Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #328

                  Chalkhills, Number 328

                 Monday, 21 February 1994
Today's Topics:
                      difficult ages
                      canadian bands
                    if you like xtc...
                   cheap todd r. shots
                  The Ovarian connection
                   Re: Chalkhills #327
                   cloud in todd's hair
                        final perf
                      New subscriber
                        Re: Lyrics
                    playing xtc songs
              Greetings fellow XTC fanatics


Organization: SLAIS, UBC
Date:         14 Feb 94 16:10:27 GM+5
Subject:      difficult ages

Wow, its good to hear that you can still like XTC when you're 40.  I
had sort of assumed that I would have given up on music by that time.
I for one have only just turned 25, and have been listening to XTC
since I was 20 (my first album was Oranges and Lemons).  I think I
would have loved them at any age though; I just didn't get the
opportunity to hear them until then.

In fact, I think XTC helped save my sanity.  I was living in Montreal
in 1989 and was hideously depressed, i.e. listening to the Smiths
all the time.  I heard Mayor of Simpleton on the radio and my
roommate really liked it, so that piqued my interest.  But what
really got me into the band was a radio show I heard sometime later
that played stuff from new albums.  When they announced they would be
playing the new XTC I held on, and some impulse told me to tape the
show (something I virtually never do).  I still remember clearly that
they played "Miniature Sun," "The Loving," "Poor Skeleton Steps Out"
and "Across This Antheap," kind of a weird selection of tracks if you
ask me today, but I was enthralled instantaneously, and played the
tape constantly for weeks until I finally scraped together the 15
dollars to buy the album (in the last days of vinyl O&L was a hefty
investment for the neophyte).  People slag O&L because of the cheesy
production and the stabs at commercialism, but I can tell you that as
a first taste of XTC it still seemed incredibly fresh and
imaginative.  Even though other albums have since replaced it as my
favourites, I still have a fondness for it because it opened up the
treasure chest.

XTC became an immediate obsession, particularly when I borrowed more
XTC from a friend who had somehow cruelly neglected to ever loan it
to me in the years I had known him.  Strangely, this friend had only
Skylarking and a dub of the first two albums, probably the most
divergent tapes from the same band of all time.  I loved Skylarking
immediately but was totally baffled by White Music and Go2, and to
this day don't really care for them.  I think my dark mood was at
least partially lifted by those magical songs, and I haven't listened
to the Smiths since! (although I still think they're a good band,
despite Morrissey)

I would wager that nearly everyone gets into XTC at university; that
just seems to be the place where the necessary elements converge
(i.e. time to explore music; sufficient youth not to have heard
everything; exposure to interesting people; escape from prevailing
high school tastes).  Those lucky few who listen to XTC in high
school have some extra shovels to get you through the bullshit.

I should think XTC are at the top of the list of Bands-Who-Everyone-
Has-Heard-Of-But-Never-Heard, mostly because of the catchy name.
Other bands like this would include the Strawberry Alarm Clock and the
Grateful Dead (if you're not a Deadhead, how many actual songs can
you name apart from maybe Touch of Grey?)

p.s. can someone tape me the Cleaners from Venus compilation?


Organization: SLAIS, UBC
Date:         14 Feb 94 16:52:51 GM+5
Subject:      canadian bands

And now my second post of the day...

The quest for other bands that XTC fans would like continues... I
hereby make recommendations of three bands from my home and native
land of Canada for those of you still vainly searching for pop among
the grunge and hip-hop wasteland of our times...

Probably the most unique band in Canada right now is the Rheostatics.
These guys are explicitly influenced by XTC; in fact, guitarist
Martin Tielli and drummer Dave Clark have played at XTC conventions
in an XTC cover band called the Simpletones, and I understand they
were great.  The Rheostatics are if anything even quirkier than XTC,
and yet with more elements of folk and country.  Their songs are
loosely structured but filled with lyrical and musical twists and
unique instrumental textures which critics hat and which folks like
us can't get enough of.  Their vocals take some getting used to
though.  Their last album is called "Whale Music," and they have two
others called "Greatest Hits" (their first album!) and "Melville."
The new one is the best.  However, I'm not sure if they're readily
available outside of Canada, and I don't remember what label they're
on!  If anyone is interested I'll find out or even make a tape.

