Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #4-30

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 4, Number 30

                 Monday, 17 November 1997

Today's Topics:

                       Terry Lives!
                 Life's Like An Atom Bomb
                 Oops...mistake and more
                  Prince Of Orange Trust
       divers alarums - replies to a week's 'hills
                     Hunting Nonsuch.
Lots of old threads resonded to because I'm behind on my reading
                        Hammy Oddy
   She says she's found a way to make her own light....
                    Andy Collaboration
                  Quite a few replies...
       Oh I'd love to be an Oscar Mayer Weiner.....
        Does the Word "Duh" Mean Anything to You?
            If you record it, will they come?
                       White Music
              The Partridge Report: 11-17-97
                       "New" songs
                 Duty Now For The Future
             An urban myth blinded by science
                   That ain't working.


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

And then you're ready for another shift.


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Organization: The Little Lighthouse
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 22:20:51 +0000
Subject: Terry Lives!

Dear Chalkers,

> Terry was a monster. [...]
> I've been seriously pondering Terry Chambers.

I'm glad Terry 'Mr. Amazing' Chambers is not forgotten here; even if
he has thrown away his drumsticks for good. He was "fuckin'
brilliant" as he would probably have put it himself and the engine of
the XTC live show. Check out the live b-sides (Cuba!) and cd's and
listen ! Like Andy said : "When Terry hit a drum, it stayed hit"

> Funnily enough, I think it would be ridiculous to underestimate his
> playing, mainly because you can still hear elements of it in the
> music made after he left, bits like the heavily rooted, four on the
> floor, bass drum parts.

Exactly and well put.
IMHO Andy has been a bit too eager to denounce Terry and his
influence on the overall XTC sound right after he left for
Australia... in later interviews he does seem much milder.

There's no denying XTC have changed since Terry left.
Maybe it was better for the band (as some have suggested recently)
but we'll never know what might have been if he had stayed on.

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse
 the XTC website @


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Organization: The Little Lighthouse
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 22:20:50 +0000
Subject: Life's Like An Atom Bomb

Dear Chalkers,

Lady AMANDA of the Caps said:
> >Now that I've got 25 O' Clock on vinyl, I've been vigorously trying to hear
> >"You can fuck your atom bomb", but no luck!

It's not there, dear... so stop mutilating your vinyl! You should
never play XTC vinyl; you should only love, cherish, preserve and
admire it in awe. And remember to put on the surgical gloves :)

Anyway, our heroes used just a tiny snippet from the NY talk radio
conversation with "Frank" ( who's quite a celebrity i gather...) that
was taped by John Leckie in his hotel room.

They did not use the Atom Bomb song itself but a piece of Frank's
comments on that song.
Does "and I'm complimenting you by even considering it a song" ring a
bell? That's Frank...

BTW: anyone interested in a dub of the original Leckie recording
should email me privately

yours trainspotting,

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse
 the XTC website @


Message-Id: <>
From: "Kevin Keeler" <>
Subject: Oops...mistake and more
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 16:49:51 -0500

In my last poise i rambled on a whole lot about 'white music'.  i forgot to
mention that i interpreted the term 'white music' as a variation of 'white
noise'.  i dunno if anyone knew what I meant or not.  White *noise* is sound
that blocks out other sounds without you even noticing it cu it's "white".
Like inpsychiatrist's offices and stuff they sometimes use it.

like when a fan or something is running pretty loudly, except you don't
notice it until it shuts off.  i spoe that would be classified as white
noise.  I think 'white music' is an excellent name for an album--as per my
feelings on it's significance.

Also i found two VINYL copies of the dissapointed single.  Depending on
whether or not i can find a new needle, i may or may not get one.  I don't
know how rare or desired tses are, but if anyone is interested (still
wrapped and stuff), they were 7 or 8 dollars.  mail me.

also I found the compact XTC and beeswax on CD.  I don't know if i want to
become a 'collecter' or not.  so can someone tell me 1) how excellent these
cd's are musically (i didnt have time to check the tracklist) and 2) how
difficult they are to find.

thats all.  there wa also a cd of 'explode together'  for 17.99.  which is
the cheapest I've seen it.  but i already own it.  so if anyone is
 thats rwally all now.    (and im gonna miss green an and dame fortune)

              Kevin Keeler
          Master of Reality
 ***Official Member, A.. A..***


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 01:12:14 +0000
Subject: Prince Of Orange Trust

