Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #374

                  Chalkhills, Number 374

                 Monday, 5 September 1994
Today's Topics:
                 Re: File Under Unfounded
                        The Mayor
                   Re: Chalkhills #373
                      UK Perspective
                     Sound Thrashing
                      New XTC album
        My Two Cents on The Great Dear God Debate
                   Re: Chalkhills #373
                  geez louise (Dear God)
                    Blur and Dear God
                   don't pick on trip!
                 up with mermaid smiled!
            Martin Newell "Greatest Living..."
                  Re:  Books are Burning
                   Introductory Message
         real Dukes influences (Albert's K-scope)
                   Re: Hops and Barley


Date: Thu, 1 Sep 1994 20:08:00 -0400
From: "Paul Myers" <>
Subject: None

Hi Chalkhillians,

I used to have a band called The Gravelberrys. Ten points to anyone who
ever heard our record. Listen, a friend of mine is in a group called the
Odds.  Cool pop and interesting lyrics.  Do any XTC fans know them. They
have two discs out on the Zoo/BMG label. They have the same management as
Toad The Wet Sprocket.  Oh yeah, another friend of mine wants me to ask if
anyone knows how to get a hold of some rare Jellyfish singles or promo cds.
Sorry to hear about their dissolving.  See ya round,

Paul Myers (life is good in the greenhouse)


Date: 01 Sep 94 19:31:30 EDT
From: John.J.Pinto@Dartmouth.EDU (John J. Pinto)
Subject: Re: File Under Unfounded

Confirm or Deny:

Dave Gregory to do ten date tour in Japan with Martin Newell.

Andy postpones production of new Newell as he actively prepares for new XTC

Andy wisely turns down sour Disney deal when pre-production rewrite calls for
all new songs, little money.

MPL (USA) seeks Swindon lad for voice over on recording targeted for
lucrative children's market.


Date: Thu, 1 Sep 1994 17:28:40 -0600
From: James Robert Campbell <>
Subject: The Mayor

John Lane said

>>When it came to O&L, they actually made a pretty decent choice with
>>"Mayor"- but still the words are kind of stupid & silly, not reflective
>>of how deep they really are as a band. Good guitar hook though.

Stupid and silly???  Not reflective of how deep they are???  The Mayor
is the most complete and perfect song they have produced.  No "gristle"
as you rightly remarked that "Peter" is bogged down with.  Great guitar
hook and superb bass line.  Plus, the lyric wit of Andy in full flight.
Quite profound and deep also!  IMHO one of the best songs ever written and
by far my personal fav.

Without question, Andy's shining moment as a pop writer.



Date: Thu, 1 Sep 1994 20:23:37 -0500
From: (KAUR - David Scarbrough)
Subject: posting

in regards to Brookes McKenzie's opinion of Trip Shakespeare...
no need to worry.  they are no longer.  I for one, am saddened at
this state of affairs as I have seen them several times live and
really REALLY liked them.  They had a really wierd style, and I
think it was in some way a reasonable facsimile of the "pastoral
earthiness" of xtc but u.s. version.  actually, minnesota version.
you must understand, minnesotans are really different.  they have a
four day workweek and on fridays go to the lake cabin.  that sort of
thing.  i live on the fringe of this and have lived there on occasion.
it (minnesota) really is a unique place with unique ideas and
attitudes.  unlike the replacements and husker du and such (urban),
trip was about being half swedish and half norwegian and living for
getting to the woods and the lakes and reveling in all its abandon.
dancing to the sounds of loons.  they are sort of marginally canadian.
but definitely uniquely minnesotan.  trip had a sweet melodic goofy
sound that really appealed to me, esp. live.  unfortunately, no
one was ever able to capture that feeling and intensity and warmth
in the studio.  the bass player should never have been allowed to
sing, I will admit, but all was forgiven when the band played in
perfect harmony.  I remember a while back, someone stated that they
thought minnesota was a sort of xtc capital of america.  i can't say
i disagree for all of the pastoral earthy settings and lifestyle.
-dave scarbrough, sioux falls, sd


Subject: Re: Chalkhills #373
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 94 11:04:20 BST

DON SHARE <> said:
> Anybody else notice that, in the 'Dear God' video, the boy sings
> from up in a tree, and that this appears to be an allusion to
> the film, "The Singing Detective?"

