Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #4-25

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 4, Number 25

                Tuesday, 11 November 1997

Today's Topics:

                  rebels without a clue
                       Zoot Allures
                      Terry Chambers
                 We have a situation here
                      JHB returns...
      The Gregory Report: 11-10-97 . . . plus more!!
                     You too, Shushy!
           Re: Graceland Productions, Inc. (tm)
                       Pearl diving
                    Jimi, Bob & Bazza
               I'm back and I'm longwinded
                     'Dear' musings.
                        All Along
              It's a beautiful morning......
                      XTC Knows Best


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

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

Can't find the wound from where I'm bleeding.


Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 14:43:39 -0500 (EST)
From: Dave Seaman <SEAMAN@A1.ISD.UPMC.EDU>
Subject: rebels without a clue

i think buffy and others made some good points in response to my earlier
post about "positive" vs "negative" music.  i agree, i wasn't being fair to
label rap/techno/death metal/grunge as "negative" and "nonmusical".  first,
i was generalizing and stereotyping, and i hate it when i do that!  i have
heard rap and grunge that i think is positive, and at least somewhat
"musical".  there are rap and grunge songs that i can appreciate in terms of
texture, rhythmic creativity, groove, and energy, as well as message.

what i think i meant to say is that most of the music i've heard that falls
somewhere into these different categories has less (often considerably less)
melody, harmony, dynamics and range of rhythm than most other Western music
of the past several decades.  and most, but certainly not ALL, of it is more
negative than positive in terms of lyrics.  so to my ears, it's less
interesting and engaging, and certainly less uplifting.  and i hate to be
bored and/or depressed by music!

and i also can't say that i don't like music that may have a "negative"
message - there are a number of songs - from the aforementioned xtc and
beatles to blues, hard rock, punk, etc. that are dark in nature, yet reside
in my record collection.  i guess my point was that so MUCH of what is
popular now falls into the "negative" category, and there is so little else
that is "positive" music on the radio airwaves.  and it makes me uneasy to
think that so many teens relate so much to the "negative" stuff - in fact,
it saddens me as well.  is our society becoming more and more jaded,
isolated, cold? or am i just getting older and less in touch with youth?  i
wonder about this a lot.

granted, i guess the suburban/rural embrace of rap and techno and metal and
grunge has a lot to do with teen rebellion.  and maybe i'm showing my age
(i'm over 30, but you knew that, didn't you? :) ... the kids these days!"
and all that stuff!).  well, i think rebellion can be healthy - it's good to
question authority, and don't follow the norm, and express yourself, etc.
but the rebellion of listening to elvis and the beatles in the 50s/60s, and
new wave and punk in the late 70s/early 80s is quite a bit different, and
not nearly as destructive/anti-society as some of the "kill the police/abuse
women/worship the devil" messages in gangsta rap and/or death metal.

but enough of that.  i love xtc music, as do you, or we wouldn't be here,
and i'm wasting posting space by beating ears on a tangent that is not
relevent to xtc.  so, back to the scheduled program in progress...


Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 11:07:48 -0500
Message-Id: <v01510103b08c9a69d6ce@[]>
From: (Chris Van Valen)
Subject: Zoot Allures

Hi all

Rick Mealey<> wrote:
>James also insists:
>>Eagerly awaiting Zoot...
>I came in late, in fact I just came in, so this may be an FAQ.
>Apologies in advance. However-- Zoot? I guess we're referring to the
>forthcoming gem from Messrs Partridge, Moulding, and Gregory (yes, and
>Prince), but-- *Zoot*? As in Zoot the sax player from Dr Teeth and the
>Electric Mayhem on The Muppet Show? Zoot as in Zoot Sims the sax
>player? Zoot as in Bad Wicked Naughty Zoot in Monty Python and the
>Holy Grail? Straighten me, 'cause I'm ready....

Or could it be Zoot Horn Rollo, guitarist from Captain Beefheart's Magic Band?

If you have an unpleasant nature and dislike people
this is no obstacle to work. -- J.G. Bennett

Catch "Forever Knight" on the Sci-Fi Channel every
Mon-Thurs at 9PM and 1AM EDT. -- Lucien LaCroix


From: kraig olmstead <>
Subject: Terry Chambers
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 97 10:08:00 PST
Message-ID: <>

I'd like to second the appreciation for Terry's drumming.  I think that
his contributions are being glossed over in a big way.  Listen again to
English Settlement - the whole damn thing.  On "All of a Sudden" listen
for the little high hat "chick" on the three - it's subtle, but
oh-so-fine (and difficult to do).  There are alot of great drum moments
on that album, and do you know what?  I'm sure that Terry came up with
alot of them.

Listen to the BBC Live album - that's a powerhouse of a drummer as well.
 I think that if he'd stuck with it he could have kept up with the band
through the years.  I also don't blame him for leaving.  If you're a
drummer in a band that doesn't tour, what do you do once your drum tracks
are down on the album?  It'd be a pretty boring existance.



