Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #320

                  Chalkhills, Number 320

                Thursday, 20 January 1994
Today's Topics:
                Fantasy Lineup for AP solo
                   Re: Chalkhills #319
                        War Dance
                  worst song discussion
                   RE: Chalkhills #319
                     Chalkhills #319
                   Re: Chalkhills #319
                   Re: Chalkhills #319
                    re: backing vocals
                   Re:  Chalkhills #319
            Funk pop a roll - a bad song???!!!
                   Re: Chalkhills #319
                   Re: Worst XTC Songs


Date: Wed, 19 Jan 94 16:33:03 EST
From: Martin Drabik <>
Subject: Fantasy Lineup for AP solo

"Steve Krause" <> writes:

> Band lineup for The Andy Partridge Experience:

> * On guitar, a man with an ego at least as large as Andy's,
>   Robert Fripp!

Could be interesting, could be disastrous.  Fripp might just take over.
How about Jerry Harrison?

> * On vocals, co-writing, and odd of Andy's few peers
>   and a potentially useful counterweight, Pere Ubu's David Thomas!

No way in hell.  Thomas is the biggest asshole in the "alternative"
music world.  This wouldn't be an AP experience, it would be an I'm-
David-Thomas-look-upon-me-and-praise-what-an-artiste-I-am experience.
But the point is moot; Andy is not so stupid as to get involved with
DT.  If he is, then my image of Andy is quite shattered.


Martin J. Drabik                      
Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology              216-444-9934
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Cleveland, Ohio


Subject: AnDy/Producer
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 94 16:47:56 -0500

>From Kyle Skrinak:

>When Andy gets his mits on the controls, the music flounders in
>direction and focus.

   I have to disagree. In the end Andy usually has his way. Hugh may
have been closest to a workable partner for the band, but now that he's
getting on I doubt that he's going to surrender control of his material
to anyone. Production wise Nonsuch wasn't bad at all (the material was
a bit spotty...), and Andy says they made that record "despite" Gus
Dudgeon's presence.



Subject: Re: Chalkhills #319
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 94 16:51:17 -0500

DavE says:

>Finally, I just read "Chalkhills and Children -- the definitive biography"
>and am undecided on whether or not it really "cut to the chase" about the
>band.  Any reveiws/opinions?

   I thought it read pretty poorly actually. He seems to have got all
the nitpicky details right, but the story didn't carry you along at
all. It was sort of like reading a bunch of press clippings. Plus how
HOW HOW could that guy being doing this 'round about the time they were
finishing/recording Nonsuch and not sat in on those sessions. That's
sheer lunacy for a writer/journalist!! Unless he was barred, I think
that was a big mistake. I know he conducted hours of interviews, but
that doesn't necessarily work in long format.


ps - how can I get switched to the non-digest format??


Subject: ToDD
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 94 16:54:39 -0500

>And has anyone spotted Todd Rundgren's voice prominently featured
>anywhere on Skylarking?

  In the Chalkhills bio, there's a photo of him doing backups on
'Grass.' If you ever run into ToDD, I wouldn't broach the subject.



Subject: War Dance
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 94 17:30:20 EST

Ok, add my name, too, to that extremely short list of people who DON'T hate
War Dance.  I actually LIKE that "clarinet" sound that someone complained
about (which i think is actually a bassoon sample, or a synth emulating
a bassoon).  Just the other day i turned a roommate on to Nonsuch (i've
played it at home before, but i guess he'd never paid attention), and
War Dance with its bassoon riff was the one that stuck in his head the
most, too.

Now, i don't LOVE the song, but i don't hate it either.  I think it's pretty
ok.  Guess i just go against the theory that "people either love this or hate
it".  I feel that way about a lot the stuff that people around here have
complained about.  I hardly HATE any of it, i just think some of it is "just
ok" -- they aren't my favorites, but i don't usually program around them when
i listen to the disks.

I like Mummer on the whole, too.