Well, yeah, but doesn't Dear God predate 'The Singing Detective'?
(dates anyone?)

Brookes McKenzie <>
>    - granted, the idea of using the little girl's voice is extremely
> cheesy. however i don't think her actual voice is that bad, in fact
> i think it's sort of pleasant, and the transition from her voice to
> andy's is somehow gratifying in an odd way that i can't really explain.

I agree wholeheartedly, only it's a little boy's voice.

Marshall V Pierce <>
> Enough about what having a kid sing part of Dear God does - does anyone know
> if the voice was really a kid's (and, if so, who and whose) or if it was A,C,
> or D voice speeded up?

It's really a little boy. Voices speeded up would sound like Pinky and Perky
(or Chip and Dale to you ;^)

John A Lane <>
> Singling Out XTC*
> Perhaps one of the biggest problems that XTC has encountered since they
> stopped touring years ago is their judgement, specifically when it relates
> to releasing viable singles.
> To wit: Skylarking fronted "Dear God", only
> after the song bubbled to the surface 'cuz of those naughty lyrics about a
> God that he doesn't believe in yet addresses nonetheless.

You think that's bad -- in the UK the single was 'The Meeting Place', jeez...

> live & learn. As for Nonsuch, "Pumpkinhead" was just the son of Simpleton.
> Too much gristle on that tune. "The Disappointed" should've been pushed
> instead, to prove how damned great they are. Hopefully, our boys will get it

Well, in the UK 'The Disappointed' was the single, and it was a minor hit
(at least, I remember it getting a lot of airplay, which isn't necessarily
the same thing), and 'Pumpkinhead' followed it up.

> Hopefully, our boys will get it right soon (before they break up).

Thing is, I don't think it's up to 'our boys' -- the record companies
seem to be doing the picking.

And I think I've heckled quite enough now -- back to lurkland...



Date: Fri, 2 Sep 94 11:27:31 BST
From: (Colin Kidgell)
Subject: UK Perspective

Here's a few titbits from a UK viewpoint that may have some bearing on the
current discussions regarding XTC.

The song 'Dear God' originally was released in the UK as the B SIDE of
Grass and was not part of Skylarking. It only became a single in its own
right following interest generated in the US, but did'nt have a big impact
this side of the Atlantic. The songs here that XTC are remembered by are
'Making Plans for Nigel', 'Senses Working Overtime' and most recently 'The

>today i listened to the first two tracks on the blur cd in the little
>listening station they had. and whoever said depeche mode is right on -
>it had the exact same thing that turns me off of such disparate groups/artists
>as the cure, the smiths, new order, billy bragg and john wesley harding -
>a ridiculously exaggerated in order to sound as pretentious as possible
>british accent.

Umm, maybe they've got a British accent because funnily enough they're British!
Here in the UK XTC are regarded to sing with a country accent, e.g. farming
people. Luckily for me I don't regard all farmers as being pretentious so I can
happily listen to XTC's music!



Date: 2 Sep 1994 08:36:11 U
From: "Wesley Wilson" <>
Subject: Sound Thrashing

Hi Dudes,

Well, to begin with I'm using a Macintosh now, and when I send mail to people
close by I get this little smiling face next to the message. But when I send
mail to people far away (like Chalkhills out in sunny Caliphornia), I get the
same smiling face but this time the dude's wearing *glasses*, which, when I
first saw this truly almost made the coffee come out of my nose, I was
laughing so hard.  (Ooh, the mail's being sent far away!) Talk about "getting
small" !#005#

Anyway, it was hard to get those little faces out of my mind for very long
and I talked with Daniel Smith briefly about this (he no explanation other
than a "haw haw you're a funny guy wes") but I will focus, since I want to
say something about "Dear God" and other stuff that's been batted around in
Chalkhills lately.

Nevermind that I can't get over a shaved-headed, sunglassed Woody Harrelson
in Natural Born Killers looking a tad like Randy Dartpidge.

