Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-123

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 123

                   Sunday, 23 June 1996

Today's Topics:

                   Elemental lyricists
                  The Smashing Pumpkins
             Re: The Worst Band In The World
                  Re: Bob Clearmountain
                  Re: Yet more bass talk
                        Go 2 Cover
                    singapore surprise
                  Re: Yet More Bass Talk
                Squeezing out the quibbles
                      Squeeze & XTC
                Re: Re: Bob Clearmountain
                    Album of the Year
                  Rock and Roll is Satan
           "Without The Beatles" Track Listing?
      That amazing last show/That last Colin comment
                 Mature Artists and Sales
                  Non Such is not Trash!
                 Heaven is Paved original
                       Jamie Block
                  The Little Express 39


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So we can fly away.


Message-Id: <>
From: "Simon Knight" <>
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 15:56:12 +0000
Subject: Elemental lyricists

Re:  all this recent talk of fire and work imagery in XTC songs, has
anyone else noticed the large part weather seems to play in their
lyrics?  Start thinking of all the instances where rain / sun / snow
/ wind etc and their effects are mentioned or seem to colour the
song.  (Can't you can feel the bite of the wind in "Seagulls
screaming" and the warmth of the sun in "Grass"?)

As you can see, the list is too long to write here.  Maybe when
they're composing what the weather's like colours the song?  ;^)
Deliver us from the elements indeed!

Oh, since i'm from Oz, can can someone fill me in on who on earth
David Yazbek is and what's with all the hero worship?  With all the
constant references you'd think he was Andy's twin brother or
something.  Maybe someone should start up a mailing list for him!  :-)


Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 01:25:35 -0500 (CDT)
Message-Id: <>
From: (Jim S)
Subject: The Smashing Pumpkins

 Anybody else have "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" by the Smashing
Pumpkins?  Despite its unfortunate title, it is quite a piece of
work. While I can't say it sounds like XTC in any way, I can recommend it
to those who like a bit of noise and appreciate audacity.  For them to put
out a double CD is indeed quite audacious; for them to pull it off by
making it such a fine album DOES remind me a bit of the boys from Swindon
(English Settlement, anyone?).  It has a nice blend of rockers and ballads,
and does get quite loud on occasion. And if you can get by lead singer
Billy Corgan's nasally vocals, you may just appreciate it as much as I do.

Cheers! (and hears to "River of Orchids" or whatever the next album by the
boys will be called...)

 Jim S.     <>

"I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous."
                  - Crow T. Robot


Organization: University of Antwerp - UFSIA
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 12:06:56 +0200
Subject: Ex-Jellyfishes
Message-ID: <>

Hello to the XTC-crowd !

Since lots of you are also interested in Jellyfish, I might have some
interesting news: since their split-up, a number of interesting bands
have been starting, all composed by one or more ex-Jellyfish members.

You all now about The Grays (RoShamBo), and Imperial Drag (recently
There's also "The Moog Cookbook" by Roger Manning, a synthesizer-only
album of covers.

Tim Smith (bass-player on Spilt Milk) and Rob Aldridge started a band
called "Umajets". They have no record-deal yet (as far as I know) but
have recorded a demo-cd which is truly great !
And the good news is: you can get this demo-cd from Tim Smith
himself, by e-mailing him at
I asked him if it was O.K. if I passed this news to you; he seemed
delighted... Please mention this posting when you're e-mailing him.

This brings me to my XTC-related matter. All Jellyfish members seem
to be HUGE XTC-fans. There's a wide spread story about the
Jellyfish-members being transported in a limousine (together with
some record-company executive) and singing "The Big Express"
a-capella, from beginning to end...

Anyway, if you have any additional questions about any of these
Jellyfish-related releases, don't hesitate to e-mail me.

Bye for now,


P.S. Can anyone help me with Beatnik Beatch, a vinyl album that Andy
Sturmer and Roger Manning released in 1988, in the pre-Jellyfish era
(Atlantic 81854)? I just can't get a hold on it !!


Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 08:26:44 -0400
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: The Worst Band In The World

"Christopher R. Coolidge" <> wrote:
>  I like the idea of XTC covering "The Worst Band In The World" on a 10cc
>tribute, but somehow I see Colin singing it. With Andy yawping occasional
>backup vocals a la "Making Plans For Nigel." Colin: "Never mind the roadies!"
>Andy: "Leave them in the van!"

How about them doing "The second sitting for the last supper"?  That way,
Andy can sing (adding to the "controversy" of DG and PP) Colin can do the
high bits and Dave can do some serious sliding!

Andre (hypothetically, of course) de Koning


Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 09:35:37 -0400 (EDT)
From: Jonathan Freeman <>
Subject: Re: Bob Clearmountain
Message-ID: <>
Organization: CyberCorp Inc.

Actually, Bob Clearmountain's meticulous sound and clear approach to
capturing an instrument somewhat reminds me of the fat, tasty sounds on
Nonsuch. But helming the record? Maybe they could get him to be assistant
engineer or something... ("Oh Bob, check the cable on that 57, would you?
Then get us some coffee").

Hey, I'm new here. Has there been discussion about the great live CD that
showed up last year? I don't care what Andy thinks about XTC sounding bad
live, the tracks pop and crackle and I wish I could have been there.
Scissor Man and Living Through Another Cuba are especially memorable
here. I remember shortly after discovering XTC seeing that they were
playing in a distant and godawful suburb of Toronto and saying, "I'd like
to go but geez! Way out there?!" and being a stick in the mud kind of kid
at the time, I didn't go!  FOOL! A HUNDRED TIMES FOOL! You're only young
once, thank God.



From: (Stuart McDow)
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Yet more bass talk
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 09:18:38 -0500 (CDT)

From: dgershmn <>
> take a close listen to McCartney's bass on the Beatles' "Rain"

take a closer listen to Colin's bass on "What in the World?". Again
bass creates second melody, and Colin's line is much more interesting.

Not only that but it's got a real _groove_. IT ROCKS!!

Stuart McDow                                      Applied Research Laboratories                       The University of Texas at Austin


Message-Id: <v01540b05ade5ddd51472@[]>
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 10:06:17 -0500
Subject: Go 2 Cover
From: (Alan Glenn)

I'm sure others have noticed that on the back of the Go 2 CD there is a
large, angled rectangle of text missing. It looks like someone set the edge
of another piece of paper over the track listing when the back sheet was
printed. The same thing happens on the US CD and also on the UK picture
disc CD. Anyone know what this is about?



Message-Id: <v01530501ade65a7e9b12@[]>
From: (Matthew E Lewis)
Subject: singapore surprise
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 23:55:53 +0800

Chalkhillians Ahoy!,

While stopping in tonight at Singapore's best (and virtually only) bagel
bakery, Brooklyn Bagels, I was confronted by a vaguely familiar song on the
sound system. It had a swinging bass groove and a cheerful, 1966-Byrds-ish
guitar line. My first reaction was: "This is great, but what the heck is

Then it hit me: Sir John Johns and ensemble performing "You're My Drug."
This was never one of my fave Dukes of Strat tunes (I far prefer the
tremendous "Little Lighthouse"), but to suddenly hear it out of context -
in public where one is usually subjected to the works of William Joel and
Philip Collins - was a rare treat, and made me realize what a good tune it

Why is it that hearing familiar music by surprise is often more powerful
than when we play the same stuff by choice at home?

I was too busy tapping my foot to "Drug" to ponder the ironies of hearing
this song in Singapore - a country that only officially un-banned "Sgt
Pepper" in 1993 (because of its ostensible drug references), and where the
death penalty awaits anyone who traffics in cannabis or heroin. Not that
Sir John John's tune is even about drugs, of course. It was the first time
I'd heard XTC in public in the seven years I've lived in Singapore.
Unfortunately, I was too stunned to ask the bagel baker if it was the radio
or a tape. But something about the immediacy of the sound suggested it was
the radio.

