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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #402


              Chalkhills Digest, Number 402

                  Monday, 9 January 1995

Today's Topics:
                   Extra tracks on CDs
                This whole producer thing
                      RE: Bob Bites
                   this note's for you
         aesthetics, cherry in your tree picture
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #400
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #401
                       Fegmaniacs!
                     Re: sour notes?
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #401
                       Bonus Tracks
                       intro thang
                  Re: Crash Test Dummies
                          Kirby
                 Intro and assorted spew.
                      Chalkhills 401
                  George Gimarc and Plum
                   XTC and the big time
                  Producer & Trade Offer
                        Greetings
                    Music biz workings
                     XTC and Superman

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----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 16:26:06 +1300
From: james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz (James Dignan)
Subject: Extra tracks on CDs

While I agree about the extra tracks on the CDs interrupting the flow, I'm
glad that they weren't placed at the end of the album (as is common
practice). XTC's albums usually build up to such amazing climaxes (e.g.
Travels in Nihilon, Complicated Game, Chalkhills and Children) that to put
anything after them would be artistic sacrilege! That having been said, the
middle isn't really the best place for them either. Then again, that's what
programmable CD players are for!

Thinking about the crescendo/climax of XTC albums makes me wonder... is
side one of Mummer really side two?

Musical recommendation for the day: Sometime Anywhere (The Church)

James Dignan, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

Ya zhivu v' 50 Norfolk St., St. Clair, Dunedin, New Zealand
pixelphone james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz / steam megaphone NZ 03-455-7807

   * 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: Thu, 5 Jan 1995 21:27:40 -0700 (MST)
From: "Big E.S." <mersh@tibalt.supernet.ab.ca>
Subject: This whole producer thing

Okay, thought I'd add my .02 here.

First of all, I think Mitchell Froom is great, but let's face a sad fact
at this point: if the band is shopping for a label, considering their
track record and the way the fascist music machine works, their going to
have to be produced by someone who can add a (ugh) Top 40 sparkle to
them. Otherwise, they'll end up on Brunswick or some other back-end label
or in Chapter 11.

Andy needs to call up Michael Bolton's producer. Quick. :-)

If XTC luckily is not in a back-to-the-wall situation, I think Scott Litt
would be a great choice. He has the right sensibilities to produce pop,
can work with any band's whim (look at the last 4 REM albums) and, unlike
Froom, Litt is not totally against doing overdubs.

But if I had my choice, to get the band's sensibilities in the right
place, I'd choose Spot. (rf. mid-80's Husker Du/minutemen/Black Flag, etc)
As I grow older, I appreciate Spot more and more as a producer, or more
correctly, as a guy who turns on the tape recorder and lets the talent do
the work. And who knows: maybe the band needs some more fuzztones to
sound modern.

Bob Wiseman would also be a great choice. But anyway...

Also, Sarah McLachlan doing "Dear God"? ARRRRRRRRRGH!!!! NO! NO! NO!

Shane MacGowan should be on the tribute album - I'd love to hear him on
"Knuckle Down" or  "Sgt. Rock". And how about Lou Reed on "Melt the Guns"?

Thanks for letting me rumble. Later...

------------------------------

From: "Jim Slade" <JIMS@phl.cursci.com>
Organization:  The Current Science Group
Date:          Fri, 6 Jan 1995 09:40:38 EST5EDT
Subject:       RE: Bob Bites

Briefly, Bob and anyone else interested, here's my wife Sondra's
reasons for XTC's lack of mainstream success, her confident answer to
my bi-yearly gripe: What's wrong with this world, and why aren't XTC
as big as Sting and Peter Gabriel?  Please note that Sondra is also
moved by most of the band's music and lyrics.  Here goes.

Her first reason is that the lyrics in XTC's songs are often
difficult to decipher.  They are too low in the mix, and both singers
like to put a lot of reverb and other effects on their voices.
Sondra says:  Let average listener (eg, a person who hears a song on
the radio) hear those great dense lyrics - or at least some of them -
the first time around.  Although Gabriel often sings through the
void, his lyrics are easier to catch, and they are often easier to
follow.  Perhaps it's no coincidence that the band's biggest hit,
"Dear God", has the most easily intelligible verse (the opening one)
in the band's recorded history.