"Mermaid Smiled" inferior to "Dear God"? I dunno, 'cause it's kind of a
subjective thing (like belief in God), but I really think MS is anything but
sappy, cheesy, or sentimental, but expresses an important idea about one big
thing that tends to separate childhood from adulthood; namely, the loss of
imagination and belief in things like mermaids (Santa Claus, Bigfoot, Moon
men, secret alien bases on Jupiter, etc.). I think A really believes in what
he's singing and MS ties in better with the whole cyclical thing that Todd
envisioned than Dear God does; DG is just far too doubtful a song to appear
where it does on Skylarking, IMHO. Interesting guitar tuning on MS, too, and
percussion. But maybe it reminds some people of the kind of stuff "Yes" used
to write?

Maybe it should have been "Dear Todd"? There's probably a mix of that one
stuck in some cellarhole in Swindon.

And re: "Through the Hill" I think it's okay that Andy branch out musically
but I don't "blame" Andy so much as I blame Budd. Even in my quieter moments
I can listen to some of this.

And of course we all know that Andy doesn't write just "pop songs," even
though it seems like it his songs are multilayered and complex. Senses
Working Overtime (which WFNX just played recently out here, yay!) is on one
level a pop song but it's so complex as to defy category.

I think we should change the subject from "Dear God" to Dave Gregory and how
he's the hippest looking XTC cat now. What was that bad haircut and polyester
pants phase he went through when he first joined the band?
Geezus on the back of the Ball and Chain oversized single he looks like an
old man. It's pretty sad when even The Knack looks hipper than you.

Well, onward with more serious stuff. Does the Japanese CD of Drums and Wires
sound any less muddy than my Euro version? Enquiring minds and all that...



Date: Fri, 2 Sep 94 14:42 BST-1
From: (Psion plc  Joe Odukoya)
Subject: New XTC album

> From:
> Right.
> I've been away from Chalkhills for a year, so please forgive me if I am
> recycling old news. I read a summary of upcoming album releases in the
> morning paper the other week, and to my great astonishment a new album
> by XTC (no title given) was listed for release in November. Can anybody
> confirm and/or provide additional info on this?

I have been trying to find the article I read on this but with no luck so
far. Details appeared in a mag called Music Week (here in the UK) about a
week ago.
Apparently it will be a compilation of XTC sessions recorded for Radio 1
over here and features material up until Oranges and Lemons or
thereabouts.  I will let you know as soon as I can locate the original
article. Sounds interesting though!
- Joeo -


Subject: My Two Cents on The Great Dear God Debate
Date: Fri, 02 Sep 1994 09:23:34 CDT
From: John A Lane <>

When I joined this link, not too long ago, I happened to enter in the midst
of a discussion on "Dear God". And because I have some strong feelings on
the matter, I'll throw my hat in the ring...

The song should have never found its way on to Skylarking. Fact.
I bought the first printing of Skylarking in which the song was omitted, and
having since heard the re-press, I think it's way out of place & disturbs
the flow or the mix or whatever expression you want to use. If you consider
the album as having some sort of "theme", the pissed-off attitude just
doesn't have a place on there. The cheekiest they really get is with "Super
Super Girl", but it's all rather tongue-in-cheek. I mean, putting "D.G."
onto that album would be like inserting John Lennon's "God" on Sgt. Pepper's
right after "She's Leaving Home". Yes, I know it's a silly metaphor, but you
get the point.
As for the origins & mystery of the little kid garbling in the song, well,
Andy seems to have this strange thing for putting children on his records
(i.e. Psonic Psunspot). Maybe he thinks it's cute. I think it's annoying.
Everytime I play Psonic Psunspot, I fastfoward right past those bits,
because it's embarrassing to listen to.
As for the "Dear God" video: YAWN! It was like a Flannery O'Connor story on
acid. People in trees? Andy in a black frock as a boy & man? It wasn't very
potent imagery. In fact, the visuals only served to emphacize the dirge-like
tone of that song. Still, in their favor, I have to admit that XTC's videos
are never cliche unlike [fill in any contemporary artist].
        In the end, I regard "Dear God" as pap. Andy needed to get the band
back in the spotlight, and what better way than to foist a song on the
public that is certain to cause a ruckus, albeit minor.


