Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #399

              Chalkhills Digest, Number 399

                Tuesday, 20 December 1994

Today's Topics:
                   Re: Rip Van Wegmann
                     Demos And Such..
                 New Music Recommendation
                    She grows tired...
                        Odd mixes
                  cor-X-tion in Chalk398
                  REing' a few topics...
                      Re: XTC & PCs
              Some Public Personal Reactions
              Skylarking...Lawrence or not?
                      XTC Bootlegs?
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #397
                     new chalkhiller
                Hello and Fun with Lyrics
                     XTC/comic books
                       Eno? Froom?
                Re: Favorite XTC couplets
                drumlessness and producers
               ---     Hullo, this Chalkhi
                        some such
                  Re: new member and XTC
            post-Skylarking recommendations??
                   Cuba etc. etc. etc.


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Untie the gown, float to the ground...


Date: Fri, 16 Dec 94 12:56:27 PST
From: John Relph <>
Subject: Re: Rip Van Wegmann

Bob Wayne <> writes:
>John Relph and William Carroll's discusion of Robert Wegmann,  in #395, has
>me interested in tracking down Wegmann's releases.  Anyone have a source for

Write to Robert Wegmann at:

    Fumiko Records
    803 East Chelsea Street
    Tampa, Florida  33603 (JD MACK), whose e-mail address has recently
changed, writes:
>  How about the unreleased CD single
>for "World Wrapped In Grey" with "Rip Van Rubin" on it?  Or the
>flexi-single of "Rip Van Rubin?"

I'd like to *see* the single for "Rip Van Ruben".  But I do have one
of the "Wrapped In Grey" singles.  Sorry, not for sale.

Thanks for Christmas.

        -- John


From: Damon Z Cassell <>
Subject: Demos And Such..
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 18:50:48 -0500 (EST)

Hello from (snowy) Boston...

Figured I would add my rare 2 cents..

I have the "new" demo CD's that people have been discussing, numbers 1
through 5.  I believe there are 7 CD's total.  Anyways, a friend from
NYC fetched them for me on a recent trip.  Real rare XTC stuff is kind
of hard to come by here in Boston.  These demo CD's really are bootlegs
it seems, as there are no real record label information on them, other
than the words "Extatic".  The CD's are numbere "EX-001" to "EX-007".
They cover demo material from Nonsuch and Oranges And Lemons, as well as
a whole lot of other stuff.  Quality is poor for a CD, obviously cheap
bootlegging from tape.  Interesting stuff though, and I fetched five of
them for 19 dollars a pop (add it up kids, over 100 bucks in XTC stuff
in one day).

On a sidenote, "Drums And Wireless" is available on the shelf at several
Boston area record stores, including Newbury Comics.  Nice album, but
sounds so much like the *real* recorded material...*sigh*.

Back to my cave, now...

I remain,

Damon Cassell
Northeastern University, Boston.


Date: Fri, 16 Dec 1994 18:31:27 -0600
From: (Michael De Bernardi)
Subject: New Music Recommendation

I recently came across a CD that I think would be of great interest to many
Chalkhillians, particularly those who enjoy the Beach Boys/Beatles
influence on the band.

The Band:       The High Llamas
The Disc:       Gideon Gaye

It's really cool and one of the most well-produced albums to come along in
a long while.  Lots of the above-mentioned influence mixed in with that
happening "british sound" that everyone on Chalkhills is talking about.
Blows Blur out of the water.  I think I read somewhere that it's a couple
of guys from Microdisney and Stereolab, but don't let that dissuade you.
It's on Delmore Records and there is even an email address on the disc for
info:  Delmore S  Give it a listen and share what you think.

Note:  I have no investment in your purchase other than the satisfaction of
turning you on to some cool music.

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


Date: 16 Dec 94 21:12:09 EST
From: Steve Levenstein <>
Subject: She grows tired...

   "All through the iron season" we wait for new material from
XTC, and pass our time discussing XTC minutae to keep us warm...

   Re: "Punch and Judy" lyrics : "...she grows tired, cab is hired.."
I refered to my Beeswax CD, and according to it's booklet the line
reads: "she grows tired, canned he's fired".
   OK, I'll admit that my CD was made by Virgin Records Japan!

