Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #3-142

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 3, Number 142

                 Wednesday, 23 July 1997

Today's Topics:

                  gbv, Matador, and XTC
                   Soul Coal & Snowman
                    "Wake up..." "NO!"
Wanted: Japanese Andy Partridge/Harold Budd "Through the Hill" CD
                XTC Radio spottings, etc.
                 Senses Working Overtime
                        new album?
                    Holding my breath
                      You don't say!
       What an IDEA ! (well someone had to say it)
                  Re: Rant On Aesthetics
                    oranges and lemons
                      A Better IDEA
            More Nit-Picky Comments! (sorry!)
            Questions and Opinions (100% XTC)
        More non-XTC stuff for the Mommyheads fans
              Discipline me, Hot Mama . . .
         LENGTHY! "Careful what you wish for..."
        I've a feeling '97 will be a good year....
                   Random Noise, Redux


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Help but dance for your piece of paper.


Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 13:44:15 -0500 (CDT)
From: Matt John <>
Subject: gbv, Matador, and XTC
Message-ID: <>

Well, regarding Guided By Voices, they are quite huge on a underground
scale.  I'd dare say they're the most significant "underground" band in
America today.  But about Matador: In order to afford their deal with GBV, I
read they had to drop 37 bands from their label to afford them.  So I would
be real surprised if they could ever pick up XTC.  I've been wondering
what's happened to XTC.  Pardon me, I'm new, but what's going on?  They're
lookin' for a new distributor?  Please clue me in (and welcome me!).



Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Organization: The Little Lighthouse
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 18:43:43 +0000
Subject: Soul Coal & Snowman

Cher Chalkers,

Those of you who are running a bit low on soul coal might like to
check out my new 'Random XTC Quote Webpage' to remind them of the
lyrical genius of Andy & Colin. The URL of the site is included in my
'signature' at the end of this message.

BTW: I was (pleasantly) surprised when I read in the new Andy
Partridge interview from Consumable Online that the Australian
Icehouse bloke Ivor Davis was going to collaborate with
This makes him very probably the only musician in the world to
have worked with both Andy P. and Terry Chambers but NOT with XTC...
Cor blimey!

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse
an unofficial XTC website at
===> Mark's Random XTC Quote <==When you wake up early in the morning
you will find important pieces gone


Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 21:34:54 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <>
Subject: "Wake up..." "NO!"

I was rudely awakened (awoken?) this past Thursday morning by a loud pounding
on my front door. It continued for more than a minute while I stubbornly
refused to leave the confines of my warm cozy bed. I eventually staggered to
my feet (putting my cleanest dirty shirt on) and walked downstairs, opening
the front door to discover... THAT I HAD WON THE PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE
SWEEPSTAKES!!! Well, not really; it was just the postman, attempting to
deliver a package. "Sign here", he said, and went on his way. I happily
opened said package to discover the copy of the Gribouillage EP that I had
ordered from a U.K. company some time ago. I listened to it over breakfast,
and now i seriously wish that Virgin had gotten around to releasing that
"Somesuch" compilation of Nonsuch demos... t'would only help to make one
appreciate the album even more (if such a thing were possible for most of
us). Heck, I even like The Smartest Monkeys a lot more now. Whatever happened
to Somesuch? Wasn't it eventually going to be released around the same time
of Fossil Fuel?
Gribouillage is packaged in a light-grey cardboardy digipak, with the Nonsuch
castle printed on the front in purple ink. A brief XTC discography is printed
inside the front cover. Here are the notes from the back of the EP:

"Les titres ont ete enregistres "a la maison" sur les multi-pistes respectifs
des compositeurs. Ce sont des versions demo des titres qui figurent sur la
face A de l'album "Nonsuch". Normalement, personne ne devrait entendre cet
enregistrement a part les trois membres de XTC et le directeur artistique de
la maison de disque."

and in English:

"These songs were recorded at home on the respective composers multi-track
cassette machines. They are demo versions of songs which went on to form side
one of the "Nonsuch" album. Normally, these recordings would not be heard by
anyone other than the three members of XTC and a record company A&R

*sigh*, if only they had included ALL of Side One... (aka, "the first half of
the CD")...