From: Matt_Kaden/CAM/
Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 15:32:47 -0500
Subject: Gel-ignite

I'd like to start by thanks Sir John Relph for titling my last post for me.
I had neglected to find a name for it, thus he dubbed it "Finger Spew".
Aptly titled, I admit it, but I would never choose a name like this as I
have too much respect for words to use "spew" in anything (unless I'm
quoting someone)

I concur with 'fstolzenbach' about The Pet Sounds Sessions box set. For all
you fools content on waiting for 8 months for the new XTC record, why don't
you get the most out of  TODAY


the instrumental tracks will tear you to shreds!

Jason 'Buffy' NeSmith projected:
>I also think you're over-generalizing when you call 'Techno/rap/death
>metal/grunge' all forms of 'negative' music.   Listen to De La Soul, for
>crying out loud!!!
I've got to say 'Buhloone Mind State' is the most lively, imaginative album
since... What was that psychedelic record from the 60's? The Dukes or
I'll give a shout out to Del da Funky Homosapien, Black Sheep, The
Pharcyde, Freestyle Fellowship and The Leaders of the New School. The best
thing about all these guys is that they re-introduced the idea that it's
possible to have fun in the studio again. Aside from that their lyrics have
creative rhyme schemes, original phrasing and phantastic imagery; the
samples are mind candy and the beats and textures are chewy and elastic.
Good stuff -- especially De La Soul.

The Ever-Popular Amanda shared with us her list of worst... Let's see what
hilarious results will arise.
>1.-I'll Set Myself On Fire-Diction is a GOOD thing, my dear Mr. Moulding.
>In the early days, Colin's voice sounded like his tongue was too big for his
>mouth and was just sort of flapping in the way of everything.

True... That's exactly what it sounds like. 'Spect you don't like Colin's
singing on some of my favorite songs from GO2 and *Beezwax (*I'll go into
more detail on this album in future). No, I wouldn't pick on this one if
were to narrow it down to 10. In its place I'd place:
The World is Full of Angry Young Men --
First of all, who told the man that the way is to be absolutely spineless?
He's pronouncing the words clearly alright but this only brings out out the
lyric which addresses the issue that he was only vaguely inspired when he
wrote this thing. What bugs me the most is that it is driven by formula
alone and this will not do.

>2.-Super Tuff-Too many songwriters spoil the broth.

i.e. Too Many Cooks In the Kitchen, which would happily join for the ride
if were a legitimate XTC song. But it was not to be. One hesitation here is
the ending to Super Tuff; a fragment of music which towers high in the
history of studio achievements.
Still, I love Barry's keys but his songs just didn't gel with Andy's and
Colin's flavor... at all.

>3.-Limelight-Was a nice fanzine, but as a song, it wasn't one of Colin's
>better ones.

No it wasn't one of Colin's better ones, but I confess -- I get off on
those alternating guitar changs; I like his singing too, and Dave's melodic
hammering for "give it to someone else". So I'm afraid I'll have to replace
this with
Let me see... A large robot masturbating on the back of a garbage truck.
This is no substitute for a drum set. In writing this, Andy made sure to
leave every section devoid of substance. In that way it's an

>4.-Don't Lose Your Temper-Dunno why, just could never get into it.


>5.-English Roundabout-See above answer.

I don't know, those tinker-toy guitars dancing around each other for the
last verse... Very edible indeed. As a song, it is lacking. Since this is
now my list, I'll put
X WIRES -- I like the energy, but the song is not really there.

>6.-Gold-Once again, see above answer.

Again, there are others I'd choose before this poor song. I think the demo
is better, for it's just guitars, drums, bass and lead vocals. One of the
few outtakes that actually deserve that status. It is not good enough to
include on an album.

>7.-Washaway-I think Colin hit a bit of writer's block with this one.
Thanks, Amanda. There's another one!

>8.-Big Day-Although I do plan on hearing this one at my wedding, whenever
>that day comes, once again, I don't think it's one of his better songs.

Not my favorite song, and it did take some growing, but I would never put
this on the worst XTC song list. I think
THE SMARTEST MONKEYS would go nicely here.
Sounds like it was co-written & produced by Todd Rundgren on a life support
system while Andy was locked in a closet down the hall.

>9.-Here Comes President Kill Again-Ths is probably the only song on Oranges
>& Lemons I don't listen to when I play the cd. I always program it out.

What comes to mind is the heroically dissonant brass notes that creep up
during the 2nd verse, and the way it builds in general. Not one of Andy's
100 masterpieces, but not one of the 10 worst either. Since we're reaching
the end and
WAR DANCE has not been mentioned yet, I feel it is my job to gently relieve
this song from its position on Nonsvch and from XTC repertoire altogether.
If only it were possible.

>10.-Bungalow-Many of you like it, I don't. Yet again, I just can't get into
>it damnit!

Consider yourself fortunate. It's HELL in there!

Thank you for your time.


Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 14:55:16 -0600 (CST)
From: The Gottschalks <>
Subject: We have a situation here
Message-ID: <>

in which our boys are coming back from what will be a six year "break."
They can't simply name the new album XTC, for they might as well name it
"We're not quite dead yet."  Self-titling your first album is one thing,
but if you don't do it then, just forget it.
In regards to who the better songwriter is, AP or CM, I say they're tied.
It's one of those things where I'd probably favor one if I was listening
to one of his song, but the other when listening to one of his songs.  I
think of Bungalow and Runaways and want to say Colin, but then Andy has
Easter Theater and Mermaid Smiled.  Well this is paragraph has gone on too
As for my least favorite XTC song- Miniature Sun.

-Mark, who will be blown away by They Might Be Giants tonight.


Date: Mon, 10 Nov 97 12:56:58 PST
From: "Sean Robison" <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Ramblings

     From the delurker files...

     I have at my desk a can of XTC. I thought I'd share with you a quote
     on the can: "Please note XTC's stimulating effect if consumed in the
     evening". Amen to that.

     I refuse to drink said can. Reason one: in my opinion, it's cooler if
     the can is left unopened. Reason two: Guarana sound too much like

     Am I in the extreme minority of folks who don't want to hear the demos
     so as not to spoil the album? While I'm like everyone in needing a hit
     of new XTC, I feel listening to the demos will lessen the excitement
     that has built up over six years. I want to get the album, rip open
     the wrapper, pop the shiny disc in the player and have my mind blown

     On the worst songs list - I have only one - "Sonambulist". Don't care
     for the monotonous droning. It's the only song that has fallen victim
     to the "Skip >|" button.

     With all the Andy demos floating around, has anyone heard anything
     Colin is working on? Obviously, there's no way "Zoot" is going to be
     100% AP. And... will there ever be a chance that Dave will pen some

     That's enough disjointed questions for this session.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 05 Nov 1997 17:24:52 -0800
From: Chaos Harlequin <>
Organization: Nil
Subject: JHB returns...

>Drummer Prarie Prince flies to Sussex at the end of next month to record a
>long-awaited album with XTC.

Hmmm. Safe and effective. Prarie is a good choice -- he's someone the band
has worked with before, so there won't be any problems in that department,
and his previous work on XTC records has been very nice -- I'm thinking more
of TBE, where it's a little more evident than on Skylarking.

>Third Eye Blind? Hanson? Toad the Wet Sprocket (as much as I like them)?
>What the hell? They all sound the same!

I blame the producers. "MMMBop" is pretty much designed to fit into the
alt-pop genre. As for Third Eye Blind, the song is *damn* catchy, but again,
the production is at least half of that. Every cliche of the genre is in
that song somewhere, from the break-into-ballad middle chorus to the
R.E.M.-esque arpeggio at the end. Jangle-pop artists are notoriously hard
to tell apart.


>Howzabout we talk about the best song to listen to while driving on a really
>dark, deserted road late at night. I pick either The Somnambulist, cranked
>as high as it will go, or Travels In Nihilon, also at maximum volume.

Are we driving through the country? Depending on the song, I'd either
mesmerize the cows or give them all heart attacks.

>And all the grownups try to drag her down.

John, what would we ever do without you? (Uh, flame each other a lot?)

>I recently got a CD in the mail with Andy's 4 songs on Hello Records, and I
>was wondering what all of you think about them.  :)

"Prince of Orange" is a nice trippy little number, with the fun cacaphonous
piano and "soft" guitar chords and everything. I *hope* it doesn't get
re-recorded -- Andy's demo version is just right. "Some Lovely" falls on
its face with a really poorly placed innuendo and an annoying melody.
"Candymine," OTOH, succeeds better in the innuendo department with its
wonderfully naughty little entendre -- though it's not very subtle, is it?
And "It's Snowing Angels" could have been on PP if it had been written five
years earlier.

>Hey, maybe the band should dump Prarie Prince and bring on Bill Berry

And R.E.M. can pick up Terry Chambers. Although somehow I don't see their
respective drumming styles working out very well...

>I still think I get the award for youngest member on the list:  15 when I
>first joined and posted, 16 now.

I'm still younger.

>I just can't "get" techno

I stand by my conviction that the best techno music is that found in video

>10. Dear God- I still have trouble with this one, but more because I don't
>think the lyrics came out quite the way Andy intended. If Andy doesn't
>believe in God, then who does he think he's addressing?

I think Dear God is less the "atheist anthem" that some have claimed and more
the "Brainwashed child of Christian fundamentalists doesn't want to believe
but can't quite manage to stop anthem."

>Any element of REM that would sneak its way into XTC would make me sick to

In several ways, R.E.M. and XTC are mirror images of each other: all the
bizzare coincidences just drive home the huge left brain/right brain rift
between their lyrical styles. If you put them in a room together, they
would either produce some of the most brilliant music ever or kill each
other in a fit of mad rage.

>I've also picked up a few "edits" on Respectable Street from same UDA CD.

This version is also on _Rag and Bone Buffet._ Andy refers to it as the
"old people's, pre-chewed version." Virgin, of course, made 'em do it.

