop with hummable hooks.  Think of The Residents.

>Now a little background before my other two questions:  I'm not an "old time"
>XTC fan; my first XTCDs were Skylarking and O&L, and I have since been on
>a reverse-order tour of purchases.  I like *all* of their stuff, however :-).
>I'm down to the point now where all I have left are the first two albums,
>Go2 and White Music.  I'll buy them no matter what, but want to know:  Was
>this keyboard player a songwriter for the group?  A *major* songwriter?  A
>vocalist?  What can I expect from him (and from the lack of Dave G.)?  How
>about Andy and Colin's writing on those albums?

Barry Andrews (almost said Barry Adamson there... geez) was the
keyboard player, and basically did the same thing on every one of
their songs: play a horrible noise on the organ.  If you like quirky
early 80's sorta new wavey/punk/pop, you'll love the first two
records.  Again, they're not really into the polished pop sound that
characterizes their later releases, so be warned.  Some fans think
that their earlier stuff is best and that they became shlock
afterwards.  Not I.

>Now question three:  (opinions)  As I stated, I didn't know the band's earlier
>albums until the CD re-issues.  These re-issues have done something that seems
>unusual, in my experience; they've stuck the bonus previously-unreleased
>tracks right smack dab in the middle of the original LP running order.  Does
>anyone think this damaged the albums?

Not in the slightest.  As John mentioned earlier, the band has had a
habit of putting absolute drop dead brilliant show stoppers at the end
of their records.  Putting any songs afterwards would be sacrilege.
How could you possibly follow the apocalyptic "Travels In Nihilon"
with the fun but lightweight "Don't Lose Your Temper"?  Or the savage
"Funk Pop A Roll" with the negligible "Frost Circus"?  Or the all-holy
"Train Running Low" with the still-godlike yet not exactly world class
album finishing material "Red Brick Dream"?  Homey don't play dat.
As the albums were conceived of as *vinyl records* where there *is* a
break between sides one and two, it seems perfectly reasonable to me
to insert a few bonus tracks in the break.  Kinda like an
intermission, if you will.  I can't think of any better place, really.
And, of course, you've hit the nail on the head - you can always
program around them if it bugs you.

>I have to say, if this was done to some
>of my other favorites albums (say The Beatles' Revolver), I think it might not
>be a good thing.

Geez, I don't even know where the break between sides is on that one.
Can't say it would really matter.

Jon Drukman (finely honed machine)              uunet!sco!jondr   jondr@sco.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
All the way mad and bad, all the way hyped.

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 92 13:58:53 MET DST
From: "Materials Program Mgmt., Ayr (823-3189)" <drobb@ayov27.enet.dec.com>
Subject: _Demo Tracks_

Y'all might like to know that a 5-track CD with the above title is due to be
released in Japan (cat. # VJCP-14044) tomorrow (6/17).  It will feature demo
versions of the following tracks :-

"Peter Pumpkinhead"
"Smartest Monkeys"
"Down A Peg"
"My Bird Performs"
"Always Winter"

How come our friends in the Land Of The Rising Sun get all the interesting
releases?  ;-}

- Dougie (probably the only non-Nonsvch-owner on the list)

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Subject: Chalkhills #226
From: unkaphaed!phaedrus@cs.utexas.edu (James Hartman, Sysop)
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 92 14:52:28 GMT
Organization: Unka Phaed's UUCP Thingy

Someone whose name I've lost because my stupid mailer put chalkhills-request@
presto.ig.com instead of the real address said:

> Now question three:  (opinions)  As I stated, I didn't know the band's earlie
> albums until the CD re-issues.  These re-issues have done something that seem
> unusual, in my experience; they've stuck the bonus previously-unreleased
> tracks right smack dab in the middle of the original LP running order.  Does
> anyone think this damaged the albums?  I have to say, if this was done to som
> of my other favorites albums (say The Beatles' Revolver), I think it might no
> be a good thing.  On the other hand, Robyn Hitchcock's _I_Often_Dream_Of_
> Trains_ did this, and I don't think it damaged the album at all.  Any
> thoughts?  Should I try to get to know the albums in their original order (by
> programming my CD player accordingly)?  Or does it make any difference?