Amusing anecdote... I work as an usher at the big York THX theatre here in
Toronto. Because of its size & sound system, many of the advance press
screenings of upcoming films are held there. At the advance screening for Men
In Black, I bumped into Peter Howell, ex-music critic for the Toronto Star...
one of the few music critics i know of who actually listens to XTC. He asked
if I knew what happened to the Little Express, because he had heard that they
had ceased production... I told him about this list, and he said he'd try &
check it out sometime. I also started on about what Andy's been up to
(recording, getting out of Virgin, etc.), and he pointed to the guy sitting
next to him and said "actually, he works for Virgin!". The guy (I never got
his name) looked at me and said in a disgruntled voice: "the main problem we
had with XTC is that they had too much material", and then went back to his
magazine. I went straight to my ushering business right after that, because,
well, we're not allowed to be rude to the customers! ;p

And a big fat *BLAH* to whomever it was who bought the King For A Day single
from Southland before I could. May all your household pets become
ill-tempered & spiteful.

Mike Wood


Message-Id: <>
From: "Dave O'Connell" <>
Subject: Wanted: Japanese Andy Partridge/Harold Budd "Through the Hill" CD
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 19:31:17 PDT

Hi!  Does anyone out there know where I can pick up a copy of the
Japanese edition of the Andy Partridge/Harold Budd "Through the Hill"
CD (the one with the two bonus tracks)?  Any help would be greatly
appreciated.  (Also, a fellow Chalkhillian friend of mine would
get my old copy of "Hill", so I'm sure she'd appreciate it too.)

Dave O'Connell
York PA


Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 21:37:23 -0500 (CDT)
Message-Id: <>
From: Scott Taylor <>
Subject: XTC Radio spottings, etc.

Two post from the last Chalkhills...
>Hey folks.  Here's another one of those posts that starts with
>"I just heard XTC on the radio".
>The song that was
>playing was Mayor of Simpleton, so I turned it up as I drove away. Now I
>was surprised enough hearing the song being played but what actually
>surprised me even more was what was said afterward.  I'll try and write

Then later...

>Our local "alternativo" station has had the legally-required 3-pak
>of XTC from which to choose for their weekly oldies show. While

Must be something in the water.  Or something that the music services are
pushing to our local DJs, anyway, because on MY local alternative station
this week, while I was out grabbing a bite on my lunch hour, played a 3-pack
XTC retrospective with historical commentary in between.  They played "Dear
God," "25 O'Clock," and "Mayor of Simpleton."  When was the last time YOU
heard the Dukes on the air?

The jock did make the typical non-fan mistakes, referring to the side
project as "The Dukes of The Stratosphear" and commenting that _Upsy Daisy_
was yet to be released.  But I figured, hey, it wasn't like he said that
_Oranges & Lemons_ came out in 1990 or anything unforgiveably erroneous like
that.  :)

>Matt Keeley, Scott Taylor, and other fellow Lehrer-philes: It's just
>one cult after another here, isn't it?

I figure with the scatter-shot tastes I have, ranging on any given day from
Marty Robbins to Julian Cope to Ween, I'm going to find kindred spirits
wherever I land.  And much as I like to think that I've got a bead on
eclecticism, I get the feeling from what I've read here that most of the
rest of you out there are listening to more disparate stuff than me, even yet.

Lastly, I have to second Mitch...

>This is the story . . . Occassionally you may have seen references to a band
>called The Mommyheads on this list.
>...I implore anyone who listened to past Chalkhills advice
>and purchased and enjoyed The Sugarplastic, Jason Faulkner, Martin Newell,
>etc. to sprint to your nearest record store and buy The Mommyheads on
>Geffen. You will not be dissappointed, in fact you may be blown away.

YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!  This band is really something.  I was lucky
to stumble upon one of their indie releases in a used CD shop for $3 and
bought it strictly on the basis of having heard the name here.  The
comparisons to the Sugarplastic are much more fitting than those to XTC, I
think, so if you liked _Bang! The Earth is Round_ you'll have no problem
enjoying this band.

Speaking of the Sugarplastic, does anyone have a used copy of _Radio
Jejeune_ they'd like to part with?

And did that rifff interview with Andy ever get transcribed?