Hello all,
> From:
>  I do wonder now if I'm the
> only person on the list who loves 'Prince of Orange'.
Wonder no more. Its brilliant. The great hook , the chunkiness and ,best
of all , that totally out of time piano / keyboard playing. Its my
second fave demo after 'Easter'. I suspect that the mad keyboard is what
made them drop it. Being great musicians I can't imagine Colin and Dave
allowing Andy to get away with it ! The only criticism I have is that
overlong jazzy end to the song but I reckon that was just Andy getting
stuck for an ending and wouldn't have been on the
( tradgically not-to-be ) album version . Its really pissed me off that
they have discarded it but there is nothing you or I can do about it. At
least we have the demo, I suppose.
I can't believe so many of you dislike 'This World Over' and 'President
Kill' . Two of my favourites . Gloomy ? Yes , but the atmosphere is
collossal on both tracks. And how can you not love those
Bacharach-on-acid horn parts in 'Kill'. Isn't taste a strange and varied
thing ?
Nobody has picked up on my Counting Prose lip-synch idea from
Digest#4-22. It can't fail !
Why the sudden surge of 'Barry Was Fab' postings ? I think most people
( Andy P included ) dislike the early XTC and Barry featured heavily
then. He was one of the reasons the band were noticed early on with his
manic stage antics and loony organ playing so we have to thank him for
that. But when Dave took over XTC became the band we love today. Less
gimmicky and more mature. Barrys  happy doing his experimental thang
nowadays and would never fit in with XTC now and he probably wouldn't
want to.
Finally. Am I the only person who finds the name of the new label dull
and uninspired ? IDEA ? From such a creative trio of guys it seems so
trite ! And 'Firework' !! Why? What relevance does it have to anything ?
Might as well call it 'Toaster' or 'Duvet'. Heads up boys. You can do
better than that after 7 years. Having said all this, as long as we get
an XTC album next year who gives a toss what its called or the name of
its label !!
Pete.( Spokesman for the 'Prince Of Orange Trust'.)


Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 15:36:21 +1300 (NZDT)
Message-Id: <v01540b04b0961517e986@[]>
From: (James Dignan)
Subject: divers alarums - replies to a week's 'hills

>>2. ... or is it memorex of the week:
There's nothing like admiring a car as some stranger speeds by, only to
realize that, waitaminnit, that's MY car!. That's how XTC's Andy Partridge
should feel upon hearing YOU AM I's debut album, 'HOURLY DAILY'
(Sire/Warner Bros., out now), which contains a virtually note-perfect
rip-off ... er, that is, _homage_ to the bridge of XTC's "Senses Working
Overtime." When asked if XTC was going to receive a co-writing credit, a la
Ben Mink and k.d. lang on the recent Rolling Stones single, a label
spokesperson merely expressed bewilderment as to why so many people were
mentioning XTC (sounded like the Jam to him). <<

There are a couple of fairly XTC-ish songs on this album actually... "Good
mornin'" reminds me more than vaguely of "Season's Cycle" in style, and
yes, "Mr. Milk" is VERY much like the bridge of "SWO" - complete with
Partridge (TM) "woo-hoo-hooo!"s. The Jam comment isn't out of place,
however - I'd say the influence, if anything, is a group that both the Jam
and XTC listened to a lot, i.e., the Kinks - "Heavy Comfort" and "Someone
else's home" in particular show this influence.

"Rick Mealey" <> sez:
>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?

We all (well, a lot of us) nicknamed the forthcoming album "Zoot" after a
comment of Robyn Hitchcock's "Everything's gotta be called something, even
if it's only Zoot". Since no-one on Chalkhills knew what the new album
would be called (and it was bound to cause arguments if someone said "what
do YOU think it should be called?") it was just decided by a couple of
Chalkhillers to refer to it as Zoot. And it seems to have stuck! (It
reminds me of the guy from the Muppets, too!)

>>BTW, is it
>just me, or is the 3rd side (Melt, Leisure, Knuckle and Africa) kinda...
>well, with the exception of Melt the Guns, which I love, crappy? I
>personnally think that ES should have been a 3 sided album or a 4 sided,
>replacing L,KD and INA with some of the B-sides from ES, and just juggling

I dislike it too, but that's mainly because I grew up with the single album
version. I still find myself programming my CD to miss out the songs not on
that single disc (Leisure in particular - bleah!) and play the songs in
what I still think of as the proper order. In particular, Snowman -
although a fine song - doesn't cut it as the "XTC closes the album with a
masterpiece" (a la Complicated Game, Travels in Nihilon etc) to nearly the
extent that "All of a Sudden" does. "...Africa" and "Knuckle Down" are fine
songs, mind you, just not up to the standard of the rest of the album IMHO.

Dave the G said:
>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. The point is one of fusing
>different types of music, which I believe Paul Simon has been quite
>successful at -- criticizing him for not being soulful is kind of beside
>the point...he's never exactly been a "soulful" singer anyway.