Organization: SLAIS, UBC
Date:         19 Jan 94 17:14:01 GM+5
Subject:      worst song discussion

I've had lots of interesting responses on this issue.  I think
there's a certain percentage of fans who like XTC's wonkier stuff
better, and so their least favourites will be the more pop-oriented
material, eg. Peter Pumpkinhead, Madam Barnum, or Merely a Man, while
there's other fans who are more into the pop stuff and don't relate
as well to the experimental stuff, particularly from the early albums
(hence my choice of things like Roads Girdle the Globe or Millions).
I heard XTC's later music first and so I think of XTC more as a pop
band (albeit an extremely inventive one) than as a kind of art rock
group.  My problem with some of the early dissonant stuff is I feel
like Andy is bending over backwards to be uncommercial, and the songs
come out awkwardly.  I think he's much better now than in the
Go2/Drums and Wires era at writing eccentric/dissonant songs, and he
also puts them over vocally much better (eg. That Wave, Train Running
Low, Scarecrow People).

By the way, a more honest list of my ten worst songs would probably be
full of songs from the first two albums, but I feel it's unfair to
include those as I almost think of XTC as a different band then,
mostly because of Barry Andrews, and just don't care for those
albums at all.  So I focused on songs from the albums I like that
disappoint me in some way (though I had to include X Wires).  Least
favourite songs aren't necessarily bad, they just don't get to you
the way others do.  I love XTC desperately, but I think Skylarking is
the only album on which I like every song (and even then I think
Colin's vocal on Sacrificial Bonfire is weak).

Having been critical of Colin on more than one occasion I'd like to
add my top ten favourite Colin songs and insist that I love every one
of them as much as anything of Andy's:

  My favourite song of Colin's because it proves he has a sense of
  humour.  And the keyboards are terrific.  It's hard not to think of
  it as the second half of Sacrificial Bonfire though.
My Bird Performs
  I think this is absolutely beautiful, with terrific trumpet
  playing and just a wonderful feel throughout.  I agree the lyrics
  can be interpreted in some unpleasantly sexist ways but I'd prefer
  to think of it as a celebration of simple pleasures (a theme Colin
  seems to like; see The Good Things below)
One of the Millions
  Not very popular, I gather, but I think it gives some interesting
  insight into Colin's personality, and I've always thought the
  backing vocals were hilarious (plus the bass line is great)
The World Is Full of Angry Young Men
   Another Colin song which noone else seems to like, and I think
   it's great; one of his best lyrics, very perceptive about what
   often happens to youthful cynics as they learn a bit about life.
   I think it's XTC's most successful stab at a jazzy feel.
The Good Things
   One of those demos I can't believe they didn't use, this is one of
   Colin's most skillful pieces of writing, musically (great
Life Begins at the Hop
   This is just an excellent single; everything is right in its
   place (and Andy's solo is cool)
English Roundabout
   The best song ever written in 5/4 time (so there, Rush fans).  XTC
   never got any tighter than this (what brilliant guitar!)
Ten Feet Tall
   Pretty basic but I just like it (trivia; isn't this the only pre-
   English Settlement XTC song with acoustic guitar on it?)
Vanishing Girl
   Pop perfection.
Wake Up
   Mostly on the basis of the neat staggered guitar rhythms, but a
   fine track in every respect.

Bubbling under: Ball and Chain (stomps
mightily), Nigel (a cliche but still good), Shiny Cage (just like it),
Love at First Sight (like the goofy feel to it), and the awesomely
silly Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen.

Life Begins at the Hop
Generals and Major


Date: Wed, 19 Jan 1994 19:28:44 -0600 (CST)
Subject: RE: Chalkhills #319

Good evening all. The weather has finally eased a bit here in the frosty
midwest, enough to at least facilitate better typing (I hope). As a new
subscriber, I realize that I've missed quite a bit that has come before
on this forum yet find it curious that fans should be continually dis-
cussing their least favorite XTC songs. Is it just me? At the risk of
suggesting unneccessary fawning, perhaps a discussion of the merits of
more favored songs might be in order. Although I'm loathe to pick favorite
anything as sooo much is then precluded, some would certainly include:
Senses Working Overtime, English Roundabout, Sacrificial Bonfire, Opti-
misms Flame, Ugly Underneath, Making Plans for Nigel, and Colideascope.
These songs all stand on their own and veritably burst with merit. I
loved Colin Moulding's reaction when I  mentioned my admiration for English
Roundabout. He was genuinely surprised as he took the song to be a bit of
a put down of the "ugly American". I simply agreed and thanked him.
Also, is there any truth to a rumor I've heard that when Andy and/or Colin
are not busy composing and tinkering, that they have "real" jobs at a car
rental in Swindon? Once my fingers have fully thawed, I'll try to relate
the story of meeting the band in '89.

