Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #4-18

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 4, Number 18

                Wednesday, 29 October 1997

Today's Topics:

                  Senses song structure
               Prairie Prince on the new CD
               The CD of the demos is FAB!!
                     Frank sings XTC
                    Internet Explainer
                  Neville Farmer's Book
                        Zoot etc.
                 PRARIE PRINCE, YEAH!!!!
        "Bumper Cars": Echoes of "Happy Families"?
                    Chalkhills, Demos
                     My turn to bitch
                   Big Express Question
         Name that quote, and Skylarking vs. O&L
                    it's growing green
                     Prairie Prince!
    "Stormy Monday is right" and other logical essays.
                    One step closer...
                  Fancy a cuppa, Colin?
                    Mr. Bates' Guitars
                   Thank You, Mr. Relph
                    amusing flame fest
 A Socratic Post-Concertorial Dissection (sans footnotes)
                Drummers and "Why?", er...


Two requests have been made lately.  The first is to cut the bullshit
personal attacks.  Please take personal attacks to private e-mail.
The second is for the guitar solos thread to be killed.  If you don't
want the guitar solos thread to continue, don't respond to it.
Like most things on the list, if you ignore it, it will eventually go
away.  Or take it to private e-mail.  Your choice.

Where's that confounded middle eight?

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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

Chalkhills is digested with Digest 3.5 (John Relph <>).

For a heart without love is a song with no words.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 21:21:29 -0500
From: Pete <>
Subject: Senses song structure

Hey Chalkies!! De-lurking here!

Here's my take on the song structure discussion:

I've never heard the term 'middle 8' in my 23 years of playing music.

The 'hey hey clouds are...' is definitely the verse bit. Duh.
The 'and all the world is...' is what I would call the pre-chorus, with
the '1-2-3-4-5' bit being the actual chorus. The 'And birds might fall
from black skies' would be the bridge.

Any songwriting heavies out there?? My questions are:
- Is there any other (more correct?) term than pre-chorus?
- What would you call the 'doo doo doo doo...' bit? The turnaround?



Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 23:11:51 -0800
From: Ed & Pam <>
Subject: Prairie Prince on the new CD

This was in the S.F. Chronicle's "Lively Arts" section today:

"Drummer Prairie Prince flies to Sussex at the end of next month to
record a long-awaited album with XTC. It's the first in six years for
the acclaimed english rock group ("Dear God"). The lads have been at
loggerheads with their record label. Prince jets off at the end of the
Todd Rundgren "With A Twist" tour opening Wednesday and Thursday at
Slim's . . . "

I have tickets for this concert, and if I get close enough to Prairie,
I'll ask him to confirm.

Ed in S.F.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 97 09:06:29 GMT
Subject: The CD of the demos is FAB!!

     Along with Jim S who posted in #4-15 I've got to agree 100%

     The job that Rob Cosentino has done with transferring the songs on to
     CD has been superb! Go and order a copy now from him - even if, as Jim
     says, you've already got them on tape. The sound is excellent and you
     can really turn it up on the your player, something I couldn't do to
     well with the tape version before it started 'crunching' up too much.
     Smart bit of packaging too by the way.

     Funny, HM Customs and Excise here in England decided to open the
     package before forwarding to me. Must have seen the 'XTC' rubber stamp
     on the package and decided that they wanted a copy first - or
     something like that!



Date: 28 Oct 1997 10:13:44 +0000
Subject: Frank sings XTC
Message-Id: <000318FB00000004*@MHS>

Hello people,

Remember the first XTC convention in Manchester way back when?
For me it brought together one of my favourite bands and one
of my favourite singer/comedians with a papier mache head.

Does anybody know if Frank recorded his tribute to XTC?
Does anybody have a tape (video or audio) of his stunning
performance of "Making plans for Little Frank" or
"Mayor of Timperley"? I've only found one Frank Sidebottom
website and it seems to be dormant.

Maybe we should form a pressure group to get Frank to record
classics like
Towers of Timperley, Statue of Timperley, Timperley age,
No little Frank in our house, Dear Mrs Merton etc...

The title would have to be Timperley Settlement (I can
see the cover now!).

XTC are from Swindon, My older brother has just moved to Swindon,
last year he went to see Oasis (who I've been defending) at Maine road.
Maine road is the last place I saw Frank Sidebottom (FA cup semi-final
1990). Frank was secretly in love with Kylie Minogue. Kylie is from
Australia, Australian band Hoodoo Gurus are doing their farewell
tour and I'm going over there just to see them - it's a small world.

