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Subject: Chalkhills #8


                   Chalkhills, Number 8

                  Friday, 28 April 1989

Today's Topics:
           Andy and the Residents: the last word
                          B-sides
                  XTCs recording habbits
                    Re:  Chalkhills #7
                 The beginning of the end
                 King for a Day/Happy Families
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From: sco!stewarte@ucscc.ucsc.edu
Subject: Andy and the Residents: the last word
Date: Thu Apr 27 17:25:04 1989

Joe (JDTURN@UMass.EDU) says:

>Andy and the Residents:  He was VERY DEFINATELY a Resident, you swots!
>He showed up on the "Commercial Album", along with a coupla other folks.

One guest-appearance don't a Resident make, you know.  The Residents are
a group of four individuals who operate under what they call the
"theory of obscurity".  This theory states that their music is kept
pure by minimizing contact with the public.  Therefore, they conceal
their identities, and for many years only toured very infrequently
(although they have done more lately, and in fact seem to only follow
their theory of obscurity as far as it benefits them).  When I said
that Andy was not a Resident, I meant that he was not one of these
four -- no more a Resident than Dick Cuthell is a member of XTC.

Unrelated observation:  does anyone else find it interesting that
"Ella Guru" is the first cover version released by XTC since their
very first album (when they did "All Around the Watchtower")?

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From: sco!stewarte@ucscc.ucsc.edu
Subject: B-sides
Date: Thu Apr 27 17:32:07 1989

>Have you noticed how many truly superb b-sides XTC releases? I mean stuff
>like 'Punch and Judy', 'Extrovert', 'Blame the Weather', and my favorite,
>'Toys'. Any of those can compare to the albums they were associated with.
>I get the impression Andy and co. record like 15-20 songs for each album
>and then simply pick which they want to be on the album and delegate the
>rest to b-sides. (Or is that how every band does it?)

Andy has said that a lot of their B-sides don't make it onto albums just
because they haven't finished recording them in time!  They may often
be tracks they really like, but have some part they can't quite get
right until after the album has been released; then they have time
to finish them up.  Lately, though, they're not even bothering to
finish them up, just releasing the demos!

--Stewart

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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 89 07:24:28 EDT
From: ektools!martin@kodak.com (Brian Martin)
Subject: XTCs recording habbits

     The question was raised in issue #7 about XTC and their recording
15-20 cuts per album.

I would guess that they start out with all the material they have
written between the previous album and the time they go into the studio
and simply record everything they feel is worthwhile.
It is more or less the producers job to make a meaningful coherrent mass
of the material after the recording process.  I think that is why a lot
of times some of the more poppy sounding tracks wind up as B-sides.  To
give an XTC album its wide range of musical styles and textures, it
would be necessary to remove some of the poppy sounding cuts.  Otherwise
you would wind up will an AOR album that would probably sell well in the
USA, but would make some very disappointed fans.

     So, Instead of saving these extra tracks, the record company turns
them into pure profit by releasing them on the B-sides of singles.  This
forces the fans to buy more pieces and thus drives up XTC sales.  At
least that is how it works in the UK.

     My guess as to why there is a double album this time would be that
the format of a CD allows 78 minutes of ;music to be placed on one disc.
I would venture to guess that we will see full length CDs from XTC as
their regular releases in the future.  At least I can hope!

Here's hoping there is a NEW Dukes album in the near future.....

----------
Brian A. Martin
"Sounds like a good idea to me!"

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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 89 09:59:15 EDT
From: glickman%hustat@harvard.harvard.edu (Mark Glickman)
Subject: Re:  Chalkhills #7

I would have thought that in "Let's make a den", the line

* and I could wear my cowboy shirt *

should read:

* and I could wear my cowboy suit *
                             ----

I'll have to listen to it again...

                 - Mark

  [I agree.  -- John]

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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 89  09:51:43 EDT
From: FULIGIN@umass.bitnet
Subject: The beginning of the end

ARGH!!!!!!!  It finally happened - XTC have released a 12" remix - yech!!

I just bought the "King for a Day" 12", and when I looked at the cover
and saw '12" version' on the label my heart sunk.  Let me first say that
I have nothing against 12" mixes on principle - I own some very good ones -
but when a 'pop' band releases a 12" mix, it's almost always produced more
to meet percieved "market demands" than because the band thought they could
do something different with the song in a new medium, and this single smacks
of that syndrome.  It's not that it's a BAD remix, but it's extremely
pedestrian, and subtracts from the song rather than adding anything.  It also
falls for several 12" mix cliches (chopped up vocals, needlessly repeated
phrases, etc...).  Also, because they included both 7" and 12" versions of
the song, there's only room for one new track - a new take on "Happy Families",
this time produced by XTC.  The single is worth owning just for that, but
I'm beginning to get a little scared about what the record companies are
going to do to this band that have been my favorite band for almost 10
years straight, now that they sense 'hit potential'...

The only other XTC 12" mix that I know of was the "Cockpit Dance Mixture"
(which I hated also), which was at least somewhat original...

                                                       Ouch,
                                                         -Peter E. Lee

lee@cs.umass.edu or Fuligin@Umass.bitnet

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Date:         Fri, 28 Apr 89 10:59:44 EDT
From: Ben Zimmer <ZIMBENG%YALEVM@cunyvm.cuny.edu>
Subject:      King for a Day/Happy Families

I walked into the record store the other day and saw the King for a Day EP,
which includes Happy Families on it.  What's the story here?  Has King for a
Day been released as a single?  And is the version of Happy Families new, or
is it the same as the misproduced version on the She's Having a Baby
soundtrack?
Another thing... does anyone actually *like* King for a Day terribly much?  I
think it's in the Wonderland-Grass tradition of dippy XTC singles.

                                                       Ben Zimmer

"Gangway... electric guitar is coming through!"

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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 89 13:14:53 EST
From: "LODEN THOMAS R" <LODEN@ll.ll.mit.edu>

> my first time for XTC was hearing "Making Plans for Nigel" on WBCN in '79.
> Didn't know who it was, though.  Then MTV started showing "Senses" a lot.
> It was, as they say, downhill from there....

Funny you should mention this.
  (1.) I basically argee with the Dead Kennedys : 'MTV, GET OFF THE AIR'.
  (2.) A while back there was this song I really loved but had no idea who
       did it: 'Senses Getting Overtime' or something like that.
  (3.) I remember I just about to leave my sister's apt. in NY. We had to
       turn off the TV. But it was one of those rare occasions when MTV
       was on. As I went to turn it off, I noticed they were playing the
       very song I was looking for by a band called XTC.
  (4.) For me, it's been exponential decay from there ...
  (5.) Moral : there has been at least one time that empty tv was not bad
       and wrong

> "unconscionably mismanaged".

Well, I should hope so. In my estimation & own personal theories on music,
the one sure fire way to get a band to 'sell out' (see below) is to manage
them 'correctly', thus rendering them average, more 'accessable', more
appealling to a wider range of people, less creative. For my money, keep them
obscure with equally obscure computer news groups to discuss reasons they
have added to the incline of western civilization. They have created a
veritable shit load of excellent, continually-changing-but-always-remaining-
XTC music. If other peolple don't know, who cares?

( operant definition of 'to sell out' :
     to become changed such that the reasons why one was originally
     liked no longer exist, typically because of pressure to conform
     to a relative standard )

While I'm here, how does one go about obtaining stuff like Go+ and other
rarities? I always scrounge through my local record store when ever I can and
have yet to even see this & others for sale. (high priced or otherwise)

Sincerely,
Tom R. Loden

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