Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-89

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 89

                  Friday, 22 March 1996

Today's Topics:

             Spin's Alternative Record Guide
                 Re: Leckie & Beach Boys
               WZBC (Boston College Radio)
                      Pres. of U.S.
             Hopefully the last of the Gizmo
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-88
                       My XTC Video
                    Re: Books and XTC
                       XTC guitars
                       Studio Noise
                    Paranoid delusions
             King L - "Great Day for Gravity"
                 Re: The Beach/Beech Boys
                  Strange XTC Reference
     Re: Yazbek's 3/13 NYC gig (and more coming up!)
           Garden, Tribute, Loving and soforth
                    Hogging Your Space


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

Like some commissioner who has ideas above his station.


Message-Id: <>
From: "" <>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 14:27:22 +0000
Subject: Spin's Alternative Record Guide

Just picked up Spin's Alternative Guide by using the leverage power
of my library card.  It has some rather odd choices for what they
consider "alternative rock" - for instance they list Black Sabbath's
albums up until 1978 or so, and have a piece of Nusrat Fateh Ali
Khan's releases.  The former I think most would consider heavy metal,
and the latter in the so-called "world music" vein.  Perhaps they
consider these influential albums, maybe that's why they've also
included Kiss and AC/DC, although I hardly consider either one of
these falling into the "alternative" spectrum.  There are some
glaring omissions:  No Blur, Split Enz, Jellyfish, Curve - I could
probably think of more if I invested the time....

As for XTC, reviewer Jonathan Bernstein seems rather nasty about
them.  On a rising scale of 1-10 (I'm paraphrasing, but 1-3 is crap,
4-6 deep interest in artist otherwise skip, 7-9 worth buying, 10

White Music, 6;  Go2, 7;  Drums and Wires, 8;  Black Sea, 6; English
Settlement, 5;  Waxworks, 8;  Beeswax, 3;  Mummer, 4;  Big Express,
4;  Skylarking, 8;  Oranges & Lemons, 6;  Rag & Bone, 5;  Explode
Together, 4;  Nonsuch, 6;  BBC Radio One Live, 4

Dukes - 25 O'Clock, 5;  Psonic Psunspot, 5;  Chips, 6

In fact, Bernstein even goes as far to offer up that "Senses Working
Overtime" is the "single concession to commerciality" on English
Settlement, "but thenceforth is an unbroken feast of Partridge
ejaculating his unsingable tunes over nimble-fingered acoustic guitar
and Terry Chambers' ratting toms."  Hmmm, did he listen to the same
album as I did?  I remember a few Colin songs on there - and don't
remember too much acoustic guitar on that one.....and besides, the
notion that Senses is "commercial" is downright laughable.  I
remember in an old interview Andy was dismissing the song's commerciality
by saying something about how it sounds like an old Russian song
with a Flamin' Groovies chorus.

Rag & Bone as good as ES?  Hardly....  BBC Radio One barely worthy?
Did this guy bother to listen to that album? - a fabulous live time
capsule of the boys in their prime.

And then try this, "The Dukes of Stratosphear was a Rutles-type
exercise in 60's necrophilia.  The various Beatles, Byrds, and Beach
Boys gags are as much of a slap in the face to the group's lame
mid-period as Skylarking proved."  and.... "The Mayor of Simpleton,
which is Sam Cooke's 'Wonderful World' rewritten from a moron's

I'll be nasty and say that Spin was originally funded by
blood money earned off of daddy's desire to commercialize female
genitalia, so what do you expect from such a rag.....

The rest of the book, however, is quite on the mark about the rise
and decline of some old favorite groups of mine - just this Jonathan
Bernstein fella has a bug up his bum about XTC.  Can't win 'em
Mark Rushton
author of the Bill Nelson WWW Site


From: Keith Hanlon <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Leckie & Beach Boys
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 13:13:05 -0500 (EST)

I am responding to a recent post about John Leckie's production. I tend to
go back and forth with liking Leckie. I love the Dukes record and the
first Stone Roses album, but I think he murdered Robyn Hitchcock's
"Respect" (such good songs, such horrible production; but I know that
Robyn & Co are partly to blame).

Wheels withing wheels (or perhaps influences within influences... whatever!):

Someone mentioned a Beach Boys / Syd Barrett connection. Robyn Hitchcock
is another artist who has been HEAVILY influenced by Barrett (the Soft
Boys covered "Vegetable Man"). When he played in Columbus, Ohio in 1993 I
saw him at a coffee shop. He had been to all the campus record stores and
had just bought a CD copy of "Pet Sounds" to replace his worn out vinyl
copy. Another connection!!!!