Other XTC fans have told me they like the Grapes of Wrath, a
Vancouver band who play very pleasant folk-pop stuff with mildly
psychedelic overtones (like R.E.M. via Abbey Road)  Their last album,
"These Days," was produced by John Leckie of Dukes and White
Music/Go2 fame, and is probably the best production he's done,
actually (most of his work sounds like
it's emanating from inside a tin can, XTC included).  They even used
the splash sound effect from "Brainiac's Daughter" on a song called "A
Fishing Tale" and credited the "Dukes of Stratosphere" (some fans
these guys are, not knowing how to misspell that word!). (There's
something for the discography, John.) However, they have broken up,
sort of...  singer/guitarist Kevin Kane quit/was
fired, and the three other guys are now recording as Ginger.  I
haven't heard their EP yet.  I believe the Grapes recorded for

It's interesting that people have mentioned the Barenaked Ladies on
this list.  I think they're a lot of fun, but it's bizarre to see
them treated as a kind of cult band in the U.S. when they have a huge
mainstream following here in Canada (their debut album sold 3/4 of a
million copies, which if you account for the population difference
is the U.S. equivalent of selling 7.5 million albums).  In fact
they're pretty desperately uncool among hip alternative types because
they have a big teen and pre-teen following.  But I think they're
better than the goofy image they project and the notoriety they've
gained from novelty songs like "If I Had A Million Dollars."  I
predict they'll go in a more serious direction next time.  See "Brian
Wilson" and "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" for indications of real
songwriting talent from leaders Steven Page (almost certainly a huge
XTC fan) and Ed Robertson.  The Ladies are on Sire.

Other popular-in-their-homeland Canadian musicians XTC fans might
enjoy are the Waltons (Canada's answer to Crowded House, also on
Sire), Jane Siberry (Canada's answer to Kate Bush) and the Crash Test
Dummies (no glib comparison springs to mind).  Someone is sure to
mention Sarah Maclachlan; sorry, she bores me.


Date: Tue, 15 Feb 1994 00:56:45 -0500 (EST)
From: brandon milner <>
Subject: if you like xtc...

        Continuing this ever-popular topic on this list when no XTC album
has come out for a while...Has anyone heard THE FERTILE CRESCENT. They are
a trio that records on Knitting factory records and they bear a
conspicuous resemblence to drums and wires era XTC.
        It's so obvious that even the product literature cites XTC as an
influence. I have the album and think the first 3 songs to be really
great! from there on it loses it on songwriting but great XTC like playing

Brandon Milner


Date: Tue, 15 Feb 1994 08:31:03 +0000
From: (Ron Henry)
Subject: cheap todd r. shots

>> they were also clearing out a junky todd rundgren disc that looked like he
>> spilled grease from his hair all over the photo before they sent it to the
>> printers to make the CD cover.  it was called _human..._ something or
>> another. it was $3.99.  i almost got it for a cheap frisbee, but then
>> remembered that i did not play frisbee...
>Watch it boy-ee, the runt rules in my book.

Indeed! (you tell 'em, Don!) -- just because Andy and Todd *once* had
artistic differences doesn't make Todd fair game for cheap (and this was
pretty darn cheap!) shots!

I would think the typical XTC fan would have some sympathy for TR's
situation -- namely that of the overeducated underappreciated and popularly
misunderstoood musical artist.... I mean, have you ever even heard anything
>from _Healing_ or _Nearly Human_ (from your description the cutout musta
been one of the two)?

To complete the comparison I would note that several weeks ago I (sadly)
saw _Oranges and Lemons_ in the very same cutout bin with TR's _Nearly
Human_ -- a double sadness of public neglect!


Ron H


Date: 15 Feb 94 09:57:02 CST
Subject: The Ovarian connection
Organization: University of Wisconsin-Extension

>>I wonder what the average age of the Chalkhills readership might be.

I am 33 most of the time.

Thanks to Michael De Bernardi for suggesting _Forever Changes_.  It's
always great to find a new group to listen to.  I'm going out this
week after payday and buying it.  I'm hoping B-side records of
Madison, Wisc. has it.  They usually have all the good stuff you can't
find at other places.