Reason number 2: XTC's rhythms are too awkward for dancing.  For all
of their uses of "world" rhythms, according to Sondra, Gabriel and
Sting always keep the groove simple.  She points to "Every Breath You
Take" and "Sledgehammer" as obvious examples, but she finds this to
be the case in their album cuts as well.  In short, XTC is a great
band for *listening*, and if I could make any sense of dancing I
think that I would agree with Sondra.

The last and final reason, I think, should be obvious: XTC has no sex
appeal.  Believing this doesn't mean that we think it's the way the
world should be, but really, Sting didn't need rock 'n roll to get
laid, and Gabriel projects something suave and British as well.  The
general public a) has never had a good look at the boys from Swindon,
and b) if they could get a glimpse of them in something besides a
deepsea diver's suit I'm sorry to say that they would not rush out to
buy posters of them.  No big crime, but even more importantly, XTC
sings about an old fashioned sort of romantic love; they don't sing
about the "passion" of "I'll be watching you" and other cheesey
sentiments that inspire Sharon Stone movies.

Sorry for the length: Blame it on Sondra.

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 9:44:04 EST
From: Jeff Rosedale <rosedale@columbia.edu>
Subject: this note's for you

Two more Colin footnotes:  Colin's basslines in his own songs are
often wonderfully melodic and creative.  Second, we may never know his
true songwriting capabilities because I get the feeling the tracks we
hear are "selected" to be in step with the feel of Andy's on any
particular album.  What concerns me is that Colin looks so consistently
angry or exasperated in all of the XTC photos- the tension is almost
palpable.  Save the Moulding, that vanishing species of decorative but
functional musician that twists as it softens and defines.  Limited
time only.

                                --J//f

------------------------------

From: "Smith, Daniel R." <DRS@DC4.HHLAW.COM>
Subject: aesthetics, cherry in your tree picture
Date: Fri, 06 Jan 95 09:28:00 est

i think the idea below could get confused.  while i don't think "petty" or
"meaningless"  jobs are always such a great thing, sometimes being
uncomfortable makes you realize you are alive.  making music is their lives!
 maybe colin and dave would like to tour, but money?  look at the asshole
sting turned out to be when he made money.

but look at it this way:  colin and dave must know they are good muscians.
 i mean "good" in that they make good art, (soul-moving art!) not shitloads
of money.  they have the respect of most of their peers...the ones making
money wish they had the aesthetic soul xtc has!  so i think it is fantastic
that two of rock's greatest musicians work jobs that most people relegate to
folks of a simpler mind/work experience.  experiences like that keep them
honest and humble, even though they are the greats.

that's not to say that colin, dave or even andy don't deserve nice things.
 just get back to what existence is about.

>Subject: Stuff
>From: jd.mack@neteast.com (JD MACK)

>Finally, I'm gonna commit sacrelidge!  After the next XTC album
>(assuming there is one), they should BREAK UP!  Personally, I consider
>O&L the best XTC album ever, so I have no problem with their current
>output.  I'm simply tired of seeing Colin and Dave being dirt poor (they
>were parking cars for a living between albums for Pete's sake)!  Both of
>them are stellar musicians that could be making beaucoup bucks in bands
>willing to tour.  Andy can always find other musicains to bring his
>songs to life.  Colin and Dave should have a shot at the big time.

hay, i've been eyeing that cool picture in _where in the world is carmen
sandiego, boston or burma, baked beans or oswego_ of xtc.  that funny hat
kills me on a daily basis, but "cherry in your tree" is my resurrection.

anyway, i don't have any magazine articles of the boys; likewise, the only
pictures i have are from the record sleeves.  and on the CDs...like the King
for  a Day (4 song EP) on CD.  the one with the Czar Mix and Versailles mix
of King for a Day.  the contributed picture to the _carmen sandiego out of
this world_ CD sleeve seems to have been taken at the same time.  can anyone
comment?  stated otherwise:  does anyone have any fun facts to know and tell
about the picture?  somehow i thought it was an _O&L_ era photo.  it just
*looks* _O&L_...