Joshua Hall-Bachner
Chaos Harlequin


Message-ID: <50229BB8BA20D111AB6C0080D87004F3036BB3@EXCHANGE>
From: "McDonnell, Frank" <>
Subject: Yazbek/Stills
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 16:53:56 -0500

	David Yazbek will be playing at Brownies in NYC on November 18th
with Chris Stills, Steven Stills' son.  If just Yazbeck alone won't draw
you to the city, Chris is quite a musician (he used to have a band with
Leonard Cohen's son Adam creatively called ... Stills/Cohen)  and should
put on a good show.  Brownies usually runs $6-$7 and is nice and cozy.
Hope to see you there ....


Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 21:51:37 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <v03007802b08d2b5ec228@[]>
From: Mitch Friedman <>
Subject: The Gregory Report: 11-10-97 . . . plus more!!

Howdy Hillbillies and Jillies,

It's me again but this time I'm living in Brooklyn, NY instead of in San
Francisco.  Not that you could ever tell where these messages came from but
now I have a new email address as well so don't send anything to
anymore since I'll never get it.

I just got off the phone with Dave Gregory (yes, I know but I know him
too). He tells me that 'tape is running' which is Swindonian for 'they have
started recording!'  He is very happy and excited and all is going smoothly
so far. At the moment he is busily still trying to notate Andy's string
parts and guitar chords from his demos since he sometimes cannot remember
what he did originally. Everyone is very pleased to be standing around
Prairie Prince and his pounding.

In an attempt to find out what songs were being recorded, I only got so far
as finding out which ones were still being rehearsed and which ones will
remain forever as demos.  Brace yourselves, this may be ugly!

There are A list song and B list songs and I still know nothing about
Colin's songs but first the bad news. The following songs will not even be
rehearsed: <gulp> Dame Fortune, Prince of Orange, The Ship Trapped in the
Ice, I Don't Want to Be Here, Bumper Cars. The following songs are being
rehearsed but are now on the B list which means they may or may not make it:
You and The Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful (Dave has come up with a great
solo for it), Wounded Horse, The Green Man. The following songs are
definitely being considered for the album(s): River of Orchids, Easter
Theater, Church of Women, My Brown Guitar (Dave says Colin has come up with
an amazing bass line for it), I Can't Own Her (turning out beautifully and
suprisingly strong), Knights in Shining Karma (Andy will keep the original
demo guitar part but they'll add new stuff to it; same with lots of Easter
Theater too), Playground, Harvest Festival, We're All Light, Stupidly Happy,
Your Dictionary.  I didn't get a chance to ask about the rest but I may be
speaking with Andy soon so I'll do my best to complete the list for all of
you. They have been working at Hayden's studio so far and next week they
will be packing everything up and heading to Chris Difford's home studio to
finish the album.

I passed on the opinion of some of you that the album should simply be
titled "XTC" but that's not gonna happen. So far the working title is
"Firework" which refers to the fact that tape first started running on
November 5th which is some British holiday of note on which fireworks are
involved in the celebration. The cover concept is simply some type of
Chinese character over a solid color; and no I don't mean Charlie Chan, I
mean a Chinese letter/symbol.

On an unrelated note, when my friend Doug and I were driving cross-country
on my move back east the first week in October, we got a chance to stop by
Adrian Belew's house (I can hear the death threats already!) near Nashville,
TN. I got to know him through trying to get he and Andy to work together a
few months back but this is the first time I've ever met him in
person. Besides being a very nice and funny guy with a beautiful house and
incredible digital recording studio on his bottom floor which looks out on
his several acres of backyard woods and stream, he mentioned that as much as
he wanted to produce the new XTC album he was too busy. I asked if he had
discussed with Andy the idea of doing that 'send an ADAT back and forth
through the mail' project and he said they did discuss it and will be doing
something once all of his projects and the new XTC album and promotion
tidalwave has passed. He thinks that he may want to get Mike Keneally
involved in the project too.

Well I've got to go unpack some more but stay tuned for further updates!


p.s. Happy Birthday to Sir John Johns!!


Message-Id: <>
From: "Matt Keeley" <>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 20:05:25 +0000
Subject: You too, Shushy!

Hello... I can listen to XTC again!  Yay!  Anyway....

> From:
> >From Matt Keeley:
> >9. Mermaid Smiled- I have nothing against the song, but whenever I play
> >skylarking, I never notice it. I can't recall a single note of it.
> Wow. This is one of my favorites. The moment when the congas or bongos come
> galloping in gets me every time. I love "Dear God" also, but I wish it had
> been simply added to the running order after "Mermaid", rather than
> substituted for it.
Actually, that was a quote from the original list, although I did
have the same problem with it on Rag and Bone... I do like Mermaid
Smiled a lot, though... just too short and quiet, y'know... I do
remember a few bits, though...8)
> Also from Matt Keeley:
> >I really wish XTC would let Mark Mothersbaugh do an EZ Listening Disc of
> >their songs,
> Maybe this would be a good Chalkhills' Children sort of project? I get dibs
> on the bossa version of "Are You Receiving Me?" 8^)
Hmm... that would be interesting, actually... Hmm, providing I can
actually get it together, can I have "All of a Sudden"?  8)