From: Mark Colan <>
Date:  2 Sep 94 10:39:29 ES
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #373

pmartz wrote:
> Windham (Wyndham?) Hill is just schlock.

I think the correct spelling is B-o-r-e-d-o-m.



Date: Fri, 02 Sep 1994 11:59:04 -0400 (EDT)
From: Where does that highway go to? <>
Subject: geez louise (Dear God)

Brian Swanson accused me of being hip and cool, and that hurt,
man :-)

For the record, I did not say I dislike "Dear God" because it
was popular.  "Mayor of Simpleton" is one of my favorite songs
(and you can all send me e-mail -- don't clutter the digest --
about how trite the lyrics are, which OBVIOUSLY negates my "DG"
argument...sigh...).  What I said was IN ADDITION to the fact
that I don't like "DG", it irks me that it was their biggest
hit, and often the only song they are known for.

I am all for the end of this "Dear God" argument, and wish I'd
never mentioned it off-the-cuff as I did so long ago.  What I
really wish is that this list didn't always get so caught up in
bickering.  I mean, I'm afraid to say anything half the time,
because I know someone will jump down my throat about it.  I've
called XTC my favorite band for almost 15 years now, but reading
this digest is not even fun anymore, because so many piddling
fights break out (ha, someone will probably argue with me about
*this* now).  Some of the lists I read are fun, but this one
is just exhausting.

I think John Relph is great, and I have many friends from
Chalkhills, but the in-fighting is just dumb.



Date: 2 Sep 94 04:56:00 -0500
Subject: Blur and Dear God


           I'm Scott and new to this XTC forum, but enough about BLUR
     and Dear God. Blur sounds nothing like XTC and couldn't touch them
     as far as songwriting goes. They do sound a little like the JAM but
     if you like that circa '79 Mod sound (as I do) check out GREEN DAY
     who write much better songs. And Dear God was a good song not their
     best, but who cares if a kid is singing on it? Anyway if anyone out
     there likes Jimi Hendrix, I can recommend a tribute cd released
     about '89 or '90 that features XTC (performing under a psuedonym),
     doing a song off of Electric Ladyland. XTC can sound just about like
     anyone they want, it's amazing. I've heard demo tapes of them doing
     '70's Disco, Metal and the obvious '60's ripoffs. I've been a fan
     of theirs since GO 2. One of my favorite songs is Somnambulist, anyone
     else like that one? Also Big Express doesn't suck, it just doesn't
     rate up there with Black Sea and English Settlement.

     Scott Adams
     Garland, Texas (Where?)


Date: Fri, 02 Sep 1994 15:33:50 -0500 (CDT)
From: "my world is spinning..." <LEACH@AC.GRIN.EDU> (Arlo B Leach)
Subject: don't pick on trip!

this is regarding brookes mckenzie's dismissal of trip shakespeare:

>>in my opinion trip shakespeare SUCKS. i think the lead singer's
>>voice is positively awful.

if you want to read my defense of my favorite band (yes, i even like them
better than XTC!), send me a note and i'll send it to you.

i think it's indicative of the diversity of styles that XTC's music
encompasses that two XTC fans can have such different musical tastes...!



From: Kevin Carhart <>
Subject: up with mermaid smiled!
Date: Sat, 3 Sep 1994 01:51:11 -0800 (PDT)

Dear God superior to Mermaid Smiled?  I couldn't disagree more.  I heard the
Skylarking with Dear God, and later heard Mermaid Smiled on Rag n Bone, and
I consider it one of the real treats of that CD.
        Andy's best songs IMO are the ones that don't make absolute sense
literally.  It's sleepy, dream logic.  The xylophones and watery energy are
perfect as the musical frame for a wonderful little flight that rests on the
border of growing up, like Peter Pan or the last days before Christopher Robin
gets to be too old.  "I was lucky to remain beguiled," to still believe in
mermaids and the power of imagination to lift you off the ground, before it all
gets sucked up by the grown-up world.
        Dear God is like an essay.  In my opinion, the War Dances and Books-
are-Burningses and Dear Gods that attack a relevant, topical area are not
nearly as interesting as XTC's flights through surreal, associational words.
Some songwriters don't have it in them to think in terms of "fruit of sweating
golden inca" and "striped awnings bright dismay", and the senses working
overtime!  They are always going to crank out songs about God and violation
and faith, and devotion, and the policy of truth.  They don't take you places.
XTC (especially Andy) are capable of "show, not tell," using all the nouns and
adjectives they know instead of the same old fifty about love and weather.
Imagery and sound that unfolds, and transports.