   New album title: How about "Steam Megaphone"? I noticed the phrase
 from James Dignan's sig., but I think it's an album title just
waiting to happen.
                         ...thanx for Xmas and XTC,   ---> Steve


Subject: Odd mixes
From: (JD MACK)
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 94 00:07:00 -0500
Organization: Online Technologies, Inc. - 301-738-0001

I have an article from a magazine called "Aware" from about 1984, that
tries to put forth a complete XTC discography.  The article discusses
several alternate mixes that had been released up until that time that
I'm curious about.

1. According to the article, there was an earlier version of "Are You
Receiving Me" produced by John Leckie that Andy said has a wah-organ
sound.  The version we all know and love is a re-recording produced by
Martin Rushent, despite what the production credit reads on some
releases.  It is possible that the earlier version was released on early
French pressings of "Go2."  Has anyone ever found a copy with the
alternate recording?

2. The single of "Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down" is supposed to be a
different mix than the one found on "Waxworks."  Which mix is found on
the "Compact XTC - The Singles" CD?  Has the other version ever been
released on CD?

3. The mix of "Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass" is supposed to be
different between the single version, and the "Beeswax" version.  Which
version appears on the "Rag & Bone Buffet" CD?  Has the other version
ever appeared on CD?

Any help with these questions will be greatly appreciated.


Date:         Sat, 17 Dec 94 02:14:14 EST
From: "Gene (Sp00n) Yoon" <ST004422@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU>
Subject:      cor-X-tion in Chalk398

AK!  I meant _Mick_ Glossop, MICK Glossop, not "Mike" Glossop!!  I meant
to correct it, but the old one got posted anyway.  A momentary lapse of
reason.  :)  I've always known it's Mick, so I don't know what came over
me when I wrote that.  Oh well, let the deluge of irritated responses
come down on me////


Date: Sat, 17 Dec 1994 03:30:21 -0500
Subject: REing' a few topics...

Two things caught my interest in Chalkhills 398, and if I may bend you eyes
for a moment, I'd like to add my two cents:

Valerie Jean Williams <> writes:

>Well, I see many people still chatting about this, i HAD to offer
>my 2 cents:  as far as the earlier (everyone seems to agree that this
>means pre-Skylarking) XTC stuff being "rough", I would have to >agree, but
>only half-way....Go-2, Drums & Wires, and some of Big Express >and English
>Settlement (?) could be described as rough in some places, but in >others
>not. Can't you see "This World Over" or "Ten Feet Tall" on >Mummer?

Then, Neil McGowan IAMPR@WVNVAXA.WVNET.EDU writes

>I have to say that i agree with the thing about XTC having gone
>through changes so dramatic that they could almost be considered >to not
>the band they once were. (Sorry about the over-wordyness, i'm >seeking
>professional help about that.)  I find it interesting that people like
>to consider "skylarking" the departure point, though.  Wouldn't the >ob-
>vious choice be right after "English Settlement"?  They stopped >tour-
>ing, they lost their drummer, and "Mummer" is DEFINATELY a >different
>album than anything they'd done before that.  Hey, in my opinion, >Sky-
>larking is just a better written and produced Mummer.

>    Actually, I'd even go so far to say that XTC is 3 bands.  "drums &
>wires" is a departure from "Go 2" and "White Music".

I would have to agree with Neil on this one, although I think there are some
interesting points  are being brought up here by Valerie Jean.  Each time a
member has left, and then either been replaced (the Barry Andrews - Dave
Gregory) or not (Terry Chambers - Drummer of the Day), somewhat drastic
shifts have taken place in their music.  It is with that idea that I
generally agree with Neal.  Valerie Jean, however points out something that
seemed obvious to me, but tends to be overlooked in general.  With every
album, XTC seem to widen their capabilitess somewhat, yet always seem able to
refer to some part of their history.  Does not "Peter Pumpkinhead" suggest,
at least on some level, Terry Chambers drum style?  That would be true of
other songs, like "Earn Enough For Us", "Funk Pop A Roll", and just about
half of "The Big Express".  So, in summary on this subject, they're just
adding to their  'box of styles', so to speak.

