Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #324

                  Chalkhills, Number 324

                Thursday, 3 February 1994
Today's Topics:
                    Andy's "Drumming"
                      Matthew Sweet
                   Re: Chalkhills #323
                    Random Thoughts...
                  re: Robert Wegmann CD
                  The Man Has an Ear...
                      Hello for Andy
                   Re: Chalkhills #323
                       Suzanne Vega
                      lesson learned
                 skylarking controversies
                 let me introduce myself
                My 1st XTC & Mathew Sweet
                     Re: XTC on video


Date: 1 Feb 1994 18:11:01 -0800
From: "Steve Krause" <>
Subject: Andy's "Drumming"

There's apparently three levels of "drumming" on the album. First,
is the basic drum machine, which appears on the up-tempo tracks.
It's easy to spot because it has that 8-bit sound--ultracompressed
both in sound level and in frequency response. Although this could
theoretically be the result of budget miking, the machine-like feel
of the drums (everything too regular) gives it away.

The second level is percussion from a sound module. It sounds like
Andy has an E-mu Proteus II, which appears to have use for some
of the percussion (bass drum especially) on a few tracks. ("Before
the Hurricane" is an example.) These percussion sounds have a more
natural sound because a) they're 16-bit samples, and b) Andy probably
played them in real time from his keyboard into the sequencer, which
generates a little more realism than just using drum patterns.

Finally, we've got the real percussion, which shows up on a few
tracks. I haven't heard the album in a while, so I can't cite any
specifics, but I'd listen for tambourines, shakers, and maybe cymbals.
Layering those kind of real instruments over machine-derived sounds
can often make the whole thing sound a lot better.



Date: Tue, 1 Feb 1994 22:43:43 -0600
From: (Michael De Bernardi)
Subject: Matthew Sweet

On 2/1/94, Michael Faulkner wrote:
>What's the word on MATTHEW SWEET?  I haven't heard the guy, but a number
>of XTC fans are saying he's good.  Is that the case, fellow Chalkhillians?

Absolutely.  I've got his last two CD's (and seen him a couple of times),
and I have to say that they are pretty amazing.  Especially on
"Girlfriend", the production is quite reminiscent of the Beatles, and the
quality of songwriting calls to mind some other band called XTC.  The one
problem with Matthew Sweet, however, are his relatively inane lyrics.  Once
in a while he succeeds, but generally I just listen to the music.  Oh,
well, it worked for the Beach Boys. . .

   Michael De Bernardi        (((({({{{}}})})))


Date: Tue, 1 Feb 1994 21:07:24 -0800 (PST)
From: Steve Johnson <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #323

In Chalkhills #323, Geoff Poole said that he thought the drumming on the
Martin Newell album may have been real drums.  Anyway, in response to that,
I have to say that nearly ALL the drums on that album are drum machine
percussion.  I work a lot with drum machines and have worked with many
different drum machines, so I know what each one sounds like and nearly ALL
percussion sounds on TGLE are very familiar to me (mainly Alesis HR-16/SR-16/
D4, or combination of them).  This makes sense since most of Andy's demos
(at least for the past few years) have some of the same sounds.

And as for how good they sound, it should be pointed out that even XTC's
studio drummers have commented on how intricate Andy's drum programming
is -- he's just VERY good at it.  I just wish _I_ was as good! <grin>

By the way, as this is my first post to Chalkhills, I'll just briefly say
that I've been into XTC since early '86 (though I did listen to them a
little bit since '82 -- I just never bought any albums until '86).
They've been my favorite artists since then, and I'm also into Peter Gabriel,
Laurie Anderson, Split Enz/Crowded House, Robyn Hitchcock, Adrian Belew, and
They Might Be Giants, among a few others.

 |        Steve Johnson          | "People will always be tempted to wipe |
 | Email: |  their feet on anything with 'Welcome' |
 |    or   |  written on it."    -- Andy Partridge  |


Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 00:45:00 BST
Subject: Random Thoughts...