And remember that Paul Simon was experimenting with ethnic elements long,
long before most of the bunch of Johnny Come latelys that have since mined
that bandwagon and mixed those metaphors. He was incorporating Andean pipes
into Simon and Garfunkel songs while Gordon Sumner was still teaching
schools in Newcastle. Or earlier! And I agree - accusing Paul Simon of not
being soulful misses the point.

>Awaken You Dreamers (kind of wordy for a title, though)

nah - that's a goodie. At 17 letters (just remember...seventeen), it's
shorter than such album titles as "The unforgettable fire", "Selling
England by the Pound", "Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space",
"More songs about buildings and food", "Still crazy after all these years",
"Sgt. Pepper's lonely hearts club band" and even "Melon collie and the
infinite sadness". And in this world of blip-vert attention spans and
pus-drenched music, it is only one letter longer than "Jagged little pill".

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

you should never type when you're that PST! ;)



Message-ID: <>
From: Wood Robert MMUk <>
Subject: Hunting Nonsuch.
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 08:56:58 -0000

I have a request please.

I was talking to a friend at the weekend about the fact that I'd joined
an XTC mailing list. His immidiate reaction was to ask if anyone had a
copy of Nonsuch on vinyl that they might want to sell? (He's someone
with a passing interest in XTC, but loves Nonsuch and regrets not buying
it when it came out.)

We're based in Manchester (that's Manchster, England!) so I guess we're
looking at someone in GB being able to help really.



Date: 17 Nov 97 04:23:14 +0000
Subject: Lots of old threads resonded to because I'm behind on my reading
From: "David vanWert" <>
Message-Id: <B095773A-4C519@>

On Sat, Nov 1, 1997 10:57 PM, somebody wrote:
> I asked the question "Why is XTC not as
> popular as they should be?" (In relation to the underqualified and whiny
> Oasis) a few issues ago and really wanted a way to express my frustration
> in XTC not getting more respect ( that would equal
> what they have meant to me as a music fan.  The above is actually quite
> good.  As I have tried to turn on 100s of people to XTC over the past 8
> years, they all pretty much had that same response...."You have to try
> too hard to understand what they're saying" (said with a whiny voice like
> someone with their nose plugged up).

Okay, I bought my first XTC album in 1982 (it was "Black Sea" for those
keeping score-- but I bought it because a friend had "English Settlement"
and I liked it a bunch) so maybe I've had awhile to get used to their
voices, but honestly, listen to, say, "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead,"
and listen to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Jeremy" and tell me which has
the clearest lyrics. I chose those two (other peoples) songs because they
came into WXRT (local station which plays the boys) rotation within the
same year as the XTC song. In fact, I dare anybody to name an XTC single
(heck, even go back to the "White Music" days-- and I know the words to
"Heatwave") and I bet I can find a U.S. top ten hit (and probably several,
if I feel like actually researching) with less understandable lyrics
released within a year of it. Quick, somebody recite me the lyrics to
Blur's last hit (no fair if you looked at the sleeve). In fact, if I stood
outside the Lyric Opera as the show lets out and asked folks to recite a
few lyrics of the show they just saw ("Marriage of Figaro" or "Amistad" or
whatever), how many do you think could even give me a chorus? Maybe the
people who've complained to you about XTC's diction have record collections
devoid of any mush mouthed vocalists, but somehow I doubt it. I share your
frustration (about popularity), but I think the "problem" lies primarily in
the prejudices and conditioning of the pop audience. Diction alone is too
insignificant to account for the lack of recognition we all believe they so
richly deserve. XTC's work is generally more complex than most pop songs,
like you said, and maybe that's because they devote more energy to writing
songs than to being rock stars. We all wonder how many XTC gems we've
missed due to their erratic production, but I also wonder how many  gems
we'd never have gotten if they'd hit it big with English Settlement. Not to
offend any Sting fans, but I feel like the Police were just getting really
interesting when all of a sudden they hit it big with "Synchronicity" and
that was the end of interesting work from Mr. Gordon S. Imagine what
happens if "Senses Working Overtime" charts several weeks at number one,
"Ball and Chain" also hits the top ten, as does "No Thugs." Does the band
stick together during the turbulence that we know followed that period of
their career(s)? Or do they go the way of the Police and so many others...

To quote Adam Sultan, "Thanksgiving for every wrong move... that made it

Somebody mentioned Van Gogh awhile back, notable for being a genius who
couldn't sell a painting to save his life. I certainly think he was a
genius, at any rate.  How many people left one of his very rare showings
saying, "I couldn't understand what he was saying."  How many times did
Theo go out on a limb to introduce someone to Vincent's work, only to be
met with, "Gee, it's awfully yellow, isn't it?"

