Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #371

                  Chalkhills, Number 371

                Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Today's Topics:
               Re: XTC cover by, uh, Primus
                        Blur Wars
                Andy's Working/Not Working
                   Re: Chalkhills #370
                     my introduction
                    Psonic Influence?
               Japanese "Through the Hill"
                 Two Chalkhillians meet..
               The Spys, better than Barry
                      Andy Implodes
                   more Wegmann coming
                    Re: Vinyl Question
                       Re: Dear God
               Martin Newell/Andy Partridge


From: Tim Szeliga <>
Subject: Re: XTC cover by, uh, Primus
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 94 14:03:56 CDT

Damon Z Cassell <>:
> I am sure that most of you have heard the cover of XTC's "Making Plans
> For Nigel" by Primus.  Well I just heard it for the first time on the
> radio here and I was surprised.  I had heard such a cover existed, but I
> never expected to hear it on the radio.
> Primus actually did quite a dignified job on this song.  It's the
> perfect mix between the XTC sound and Primus' warped, bass heavy, sound.
> I watched some parts of the Woodstock 94 festival hoping to see Primus
> actually do "Making Plans For Nigel", but Pay Per View apparently
> thought Crosby Stills And Nash were more important, so I could only
> settle for a few bits of the Primus act.  Well, it was a long shot.

I saw the beginning of Primus in Saugerties, didn't hear Nigel, but I
wandered off after the fourth song or so, to try to dry out my tent.
My first exposure to the band and they did, indeed, "suck".  Their
fans tried to drive The Band and Bob Weir off stage by chanting
"Primus Sucks", pitting the old farts vs the Deadheads vs the Primus
Screamers or whatever they call themselves.  It was a great show if
you didn't believe any of the rumors: Dylan didn't play with The Band;
The Stones didn't come on at two am after Aerosmith; Garcia and the
Dead didn't join Weir and Hornsby; and Barney and Baby Bop didn't even
show up.  Oh, and it rained.


From: (Vince Layton)
Subject: Blur Wars
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 94 15:29:14 CDT

John.Wilkens@Colorado.EDU writes:
> Subject: Blur Slur
> A Chalkhillian posted:

This is me(vince):

> >After reading the raves about the "XTC-ish" sound of Blur, I picked up the
> >cd.  The first song [is] this awful disco... "boys who love girls that do
> >sheep that eat fish".  Ugh!
> I understand the flippant reaction to a song you don't like, but your
> statement has a subtle homophobia to it.

You know, I didn't realize that this song was a celebration of
homosexuality. I don't know the lyrics to the song(thus my flippant
attempt at recreating the lyrics). I don't even know the name of the
song. I just don't like disco. Thanks to you, I now realize that
my dislike of disco is due to my repressed homo/zoophobia.

If someone doesn't like Led Zeppelin, does this make them a heterophobe?

 Melinda writes:
> P.S. I hate that Blur song, too, but admit I've not heard the album

Perhaps we can start a therapy group to deal with our affliction.
Are you the same Melinda that posts alot to the Elvis list?

MarcusBriscoe then writes:
> More importantly, the title track is NOT disco. I know what you meant by what
> you said, but if you really think about it, "boys who do whatever" sounds
> very much like Bowie circa '80. (lodger/scary monsters) I mean, just listen
> to that baseline!  It's ripped right off of "DJ" or something.  Also very
> well executed.  On other songs, they steal from early ultravox (self
> titled/Ha Ha Ha) and the lead singer does a perfect rip on John Foxx.
>  Another song could be mistaken for the Jam,

This is REALLY interesting as circa 1980, I was a huge Bowie and Jam
fan and also owned the first Eno-produced Ultravox album. To the guy
that thinks I'm a homophobe, I also owned Tom Robinson's _Power in the
Darkness_ album and played the hell out of it(and hung out with him
after a show in Houston).

I've only listened to the Blur album twice so I can't analyze all the songs and
influences but my initial impressions are 180 degrees from yours regarding
what is "disco".