/ Scott M. Taylor --  -- \
|  "There are still taboos, of course, but their nature has changed.   |
|   For example, when I was in college, there were certain words you   |
|   couldn't say in front of a girl.  Now you can say them, but you    |
\   can't say 'girl.'" -- Tom Lehrer                                   /


Message-Id: <v01550100affa68ed5751@[]>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 09:07:07 -0500
From: (Ben Gott)
Subject: Senses Working Overtime

I was so inspired by Rob Macdonald's story a few weeks back, that I thought
I'd serially share some of my most interesting XTC experiences This is not
to put Stephen King, Bard of Bangor, out of a job. My reason for writing
this quick tale is that, even though I just turned 18 last Sunday (happy
birthday to me!), I can safely say that my life - and the lives of others
around me who have been influenced by XTC - would be different without
their music.

I met my cousins for the first time in March. There were circumstances that
kept us from meeting before - mostly having to do with location, and their
father, who's a real prick - but we had a great time. Went to the San Diego
Zoo. I was apprehensive, to say the least, about meeting Kelly (14) and
Andrew (11); that apprehension quickly disappeared after I spent a few
hours with them. I knew that they'd have to hear "English Settlement" by
the end of the day. Unfortunately, all my CDs were back at the house.

Two or three weeks later, caught up in the "bigger-better-faster-more"
craze, I bought "Skylarking" and "Oranges and Lemons" on 24K disc. My
brother had inexplicably given me an extra copy of "Nonsuch" (which he had
cheated BMG out of a while back), so I now had extra copies of these albums
hanging around my room. What to do with them? Aaah. Send them to the

So I did, with a Post-It note attached to "Nonsuch," saying "Play 'The
Disappointed' first...then work your way from the beginning." I thought
that Andy's bouncy wittiness about the boys in black and the kings of
broken hearts would be a great introduction for them. I was more than
"right." Remember my own life-changing experience?

Kelly is a girl who, although smart and perceptive, is very insecure.
Andrew is as crazy as an eleven-year-old boy can get, but, beneath that
energy, there lies a confused and frightened little boy. I came to learn
this in time, of course, and we finally planned a visit for this summer -
the first week in July, actually.

The first day they were here was difficult, simply because I was searching
too hard for a common ground that we could all walk on. Appropriate enough,
it seems in retrospect, that we found this connection while driving around
in the car. I had just ejected Andrew's tape, which was the new Sublime
album that Kelly claimed physical revulsion to, and put my "Graduation '97"
mix in. It flipped over after a while, and "The Disappointed" came on. It
was a good a starting point as any. I got ready to play air drums on the
steering wheel.

After that drum intro, I heard "alright!" from the back seat, where Andrew
(fan of Sublime, Metallica, 311, etc.) was sitting. I looked in the mirror.

He knew all the words.

I'm off to work now, but I wanted to share, and send a reproach to
Chalkhillians: why didn't anyone e-mail me, and say, "Ben - you must buy
Smiths albums"? How have I gone this long without hearing "Stop Me..."? I
hold Ira Lieman personally responsible. (Just kidding, Ira.) I just ordered
the Mommyheads, on recommendation of Mitch...


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
B e n   G o t t
We are the music makers. We are the makers of dreams.


Message-Id: <v01510100affaa7fea0e4@[]>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 13:11:36 -0500
From: (steady eddy)
Subject: new album?

hello everyone. i recently re-joined chalkhills and it's good to be back.
does anyone know if there is, in fact, a new album coming out in the fall?
i heard that there was a release date for an album some time around there.
is it true? sorry if this has been discussed already.


Sunward  I've  climbed   and   joined   the
tumbling  mirth  of  sun-split clouds...and
done  a  hundred  things  you   have   not
dreamed   of...wheeled   and  soared  and
swung    high    in    the     sunlit     silence.


From: Kelly Nickel <>
Subject: Holding my breath
Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 10:59:21 -0400 (EDT)

 Greetings all you now-rejoicing Chalksters:

> but yes XTC will be
> signing a contract! Now the specific and amazing news . . . they are
> starting their very own label called Idea.

 I'd like to buy the world a Coke...

Kelly Nickel


Message-Id: <l03020904affa9dbc0baf@[]>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 13:39:35 -0400
From: Natalie Jacobs <>
Subject: You don't say!

Mitch, the Man of Muscle Mystery, writes:

>No it won't be official until this coming mid-week but yes XTC will be
>signing a contract!

OK, this may be premature and all, but. . .  YES!  YES YES YES YES YES!!!!

>Now the specific and amazing news . . . they are
>starting their very own label called Idea. You may ask how that's gonna make
>them money and how we're going to be able to find their music. Well they are
>also signing a bunch of deals with lots and lots of major distributors that
>are all linked together in some network way with Cooking Vinyl. So once Idea
>is written in ink, XTC gets some money from one of their distribution deals
>to fund the making of an album or two or twenty and then they record, press
>them up and pay for the promotion themselves.