Hmm, I seem to have lost track of my point. It was supposed to be something
about how maybe XTC's lack of short term commercial success has been a boon
to their long term artistic careers. Or maybe it was a rebuttal about the
effects of diction. I forget.

But let's move on to my second irk, which has to do with the recent
discussion of the merits of "All Along the Watchtower." Personally, I
disagree with anyone who says "White Music" and "Go2" are largely
unlistenable as albums, whether it's Mr. Relph or Mr. Partridge or my mom
(who also hates rap and techno). But regardless, my issue is with the idea
that "Watchtower" is only acceptable because, like "Alien3," it's been
re-made in its own image. "Watchtower" is truly a re-make, not a sequel
like Alien3. "Watchtower" must be judged on its own terms because it is a
re-make-- just like any production of "Hamlet" should be judged
independently of every other production. No production of "Hamlet" owes
anything to the productions that preceded it. A supposed sequel, however,
DOES owe a debt to the preceding works because it claims to be a
continuation of an existing story. "Alien3" is a failure because it fails
to accommodate the work of the preceding two movies. I'm glad James Cameron
didn't burst into tears over the idiotic sequel that followed his
respectful sequel, but "Alien3" still sucks for the same reason that Howard
Chaykin's "Shadow" sequels sucked. Any work that purports to be a
continuation of a story mustn't disregard the history, impact, and purpose
of the preceding story. "Watchtower" has no such debt because it is a
re-telling of a story-- it must be hated on its own flaws, not because of
what came before. And indeed, I hated it for a long time. It was weird and
disjointed. But one day, much to my surprise, I found myself loving it. In
fact, XTC has no "skippable" tune for me until "Big Express." And it ain't
one of the b-sides. I love "Washaway," dammit. "Red Brick Dream" used to
puzzle me, I admit, but in 1991 I spent three days in Swindon and realized
the song was gorgeous and heart breaking. I finally saw the red brick dream
with my own eyes. Maybe that doesn't make it a universal song, but dang if
it didn't drive the point home for this fella. And now I see the red brick
dream in every row of soul-less town homes that springs up in Chicago,
destroying our neighborhoods for a bland and ultimately false vision of
prosperity that drowns the individuality and personality that made this
city so wonderful to begin with.

But I've lost track of my point again. Perhaps I should just go to bed.

David vanWert <>

"I hate quotations."  Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1849


Message-ID: <840C6065282CD111A6B400805FEA5AC50E2610@BENEXCHG>
From: Gary Minns <>
Subject: Hammy Oddy
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 11:23:14 -0000

>...I've found that there's a lot of LIVE B-sides to be had
>including the likes of Scissor Man, Battery Brides,
>English Roundabout, Living Through Another Cuba/Generals
>And Majors but for my $ the live version of  I'll Set Myself On
>Fire that appears on the b-side of Towers Of London is one
>of the most fantastic jewels to be had...

Isn't that the same recording that was on the "Hope & Anchor Front Row
Festival" live double album?
XTC contribute a couple of good tracks on that LP.

My personal live faves are Traffic Light Rock (from the free Record
Mirror 7 inch) and Battery Brides (on the Towers of London single)
together with a tape recording I had (bloody cassette player chewed it
up a few years ago...I was so mad at this unwarranted electrical
vandalism I chewed up the offending cassette player!) of Statue of
Liberty performed at Hammersmith Odeon.

Hammersmith Odeon: it just isn't the same now it's the Labbatt's Apollo!



Message-Id: <>
From: Greg Marrs <>
Subject: She says she's found a way to make her own light....
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 10:30:31 -0500

Thank goodness for Harrison Sherwood's last post.  I had begun
to worry that he'd gotten involved in some arcane literary project --
rewriting Don Quixote from memory a la Borges or
the like -- and had had some terrible mental accident.

One question --
where's the rest of your lyrical parody?  This was great! It even
scanned!  If you're done with the Cervantes, please accept this
(non-remunerative) commission to have at the XTC oeuvre.

 More Please!


Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 08:08:45 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Andy Collaboration

Hi Ch'illers,
    This just in this morning, 11/17.
RCA recording artists The Verve Pipe have become one of pop music's
true success stories in 1997...... <SNIP SNIP SNIP>..... Recently, singer
Brian Vander Ark announced a side project with acclaimed British songwriter
Andy Partridge of XTC.
Have a great week, all.
Respectable Street-ly,
Paul         < >


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 09:57:12 -0500
From: Adam Tyner <ctyner@CLEMSON.EDU>
Subject: Quite a few replies...