I associate disco more with the drum beat than anything else.
I feel like I'm digging a big hole for myself and this discussion
has veered away from XTC. Back to my initial point, just because you
like XTC does not mean that you will also like the Blur cd. Okay?
Buy the cd at a place with a return policy(or if you live in Austin,
you can buy my copy).



Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 16:52:11 -0400 (EDT)
From: "I'm a be without a bop" <>
Subject: Andy's Working/Not Working

Here's something I was thinking about:  Elvis Costello has written so
many songs, you can't even keep up with them.  He even puts out tons of
albums, fills up b-sides, etc, and *still* has loads of songs he never
uses.  When I'm listening to XTC demos, my thought is often, "geez,
I couldn't even write anything nearly as good as this, and they didn't
even use it, just threw it away."  I'm rambling...I'll try to get to the
point...if I can...Do you think XTC could put out more albums than they
do?  Surely Colin has more songs than we ever get to hear.  I guess that
like most artists, some of the stuff they write they get bored with and
don't feel like pursuing after a while.  Maybe Elvis Costello is just a
freak of nature, and makes a bad example to compare to, but even
compared to other artists, XTC puts out surprisingly few albums.  I'm
not complaining, I'm just musing...

Oh, by the way, I think that Blur song is truly irritating, but believe
me, I am in no way homophobic.  In fact, I think the lyrics are a good
idea, I just think the sound of the song is repetitive and monotonous.
I certainly don't mean to say Blur Sucks or anything, just that maybe
someone who doesn't like that Depeche-Mode-y sound might not like this
Blur song, either.  It definitely doesn't sound like XTC.  If I dropped
14 bucks on a CD because some XTC fans suggested it, and then it sounded
like Depeche Mode, I would be slightly miffed, too.



Date: Mon, 22 Aug 94 16:18 EST
From: Jeffrey Langr <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #370

A Chalkhillian posted:

>>After reading the raves about the "XTC-ish" sound of Blur, I picked up the
>>cd.  The first song [is] this awful disco... "boys who love girls that do
>>sheep that eat fish".  Ugh!

>I understand the flippant reaction to a song you don't like, but your
>statement has a subtle homophobia to it.

>Blur's song is a love quadrangle with boys loving girls loving girls loving
>boys loving boys.  Every coupling is given equal weight as long as it is
>with "someone you really love."  The insertion of beastiality is erroneous,
>inappropriate and, because you aim to denigrate the associations, possibly
>an indicator that the acceptance of homosexuality and not the disco beat
>hit a greater nerve.
>Have XTC ever tackled the issue of gay rights in any of their songs?

Sorry, there was no "homophobia" in the original message you referred to.
There's nothing more disturbing than someone reading too much into an
opinion and using that in an attack.  And please do not LABEL me as a
homophobe; I am an avid Kinks fan as well and love their alternative-sex
oriented works and think Dave Davies is the greatest rock guitarist.  I also
love Kitchens of Distinction.  AND please remember that while many many
people have some distate for homosexual activity it does not mean they are
necessarily homophobes.


Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 21:58:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jason Rubero <>
Subject: my introduction


My name is Jason Rubero and I'm an engineering student here at the
University of Idaho.

I've been a fan of the lads since Skylarking blew me away in 1986-'87.
Since that time I've gotten all of their albums except for Go-2.

I found out about chalkhills from my other favorite band's mailing list:
The Church's "seance".  I look forward to all that chalkhills has to
offer, and I hope I'll be able to add something too.  I also look forward
to XTC's impending (I hope) album.

And, by the way, the Big Express most certainly DOESN'T suck.



Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 10:33:10 +0300
From: (T. P. Uschanov)
Subject: Psonic Influence?

A human interest question that just hit me: could it be that the title
of _Psonic Psunspot_ was influenced by a novel by that olde master
of the English language, P. G. Wodehouse, namely _Leave It to Psmith_?