thanks for the eyetime.  --daniel

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 11:00 EST
From: Jeffrey Langr <0005392548@mcimail.com>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #400

>>5) A general question
>>How does everyone feel about the "additions" made to all the early XTC CDs
>>in '91, '92 by Geffen in the U.S.? I'm glad that these tracks are
>>available, but I think smacking all the extra tracks right in the middle of
>>the disc defalte some discs' power, esp. ^Mummer^ with the two
>>instrumentals: good as they are, they don't fit the flow of the disc.
>>Opinions? This is probably been discussed in detail; sorry, but I'm a
>>newborn babe in this electronic highway truck stop.

It does suck, doesn't it?  I don't quite understand why they ended up in the
middle; I also don't understand why some CD's still refer to sides.  Brain
dead record companies, I presume.  Those XTC CD's are the only ones I've ever
seen to do it that way; all the other CDs I have with extra tracks throw 'em
at the end (half the time without even telling you they are there).

Most home CD players have programming capabilities, but they're usually a pain
to work with, especially since each time you put in the disc you have to
re-program.  I had hoped several years ago that the CD player would be able to
save this kind of info, but I haven't seen one that does it yet.  Perhaps it
exists in the high-end players?  Your best bet would be to write a good PC
(Mac?) application to drive your CD player and enter and save the programming
for each disc by disc ID (it's not as hard as it sounds).

Or, wait for recordable CD's and then make your own track order.

Or, get a very fine point screwdriver, and scrape down all the pits in the CD
that represent the middle tracks.  It'll sound like crap for a few minutes,
but at least you won't upset the flow of the disc as much.  Mummer side 1,
Crap, Mummer side 2.

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 11:00 EST
From: Jeffrey Langr <0005392548@mcimail.com>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #401

 from Mike Wheeler:
MW>> I like the additional tracks on the early CDs.It gives people like me,
MW>> who discovered XTC recently, a chance to hear B-sides that we probably
MW>> would not hear otherwise.  I happen to like that the additional songs
MW>> appear in the middle, because you know where side one ends and where
MW>> side two begins, which is usually ignored with CDs.

That's only valid if you've heard the album format.  Imagine, though, if you
had never heard the album; your impression of XTC would be quite different --
here's this CD that's flowing along quite nicely, then all of a sudden there's
this set of stuff that doesn't fit at all.  (I know the tracks are marked so,
but uninitiated folks ignore this sort of thing anyway)

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 10:06:16 PST
From: pchuss@Corp.Megatest.COM (William Pat Chuss)
Subject: Fegmaniacs!

Well, Craig Farber asked for it and I replied to him individually, but I
thought the rest of you might be interested in fegmaniax:

fegmaniax
    Contact: fegmaniax-request@gnu.ai.mit.edu

    Purpose: Discussion, news and information regarding that English
    eccentric and musician, Robyn Hitchcock.

And the one the Craig mentioned:

they-might-be
    Contact: they-might-be-request@super.org

    Purpose: Discussion of the musical group They Might Be Giants.

I'm not sure about subscribing to fegmaniax.  I just sent my request out this
morning and I'm waiting to see if it took.

Have fun!

Pat

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 09:32:53 PST
From: pchuss@Corp.Megatest.COM (William Pat Chuss)
Subject: Re: sour notes?

In digest 401, Jeff Rosedale <rosedale@columbia.edu> writes:

> Get off Colin's back!  He's a good songwriter and a fantastic bass
> player!  Think of some of the great sounds coming out of the low tones
> of the XTC spectrum:

        (some worthy examples deleted)

> the thundering low tones that make one levitate when listening to
> English Settlement- I wish I had a subwoofer for that album!

And what a start we get with "Runaways".  It's nearly impossible for
me to get the booming bassline out of my head until well into the next track.
Rattle-your-teeth-bass with a willy up the spine doesn't come often, and
Colin does it repeatedly.

> And this thing about drums.  The world needs drums.