Keep on guruving,


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 13:01:44 +0000
From: Simon Sleightholm <>
Subject: Internet Explainer

Apologies to all for the duplication of two large posts of mine in a recent
digest, I did notify Mr Relph of the screw up but my mail musn't have
reached him in time. Me, Windows 95 and IE4 haven't been getting along of
late and Outlook conspired with Eudora to really piss me off.  The fact that
Windows 95 then went into spasm and destroyed my C drive (taking with it all
the music I was working on, my web-page work-in-progess stuff, saucy goat
pictures, etc) merely served to replace the chocolate frosting with thick
and sticky pig shit. I lost _all_ the names/email addresses in my address
book and my Eudora in/out boxes. If any one is waiting for a reply from me
about anything then please get in touch.


-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-  (
An XTC resource - "Saving it all up for you..."


Message-Id: <v03007804b07babbd2959@[]>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 14:57:09 +0000
From: Stephen Varga <>
Subject: Neville Farmer's Book

I hope that in amongst the 90% of detail missing from Mr Twomey's book,
Neville has included full details of the Ian Reid case and the Virgin
rip-offs in full detail.

Stephen Varga


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 09:46:53 -0800
From: Chaos Harlequin <>
Organization: Nil
Subject: Zoot etc.

Our Man Relph:

>Who cares?  You wrote the note.

Hah! John strikes again. Watch out, flamers of all stripes...

>Heaven or Hell, you decide -- an XTC song used in the current Burger
>King TV campaign.

"Senses Working Overtime" would be an obvious choice. "Trying to take
this all in" indeed.

>also, re: Insane Clown Posse - no, i'm serious, who are they? i've heard of
>them before and i think the same thing every time i hear their name - what
>a ridiculously great name for a band to have; what the hell could their
>music be like?

They were a rap act whose record was recalled a day after being released by
their record company for "explicit lyrics." Since the record stores weren't
required to return the CDs, many of them refused, and cleaned up on sales
of the now controversial and thus popular CD.

>>the one that got me the biggest laugh is the post where someone
>>so condescendingly "forgave" Amanda's postings due to her young
>>age.  Hsssss!
>I think this was me... I was not trying to be condescending, just being

Personally, I had a problem with "Oh, she's just a kid" attitude.
Condescending towards people because of their age is ridiculous -- age
doesn't really have that much to do with maturity. So lay off the kids,

>The Dukes are entirely different, songs are done in the style of many
>different artists (note the plural), and no
>rip offs it's called a pastiche.

Don't forget that XTC did the Dukes as a side project, with the purpose
of duplicating that sound. Oasis does it for their real career, and
seem to think it's their own work. Hmm..

>Well Are you receiving me, the intro of Towers of London and the
>gentleness of Yacht Dance (the whole track)

The guitar on Yacht Dance is great -- a great swooping riff played with
just the right amount of bounce on that 12-string... Brilliant.

>Possibly sombody can put me straight was to why AP, DG & CM agreed to
>this man (machine) producing Nonsuch (I hope it wasn't their idea)
>though I suppose Virgin may have been to blame.

I really don't think the band can be blamed here. The record company
stooge who came down to look at their demos originally listened to the
30+ songs they'd recorded and said "I don't hear any Top 40 hits. Write
new songs that can be Top 40 hits." Not the most auspicious start to
the album...

Joshua Hall-Bachner
Chaos Harlequin


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 97 10:20:00 CST
Message-Id: <>

     Yay!!! Prairie Prince.....ROCKIN! Let's all listen to "SKYLARKING"
     once more for the road.....excellent choice boys!!!!



Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 12:55:39 +0000
Subject: "Bumper Cars": Echoes of "Happy Families"?

I just got a copy of the '96 demos and have been playing the
&#*$@! out of it.

The Green Man is my favorite -- a magnum opus that doesn't
exhaust its enjoyment over 6 minutes of playing time!  It
has a primordial feel and I imagine a video packed with a
variety of world folk dancers dressed in a cacophony of
colors frenzying themselves amid bonfires beneath a moonlit
sky.  The song is a joyful, graceful dance.

However, does anyone else think that the "A" melody in
Bumper Cars is a close relative of the "A" melody from Happy
Families?  The chorus and "B" & "C" melodies are quite
distinctive, but when I hear the tune I can't help but start
hearing Happy Families in the back of my head.

