Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #353

                  Chalkhills, Number 353

                  Thursday, 2 June 1994
Today's Topics:
                      Dumb Questions
                        My turn...
                   Andy & The Residents
             Allow me to introduce myself...
                  bootlegging (CH #351)
                       Latest NME..
                 Hello from rainy Van...
                   Re: Chalkhills #352
                   Re: Chalkhills #352
        Partridge/Budd Album Soon to be Released!
                     Re: Pete Phipps
                     XTC Cover songs
               Eating Humble Pie in N.C....
                Bootlegs/White Music/etc.
                  Greetings Chalkhills!
                 That Damn Drum Sound...


Date: Tue, 31 May 1994 14:38:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: terry kroetsch f <>
Subject: Dumb Questions

Can someone help (either reply through or directly to me?):

1/ everyone is mentioning Carmen Sandiego - what did I miss - I can't
find anything - is it a single? a person? a group? kid's record?
2/ I am going to England and want to visit Swindon - can someone tell me
the highlights - I do not plan to spy or bother but would love see
homes/studios/fav pubs...someone mentioned a map enclosed in some early
disc - how can I get a copy? Any hints on Bath and those
studios/Box/Hammill etc? I will have a car and have spent lots of time in
those parts prior to my love of XTC so should be able to manouver
3/ I also love Jellyfish but would like to know more - is there an
exppert out there with all the answers to my questions?
4/ can someone type in the Mojo article on stagefright by Andy - I'd love it.
5/ I am in the process of searching SERIOUSLY for my tape of Andy
co-hosting that California phone-in radio show. It is pretty funny - has
nothing to do with music and Andy helps people solve their personal
problems. It's great. I will copy this for anyone who sends me a 90
minute tape and a buck (or equiv pounds etc for postage). E-MAIL me first.

Hope to hear soon,

When an eel bites your thigh     
As you're just swimming by                 master of his domain
It's a moray....                           at least today.......


Date: Tue, 31 May 94 14:45:24 EDT
From: (Joe Hartley)
Subject: My turn...

Well, I've been listening to XTC since '79 or so, when Drums and Wires was
fresh and Black Sea was imminent.  Over the last 15 years (gawsp!) I've
been very impressed with their ability to grow into mature artists, which
is not an easy task.  Richard Thompson did it, the Violent Femmes didn't.

It was a couple of years (1982?) later that I bypassed seeing XTC here in
Providence, RI, since a friend had front row seats for their show in Pittsburgh,
including one for me.  Needless to say, somewhere between Providence and
Pittsburgh, Andy flipped and cancelled the show.  I have waited for another
tour ever since, and today I find that they may tour again!  Hooray!

I was in England last month, and on the first day there, went to Bath.  We
stopped into an HMV store, and I managed to snag a copy of the BBC disk,
which I hadn't seen before.  A nice souvenir!  Later in the week, I was taken
to Swindon for dinner at some Chinese restaurant.  Didn't see much, but folks
back home were impressed when I said I was in XTC's hometown!

I'm glad we've got this forum to talk about the boys, and trade info.

Now, a request:  my 4 year-old son, who *loves* XTC, lost my Drums-and-Wires
cover button.  That is, a 1" button that had the full-color artwork from
D-n-W on it.  He was heartbroken over losing it (it fell off his jacket),
as was I.  If anyone out there can point me to a replacement, he or she
will have our undying gratitude!  Thanks!
                                                - Joe Hartley


Date: Tue, 31 May 94 16:49:46 EDT
Subject: Andy & The Residents

I've heard that Andy Partridge sings on a Residents album, but I don't know
which one or the name of the song ... is there anyone who has it and, if so,
can you post about the song (and the rest of the album, too, perhaps)?  XTC
is nowhere near as compulsively, steadfastly weird as the Residents, of
course, but they do seem to be kindred spirits, on some level.

- Boojum


Date: Tue, 31 May 1994 15:49:37 -0500 (CDT)
From: Jim Watne <>
Subject: Allow me to introduce myself...