Well, if you've been in America the last 25 years, then they DID "put in"
songs into Revolver.  But that's just Americans being screwed by large record
companies...  :-)

As for the running order, this (to me) is the first time through for all these
albums (the CD reissues, that is), so I don't really think of things as having
running orders or sides.  Its like programming up your CD player to play Sgt.
Pepper in its "original" order as listed in the booklet; program up your player
to skip these extra tracks to create the original running order.  Of course,
back when I did use big black vinyl discs, I'd often put extra tracks after
side one to fill out a side of a short (but not long enough) cassette...  :=)

Now its my turn for a stupid question: Just what ARE the bonus tracks on
Drums and Wires?  My booklet says there are some, but then doesn't say which
ones are (and neither does the CD)!  Also, has anyone heard a sonic difference
between the UK Mummer CD and the American one of the same pedigree?  (OK, two
questions...)
--
phaedrus@unkaphaed.UUCP (James Hartman, Sysop)
Unka Phaed's UUCP Thingy, (713) 943-2728
1200/2400/9600/14400 v.32bis/v.42bis

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 92 09:10:58 edt
From: Gary_Hanley@dgc.ceo.dg.com
Subject: The Envious!

     Thanks for those great postings of meeting Andy in SF! That was
indeed interesting reading. I think if a bomb went off, it wouldn't
have fazed me as I was glued to my monitor, filling with envy. :)
     Anyone know if Andy is coming to the Boston area, and if so,
anyone want to get together for the pilgrimage? I'll drive! But from
the sounds of it, he isn't making many stops.

     REFLEX MAGAZINE: I finally received my subscribed copy of Reflex
magazine, and much to my horror, no flexi-disks!! There were the
boys on the May cover, same one I picked up at the bookstore, with no
disk. I don't think I've been this angry since TX's Cannon was bumped
on the first turn, and made confetti out of my betting slip.
     Anyway, I called them first thing in the morning, and they said
that they are re-sending me another copy, with the disk intact. We'll
see. Anyone else have this problem?

                                                  -- Gary

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1992 16:48:20 -0500
From: "Bird Rendell H." <rhb@ucs.usl.edu>
Subject: Mod Lang

Chalkhillians--

In the newest issue of _Goldmine_ magazine there is an ad from
a company called Mod Lang. They are located in Berkeley. I have
done business with them in the past, and I have never been
difappointed. I am not affiliated with this company in any way
other than a devoted customer.

Well, this month they are running a large selection of XTC goodies
including:

Johnny Japes and his Jesticles ($50)
Looking for Footprints [flexidisk] ($10)
Nunsvch - Ye Olde Card Game ($25)
Peter Pumpkinhead CD5-#1 ($10)
Peter Pumpkinhead CD5-#2 ($10)
Tour Program [Black Sea -- 20 pages] ($50)

...and lots of other stuff that I don't feel like typing in!

Those of you on the left coast may want to drop in and check out
their merchandise. The rest of us will have to settle for calling
and placing orders (with credit cards in hand(s)).

Mod Lang
P.O. Box 10111
Berkeley CA 94709-11
510-486-1880 (10am to 7pm PDT)
Fax : 510-486-1860

"Come see us at 2136 University Ave (at Shattuck) in Berkeley"

Rendell    (who is too broke to even consider buying any of these goodies)

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

From: jtl@sbcoc.com (Joe Lynn)
Subject: Andy on _120 Minutes_, etc.
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 92 12:13:59 CDT

I just got through watching a tape of Andy on _120 Minutes_.

In all, he was pretty good.  He really came off as the "bitter
elder statesman" of popular music, and I loved it.  Dave Kendall
didn't know what to do with Andy's comments like "I don't listen to--
I don't really like pop music" and "Ooooh... let's play some
*Roxette!*" and, of course, his classic imitation of Robert Smith of
the Cure ("Oh, I don't have any lips!"), during which Kendall told
Andy to "be nice."

The worst part about the show was, obviously, Dave Kendall.  His
questions ranged from the insipid ("What was the strangest thing
you ever did in a park?") to the stupid ("Your opinion on spaghetti?")
to the "We're-MTV-and-yes-we-have-a-conscience-so-take-us-seriously-
and-oh-by-the-way-here's-another-Payday-commercial" ("What do you
think about the summit in Rio?")  Maybe I'm just getting too
old, but I can see why I don't watch much MTV any more.

I hoped they would show more XTC videos:  I expected, of course, to
see "Peter Pumpkinhead", "Dear God", and "Senses Working Overtime", but a
couple more would have been nice.  At least they used snippets of
"Grass", "Mayor of Simpleton", "Ball and Chain", and "Wonderland" as
bumpers.

I thought Andy's stint as host of "Post Modern" back in '89 was much better:
they just let him loose in the TV studio and he rambled on hilariously.

----

By the way, if the version of "PP" shown on _120 Minutes_ is the
one MTV usually shows, it's a bit different from the one shown
on the Jukebox network.  The MTV version is slightly (about 3 inches'
worth) cleaner.