Anyone know what's up with Brian Doherty who's now with TMBG (boy the
connections are just all over both lists these days)?  He does some pretty
interesting stuff on _John Henry_ ("Meet James Ensor" speed-demon roll always
sticks out in my head), and I've heard They will be taking a hiatus after
finishing this tour.  Maybe some more work with XTC is in the future.  I
had a chance to chat with Brian (and Tony Maimone) for a bit after a show
in NYC, and completely gapped out the question (though I did pump Tony for
Pere Ubu/Dave Thomas info).

Sorry if any of this is old.  Work has really gotten in the way of the fun
lately and I haven't tuned in for months.

Pat

------------------------------

From: ChipofNJ@aol.com
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 16:24:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #401

What are all these mad ramblings about dumping Colin?  Sounds like
someone got the dosage wrong on their prescription.  In the words of my big
toe, Sgt. Hulka, "Lighten up Francis!"

Yours in XTC,

ChipofNJ

------------------------------

Date: Fri, 06 Jan 95 10:56:23 EST
From: "Steven Hodges" <Steven_Hodges@NYCCIP01.lehman.com>
Subject: Bonus Tracks

     "How does everyone feel about the "additions" made to all the early
     XTC CDs in '91, '92 by Geffen in the U.S.?"

     I just finished reading Chaklhill #401, and a couple people responded
     to the above question, now while I don't like the tracks in the middle
     of the CD the reason I have a CD player is so that I can program those
     tracks out.

------------------------------

From: DocBebop@aol.com
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 19:12:19 -0500
Subject: intro thang

I've been reading the last few issues
prior to jumping in the thought stream.

I was introduced to XTC by a friend who
swore that these guys could be as big
the Beatles some day. That was around
the time of "Nigel" which is still one of
my favorite XTC tunes. I wasn't really all
that excited by the band though because
I thought a lot of their material was too
uneven to deal with for a whole album. I
just went for what singles interested me.
Then I bought the import of English
Settlement on vinyl, sound unheard. Wow!
They put it all together. Not a bad song in
the bunch and it remains my favorite album
by the lads.

I saw them twice on tour. Once they opened
up for Steve Miller on the Fly Like An Eagle
tour (Masonic Hall in Detroit) and when they
opened up for the Police (again at Masonic
Hall). Police were tight but going through the
motions and I walked out because the
inspired lunacy of XTC made it unbearable to
watch naked egos on parade.

Unlike many of the Chalkhillians I was not a
big fan of Skylarking and, in fact, I just sold my
pre-"Oh God" copy of the vinyl a few weeks ago.
I do like Oranges and the acoustic bootlegs I've
got are worlds of fun. So... I guess I'm not a total
fan but I do think that XTC are one of the most
intriguing bands out there and I would sorely
miss them if they ever broke up. I also have to
join the small nucleus of Colin fans who think it
would be a shame to be the Partridge show sans
Colin.

Producer-wise... I'm not a Froom fan even though I
really liked the Latin Playboys and Daniel Lanois,
ala that Robbie Robertson album, seems like a
good bet, but I really would like to see XTC in the
studio with Glyn Johns, Terry Adams (of NRBQ for
the twisted Americanism) or Lee Townsend, who
worked with Rinde Eckert on the twisted Finding
My Way Home album (on DIW).

(Try saying that in one breath.)

Thanks, keep up the good work and I'll keep reading.

Garaud MacTaggart (DocBebop@aol.com)

------------------------------

From: Vazco@aol.com
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 22:31:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Crash Test Dummies

Hi everyone, My name is Mario and I have been a fan of XTC for about five
years now, favorite album is a tossup between O&L and Skylarking, with a
slight favoring of the later as a Todd Rundgren fan as well.
I was recenlty roped into Dumb and Dumber (which I have to admit I found
slightly humoroeus, the return of Jerry Lewis). In any case, I was surprised
to hear Peter Pumpkinhead. Later I requested it on college radio and Crash
Test Dummies had the cojones to remove the second verse of the song from
their version, you know, the one that starts
Peter Pumpkinheas, pulled them all...

What gives??? Is anyone else upset at this act of rape to a great song...

I guess I just had to vent...