Hello all. Time for my brief introduction.
I first heard XTC when I checked out Skylarking from the library. I was
about 14 or 15 at the time, and I guess I was too high-strung then, because
I didn't really get into its more subtle moods. Later I bought O&L, and then
worked my way through the rest of the albums. I personally like the "mid"
phase, Black Sea through Skylarking a little better than the rest; my
gripe with the newer ones is the rather stiff production. I like the
clear recording, but would like a edgier performance. I attempt to play
guitar in my spare time. I own a Rickenbacker 360, which partly explains
my special fondness for the tones on English Settlement.
If you care what else I listen to: Crowded House, Blur, Posies, Big
Star, Saint Etienne, Paul Weller, others. A pop fan.
Love!    Jim Watne
at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, design student


From: "Tom Keekley" <>
Subject: bootlegging (CH #351)
Date: Tue, 31 May 94 16:08:46 -0500

Just a response to some of the content in #351 about bootlegging: in
my first note to chalkhills i requested info on xtc boots, that
request still stands. i see some of you have strong opinions about the
ethicality of these recordings. i have several thoughts on bootlegs
(as if you care ....):

1. Bootlegs rarely (never, IMHO) affect a bands record sales or
concert attendence. Only a few performers have ever made a big deal
about them at all.  (if XTC, specifically, is in contradiction with my
statement, let me know) If anything, for me, bootlegs always enhance a
bands appeal and increase the likelihood that I might buy additional
2. Arguing about the quality of a bootleg defeats the very idea of
them. If you want perfect production, throw on Oranges and Lemons. One
of my most prized 'legs is Pink Floyd in NYC doing 'The Wall." The
sound quality is at times mush, other times like a low bias mono
cassette. But, for me, the imperfections enhance the feeling that this
is, in fact, a magical show from the past, unable to be captured in
all its glory in *any* form. Any quality XTC bootleg would give me a
feeling that I was eavesdropping on a forbidden conversation. For me,
bootlegs have nothing to do with wanting to deprive a performer of
royalties, and everything to do with tasting the art from the artist,
maintaining the strange relationship between a band and their fans.
Enough on this already!  Whatever.

Note to Chris in Cedar Rapids: Yea! I have great memories of Mummer
and it makes for a splendid summer disk. Also O&L and Nonsuch!

Note to all: Hey, this is a fun posting! Thanks, John!

Keeks (
Minneapolis, usa


From: "Allan Blackman"  <>
Date:         1 Jun 94 10:11:05 GMT+1200
Subject:      Latest NME..

Gidday all - in the latest issue of NME, there's a brief article on
XTC in reply to a reader's question about what they're up to.
Supposedly there will be a 2-disc set of singles and unreleased songs
to be released only in the States on Geffen. They also don't appear to
be contracted to Virgin any more...

Thanks to a friend in the States I've finally got my US copy of
Skylarking, solely to get a version of "Dear God" - great song, but
my only gripe is the fact that it runs in to the start of "Dying" -
on the NZ release, "The man who sailed around his soul" comes prior
to "Dying" and there's dead silence while the clock ticks - this is
ruined (IMHO) on the US release - I guess it must have been Todd's
idea.....BTW, does anyone know who "Dying" was written about?

Allan Blackman, Department of Chemistry, University of Otago, Dunedin,
New Zealand.                        e-mail


Date: Tue, 31 May 94 15:31:54 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Hello from rainy Van...
From: (Michael Klassen)


Just learned about chalkhills from someone on, and decided
to give it a try.  I've been an XTC fan since high school, but much more
since I first spun English Settlement on my show at a college radio station
in about '81.

I remember reading a so-so review of Mummer in a student paper not long
after that and for some reason I sorta gave up on them.  Then a girl a met
in Europe loaned me the tape, and it stands to be my favourite.  Imagine my
glee when the CD had 6 bonus tracks.

Overall, I've been pretty out of touch on what goes on with the band,
though I've always known about the fan clubs.  But I'm not much of a fan
club guy really.  I like tons of bands, XTC happens to be one I have a lot
of respect for.  Especially in lieu of Andy's difficulties (I like the
Brian Wilson overtones of this story).

Anyway, I'm here to give things a try.

Thanks.  Talk soon.



Date: Wed, 01 Jun 1994 02:59:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #352

I agree that Mummer initially seems lackluster, but as I age, it has become
an increasingly popular choice for a late night musical option. "Ladybird",
man. Just a solid, unique song. Even "In loving memory..." is particularly
complex. I think "
"Big Express" is the weakest album, song-wise.

Thanks to Patty for defending "Mummer".