<<But you young folk, you students out there who have not been following
XTC for near 20 years, how and when did you start listening?>>

I'm 19, and (close to being) a junior at Clemson University.  I find it
very interesting to be on a list with people who have been fans of a band
longer than I've been alive.  :)  Perhaps that's why I lurk?  :)

I've been a fan of They Might Be Giants for a number of years, and there
seem to be quite a few crossover fans.  After having people recommend XTC
to me for over a year, I relented and purchased "Upsy Daisy" this summer.
Andy may not be overly fond of UDA, but it was enough for me.  :)  I
subscribed to Chalkhills the night I bought the CD, even though I didn't
have one single XTC LP.  :)  My collection's grown quite a bit...  If
anyone's bored, I have a list of CDs I own at

<<You & the Clouds... is too beautiful to leave off.>>

By far.  It's one of my favorite demos...the lyrics are very catchy, and
the music is very head-bobbing.  :)

<<I picked up Upsy Daisy this week just to have Chalkhills and Children
without the fade of Miniature Sun at its beginning. Who am I kidding, I
would have picked it up just because it's an XTC cd that I didn't have!>>

The picture on the liner insert also makes the CD worth the price of
purchase.  :)

<<Maybe its just me, but if The Dukes released some stuff right now, 1997,
don't you think it would take off?>>

I think it would be interesting to find out, although I don't know if
that's territory Andy and co. would like to re-tread.  I really enjoyed
"Chips From The Chocolate Fireball", so I wouldn't complain if they did
release another EP or LP...  :)

<<I volunteer as drummer.....>>

Maybe Colin will let me play shakers...  <g>




Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 09:28:46 -0600 (CST)
From: lady cornelius plum <>
Subject: Oh I'd love to be an Oscar Mayer Weiner.....
Message-id: <>

That's it. My song of the day. (Arf arf)

And the customary responses, the envelopes please!

Matt-ROTFLMAO! I'm gonna have to go home and get to work on X Wires. Someone
slip something under his tongue, he's seizing!!!!!!!!!

As far as Andy's diction goes, did someone lesion in his direction? 'Cause
that's what it sounds like he's saying!

Todd-Season Cycle???? You're mad, I tell you MAD! The harmonies on that one
are another gorgeous example of the fact that someone who says he
CAN'T sing CAN. (Spool back a few digests.)
Church of Women-Well, I for one wouldn't go as far as to...ahem...fill in the
blank....but it's still a good song. In an old interview Andy said there
should be churches devoted to women, and I won't repeat how he said they
should look.
What's this about Colin doing a song with his sister? Colin doesn't have a
sister. He has an older brother, and that's it. (At least last time I
checked he did.) As a matter of fact, none of them have sisters. (Pity their
mothers, raising 6 sons total. I couldn't deal with all sons, I'd go NUTS!)

Mark-Oh yeah, well I'm not heavy! I'm my brother! (I'm as much of a lady as
RuPaul is.)

Jason-I expect full royalites when the song hits #1, and when Top of the Pops
calls, you make sure to ring me up and set up a date when I can sing.

And now I must be going, my carriage awaits. (As does math class.)
Till next time, try to avoid the daylight
Lady Cornelius Plum
XTC song of the day-Dame Fortune
non XTC-Shout At the Devil-Motley Crue


Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 08:30:47 -0800 (PST)
From: relph (John Relph)
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Does the Word "Duh" Mean Anything to You?

"Dominic VanAbbe" <> wrote:
>a)  There has been plenty of discussion of the prize cock-up Virgin made
>with "Drums & Wires", but I'm wondering if an item I have in my collection
>was a common occurrence.  I have an, apparently, UK printed CD of "The Big
>Express" with allegedly 14 tracks on it.

To which I mistakenly added:

>	[ (a) See FAQ #16.  -- Ed. ]

My mistake.  Sorry about that.

>The label of the disc itself, the
>booklet, even the rear of the CD case all indicate 14 tracks, and everything
>is hunky-dory until you actually go to play the disc....

Is this the French edition?  Apparently the CD was issued in France,
Greece and Germany without the extra tracks.

Matt_Kaden/CAM/ writes:
>What is all this about 'getting' the Hello CD. How is it done? Every digest
>ushers forth a new proud owner of this Hello disc.

Good question.  This CD was released in late 1994 to Hello Recording
Club subscribers.  Hello Recording Club (or the Hello CD of the Month
Club) was created by John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants.  The CD
singles were issued to subscribers only, and one had to subscribe for
a year of CD singles.  Unfortunately, the Hello Recording Club has now
gone out of business.  So I don't know where these CDs are coming
from.  Try calling Hello (+1-800-HELLO-41), perhaps they are still
selling their inventory.

			       .  .  .

