Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #291

                  Chalkhills, Number 291

               Wednesday, 22 September 1993
Today's Topics:
              captain sensible/martin newell
                  Martin Newell/guitars
                   Re: Chalkhills #290
                 Live XTC--often superb!
               Re: XTC and Steely Dan live
                     singles for sale

Date: Mon, 20 Sep 93 02:23:11 EDT
From: (the one who understood the tennis ball)
Organization: fegmaniax anonymous
Subject: captain sensible/martin newell

"John M. Relph" <> sez:
>And I thought the "Rock Opera" was the Captain's most recent album,
>_The Universe of Geoffrey Brown_.  It's been out a while, but it is
>hard to find.  Perhaps there is an even more recent album...?

i think this has finally seen release this side of the pond now - i
spied it in the new release bins at wesleyan's radio station this after-
noon. was not able to give it a listen, but i spied martin newell's
name in the credits.



From: (Melinda M Hale)
Subject: Martin Newell/guitars
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1993 11:10:57 -0400 (EDT)

There's been a lot of discussion recently about Martin Newell and related
subjects.  I'm an XTC fan from way back, but I don't know what's going on
here.  Can someone briefly explain to me the Newell/XTC connection?

Someone asked about XTC's guitars.  This is from _Musician_ magazine, May
1989.  It lists all the equipment used by everyone on Oranges and Lemons,
and it's a pretty long bit, so I'm only going to type in (reproduced
without permission!) the Andy/Colin/Dave parts (I love the "Who Sell Out"
reference under Colin's equipment).  My best friend recently bought her
first guitar, and she asked me if Epiphone was a good brand; I assured her
she was in good company.

-- Melinda

        "He may (or may not) be the Mayor of Simpleton, but Andy Partridge
knows one thing: The Roland PG-100 programmer that goes with his D-50
confuses the hell out of him.  `I'm not a very logical person,' Partridge
declares, and the PG-1000 `is aggressively logical and it rahter upsets
me.' Until he figures it out, he's happier with a `tiny little Yamaha
sampler' that he used for songwriting until recently.  He seems to be
having more fun with a new toy, an Alesis HR-16 drum machine.  Partridge
records home demos on a 1982-vintage Tascam Portastudio; for that purpose
he keeps a `fizzy' Session MKII amp -- `not fantastic.' He was impressed
with a Fender Stafe Lead he played through during the Oranges and Lemons
rehearsals.  Oops, guitars: Until '82 he played an Ibanez Artist
exclusively, but that changed when he got a Fender Telecaster Squier --
`it has a nice clangorous tone' -- that's his current electric
one-and-only.  On the acoustic side, Partridge has played his Martin D-35
on all XTC albums dating from English Settlement.  He also has a small
Yamaha acoustic for `twanging' purposes and a `Woolworth's' bass guitar
(no name on head) with a `very unusual tuba-like tone to it.' Guitar
strings are D'Addario or Ernie Ball REgular Slinky.  Other Gear: Korg
DDD-1 drum machine, Yamaha D1500 digital delay, Alesis MIDIverb, Hitachi
boom box.  He has PG Tips teabags but prefers coffee.
        "Colin Moulding used three basses on Oranges and Lemons,
predominantly a Wal.  Back-up basses were a Fender Precision and, for the
double-bass sound on `Pink Thing,' an Epiphone Newport.  `It goes "poun",'
Partridge describes helpfully.  Moulding's album rehearsal amp was a Trace
Elliot -- `so clear it was unbelievable' -- and he holds his group
together with Rotosound strings.  Instead of a pick he prefers a
fingernail (home grown).  He writes with the help of an Ovation acoustic
        "Now if you want to talk guitar, ask Dave Gregory.  He was crushed
that he couldn't take his entire guitar harem (over 20) with him for
Oranges and Lemons, but he made do with his faves: a 1953 Gibson Les Paul
gold-top; a Schecter Telecaster-style (`quite versatile'); a 1963
Stratocaster; a semi-hollow 1964 Epiphone Riviera with miniature
humbuckers, heard on the `Pink Thing' solo (`It has a nice Beatley
sound'); and one of the first 25 Rickenbacker 12-strings shipped to
England in the wake of `A Hard Day's Night.'  Gregory uses Ernie Ball
strings `out of force of habit,' but creates his own guage set:
.011-.013-.016-.024-.038-.050.  He has a Roland JC-120 amp `for those rare
occasions that I go out of the house,' and a Japanese Fender Sidekick 30
amp for home practice.  Effects include a MIDIverb and D1500.  For
keyboard dabbling he keeps a Roland JX3P with MSQ-100 sequencer, and `an
old acoustic piano.'"


Date: 20 Sep 93 11:10:03 EDT
From: Kyle Skrinak <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #290

Stewart (

> Andy's vocal style, at least in their live days, was not one that needed
> to be particularly relaxed to work, and I don't see playing faster live
> as necessarily a problem.

I have to guess that you've seen them live, so you benefit in ways I could
only dream of. I limit my arguments to what I've seen and heard
electromagnetically. That said, there are two ways a singer may strain his or
her voice. One is to achieve a certain effect, and the other is to do so for
reasons other than artistic. Like stress, cold, bad amplification, etc. Sure
this is subjective, but Andy's live performances doesn't come across in the
same mood he was painting on XTC's work at the time. Case in point: XTC's
acoustic tour. I don't get the same feeling of uneasiness. To wrap, it's safe
to assume that any true XTC fan loves it when Andy does his usual with his
vocal chords. For me I like it to sound as if it were on.

As for the band playing faster: whenever I see a performance by any musician
that is stressed for any number of reasons plays faster. No, I haven't done
tests. I do identify with the urge to speed things up, in adrenalin-like
fashion, to perk up a performance. This approached has fueled many pop music
subgenre. Playing all songs fast live doesn't do justice to a band that
places importance on subtly.