Date: Wed, 01 Jun 1994 03:04:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #352

I have a copy on CD of the XTC acoustic tour from Boston, Chicago, and
two stations in L.A. Unfortunately, they are currently on loan to a road
comic...hope to get them back soon.


Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 02:51:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: Steve Johnson <>
Subject: Partridge/Budd Album Soon to be Released!

The Andy Partridge/Harold Budd instrumental collaboration album,
recorded back in January 1994, is called THROUGH THE HILL and
will be released domestically (in the U.S.) on July 14th.


Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 08:57:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: lorch john <>
Subject: Re: Pete Phipps

Writing about XTC's drummers and their origins, someone whose name I
deleted wrote:

>  THE BIG EXPRESS  - Pete Phipps

        FYI, before XTC, Pete Phipps was the drummer for Random Hold, an
excellent English progressive rock band that also gave the world David
Rhodes, who now plays guitar for Peter Gabriel.

John Lorch
Baltimore, MD, USA


Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 10:39:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Todd Wells <>
Subject: XTC Cover songs

Felix Culpa wrote:
NC> Following this gem is,
NC> to my knowledge, the band's only recorded cover version, a
NC> reverent dismantling of Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower";

I also recently discovered them on the British Jimi Hendrix tribute "If 6
were 9" covering the title track (under some other name, of course...)
Dave is singing and plays the best guitar I've ever heard him play.


"Pretty things like incense and flowers, I want to make them part of Our
Sweet Love..." -Brian Wilson


Date: Wed, 01 Jun 94 17:46:12 EDT
Subject: Eating Humble Pie in N.C....

Steve Johnson writes:

Stewart Copeland isn't on ENGLISH SETTLEMENT -- it's all Terry
Chambers (plus the occasional percussion instruments by Andy!).

My understanding, and this wasn't in the Chaulkhills book, that a
significant part of the "main" drumming was via Andy and either a drum
program, and/or a drum machine triggered by Terry. Supposedly this caused
some friction between the two. I can't back this up. However, if you listen
to some passages, particularly Cockpit Dance Mix, the bass drum sounds
extraordinarily good--smooth, too consistent. Any comments?

Jason writes:

>>I don't feel buying a bootleg is unethical.

Convenience doesn't justify theft.

>>If Virgin/Geffen doesn't want to release something, and XTC does, they
should be able to license the material to an independent label who would
love to put the material out.<<

Absolutely. I have a problem with the unoffical, unauthorized material.
Stuff that XTC has no idea is being released for profit

>>anyone who buys an XTC bootleg probably has everything they can get their
hands on by the band, so it's not as if XTC isn't being supported.<<

LOL! However, theft is theft. Artistic property requires a different
kind of thinking.

Pete McCluskey writes:

>>I'd love to know what y'all think about this defense of an album recorded
back when everyone thought KISS was a pretty good idea.<<

Another LOL! I thought I was really avant-garde when I liked KISS back in
1975. Your defense was wonderfully eloquent and compelling! Now, to find a

Doug Finney states:

>>many people's desire (mine included) to hear vintage XTC concerts and
other impossible-to-find-elsewhere material is stronger than yours.<<

I love to get my hands on whatever XTC stuff I can! Don't dare suggest
otherwise! But I refuse to support theft of artistic property. I also love
to buy bikes for under $100. But I'm not going to buy a stolen bike.

>>If the scumbag-bootleggers' production was good give it your stamp of

I used A LOT of harsh language last week, and I'm still hurting from it!
Please forgive me, all! It was my 'evil twin--looks like me, talks like me
even has a twin like me...'

I believe this has been discussed quite a bit already, but I'm now listening
to "Greatest Living Gentleman" for the first time. Sounds like a curious
mix of XTC's demos, parts of Andy's solo release (which is now part of the
"Explode Together" compilation) and Robyn Hitchcock. Which leads to me this
thought: Does anyone agree that Colin Moulding's "Down a Peg" Sounds a
little like Robyn Hitchcock?


Date: Wed, 01 Jun 1994 17:58:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Paging Mr. Saxophone..." <>
Subject: Bootlegs/White Music/etc.

John Relph --> Thanks for sharing that intelligent and interesting
        bootleg conversation between you and John Pinto!

Senor Langley says:

> like to make a new album twice a year, and he authorizes live concerts,
> demos, John Peel sessions, etc. seeing the light of day.  Their record
> companies are not interested in artists who don't appear to have the
> potential to sell a million albums.