I don't know much about record industry hoodoo but starting their own label
sounds like the best thing for a band like XTC - I don't think they ever
would have been satisfied with some corporate bigwig label telling them what
to do.  I was actually hoping they'd start their own label, in fact. . .
less bullshit for them and more music for us.

Oooh, I hope this all works out. . .

A new album this year, maybe?  Possibly?  Hopefully?

Anyway, let's all shout our praises and thank yous to Mitch for passing on
the news, and let's all keep our fingers crossed.

Natalie Jacobs
Perdix: The Andy Partridge Appreciation Page


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 14:34:26 -0400
From: Tim Kendrick <>
Subject: What an IDEA ! (well someone had to say it)


 Thanks Mitch for letting us know
 about the new label Idea.  I think
 it's a great ... well, you know.

 Then Mitch posted:
>and pay for the promotion themselves.

 That got me thinking.  Many on this
 list have indicated in the past that
 they would be willing to send money
 directly to the boys for listening to
 some of the bootlegs.  Would any/many
 among us be willing to contribute money
 for promoting the new release(s) when it
 comes out ???

 Promoting a CD takes a lot.  It needs
 much more than just telling all your friends
 about it.  Proper promotion includes radio and
 video airplay, magazine ads, record store
 promotions/posters/displays, billboards, etc.
 It gets very expensive.  Normally the record
 companies pay for all of this.  Unless all these
 distributors Mitch posted about are willing to
 do this, it will fall on XTC themselves.

 What can we, as a group of fans, do to help ???

 And I DO think we should help.  XTC has given
 us a lot of joy over the years.  Now I think
 it's our turn to repay them for all that

 What do you all think ?????

  Tim K.

XTC SONG OF THE DAY:  Extrovert!


Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 15:04:30 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Rant On Aesthetics
Message-id: <Pine.PMDF.3.95.970722144738.560094586A-100000@TTACS.TTU.EDU>

Man, this is why nobody hangs out with XTC and King Crimson fans.  Sure,
it's all very concisely stated, but the usual refuter, "But you can't
dance to it," sounds suprisingly convincing.  Have you heard what the
kiddos are listening to these days?

As for That Thing ripping off XTC songs; why would they have to?  Those
progressions are hundereds of years old.  Just watch out that Smashing
Pumpkins don't discover a borrowed iv chord, lest we lose our corner on
the market for anything remotely eccentric.  Remotely.

But don't mind me; it's everyone's option to prove Laurie Anderson right.

Happiest kiddo south of Palo Duro,


Message-Id: <v01510101affad7d5bf30@[]>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 16:36:40 -0500
From: (steady eddy)
Subject: oranges and lemons

the $9.99 copies of UDA (god I love that price...makes me wish I didnt
already own all the songs on it)?   Oranges & LEmons as one of those
"Original Master Recordings (tm)" 24k gold CD's.  I was pretty impressed.
Now, I'm a bit too young and inexperienced to know how obscure or big XTC
was back in '90 (no! wait! '89! :p   ), but I sort of assumed that they
wouldnt be considered for one of these, even tho Oranges was prolly their
biggest CD.  Then again...I also have absolutely no idea how exclusive these
gold Reissues are (they could be doing everything under the sun).  Either
way, I was impressed.

>>hey man. the reason it's probably so cheap is that the cd is no longer
>>available. it's now a deleted cd and you can't even order it. i can't
>>understand why xtc didn't catch on big. that particular album is
>>definitely their strongest since 'english settlement'. 'skylarking' was
>>great but i found it sounded more like todd rundgren than them.

anyway, i think that might explain the low price. the bastards were
probably trying to get rid of it.


Sunward  I've  climbed   and   joined   the
tumbling  mirth  of  sun-split clouds...and
done  a  hundred  things  you   have   not
dreamed   of...wheeled   and  soared  and
swung    high    in    the     sunlit     silence.


Message-id: <10966815@mailbox1.Hitchcock.ORG>
Date: 22 Jul 97 17:42:51 EDT
From: John.J.Pinto@Hitchcock.ORG (John J. Pinto)
Subject: A Better IDEA

Rumours abound...

XTC will sign with NO ONE AT ALL. They will form their own lable called IDEA
RECORDS and distribute through a licensee. There will be NO new album soon.