In response to Ben's question in Chalkhills #322, Andy certainly was part of
the Partridge Family.  In fact his mother was Mrs. Partridge and his father
Mr. Partridge.  However the rumor that he is in any way related to David
Cassidy or Shirley Jones is decidedly false.

As for everyone's exercise in identifying the worst XTC songs, I have not
been able to come up with a single song that isn't enjoyable to me, on some
level, for some reason.  If I'd first listened to XTC around the White
Music/Go2/Drums And Wires periods, I might never have been able to listen to
them with a positive open mind.  However, I got hooked on them with
Skylarking and Oranges & Lemons, became obsessed with their music, and
having been so thoroughly taken by them, as I went backwards through the
catalog, found something in everything they did that was wonderful.  Big
Express probably took the longest to get into, but with an able in Mixmaster
Steven Reule, I was saw the light and now count BE among their very best
(along with each of their other albums).  The bottom line in my book:  there
is not a single bad XTC song, not one, nada, none, get the

I thought the last The Beautiful South album was a masterpiece.  More grand
than most of XTC's stuff, but a wonderfully written, performed and produced

I wonder just how much of The Greatest Living Englishman is "behind the
scenes".  The credits in the CD booklet are certainly incomplete as, for
example, no vocals are credited.  Why was Dave Gregory thanked if he didn't
contribute to the album...or did he?  Inquiring minds want to know!  In any
event, this album is an incredible collection of Beatles' type pop, as is
Golden Cleaners, the "best of" from the Cleaners From Venus, currently
available as an import.

I find the most XTC-like of all of Andy's productions to be Peter Blegvad's
reprise version of King Strut (the last song on the album).  I swear I hear
bits of Garden Of Earthly Delights in there.

I think Andy (and XTC in general) can sound uncannily like Paul McCartney
one moment and John Lennon the next.

Not to publicly contradict fellow Mixmaster Mike McCormick, but there was at
least one person on GEnie who didn't think Bungalow sucked (see above).
Mike--you're still one of the coolest dudes around!

Peace on earth, goodwill to all humankind...

Dean Zemel (From the frozen tundra of Milwaukee, Wisconsin)


From: J Ross MacKay <>
Subject: re: Robert Wegmann CD
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 8:00:49 EST

>   my next c.d. "the wild party" is due our Jan 29th or there
>   about, it has 18 cuts, one cover (syd barrett) the rest
>   mine.  i'll be selling it mail order for $7.00 plus
>   postage, such a deal, huh?

I'll say, but did he mention anywhere how much $ the postage was?

	[ Nope, I have to write and find out.	-- John ]


Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 07:57:02 EST
From: (Todd Elwardt)
Subject: The Man Has an Ear...

Remember from this "comparison chart" thingy courtsesy of Rob G.?...

-------------- NIRVANA --------------   ------------- XTC ---------------
6.)  Sounds like Beatles                  Sounds like Beatles

Well, I just cued up the fab four's "Komm Gib Mir Dein Hand" and something
mild from the left-hand column's catalogue... the "Incesticide" album.

WOW!  The similarities are absolutely AWE INSPIRING.

She's a little lighthouse,


(NOT Rundgren).


Date: Wed, 2 Feb 1994 07:51:10 -0600 (CST)
From: "Wade J. Campbell" <>
Subject: Hello for Andy

I picked up the March copy of Alternative Press and got the update for
Hello Recording Club.  The club, as I mentioned before, releases ten CD's
a year.  As it turns out John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants runs the
project.  I hope that gives some credibility.

To recap, this year releases include Andy Partridge(you know from the
Partridge family and later XTC.;)),the other half of TMGBG John Linnel,
as well as Mac from Superchunk and Minus Five(Peter Buck of REM and
NRBQ's Terry Adams).

They're at 1-800-HELLO-41.