Put me down for "Chalkhill's Children." I think "Living Through Another
Tribute" places a close second.

Later - Keith


Subject: WZBC (Boston College Radio)
From: (Wesley H. Wilson)
Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 96 14:55:41 -0500

Very often I listen to WZBC in Newton (Boston College radio station)
during my morning commute. Does anyone else? Good place to hear
nonfamous, experimental pop.

"Carl's Window Circus" (Monday morning from around 7 to 10) is especially
good. I wonder if we could get Carl or one of the other DJs to play some
XTC? Something from "White Music" or "GO2" would probably fit well into
his program.

At any rate, the phone number is (617) 552-4686.

Anyone want to give it a try? I'm usually in the car at that time, with
no cellular phone.



Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 14:59:14 -0500 (EST)
From: Nancy B LaMotta <>
Subject: Pres. of U.S.
Message-Id: <>

> No, some humor just goes over people's heads. Speaking of, what do U.S.
> XTCers think of the Presidents of the U.S.A.? I see some similaries, mainly
> that their songs are so DAMN hard to get out of your head.....(I'd ask U.K.
> and international fans, but I'm sure if they're popular outside the States.

Their songs are bouncy, but for some reason, other than "Lump," which I
love and which was the song for which I bought the album, the material
doesn't really stick with me.  Original and refreshing sound; doubtless I
just haven't given it enough close listens.   I'd keep an eye on them.


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 13:23:52 -0800
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Hopefully the last of the Gizmo

Bill Godby <>
Subject: RE: Gizmotron/Andy @ Dave's Guitars
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 22:46:56 -0500

<The GIZMO was not a synthesizer but a rotating wheel of plectrums>

>> WRONG! The "Gizmotron" rotating rubber wheels...

Thanks for the history.

I do recall that the rotating rubber wheels of the Gizmo had small points
on them which functioned in much the same fashion as a pick but at an
obviously much higher picking rate, thus a bowed sound, of sorts.  I didn't
mean to make it sound like a paddle wheel.

I had only played a model made for a bass guitar and the salesman at
Arnoldt Williams Music in Wayne, MI stated that it was only available for
Bass (circa 1980).  The sound was activated by pressing a button,
corresponding to the desired string, which put the wheel in touch
simultaneously with the string and a spinning rod.  The spinning rod would
start the rubber wheels spinning thus "picking" the string much faster that
Al DiMealo.

I was only trying to keep my answer brief because few care.



Message-ID: <>
From: "Laura Gutierrez-Ross" <>
Organization: UTA Libraries
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 15:35:31 CST
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-88


I'm glad someone else brought up the Hieronymus Bosch
painting "Garden of Earthly Delights". Being a myopic artist, I was
completely thrown off by the literary references (Bible excluded). My
own interpretation of the song was about to come crashing down around
my head. Yes, I said MY interpretation. How could anyone allow that
thread to die?


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 21:38:21 -0600
Message-Id: <>
From: Eric Adcock <>
Subject: My XTC Video

> From: "Jennifer L. Geese" <>
> If I were given an unlimited budget and asked to choose one song by XTC
> of which to make a video, what song would I choose and what would the
> video be like?

How about "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her."

I imagine some goofy-looking guy strolling with the stunning model/actress
of your choice, along an animated beach, kind of like the one Arthur and
Ford were stuck on in "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy," but more
realistic, and more stormy and sinister.

Did you see "Dracula: Dead And Loving It" (slooow movie) where they had a
bat with Leslie Nielsen's face superimposed on it?  Well, I'd have the
seagulls circling above the guy until the first "Kiss Her Kiss Her" in the
song, when you get a close up of three of them with XTC's faces on them,
almost knocking the guy over as they "scream" at him.  :)

Partridge's face could also appear in the sea when it whispers "Fool!", in a
big wave that washes over the guy and leaves him all wet (but the woman
stays dry).

And I get to play the euphonium solo.  :)

Eric Adcock - Mr. What - Bloomington IL USA
"Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to
gnaw through the leather straps."--Emo Phillips


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 21:41:11 -0600
Message-Id: <>
From: Eric Adcock <>
Subject: Titles

The Chalkhills tape could be titled "When You Tape Me I Have Difficulty" or
"Chalkhills Screaming Tribute, Tribute."