------------------------------

From: DCOBobW@aol.com
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 1995 23:38:13 -0500
Subject: Kirby

In Chalkhills Digest #401, SPE9237@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU writes:

>SO, my question is, does anyone know if Kirby is Andy playing under a
>pseudonym?  Is he perhaps naming himself after Jack Kirby, the American
>comic book artist who co-created The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, Captain
>America, and Thor?  (And, who was it who drew Sgt. Rock, anyway?)

The Fantastic Four and the other Kirby creations listed are published by
Marvel Comics.  Their big war comic was Sgt. Fury.  Sgt. Rock is published by
DC Comics, publisher of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, and
others.  Most of the Sgt. Rock stories you remember were probably drawn by
Joe Kubert.

 - Bob Wayne, Director - Direct Market Sales, DC Comics

------------------------------

From: CrowsPants@aol.com
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 1995 01:11:35 -0500
Subject: Intro and assorted spew.

My intro (Hi!),

I'm another relative old-timer who lived through the glory days of punk in
NYC.  I've been nutso for XTC since the release of White Music and have only
been let down by one album (the half-great Big Express).  Saw then live at
Hurrah's in NYC in '78 (I think).  A tiny room, getting sweat upon by the
hopping band members.  An amazing two nights.  Andy's exuberance on stage
makes me question the whole "stage fright" schtick.  'Tis a scam, methinks.

I still remember when XTC albums were annual events (pre Big Express).  That
XTC aren't permitted to record more often is a crime against culture.  They
always have enough songs (as my stacks of demo collections prove).  Good
riddance, Virgin.

There's only two XTC songs I loathe: President Kill and Books Are Burning.
 Sooo lame, both musically and lyrically.  Andy should desist with the
sophomoric politicizing.  He seems to get less eloquent in this area as he
gets older.  What up?

As to a producer, how about Nellie Hooper who did AMAZINGLY moody and kicky
work on Bjork's instant-classic "Debut?"  (He also produced the latest
Madonna, but don't hold that against him.)

I really cringe when I read Colin-bashing in these pages.  Are you people
insane??!!  99% of his songs are pop MIRACLES and I love his singing and
bassing.  Much as I love Andy, it's Colin's songs that most rock my world.
 Never understood why he couldn't put out a solo album between XTC releases.

No one in XTC is expendable, dammit.  The loss of Terry (the master of COMEDY
drumming) was a major hurt and I'll always miss his unique sound and punch.
 Dave is the spoon that stirs the sauce, much like Jerry Harrison's quiet,
unsung  but essential contributions to Talking Heads.  Wish Dave would sing
more; he has a great, wistful voice (if you heard the Radio Tour tapes you
know what I mean).

If XTC were ever to break up (Ghod forbid), my dream band would consist of
Colin, Dave and the great Martin Newell (who probably would be willing to
tour).  If you don't have the approx. 10 Cleaners From Venus/Brotherhood Of
Lizards tapes, GET THEM.  Newell's work is ASTONISHING.  If you've only heard
The Greatest Living Englishman you should know that it's easily Newell's
weakest collection of songs.  (BTW, does anyone know if Newell's stuff is
available on CD?  The Greenlight tapes are of atrocious quality, recorded on
crap tape.  But you should get them anyway.)

I'm sick of everyone but XTC getting the credit for "creating" the Unplugged
concept.  For the record, they appeared on MTV acoustically during the Radio
Tour; Squeeze (who get the credit on the Unplugged CD) appeared weeks later.
 In interviews, Bon Jovi take the historical credit after appearing acoustic
on an MTV awards show.  As always, XTC are written out of rock history.

Ever notice how few rock encyclopedias list XTC?  They usually go from X to
Xymox (Xymox???!!!).  How many stores do you know even have an XTC section?
 Why are there no XTC video/laser collections released in America?  Why no
airplay?  WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE???

Here in L.A. (where I've been living in cultural hell for 5 years) any
queries regarding XTC are met with a twit's stare and a "Who?" or "Are they
still around?"  I've had to have Through The Hill, Drums And Wireless and The
Greatest Living Englishman sent out by friends in NYC and Cleveland.  I
despair at ever finding the Demo's CD's.  Avoid this damned place.