Date: 23 Aug 1994 09:25:28 U
From: "Wesley Wilson" <>
Subject: Japanese "Through the Hill"

I have the Japanese CD of "Through the Hill" and it has two bonus tracks,
"Bosch" and "Bruegel." These tracks clock in at 1.49 and 2.43, respectively.

The titles refer to artists. Hieronymous (sp?) Bosch is known for his
intricate landscapes of hell. Bruegel was, I believe, a Flemish painter of
tavern scenes (?).

The CD order number is POCP-1431; All Saints Records.  Bright yellow-green
and purple inserts, CD, and liner.

One person recently wrote in Chalkhills to the effect that both Partridge and
Budd paint themselves into some interesting musical corners; that's true re:
some of these tracks. I just can't understand why Andy, a craftsman of such
great pop songs, decided to do this record.  It's just totally out of
character, IMO. Besides, I went through my "Windham Hill" phase 7 years ago.
It lasted about a week. :-)

I'd like to see Colin make a SOLO RECORD! To me, he is the rising songwriter
of XTC, though others may disagree. I'd just wish he would write more.

Hmm..."RIver of Orchids" out there? Maybe an XTC album isn't so far off?



Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 13:39:28 -0400 (EDT)
From: Derek Miner <>
Subject: Two Chalkhillians meet..

        Hello all,

        I just thought I'd drop a line and let everyone know that I saw
the band Ghostbeat for a second time this weekend. What makes this
important to Chalkhills? Well, Joe Lamy, one of the fellow subscribers,
is the bass player, and they do some rather nice XTC covers.
        Here in Orlando, FL, they've played a coffee house (the Yab Yum)
a few times, and Joe claims their more-acoustic, "coffee house" sound is
not like their usual stuff, but I like it. Joe and the guitarist Bryan do
some killer harmonies on covers of "Grass" and "Big Day," as well as a
darn good "Senses Working Overtime." Sometimes the drummer, Ken, will
strap on a bongo-ish drum (what is it Joe?) and step out front. They did
a great "Another Satellite" this way. But they do other stuff too, mostly
their originals, which I liked quite a bit (I wish I had a tape of them,
but Joe says they're still working on it). They do a couple of Peter
Gabriel tunes, Jellyfish's "That Is Why" (which I liked BETTER than the
original), and (one of my favorites in their set) a neat semi-acoustic
version of the Beatles' "Rain."
        Well, here's to hoping these guys make it big, and wishing that
all of you fellow XTCers around the country could hear Ghostbeat.
        BTW, Joe did not solicit my testimony. :)



Date: 23 Aug 94 22:17:37 EDT
From: Steve Levenstein <>
Subject: The Spys, better than Barry

   I've been dubbing some tapes of unusual XTC stuff lately,
so I've been listening to the two tracks by The Spys which
are on the Swedish "Making Plans for Andy" CD. The Spys may
or may not be XTC, but I've added the two songs ("The Young
Ones" and "Heavy Scene") to the end of my "Go2" tape in place
of Barry's two songs. A perfect fit!
---> Steve


Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 20:23:06 -0700
From: John Relph <relph>
Subject: Sundried

Remember, it's not Sundried, it's Sundry!

I actually heard some Harold Budd and Andy Partridge on the radio
today!  Part of a very strange program that ran the gamut from ambient
to avant-noise, including a superimposition of Canned Heat's "On The
Road Again" over a Vietnamese dissenter's piece (no rhythm no melody
just sound), both in the same key, actually lending an air of
strangeness to an otherwise straightfoward blues and harp song.  The
program runs on KZSU 90.1FM Stanford, California (Tuesday evenings?).

The Chalkhills XTC discography is now FULLY HTML, and even the text
version is generated from the HTML source.  It's not as nice as Scribe
(I've jettisoned the numbering for the time being) but I don't have to
edit one source for text/printing and another for HTML/WWW viewing.
Check it out using your favourite Web viewer at
"".   Don't forget the
Chalkhills home page (see the end of the digest)!  Ain't the Web great?