Surely someone else has already thought of it, but an XTC cover band could
be called "Nigel and the Planmakers."  :)

The next XTC album ought to be titled "Phoenix."  It fits the situation.

Eric Adcock - Mr. What - Bloomington IL USA
"Some mornings it just doesn't seem worth it to
gnaw through the leather straps."--Emo Phillips


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 19 Mar 1996 01:01:01 -0800
From: Mark Mello <>
Subject: Re: Books and XTC

Anyone know anything about a book titled Travels In Nihilon?
i have a vague memory of seeing it's cover once and would be very
interested in it.
does it really exist?
BTW, are there other Dutch Chalkhills subscribers?
XTC used to be quite popular over here...

Bye, M.Mello


Date: Tue, 19 Mar 1996 11:03:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject: XTC guitars
Message-id: <9602198272.AA827262228@FINSMTP1.FIN.GOV.BC.CA>

From the May 1989 issue of Musician (I've left out all the bits about
strings and sythesizers):

  Until '82 he [Partridge] played an Ibanez Artist exclusively, but
  that changed when he got a Fender Telecaster Squier -- "it has a
  nice clangorous tone" -- that's his current electric one-and-only.
  On the acoustic side, Partridge has played his Martin D-35 on all
  XTC albums dating from *English Settlement*.  He also has a small
  Yamaha acoustic for "twanging" purposes, and a "Woolworth's" bass
  guitar (no name on the head) with a "very unusual tuba-like tone to
  Colin Moulding used three basses on *Oranges and Lemons*,
  predominantly a Wal.  Back-up basses were a Fender Precision and,
  for the double-bass sound on "Pink Thing", an Epiphone Newport.  "It
  goes 'poun'," Partridge describes helpfully. ... He writes with the
  help of an Ovation acoustic guitar.
  Now if you want to talk guitar, ask Dave Gregory.  He was crushed
  that he couldn't take his entire guitar harem (over 20) with him for
  *Oranges and Lemons*, but he made do with his faves:  a 1953 Gibson
  Les Paul gold-top; a Schecter Telecaster-style ("quite versatile");
  a 1963 Stratocaster; a semi-hollow 1964 Epiphone Riviera with
  miniature humbuckers, heard on the "Pink Thing" solo ("It has a nice
  Beatley sound"); and one of the first 25 Rickenbacker 12-strings
  shipped to England in the wake of "A Hard Day's Night."

John: I think the entire "equipment" sidebar from this article, along with
the notes from the 1992 Guitar Player article, would be a worthwhile
addition to the Archives.  Let me know, and I'll send it to you.


	[ Martin *did* send it in, and it's now available in the
	  Chalkhills Archives.  -- John ]


Message-Id: <>
From: Martin Bell/New Zealand/IDG Net  <Martin_Bell/New_Zealand/>
Date: 19 Mar 96 13:47:39
Subject: Studio Noise

>>A non-Skylarking late discovery was how Colin whispers "we're only making
>>plans for Nigel" behind his singing.  Adds a rather sinister effect with
>>headphones.  Anyone have other examples?
>the whispered voice in the short break after "how do
>you Martians say I love you?", in Science Friction, at about 1:40 that says
>(what sounds like) "psychedelic".

>On this same thread, how about in _Burning with Optimism's Flames_ beginning
>with the second verse there is a sort of "moaning," kind of like "uhhhohhh"
>that ocurrs at regular intervals in the background and ends at the chorus.
>It's not very easy to hear.  Who knows how many times I listened to it
>before I noticed.

And for the real train spotters amongst us, has anyone noticed the studio
noise at the beginning of the album version of Towers of London (edited out
of the single version)? Even harder to notice, but definitely there if you
play the track LOUD, is the noise of a chair creaking during Sacrificial
Bonfire.  Towards the end when Colin sings "Burn up the old, bring in the
new" (for the last time) he holds the note neeeeeeewww. There's a moments
silence before the instruments kick in again and if you're listening real
carefully you'll hear that ol' chair a-creakin'. Honest.  (I only noticed
it for the first time after I upgraded my CD player).



Date: Tue, 19 Mar 1996 20:27:19 -0500
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Yazbek/Newell/Icehouse

XTC related music I've heard lately:

W.A.R has finally released Dave Yazbek's "The Laughing Man" domestically,
which I just picked up. The booklet and the cover has been completely redone
and the track order has been changed around for the U.S. release. Andy
Partridge, of course, was involved on two of the tracks. Anyone who hasn't
picked this CD up yet should give it a listen. It really grows on you with
repeated listenings.