Date: Wed, 02 Feb 1994 11:12:13 -0500 (EST)
From: "Seid umschlungen, millionen!" <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #323

> -------------- NIRVANA --------------   ------------- XTC ---------------
> 2.)  Charismatic lead singer              Charismatic lead singer
Uh, this is debatable...

> 6.)  Sounds like Beatles                  Sounds like Beatles
on what planet??

> 7.)  Disdain of success                   Disdain of success (sorta)
You mean you *believe* them when they feed you that line??

By the way...

* I am female, and I know almost *no* female XTC fans, except my
sisters who after years of being forced to listen to it have decided
they love it.  Patty, I'm always glad to see you on here, makes me feel
not so alone!

* I think the melody on "Bungalow" is lovely, too -- I laughed at it at
first, but then decided it was really nice (the "BUUUNNNNNG-ga-lowww"
part is still kinda silly...)

* Yes, indeed, "Wrapped In Grey" is I think one of the finest songs
they've done -- I think I once wrote a lengthy paean to it in this mag,
so I won't go into it again.

* Quit cutting on _Go2_!! :)  :)

Derek Miner tells us about his video (and I'm really jealous):

>         - XTC perform "King For A Day" on some show hosted by "Weird Al"
> Yankovic. I wonder what the heck THIS was!

I caught this on tape - it's some weird MTV thing - great clip, though,
since they're actually playing and everything.

>         - A lengthy video of XTC in the studio rehearsing and recording.

I bet this is GREAT

> So, Dave sings, does he?  I thought perhaps he didn't have a tongue--I
> have never heard him sing--so he sings on "Leisure"?  Are there any other
> songs featuring his voice?  I have never heard him speak in interviews.

You can hear Dave really well on the above-mentioned acoustic "King For
a Day" clip.  I also enjoy hearing him on the acoustic radio tour tapes,
particularly on "Mayor of Simpleton" when he and Colin do a lovely high
and clear "I looooove yooooooooooou" (that KILLS me!!)

Been gone for a while - feels good to be back (by the way, Wes Wilson
says "hi")

Melinda (I am the audience!)


Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 11:28:41 EST
From: Jeff Rosedale <>
Subject: harmony

Someone just posted a question about Andy and Colin singing together on
the older albums.  I think I still have it in a buffer somewhere:

Actually, isn't there a very early song where Colin sings a bridge of
Andy's song or something, a la Lennon and McCartney on "A Hard Day's
Night"?  Maybe a White Music fan can answer this.

You don't have to go as far back as White Music to find Andy and Colin
singing together.  Not that there are whole songs with the two on
vocals together, but they do share a lot of choruses, screaming, etc.
on the older (Drums and Wires and previous) albums.  Maybe later, too;
I'm writing this without a close listening lately so my memory could be

The ones that come to mind are Chain of Command and Limelight (I just
listened to my Drums and Wires picture CD for the first time the other
day).  Colin yelling "chain of command!" and Andy generating his vocal
space noise on Limelight enrich those songs a great deal.  Maybe this
is another "stretch" analogy, but I'm reminded of the first couple of
Police albums (up to Regatta de Blanc) where all of the band recorded
together- I really liked the raw synergy of sound they prduced.  Later
it got more plastic and produced- and less exciting to me.  What I'm
saying is that I really like and miss the collaboration between the two
principals in the XTC operation.  Even a sweet melody like 10 feet tall
is great with the two singing together on the chorus.

Oh yeah, I just remembered the same thing happens in the chorus of
"King for a day".  all right, so it's not just the old stuff, but I
stick to my guns when I say that the voices are great in tandem and
should not be kept so separate.  From the Chalkhills bio, one can guess
that the two have too much trouble making their ideas work together.
Andy is stuck on percentages of his creative input and is generally
uncompromising.  Colin probably resents being steamrollered and his
songs are quite different from Andy's sometimes.  As I mentioned
ealier, one of the most disastrous moments in the XTC catalog is the
chorus of the american version of 10 feet tall; I can't help thinking
that the dissonance was Andy's idea.  All the more because it carried
over into their live versions of this song- embarrassing!