On a final Dukes note: anyone else out there think Oasis' "She's Electric"
sounds like a minor Dukes piece? (I'm a Chalkhills new recruit, in my
wedding suit, so please forgive me if this observation has already been

"Each watch I smash apart just adding to my power..."



Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 10:58:26 -0700
From: Jim McGowan <>
Subject: Re: Yet More Bass Talk

In Chalkkhills 2-122,  dgershmn writes:

> Not to belabor the ongoing bass-player thread, I hope, but for an excellent
> example of the kind of playing that undoubtedly "moulded" Colin's style
> (sorry), take a close listen to McCartney's bass on the Beatles'
> "Rain" never ceases to amaze me. It's a perfect example of using the
> bass to create a second melody line to complement the vocal melody.

Belabor the point to death, says I!  Not only does Colin emulate McCartney's
sense of melody, but his tone is also a perfect reproduction.  Todd Rundgren
did an exceptional job of capturing it on Skylarking.

This is a good thing IMHO, since McCartney has always been my favorite pop
music bassist.  Colin is clearly indebted to him, yet he is far more
inventive (as befits the band.)

- Jim
James McGowan           | "Hell, if you understand everything    |  I say, you'd be me."
CMS Corporation         |                      - Miles Davis
Los Angeles, CA, USA    |


Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 11:39:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Squeezing out the quibbles
Message-id: <9605138346.AA834690858@FINSMTP1.FIN.GOV.BC.CA>

I said:
>>  The current Squeeze experience mirrors much of what XTC is currently
>>  going through.  The article also offers some explanations for why
>>  Squeeze (and by extension, XTC) don't sell very well  -- mostly that
>>  they are too English, too literate, and too old.

and Todd Bernhardt replied:
>I'm not going to make any friends here with this one, but I think it's
>also because Squeeze hasn't put out anything particularly new or innovative
>since the '80s, when Difford and Tilbrook started believing, prompted by
>the press, that they were the next Lennon/McCartney. It also could be
>because they're, in my experience anyway, TERRIBLE live.
<personal Squeeze experience snipped>
>Please be kind to me about the Squeeze slam ... ByeBye!

  No flames from me ... just a justification of why Squeeze appeals to

  Okay, so Squeeze have been stuck in a rut for a decade.  At least
  it's a rut that I enjoy!  Well, actually, I feel that while
  musically they haven't changed dramatically, but Difford's lyrics
  are getting "older", dealing with more topics that plague us folk
  who are on the downhill side of 29 ;-)  --  things like work (take
  note Natalie!), divorce, the death of friends, and memories of
  childhood.  Hmm.  Does this list strike anyone else of the XTC song
  topic list?!?

  And in this regard Squeeze hasn't differed much from any other
  musicians who find their groove (or stylistic niche or rut, call it
  what you will) and stick with it.

  And I'm not sure about your claim that they believe the claims that
  they are/were the next John/Paul -- at least, they've always come
  across as humble in any interview I've read.

  And I'm sorry to hear that you had a bad time at the Squeeze show.
  I've never seen them, but know some folks who saw them play a great
  show in Vancouver in the late '80s.

  Blame the weather,


Message-Id: <>
Date: 13 Jun 1996 11:38:59 U
From: "Stein_Alex" <>
Subject: Squeeze & XTC

Regarding Squeeze, said:

> The article also offers some explanations for why
>  Squeeze (and by extension, XTC) don't sell very well  -- mostly that
>  they are too English, too literate, and too old. replied:

> ... it's also because Squeeze hasn't put out anything particularly new
> or innovative since the '80s, when Difford and Tilbrook started
> believing, prompted by the press, that they were the next
> Lennon/McCartney. It also could be because they're, in my experience
> anyway, TERRIBLE live.

Also, pretty much since HOURGLASS, they've abandoned songs that rock in
favor of sappy mid-tempo ballads.