                                  Chris Schipper


Date: Wed, 19 Jan 94 22:38:45 EST
From: (Joe Lamy)
Subject: Introduction

Hello! My name is Joe Lamy, and I'm a (gasp!) XTC fan...

(quick tangent here) Having read numerous issues of the Little Express, I must
say I was pleasantly surprised to see such in-depth discussion of the band
here, as opposed to the "XTC is/are so awesome!"..."Looking for another XTC
fan pen pal"..."I found the letters XTC in the phone book!" stuff...
(end of tangent)

(obligatory "How I first got into the band" section)
I had heard occasional XTC songs (Generals/Majors, Senses Working...etc.)
and really liked them, but for some reason never bought any. Heard "You're my
Drug" (still one of my faves) on the FSU radio station, and just devoured the
Dukes' CD. Of course, now I have everything they have ever released, as well
as tons of demos.

I am a musician, and play bass/keyboards/vocals in a band. The
guitarist is also a rabid fan, and we cover about 10 XTC songs
live. They go over great, especially with the other bands we play with.

What is it about XTC? Well, although I can and do dissect the music so I can
play it and become familiar with the composition/production techniques, for me
the appeal is completely by "feel". I'll hear a song and it will hit me in a
certain way, maybe the first time, maybe after the 100th time. I think it's
that elusive quality, defying definition, that sets XTC apart. Andy has
referred to inserting a little bit of "magic" into each song, something he
says he picked up from the psychedelic era.

I'll make a few comments regarding recent postings:
(please excuse any redundancies, since I haven't been reading for long)

Colin's jazz influences: Has anyone mentioned "I Remember the Sun"? My personal
Colin fave - fantastic vocals...also "The World is Full of Angry Young Men"
sounds quite a bit to me like "King of the World" by Steely Dan, during the

Bad songs: I keep looking for some sideways way to interpret "Bungalow", so
that I'll suddenly get the incredibly clever musical/lyrical approach...
still looking...BTW, Andy sez it's some of Colin's best work - Ouch!

Other bands to check out that I haven't heard mentioned
(no guarantee you'll find anything in common with XTC):
- Jellyfish: my current non-XTC fave band. Great vocals/harmonies, tongue-in-
cheek lyrics, over-the-top production. And they can do it all live!
Get "Spilt Milk" first.
- Beach Boys: may seem obvious to some of you, but probably not to all.
"Pet Sounds" is a masterpiece.
- Gangway: from Denmark - hard to find. More Rundgren than XTC.
- Squeeze: very adventurous, esp. on the songs you haven't heard on the radio.
- 10cc: yes, you heard me right. Check the bargain bins.

Joe Lamy                     "The opinions expressed by me are not those of
Harris Corporation            Harris Corporation. They are those of Bob's    24-hour Etch-A-Sketch Parlor."


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 1994 00:10:37 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jason C. Langley" <>
Subject: Chalkhills #319


The worst XTC songs has definately generated a fair amount of discussion.
Certainly a subjective topic.  Far be it from me to beat on Colin Moulding for
"The Smartest Monkeys","War Dance", and "Bungalow".  I thought I'd comment


Jon Drukman writes:
> >>1) Bungalow (just plain ridiculous)
> >
> >The demo is much better than the album version, which is definitely a
> >bit over the edge.  But I like the demo version, which is almost too
> >tongue in cheek about the simplicity of just wanting a cottage on the
> >beach in which to retire.  O the Englishness of that dream!
> Don't apologize for it.  I think it stinks in both demo and finished
> forms.