Also, James Kosmicki <>

>Bravo to BarryR7704 in Chalkhills 397! Andy really needs to realize that
>he NEEDS outside perspective to fully realize his music.  As an English
>teacher, I have this fight with my students every semester, just not
>concerning music.  They need to realize, as does Andy, that the creator is
>oftentimes the least effective arbitrer of quality.  If Andy wants to
>produce music for just himself, he can have it sound however he wants.
>However, if he wants others to hear it, he needs to have others telling
>him what they are really hearing.  Andy knows what he wants the music to
>sound like, so that is what he will hear, regardless of what is actually

>Also,Skylarking and English Settlement are their absolutely best albums, and
>both have rather strong outside producers.  This should be a clue.

While I tend to agree to the "arbitrer of quality" line in principle, I would
hesitate to bestow that quality to most record producers.  I'm definitely
stereotyping here, but there are a great deal of record producers out there
who are more interested in making someone sound more like the producer's idea
of quality.  That is a well documented problem.  In the realm of "art",
however you define it in this context, one could make the argument that Andy
has the right to release things the way he wants, and we have the right to
reject the results in return.  Art may be the one place in human existence
where that should always be the open option.  Ok, enough devils advocate;  On
the subject of the strength of Skylarking and English Settlement, you're
right, they are wonderful albums, yet for different reasons.  On ES, I
believe that XTC themselves were at the height of their own commerciality.  I
don't think that Hugh Padgam had a great deal to do with the selection and
modification of the actual material - he was certainly responsible for the
album physically sounding the way that it did.

Todd Rundgren, however, had everything to do with the manipulation of the
song material, and that resulting tension, also well documented, produced
that stunning piece if work.  I know it would be a cold day in hell before
they would ever consider it, but I wish that they would give Todd Rundgren
another try.  What does everyone else think?  Thanks for your time.

John L.

P.S. - Sorry that this is so long.


Date: Sat, 17 Dec 1994 06:12:04 -0500
From: curtiss@MindSpring.COM (Curtiss Hammock)
Subject: Re: XTC & PCs

>trivia that's sort of unrelated to XTC:  Swindon is home to the Intel
>factory in England-- so REAL XTC fans drive PC's, not Mac's ;)  (I am
>assuming, of course, that REAL XTC fans don't do much floating point
>division.)   -Tobin.

You love a first rate band, why settle for a second rate computer?  I have
a Mac at home and use a PC at work.  The PC is like a Ford Escort.  It'll
get you where you're going, but it's no Lexus.  I can't afford a Lexus, but
I can a Mac.

I bet Andy didn't use a PC on The Greatest Living Englishman.  Does
anyone know?

Also, don't forget how little regard the folks in Swindon have for our boys.

|                                ______________________  |
|    Curtiss R.Hammock II       |                ___   | |
|       MacBeth Design          | This Space    /- -\  | |
| Online Macintosh Users' Group |Reserved For  <\*]*/> | |
|      Atlanta, GA, USA         | Something      \~/   | |
|                               |  Clever...      `    | |
|      |______________________| |


Date: Sat, 17 Dec 94 14:40:00 UTC
Subject: Some Public Personal Reactions

No one on the Jangly mailing list knew---does anyone here know anything
about the Let's Kiosk EP by Martin Newell that was mentioned in ICE a couple
of issues back?

Gil---you're lucky you can shop at Obsessed With Music.  I'd much rather
spend my hard earned bucks at a nice, personal store owned by a bona fide
XTC fanatic than at any one of the impersonal chains where the clerks all
think they're too cool for words!

Craig Vreeken---So YOU get to shop at Obsessed With Music too, eh?  No fair!
I don't begrudge you and Gil getting to shop there...I just begrudge the
fact that I can't (it's a bit of a commute from Milwaukee, Wisconsin!)

Chuck Stipak---Do tell us (in installments, perhaps) of your encounters with
Andy, Colin, Dave and Barry.  That's the beauty of this digest!

Adam Ostermann---Have you volunteered to help with the XTC convention, which
with any luck, will be in Madison this coming summer.  If you need the name
and address of the contact person, look in the last Little Express or ask



Date: Sat, 17 Dec 1994 12:22:59 -0600 (CST)
From: "And how they'll be jealous of both of us..." <>
Subject: Skylarking...Lawrence or not?