And on another note: I saw a new CD from Rhino called _Music to Stuff
Any Stocking_, which contains XTC's "Thanks for Christmas" (The Three
Wise Men are mentioned parenthetically).  I also saw a Geffen
promotional compilation called _Snogging and Shagging_, which includes
XTC's "Earn Enough for Us".

	-- John


Message-ID: <>
From: "Miller, Ed" <>
Subject: If you record it, will they come?
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 09:29:59 -0700

Dear Chalkids....

I was wondering this weekend about how Firework will be received in the
marketplace.  Let's assume that the music will be good and somewhat
accessible and that the critics will like it.  Let's also assume there
will be a hit single candidate.  Also, there will be a video or two to
appeal to the MTV set.  And, IDEA will have some kind of marketing ties
to help promote the album with radio stations.  Maybe there will be a
radio station "in the studio" tour.  Maybe the band will tour.  Who

What remains as the unanswered, $64,000 question... will people like it?
And, will they like it enough to buy it?  Sure, we'll all rush out to
get it on the day of release, but what about the typical high school or
college student who makes or breaks a record?

I have a theory....

The last successful XTC record in the US was probably Oranges and
Lemons, due to the success of Mayor of Simpleton and, to a lesser
extent, King for a Day.  Mayor captured the ears of an audience that
soon became labeled Alternative.  These were people weaned on the
Beatles and Beach Boys, as well as a younger version raised with Elvis
Costello, Joe Jackson and, believe it or not, XTC.  The music of 1989
was melodic and creative, as my aged memory serves.  Elvis had a hit
with "Veronica", the Smithereens had "House We Used to Live In" and
McCartney had "My Brave Face."  Paul was being played on what became the
Alternative station!

On to part two... this will be shorter, I promise....

When Nonsuch came out, the Ballad of Peter Pumkinhead tried to crack
into the Alternative radio playlist.  However, this time around, the
stations we playing a totally different thing.  Let's see if I can
remember anything from  1991/2.  Nope.  But wasn't this the Grunge
period?  Didn't every popular band sound like a nastier version of
Nirvana?  Didn't melody and creative chording and time signatures get
suddenly replaced by three-chord, three-piece crap fronted by a single
vocalist screaming his bloody ass off?

Okay... that brings us to today.  What's popular again?

Melodies... tricky sounding rhythms.... colorful chord structures....

As evidence, I submit the recent success of new and/or young artists
like Beck, the Verve Pipe, Barenaked Ladies, Paula Cole,  Sara
McLaughlin.  It seems that the world is spinning more comfortably around
it's axis of late (for me, at least).

So, I guess what I'm doing is starting a new thread.  What it boils down
to is..... do you agree with me in thinking that the market is ripe for
a new XTC record, or am I totally off base?

And, if anyone can remind me about the music of 91/92, that'd be cool,
too.  Everything's so blurry....


Ed Miller


Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 11:59:47 -0600 (CST)
From: Matt John <>
Subject: White Music
Message-ID: <>

I just wanted to say this about that:  I was traveling with some buds this
weekend and we listened to "...Supergirl" on a mix tape.  My friend
mistook Andy's voice for Ike Willis', he was a black guy who used to sing
for Frank Zappa.  When I listened, I could see that some of his words
sounded like the way Ike used to sing.  I never would have thought it!
So, maybe xTc is not so "White" all the time.

Anyway, I probably won't read any response to this unless you email me.
Digests suck!  I read about one out of 12.  I would rather get all the
posts individually and delete them based on their content one at a time!!!
I guess that's not an option, huh?

Peace and xTc!  (and Neil Young and Frank Zappa, and Dylan and Robyn
Hitchcock, etc...)


Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 11:55:55 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <v03007802b095ded1184a@[]>
From: Mitch Friedman <mitchf@MINDSPRING.COM>
Subject: The Partridge Report: 11-17-97

As promised . . .

Here is the official report on the remaining songs in question: Wonder
Annual has been rejected, The Green Man is a yes, as is I'd Like That, The
Last Balloon (Dave's favorite of all of them), The Wheel and the Maypole,
Your Dictionary (though Andy really didn't want to do this one he was voted
into it), and Colin's Fruit Nut, Boarded Up ("a really miserable and
depressing one that makes 'Dying' sound like 'Life Begins at the Hop'"),
Frivolous Tonight, and In Another Life. Standing in for Joe and Mates were
cast away.

The past few weeks were spent sequencing computers, setting tempos, deciding
on how many and what kinds of strings would play a particular part,
adjusting lyrics, etc. and as of tomorrow they are off to start recording
guitars and acoustic piano and some strings. The drummer currently known as
Prince will arrive on December 11th.

I had recently sent Andy a dub of TMBG's "XTC vs. Adam Ant" which he had
never heard. Now he has and this is his review - - "eh".