----

Galen Tatsuo Komatsu wrote:

> 1.    What are the words being whispered in the background of "Across This
> Antheap" (O&L)  I see "Ziggedy Zig Zag Just Look at 'em" in the lyrics, but
> it doesn't seem to fit.

That is indeed what is being said-- just quickly.  It's actually more
like this:  "ZiggedyZigZagJustLookat'em / Ziggedy Zag / Hey Hey"

----

jtl@sbcoc.com

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 92 19:23:27 EDT
From: nobody@kodak.com (Marty Parker x71271)
Subject: XTC on NPR

Fans,

I heard XTC is to be featured on National Public Radio's Morning Edition,
Wednesday A.M. 6/17

No other details.

Good Listening!

-MAP

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: 16 Jun 92 23:18:44 EDT
From: Steve Levenstein <70750.1117@compuserve.com>
Subject: Acoustic Tale of Woe

Hi, Chalkhills kids. I've warned a few folks already by e-mail
about the quality of "Acoustic Tales", but why should I keep
it a secret from all? This disc is truly awful, even for a
bootleg. I have tapes of the 1989 radio tour that are 2nd an
3rd generation, and they sound WAY better than this CD.
As for the material taken from 1987 and 1989 BBC sessions, it
is to say the least, shockingly poor quality. A shame, because
XTC's performances were very good. And it must have been possible
to get better quality source tapes (we're talking BBC here!)
and to edit them with a minimum of care.
   A bad scene, and an insult to XTC and their fans, IMHO.

   Regarding the various "Peter Pumpkinhead" CD singles, their
is a cute Japanese 3-inch CD of "The Disappointed" out that has
the title track subtitled "1st single in UK" and the other track
"Peter P..." subtitled "1st single in America". The CD's front
cover is the "Woe" dude. This single, with the same cover design,
is available in 3", 5", 7", 10", and 12" sizes. Neat!

   Thank you to John Relph, Karen Schipper, and Jon Drukman for
your stories of meeting Andy. Well met and well told of!!
Thanx for sharing your "brush with greatness" with the rest of
us poor souls (g). Will you be telling of that "party" you're
gonna have, too? (gg).
---> Steve

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

Date: Thu, 18 Jun 92 11:32:18 EST
From: ORear <orear@mailgate.engnet.ufl.edu>
Subject: 120 Minutes with Andy

[Here's the 14 June 1992 120 Minutes as I hear it.  --Greg O'Rear]

DK = Dave Kendall, dim host.  AP = Andy Partridge, humorous and arrogant guest.

DK: I'm Dave Kendall and we are spending the next 120 minutes on MTV in the
company of Mr. Andy Partridge from XTC.  Andy, what's the most outrageous thing
you've ever done in a park?

AP: (laughs) Cut! (laughs)

DK: Oh, come now!

AP: I understand this is a family show.  Um... (laughs)

DK: Well, you said you'd been asked the same questions in the past three
months; I'm trying to throw something different at you.

AP: The strangest thing I've done in, uh, I may be doing it in a moment,
actually.  I've a large drum of Agent Orange, and a kind of a pump-action
spray thing here, and see if we can defoliate some more of your beautiful
greenery.  Uh, actually, I think we're on top of a roof of a building, so all
that wind....  Uh, what can I tell you?  What have I done in a park that's
printable, showable on television?  I need time to kind of self-censor this.

DK: Then perhaps we should leave it to the viewers' imagination...

AP: Their wicked imaginations.

DK: ...while we take a look at the brand new video from Material Issue.  This
is "What Girls Want".  Lots more comin' up with XTC.

[Video: Material Issue, "What Girls Want"]
[Video: The Sundays, "Here's Where The Story Ends"]

DK: The Sundays with "Here's Where The Story Ends".  The story will begin again
for The Sundays on September 1st; that's when they release their new album.
Stick around on MTV's 120 minutes for videos from L7, The Breeders, Wire Train
and lots more.  We're here with Andy Partridge from XTC, and we're gonna....

AP: With this fine old New York china, here, look at this (a plastic cup).

DK: The very finest.

AP: Sectioned through narwhal tusk, I think, with this lovely wine straight out
of the tap.

DK: Now, being in Central Park like this reminds me of the set for one of your
most famous videos which was "Dear God."  First, can you tell us--this
originally was not intended to be one of your biggest-ever hits, right?