>>We're here in Grinnell,Iowa and he and one other Xtc fan I know of
and I are all gigantic fans of both Xtc and Trip Shakespeare.

I'm that other fan!  And if I may suggest a group (who unfortunately
just split months back) that XTC fans would appreciate, Check out
some of Trip's tunes.  _Lulu_, _Are You Shakespearienced_, _Applehead
Man_, and _Across the Universe_ are the albums/cds they released.
Too bad they split, because it was the show they put on that really
was got so many hooked on their music.

It seems that after a few of us expressed not seeing many women on the
list, that there are more and more posting.  Right on sisters!!!!

Lynn B


Date: Tue, 15 Feb 1994 14:18:10 -0500 (EST)
From: "Somebody sure cut through that fence, alright" <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #327

> late 60's. BTW, I am 42 and saw Love play several times on the Sunset
> Strip. Common elements: novel chord changes and *imaginative* lyrics.
Yeah, my first intro to Love, I thought, "Waitaminute, is he singing
about *snot*??" ;-)  I recommend _Forever_Changes_, too.

By the bye, I am 25 years old, but I'm sort of in the "old crew", since
I got started on XTC when _Black_Sea_ came out.  I was just a kidlet
listening to the Bay City Rollers, so lemme tellya, that album really
freaked me out!

> all gigantic fans of both Xtc and Trip Shakespeare.  Trip Shakespeare hailed
> >from Minnesota, so look to your friends to the north to get their music.

abso-fu*king-lutely!  Search out Trip Shakespeare at all cost!  Do not
hestitate!  You can probably find _Across_the_Universe_ and _Lulu_ in
your local record store, but you might have to have someone tape
_Are_You_Shakespearienced_ for you, as I don't think it was in wide
release.  I had a tape of a tape of a tape for a long time, but finally
found a used vinyl copy (yeesh!).  Sorry to clutter with this, you can e
-mail me directly if you have any info, but someone told me Trip
Shakespeare had broken up!  No!  NO!! NNOOO!!!!

Someone mentioned the "yodely" sound of "Leisure" -- yeah, isn't that
great?  "Yodely-ness" reminded me of one of my favorite XTC moments,
which I always have to rewind and hear again, which is
Andy: When Miss Moon lays down...
        Colin: in her hilltop bed...
Andy: and Sir Sun stands up...
        Colin: raise his re-galll head...  <-- YODELY BIT!!



From: Kevin Carhart <>
Subject: cloud in todd's hair
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 1994 11:38:33 -0800 (PST)

Regarding the cloud of smoke in Todd Rundgren's hair, I must say that
Skylarking is brillllllliant under such conditions.  The music is coming
in discernible layers, and running time 3:30 becomes 3:30 PM becomes 330 AD.
And reverberberberberberb

But then its my favorite album regardless :)

Kevin the kid


Subject: Hello!
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 94 16:03:23 EST
From: James Paul Bach <>


I'm a new subscriber to chalkills, and as requested, I am introducing
myself to the group.  My name is James Paul Bach, and I live in
Huntington, West Virginia, USA.  I have been an XTC fan since 1980, when I
saw a video for "Making Plans For Nigel" on late-night television.  I have
subsequently bought nearly all of the XTC albums, and my favorites are
_English Settlement_ and _Mummer_.

I also play guitar and bass guitar, and would possibly like to trade chord
charts of XTC songs with anyone willing.



Date: 16 Feb 1994 21:11:27 -0400 (EDT)
From: Brookes McKenzie <>
Subject: final perf

Le Palais, Paris, 8/13/82

they play like two songs, and then a minute into "respectable street"
(in the middle of a word, no less) andy leaves the stage. they struggle
on without him for about 30 seconds, and then stop. it's sort of a morbid
thing to hear (let alone watch - i've heard there's a video).

- brookes


Date: Fri, 18 Feb 94 11:41:26 GMT
From: (Mike Cooper)
Subject: New subscriber

Hello chalkhills,

As requested, a short introduction...