Oh well, better that Andy be influenced by one of his own
songs than somebody else's!

- John


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 14:56:17 -0600
From: Dave Ledbetter <>
Subject: Chalkhills, Demos

XTC fans,

>"I realize that there will be someone out there who will probably write
>something negative about what I've just stated, however, it would only
>prove to strengthen my point..."
>Jeff (Look Number 9)

Jeff, You realized right.  You labeled the name-calling "slander" when in
fact if it is anything, it's "libel", which it isn't.  Please do your
research next time before posting.

I thought this was a typical response for Chalkhills.  Like clockwork,
someone pipes in how the person who has made an irrelevant error is a fool.
Notice I didn't even bother to comment on the post, just took the
opportunity to point out someone else's mistake, thereby asserting my
superiority.  "Well done, Dave, the poor idiots".

Actually I pretty much agree with his post.  What a venomous lot we are.
Unfortunately there isn't enough "official information" or "news" about the
band which hasn't already been digested here...  (deep breath), we
get to talk about ourselves a lot, which most of the time is good enough
for me.

On a different note, I finally got a copy of the demos on Saturday (Thank
you very much Rob Cosentino).  I had a chance to listen to them once before
going out for the evening.

While I was out, the city I live in (Lincoln, NE) was hammered by the worst
winter storm we've had in many years.  Much of the town was without power,
30% of our trees are gone (Arbor day began in Nebraska so we have a lot of
trees here).  My car was smunched by a tree that split in half at the base.
Because the interstate was closed I had to miss the Foo Fighters/Talk Show
concert in K.C. for which I already had bought tickets (boo-hoo).

So what does this have to do with XTC you may be asking yourself?  I've
been sick with worry and really wanted to listen to the demos again.  I
still don't have power at my house and the demo CD was being held hostage
in my CD player.  I'm staying with my girlfriend and last night (Monday
night), by the light of candles, we went and disconnected the CD player to
take to her house and liberate the demos.  I felt much better after
listening for awhile (Thank you Andy Partridge).

I love "I'd Like That" and "Dame Fortune".  Also love "Church of Women",
"Easter Theater", and "I Can't Own Her".  These are my favorites so far,
but I like all the songs.

Also, It doesn't matter to me whether or not XTC use any of these songs on
the new album.  Actually, now that I have a copy of these to listen to I'd
almost rather hear 20 newer songs.  Whatever the case, I hope the new album
is upbeat, fun, and clever, like all of their best stuff IMO.

>Did I read this correctly: did M. Bland really play with Paul Westerberg too?
>Let's keep the peace,

He was drummin' for Mr. Paul Westerberg when I saw them last year during
Paul's tour in support of "Eventually".

Dave (Notice the clever use of spelling/ grammer/ and content errors -
what?) Ledbetter

Thanks Jeff (Look Number 9) for being the example in my pathetic


From: Kelly Nickel <>
Subject: My turn to bitch
Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 08:38:43 -0600 (Canada Central Standard Time)

 Hello Chalksters:

 Just catching up on the posts - thought I would throw
my hat in; I wouldn't want to shirk my fair share of abuse!

 I see things are getting a bit heated again - r e l a x.
In the words of Andy: ain't democracy wonderful? Better
yet, in the words of my father: "IF I HAVE TO STOP THIS
CAR...". That last one likely has more effect on 8 year old
boys than 8 or 80 year old Chalkhillians... *Sigh*, perhaps
a diversion: How about breathing life into an old thread?
Yes that's it - The one about which album is best for what
season... I personally think you haven't lived until you've
cranked up Drums and Wires while driving in a snowstorm!

Picture it - the snow flying over the hood while you pound
the steering wheel and shift gears through Helicopter;
zero-visibility and four-wheel sideways skids while you sing
along to Scissor Man!  Snow drifts? No problem! (i'm in the
Limelight - uh huh!) Aahhh, fond memories. There, don't you
feel better now?
 *** Disclaimer: Complicated Game is not suited to any type
of traffic situation. Caution recommended!***

 I am a bit behind - but would some kind soul out New
Hampshire way consider picking up one of those cheap copies
of the live CD for me? Email me privately.

 BTW: Thanks to whoever mentioned "South Park"; too funny!