I also just got Martin Newell's "The Off White Album" which has finally been
released in the UK. It had been out for a while in Japan and France. It's a
bit different than "The Greatest Living English", which I prefered, but it is
pretty good. My only complaint is that the booklet states that Dave Gregory
played on many of the tracks, but it does not say which ones.

I also had a listen to Iva Davies and Icehouse's cover of the XTC song
"Complicated Game" on their CD "The Berlin Tapes". The CD is all cover tunes,
most of which I just thought were so-so. But I did enjoy "Complicated Game".
They replaced a lot of the guitar parts with piano and keyboards. It would
have made a nice addition to Testimonial Dinner.

The record store said the new Voice Of The Beehive CD that has the Andy
Partridge written song on it will be released in the U.S. in three weeks. Has
anyone heard of a release date for the (Talking) Heads new album that Andy
contributed to?

I have also heard Andy's demos that were rejected for the James And The Giant
Peach movie. It is a shame they will probably never be released as they are
brilliant! I can't get the tunes out of my head.


Message-Id: <v01510101ad75a1d1510b@[]>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 1996 12:07:27 +0000
From: (Mark Fisher)
Subject: Paranoid delusions

I've been resisting making this comment, because it seems like too obscure
an influence, but I can't hear Blur's *Parklife* (the song) without
thinking of Barry Andrews' *Win a Night Out With a Well-Known Paranoic*.
Although I don't imagine the Andrews song sold more than about 12 copies, I
do remember it getting quite a lot of airplay on the Anne Nightingale show
on Radio One, where it had a kind of cult status, so it's not inconceivable
that the Blur kids might have heard it.

We could rendezvous at a place I know (Parklife!)

Any thoughts?

Mark Fisher (,uk)


From: ERIC DAY <>
Subject: King L - "Great Day for Gravity"
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 96 09:47:00 PST
Message-ID: <>

I am very interested in this album, which I first heard about in the
Chalkhills FAQ list.  I went to my local Tower Records, but they had
never heard of it.  Does anyone know if it's getting any U.S.
distribution?  I really liked the first Danny Wilson album, and was
excited to hear that Gary Clark is still creating music.

 - Eric Day


Date: Wed, 20 Mar 1996 22:17:08 -0600 (CST)
Message-Id: <>
From: Scott Taylor <>
Subject: Re: The Beach/Beech Boys

Re: The Beach Boys/XTC, a request was made long ago, to wit:

| For sometime now I have been haunted by Andy's vocal phrasings, reminding
| me very much of Brian Wilson's, especially the falsetto. I haven't seen
| anything in writing to confirm that Mr.Partridge has indeed been
| influenced in some way by Mr.Wilson, leaving me with an empty and
| unfulfilled feeling. I need to have my great insights confirmed and
| validated to feel completely worthy as a person. Help me.
| --
| Bill Godby

Several people responded with the obvious "Pale and Precious" connection,
but I'm surprised that no one mentioned the more telling liner note from
_Skylarking_ -- right before "The part of the time bomb was played by
Prairie Prince" it reads "All backing vocals by the Beech Avenue Boys".  I
assume this is a pun of some sort, a play on words referring to a Swindon
locale perhaps, but it also could certainly serve as the written
confirmation of the Beach Boy influence you (Mr. Godby) require.

     Scott M. Taylor (
| Like a pig pulls a cartload of sausages |
|   Guess I'm drawing my own conclusion   |
|            - Julian Cope                |


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 1996 19:48:32 GMT
Message-Id: <>
From: (Ian Sutton)
Subject: Strange XTC Reference

A first time post from a longtime lurker who came across an XTC reference in
a soccer commentary.

Whilst listening to Chelsea v Manchester City on the radio on Tuesday, the
equalising goal for City was scored by Nigel Clough. The commentator, at the
end of the show summed up by saying something along the following lines:

"While Chelsea should have been making plans for Nigel, the Manchester City
fans left in XTC."

Also, having grown up in Swindon I can confirm the existence of the
roundabout mentioned in previous Chalkhills and it is known as "The Magic
Roundabout" and I think it has been statistically proven that fewer
accidents have occured on it than a normal roundabout.

If anyone is planning on visiting Swindon and wants any information then
please mail me.  I can also confirm that it is not a very exciting place to

Ian "Passed Andy in the street once" Sutton


Date: Thu, 21 Mar 1996 19:09:22 -0500
From: (Nancy McGrath)
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Yazbek's 3/13 NYC gig (and more coming up!)