I am a 42 year old freelance computer consultant living in Lancashire,
and I have daughters aged 2 and 4. I'm into football, cyberspace, and

I first got into XTC the day White Music came out - a LONG time ago! I
heard Watchtower, and just had to buy the album. Since then, my likings for
other musicians have come and gone, but my love for XTC has remained.

I firmly believe that Nonsuch is the greatest rock/pop album in the
universe, and hope that Andy, Colin and Dave can persuade Dave Mattacks
to work with them again - his style melded perfectly with theirs.



Mike Cooper (at work, using the boss's modem)


Date: Fri, 18 Feb 94 8:40:45 PST
From: "John Relph" <>
Subject: Re: Lyrics (Don A.B. Lindbergh) writes:
>If you can deal with postscript, lyrics for Go2 are at the chalkhills ftp
>site.  Makes a nice little booklet for your CD.  Not sure about _White Music_,
>anyone?  Also others, like Rag & Bone, thanks to John Relph.  Good gawd!

Is there demand for additional CD booklets?  I could easily make a
booklet for _Drums and Wires_.

        -- John


Organization: SLAIS, UBC
Date:         20 Feb 94 15:48:10 GM+5
Subject:      playing xtc songs

Does anyone know how to play "Rook" on the piano?  I'd like to learn
how to play it.

How many people on the list are musicians?  Those who are, would you
not agree that XTC songs are the hardest pop songs in the universe to
learn?  The most I can manage is Peter Pumpkinhead, the intro to All
of a Sudden, a bowdlerized version of Mayor of Simpleton and about
half of Season Cycle.  The stuff from the early albums is
particularly difficult.

We need some better transcriptions; no offense, but the ones in the
archives are oversimplified.  Why is there no XTC music in print?


Date: Sun, 20 Feb 1994 18:44:47 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Greetings fellow XTC fanatics

        I purchased my first XTC album in December 1992.  It was Waxworks.
As far as I knew, I was previously familiar with only one XTC song, "Making
Plans For Nigel".
        The song that sold me was "Senses Working Overtime".  I immediately
purchased English Settlement, Mummer, and Skylarking (and discovered I was
indeed familiar with other XTC songs long before I ever bought one of their
albums; I had heard "Dear God" probably a thousand times, and when I got
Oranges and Lemons I realized I had heard "The Mayor of Simpleton" almost as
much), then came Nonsuch, The Big Express, Black Sea, the brilliant Dukes
albums, Drums and Wires...(the list goes on and on, as you well know).  Before
I knew it I had everything, and I was an XTC fanatic.  The whole process, going
>from novice to expert, took about three months.  And then I introduced my best
friend, who had never heard any XTC in his life (he says he heard The Dukes'
"Braniac's Daughter" back in 1987 or 1988, but let's keep the illusion alive
folks - The Dukes of Stratosphear are some other band who just happen to be
good friends who lend guitars), and he too (my friend I was talking about
before the parentheses) became an XTC nut.  We both firmly hold that Andy
Partridge is one of the finest (if not the finest) songwriter in the world.
Of all time.
        So that's a little about me and XTC.  Sorry if I bored you.
        Now it's 1994, and I'm dying for the next album.  My friend and I have
a wager on whether Mr. P will use a Nonsuch lyric as its title.  I maintain
that the last two were merely coincidental, that Andy does not intentionally
use a lyric from one album as the title for the next.  I'd be willing to pay
the dollar for The Old Masters though.
        Question: Who are The Tubes?
        Well, that's about all for now.  I'm glad to see that both this service
and the XTC biography get their titles from my favorite XTC song, the song my
friend says should be the British national anthem.
        Thanks again, and let's hope we don't have that long a wait for the
next album.  The Martin Newell album was good, but...
        Question: What are the details of the divorce?  Did she go insane?
Did she cheat?  What about Holly and Harry?
I thought Andy was afraid of NYC - Should we be worried?
        I live in New York.  Somebody get me an address!

                                                Thanks very much,
                                                  A.J. Green.


For all administrative issues, such as change of address,
withdrawal from the list, fan club addresses, discography
requests (last update 15 February), back issues, FAQ list,
etc., send a message to the following address:


The Chalkhills archives are available at "".

The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

If daddy could see today / he'd be turning in his grave.

Go back to the previous page.