Kelly Nickel


Message-Id: <>
From: "Simon Knight" <>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 13:54:51 +0000
Subject: Big Express Question

I was just reading through the great articles from the defunct
Limelight 'zine available on Simon Sleightholm's Bungalow site and
noticed Dave's choice of singles to release from The Big Express:
Smalltown, Wish, This World Over and.... The Troubles???

There's a large amount discussion about the song with Andy giving
its lyrical background.  So, does anyone know: a) if it was completed
with David Lord producing and b) why it wasn't included?
I guess i'll throw in:  c) Does anyone have a copy?  :)


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 18:10:37 -0600 (CST)
Message-Id: <>
From: (Jim S)
Subject: Name that quote, and Skylarking vs. O&L

>              "Bad Zoot! Bad, naughty Zoot!"

OK, this is killing me. What is this quote from? Monty Python?
Someone help me here.

>Skylarking is not my favourite but instead my second
>favourite. Oranges & Lemons is my favourite ( I feel I am the only
>person in the world who thinks O & L is better than Skylarking)

Well you shouldn't. In my opinion, O&L is the greatest pop/rock album
of all time. Well, it's my favorite of all time, anyway.

  Jim S.     <>

Owner/GM of the Amity White Sharks, 1998 Polanski Division Champions
         Weaver League International internet baseball league


Date: 29 OCT 97 10:37:09 EDT
Subject: Suggestion
Message-ID: <>

Hi friendly Chalksters (still some of us left???)

Since it is plain that some subscribers to this list are unable to
conduct themselves in anything resembling a civil fashion, and refuse
to heed John Relph's pleas to "chill out", it may be time for John, as
"moderator", to actually moderate.  How about some judicial editing of
posts that contain personal, vitriolic attacks, John?

That way, at least one extremely nasty female "contributor" would see
her "posts" reduced to a mere pompous subject line.  And I'm *not*
referring to Amanda!

As the mother said to the child who refused to eat her greens, "Give
peas a chance"!

PS  Prairie Prince eh?  Whooo-hooo - bring on this friggin' album!!!!


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 15:20:46 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <>
From: Bob Estus <>
Subject: it's growing green

Natalie Jacobs wrote:
>(Not that I'm suggesting that the album *actually* be called Zoot, which
>sounds like the name of a King Crimson album for some reason, but just a
>convenient temporary label, y'know...)

Heh... If you really wanted a King Crimso-like title howabout "Spring
Sprang" :^)

>From that more than worthy guitarist John Wedemeyer:
>I have it on very good authority that the drummer for the new XTC album
>will be none other than Prairie Prince!

Xcellent news! I loved the drumming in Skylarking (although not necessarily
the mixing of it). This is great! I'll get a chance to see Prairie Prince
with Rundgren this Sunday at a small venue in San Diego. I'll try to bend
his ear on the future recording plans (good time to wear a chalkhills

winter chased by er..springtime's gamboling step,


Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 21:27:58 +0000
Subject: Skylurking
Message-ID: <>
From: (Patrick M Adamek)

 In Chalkhills #4-14, jason.phelan asked:

    "I have been listening to "SKYLARKING" quite a bit lately, and I have
     decided that it is perhaps in my Opinion, the most coherent,
     solid and beautiful album they have ever made. The ratio of Colin
     and Andy songs are almost even. Do you think that an arrangement
     like that, half Colin/half Andy helps to balance the
     pretentiousness that the band can show sometimes, or do you think
     it's entirely reliant on the material?"

I appreciated your comments on Skylarking.  I wasn't aware that the ratio
was about half, which is intriguing.  Having listened to that album about
a thousand times, I developed the viewpoint that it is such a special
collection of interconnected songs (an ALBUM in the truest sense), that I
tend to give the credit for its clarity of thought and expression to the
material (the journey through life).  I think that Colin's contributions
tended to keep the album a little softer...possibly enhancing its
immediate appeal (and eventual beauty?), but the real power of the album
is its eloquent expression of stages in one's life.

BTW, does anyone else consider Dying\Sacrificial Bonfire the most potent
one-two punch to end an album (for lyrical content)?  I am a Physical
Therapist and in my work with the aged, these attitudes sometimes come to
the surface (particularly in the nursing homes).  When I identified these
feelings in the elderly that I had contact with, and then listened to the
album again later...I could only think of....genius.