Even though XTC has taken more than a few turns towards the esoteric, each
album has contained something accessible.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 96 14:55:18 EDT
From: (Don Lindbergh)
Subject: Re: Re: Bob Clearmountain

>From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
>  Regarding Bob Clearmountain as producer, check his work with Bruce
>Springsteen, Simple Minds and Bryan Adams to see what he could do for XTC.
>No thank you. Then again, if they need a hit that bad...

Exactly.  A great engineer does not necessarily a good producer




Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 17:16:03 -0400
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Album of the Year

No, it's not by XTC (not YET)

It's by kindred soul Neil Hannon, a.k.a. The Divine Comedy.  It's called
"Casanova", and it's intelligent, urbane, witty, grooving, melodic,
symphonic, harmonic, and spellbinding.

And it's not available in this country, due to American laws against concept

But if you'd like to know how you can find it, ask.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 1996 13:54:00 -0500
From: Dik LeDoux <dik@ICON-INC.NET>
Subject: Rock and Roll is Satan

Chalk, Chalk, Chalk, Howdy chalkholios,

In #2-121 I noticed John's mention of "flipping through the channels the
other day, and came upon a religious "Rock and Roll is Satan" program."
 where he saw the Dear God video.

John Ankerberg is the satan-bashing guy that has this program.  He's got
a whole series, including how "country music is satan" and how to keep
your kids from falling victim to all of this stuff.  Of course - the
videos are available at something like $30US - salvation is expensive.
 The best parts of this program are #1 - Ankergerg's hair, #2 - the  lame
musician wannabees that Ankergerg interviews as expert witnesses and #3 -
the fact that the guy takes ANY of this stuff seriously. Ya'll GOTTA
check this out if you ever run across it.

Sad part is - this is the only place I've ever seen the damned <g> Dear
God video.  I guess that God works in mysterious ways - maybe He was
trying to get to me.  But in the words of Andy "No thanks. Why, bless my
soul, I'm already there...."

And (maybe this would be a worthwhile poll...) As I see it - anyone (or
band) that can write songs like Season Cycle and a host of others has
gotta have a belief in a higher power - just not the bogus one that some
of those crazy "christian" types subscribe to.  OH - - and by the way - -
for those of you that can stand some anti-Christian humor (even if you
ARE a Christian - I'm not necessarily picking on you), check out the "Why
Christians Suck" page @


Dik \:)


Subject: "Without The Beatles" Track Listing?
From: (Wesley H. Wilson)
Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 96 15:43:43 -0400

Could someone either post or e-mail me the track listing of "Without The
Beatles"? I'd like to know if some of my favorite songs are covered on it.
Also, Melinda Hale, Annie Sattler, and Marcus Deininger...if you're reading
this, drop a line to and let me know how you're doing!


"I said to my mother-in-law, 'My home is your home' she sold it!" -
Henny Youngman


Date: 15 Jun 96 11:43:03 EDT
From: studio 17 productions <104151.1063@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: That amazing last show/That last Colin comment
Message-ID: <960615154303_104151.1063_IHO34-3@CompuServe.COM>

Michael asked if anyone has a tape/video/promo/flyer/program/photos/
anything from the April 3, 1982 XTC show in San Diego.

this sparked the old memory cells; this was the one and only time I ever
saw XTC.  and, of course, I had only heard one album by them at the time
(DRUMS & WIRES) so didn't know what to expect.  i remember being surprised
because I expected Andy to play all the lead guitar parts, but most of it
was that "new guy" Dave Gregory.  who also played synth and sang bvs

Andy was crazed, and years later knowing what was going on his behaviour
made sense.  it was still a great performance, wild and terrifically
exciting stuff.  and i did indeed procure a program and one badges (even
though I didn't own English Settlement until much later).  there aren't any
tapes of the show that i've ever heard of-if anyone turns one up i'd like a
copy too!