AP: No, it was hidden away on a B-side 'cause I thought the song wasn't good
enough.  Arf! Arf! And you bought it! (laughs)  No, it's such a massive
subject: how the hell do you kind of cut it down to three and a half minutes?
Human belief is worthy of at least a boxed set, I thought, and I thought we did
the song "Yaah, I failed," so we stuck it away on a B-side and, you know....
Anything about God and stuff like that is bound to upset Americans, so I guess
you lot got upset about it.

DK: And then it resurfaced on the second pressing of the "Skylarking" album,
right?

AP: That's right.  The record company, because it was making a bit of a noise,
you know, said "If you don't have it on your album, take the album back to the
shop and you can swap it for one with it on" but I think a lot of people,
actually, just went and bought another, you know, they have two copies of the
record.  Stereo!  We once played a gig, actually, in some club in the west of
England where they claimed they had this stereo disco, and they had--this is
totally true--they had all these Teddy Boys, these aging rockers, they had
two albums exactly the same, and they were putting them on, and they had a mic
by one little Dancette (?) and a mic by the other little Dancette, and they
were coming slightly out of synch, you know, at the dance hall.  Great!  That's
what--that's true living stereo.

DK: True XTC stories you'll only hear on MTV's 120 minutes.  Here's the XTC
video for "Dear God."

AP: No!

[Video: XTC, "Dear God"]
[Video: Cocteau Twins, "Heaven Or Las Vegas"]
[Commercial break]
[Video snippet: XTC, "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead"]

DK: Videos from L7, Ian McCulloch, and a brand new one from The Cure in the
imminent "to be" here on MTV's 120 minutes.  Andy Partridge of XTC: you've been
around actually since before The Cure, '73 you first started playing?

AP: Absolutely!  Can you hear me over these kids being dismembered down here?
(looking down at the kids)  Can you turn that chainsaw down to a mild...?
(laughs)  Uh, where was I?  We were discussing lard or something, were we?

DK: We were, and right before that we were discussing The Helium Kids.

AP: (adopts cringing Robert Smith voice) Oh, The Cure!  Great!  I'm saving up
to have my lips cut off!  Just like Robert!  Oh lovely!  Oh crikey!  (adopts
Andy Partridge voice) Uh, yeah, no, we've been going since, uh, '73, 1873,
actually.  Yeah, we were The Helium Kids before THIS, but, you know, please
forgive us, we'll be good.

DK: What do you think of some of your early compatriots such as The Cure who,
and how do you think they've evolved, and do you see any kind of pattern
between the way they've turned out and you guys?

AP: Difficult to say, because I don't like pop music.  I don't listen to it,
and the only pop music I listen to is the stuff that we make while we're
listening--while we're making it.  I don't even listen to it while we've made
it, you know, so you get rid of the feces and it goes.  It's for other people
to mess around with your turds later.

DK: What is your music of choice, then, in a jazz or classical vein?

AP: Actually, all the last year, to be totally honest, and I don't understand
why, and I don't understand anything about it, but all I've bought is what
you'd call "Early Music"; you know, like late Medieval, early Renaissance kind
of stuff, and I don't know who composes...(adopts Southern accent) composes
this shit (bleeped).  (Andy accent) I don't know who composes, who sings, who'd
make records of it now, for what reason, and I don't understand, but I go in the
record shop, "Hey!  Early Music, (adopts thick accent) yeah, that's for me!"
So, it fills me with air, it's great.

DK: Well, OK, here's a new video that might or might not fill Andy with air,
it's...

AP: Methane!  It'll fill you with methane!

DK: This is The Breeders with "Safari."

[Video: The Breeders, "Safari"]
[Video: L7, "Pretend We're Dead"]
[Video: Ian McCulloch, "Lover Lover Lover"]

DK: "Lover Lover Lover" from Ian McCulloch, shot in Spain where Depeche Mode
shot "Personal Jesus," and where they used to shoot a lot of spaghetti
westerns.  OK, interview with Andy Partridge of XTC becomes stream of
consciousness.  Spaghetti!

AP: (Some gibberish in backwards-masking voice) Oh, hell, I've gone backwards.
Hang on.  (More backwards stuff)

DK: Comin' up on MTV's 120 minutes, a video from XTC, the latest, "The Ballad
Of Peter Pumpkinhead" and...

AP: ...the flicker book of the novel of the ironing board cover.

DK: Exactly!  And the brand new one from The Cure.  Stick around.

[Commercial break]
[Video snippet: XTC, "The Mayor Of Simpleton"]

DK: On the 120 Minute horizon videos from The Levellers, Juliana Hatfield, and
a brand new one from The Cure.  Andy Partridge of XTC is my co-host on 120
Minutes.