In the last issue, a reader expressed an concern whether or not
"Sky-larking" a term lifted from a D.H. Lawrence story for XTC's
album.  Well, frankly, I don't know.  What I do know is that according
to _Chalkhills and Children_ by Chris Twomey (great book...the
definitive [and only, I think] XTC pseudo-biography), there was so
much friction in the studio between Rundgren and Partridge that they
thought the album was going to be a disaster.  So to combat the
ill-will of the recording booths, they named the album "Skylarking,"
a placid, easy-off-the-tongue kind of a name.  There you go.

Sorry if I wasn't of much help. I just like to see myself type,
sometimes. ;)



Date: Sat, 17 Dec 1994 12:31:49 -0600 (CST)
From: "And how they'll be jealous of both of us..." <>
Subject: XTC Bootlegs?

Yes, yes, YES! I WANT to be poor!  I WANT to spend my money for food
on XTC CD's!  So, if anyone knows anything at all about these mythical
bootlegs (ah, a label and catalog number would be sooo nice) e-me
personally or through Chalkhills.  A place to aquire these babies
would also be the bee's knees, if you know what I mean.

Toodles again,


Date: Sat, 17 Dec 1994 13:57:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #397

Hello All!  I host a late night radio program on WMMR-FM in
Philadelphia.  I just spoke to a friend from Geffen Records who tells
me a new XTC album will be available in the first half of 1995.  They
are shooting for the first quarter of the year but that is not for sure.
This person(who will remain nameless) also feels that this could be
the last XTC album for good.  There had been talk amongst the
Geffen people in early 1994 that there would be no more output from
the band, but now it looks like they'll give it a go one more time.

Happy Christmas!

P.S.  With the holiday season here, try to find the Geffen holiday
sampler from a few years ago.  It features spoken Christmas
 greetings from various Geffen artists(GnR's, Thunder, etc....)
including XTC.  There are two from Andy:  a spoken "Psychedelic
Christmas" and a short (:36) "Merry Christmas Song."  The tune is
Andy accompanied by an acoustic guitar.  It was not available to the
public but it could turn up in a record store that handles promo items.
The CD's serial number is PRO-CD-4363.  Happy Hunting!


Date: Sun, 18 Dec 1994 00:49:23 -0500
Subject: new chalkhiller

here is the (i suppose) requisite introduction:

-my name is brian
-i currently reside in san francisco
-my first (cursory) introduction to xtc was the 'senses
  working overtime' video on early 80's mtv--thought it was
  moderately catchy, but chorus too 'sesame street' for me.
-a friend bought _mummer_ upon its release on a whim. i taped
  it (horrors!). fell in love with it.
-started saving up me hard-allowanced $$ for more xtc,
  beginning w/ uk _english settlement_ double album (had my
  head screwed on straight even as a teen)
-the rest is history.

on to present day:

just read the _chalkhills & children_ bio last week (where i
came up with my o-so-clever aol id). i found myself siding with colin & dave
when it comes to production, etc.--even though i could easily see andy's
point (they're his songs, who better to decide how they sound and so on).

am i rehashing old topics? sorry...all i've read so far is the faq
and the digest.index.  speaking of which, why in the world does
blur deserve all the attention they've apparently been given?


so, the ultimate point is (are): xtc are without a doubt my most favorite
all-time band, and i'm quite looking forward to ensuing discussions and other



From: "Buck E. Ball" <>
Subject: Hello and Fun with Lyrics
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 1994 16:11:56 -0500 (EST)

Fellow 'hillians,

Quick Intro: My name is Joe. The statisticians calculate my age at 28.11.
I originally became a fan through, oddly, the press. After reading a long
(and favorable, as I recall) review of O&L in that paragon of "alternative"
journalism, _The Boston Phoenix_, I bought the "album" and have been
enchanted ever since. That I continue to be, some years later, is but a
small tribute to a combination of lyrics and music rarely (if ever)
found in pop these days. Also a fan of: Kate Bush (and other bands/
performers who no longer tour and release a new album only every few years
[insert smiley here]).