I always seem to see bands BEFORE I learn their material-did the same thing
in 78: saw Be-Bop Deluxe after only having heard LIVE IN THE AIR-AGE.  as a
result, i only knew two of the songs they played by name!  but at least I
was fortunate to see Bill Nelson play guitar in that remarkable lineup (he
was even better later in Red Noise, but that's another story).  and I'm
glad I did get to see Andy play guitar too...Colin was pretty darn good too
if my fading memory serves me right.

speaking of COLIN, I never put my three cents in about his bass playing.
there have been several interesting comments, but i'd like to present a
general thought: musicians can't necessarily be compared "apples to apples"
shall we say.  the comparison that sparked this in my mind was to Tony
Levin.  Tony is probably (TECHNICALLY) the most amazing bassist living;
however, people like COLIN (and early McCartney, Bruce Thomas, etc.) are
MELODIC PLAYERS.  their skill level is nearly as good, but it doesn't
really need to be. they have a knack for counterpointing the melodic
elements of the song, and underpinning with a great melodic feel.  Tony
Levin (and Chris Squire for another example) CAN play like this, but tend
towards sheer excessive technique instead (actuall C. Squire spans both
fields, and Tony does in some isolated instances, ergo the bass solo in
VROOOM).  this is leaning more towards the jazz/improv side, while the
Colin/Paul/Bruce school are the pop melodists.

just a theory, mind you.

so, if i made a top ten list (which i won't) i'd have to split into two.
amazing technical skill/amazing pop sensibility.  this would probably also
apply to guitarists and maybe keyboardists too.  no apples and oranges for
me anymore, thanks.

final note on the Adrian Belew producing XTC thread: Joe said Adrian
laughed and said he didn't think he'd have a problem [working with Andy]
with it at all.

then Todd said in reply "The man works with Robert Fripp on a daily basis".

I assume this is meant to indicate that after working with Robert Fripp you
could work with anyone.  Fripp continues to carry this stigma of being
unapproachable and difficult to work with.  I'd suggest that Todd should
ask Adrian what kind of person Robert is and what it's like to work with
him.  I think he'd be surprised by the reply.

perhaps I should start a BE NICE TO FRIPP society!

thanks for listening,



Date: Sat, 15 Jun 1996 13:12:32 -0400
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Mature Artists and Sales

>>  The article also offers some explanations for why Squeeze (and by
extension, XTC) don't sell very well  -- mostly that
  they are too English, too literate, and too old.

  In spite of Blulpsis (did I miss anyone?) having success with the new New
Wave of BritPop (see the latest issue of Musician), their ancestors (XTC,
Squeeze, Rockpile in its various guises, Graham Parker, and to a lesser
extent Elvis Costello) continue to struggle.>>

My theory on this, because you asked (!): I see the best artists around us
maturing and producing work that reflects that maturity.  But this also means
they've gotten older.  And so have most of their fans.  Older fans I think
buy less music, and spend their money on more important things (!) like
mortgages, diapers, etc.

What once was punk is now Adult Contemporary (Costello, for example).  Adult
Contemporary is a marketing term, and refers to demographics rather than
songwriting talent.  It also means that the only place you'll typically hear
Elvis or Squeeze is on Oldies radio, and then it will be 'Alison' and
'Tempted' (and maybe 'Nigel', but I doubt it).  That's because radio stations
do not exist to play good music-- they exist to sell commercial time to
sponsors, and sponsors for radio typically want to sell their soda to kids,
and all the kids are over at the other station listening to Oasis or

The labels that release records by Squeeze, XTC, Elvis, Graham Parker, you
name 'em, know all this, and so they don't bother working too hard at selling
those records.  It's far more profitable to put the giant Virgin staff behind
Lenny Kravitz than XTC.  A&M sells far far more Blues Traveler than Squeeze.
 It costs a lot of money to keep those people at work, and so they put 'em
where they can get the big payoff.

Meanwhile, XTC for instance continue to expand their craft.  When Andy is up
in his secret room making his demos, I would bet he cares not about how his
records are perceived by the machinery that sells them.

So: buy the records you love because you love them.  Not because MTV or the
radio tells you to.  And get your advice about new records from someone you
trust, whether that's Chalkhill subscribers, or your best friend, or
whomever.  Vote with your wallet.

thanks for letting me puke on your computer!