I got a copy of the Blur album in question (low quality recording on
tape) and it's certainly a mishmash of styles, isn't it?  I like the
opening track "Girls and Boys": reminds me of a cross between
Buzzcocks, XTC (a la "Helicopter"), Gang of Four, Human League, and
maybe something else...  "Tracy Jacks" sounds like another XTC drum
pattern ripoff (and the falsetto too).  "End of the Century" a
standard Beatles take, hard-hitting guitar chords, strings, and the
faux baroque trumpet to close it.  "Park Life" reminds me of
Splodgenessabounds for some reason.  I could really do without "To The
End", might as well be elevator music right now!  All in all, not
indispensable, but I think I'd like to hear the CD, high quality sound
and all that rubbish, y'know?

Looked up The Simpletones in my _Little Express_ (hi Paul), not such a
great picture but they were a lot of fun at the time, especially
dancing to "Funk Pop a Roll"!

Thanks to those who sent the information for the Japanese issue of
"Through The Hill", you know who you are.

Oh, by the way, since I'm sending this I might as well tell y'all
that I'm in fact 32 years young, and have been listening to XTC
since "Black Sea" came out.  But I never got to see them live!  Oh
well.  (I have spoken with both Andy and Dave in person, some
consolation.)  One of my first active listening experiences was The
Beatles' _Revolver_ on my dad's reel-to-reel deck when the album was
new.  I loved it then and I love it still.

By the way, there are a few copies of the XTC Acoustic Radio Tour
tape remaining.  If you are interested in a copy of this tape,
compiled from their 1989 live appearences at KROQ, WBCN, WXRT and
WFNX, send e-mail to <> and perhaps we
can work out a trade.  94 minutes of interview and musical mayhem.


        -- John


Date: Wed, 24 Aug 94 01:27:23 EDT
Subject: Andy Implodes

<<I *heard* that he got along hellishly with Todd Rundgren, and look at
Skylarking.  I think the boys can put out good material no matter what.>>

Todd has made mention to the infamious incompatibilities several times. I
think it is more a matter of record. Read the liner notes to "Rag and Bone
Buffet" Andy mentions the tension there. However, to the point. XTC has
delivered some of the best influential pop music sound for a modern band.
"Drums and Wires" Defined how drums were to sound from then on in. Steve
Lillywhite made significant contributions to "Black Sea" thereby helping to
catipult our boys to stardom. Same with Hugh Pagdam and Todd Rundgren. But
"Oranges and Lemons" "Murmur" don't have such a clear focused sound. It
would also suggest that it does the subject of musical integrity injustice
to suggest that sound and production isn't a factor in a musical critique.
Therefore; Yea, they put out good material, but ~not as good.~

Re: not touring <<It sets a prescedent for the behavior of english pop

What? To be a studio-ridden bunch of hermits? Nah--music at its best is a
living process--you ~see~ and ~hear~ your favorite performers in all their
humanness. The mistakes, the brilliant performances. It puts the performer
in touch with his or her audience. It helps to bring the performer to more
people; i.e. make more money so they can support themselves. I suggest that
for a musician not to perform, is esthetically decadent. Creative

<<But as we get older, its natural to go through a process called

Sounds like I'm not being clear. Tom Waits, a maturing artist, is by no
means getting softer, but that wasn't my point. To be musically challenging
doesn't mean making "harder-more aggresive" music. On the contrary; it
shouldn't suggest a direction. It mean just what I said--challenging
yourself. Yea, Andy still does, which is well demonstrated by songs like
"Rook" or "Ugly Underneath" What I don't hear as much as I used to is basic
creative tension. And yes, this is subjective; I can put to words just what
I mean. Or how to quantify "creative tension." Dude, I just feel it. Maybe
"Ringo" will provide this service...

BTW--May latest from Ringo has XTC conspiciously absent from the list.