I wish we could find out how Colin is doing these days.  Andy's
galavanting around NYC somewhere writing solo material and/or new
songs, Dave is touring humbly alongside Aimee Mann, where's our hero
Colin Moulding???  And if the f***ing Beatles (remaining living
members) can come together, why can't Terry Chambers be brought in for
an encore?  Let Andy make his own solo album of orchestral music to get
it out of his system and then let's get back to XTC like it oughta be-
loud, irreverant, science fiction cartoon characters (I really liked
"Rocket" on the "Bull" cassette), and ORIGINAL!



Date: 2 Feb 94 12:52:57 CST
Subject: Suzanne Vega
Organization: University of Wisconsin-Extension

Can anyone tell me if Andy Partridge had anything to do with Suzanne
Vega's latest(?) album with the song _Blood Makes Noise_?  For some
reason it seems to have a bit of an XTC/Partridge flavor to it.  I
remember someone telling me that he started to produce it but pulled
out at some point.  Any info much appreciated.

Lynn B


Date: Wed, 2 Feb 1994 10:52:18 -0800 (PST)
From: Langley <>
Subject: lesson learned

hello, i'm Counsel, the girlfriend, the other woman at chalkhills.
Thanks to john relph for the lesson concerning the baby and the "john
thomas". I should have know better than to think this would be anything
other than old news.  Maybe I should learn to appreciate Pink Thing for
the subtle, clever intertwining of two things I am sure he loves.  No,
i still don't like the song though, must be a personal squeemish thing.
Anyway, thank you once again it was great fun getting a response.


Organization: SLAIS, UBC
Date:         2 Feb 94 15:42:51 GM+5
Subject:      skylarking controversies

Is there some law that says that you have to dislike Dear God if you
like Mermaid Smiled?  I happen to really like both of them.  Of
course, my Skylarking CD has both on it so I don't feel annoyed that
one or the other is/isn't on the album.  In an ideal world, why not
have both on the album?  I would keep them in their respective places
on each version so the side 2 order goes like this:

Earn Enough For Us
Big Day
Another Satellite
Mermaid Smiled
The Man Who Sailed...
Dear God
Sacrificial Bonfire

My CD annoyingly puts Dear God at the end, which wrecks the

By continuity there I only mean musically.  As for Dear God spoiling
the concept of Skylarking, I've always found this concept idea rather
dubious.  John Lennon once said of Sgt Pepper, "This concept of Sgt
Pepper's band doesn't exist; it only works because we said it works."
I think this is true of Skylarking also; all this stuff about it
being someone's lifetime or the progress of a day just doesn't hold
up to any scrutiny, IMHO.  I don't see why Rundgren deserved special
credit for linking all the songs together; XTC does this on EVERY
album, although Skylarking is the only album where it's really
effective.  Skylarking happens to be my favourite XTC album, and it is
exceptionally well-sequenced and arranged, but I don't think its any
more conceptually coherent than anything else.


Date: Thu, 03 Feb 1994 10:19:36 -0500 (cdt)
From: "my world is spinning..." <LEACH@AC.GRIN.EDU> (Arlo B Leach)
Subject: let me introduce myself

hey folks-

my name's arlo (after my parents' favorite folk singer) and i was delighted
to be introduced to chalkhills a few days ago.  i just discovered xtc last
summer, but they quickly shot to the elite "top shelf" of my tape collection,
currently in the number two spot (the recently disbanded minneapolis band
trip shakespeare is still holding out as my favorite).  hey, i'm really anal
about this kind of thing.

anyway, i've gotten to know xtc's music pretty well, from the four tapes i've
found, but i know very little about the band itself.  either xtc shrouds
itself in mystery, or i just haven't been looking in the right places.  but
this seems like a good place to start, so i can't wait to learn all about it!

by the way, i should respond to one recent topic of discussion:  i think
"rook" is about the worst xtc song i've heard, and "bungalow" isn't too
exciting either.  but i'm crazy for pink thing so lighten up!