 From the Fun with Lyrics Dept: Consider these from English Settlement:

... life's like a jig-saw you get the straight bits but there's something
    missing in the middle. - Andy

... I know when you're living and I know when you're dust the fly on the
    wall he's seeing it all. One is born and one will die, it's all
    understood that the bit that's in the middle doesn't count. - Colin

Sorry if I've stumbled on a already-discussed topic (not that this is much
of one). I've been a reader for many issues and haven't seen something
like this mentioned before. Makes me wonder if Andy and Colin write together
or if this is just an interesting coincidence. Thanks for the all the info,
interviews, and the musical tangents I've been able to follow by being here.

PS - If anyone has a copy of the review mentioned above that they would be
willing to send me please let me know. I'd enjoy reading it again.


Date: Sun, 18 Dec 1994 01:46:59 -0500
Subject: XTC/comic books

As I'm sure your aware, Andy Partridge was (or is) a comic book fan. To the
best of my memory, all of his comic book song references are to various DC
Comics characters: Supergirl, Sgt. Rock, Justice League, etc.

In addition to suscribing to Chalkhills, I'm on staff in New York City at DC
Comics, as the Director - Direct Market Sales.  There are lots of XTC fans at
DC, including the current editor of Superman.

We understand that XTC will be in New York in 95 to work in the studio.  What
we're looking for is a way to let Andy know that he has fans at DC Comics,
and invite him to visit our offices, take the tour, see the DC Library and
all of our rare comics, etc.  If you have a way to pass this message along to
Andy and/or XTC, please do so.  Thanks in advance for any help you can


Bob Wayne
DC Comics
1325 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019


Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 14:28:57 -0800
From: (James Dignan)
Subject: Eno? Froom?

>From: Chris Zinn <>
>My own choice would be for Mitchell Froom to produce the band.

>From: Kevin Carhart <>
>>I humbly submit names like Eno
>Yeah..  this really rings true with me....

I can certainly understand Chris's suggestion - espeially hearing Froom's
work with the likes of Crowded House. Similarly Kevin's (and whoever it was
before him - sorry, I forget). Personally, I think Eno is the single most
creative force in today's music (IMHO - flame at will). However, I'm
inclined to think that his brand of facilitation and production might not
be *quite* right for XTC. I'd be more inclined to pick Eno's frequent
colleague Daniel Lanois.

As to the essential Englishness of XTC, Robyn Hicthcock etc, I would
describe the sound as quaint. I don't mean that in the usual way of
everything that's bad about being ramshackle, oldfashionewd and rustic, I
mean it in the same way as you could describe Constable's paintings as
being quaint (ie, ramshackle, rustic and old-fashioned, but in a GOOD way).
or TV fans, that's "Darling Buds of May" Englishness, not Benny Hill...
Okay, so I'm not making much sense today...

Musical recommendation for the day: Calenture   (The Triffids)

James Dignan, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

J'habite 50 Norfolk St., St. Clair, Dunedin, New Zealand
pixelphone =AB=BB steam megaphone NZ 03-45=

   * You talk to me as if from a distance
   * and I reply with impressions chosen from another time, time, time,
   * from another time                     (Brian Eno)


Date: Mon, 19 Dec 94 09:27:53 EST
From: (Joe Hartley)
Subject: Re: Favorite XTC couplets

In Chalkhills #398, Andisheh Nouraee asked for our favorite couplets.
My two favorites (this week) are:

"People will always be tempted to wipe their feet
On anything with 'Welcome' written on it."  - Snowman

"I would have made this instrumental
But the words got in the way."  - No Language in Our Lungs

         Joe Hartley - - Cadre Technologies, Inc.
Without deviation from the norm, "progress" is not possible. - Frank Zappa
       Loostner's Castor Oil Flakes - The All-weather Breakfast!
      This Green Card line is here to cheese off Canter and Siegel.


Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 11:46:04 -0500
From: John Lorch <>
Subject: drumlessness and producers

On Fri, 16 Dec 1994 in Chalkhill #398, Valerie Jean Williams wrote:

> One more word on this drummer controversy and how everyone seems to be so
> in love with Nonsuch: This *no drummer for XTC* thing really makes me
> think Andy has lost his mind. I forget who, but thanks to whoever pointed
> out the brilliance of the heavy drums on Drums & Wires..say it aint so!!