AP: Sun!  I'm not used to all this sun nonsense.  I'm a kind of fog worshipper.
I like to lay out it the hail, bask in sleet and stuff.

DK: Which is why you decided to be born in England, I take it.

AP: I'm totally (adopts fuddy-duddy accent) British to the core.  (Andy voice)
I'm sweating so much if I had a soap-on-a-rope I'd really be clean by the end
of this interview (makes singing-in-the-shower noises).

DK: It's been ten years, Andy, since XTC have been on tour....

AP: (adopts mock-hurt voice) And you never wrote!  Ah, you bitch!

DK: I'm sorry! (laughs)  A lot of people are wondering: are you ever gonna go
out on tour?  I mean, what do we have to do to persuade you?

AP: The weird thing is I'd like to flip that around and say, "Why the hell do
you need us on tour?"  What's the big thing where you HAVE to be part of that
kind of stupid circus thing?  Why do you have to...  I mean, what do I do with
my carcass that's brilliant that anyone would want to see?  You can go into a
record shop and buy a slice of my soul.  Why do you want to see my pork
wobbling around in front of you?

DK: Because it's more intense, the whole atmosphere of your band, yourself, and
your record coming together, enjoying the experience with other people.

AP: Oh, come on!  You're up on stage masturbating, the audience is down there
masturbating.  There's no LOVE to be had; it's just a circus.  Sorry.  What I
do that's real and what I do that's good is write songs and make records.  But
live?  Forget it.

DK: So that's a definite "no."

AP: It's a definite "maybe no" as they say in record companies everywhere.

DK: Well, thanks for teasing us.  Here's a brand new video from Wiretrain.
This is "Stone Me".

[Video: Wiretrain, "Stone Me"]
[Video: Juliana Hatfield, "Everybody Loves Me But You"]

DK: "Everybody Loves Me But You" from Juliana Hatfield, during the watching of
which I asked Mr. Andy Partridge of XTC to remove his plastic cup so as not to
interfere with this idyllic nature scene, and Andy came up with a very good
point:

AP: Environmentally crap.  Do you realize that this cup is gonna be here for a
million years longer than any of the stuff you can see around you?  That's
a little scary.

DK: What did you think of the recent Earth Summit in Rio?  Do you think it's
the kind of thing we need to do more of?

AP: Oh, sure, you have your leg cut off and you put a Band-Aid on it.  Really
useful!  I mean, what a cosmetic... what a waste of time!  It seemed kind of
obvious like the big problems nobody wants to address.  Cars are messing the
world up.  You know, 80-90% of the world's filth comes from cars, and nobody
wants to do anything about it, 'cause everyone owns a car, and "Oh, I'm not
gonna say anything 'cause I've got a car, you know, I'm not gonna..."  People
have to look at themselves.  They're the problem.  It's not him next door
that's the problem.  They're the problem, I'm the problem, you're the problem.
It's...has to be...you know, you have to look in the mirror.

DK: Well spoken.  Comin' up on MTV's 120 Minutes the latest video from XTC,
"The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead", and a brand new one from The Cure.  Stick
around.

[Commercial break]
[Video snippet: XTC, "Grass"]

DK: Welcome back to MTV's 120 Minutes.  We are just five minutes away from a
brand new version of The Cure's "Friday I'm In Love."

AP: (mocking tone) Boy, are we excited about that!

DK: Sunday, we're in the park and Andy Partridge of XTC is actually gonna take
us to one of his favorite toy stores here in Manhattan.

AP: Yes.  Oh, what a tease.  You come all this way...  I'm absolutely, I'm
fresh out of money, and they take me to this kind of filth-porn-sex palace of
old toys.  So, it's a real tease.  It's gonna put a little wet spot on my
trousers when we go in there.

DK: Send your donations, please, to....  Before we get to that, we're gonna
take a look at the XTC video "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead"...

AP: ...a little thing we knocked up, we chiseled earlier...

DK: ...and Andy, did you originally decide "OK, I'm gonna write a song about
a mythical Jesus-JFK-type figure", or were you staring at this Jack-O-
Lantern...?

AP: Jesus Jones figure.  (laughs) You can tell what HE (Dave) does for a living!

DK: Freudian slip!

AP: Your Freudian slip's showing!  No, I didn't.  I felt sorry for this Jack-
Of-Lantern I carved for the kids, and I couldn't bear to put him in the bin, so
I stuck him on a post in the garden so I could see him every day.  He looked
really, really great, you know.  Nicer than most people I know.  Then, the poor
thing started decomposing, you know, getting all this grey ooze out of his
mouth, and his eyes were getting all green and furry, and I thought (silly
voice) "I'll immortalize him."  So I started to write a song about a perfect
thing with a pumpkin head, and if you're perfect, you tell the truth, and if
you tell the truth, you have power, and he got so much power the government had
him bumped off.  So, that's a lesson not to tell the truth.