Go Go2    P


Message-ID: <c=US%a=_%p=Fidelity%l=NORTHEAST1/IMC001/>
From: "Sawyer, Keith" <>
Subject: Prairie Prince!
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 17:26:00 -0500

John Wedemeyer announces:
>I have it on very good authority that the drummer for the new XTC album
>will be none other than Prairie Prince! Good news indeed, if you ask

Damn, and I was so hoping that they'd choose Thee Slayer Hippy ...


"I'd rather be left with a range siren sound to rationalize
Coming up the rails of the road to your bedroom show"
 -Cardinal, 'Silver Machines'


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 17:17:40 -0500
From: james isaacs <>
Subject: "Stormy Monday is right" and other logical essays.

Anyway, I have been wanting to set up some sort of XTC devotion site on
my web page, and perhaps the "Go 2 Appreciation Society" is the best way
to go.
All those who wish to join, or have joined in the past (yeh, like I
actually kept a record of some sort), please e-mail me here or
privately, and I'll see about doing something about it.
<--------this is not a flame----->
In other news, a small thing that would be nice is that if someone is
replying to e-mail, to include the message one is replying to, so people
like me can have an inkling about what the conversation's topic may be.
Otherwise, a private e-mail is a good way to go.  Here is an example:
<-Chet- my arms hurt when that happens, so I use a scented balm->
I gain no pleasure or edification from this, beyond a Kafka-esque sense
of dread that the joke is on me.
Oh well, send me some love!


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 10:05:26 -0800 (PST)
From: Randy Posynick <>
Subject: One step closer...
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9710280931.A15120-0100000@netcom19>

Re: Prairie Prince

Well, we're one step closer to a new XTC release!  I'm glad that Prairie
Prince has been recruited.  I think his contributions on "Skylarking" are
great, as is his work with The Tubes.  I remember a few Chalkhillians
wishing that he could have another shot with the band, so there ya go.
What are his recent credits - just Rundgren?

Personally, I was hoping for George Hurley.  Stop laughing, Relph!

Re: "Bad Zoot! Bad, naughty Zoot!"

Natalie - if the boys decide to do a double-CD release, perhaps one should
be called Zoot and the other Dingo...?

Re: Chalkhills' Children '97

Richard - it's been a while since we had a status report on CC'97.  Could
you give us some information, please?  How about a track listing?  Thanks.

Re: Introduction by I.Q. vs. Age

Damn!  It's bad enough around here right now!  All we need is a flame war
where posters try to out-intellectualize each other....  Or are we going
through one currently?  If so, it seems to have had the opposite effect.



Message-ID: <>
From: Catherine Sweeney <>
Subject: Fancy a cuppa, Colin?
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 18:08:32 -0000

<I then looked at all my CD's and looked at Colin's contributions and
decided that apart from his contributions on White Music and to a lesser
extent GO 2, he very rarely writes an ordinary song. If all his songs
were put on the one CD (if it would fit) it would be quite a good CD>.

I beg to differ.  It would be a VERY good CD.  I'd go straight out and
buy it, and would be so keen to get it that I might very well knock
people down in my hurry.  I might not even say 'Oh sorry, did I hurt
you, let me help you up'.  I'd completely forget my manners and people
who normally think I'm very polite would say 'what's up with Cath today
then?' and others would say 'Oh, she's just found out that a Colin
compilation CD has been released'.  Then they would all nod their heads
sagely and understand.

If Colin lived down my road, I'd probably invite him in for a slice of
fruit cake and a cuppa even though I know he wouldn't turn up.  However,
if did turn up, I'd go red and spill the tea, but no matter.

This is pretty piss poor XTC content.  I do apologise.


From: "JH3" <>
Subject: Mr. Bates' Guitars
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 11:49:38 -0600
Message-ID: <01bce3c9$dc5dd5c0$>

I would just like to state, publicly, for the record, that while I have been
playing the guitar for over 25 years, including numerous "solos" during that
time, I have never once had an auto-erotic impulse or other sexual reaction
while playing one. Nor have I ever used one as an accessory, toy, or
"appliance" for sexual purposes.

Now I can't speak for Andy or Dave, but I suspect they, too, would be
unlikely to treat a stringed instrument (no matter how phallic in
appearance) as a sex object.

Thank you.

--John H. Hedges III


Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 13:48:23 -0400 (AST)
Message-Id: <v03007800b07b92e4b159@[]>
From: Erich Walther <>
Subject: Thank You, Mr. Relph

Once again the voice of sanity prevails: Now everyone stay in your corners
until  you can be nice to your siblings. Anyway, on to the threads...