 From beautiful Raleigh, NC;


From: ST55J@Jetson.UH.EDU
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 1994 00:29:03 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Newbie


I'm Leonard at the University of Houston... heard about Chalkhills while
browsing messages in the newspgroup.  First time
I heard XTC was about three years ago when someone played me the song
Dear God, so I borrowed the album and fell in love with it... I didn't
really get into XTC until about a year and a half ago when I met a
friend who felt Andy Partridge was a genius and introduced me to
Drums and Wires and English Settlement... Now, I'm hooked (shrug)....



From: J Ross MacKay <>
Subject: more Wegmann coming
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 94 10:28:42 EDT

In a previous "bands you might like if you listen to XTC" discussion [see
Chalkhills # 323] Robert Wegmann was mentioned as a likely candidate.  I
heartily endorse this sentiment.  His music strikes me as an American
equivalent to Martin Newell.  He has 2 CDs available, "Wild Party" and
"Down to the Sea in Ships".  These are available from Fumiko Records,
803 E. Chelsea St, Tampa, Florida 33603, for $7 each + $1.50 postage in
U.S, $2.50 anywhere else.

I love "Wild Party", and recently got "Down to the Sea in Ships".  In an
enclosed note Robert mentioned:

        My next disc is in the works.  It's tentativly called "Red Hair".
        It was tough to choose from all the existing names but, in time
        I'll try to use them all!! [His albums are all titled after Clara
        Bow movies.  I had suggested that he call his next one "Dancing
        Mothers"]  It's a slight change in sound, with a "World Beat"
        influence.  It'll be 5 song + 2 ghost tracks (demo's), so look for
        that in the next few months!


From: (Andre A M De Koning +31 35 87 4927)
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 94 22:50:53 +0200
Subject: Re: Vinyl Question

John Relph <> wrote:
> (PATRICK J LARKIN) writes:
>>I have a copy of Drums and Wires with a bonus 7".  Is this common or
>>something to hold on to. [...]
>All of these items are uncommon though not extremely rare.  However,
>they do command a good price in certain circles.  Check out the inner
>groove messages (if any).

Hey, my (UK) D&W copy has 'sound clinic' on side A and 'Jonz' on side B,
is that any special (do I win a prize?). But what's more interesting is
the 'free' single: both sides have 'sound clinic'! But seriously: the
numbers of side A and B were altered: side A has 'VDJ-30-A2', where the
A is in fact an altered 'B'. Side B is the other way: 'VDJ-30-B1' where
the B was first an 'A'.

Difficult, eh? Looks like either they couldn't make their mind up about
the A-side or the 'cutter' confused the two.

Next time more goovy groove messages. I wonder if XTC ever had a 'Porky
Prime cut'? Let's check it out.
 -- Andre de Koning


Date: Wed, 24 Aug 94 19:09:48 EDT
Subject: Re: Dear God

From: "Stupid is as stupid does, sir" <>

>I think there is a very fine line between simple honesty and grandiose
>overstatement. . .
>I think "Dear God" is embarrassing.

First of all how there can be a very FINE line between "simple" and
"grandiose" is beyond me.  They are quite different.

I think "Dear God" is one of XTC's best songs.  It is one of the songs I
liked A LOT the first time I heard it.  Granted it isn't perfect, the idea of
a child singing the first verse and conclusion is silly and makes the song
seem like a joke.  But that kid was Todd Rundgren's idea.

Andy said "After I'd written 'Dear God' I could think of a billion other
things I wanted to say which were almost impossible to precis into three and
a half minutes. It's such a massive subject I could have done it in three and
a half albums...maybe" (From "Chalkhills and Children" page 151) I agree that
"Dear God" doesn't say everything it could regarding God, but what song does
say everything it can on a given subject? Especially if the subject is
something as grandiose as God.  But "Dear God" isn't trying to say everything
 there is to say about God.  It is just taking you on an emotional roller
coaster while letting yu know what the songwriter believes.