In Chalkhills #2-87, Sally Unterman <> gushed:

> After enjoying Yazbek's "The Laughing Man" for two months I
> made the trek in from Staten Island to see his gig at Brownies
> tonight.  I'm elated that I was able to see him in such an
> intimate venue, because I'm sure that by this time next year
> he'll be bellowing "cowabunga!" as he rides the wave of his
> imminent stardom...

I was there, too, Sally! I wish I'd know there were going to be other
Chalkhillians there; we could have met for dinner, especially since we
Chalkhills women are in such a minority.  There's this nifty little
Middle Eastern place a few blocks away from Brownies... well, maybe
next time!

Yazbek's album THE LAUGHING MAN (W.A.R. Records) finally hit the
U.S. stores on 3/19 (same day as the Beatles' ANTHOLOGY 2; good
omen?), in theory at least.  I've checked in a few places up here
in Boston, but no sign of it yet.  Anyway, it will definitely be
available at HMV in NYC (Lex & 86th) on Saturday, 3/30... Yazbek
himself will be there to regale the throngs with a performance at
3:30 pm.

In addition, he's got some gigs coming up:

March 23 - MET CAFE (Providence, RI)  Yazbek will go on about 10
           p.m.  Phone: 401/861-2142.  (See you there, Gene?)

April 9 & 16 -  FEZ (New York City)  I don't know what time he's
           scheduled to go on, but the phone# is 212/533-2680.
           (See you there, Sally?)

Nancy McGrath


Date: Fri, 22 Mar 96 11:29:58 +0100
Message-Id: <9603221029.AA08065@hvsag01>
Subject: Garden, Tribute, Loving and soforth

No one has yet mentioned that the late Snakefinger had a song called
'The garden of earthly delights' on his 'Manual of errors' album from
1982, so I do it now. Quite different from the song on O&L. (For those
who don't know, Snakefinger has played a lot with The Residents and had
Eric Drew Feldman from Captain Beefheart's Magic Band as coproducer and
keyboard player at the time of this album).

I second the 'Rag and Bone Dessert' title suggestion for the tribute

I like to think that Colin sings 'Stay true' in 'The Loving'.

A line in a dutch magazine caught my eye: someone here in the
Netherlands was arrested because he was 'under the influence of XTC
while driving a car'. I hope that does not mean that I can't play any
XTC cassettes in my car anymore! ;-)

Also, the producer for the next album won't be from the Netherlands
because more and more people here get arrested for producing XTC.....

Ok, ok, I'll stop here. Bye!



Date: 22 MAR 96 14:07:04 EDT
Subject: Hogging Your Space
Message-ID: <>

Hello Chalkies,
Many of you will have heard "Testimonial Dinner" (I haven't yet - I just
placed an order). It includes a version of "Senses Working Overtime" by
Spacehog.  What's it like? Anyone care to review this and other trax on
this album for the benefit of other Chalkhills readers?

Anyway, Spacehog's album "Resident Alien" is a real find!  It's 'quirky'
(that adjective again) and although you can pick certain influences (Bowie;
'glam' in general; lead vocalist sounds not unlike Axl Rose in places...but
don't let that put you off); this band comes across as having (gasp!) some
ORIGINAL IDEAS!  Of the songs that do seem to have overt influences,
there's one track (Going Down Part II) that sounds a lot like XTC
(synchopated rhythms, choppy guitars, 'wo-ho-ho' singalong chorus etc), and
it's one of the album's highlights.  The songs and the styles they employ
span a wide spectrum and it's good value - 69 minutes and not one dud

I thoroughly recommend this album to XTC lovers, people who dig quirky
'power-pop' and those who like to support some of the great new sounds
coming from UK (others include Radiohead and Blur) as a preference to all
the angst/grunge/moan/winge/dirge music that still seems to be the vogue
among so many US groups.  Have a laugh and marvel at this
cosmically-inclined porker at your earliest opportunity.

Also: honourable mention to Blur's latest CD single "Charmless Man" - the
b-sides are a gas!

I'm only mentioning these because we need something to listen to while
waiting for that new XTC album.  Let's have it in this millenium, huh,

...."hope you enjoyed your meal - it's only gas & chemicals; we thought
that you'd prefer something not nature-made" (AP)

Paul Culnane. Canberra. Australia


End of Chalkhills Digest #2-89

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