I agree.  Andy has always seemed very cooperative about making available
as much material as he can -- we all know that XTC have been dicked
around by various record labels for at least 15 years now.  Look at the
Jules Verne/Golden Guts tapes.  I just heard these for the first time
last week (thanks to a generous Chalkhillian) and it just boggles my
mind how many songs just get "thrown away".  It's a big enough crime
that a song like "Extrovert" gets buried on a b-side, but that songs
like "Young Cleopatra", "Work", "Blue Beret" -- heck, even stuff that
*was* released, like "The Troubles" and "The Good Things" -- never got
a chance to be developed completely is really a shame.  People are
putting out 22-song CDs these days, and I think XTC is one of the few
bands that could do it with very little filler and fluff.

I want everyone to know that I am EXTREMELY JEALOUS of all these
"How I Met XTC" stories!!!  I can't even conceive of such a thing!

> last night I had what counts as my most unusual Personal XTC Experience:
> I had a dream in which I viewed a vintage edition of Ready Steady Go,
> circa '66, and there they were, lip-synching Mayor of Simpleton for masses
> of go-go youths. Really!

I'm terribly sorry, I accidentally deleted your name, but this is very
funny!  Wes Wilson and I were just the other day talking about XTC
dreams, and how we were both clearly TOO OBSESSED.  I had had a dream
in which I found a whole stack of XTC 45's with b-sides I'd never heard
of before, and I was so disappointed when I woke up and realized I did
not have these (Derek, if I come up with them, I'll submit them for
your tape ;-> ).  Wes said he had a dream about a new XTC album called
"The Coronation of King Pye", which really sounds fairly Partridgesque.
Several years ago, I had a dream in which I babysat Andy's kids while
he went out for the evening (I'm always having dreams about doing
frustratingly mundane things with famous people...)

Pete (not Felix) gives a detailed paean to _White_Music_, to which I
say "Right on!"  I played the hell out of this album when I was in
jr. high and high school, but hadn't really listened to it all the way
through in years.  A few weeks ago, however, I decided to wax nostalgic
and become New Wave for the summer (bought some red Chuck Taylors and
everything), and in my 1978 mood I put on _White_Music_ -- whatta
blast!  I challenge anyone to put on "Neon Shuffle" or "Atom Age" and
NOT jump around the house!  It can't be done!!  I daresay you will also
find yourself forced to wave your arms and head around (I know I always

Melinda    "THIS -- IS -- POP!  YEAH, YEAHHH!"


Date: 1 Jun 1994 15:51:47 -0800
From: "Wheeler, Michael" <>
Subject: Introduction

Hi, I just joined this list and I love it!

I heard of XTC from the net community, they are mentioned occasionally in and quite often on the Beach Boys Mailing List.  After
hearing a lot about them and yet knowing nothing about their music I decided
to buy some.  I wanted "Skylarking" first based on what I read in a book that
reviews thousands of albums, but the record store didn't have it, so I got
"Waxworks" and "Nonsuch" used.  I listened to them and immediately ordered
"Skylarking".  "Skylarking" is by far my favorite of the three.  I heard
about this mailing list because several months ago I attemted to get formed and someone suggested sending the Call For Votes
to this list.  I had the CFV form still and remembered the XTC address was on
there so I subscribed to this list a couple days ago.  I first heard an XTC
song about a week ago and I'm hooked. I'm about to go to the record store to
order the Dukes of the Stratosphear album.

Mike Wheeler


Date: Wed, 01 Jun 94 21:19:03 EDT
Subject: Greetings Chalkhills!

Hi! My name's Matthew; I heard about Chalkhills when an America Online user
opened a message board to discuss XTC, immediately unleashing many of AOL's
most literate music fans (who had previously been stuck contributing to
Pantera boards and the like), one of whom mentioned Chalkhills. And since I
hear all too little about a band that, upon pulling out "Nonsuch" or
"Skylarking" or "Black Sea," I start blubbering about ("Andy Partridge is the
best songwriter around!!! And just listen to how that saxophone doubles a
beat later on the right channel!!! Drives my wife crazy.). So that's me. I'm
glad to be kept up to date. Thanks!