        Actually, I think I'd like to see them do an album without drums
- and no drum machines, either!  Why does everything have to have drums?
They could do a perfectly great album without a drum.  If they want to
have percussion, that's certainly possible, but it's also possible to
play guitars and keyboards in a percussive, rhythmic manner that would
fill all the requirements for which one might ordinarily employ a
drummer. Push the envelope!  Forward in all directions!

        Chris Zinn on the subject of dream producers...

> My own choice would be for Mitchell Froom to produce the band.  Like
> Andy he makes songs into aural artifacts, he's sensitive to and
> imaginative about complex mixes, and has a strong artistic vision which
> would be a match for Andy's own.  His work for Richard Thompson, Los Lobos
> and others is without peer and has helped those artists define their work.

        Ahhhh!  _Please_, not Mitchell Froom!  I'm getting so tired of
hearing Mitchell Froom.  I much prefer the earlier Richard Thompson albums
to the ones Froom has produced.  (like Richard Thompson needed someone to
define his work!) They're great albums, but I'm hoping Thompson will start
working with someone else again soon.  (not likely, as I recall he worked
a lot with Joe Boyd before switching to Froom).

        I'd like to second the suggestion of Brian Eno, who can very
subtly add amazing dimensions to anything he works with.  Might bring out
some of Andy's more experimental side (or Dave's, for that matter).  Daniel
Lanois would be a good choice too.

John Lorch                            
International Student Advisor                   phone 410-455-2624
International Education Services, University of Maryland Baltimore County


Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 12:43:25 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: greetings


I am an Australian Student studying in the U.S at Palmer collegee of Chi_
chiropractic in Davenport Iowa.

I first began enjoying XTC years ago when "Drums and Wires" was
released. Everything they have done to date has given me listening
pleasure. Highlights include; English Settlement, The Dukes...,
O&L, Skylarking, and the superb Nonsuch.

The music is exciting yet mellow; lyrics are searching, intelligent,
and also witful. And jangling guitars are abundant. (Doesn't the
guitar on "One of the millions sound like a bell ? Love it.)

XTC must be taken for what they are: I think all recordings
complement each other, making the "whole" of XTC. I listen to all
their material. Even though they are introspective and questioning,
joy to  what they do.i



Date: 19 Dec 1994 10:32:14 U
From: "Bob Sherwood" <>
Subject: ---     Hullo, this Chalkhi