Not one of my favorites, but not quite totally wretched.  "Shangri-La" from
_Arthur_ by the Kinks is a far superior song on the subject of retirement (and
it rocks too!).  My theory is that Colin was influenced by "Shangri-La" when
he wrote "Bungalow".

> >>9) Deliver Us From the Elements (pompous arrangement)
> >I happen to like this one.  No accounting for taste I suppose.
> I'm with you - the crazed mellotron storms at the end definitely make
> it.  And I like the tune too.

Me three, I think "Deliver Us From the Elements" has been unfairly maligned in
previous postings.  Good song, interesting arrangement (whats that wierd loping
sound in the intro? bass? synth?), great production (Steve Nye), and it
complements "Great Fire" really well.


David P. Hoff wrote:

> Finally, I just read "Chalkhills and Children -- the definitive biography"
> and am undecided on whether or not it really "cut to the chase" about the
> band.  Any reveiws/opinions?

Being a longtime fan, but relatively new to Chalkhills and the Little
Express, I definately learned a great deal about XTC from reading the Chris
Twomey bio.  I found the beginning chapters regarding their formative years
the  most interesting (Andy's Peter Tork influence, what about Colin and
Terry's pub rock long hair look with the Helium Kidz).  I think Twomey covered
the buisness end of their career quite thoroughly, and provided a lot of
insight into their relationship with each other, their record company, and
thir producers.  However, it gave me little insight into what makes their music
what I can can only describe as magical.  Don't get me wrong I found  the
account of the turmoil the band had while making Mummer and Skylarking
interesting, but what about what inspired Andy when he wrote "Summer's
Cauldron" or "Ballet for a Rainy Day", or Colin when he wrote "Wonderland" or
"Grass".  What was like in the studio when they recorded English
Settlement?  Oh well it must have been magic.


> Another worthwhile adventure is the band His Name is Alive.

I saw His Name is Alive in Cambridge MA, last fall they were amazing.  I
haven't picked up any of their records yet.  They did a really great cover of
"Blue Moon" by Big Star.  Speaking of Big Star, I stongly recommend
them, they are a cult favorite from the early seventies and released three
excellent records (#1 Record, Radio City, and Sister Lovers).  Big Star
was a big influence on REM.
>6         Finally there is what would be my very favorite band in the
> world had I never discovered XTC: Pere Ubu.

A great band, I saw the singer David Thomas with Ira Kaplan (from Yo La Tengo)
and a cello player a year or so ago, it was a wonderful show!  I'm
scratching my head to recommend a relatively new artist to recommend to XTC
listeners, hmmm!  Oh well some old arty favorites Gang of Four, Mission of
Burma, and Wire.

     Jason C. Langley                  (508) 370-1522
     Member of Technical Staff         (508) 370-3211 Fax
     NYNEX Science & Technology
     350 Cochituate Road Room 206
     Framingham, MA 01701


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 1994 09:54:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #319

i am a new subscriber to this list and i thought that i would post a note
to introduce myself.  my name is ben lyon and i am a freshman here at ball
state university in muncie, indiana.  i've only been listening to xtc for
about three years now.  my favorite album of theirs would have to be either
skylarking or mummer.  as for my favorite song, senses working overtime or
another sattelite (skylarking version).

just to throw in my 2 cents, i think war dance is a great song and well,
bungelow is not at the top of my list, far from it in fact.

by the way, other bands that hold my interest are (from the top) the smiths,
new order, depeche mode, electronic, pet shop boys.  in fact, if anyone has
an info about a mailer for the first two, could you please e-mail it to me?


-does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? ...i dunno
                -the smiths


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 1994 10:09:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #319

>i was just wondering because recently i have heard of a hallucegenic (sp?)
>drug caleed xtc.

correct me if i'm wrong, but i think the reason you've just heard of it
recently is because it is a recent drug (at least by that name). and (i'm
pretty sure on this one) the correct spelling for the the drug is ecstasy.


does the body rule the mind or does the mind rule the body? ...i dunno


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 94 10:44:29 EST
Subject: re: backing vocals

> It seems XTC often slight their guest
> singers this way (eg the little girl on Dear God).