Kyle Skrinak 70702.3054@COMPUSERVE.COM


From: (Lawrence Sweet)
Subject: Live XTC--often superb!
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 93 16:11:20 PDT

I've read with interest the opinions about XTC's live sound, and I suppose
Andy's should carry a lot of weight.  IMO, though, he has been much too harsh
on himself and the band's abilities in that regard.

I saw XTC live in New Mexico in 1980 when they opened for the Police, and I
thought they sounded great!  Much of "Black Sea" was performed, and "No
Language In Our Lungs" as well as "Towers of London" were fabulous and true to
the recorded versions.  Andy carried the mantle of "frontman" with a great
deal of trepidation, I suppose, but there was no evidence of this at this
show.  The band was tighter than a drum, and played impeccably.

Much video also exists that shows XTC in fine form as a live band during the
"English Settlement" period.  The German TV show "Rockpalast" featured them
in 1982, and they absolutely burn on complexities like "Jason and the
Argonauts"; the rest of the recorded set was excellent as well.

Whether or not more modern compositions could be performed with the
same musicianship may seem questionable to Andy, but I'd take a chance
on these guys anyday!

Lawrence Sweet
San Diego, CA


Subject: Re: XTC and Steely Dan live
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1993 09:50:12 -0500 (EDT)

> If Steely Dan can tour in 1993, then XTC can tour as well. I'm sure
> you're all familiar with the fact that Steely Dan hadn't toured in
> 20 some-odd years, before their recent hops around the US.  . . . .
> Evidently, the performance was one would expect from a studio-band:
> uneven. So, who knows what XTC would sound like on the road for a
> few months?

I paid scalper tickets (for the first and I hope last time...) to see the
Dan this summer.  I've been a fan of theirs forever, and didn't see them tour
at the beginning of their career, so the expectations were pretty high --
especially as they had planned on touring over the years, setup a band
a couple of times, and then always cancelled it because it wasn't up to their
standards.  Just seeing them was great, and the question of whether it was
disappointing or not is almost moot.  No, it wasn't transcendent, and I had
hoped it would be.  I'm still happy to have gone.

As far as XTC goes, I was lucky enough there to have seen them a couple of
times during their US tours in the early '80s.  I thought that they were great.
Loads of fun, loads of excitement, great playing, those patented quirky vocals
except exaggerated to the Nth.  Playing fast?  Yeah, so what?  Exhilarating.
Wonderful memories.

If they toured now, I think I would worry about harming the memories --
the music has changed a lot, and I'm not sure that it is suited to live
performance the same way that it used to be.  Actually, that was one of my
criticisms of the Dan:  how could they do anything like "Any Major Dude"
with its low-key spoken vocals?   The music was just too suited to a parlor,
and not to a concert hall.  Hard to imagine one of XTC's pastoral settings
in a concert hall.  I'm sure that most of the audience would be respectful
of the scene, but I'm also sure that enough wouldn't be..  Hate to say it,
but...  (It was certainly true at the Dan show.)



From: Tree of Schnopia <>
Subject: Greetings
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1993 14:50:56 -0400 (EDT)

Introducing...!  I joined the Chalkhills mailing list a week or so ago, and decided
it was time to announce my presence.  I'm an English/Cog Sci major at the
University of Rochester, and my other musical loves include the Goddess
Kate, Peter Gabriel, Robyn Hitchcock, Sarah McLachlan, Happy Rhodes, Tori
Amos, and many, many more.

My first exposure to XTC was through (shudder) MTV.  I had just begun to
turn to Post-Modern MTV and 120 Minutes for new music, and fell instantly in
love with "The Mayor of Simpleton" (still one of my favorites, more for
sentimental reasons than anything else).  Since then, I have acquired
several albums:

Oranges and Lemons, which is wonderful if slightly abrasive

The Big Express, ditto

Nonsuch, which is a cornucopia of musical excellence but somehow less
appealing than it should be

English Settlement, which is splendid if dense

Go 2, which is lots of fun

Skylarking, which is terrific

        I'm looking forward to reading the list!



From: (Dennis P Hilgenberg)
Subject: singles for sale
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1993 20:32:34 -0500 (EST)

Anybody interested in these?

XTC                     The Disappointed
                          1. The Disappointed (LP version)
                          2. The Smartest Monkeys (Demo)
                          3. The Smartest Monkeys (LP version)
                          4. Humble Daisy (LP version)

XTC                     The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead (domestic)
                          1. Peter Pumpkinhead (LP version)
                          2. The Smartest Monkeys (LP version)
                          3. My Bird Performs (Demo)
                          4. Always Winter Never Christmas (Demo)

XTC                     The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead (import)
                          1. Peter Pumpkinhead (LP version)
                          2. Wardance (LP version)
                          3. Down a Peg (Demo)
                          4. Peter Pumpkinhead (Demo)

Make an offer!

Dennis H.


Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1993 16:10:33 +0200
From: Karl Dotzek <>
Subject: Introduction

Hi folks,

I'd like to try out your list for some time and lurk
a bit around here.  So "list" will stand more for "listen"
in the first place for me.  I'm currently trying out a lot of new
lists, which addresses I found on's music-archives,
and I don't know yet, with which I will stay.

I like XTC most when they sound like the late Beatles (which actually
is, IMHO, most of the time).

See you, hear you, wanna be "touched" by you

- K

-- Karl Dotzek -- voicephone +49-711-1211386 -- fax +49-711-1211366 ---
           IMS, Azenbergstrasse 12, 70174 Stuttgart, Germany
----- communication is everything  /  everything is communication -----


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