Message-Id: <>
From: "Steve & Lauren Perley" <>
Subject: More Nit-Picky Comments! (sorry!)
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 17:46:30 -0400

OK, OK, I know that there's been an epidemic of people correcting each
other about insignificant stuff, and that I've done it myself recently
(hopefully without being a dick about it!).  That's why I let that supposed
Laurie Anderson quote slide.  When she said "Writing about music is like
dancing about architecture" she was quoting Frank Zappa (whether she knew
it of not; I get the feeling that she's a fan, as they've both been known
to sign paychecks for Adrian Belew.)  I think that he said "art" instead of
"architecture" though.  I've been looking for the book where I saw it;
maybe The Rock Book of Lists, but it's a pretty thick book...
I did, however dig up another funny quote about rock critics (whom FZ
loathed) and it goes like this:
"Definition of Rock Journalism:  People who can't write, doing interviews
with people who can't think, in order to prepare articles for people who
can't read."
I'll shut up now.  Sorry for the inconvenience!


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 17:46:31 -0400
From: Ralph DeMarco <>
Subject: Questions and Opinions (100% XTC)

Dear One Armed Bandits and Affiliated Members:

Questions and Opinions (100% XTC)

>Hopefully, once we all get our long awaited 'fix' from a new XTC
>release, we will all stop seeing the spiders, the withdrawal pains will
>stop, and we will all respect each others views and opinions once again.
Yes, we are all a bit cranky about the whole thing.  The recent UK and
US collections have not helped one bit.  We all need a new album
desperately!  I don?t know why people are so worried about non XTC
content.  They haven?t put out an album in five years, they don?t perform
live, there is no way I know of to buy a collection of their videos, so
what the hell are we supposed to talk about?  We are not Dead Heads
for God?s sake, we should be allowed to discuss other artists and other
types of music.  The fact that we all love XTC is what should bind us, not
cause us to nit-pick and argue over stupid questions and personal

* XTC starting their own record label?!  I thought only very wealthy
bands could pull that off, ie: The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zep,
Frank Zappa.  Often they don?t work out.  Will XTC be producing other
artists?  Is this all true?

?*I have always felt that "The World is Full of Angry Young Men" is
one of Colin's best songs!  The arrangements are great with Dave's
jazzy guitar riffs and gentle piano, and the lyrics, well, let's just
say I can really relate to them (which helps).  I suppose it was left
off Mummer because it didn't fit with the sound of the album.  It's my
favorite Colin song after "Making Plans for Nigel".  Does anyone else
feel this way about that song or am I a lone voice in the wilderness?

?* "Burning with Optimism's Flame": I was checking the lyrics section
of Chalkhills and noticed that the line "Now you see I'm smiling /
back to juvenile'ing / I learnt her lesson / in like flint and styling
/ all the world is neatly curled around my littlest finger" I thought
the line should be "in like Flynn".  Am I wrong or was Andy being his
usual clever self by changing it to "in like flint" y?know - related
to sparking a burning (optimistic) flame?  (BTW "in like Flynn" is a
rather obscene term - it started when Errol Flynn was charged with
statutory rape for sleeping with a teenage girl.)

Opinions (5% XTC Content)

>there has been very little mention of one of pop music?s greatest
>songwriters. In case you haven't guessed it by now, I am speaking of
>one Elvis Costello.

There is no doubt that Elvis Costello is one of the most intelligent
songwriters of his generation.  Andy Partridge is also.  I have always
loved Elvis and feel that he has matured in a very positive way.
I have a short list of my favorite singer/songwriters.  They are:
Lennon/McCartney, Bob Dylan, Ray Davies, Richard Thompson, Elvis
Costello, Tom Waits, and of course,  Andy Partridge & Colin Moulding.
(Honorable Mentions goes to Van Morrison, Harry Nilsson, Randy
Newman, Joni Mitchell and Jagger/Richards).  What do you think?

*I would like to introduce a band to y'all called "The Hollowbodies".  They
have a debut album out on Polydor called "Lame".  Just because the lead
singer/songwriter is an acquaintance of mine does not make me biased.
I love them and want to spread their simple rock/pop sound to all who
can appreciate it.  They are sort of like early Replacements a bit.  Great
melodies and great lyrics.  They are not over-produced and have a very
honest sound that does not remind you of every other band out there.
They easily slip from hard-driving rock, to acoustic ballads, to catchy pop
songs.  You can check out their web site and listen to some sample
tunes at:
Trust me, we've never met...