Subject: "New" songs
Message-ID: <>
From: (Steve M Ransom)
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 15:40:45 EST

My opinion on which demos should/shouldn't  make the new album.......

I hope NONE of these demos make the new disc
I think they're just fine as is...

On the new release, I'd like to hear 20 BRAND NEW songs that NONE of us
have EVER heard ... Wishful thinking... but to me it's not an issue of
quality (I like almost all of Andy's songs)'s quantity...
I want more & more & more songs from AP

Steve rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


From: Matt_Kaden/CAM/
Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 15:42:48 -0500
Subject: Duty Now For The Future

A few digests back, Matt Keeley expressed the first signs of dismay that
I've seen regarding the '78 metamorphosis and the later extreme death and
rebirth in '83. For the most part everyone in here seems to praise the
later phase (particularly the last 3 XTC albums) but to look down on the
earlier music. This may be because many Chalksteaders first heard the band
in the form of Oranges and Lemons and thus their impressions were modelled
after this sound. I think they did get better in numerous ways, but I also
feel a definite loss with both Barry's and Terry's departure. Drums and
Wires - my favorite record - is somewhat more controlled and less frenzied
than the first two. They improved the craft of songwriting and production
in the studio, and with that they sacrificed a minor amount of energy. They
gained more than they lost... but does anyone else around here feel a lack
of something in all post English Settlement records? They became another
band entirely at that point, and started a new sphere of sounds, so it
hardly works to compare the before/after styles, but the new band just
isn't really a band. This is to infuriate those of you who don't understand
what I mean by band. I'll just say that a drummer is essential to the sound
of a band, and if I can't picture them all playing it together, it's not a
real band but an incredible simulation. I love the studio and all the magic
tricks and the infintite space it provides, don't get me wrong. (too late)

>> Strange tails, Strange tales---Am I the only person alive who liked this
>>and Officer Blue?
>Nope!  I love both of those... like I've said, they're crap, but
>they're really really really good crap.  People need to understand
>that crap isn't always bad.
I don't know, if you like it than it's good. I like these because of the
production and the energy, but the actual songs could barely hold their
own. Because of the production and the energy, it's not crap, see?

I'd just like to announce my love for Beezwax and all the memories
attached. The order is chronological and impeccable. I've seen many posts
complaining about the order of Rag & Bone Buffet and the inclusion of those
outtakes on the Black Sea CD. Beezwax should have been on CD, and Rag &
Bone Buffet could have consisted of the B-sides from the later phase and
leave the respective CDs alone. (too late)

Oh, right - I was involved in a dispute about Colin's masterpiece - The
World Is Full Of Angry Young Men -
>>I won't argue about TWIFOAYM because it works for you and
>>maybe I'm too young and angry to hear what it really sounds like.
>It's not the lyrics so much as that nice, relaxed, jazzy shuffle - making
>it a companion piece to "I Remember the Sun" and "Ladybird".

I like those songs.

>and a truly lovely guitar solo.


Duty Now For The Future


Message-ID: <>
From: "Witter, Karl F" <>
Subject: An urban myth blinded by science
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 16:06:21 -0500

>One annoying thing about Rag and Bone Buffet is that these
>songs are presented out of order.

Do we have a definite order for these, and wouldn't it be good
info to put somewhere on the Chalkhills site?

Off-topic (except that this is the place where all the "radio
is hell" people I know gather), my latest nomination for a
totally wrecking remake is of Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam's 1986
"All Cried Out" by a bunch of whiny, soulless guys.

>[Matt Keeley] I heard that Thomas Dolby committed suicide by
>jumping off the roof he was dancing on in the "She Blinded
>Me with Science" video... I could have sworn he was still
>alive...ah well... so, anyone know for sure?

>From Wired, 10/28/97: "Although some fans are loyal to smaller,
more defined independent record labels, 'among the majors, the
public is not too concerned with the difference between Sony
and Warner.'", sez Dolby. Clever lad, and quite undead it seems.

This from an article, "Titans Brace for Uprising", in a
series on the music industry and technology. Dolby (Thomas
Dolby Robertson, now) is running a Internet music company
called HeadSpace.

**Wesley H. Wilson is tired of Andy Partridge and cares not
for his songwriting (and its influences) as of late, while
his voice is found to be grating on Nonsuch.

You may feel however you wish and will be welcome here with
further explained opinions. However, I can't agree with you.

A case study on growing old gracefully: The Rolling Stones
are fast becoming the most successful has-beens in music,
except nobody knows it yet. My fiancee had on the radio and
their new single comes on (airplay's a rare occurrence
itself.) "Gee, he can't sing any more, can he? Boy,
doesn't that sound like 'Constant Craving' by k.d. lang?"
Right and right. When Andy or Colin rip off other writers to
the extent others' lawyers demand writing credit ex post
facto, I'll consider them spent.