DK: Here's the video: XTC with "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead."

[Video: XTC, "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead"]

DK: "The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead" from XTC.  Andy Partridge, did you see
the movie "JFK" before you wrote that song?

AP: No, your honor, I did not see the movie.  I still haven't seen it.  I
didn't even particularly know it was in existence when I started the thing, and
everyone says, "Ah!  That's JFK!", and, no, so I must see it.  But he's only
one interpretation.  All sorts of people have said, "Oh, Peter Pumpkinhead,
it's Jesus Christ, it's JFK, it's John Lennon, isn't it?  It's Joan of Arc,
isn't it, Andy?  Oh, we know it's about the Pope, 'cause the pumpkin head is
the headwear (?), right?"  You're allowed to read whatever martyr you can
read into it, so it's an all-martyr, it's a tall martyr song.

DK: Did you have much input into the shooting of the video?  Were they some of
your ideas?

AP: Yeah, it was literally the only video that we've done to date where we were
actually taken into consideration.  This seems to be a big thing--I've got my
serious head on now--it seems to be a big thing in OUR history, certainly--I'm
sure in a lot of other bands' history--where, if they want input in video, they
find that they've ended up funding some filmmaker's concept of maybe is not
anything to do with what THEY wanted.  It's a strange industry.  You think
you're being listened to, then the door shuts down, and you find you're just
funding this person's step up to making a feature film or something.  But I'm
not too crazy on videos in the first place, so if you really want to enjoy MTV,
you reach over to your contrast control, turn it right down so the screen goes
black, and all the music should sound that much better.

DK: Thanks for the advice, Andy.  We're gonna be talking more with Andy
Partridge of XTC in the second 60 of MTV's 120 Minutes.  Coming up in the
second 60 of MTV's 120 Minutes, the latest videos from The Levellers, KMFDM,
and Lush, plus brand new ones from Spiritualized, Peter Murphy, Swans, and right
here, from their concert at London's in Kilburn National Theatre in March,
here's The Cure with a live version of "Friday I'm In Love."

[Video: The Cure, "Friday I'm In Love"]
[Video: The Levellers, "One Way"]

DK: The Levellers' "One Way" on MTV's 120 Minutes.  Stick around for videos
>from Lush, KMFDM, and brand new ones from Peter Murphy and Swans.  My co-host
on 120 Minutes tonight, Mr. Andy Partridge from XTC...

AP: ...in light not...

DK: ...in one of his most favorite places in the entire world, right?

AP: (scream of delight)  Actually, I've gone all weak in the knees.  It's not
his (Dave's) presence, it's the presence of these little, ultimately smaller
individuals over here (indicates display case full of figurines).  Look at
all this stuff, this is, this is just...bahhh!  It's porn, filth, thing, toy,
heaven, sex for me, look!  This stuff, this stuff's better than sex, so don't
you feel sorry for my wife?  Look at it.  Look at these tiny little people with
their tiny...look at the pimples on that one!  It's...this is...ah, I'm ung gah
(adjusts mouth) speechless.  It's speechless and difficult because--I've put my
serious head on for a second--in the (adopts ruling class accent) position of
elder rock statesman...

DK: (likewise) Yes!

AP: ...Braah!  British Parliament, blah blah, (Andy voice) uh, that I seem to
have dug for myself here, it's tricky to have my kind of music head on, be in a
place like this which is a really utter, big love of my life, 'cause it's like
being a connoisseur of ice cream is one thing, and being a connoisseur of pork
is another, and you put them on the same plate and you're not sure whether it's
gonna happen as a (smacking noises) taste sensation.

DK: What you're saying is you get mighty passionate about the kind of toys we
see here in Burlington Antique Toys.

AP: Right, so I'm really tempted just to sort of turn my back on you now, open
the cabinets and start...

DK: I'm used to it.

AP: ...and rub my (shudder) rub my face in all these little figures.

DK: You have a collection of these at home, back in Swindon, right?

AP: Yeah, many thousands, causing structural damage to my attic even now.

DK: All right, well, we're gonna leave Andy here in toy heaven for a few
minutes while we check out a brand new video from Spiritualized.  This band
features three former members of Spacemen 3 (Andy begins to hide behind Dave),
and their brand new video is "Run."