Date: 15 Jun 96 13:53:29 EDT
From: DaveKGold <70673.317@CompuServe.COM>
Subject: Non Such is not Trash!
Message-ID: <960615175328_70673.317_FHP56-1@CompuServe.COM>

Hi Fellow Chalkies!

Bug a boo (or something like that) recently said:

>>Also, while I'm here... I just want to state my love for _Nonsuch_.  To
me, it's an entirely _beautiful_ album..... just wanted to vent my love for
that album... and stuff....  Here's to more beauty to come!<<

I couldn;t agree more.  I love the album.  I think that Dear Madame Barnum
(with its true meaning about the big bang theory and its relation to
armadillo mating, , or course) is one of the most fun, likable, harmonious
songs I have ever heard.  I love singing it.  There are many other gems on
the album, including Rook, H. Daisy, Wrapped in Gray, the Disapponted (and
I've recently joined the ranks), then she appeared, etc. etc. etc.

I think it's one of my favorite XTC albums, and certainly the fact that
it's the most recent makes it a little fresher feeling.  I recommend it
often to people as I believe its a bit more accessible than some of the
older stuff.

I can't understand why people bag on the album so often!



Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 16 Jun 1996 14:34:37, -0500
Subject: Heaven is Paved original

Does any one know what Andy is saying during that slowed down vocal
effect at the beginning of the non-Rag and Bone Buffet version of
Heaven Is Paved w/ Broken Glass?

Also, for any one who lives in central PA, there is a record store
(Record Connection) on Rte.272, two miles north of Ephrata (on the
left) that has a copy of the 3DEP as well as the Ball and Chain 7"
with the aforementioned Heaven is Paved on it, as well as the Towers
of London doublepack with the 2 live tracks on it. Also they have the
Mayor of Simpleton 7" w/ Ella Guru and assorted other 7" XTC singles.

-Dave (York,PA)


Date: Sun, 16 Jun 1996 15:20:06 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <v02130500ade9d71b43c3@[]>
From: (Richard Luckett)
Subject: Jamie Block

First off, thanks to Mr. Yazbek for that unsolicited plug of our
performance with him on July 28th.I thought I would give all Chalkhillians
an update on one of Mr. Partridge's fave singer/songwriters, Jamie Block.
He has finished up the enhanced CD, "Lead Me Not Into Penn Station", and we
are going into replication next week. If you would like a preview of it,
and your browser is configured with RealAudio 2.0, point it to:

where you can listen to "rhinoceros", along with Jamie's WICKED "Woody
Guthrie" commentary on the sorry state of the USA, "future's comin' on too

We have also posted four of the Quicktime Virtual Reality files that will
be on the CD - check them out! This will be the FIRST Enhanced CD with this
technology on it.We are also giving away LOADS of BLOCK swag - sign the
Visitors form to enter the drawing and get on our e-mail list. Jamie will
be playing solo all over the Eastern US in July - check the venues and
dates on the site.

We thank "Chalkhills" and all subscribers for your interest and support of
Jamie's music - the day his Website URL was first posted on "Chalkhills"
the Websitereceived 365 (!) "hits"! Brilliant!


Richard Luckett
Manager, BLOCK

* -------------------------------------------------------------------
"They couldn't hit an elephant from this dist--"
-last words of Gen. John Sedgewick
Union Army, Battle of Spotsylvania 1864
* -------------------------------------------------------------------
The Gramercy Cartel, Inc.
tel: 212.679.6732  fax: 212.679.6732


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 16 Jun 1996 15:23:20, -0500
Subject: The Little Express 39

What ever happened to those rejected Testimonial Dinner tracks David
Yazbek was telling us about in The Little Express 39? In the article
he mentioned a version of "The Troubles" by The Cheiftains as well as
a "fairground" version of "Making Plans for Nigel" by Al Kooper as
well as another 'Nigel' by the Dave Matthews Band. Have they surfaced
on any of those artists' recent singles? Anyone?

            -Dave (York,Pa)


End of Chalkhills Digest #2-123

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