     Hullo, this Chalkhills business is just what the doctor ordered for
boring days in this corporate wasteland where I earn my Rotosounds.
Why "Chalkhillians", though, if you'll forgive such a pedestrian query?  I
would think it more appropriate were we to refer to ourselves as
"Chalkhilists".  It's fitting, somehow...
     A-hem.  I'm intrigued by the "Dream Producer" discussion we've had on
the table for a while here.  Interesting.  Also the "Covers Game" is amusing.
 The only thing that springs to my mind vis this particular pursuit is
"Mermaid Smiled" as a duet with Andy and Sinatra ("...borne on foaming
seahorse herrrrrrdddd....JACK!")
             When I ponder the producer issue, though, I'm getting a blank,
and I'll tell you why- I don't think ANY producer (with the obvious exception
of "Sod Rumplestumple" as Lennon referred to him once in the infamous
correspondence pages of early-70's Melody Maker) has really managed to make
that much of a mark on XTC.  Andy asked for huge drums.  Padgham and
Lillywhite kicked down- they where the KINGS of Big Drum in the late
70's-early 80's.  Andy asked for a psychedelic, vintage feel; Leckie was
definitely the man.  Andy wanted a wacked blend of
vintage-kitchen-sinkery and finger-on-the-pulse-production for "O&L".  Hence
Paul Fox (a relative newcomer that he could probably ride fairly
     What I'm trying to say is that on one hand, we're paying tribute to this
guy, with his itinerant, peculiar creative spirit, but on the other we're
saying he shouldn't be allowed the rope with which to hang himself; that he
can't be trusted with his own creative impulses.  It's a big contention of
the Twomey tome (via the quotes of Mssrs. Gregsy and Moulding) that Partridge
has never let anyone "produce" XTC, and hence they've never had a shot at the
big-time.  I postulate that had Partridge not gone "casualty" in 1981 XTC
would be a household name now, whether they were produced by George Martin or
Van Vliet himself (the smelly old genius- he even covered that XTC song,
"Ella Guru").  That is where I personally see the problem, and there's really
nothing for it.  I think they would have had an REMish-sort of slow,
inexorable climb.  It's tough to say what would have been different had Andy
produced the lion's share of XTC output himself in the present non-promoting
mindset, or whether he'd allowed Virgin U.K. to saddle him with some
Spectorian, airplay- obsessed producer/Christ.  Every time Virgin and the
fellas have said, "O.K.- this is it- hit-time," and gone in and done a "Wait
'Til Your Boat" or a "Grass" it's been just DISASTROUS from a commercial
standpoint.  The hits have always come from odd places, for odd reasons
("Dear God", "Senses", etc.).  I don't know- works for me.  I say we let Andy
do it.  He always pretty much has anyway, and if it had been different, we
might not be sitting here today talking about how great XTC is.   One can sum
up the Partridge legacy in one small, twisted phrase:  "it's broken- don't
fix it."
     I know Virgin ain't going to turn around and say, "you go, Andy,"
but that's between Andy, his muse and his conscience.  There's a million
decent indies that would give ANYTHING to get XTC.  Even without a tour.
It's not like Virgin is making them rich or paying for their kid's schooling
or something.
     If Andy's vision is the bottom line, then f*cking let Andy do it.  No
one was trying to foist L.A. and Babyface on Brian Wilson circa 1966.  The
Lads had Martin but Martin was there from day one- he was a big player from
the get-go.  Andy's the kind of artist who will put a "bad" song on an album
because "there needs to be a 'bad song' here" (see, shall we say, oh,
"Leisure"?).  Know what I mean?  If commercial viability is the bottom line
we're barking up the wrong tree on a biblical scale.
     As far as the drum issue, I will put my two cents into two words that
will, I'm sure, invoke a lot of ire (as well they should): Stewart Copeland.
Call it devilish advocacy.


From: (Andre de Koning)
Date: Mon, 19 Dec 94 22:20:45 +0100
Subject: some such


Here are some loose bits I have floating around in my head. Thought I'd
share these with you all, hope it's amusing at the least.

Tribute/Testimonial XTC: Paul McCartney should do _Holly Up on Poppy_.
It's already Andy McCartney the way it is now :-). If someone promises
that profits (HA!) will go to some vegetarian cause, he might even
really do it :-).

Question to Dave: In _This World Over_ (the album version), three
minutes into the song (after the 'You sadly grin' part) there is a 'gap'
of about 15 seconds where I always feel like there could have been some
sort of solo or something. Maybe something was left out of the mix at
the last moment?

Big Express sucks?: If there is one XTC album that ever came close to
sucking, it must have been _Go 2_ (and only on a few tracks on side 2).

Producers: All recommendations sound great! Just let them get on with
it, and not pick a too expensive producer/studio so that we won't have
to wait over three years. Our daughter was born almost on the release
date of _Nonsuch_, she isn't even three and she can walk, talk and I'm
afraid that she is able to do a lot more by the time XTC have a new
record out...

Ok, ok. I'll stop. Best wishes to all!!
-- Andre


Date: Mon, 19 Dec 1994 17:50:06 -0500
Subject: Re: new member and XTC

Hi everyone. I am a new member from LA, CA.. I really enjoy the XTC listings.

I am a musician in LA and a big XTC fan..
I find is not surprising but amazing that the band does not have a record
deal.. Gee maybe the band is demanding what is due to them like true
publishing rights?

I admire Andy's wisdom and talk a few chalkhills ago about someday
downloading music as he said "from cottage to consumer" and not be charged
for someones expense account or misc charges that record companies charge
artists. Somethings has to give. Then , maybe a lot more interesting music
will reach a lot more people.