From: (randall watson)
Subject: Taste/XTras
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 21:35:39 -0500 (CDT)

     Having read a few issues back a quotation in which all three
members of XTC cited the group "Taste" as influential, my interest was
piqued.  Last weekend while in the local BEST BUY I came across _The
Best of TASTE featuring Rory Gallagher_.  Here's the  results of a
couple of initial listenings from an XTCish perspective...
     -VERY BluesyR&Bish twisted with a dash of psychedelia from time to time.
     -Two Prime Xamples:  "Blister on the Moon" and "What's Goin'On"?

     "Blister" begins with what can only be heard as an excerpt from The
Who's "Miles and Miles."  From there it lopes into a riff reminiscent
of another 70s English Band:  MAN.  (See/Hear their 1974 Alfred E. Newman
inspired _Slow Motion_ on United Artists).  The vocals are rather
monotonal, yet they serve their purpose to communicate a peaceful
message of optimism which is further relayed via the guitar.
     Of course, as the title "featuring Rory Gallagher" suggests, it's the
guitar which is of main importance... and he can play.
     Overall effect: a loose, bluesy, bouncy, psychedrony,
guitar-riffed joy.  It's The sheer gusto of the whole thing that
brings it off.
      "What's Goin'On"? almost leans into the frightening realms of,
gulp, FOGHAT with it's boogie/chooglin' riff orgy.  However, in this
case, the introduction of the vocals saves the song from becoming the
aforementioned beast.  The wonderful "I'm going to get to you somehow"
cascades into a very melodic transcendent guitar passage which comes
to an abrupt stop, only to once again introduce the FOGHAT riff!
     Overall effect:  guilty to admit that I actually enjoyed the
1st FOGHAT album, and that boogie/psychedelia IS cool!
     Outside of that...there are a couple other more bluesy songs
which feature some tortured sax solos.  Maybe this is Mr. P's

     On another note:  I actually purchased a "bootleg" copy of _Jules
Verne_ at a record convention recently.  Surprising that even the
stuff XTC gives away knowlingly can be diverted to serve others
capitalistic gains.  But I won't get into the whole boot debate...
     The interesting thing is that _JV_ only takes up the first side
of the cassette.  The B-side is labeleld _XTC: Brussels 4/22/92_.
Yes, that's correct '92.  No, upon listening, that's incorrect.  This
is a live recording of the _English Settlement_ tour. It's a quite
good recording and an even better performance.  Does anyone else have
info. on this show?



Date: Wed, 01 Jun 94 22:42:12 EDT
Subject: That Damn Drum Sound...

Kyle Skrinak writes:

>I first heard HP's drum production being assigned to (gasp!) Phil Colins in
>the early 80's. To wit, I was in Marty's, in NYC--a fairly well-known music
>store--where a drum machine with a particularly gated drum effect was being
>played. The salesman said something like, "Its got that classic Phil Colins
>sound." I cringed.

>My understanding of this goes as follows: this sound grew out of the Drums &
>Wires sessions, and Andy's insistence on a "big drum sound." Specifically,
>it was the first time that reverb and noise gating were used so
>dramatically, and pleasantly. If you listen to Black Sea, the drum sound is
>even more refined. Finally, on Peter Gabriel's third album--one of my
>favorites, and has D. Gregory on it, thank you--this drum sound, accompanied
>by a complete lack of symbols, really shines. Of course, everyone has now
>used that sound, even karoke bars.

Actually, the drum sound on _Drums and Wires_ is gated, but it was not the
first use of gated drums.  The first actual use of the _gated drum sound_ was
in fact on a Peter Gabriel record (his third one, melting face).  Gated
reverb was discovered accidentally - Peter and Hugh Padgam were in the
control room listening to someone talking over the recording studio's
talkback system.  When whomever that was stopped talking, they could hear
Phil Collin in the background.  The talkback system had a noise gate in it's
signal path, and everytime Phil Collins would hit a drum, the talkback would
open, and then close abruptly, cutting off the ambient sound of the room.
 Hearing this, and liking it, Peter and Hugh had Phil Collins play a beat,
with no accompanyment, and simply recorded it.  Then, they sent that signal
to a reverb unit, put a noise gate on it's output, and fine-tuned it.  The
resulting song on the Peter Gabriel album is called _Intruder_.

Hugh Padgam ended up using that sound on many other peoples albums, including
XTC's, and the story of the invention of the said sound is a pretty common
story.  It should be noted that a similar sound was obtained on a few David
Bowie records, all from the mid to late seventies, but the methods used were
a bit different.

John Lisiecki


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