> From: "J & J Greaves" <>
> Certain songs do connect with the "masses" in my experience. Many of my
> friends who otherwise aren't too excited by the band really thought Dear
> Madam Barnum was a great song, and should have been a "single". And thanks
I agree, I love Madam Barnum (and my parody was a travesty to the
original, but whatchagonnado...8) and it was a promo single, I
remember from the discography, but alas, it wasn't a actual
single-single... I say, either release 4 from Nonsuch (AND DON'T
RECALL ANY!), or if Virgin had it's heart set on 3, replace
Disappointed, I guess, but that's a pity, since that truely is a
great song...

> From: Wesley Hanks <>
> Hmmm... songs that you once hated but now enjoy.
> How about that weird middle stage of that transition -- where during the
> opening of the song you immediately think, "nope, don't like this one,
> never did." but as the song progresses, your thinking changes to, "am I
> nuts, this [rocks, is beautiful, has awsome lyrics, how did they do that
> bit, etc.]"? The next phase is "wow, this cd has THAT song on it, can't
> wait".
Well, it happened that way with me and "All of a Sudden," actually...
first time I heard it on the Look Look and More tape, I thought, "OK,
now why did they make a video of this?  I can see why it wasn't a
single," although after 2 or 3 listenings to LL&M, I realised what a
great song it is, and it turned out to be the reason I bought English
Settlement... getting songs stuck in your head from albums you don't
already have while in a record store with money can be a bad thing.
In this case, however, it wasn't... I love ES.

> From: "Mitch H. McGlothlin" <>
> Hey fellow Chalkies,
>  Have you checked out our moderator's cool Rag-n-Bone Buffet cd booklet
> supplement? It can be found on the Chalkhills' web page under the
> 'products and merchandise' section.
>  It's a great addition to your Rag-n-Bone Buffet cd with a lot of
> detailed track info and lyrics. Highly recommended.
> ps. The booklet is a postscript file. If you're a pc user
>     without a postscript program, 'Printfile' located at
>  might help.
>     Your printer has to be postscript capable, though.
Yes, and I just want to use this opportunity to say that John Relph
is the MAN for making that... Well, not that he wasn't already, but
still... anyway, if you want to print it out, but don't have a
PostScript compatible printer, you can download "GhostScript", and
that'll print it out... but is it just me, or does the icon look a
bit like a Klansman with glasses?  Just me, I guess...8)

> From:
> I have my reservations about "My Weapon," in
> fact it almost made my ten worst list, but its catchiness almost mitigates
> the offensive lyrics.
I still say the catchiness is the worst thing about the song... why
did it have to be so good musically, but so bad lyrically! Agh!

> From: "Don Rogalski" <>
> 4.	Black Sea -->
>  Hedgerows on the Starboard Side
> Does this really need any explanation?
I like it, but I still kinda like the original title "Work Under
Pressure" a bit better... But yours is a close second...

> 9.	Oranges and Lemons -->
>  Limey... Limes!!!
> Oranges may have a distinctive taste, but
> they're a bit commonplace, don't you think?
> I like the campy 1960's feel to my prospective
> album title much better.
I have to admit, this is a bit amusing, and I think XTC might be
willing to poke some fun at themselves in this manner... although,
during the times I'm not wishing I was Japanese or Australian, I wish
I was in the UK, so...8)

> "To wit:  we are here"
> A gentle reminder to those who may have become distracted
> by the preponderance of grunge and commercial rap in the years
> since 1992.
I really like that title... It's got a ring to it...

> From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
> > >4. All Along The Watchtower- One of the worst Dylan
> > > covers I've ever heard.
> > [JR] One of the most original covers I've ever heard.  One of the few
> > [JR] things worth listening to on _White Music_.
> I think I have to agree with John Relph here...
> And I don't think it's actually a Dylan cover at all ( yes, I know
> he has written the original - no need to flame! )
> IMHO the XTC interpretation is much more based on / related to the
> Jimi Hendrix version of this song.
While I still don't like the XTC cover of it, I still think a cover
of the XTC cover of the Hendrix cover of the Dylan song would be
interesting to hear/perform... But that's getting into the realm of
meta-meta-covers, so...

Hmm... had something else to say, but can't remember it right now...
I hate when that happens...