_"Five years since Nonsuch"_ is a oft-voiced concern here.
Well, "Mixed Emotions" ('89), & "Start Me Up" ('81) as
exceptions, perhaps the Stones aren't taking _enough_ time
between CDs if that's what comes out in the wash. Then comes
the stadium shows of the 30+ year-old standards, and the tour
jackets at what, $200? I understand their next CD is already
titled "Going through the Motions". (I stand awaiting my
fate, as a dueller who has aimed and fired.)

>[Spanky] By the way, has anyone noticed a slight Sting
>flavour in 'Orchids' and 'You and the Clouds..'?

Yes, except (unlike later Sting) there is actually some
emotion-creating accent & emphasis connecting the melody,
lyrics and accompaniment, and each thread just isn't
floating in its own little world.

>[Spanky again] The first couple measures of Green Man remind
>me of 'In the Hall of the Mountain King' - kind of wicked
>and childlike (remind us of anyone?).

Wicked, childlike, 'In the Hall of the Mountaing King'? I'd
say "Franz Becker", Peter Lorre's child murderer in Fritz
Lang's "M" :-O. (A piece of advice: Don't go whistling
'Mountain King' during a job interview in a day-care center.
Some of us learned this the hard way.)

"I can't help myself! I haven't any control over this evil
thing that's inside of me! The fire, the voices, the torment!",


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 21:03:06 -0500
From: Ben Gott <>
Organization: Loquacious Music
Subject: That ain't working.

Friends of XTC,

Scott Kennedy uttered:

>Maybe its just me, but if The Dukes released some stuff right now,
>1997, don't you think it would take off?

That's the problem, in my opinion...XTC have always been ahead of their
time, and they always miss the popularity boat. Britpop is dead (don't
argue, Oasis-heads. I don't care!) -- but they had been making Britpop
(or, at least "pop by British dudes") since "Skylarking."

Why is "Watching the Detectives" so popular amongst many of my friends?
Because it's ska -- duh. Well, not really, but you get my point...I
think that if XTC approach a song like "You & the Clouds..." or "Your
Dictionary" with popular vision in mind then they'll be able to jump
back on the bandwagon (har, har.) Simon and I have also discussed the
popularity of the name "XTC" for those in my generation, and I'm
discovering a surprising number of 12- and 13-year olds who love "White
Music." (Mostly because they're little siblings of friends, and I've
made tapes for 'em.) Yes, Blur sold out on "Blur," but it got them
popularity in the states. "Song 2" is only what -- like, two minutes

On the flipside, what would happen if Dire Straits released "Money for
Nothing" in 1997? They'd immediately get their asses kicked, probably by
Kennedy. And, no, I don't mean Scott Kennedy. :-)

We've got to install microwave ovens.


* ------------------------------------------- *
B e n   G o t t     ::          Bowdoin College
Telephone           ::           (207) 721-5142
Internet            ::
* ------------------------------------------- *


Message-Id: <>
From: "Matt Keeley" <>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 17:58:54 +0000
Subject: E

Hi... short one today...

> From: Scott Kennedy <>
> find an audience. Especially if they played a few live shows. And if Andy is
> still a freak about playing out, maybe they could get a ghost band to
> pretend to be them, and do a tour Milli-Vannilli style. I volunteer as
> drummer.....

Actually, I think it'd be cool if Colin, Dave and Prairie went on
tour, with an animatronic robot of Andy to replace him... that way
nieve fans who don't know about that fateful March night will be all
excited that Andy's on tour again... anyway, it might be amusing if
someone finds out if it's a robot..heheh...Simpsons flashback...

> From: "Simon Knight" <>
> Matt Keeley was discussing It's Snowing Angels:
> > Actually, I think this one was a "lost" Dukes track... wasn't in
> > originally on "Window Box" or something credited to the Dukes?  Well,
> > it's a great song anyway, and is very Donovan... which is good.
> Angels was put together to be given away on cassette with a
> record collectors magazine that focused mainly on 60's music.  Andy
> loves musical forgery and asked the publishers if they could go
> along with the joke and present the song as a recently rediscovered
> artifact from the period, credited to a band named Choc Cigar Chief
> Champion.

Ah, so that was the Choc Cigar Chief Champion track.. I remembered
about that, but I couldn't remember the track... cool...

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

Living Through | (ICQ UIN: 1455267, Name: MrMe)
Another        |
Cuba -- XTC    | I used to be temporarily insane!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now I'm just stupid! -- Brak


End of Chalkhills Digest #4-30

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