Prairie Prince again? Good choice, but I still have the fantasy of Terry
coming back some day.

Anyone tried to play a guitar solo with one hand? You tend to botch both
activities I've been told. As to favorites, put me down for 'That Wave',
with mentions to 'Complicated Game',  '...Cockpit', '...Slow Coal' and
'You're My Drug' (do the Dukes count?).

I've tried to avoid jumping on the demo bandwagon, prefering to wait for
the finished product and feeling some unease (I can't help but think of
them as a form of theft, but if AP doesn't mind them out there...) but all
this debate over which ones should go on  ZOOT have me piqued. I'll be in
touch privately to one or two of you to see what trades, $$$ or
soul-selling it'll take to hear them, then I'll post back with my
all-important opinions ;-).

Let's all be civil out there, there are children watching!

Erich in Ottawa, where El Nino is a cruel joke


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 21:56:55 -0400
From: gregory <>
Organization: InfiNet
Subject: amusing flame fest


>The first time I heard "Da Da Da,"
I didn't (and still don't) know who Trio were, but at least I could put
a name to the strangeness.<

Yeah, but it's an amusing commercial...


>The guitar solo in "Church of Women" has always grated on me.  It seems to
have a large sign stuck over it saying "PUT DAVE SOLO HERE."<

Yeah, but this is what that 'XTC studio magic' I keep talking about is
for! It'll be better on the album! (Hell, it better be on the album


>Some of us actually like the goddamn guitar solos at the end of "Books Are

Yeah, damn straight!


>I have an idea as to how to stop these flame wars once and for all.<

How about we just forget about doing anything about it, ya'll? Heard a
saying once:

"I used to be disgusted, now I'm just amused."

Live it... learn it... love it!


Dave in San Francisco, re: "Bumper Cars":
>I'm at a loss to understand why no one, besides the two of us, seems to
like it.<

Do I make that three of us?


>Last I heard, William Shatner was being sued by the Internal
Revenue Service for falsifying his tax returns.  It seems under the
category _Occupation_, Shatner wrote ACTOR.<

Ooooh, SLAM! I think I heard someone fall off a horse somewhere...


> I have it on very good authority that the drummer for the new XTC album
will be none other than Prairie Prince! Good news indeed, if you ask

>"Drummer Prarie Prince flies to Sussex at the end of next month to record a
long-awaited album with XTC. It's the first in six years for the acclaimed
English rock group ("Dear God"). The lads have been at loggerheads with
their record label. Prince jets off at the end of the Todd Rundgren "With a
Twist" tour, opening Wednesday and Thursday at Slim's, then going
national. They're rehearsing at San Rafael Studios."<

That XTC/Tubes connection rears it's beautiful head once again...!


Outta here 'til the next flame-fest,

Eating future and shitting past... and amused by it all.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 13:36:46 -0500
From: Rob Hill <>
Subject: A Socratic Post-Concertorial Dissection (sans footnotes)

Question: Why ain't XTC more famous?

1. Bad P.R. What do non-XTC listeners think of when you mention XTC?
Making Plans for Nigel? Peter Pumpkinhead? Sgt. Rock? Hopefully Dear
God? I think their finest lyrics have rarely made it to single-status.
First time I heard Pumpkinhead I squinted harshly. Except for one
resolving chord sequence (hurrah for Peter PUMPKIN head) and use of the
word "awful", it sounded like it could have been anybody (consequently a
non-XTC friend heard it and remarked "hey, this is pretty good"). Ball &
Chain? Wonderland? My least two favourite XTC tunes. I don't know who
picked their singles in the past, but they weren't very representative,
with the possible exception of Senses. What comes to mind when I think
of XTC? Train Running Low, Seagulls Screaming, This World Over, Summer's
Cauldron, 1000 Umbrellas, Chalkhills & Children, Great Fire (why didn't
this cause more of a stir as a single?), Rook--the more ambitious stuff
which never gets public exposure.

2. They were a cruddy live band. (Hold it, put down that brick and
listen for a sec.) Judging from live footage, Andy is spastic and the
others are constipated. Colin always looks like he'd rather be having
unnecessary root canal work than be playing live. While the musicianship
was consistently good, they didn't project well. They didn't communicate
well to the audience (who if you'll notice, generally stood rigid with a
perplexed look of "should we be dancing or laying down?"). The
storyteller aspect was lacking. Compare to the Police, mock rivals at
the time. Sting was a far more successful "performer" and connected well
with the great ocean of people swarming around him. Actually XTC as a
live band is a great metaphor for their post-concert music. They don't
reach out to include you. You have to enter their world and investigate,
armed with headphones and a lyric sheet, and frequently an encyclopedia.