The Crash Test Dummies "Pumpkinhead" brought a great, silly grin to my face.
 Wonderful!  Super-exuberant!  Who's the gal who sings it, anyway?

Bring on the tribute CD.  They can be bad but the lineup sounds promising.
 The Nick Drake tribute CD was quite good, and mostly from unknowns (any Nick
fans out there?).

To close, a late Christmas present:  My recommendation to seek out "Hats" and
"A Walk Across the Rooftops" by Scotland's The Blue Nile.  These two CD's are
among the greatest I've ever heard (and I've heard it all).  Trust me, get
them.  If you like mood, "Rook" and a singer who'll blow you away (Paul
Buchanan), you need these discs.

Cheers, and pray for XTC.

------------------------------

From: JC214@aol.com
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 1995 14:44:44 -0500
Subject: Chalkhills 401

For producer: Tim Friese-Green - excellent choice Pneumedia! I have to agree
that Talk Talk's evolution into such a fine band was certainly aided by him.
I imagine that he'd be a superb choice for handling Andy and crew.
Also Bil Macleslie mentioned meeting Todd and talking about Skylarking: When
I met Andy during O & L promo tour I asked him about his feelings and by that
time any hostilities were long gone. In fact Andy reckoned that the sound
quality of the album (which at first he despised) had grown to his liking and
in fact he conceded that it was probably partly responsible for the increase
in airplay. I could understand Andy's initial dislike; many of Todd's
productions are too mid-range-oriented for me, but Skylarking on gold disc is
a sonic masterpiece!
I think Andy was more miffed at Todd's "extra-curricular activities" during
the recording process than anything (eg. the prodigious intake of marijuana).
Can't wait to hear Sarah McLachlan's version of Dear God. She's a
wonderful,talented person; I'm sure she'll do a great job. Her studio version
of Joni Mitchell's Blue is a vocal delight.
That's all for now Chalkhillers!

------------------------------

From: DCOBobW@aol.com
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 1995 23:25:42 -0500
Subject: George Gimarc and Plum

You've probably seen George Gimarc's book Punk Diary 1970-1979, from St.
Martin's Press in the US (and it's probably been mentioned in Chalkhills).
 The book comes with a CD of interviews, including one with XTC. If you
haven't seen this book, track it down.

 From his base in North Texas, Gimarc also produces a series of CDs of
local/unsigned bands.  Since I moved from Texas to New York about 8 years
ago, following Gimarc's CDs has kept me in touch with some of the music scene
that I left behind.  The most recent one that I have is Tales From The Edge -
Volumes 9 & 10, The Edge being the Dallas/Fort Worth area radio station that
Gimarc programmed.  Volume 9 includes "Madam Butterfly" by Plum. Gimarc's
description of Plum: "They combine influences including XTC, Crowded House
and The Beatles with strong melodies and great playing."  (The address for
Gimarc and Tales From The Edge is PO Box 280173, Dallas, TX 75228.)

Plum has now released their debut album, Neptune's Daughters, and a lot of
the tracks on the CD have the strong XTC influence that Gimarc refered to in
his notes. For XTC fans, it's definitely worth a listen.  (I gave several to
XTC fans as gifts at Christmas time.)

I've seen Neptune's Daughters at some Tower Records locations, and it's also
available direct from: Carpe Diem Records, 2703 Fondren Street, Suite 105,
Dallas, TX 75206, agrcarpedm@aol.com, TEL 214-987-9535, FAX 214-987-9665.  I
ordered mine from Alan at Carpe Diem.  They take MC/Visa, price was $15.98
per CD, plus $3.95 shipping/handling.