"There was a time when I fought the world. "

Whew! Love ya,



Message-Id: <>
From: "Steve & Lauren Perley" <>
Subject: More non-XTC stuff for the Mommyheads fans
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 17:49:34 -0400

While waiting for my last post to upload, I found this in the Yahoo!
Reuters entertainment section:
(all rights reserved, etc...)

The Mommyheads
"The Mommyheads"
3 stars
Another band that wears its Beatles envy on its sleeve, the Mommyheads play
melodic, occasionally pretty and seldom heavy pop that sounds like a slice
of Merseybeat that's been cryonically stored and thawed out for the '90s.
It's more McCartney than Lennon -- in other words, it's easy on the ears
and loaded with hook-filled melodies. Not terribly original, perhaps, but
you will feel like you're listening to an old friend.



Message-Id: <020EA33D52DB1004*/c=no/admd=telemax/prmd=dagbladet/o=/s=Erlandsen/g=Egil/@MHS>
Date: 23 Jul 1997 00:01:21 +0200
From: "Egil Erlandsen" <>
Subject: Newell/Partridge

To those of you who happen to be in Amsterdam
this summer, and are looking for the Newell/Partridge
CD "The Greatest Living Englishman":
It is available for a mere 9.90 dutch guilders
(some 5-6 US dollars) at the record store
Fame in the city centre. They had quite
many copies when I bought one a week ago.

The address:
     Kalverstraat 2-4
     tel: 020-6382525

Does anybody know the story behind this recording?
I hadn't heard about it before I spotted it in Amsterdam.

Egil Erlandsen
Oslo, Norway


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 15:04:06 -0700
From: "MARK G. CUEVAS" <>
Subject: Discipline me, Hot Mama . . .

Yes indeed.  Harrison, you spanked the proverbial buttocks crimson on
that one:

> it's the _arrangement_ of MoS that pulls it ... into the realm
> of [a] Perfect[ly] Polished Pop Diamond.

Layer upon glorious layer adorns MoS.  This alone adds an element
unmatched by mere mortals.  Thankfully St. Andy and Co. don't stop
there.  It is as you say, every phrase has a purpose and is revisited
in some form. [I believe it was Edgar who exhorted so . . . or was it

Harrison, you are spot on.  Thank you for your enlightened posting.
I look forward to hearing your version of Real by Reel on CC '97.


Message-Id: <>
Subject: LENGTHY! "Careful what you wish for..."
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 16:55:54 -0700

MAN!  I could have looked so intelligent!  So insightful!  So... so...
so... ahhhh, ptoooey!

I wrote the following LENGTHY blather many months ago and just never got
around to posting it!  (I did mention it to Mr. Relph over dinner, one
evening.)  I make mention of the notion that XTC might form their own
record company and just seek a distribution deal, thereby giving them
much more control over the product and the profits... and before I get
around to posting it, Mitch reports that that's exactly what they are
going to do!  Ahh, RATS!

Anyway, here is my LENGTHY prattle about some of the comments made about
other musicians, record company influences and letting artists be



Ya know... I've read a few comments about "Sugarplastic, Yazbek and
so-n-so" ripping off the XTC sound/style/posture.

I don't get it.  Why would I attempt to sound like someone who truly
hasn't been very successful?  Don't start ripping on me for the last
statement, I realize that there are other factors like Record Company
Sodomy-style Contracts and Golden Carrot advances, but it is true.  As
good as Andy and Colin may be at creating crafty songs, clever lyrics
and unconventional hooks and as good as XTC may be at implementing
sounds to their final mix, they haven't been extremely successful.  They
have not garnered big market share.  They have not been the
talk-of-the-town.  They have not been the media darlings.  They have not
made the song that everyone wants to identify with, hum or quote!

As a musician, I would take offense if I happen to put some angular
chops together into an original composition and make it work smoothly
and devise some clever lyrics and record it clean with style and
precision and someone says, "The XTC influence is evident."  So many of
rock-n-roll's hits have been based on the same three chord intervals
that the whole thing seems to reside between plagiarism and incest.  If
I throw some curveball chord or passage into my work and someone says.
"...blah, blah, blah, XTC."  I don't see how they have license to imply
such things.  I don't get it!