Ah well, that's this world over,


PS: At least, I don't think it was anything important, like the world
exploding, XTC releasing a new album tomorrow or setting things on
fire... might of had to do with DEVO, though... Ah well... oh yeah,
think it might have been that the cover of "Satisfaction" is one of
the best covers I've heard... it even outperforms the original...
(/me refuses to don flame-bait suit again by stating what he thinks
of the Stones, even though he does like their version of
Satisfaction.. the original, that is... especially on my dissing of
Dylan... hopefully there won't be much reprocussions from that... at
least I said I still respected him, I think... I mean, some of the
Dylan covers I've heard are pretty good, notably the Simon and
Garfunkel version of "The times they are a-changin"... ah well, this
post script is becoming almost longer than the post... sort of like
one of Hofstadter's post scripts in _Metamagical Themas_... oh yeah,
one last thing, I urge all of you to get some/all of Hofstadter's
books... he, like Mr. Relph, is also the MAN.  Ah well, that's this
post script over... Matt)
Living Through | (ICQ UIN: 1455267, Name: MrMe)
Another        |
Cuba -- XTC    | I used to be temporarily insane!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now I'm just stupid! -- Brak


Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 21:28:23 -0800 (PST)
From: relph (John Relph)
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Graceland Productions, Inc. (tm)

David Gershman <> said:
>I've got to agree with the illustrious Mr. Relph.

Illustrious?  I think not.

>Paul Simon also happens to be a master songwriter...his attempts at
>incorporating various ethnic styles in his music aren't meant to be held up
>as an example of that style, any more than the Police could have tried to
>pass off their music as actual reggae.

Perhaps that is the case, but Mr. Simon's recent long-players leave me
cold.  I know he started which he was still half of Simon and
Garfunkel ("El Condor Pasa" and others), but since then I think his
lyrics have become more separated from the atmosphere the music
invokes.  The music is interesting by itself, and the lyrics are good
by themselves, but put the two together and all I get is discord.

But I digress.  Isn't this the XTC list?

Speaking of which, I was thinking about putting together a _Fossil
Fuel_ CD insert, but 1) I don't think it would fit in the jewel box
along with the lyrics booklet, and 2) I don't have the time.
Actually, 2) I'm just lazy about it.  I suppose I'll get to it at some
point.  Don't hold your breath, it will make you blue.

	-- John


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 02:36:47 -0500
From: Rob Hill <>
Subject: Pearl diving

Having been recently introduced to Andy's "Pearl", I'm curious to know
if anyone has any info on this charming little ditty--such as when was
it written, for which album. And please explain to me why the HELL it
was discarded by the band.

Wesley Hanks <> pleads us to reveal:
>songs that you once hated but now enjoy.

"English Roundabout" I never cared much for until I picked up on the
complimentary guitars--fluid Dave can be heard to the left against
spasmodic Andy to the right. Now I love to thrust my head lewdly between
the speakers and bask in the off-kilter rhythm. Come to think of it, XTC
has (in the past) had a tendency to push the guitars so far back in the
mix the listener needs a stethoscope to hear them. Why is this? What are
they ashamed of?

Rob (of the Baskervilles)


Message-ID: <840C6065282CD111A6B400805FEA5AC50E25ED@BENEXCHG>
From: Gary Minns <>
Subject: Jimi, Bob & Bazza
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 10:24:54 -0000

All Along The Watchtower:

>...I don't think it's actually a Dylan cover at all...
>...the XTC interpretation is much more based on/related to
>the Jimi Hendrix version...

I agree.  The Hendrix and XTC versions are relatively similar in
comparison to Dylan's recording.  I also have to agree that XTC's worst
recording moments were their versions of other people's songs
(Watchtower and Ella Guru).

Barry Andrews:

He left XTC at the right time in that his musical traits would never
have lasted within the band through Drums & Wires and beyond.  However,
his playing contribution to White Music and Go2 and his two songs on Go2
fitted nicely.  They were both pretty raw and loud albums and Barry's
style fitted quite well at this early XTC stage.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 02:52:55 -0800
From: Kenneth Leicht <>
Subject: I'm back and I'm longwinded

Greetings Chalkpeople,

I haven't posted since I don't even know when.  Computer problems kept
me off the net from April to September and surgery kept me off the rest
of the time.  Been catching up on some recent digests and thought I'd
chime in on some recent threads...

1.)The bottom 10 or bad XTC songs/albums---I've usually found that with
bands I worship that even the songs I dislike I kind of love in some
way.  Some songs I start out hating but develop some liking for later or
come to love.  Some songs fall in and out of favor.  Etc.
As for the ones mentioned:

Watchtower---Kind of fond of it but I'm not sure why.  I'm just a sucker
for those first two albums although many including Andy himself seem to
be less fond of them.

Strange tails, Strange tales---Am I the only person alive who liked this
and Officer Blue?  Maybe it's because back when I bought the single for
Respectable Street and found these two songs I had never heard of on the
back that were early XTC sounding I just took them to heart. (boy how's
that for a run on sentence)  I don't know.

It's Nearly Africa---always liked this but then English Settlement is my
favorite album so I like everyting on it even...

Down in the Cockpit---Yes it is the dumbest song on the record, the
chink in the armor, the monkey in the wrench...And yes the remix is even
dumber but it doesn't bother me that much.