If you try it and like it, let me know.  If you don't like it, please don't
tell me.  :)

                                                                            -
Bob Wayne, dcobobw@aol.com

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 08 Jan 1995 19:30:59 -0500 (CDT)
From: "my world is spinning..." <LEACH@AC.GRIN.EDU> (Arlo B Leach)
Subject: XTC and the big time

hey all-

i've noticed a lot of posts lately that sort of go along the lines of, "if
XTC did this and this, maybe then they'd finally hit the big time."  well, i
was just thinking -- and be assured right now, i think these three certainly
_deserve_ to hit the big time -- of what it would be like if XTC suddenly
became top-40 material.  enough of my favorite little known/"alternative"
bands have hit the big time in the last few years that i can imagine it
pretty well:

first, XTC's long-awaited number one hit would NOT by an stretch of the
imagination be their best ever song.  i think the whole "dear god" debate of
a few months ago got started by someone basically saying, "gee, in a way it's
too bad that 'dear god' has been XTC's most well-known song so far; i can
think of a lot of songs that are better."  well, we'd all be able to relate
to this statement, you know, unless their big #1 ended up really knocking us
out.  hell, it probably wouldn't even be the best song on its album,
considering the band's tendency on the last few albums to designate
seemingly weaker songs as the singles.  i mean, nothing against "grass,"
but it's not the one i would have picked...

anyway, so XTC is touring to promote their new album, and only the one
percent of longtime fans in their audience are really impressed by all of
their previous material -- everyone else is there to hear the new single.
this happened to me when i saw toad the wet sprocket a couple of months
ago. everyone just sat there while they played songs from _bread and circus_
and _pale_ ... but when "all i want" came up, the crowd went wild.  how
frustrating!

not to fear -- the record company recognizes the economic opportunity in
educating all of the new fans to XTC's previous music, so they immediately
issue some sort of compilation, a selection of XTC's work before they hit
the big time.  and we buy the compilation, or just look it over in the
record store ... and find to our dismay that "no thugs in our house" isn't
on it, nor is "the man who sailed around is soul," nor is (insert your
favorite song here).  you know it will happen!  and the new hot topic on
chalkhills will be "XTC songs that should have been on that compilation."

okay, okay, maybe i'm being cynical, but this has happened to bands before!
i'm sure we'd all love to see XTC at the top of the charts, on the cover of
Rolling Stone, whatever, for the band's sake at least.  but don't get your
hopes up, because it probably won't happen, and you may not like it if it
does!

-arlo

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From: Andisheh Nouraee <scotsman@wam.umd.edu>
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 1995 22:55:28 -0500
Subject: Producer & Trade Offer

Dear Chalkhillians,

My Two Sense:  If Xtc is really going to do a drumless, but wired album,
as Andy Partridge suggests in the latest -Little Express-, I vote for Scott
Litt (of R.E.M. fame) as producer.  I think the string arrangements on -Out
 of Time- and -Automatic for the People- are excellent.  Warm and exciting.
A lot of the credit should go to former Led Zepper John Paul Jones,
who is credited in -Automatic- for some very delicious arrangements,
but credit for the -sound- goes to the producer.  If Xtc wishes
to self-produce the next CD, I think they can do fine.  I think anyone who
has heard -Before the Hurricane- on the Newell CD will agree.

After a recent vinyl binge at  -Yesterday and Today- records in Rockville,
Maryland, I have acquired an item that I want to trade.

For Trade:

-You-re A Good Man Albert Brown- 12 inch (UK) VS98212
        includes You-re a Good Man, Vanishing Girl, The Mole From The
        Ministry, My Love Explodes
I-m not out for profit, I just want to trade for some new songs.

Bye,
Andy -Headed into the atom age, da duh duh da duh- Nouraee
scotsman@wam.umd.edu

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 9 Jan 95 11:27:53 EST
From: "Matt J. Wiater" <mattyj@eden.rutgers.edu>
Subject: Greetings

In the not too distant past, I was in the university computer lab and ran
across the Chalkhills FAQ sheet and subscription news.  I let out a gasping
sound that turned many of the heads in the lab my way!  I regained my
composure, read it, and here I am...

        My name is Matt, 22 yrs old, and a Maketing major at Rutgers
University in New Jersey...  In the small town in which I live, there aren't
many XTC fans( most people are too busy harvesting the crops to listen to
mustc! ).  Me and my roommate were having a little jam( I'm a guitarist /
pianist, and he was banging on some pots or something... ).  We got into the
conversation about songs that sent chills up your spine and he immediately
ran to the tape deck and popped in Chalkhills and Children.  I was hooked
immediately by the harmonies and overall smoothness of the song.