3. Andy is a devout self-saboteur (no, I don't want Dear God on there).

4. One person told me Andy sounds like Big Bird.

5. Another hated Mayor of Simpleton because Dave is stupidly happy in
the video.

6. People are dumb.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 14:41:34 -0500
From: Troy Peters <>
Subject: Drummers and "Why?", er...

Peaceful and non-flaming [I can dream, can't I?] residents of the Hills
of Chalk,

1) Drummers: The recent Prairie Prince news seems good indeed.  Huzzah!

2) Listening to the "Acoustic Radio Tour" tape of the Letterman
performance of "King for a Day," I wondered:  Who played what?  For
those of you with the videotape, could you enlighten the rest of us?  It
sounds like good old Paul S. wailing on the keyboards, but my main
question is whether the bass is, as I suspect, Will Lee.  Did Colin
*just* sing, or sing *and* play guitar, or sing *and* play bass?

BTW, listening to these radio appearances from '89 (thanks, Mr. Relph)
has spurred me recently to more frequent listens to _O&L_ than I had
given it in a long time.  It strikes me now as more wonderful than I
used to find it.  I had almost forgotten, for instance, about the
quasi-township-jive bit at the end of "Hold Me, My Daddy."  Nice one,

3) As for _Zoot_, if "You and the Clouds" doesn't show up on it, I will
be very disappointed.  But less disappointed than I have been every
month that has passed without an album since _Nonesuch_...




Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 16:50:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Thomas Slack <>
Subject: Trendiness/Originality
Message-ID: <>

Dear Chalkoneupmanshippers,

In avoidance of being the latest log to be tossed on to the
sacrificial bonfire of the "Is Any Music Good or Bad" debate,
I'm intrigued by the following observation about song structure
conributed by Mike Myers:

> I remember an interview with Jim Steinman, who wrote all of Meat
> Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell" songs <snip>. He was told by many record
> company execs that those songs would never find an audience. The
> typical exec would say, "Pop songs are supposed to go ABABCAB,
> and yours go ABCABDABECAB, etc".  In other words, pop is supposed
> to be simple, and the theory is that the pop audience can't digest
> complex song structures.

Of course, we have to keep in mind that record company execs are
the absolute lowest form of intelligence in the popular music food
chain. They wouldn't have a clue what an audience can or can't
digest, they simply  jump on the latest trends, while claiming to
be experts on what is and isn't "commercial".

> And that is another reason that I like XTC so much as creators
> of great music, because they stretch the boundaries and write
> songs the way they want to and hell with convention!

I agree wholeheartedly, and think that what intrigues me most
about their music (and what has sunk them commercially) is their
complete lack of trendiness. I'm always amazed that so many people
think of them as an "80's band", when they really didn't fit in
with much of what was going on then, either. They can obviously
write songs with typical structures (even *perfect* ones - see
Harrison ("Harry") Sherwood's essay about Mayor of Simpleton),
but it hasn't done much to make them a household name. I think
they lack that banal, mindless quality that reaches the core of
the masses. One advantage to this is that it's hard to think of
them as has-beens or washed up - they just keep making their own
form of timeless, great music.

Another topic that has come up lately with the Oasis/Dukes debate
is the notion of copying music that has already been made. I ran
across the following quote in an interview with Eric Matthews,
talking about his musical influences:

> Andy Partridge (of XTC) certainly needs to be added to that
> list because he's so... He's not a copy artist, because I think
> those songs are so highly original, but they call to reference
> the past so directly.

I thought that was very well stated. Andy doesn't mimic anyone,
nor does he hide his influences, he just lets them exist in his
music while creating something completely unique that has his
signature on it. I think it's a more honest amalgam of the music
that has influenced him, as opposed to, say, Paul Simon suddenly
adopting African music as his "roots".

PostScript- Re: Eric Matthews, a big thanks to whoever it was
that recommended his latest album (the lateness of the hour)-
this is some of the best new material I have heard in a long,
long time and the arrangements and production are outstanding.
Highly recommended.

Tom Slack


End of Chalkhills Digest #4-18

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