[Video: Spiritualized, "Run"]
[Video: Rise Robots Rise, "Talk Is Cheap"]
[Commercial break]
[Video snippet: XTC, "Ball And Chain"]

DK: Welcome back to MTV's 120 Minutes.  Stick around for videos from Lush,
KMFDM (a miniature figure hoves into view attached to Andy's hand), and a brand
new one from Swans.  I'm being.... (laughs)

AP: Stick 'em up!  Look at that.

DK: Andy Partridge of XTC, can you explain to, like, a culture-free Neanderthal
like myself, what's exciting about this figure?

AP: OK, I'll just adjust your brow, then, maybe slightly less Neanderthal.
This is, for me, this is great.  This is a figure I really like.  You see him
there?  Actually, he looks a little bit like my dad now I've taken a closer...
Daddy!  It IS you!  This is made by a company called Joe Hillco (?), and it's
one of the, if not the, nicest figure they did.  It's called something like
"Sailor On Guard" as you can see.  And he's so staunch and reliable, but...

DK: What time period is he from?

AP: I think the original is probably made in, (consults shopkeeper) where's the
expert?  The 30's?  40's?  (Shopkeeper's reply is inaudible)

AP: Right, OK.

DK: A World War I sailor.

AP: So, there you go...just everything.  The way the bandolier's falling, the
chest, the whole pigeon-chested sort of (takes deep breath) stiff upper nasal
cavity of the thing.  He's lovely, look at that!  Isn't that better than all
these people pretending to be, you know, with their wah-wahs and flares and
stuff, you know?

DK: If you could figure out a way to make your living from this, you would
probably chuck this whole rock thing in the garbage bin.

AP: Don't tempt me!  Don't tempt me!  (holds up figurine) I mean, this is the
only heavy metal worth considering in my opinion.

DK: Well just going back towards the rock thing, briefly...

AP: Oh, damn!  Damn!

DK: ...your latest album is called "Nonsuch," which means, actually, "without
equal".  Is that the...?

AP: Yes, I have to confess, it was a mistake I made.  I found this great
picture of this palace that Henry VIII had instigated.  He had a marvelous
palace built in the early 1500's called Nonsuch.  I found this great picture of
it, thought "That's beautiful!", and I thought the word "nonsuch" meant
"doesn't exist", and I thought, how sad, calling a palace Doesn't Exist Palace,
and now it doesn't exist, you know, it was just the most architecturally
beautiful, perfect thing.  We started to get the album together, and then I
looked up in the dictionary, and I found it meant "without equal."  Gasp!
So it's turned into like we've said a really boastful thing, but, (makes shy
gesture) "Me, oh!" (laughs) So, I don't mean that we're, (mock embarassed
tone) I don't mean, I didn't mean to say, Your Majesty, we were without equal.
(laughs)  But it's a nice poignancy to think that no matter how high you
think your art is--that's art with a capital F, by the way--that someday it's
all going to cease to exist in any case, and isn't it better to play with toy
soldiers now while I'm alive rather than when I'm worm cake?

DK: And with that, we'll go to a video.  This is a brand new live video from
Peter Murphy, and it's called "Keep Me From Harm."

[Video: Peter Murphy, "Keep Me From Harm"]
[Video: KMFDM, "Money"]
[Video: Lush, "Superblast!"]

DK: "Superblast!" from Lush, the third clip from "Spooky".  Don't go away or
you'll miss videos from Swans and Midnight Oil and XTC, also.  Now, Andy
Partridge, you're almost behaving like a kid in a toy store.

AP: (makes hyper gesture) Yes, I'm sorry about the dribble here.  I have to
stand level so I drool equally out of both sides.  If I lean....

DK: Symmetrical drooling.

AP: Symmetrical drooling is where it's at.

DK: Andy, you're the face of XTC, as it were, but your songwriting partner
in the band is Colin Moulding.  How did you split up the songwriting on the
latest album "Nonsuch?"

AP: Ah, well, I write all the good stuff and when the biro's nearly empty I let
him have it, so....  He writes the quality, and I kind of get stuck with the
quantity, by the looks of things.  Damn him!  And he's better looking than me,
and he's got hair!  Don't you just hate that?  (laughs)

DK: Coming up, more with Andy Partridge of XTC here on MTV's 120 Minutes.

[Commercial break]
[Video snippet: XTC, "King For A Day"]

DK: Welcome back.  XTC's tenth album "Nonsuch" features a song called "Books
Are Burning."  Andy Partridge, are you referring perchance to a book such as
"The Satanic Verses?"