This World Over---My first Chalkhills post ever teed off on Andy's
political songs.  I still consider many of them to be his lesser
efforts.  This World Over reminds me of that annoying Sting song
Russians.  And although it's not as trite as that number there's just
something about it that rubs me the wrong way and bores me in general.
I wonder if perhaps it's just that I have a personal problem when
political songs are delivered in shall I say it...softish..."why
can't we all just get along?" manner.  Because technically Reign of
Blows is more preachy and downright hamfisted. "By the halflight of
burning republics, Joe Stalin looks just like Uncle Sam" Talk about the
sledgehammer.  But I've always liked that one a lot.  The guitar just
rips!  It's just too catchy for the pomposity to bother me.

Here Comes President Kill Again---the strange musical turns this song
takes...notably the "ain't democracy wonderful" this one
slip by.  Because Blatant Reagan/Bush bashing...which was tired already
at the the tune of a drum march alone would have been deadly.

Shake You Donkey Up---I didn't know what to make of this one at first.
but then again I didn't know what to make of the whole album when I
first heard it so there you go.  Later I loved it.

Super tuff/My Weapon---Yes these songs are fucking stupid but I I've
always liked them and everything else on Go2.  And for all you out there
who seem to have it in for Go2 and White Music all I have to say is you
better shut up or I am turning tis car around and we are going back

Mermaid Smiled/Dear god---the first version of Skylarking I ever owned
was the original import and that's the one I prefer.  But I must agree
that Mermaid Smiled is a weak track and if it wasn't on the album it
wouldn't be theory.  But I find I prefer that it remain
rather than being replaced by Dear God.  I run hot and cold on Dear God.
On one hand it's kind of obvious and suffers from the same flaw as many
of Andy's political songs BUT I do so agree with him and his delivery is
so scathing and furious and emotionally harrowing to me personally at
times.   In the end I conclude it is brilliant but I don't need it to be
on Skylarking.  I have it on my Grass single, my Dear God ep and
wherever else.  I prefer it there where it doesn't interfere with the
original "season cycle".  I know it's a strange thing to prefer a better
song not be included...maybe if it was put at the end of the order.  but
as it stands both my vinyl and cd's of the album are the original import
versions and that's just what I prefer.

Love at first Sight---My friend Graham in high school loved this song so
much that he literally played it over and over again for hours on end.
One time I was at his house and he just kept playing it over and over.
That didn't bother me but the song never really thrilled me.  I'm
ambivalent about it.  Same with Living Through Another Cuba.

As for the ones that bother or have bothered me...

This World Over---See above

Wonderland---One day I hate it.  the next I appreciate it.  Then I found
it to clever for it's own good, then I...ah to hell with it.

Sonambulist---Went from hating this to finding it brilliant. Sounds like
a fugitive from Talking Heads' Fear of Music.

Blue Overall---A lumbering bore, fitting that it should be the b-side of
This World Over.

Funk Pop a Roll---CON:There should be a law against musicians singing
about how bitter they are about the record business.  Life's a bitch
when the A&R guy cares more about the band that sells more records but a
little subtlety can help sometimes.  For example: "I bought myself a
Liarbird" or "Starry Eyes" by the Records.  Save it for the interviews.
Keep it "off the record."

PRO:Given where he and the band were at the time I suppose it's not fair
to be so bothered.

Peter Pumpkinhead---Currently my least favorite.  So much so that I
commit the cardinal sin of...gasp...skipping it when I play the album.
It just really feels like an empty tacked on "single".

Okay...other matters in brief...

27 songs verses 20....Um guys...I don't know how you spend your money
but I just can't figure out why you can't afford it.  Maybe if you
rehearsed a few that you could just do in one take without 17000
overdubs and what have you.  Bring on the bootleg album!

Calling the new album simply XTC...In a word NO.  I always hate that.
IMHO you should only be allowed to do that on your first one.  It always
seems pompous to me after that...not to mention less fun or creative.

And to the person who said English Settlement would be better without
side 3 I say it would better if it added Side 5...namely the b-sides
Blame the Weather/tissue Tigers/Punch & Judy/Heaven is Paved...One
annoying thing about Rag and Bone Buffet is that these songs are
presented out of order.  I much prefer the Beeswax chronological
order-style.  I wish they would redo Rag & Bone that way but hey I'm

And on that note...


KL aka Herne

p.s. please excuse the typos.  It's 3 am PST.  Yeah I know excuses,


Message-Id: <>
From: "Dr. Foulger" <>
Organization: Cutting Edge Optronics, Inc.
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 08:32:24 -0600
Subject: 'Dear' musings.

Well here I am again, a regular poster, infrequent maybe but regular
as clockwork, with enough things to say to make it worthwhile to

Anyway, has anyone else, short of SIR (damn he needs a Knighthood)
John Relph, been on this list for 8 years? (Private responses
please.)  I have and it seems weird that we've only seen one new
album in that time!  Certainly, we've seen new stuff from them but
only in dribs and drabs and in collaborations.  It's amazing that
this list has grown in that time.  I don't know what the subscription
level was in those days, 8 years ago, but it can't have been much
more than a few hundred.  There was a lot less flaming then too.  At
least there seemed to be.

It just struck me that Andy has written two songs as letters to
someone; Dear God and Dear Madam Barnam.