        After becoming hooked on O&L, I delved in chronologically( white
music->go2->etc... ). i was amazed at the obvious developments the band made.
 XTC is one of the few bands that realized that simplicity was the way to go.
 Beautiful melodies supported by simple, yet wonderful, chord
progressions...oh bliss.

        I don't want to get off on the wrong foot and offend any Colin
Bashers out there( well, maybe I do... ), but I've played with many bass
players, a few proffesional studio musicians, and in my opinion Colin is one
of the best bass players I have ever listened to.  He has such a great style,
throwing his many dissonant notes, unusual slides, and arythmic arrangements,
and if you don't listen carefully, you don't know it's there - but is you pay
close attention, you realize that it holds the song together!

        Whew!  Enough preaching - I don't want to wear out my welcome...  One
request before I leave:

        As I stated earlier, my farmtown existence does not seem to produce
many XTC fans.  I have met a few, but they are all MALE!  I have yet to meet
a devoted FEMALE fan...  I've seen some letters posted by women on the
mailing list so I know your out there...  Drop me a letter at:

                        <mattyj@eden.rutgers.edu>

Once again, It's great to be a part of this group and I look foward to many
heated debates, and information...  Thanks, Matt

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 9 Jan 95 15:50:55 -0500
From: "Greg O'Rear" <jgo.systems@mhs.unc.edu>
Organization: UNC
Subject: Music biz workings

If I might digress on a thread for a moment: The subject came up about
how musicians get paid.  Here's the short version: songwriters always get
paid.  Members of the band don't.  What happens is, a percentage of the
retail (or wholesale) price of the album is destined to be musician's
royalties.  BUT the record company says "Not so fast.  You don't get paid
until you accumulate enough $$ to pay for the costs of the album."  But
wait, there's more.  Some bands are unfortunate enough to have a "cross-
collateralization" clause in their contract, which says that even if the
current album is making money hand over fist, you need to have made
enough dosh to pay for all the previous albums, too (assuming they were
all in the red).

So what you get is people like Andy getting their share from the writer's
royalties, but none of the others getting a dime because, like Andy,
their "appearance" royalties are being held in escrow.  That's what I
hear was a contributing factor to the demise of Jellyfish: the writers
wanted more and more production values, which just made it harder for the
album to break even.  They got their songwriter's royalties, but the band
starved.

Now, just imagine what the *long* version is like!
=========================================================================
Greg O'Rear                        Computing Consultant IV
Administrative Data Processing     Novell Certified NetWare Administrator
University of North Carolina       E-mail: jgo.systems@mhs.unc.edu
440 West Franklin Street           Phone:  (919) 962-0821
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-1150        FAX:    (919) 962-0900
             Home page: http://www.adp.unc.edu/~jgo/jgo.html
=========================================================================

------------------------------

From: DCOBobW@aol.com
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 1995 16:05:52 -0500
Subject: XTC and Superman

For an earlier Chalkhills, on 12 Dec 94, Wesley_Wilson@iegate.mitre.org
wrote:

>Does anyone collect Superman comics?  If so, can you check out issue #85 and
see if >there's a panel in it showing an old man  (andy Partridge?  :-))  in
a baby crib playing with >blocks... that cryptically spell out X-T-C!

Does anyone collect Superman comics?  Sure - lots of people do - or else the
folks here at DC Comics would have to look for new jobs.  :)

We pulled copies of Superman #85 (the January 1994 issue) from the DC Comics
library. The panel is as described, on page 12 of the story.  The man in the
crib is one of Superman's long-time foes, the Toyman. The blocks visible are
X T O Y S C, with toys spelled on the vertical axis, and xsc on the
horizontal.  XTC is triangulated, as follows:

      T
      O
      Y
 X    S    C

I checked with Mike Carlin, the Editor of Superman (and one of the XTC fans
on staff at DC Comics).  Mike swears it was just a coincidence, and not an
attempt to wave the flag for XTC. Or to get Andy Partridge to come by for a
visit next time he's in our neighborhood in New York City.  So that's the
scoop.

 - Bob Wayne, Director - Direct Market Sales, DC Comics, dcobobw@aol.com

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End of Chalkhills Digest #402
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