AP: This is part of the inspiration for writing the song.  Can you still
believe in this Medieval age we're burning books?  I mean, WE're not burning
books, OK? (indicates himself and Dave)  Blameless on this, OK?  But you see
Muslims in the streets of London burning copies of this.  What can you write in
a book that can't be allowed?  It's, what the hell, why this ritual murder?
Well, in his case, they'd burn him really if they caught him.  But books are
obviously still getting up people's noses because the Christian Right in
America are saying, "Uh!  We must be, we should be destroying C.S. Lewis'
'Chronicles Of Narnia'", the kids' book.  That's, come on!  Do you know the
reason?  (adopts judgemental tone) "It promotes devil worship."  Oh, come on!
You know, censorship is unknowing.  Censorship is denying knowledge and there
should be knowledge, there should be....  Get rid of the censorship, get rid of
religion.  Religion is backward.  If you want to put the world in the dark
ages, let's have more fundamentalism.

DK: You might actually make a video for the song "Books Are Burning."  Are you
thinking about that?

AP: I'd love to.  My perfect video for it would just be a list of so-called
"banned books" by whatever you are: Christian Fundamentalist, Muslim, Buddhist,
whatever, for whatever... (a dog barks; Andy laughs)  I do these great dog
impressions.  Ah!  It's in my trousers.  (dog again) Ingrid!  Shut up! (laughs)
The whole video would just be a list of banned books.  i think that would be
perfect.

DK: OK, well here's a brand new video from Swans.  It's actually probably their
most accessible video they've ever made, and it's called "Love Of Life."  We'll
be back with more of Andy Partridge from XTC.

AP: I don't know why.

[Video: Swans, "Love Of Life"]
[Video: Midnight Oil, "Sometimes"]
[Commercial break]
[Video snippet: XTC, "Wonderland"]

DK: Welcome back to MTV's 120 Minutes.  I'm Dave Kendall and my co-host is Andy
Partridge from XTC.  Andy....

AP: Let's get really brain-dead.  Play something by Roxette.

DK: We'll see if we can arrange that for you, Andy.

AP: Aren't they just GREAT?  Don't you just LOVE them?

DK: It's been, what, five years since we've heard from The Dukes Of
Stratosphear, which is a project, I believe, that you're not totally uninvolved
with.

AP: Yeah, my favorite band.  Oh, if only we were as good as them!  Boy, can
they click that wah-wah down.

DK: What was the idea behind The Dukes?  Will we ever see them again?

AP: The idea behind The Dukes was they were the band that we all wanted to be
in when we were at school.  And then you grow up, and grow out, and fashions
change, and blah blah blah blah na na na na and you don't get to be in that
band, and we thought we'd like go back and repair a piece of history and make
the band that we would have all given our right arm to be in.  (mockingly)
I'd give my right arm to be in Def Leppard!  No, they're the band we all wanted
to be in, so we thought we'd repair history, and make a good alternate history.
But, no, you shouldn't be seeing them anymore.  We've killed them off horribly
in a bizarre cooking accident involving a rusty whisk.

DK: Could this be something to do with the fact that maybe you're happier with
what you're doing in XTC than ever before?  How do you feel about "Nonsuch?"

AP: How do I feel about it?  I'm immensely proud, dit dit dot dot.  We do our
best.  I'm immensely proud of it, and if I have to, if I get hit by the Great
Steamroller of Agamemnon tomorrow, and the band falls to pieces, I would be
very proud if that would be a monument or a kind of an epitaph for the band,
but I have to think that way about every album we make, or else it's not worth
doing.  If you don't do the best you can do every time, why bother?

DK: Indeed.  Well, let's take a look at a video from an earlier XTC album, this
is from "English Settlement" which came out back in '82, I believe?

AP: (adopts old fogey voice) Back in '82, after the great Punk Wars.

DK: This is "Senses Working Overtime."

AP: You're ringing!  It's ringing!  (Andy nudges Dave) Stop ringing!  There.

[Video: XTC, "Senses Working Overtime"]

[At this point, my tape ran out.  Can anybody fill in the remainder?]

[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]

John Relph is going on vacation for two weeks.  Sorry if
things get screwed up in the meantime. . .

For all administrative issues, such as change of address,
withdrawal from the list, fan club addresses, discography
requests (last update 17 June), back issues, FAQ list,
etc., send a message to the following address:

	<chalkhills-request@chalkhills.org>

The Chalkhills archives are available at "http://chalkhills.org/".

All views expressed in Chalkhills are those of the
individual contributors only.  Strange trip.

Go back to the previous page.