Date: Thu, 3 Feb 94 11:51 CST
Subject: My 1st XTC & Mathew Sweet

I'll jump with my 1st XTC Xperience:  I was just starting college (1979/1980),
and my girlfriend's (at the time - now she's my wife) older brother gave me
the Lp sized Ep of Generals & Majors/Living Through Another Cuba to listen to.
Needless to say, I was hooked.  15 years later, I'm still listening and while
I'm not as enthused as I was when I first "discovered" them, I still list
XTC as one of my top five favorites, which leads me to another of my top

> What's the word on MATTHEW SWEET?  I haven't heard the guy, but a number
> of XTC fans are saying he's good.  Is that the case, fellow Chalkhillians?

This guy is great.  You'll need to spin his disk a few times before his
music gets its hooks into you, but once it does, I guarantee that it'll
spend more time in your CD Player than any other disk for a month.  His
music is a little more "rockin" than say,  the current XTC or Michael Penn,
but the guitar and lyrics are outstanding.  Almost every song has some
little hook that keeps goin through your head until you play it again.

I would start with the "Girlfriend" CD, it's a little more accessible than
the latest "Altered Beast", but both are great in their own way.  The later
includes a veritable "who's-who" of drummers including: Pete Thomas,
Mick Fleetwood and Jody Stephens (of Big Star fame).

One other top fiver is: They Might Be Giants, if you haven't checked em out
Do it now (right John?).

That's all for now

  Rick Rock...


Date: 03 Feb 1994 15:22:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: Brookes McKenzie <>
Subject: randomia

re: matthew sweet - a) he rocks, b) his first two albums (_inside_ and
_earth_) are sort of unpalatable due to the synths and other unfortunate
80's production techniques he was fond of at the time, so even if you become
as rabidly into him as i currently am, i wouldn't recommend them (not even
for the surprisingly wholesome photos of him in the cd sleeves), c) his
third and fourth albums (_girlfriend_ and _altered beast_, respectively) are
awesome examples of his great style of melodic,
slightly-influenced-by-country but-still-cool pop/rock, complete with nice
hooks and his lennonish voice.

other artists/groups/albums i'm currently in love with: shonen knife (weird,
XTC-influenced [they said so] japanese punk-pop); the aforementioned
barenaked ladies; they might be giants; _the greatest living englishmen_;
the bobs (ridiculous but fun acappella group); crowded house (their new
album kicks); and the new nirvana (nicely poppy for them).

re: _nonsvch_ - since i'm listening to it again for the first time in maybe
six months, i notice that: i still hate 'bungalow'; i still love 'dear madam
barnum' and 'the ugly underneath', and the rest of it just sort of hangs in
there and registers as enjoyable but not outstanding, although rthe amazing
bass line in 'omnibus' is duly noted.


Date: Thu, 3 Feb 94 12:33:55 PST
From: "John Relph" <>
Subject: Re: XTC on video

Derek Miner <> writes:
>        - an unidentified clip of XTC going over their history with toys.

This is "The Road To Oranges And Lemons", a promotional film recorded
to promote the release of, you guessed it, _Oranges and Lemons_.

>        - A German TV appearance lip-synching "Mayor Of Simpleton"
>        - A lengthy video of XTC in the studio rehearsing and recording.
>This was shot with a camcorder and includes rehearsals of "Humble Daisy,"
>"Dear Madam Barnum," "Goosey Goosey," "The Ugly Underneath," and a Colin
>demo that I can only assume is called "Ordinary People." The video then
>shows clips of the recording of "That Wave".

Or perhaps it is called "Where Did The Ordinary People Go?".

I had seen all the other clips you mentioned, but these I have not
seen.  Derek, can I get a copy?  Trade you for something?

        -- John


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