The vocals for "Dear God" (excluding the kid's) are the most emotive in an
XTC song.  This person has been hurt in his life and he has been told that
God will take care of things.  He can see that this isn't true with so many
religious wars, and people dying pointlessly, and disease.  This person is
sick and tired of being told how great God is when he can see no good coming
>from God. And no evidence of God besides "The Bible" which was written by
"crazy humans".

The song opens with just a guitar and a vocalist, and then as the first verse
ends there is a magic transition (as the kid sings "from God").  It is
incredible how it goes from just a guitar to full instrumentation in just a
couple seconds, it is a brilliant transition.  Then the real vocalist enters.
 You have various instruments coming in such as violins and then the violin
is featured and then fades back to its proper position.  And then almost
silence, but the song keeps going as the vocalist sings "I can't believe in,
I don't believe in" and then a brief silence and BAM!!!! (How the hell did I
get here? Where am I?) "I won't believe in heaven and hell..." with this huge
beating of a drum, but that beating isn't coming from a drum, it's coming
>from the singer as he screams, releasing his pain, and yet his pain is
building up. The beating goes on and on as the singer is banging his head
against the wall trying to make people see the truth, and the listener starts
beating his head against the wall with the singer, with the infectous beat.
 The screaming reaches it's apex as "The Father Son and Holy Ghost/Is just
somebody's unholy hoax" the rhythm of the screaming changes with these lines.
 ANd then the singer practically breaks down confessing how open he is and
how much pain he's in "That my heart's here upon my sleeve." And then the
final statement, the statement that sums up everything that has been said and
felt in the past three minutes and fifteen seconds.  "If there's one thing I
don't believe in/It's you/Dear God."  And the listeners body feels empty as
the beating has stopped, but his mind feels full.  The listener knows
something significant has happened to him in the past few minutes, but he
can't identify it. Then there is just something beating, is it the singer's
heart or the listeners heart? It can't be a simple meaningless beat it must
be a heart. It doesn't beat like a heart, but then again your heart isn't
beating normally either.  And this beating just continues the rest of your
life and all the way through "Dying".

"Dear God" is a masterpiece.  A masterpiece of pop music.  When is the last
time you have experienced such incredible emotions in just three minutes and
thirty-four seconds?  The closest I have come is Brian Wilosn's "Good
Vibrations," but that lasts one second longer than "Dear God".  The emotions
are different, but the degree with which I experience them is similar.  Both
of these songs feature amazing transitions.

The only thing embarrassing about "Dear God" is the child singing.

Mike Wheeler

"I hear the sound of a gentle word/On the wind that lifts her perfume through
the air"--Good Vibrations


Date: Wed, 24 Aug 1994 17:33:35 -0700 (PDT)
From: Greenwich Library <dwaring@CLASS.ORG>
Subject: Martin Newell/Andy Partridge

        I suspect quite a few of you are already acquainted with this
piece of news, but I only learned of it recently, so here goes: Martin
Newell, seminal figure in British punk (London SS) and poet, has released
a disc called The Greatest Living Englishman which is produced by Andy P.
and features a fair amount of instrumental input by Our Hero including
drums(!)  The disc is reviewed in the current issue of Rolling Stone
(August 25) and is rated 3 1/2 stars, for what that's worth. The review
definitely piqued my interest, citing The Kinks & the Beatles as sonic
reference points.   It's available from a Long Island outfit
called Pipeline Records at 516 681-2125 for credit card orders. Checks
or money orders can be sent to Pipeline Records 117 Engineers Dr.,
Hicksville, NY 11801, which will entail a wait of "3 to 6 weeks".  Either
way costs 14 bucks, including shipping.  When I phoned in my order, I got
the impression that the staff were REALLY enthusiastic about TGLE and were in
missionary mode. They encouraged me to post this info (as well
they might), so I apologize for the possibly dated nature of the message
and my collusion with the commercial sector.


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