Everyone seems to talk a lot of why they don't tour.
Did anyone out there ever see Andy on MTV say something like:

"If you can go to the record store and buy a slice of my soul,  why would you
want to spend twice as much to see my pork"

I saw XTC with Oingo Boingo in LA 1983ish?

Great but I didn't jones until Skylarking and O&L..

If those are the records we get if they don' tour I hope they stay home.No
body needs to tour anymore to promote a record.
I bet Andy would be hard to work for or with, especially drummers. I am a
drummer and can hear the struggles on the CD's and love it. You would have to
swallow your pride and pretend your clay in an art studio.

Andy, Colin and Dave are an inspiration for a lot of musicians. and artists


Date: Tue, 20 Dec 1994 16:00:22 +0730
From: (James Dignan)
Subject: post-Skylarking recommendations??

>OK, so I'm in the "post-Skylarking" camp. Can you recommend other groups I
>might like (more Beatle-like harmonies, rich production, etc)?

BJ - If you love the Beatles, and love Skylarking, try Robyn Hitchcock and
the Egyptians. Some of RH's work is deliberately UNDER-produced, but the
more lush albums like Perspex Island and Respect may be just up your

You *might* also like Brian Eno & John Cale's album "Wrong Way Up"

You might also like Australian bands The Church (try "Heyday") and The
Triffids (try "Calenture")

James Dignan, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

J'habite 50 Norfolk St., St. Clair, Dunedin, New Zealand
pixelphone =AB=BB steam megaphone NZ 03-45=

   * You talk to me as if from a distance
   * and I reply with impressions chosen from another time, time, time,
   * from another time                     (Brian Eno)


Date:         Mon, 19 Dec 94 21:19:48 EST
From: Melissa Reaves <MREAVES@KENTVM.KENT.EDU>
Subject:      Cuba etc. etc. etc.

Hey there all you historians!  I've been trying to figure something out
for a long while.  What was going on in '79 or '80 with world politics
that prople were comparing (at the time) to the Cuban missile crisis?
All I remember is my social studies teacher explaining it (the Cuban deal)
to us in 7th or 8th grade, but I don't remember what was going on at the
time that prompted the discussion.  I would have totally forgotten the
whole thing if it hadn't been for "Living through Another Cuba" and it's
been niggling at me ever since I 1st heard it.  Or maybe it's a figment of
my imagination?  Lots of things are.  Anyway, someone who was a little
older at the time, let me know if you know.

And these reflections bring me to my thoughts on _Black Sea_ in general and
XTC's split personality.  My 1st XTC album was _Mummer_.  _The Big Express_
came out soon, and soon after that _Skylarking_ and I didn't start going
backwards until later.  My 1st listen to _Black Sea_ was on a Greyhound bus
sitting with some complete stranger of a kid who just happened to have a
Walkman (excuse me, personal stereo) with an extra headphone jack and to
be listening to none other.   I wasn't that impressed.  Rough, I thought.

And when I finally got a copy for myself, I had the same reaction.  I did,
of course, finally warm up to it and its companion album, _Drums & Wires_
and they are among my favorites today.

I say companion album because I tend to break XTC's career into not two
but three periods and I see their albums as coming in pairs.  The early,
rough period runs from _White Music_ through _Black Sea_.  Their aptly
named middle period runs from _English Settlement_ through _Skylarking_.
I call the current one the mature period.  Not as in old, but as in like
fine wine.  You can just watch them, feel them coming into themselves
when you listen through their discography chronologically.  I still
can hardly stand the 1st two except in an affectionate way.  I mean
you can't hate it.  You just have to smile.  The hiccups, the weird
electronic sounds, the strange little lyrics.  But the genius is there.
Even though, as a friend once put it, _Go 2_ is good for little more
than a frisbee.  Still, gotta love it.

I can't wait to see what the rest of the mature period brings.  And I
do wish they'd tour again.  Wouldn't it be fun to see those old greats
reexplored?  You'd think they'd want to play with them once in a while.
Think about it, Andy.

Anyway, I know I've gone on much too long, but I figure most of you are
on vacation right now anyway and someone's got to post, right?

I felt just like a crusader, Lionheart the Holy Land invader



End of Chalkhills Digest #399

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