Goodness, I always thought that was a little boy!


Date:     Thu, 20 Jan 94 13:30:34 CST
Subject:  Re:  Chalkhills #319

Am I the only one who liked the destructive SONIC fun of XTC's effort as
the Dukes of the Stratosphear..... or maybe I hallucinated it.....

Jerald Cumbus


From: Kevin Carhart <>
Subject: others
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 1994 12:14:38 -0800 (PST)

Oliver said:
1993 was too depressing musically.

Wow, I'm pretty surprised to hear you say that.  New Mazzy Star, new Cocteau
Twins, new Kate Bush, new Morrissey

As for others who XTC fans would like, I have to mention my favorite group,
the Go-Betweens.  Grant McLennan and Robert Forster are one of very few who
can write a song as well as Andy.  Among the others: Elvis Costello, Bob
Dylan, Magnetic Fields.

I've been enjoying the new Samples album , The Last Drag, quite a bit too.

Also incredible, but I'm not sure how XTC fans' criteria would sit with
them -- My Bloody Valentine.

If you're waiting for more XTC, buy everything by all of the above, oh
and can I also mention Prefab Sprout, especially Jordan: The Comeback,
.... and the Monochrome Set just to get verbose................

.. and that should tide you over for a while.

Wasn't Andy himself listening to the Cocteau Twins and Elvis Costello?
I remember some comment from an interview where andy commented on how
rotund Elvis was getting.

"OK, I love you, bye bye!" --- Mindy


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 94 15:19:08 EST
From: (Mark Glickman)
Subject: Funk pop a roll - a bad song???!!!

Pat Buzby said:

>       Some of my pix for bad songs :
> 2. Funk Pop A Roll   (songs attacking popular music are usually the work of
>                       has-beens.  glad to know that WASN'T the case here.)

Oh my GOD!!!!  This is the song that got me hooked on XTC forever.
How could anyone dislike a song that manages to use the word
"copiously" without shame?!  :-)

Seriously, this song is amazing - definitely one of my favorites.
The rests (silence) on the first beat of occasional measures are
absolutely *brilliant*!!  I don't know of any other rock song that uses
silence so dexterously.  And I think the metaphors in the lyrics
are very clever, so I wouldn't consider this an "ordinary" attack
on popular music.

The bottom line:  I guess everyone is entitled to their own wrong opinion.  :-)

           - Mark


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 1994 18:14:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #319

     A few replies to various scattered comments/questions:

     I, too, like "War Dance," although I agree that the lyrics are too
obvious (as with almost all of the political lyrics on Nonsuch, IMO).  I
like that chromatic ascension in the bass line before the chorus.  (Hope
I didn't lose too many people with that.)  In fact, I like this song AND
"The Smartest Monkeys."  Weird, aren't I?  (Although I can't really say
much about "Bungalow.")
     Also, someone asked for comments on the Chalkhills book.  My opinion
is that it's good, although the author does put too much emphasis on the
soap-operatic aspects of the XTC story (meaning Andy's breakdown and his
wars against producers).  Also, the author slams Mummer, which I've always
liked, for the most part.  Still, the book is certainly better than
nothing, if you're a fan.

                          Pat Buzby
                          Oberlin, OH


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 94 23:08:09 PST
From: "John Relph" <>
Subject: Re: Worst XTC Songs

Pat Buzby <> opines:
>      Some of my pix for bad songs:
>1. Peter Pumpkinhead (lyrics are too obvious, music too repetitive. Sorry!)

It was good the first three or four times, but I agree with you now.

>2. Funk Pop A Roll   (songs attacking popular music are usually the work of
>                      has-beens.  glad to know that WASN'T the case here.)

Most excellent powerful dance tune!  I would LOVE to hear this song
done live by the XTC-men themselves.  Turn it UP!

>3. Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down  (no comment.)

Not great, not awful.  I kind of like the lyrics.

>4. almost anything else on Go 2.

Yeah, I don't listen much to The First Two.  But I think there are
good songs, they're just from a much different band.  More punk,
mannerist, angular, (maybe) dance music.  Not pure pop.

        -- John


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