And finally, I've been listening to the Beatles a lot of late and it
struck me how wonderful The Dukes of Stratophere's pastiches actually
are.  I used to love them for their brilliance, but now I realise
how clever the songs are being both original, and fabulous tributes
to music gone by.  How blessed we are to understand the talent of
songwriting geniuses Andy and Colin!

Dames tWd

* --------------------------------------------------
Dr. Damian Foulger
3753 Pennridge Drive, Bridgeton, MO 63044
Tel. (314) 344-9135, Fax. (314) 344-0908


From: Matt_Kaden/CAM/
Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 10:39:29 -0500
Subject: All Along

My apologies to Chris Coolidge for my poor taste, and no personal offense
was intended. I was reacting over-zealously to your statement about "All
Along the Watchtower". I've always been mesmerized by Andy's vocal approach
on this one, the elasticity of the bass/drums and the anarchic keyboards. I
have a hard time swallowing the idea of someone hating this song. I agree
with John Relph that it's one of the best covers he's ever heard, and I
agree with Dave Gershman about its similarities to DEVO's version of
"Satisfaction". Both of these covers have confirmed in my mind that if
you're going to try to play a song that is already perfect in its original
form, a good method is to mutate the arrangement so extremely that it
becomes another song. I'm a big Dylan fan, and XTC's All Along the
Watchtower is one of the only Dylan covers I can stand listening to.

All Along, I was never a violent sort.

Matt Keeley, on the note about Mark Mothersbaugh's EZ Listening project -
You might get into the experimental records by Raymond Scott from the early
60's, entitled Soothing Sounds For Baby.

With it, stay on stay on
                                         -- Matt


Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 09:46:39 -0600 (CST)
Subject: It's a beautiful morning......
Message-id: <>

Cause it was a beautiful weekend, wanna know why? You don't? TOUGH! ;)

Whilst at work on Sunday I was shoved onto a large set of headphones on the
pretext of showing restless diners to their tables. Fortunately for moi,
my MANager was joining me. Boring minutes flew by, until all of the sudden in
my left ear, I heard VERY faintly, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5...senses working overtime."
At which opint I looked over at my MANager, who had a huge, dumb grin on his
face. (and I need a spell checker damnit!!!!!!)
Later on that day as I was preparing to leave, I pulled my LE issue from the
pantry. My MANager looked at the cover and said "Oh God I thought that was
Melissa Etheridge." Guess who just so happened to be on the cover that
particular issue.
I think I left a bruise on his arm for that remark.

And now, onto reponses and various tidbits......
Tony-I dunno, Wake Up confuses the crap out of me till the drums/piano kick
in. I can never get the tempo right. (Same thing with Millions, Shake You
Donkey Up, and Train Running Low On Soul Coal.)0

What's wrong with It's Nearly Africa? For quite some time this stood out of
my favorite ES song.

As far as rap goes, Ice-T is an XTC fan. 'Nuff said.

As far as death metal goes, I only listen to it when I'm in one of those "I
wish the world would explode" moods.

Slight somewhat related to XTC content-Richard Branson was named on of the
sexiest men alive in the latest issue of People. (Calm down stomach, stop
twitching.)  I KNOW you guys are getting sick of my rounds of Name That
Tune, but this is the last time will ask for your hel in identifying a song,
I swear by the name of Lord Cornelius Plum.......  I heard a beautiful
version of Todd Rundgren's "I Saw the Light" the other day.  It was done
almost ballad-style, and a woman was singing. It was really great...

That's all for now, till next time, try to avoid the daylight.
XTC song of the day-Melt the Guns
non XTC-Rose Tint My World-Janet, Dr. Scott, Brad, Rocky, Columbia, and Dr.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 11:14:58 -0500
From: Stormy Monday <>
Subject: XTC Knows Best


Don't forget to send me your e-mail address if you want to attend the
next XTC Bash in Atlanta GA. We will most likely schedule the party for
early January, as people are very busy between now and the end of the
year. posted:

> This is an important exercise, because a question hangs in the balance --
> what kind of sound do we want Andy, Colin, and Dave to pursue?  More of the
> 60's sound, like "Some Lovely"?  Something deliberately offbeat, like
> "Bumper Cars"?  Something experimental like "River of Orchids" or "Prince of
> Orange"?  Something folky, borrowed and blue (like recent Fairport
> Convention), such as "I'd Like That"?
> Let me know!

I want them to sound how they think they should sound.  I want them to
record the songs that they want to record.  They've made a career of
doing as they pleased, and this has always pleased me.

Having said that, I almost wish that I couldn't have heard the demos
until after the release of the new record, (I refuse to call it "Zoot",
because in my world that has a very negative connotation.  Since the
seventies, in my small circle of friends, we've used the word "Zoot"
like this:  "I hope he doesn't bring his girlfriend!  She is such a
Zoot!" or "XTC is tired of being Zooted by Virgin, so they are on
strike!") because I can't help but anticipate how great "The Green Man"
and "River Of Orchids" would sound once properly performed and produced.

Stormy Monday


End of Chalkhills Digest #4-25

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