Date: Sun, 04 Sep 1994 01:38:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Martin Newell "Greatest Living..."

  Thanks to my friend Jeff Rosedale, I heard the music of Martin Newell &
Andy Partridge "The Greatest Living Englishman", and am now looking for it on
CD. Does anyone know what retailer carries this?

Paul Rafanello                               
Post-Classical Music List w/ "Help" in subject


Date: Mon, 5 Sep 94 11:08:21
Subject: Re:  Books are Burning

>> I think the song was probably inspired by the whole Salman Rushdie
>> affair with "Satanic Verses".

> That's pretty much what Andy said on MTV 120 Minutes

In the interview with Andy which was broadcast on Radio 1 in the UK when
Nonsuch was released (and which I transcribed for Chalkhills at the time),
he said that it was inspired both by that and by another incident at about
the same time where the Christian Right in the USA were burning copies of
C S Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" because they believed the books promoted
demon worship.  For those not familiar with the Chronicles, they are
actually intended to be a Christian allegory!



Date: Mon, 05 Sep 94 20:00:18 EDT
Subject: Introductory Message

My name is Vince Robinson.  I'm a new subscriber to Chalkhills after finding
the listing in the Internet Yellow Pages.

I've been an XTC listener since the early 1980's after hearing English
Settlement on my college radio station at Indiana University.


Date: 05 Sep 94 22:42:41 EDT
From: Steve Levenstein <>
Subject: real Dukes influences (Albert's K-scope) to continue with the Little Express's interview with XTC:


ANDY: What can I say about this, my goodness, the backing track
is one bass drum on a chair, and a cymbal.

COLIN: Everybody is singing on this, it's us doubled, it's that
situation where you keep doubling yourself.

ANDY: It's a bit like those records that the Small Faces and
the Kinks touched on where they had that sort of pubby ambiance.
We didn't have a pub piano so we had to screw up a real piano
and record it with a wobble on and slow the tape down so it was
out of tune. "Albert Brown" is actually a mixture between my
Grandfather and my Grandmother, because my Grandfather's called
Albert Partridge, and my Grandmother was Elsie Brown. So he's
Albert Brown and he was wounded in the first World War and he's
really popular down the pub, always getting the drinks in and
is permanently drunk. It was a good little "I was Kaiser Bill's
Batman" knees-up to do, and the spoon solo nearly broke my hand!
I've never played spoons before but I thought it can't be
difficult it's only two spoons.

COLIN: Sounds real good actually.

ANDY: I had all these bruises over the first finger of my left
hand where I'm whacking it, you have to run it down your fingers
to get all the crackly bits. Let me think, what other instrument-
-ation's on it? Oh, there's a megaphone, "Come on all you chaps,
sing along with me", that sort of thing. So it's a cross between
"Oh What a Lovely War", you have to imagine First World War
soldiers, but done with a sort of Carnaby Street style, because
Carnaby Street was infatuated with "Your Country Needs You!",
Lord Kitchener and Edwardian things generally; so it's a mish
mash of all that in one song.

COLIN: There's a bit of synth brass in there.

ANDY: Yeah, we thought it would be nice to have some brass on it
and in the rush we couldn't get the brass so at the last minute
we relented and put a little synthesized tube of it on.

L.E.: So you're still using your mellotron.

ANDY: Oh yeah, that's all over this record, you just lean on the
mellotron and it's 1967 again. Like the Tardis, you're suddenly
taken back. The mellotron was bought in Wales for about 250 quid,
really cheap; that's what this band's into - cheap technology,
ha ha, redundant technology! So, Albert Brown comes to it's
grinding drunken inevitable end and there's all that laughing.

L.E.: I can imagine the next track, "Collideascope", being a lot
of people's favourite on first listening.