If you intentionally TRY to sound like them, then it becomes quite clear
and that's something different altogether.  There are hundreds of
volumes of library music that is used behind commercials that sound
very, very similar to... (insert latest top ten pop title here).  That
was their intention... to sound like Steely Dan, or whatever group has
"that sound" that everyone is grooving on this month.

I like the Sugarplastic.  Quirky and clever, yes, but I don't hear some
obvious XTC influence.  I hear some fun, original stuff.  And nobody has
the copyright on "original."  Maybe the Sugarplastic bassist actually
says, "That opening base line is something that I kinda copped from
"Wake Up" from XTC.  It's got a real cool "bounce to it.  It was
something I was working with and it's changed quite a bit... blah, blah,
blah..."  It changed.  It isn't XTC's anymore.  It is different notes,
different cadence, different tempo, different instrumentation.

With songs like Season Cycle, Andy wears his "Beach Boys" heart on his
sleeve and many people say, "Ooooh, well done!  How clever."  But if
another band hints of XTC, many fans (a word derived from "fanatic") do
not view it as homage, but rip on it abject disdain.  Are McCartney fans
grousing about Colin's creative bass lines?

This brings me to... "Be careful what you wish for!"

We all want to hear some new XTC.  We all want them to sign with a
credible record company.  Record companies need to get something from
the artist and this can take many shapes from requiring them to tour to
support the recording, to radio tours, to virtually REQUIRING them to
produce a hit song.  I'm not that naive to believe that that is all it
takes to have a hit but the point is, there are thousands of stories
about record companies turning down the songs of artists under contract
and as many stories of artists being pressured to "recreate the feel of
that last song that everyone loved."

Our beloved XTC might get pressured to eradicate any of the verve of
Reign Of Blows or Respectable Street and any of the attitude/opinion of
Books Are Burning or President Killagain and opt for Middle-of-the-Road,
Adult Contemporary, non-confrontational styles like Wrapped In Gray.
Please don't misunderstand me, I really love Wrapped In Gray.  I think
it is a well-stated, well-executed, beautiful song without an "edge", as
it should be (of course, Andy had to put a smidgen of anarchy in there
with the "Stand up naked and grin" line).

I like XTC's early material (even if XTC doesn't anymore) for what it
is.  It takes me to a place in time.  Detroit.  Late 70's/early 80's.
Great punk and new wave scene.  Great clubs.  I also like their later
stuff and their softer stuff.  "I'm getting older too." to quote Colin.

I know a few people that absolutely love The Police through all their
phases but don't like Sting's solo stuff. "Kinda lame..." is the common
critique.  I personally find it quite engaging but it is certainly not
The Police.  The same can be said about many... Elvis Costello, Eric
Clapton, Peter Gabriel, Pat Methany, etc.

Let's not wish so hard for XTC to sign a deal (though I know there are
some people out there that selfishly think, "I hope the record company
makes them tour!").  They may end up pressured into having to write "The
song that everyone wants to sing" just to ink a deal (or they might even
be motivated to make some real lasting money for a change.).  The bad
thing is that some of us will be sneering over our espresso saying
stupid shit like, "Yeah, they used to be really cool but the sold out."
and a whole bunch of "I knew them when..." statements.

There are not many record companies that are going to take them on THEIR
TERMS unless they allow the company to have some influence over the
making of a hit.  The only sanctuary may be if they start their own
record company and link up with a strong international distributor.
This will give them full artistic control over their output.  We can
only hope that they have the production capabilities to step out of
their performer role and objectively wear the producer's hat.  (Most of
us know what Andy thought of Todd during and after the Skylarking
sessions.  He may not "like" him still but, after some time passed, he
admitted that he was humbled into singing the merits of that

They've got to do what's right for them and if that turns out to be
"Adult Contemporary, middle-of-the-road, non-confrontational,
apolitical, number one hit machine" then so be it.  I just hope I'm not
one of the people who ends up saying shit like, "Yeah, but back in the
late 80's, they were sooooo coool!  It's just a shame... blah, blah,

...Just my $0.10 worth (inflation)

Mind the gap.

Cheers, Richard


From: "Lee Lovingood" <>
Subject: I've a feeling '97 will be a good year....
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 21:46:56 -0400
Message-Id: <>

Chalkmarks! 'Sup?
First off, thanks to all of you who voiced your support for my post on King
Elvis, and a special thanks to those who didn't lambast me. You guy's (and
gals) are great, man.