ANDY: This might be my all time favourite on this record, it's
certainly a favourite. This is supposed to be like a very much
"dyed in the wool" Lennon piece of psychedalia. It's somewhere
between "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "All You Need is Love",
it's reasonably choral and has that kind of pumping rhythm.
The lyrics are complete nonsense, it's basically about looking
down a kaleidascope the wrong end and seeing the world all going
wrong. It's all like references to things like putting a nail
in your eye, seeing things wrongly, everything upside down, you'll
see ships fall out of the sky, sort of psychedelic type things that
were being written at the time. Full of juxtapositions of wrong
things, as in stuff like plasticine porters etc. It's sort of an
easy trick to do because you just grab any two incongruous things
and marry them together, and you get instant "Lucy in the Sky with
Diamonds" lyrics.

L.E.: It's difficult on this album to know who's harmonizing where.

ANDY: Well, I'm harmonizing myself on the chorus of this, "Wakey
Wakey little sleeper".

COLIN: It depends who's in the studio at the time.

ANDY: Yeah, if Colin's in the bath, I'll have to do my own doubling.

L.E.: It's even more difficult on the Dukes' project because you're
getting into more of these distorted voices.

ANDY: Disguising your voices, yeah, well I tried to sing this one
really Lennon-y, like you're supposed to have a bit of chewing gum
in your mouth when you're doing it.

COLIN: Actually, on Vanishing Girl we both sang lead vocal and
blended the two voices together.

ANDY: So it sounds more Hollies, they used to have two people
singing in unison and you couldn't tell who it was.

COLIN: Well, your voice is a bit more nasal, to sound like Allan

ANDY: Because look at the size of these nostrils! If you want
something pretty nasal, you could park your truck up here,
you really could!

COLIN: Well, I didn't want to say it!

ANDY: The funny little voices about half way through Collideascope
are from that wretched little comedy series "Nearest and Dearest",
which took place in a pickle factory in the north of England.
It starred Jimmy Jewel and Hilda Baker, and she has this funny
surreal way of talking. She says things like "Yer not going to
stay in this house on the put it up bed", and she gets all the
words wrong.

COLIN: "Living in holy mattressmony".

ANDY: "The world is my lobster", that sort of thing, and we just
nicked a bit of stuff from the feature film of "Nearest and
Dearest", and you can hear Jimmy Jewel saying "Bloody Nora!"
'cause that was his catch-phrase. Colin's doing some sawing on
the track, so if it sounds like sawing, that's what he's actually
doing. We miked up a piece of wood and saw, and then the piece
clonks off, and "Bloody Nora!", then there's a sort of terrible
scream, and then you hear Hilda Baker saying "The only changes
here will be made over my dog's body". She says some wonderful

COLIN: Some of her phrases are very sort of Lennonesque anyway.

ANDY: That sort of stuff from "Spaniard in the Works", he
talks in this kind of - we took a trip 'round Pickininny Surplus,
saw the statue of Eric and then to Buckinghell Palace - well she
actually talks like that so we thought it would be good to nick
bits of that and throw it in. The big crunching sound on there
is a big bin full of tambourines, one tambourine didn't sound
any good, so we put about a dozen of these tambourines in a
bin, and I smashed it up and down on the floor, and it sounded
pretty good.

... to be continued...           ---> Steve


Date: Mon, 5 Sep 94 21:04:53 PDT
From: John Relph <>
Subject: Re: Hops and Barley
Organization: Chalkhills Anonymous

Quoth (James Dignan) :

>Can anyone tell me why the CD release of Drums and Wires (or my copy, at
>least) doesn't contain the wonderfully bouncy Life Begins at the Hop? I
>know damn well it was on the LP release, but t'aint on the CD. Why?

There ain't no good reason.  But see the Chalkhills FAQ file (Answers
to Frequently Asked Questions) for more details.

and Marshall V Pierce <> asks:

>Enough about what having a kid sing part of Dear God does - does anyone know
>if the voice was really a kid's (and, if so, who and whose) or if it was A,C,
>or D voice speeded up?

Definitely a GIRL (not a woman).  Not any of XTC, not speeded up.
It's in fact one Jasmine Veillette, a ten year old American girl (see
the FAQ for more details).

        -- John


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