Anywho, good to hear the news in the last post about the boys new label.
Did I mention it has been five years since Nonsuch?

Also, I would like to send a big hearty thanks to the person, ( I can't
recall who, sorry.) who voiced my unspoken sentiments about the single
minded banality of American society in general. It is for this very reason
that a lot of artists take their wares to other countries. I can't blame
them, really. Although the new Prodigy album may be selling as well across
the pond as it is here, and by saying that I hope you can tell that I think
Fat of the Land is nearly an hours worth of discordant, annoying noise, at
least artists like Prefab Sprout can still make it onto the charts there.
They would be laughed off the airwaves here in the states. Why? It is music
that makes you listen. Americans (the masses) don't have time for that. In
this society, it would be shameful indeed if you didn't buy the latest
Prodigy disc, or the new Wu Tang Clan disc. If it is number one, you gotta
have it or you will be shunned by your friends. God knows what a tragedy
that would be! It sickens me, yes, but to each his own, I suppose. I feel,
however, that those who lose touch with the spiritual side of music are as
good as dead.

Ah, America! Land of the wee and home of the slaves. Three words - Think
For Yourselves!

(Lee climbs down from his soapbox, like Moses from the mount, and
proclaims gleefully....)

"Perhaps this is old news, but, I have just learned that the new Eric
Matthews disc, "The Lateness of the Hour", is due in stores on August the
twenty sixth. And yes, he is still on Sub Pop! If for no other reason, I
have a feeling '97 is gonna be a good year! (Yes, that is a line from

"She's my Soft Touch typewriter, and i'm the great dictator..."

Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee   eeee eeee  eeee zure


Message-Id: <>
From: "Matt Keeley" <>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 1997 20:45:10 +0000
Subject: Random Noise, Redux

Hmm... I really don't put as much effort into my subject lines as I
used to...

> From: Dave Blackburn <>
> much in the last few years; no new releases etc. But since I went (came?)
> online a few months ago, typed  "XTC" into my first search engine request,
> discovered Chalkhills, then Bungalow, Perdix and of course this list, I
> have been listening to them with sheer delight again. This forum has
Wow!  You're luckier than I was... when I typed XTC, all I got were
"Adult Club Pages"... although when I typed "XTC +Andy Partridge", it
seemed to work a bit better...8)

> From: Chaos Harlequin <>
> >By the way.... have you posted to the Ryko message center recently? No?
> >Well... don't just sit there... go to it! XTC on Ryko!
Well, the way I usually post to Chalkhills is to select stuff as I
read and respond... so even while this is overshadowed by better news
in the next message quote (or two, I've forgotten), my original reply
was that if Ryko wouldn't sign them, maybe go after Oglio (pronounced
"oleo", like the margarine) who re-released a lot of things,
including the Barnes and Barnes album Voobaha (and will be followed
by Spazchow!  I'm happy about that, but not nearly as happy as I am
about Idea...)

> From: (Mitch Friedman)
> No it won't be official until this coming mid-week but yes XTC will be
> signing a contract! Now the specific and amazing news . . . they are
> starting their very own label called Idea. You may ask how that's gonna make
Yay!  I've often hoped that this would happen... The whole indie
label is an idea (no pun intended) I really like...

> From: Andrea Rossillon <alr@UDel.Edu>
> Also:  a friend of mine has a vinyl EP of the guys recording at K-ROC
> (KROK? KROQ?) in L.A.; they did "Love on a Farmboy's Wages" and three
> others.... Does anyone else have these?
While I don't have it, the call letters are KROQ... from what I hear,
they seem to be a cool station... they've had XTC on a few times I
think, TMBG on a few times and Barnes and Barnes thanked them in the
liners to "Soak it Up".... Hmm... higher B&B content in this post...
probably shall stop soon....

> From: "Sherwood, Harrison" <>
> Consider "The Mayor of Simpleton"--I know _I_ frequently do. Now I'm
Not that I really have anything to add, but you know that you're a
math nerd when you see _I_ and instantly think "Perpendicular?"....8)

Yes, it's true...  Quit laughing at me!

Ah well, that's this world over....

     -=>Matt Keeley<=-
Living Through | Visit my home page
Another        |
Cuba -- XTC    | I used to be temporarily insane!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now I'm just stupid! -- Brak
(ICQ UIN: 1455267, Name: MrMe)


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