Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-37

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 37

                 Friday, 11 December 1998

Today's Topics:

                    Re: Zither Dither
       No wank, no Phil, one Prince and Fanny Free
                  Re: Sweet Home Alabama
                XTC: the decorators friend
                        Re: Smoke
                       TVT postcard
              Wading Through The Ventelator
               Re: Government Arts Funding
                   Nice to be back on..
              All I Got Was Transistor Blast
                         1st post
         XTC enlists; Bitter fruit stains celebs
                    Zappa...oh yeah!?
      The Drummer Presently Known As Prairie Prince
                   Whine, Whine, Whine
                 The Meaning of it all...
           Re: Scuse me while I miss the point
                        Re: Zappa
                       Issue songs
                      XTC Equipment
                   San Diego Hates TB!
      Prairie Prince Ranked Over Terry Chambers?!?!


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Here comes President Kill again, from pure White House to Number 10.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 16:35:47 -0500
From: David Oh <>
Subject: Re: Zither Dither

>What would be cool retro bubblegum/psychedelic band names for them?

how 'bout "the acid-takes". if 1 says it really fast, it sounds like
acetates, which is what record companies used to make vinyl test pressings
on. there is also the psychedelic connotations as well, if u hadn't noticed.

just a thought...



Message-Id: <v04011701b294a15afc54@[]>
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 15:53:42 -0600
From: Ken Herbst <>
Subject: Spearmint

Any word on the new Jason Faulkner disc that's supposed to be coming out
soon. Also, how about Spookey Rubin?

Have any of you tried the Wondermints? They're minty-fresh and lots of fun
in a Jellyfish/Beachboys/Queen kind of way.


Message-Id: <v03007800b294a7ca3f3a@[]>
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 18:05:53 -0500
From: Erich Walther <>
Subject: No wank, no Phil, one Prince and Fanny Free

Hi Hill-folk!

Let's see...

Large vocalists - we have two here in Canada that get a good share of TV
exposure (is that the right phrase?): Jann Arden on MuchMusic, and Rita
McNeil. OK, she may not count as she's not strictly 'rock' or 'MTV'
material, but she did have her own  TV show on the CBC and gets radio-play,
and her nickname's not 'eata bigmeal' for nothing. Throw in the Wilson
sisters (or one of them) from Heart, and I'd say that we Hosers are
cornering that size 18 market.

Drummers: Look, Terry was THE MAN. I would posit that the reason there's
been no constant on the kit (ok, Prairie's done two now) is that the Mssrs.
X are still looking for 'that sound'. Or, they're not a lot of fun to work
with. Nah.

CMJ (a great US magazine that comes with a CD sampler every month, for you
continentals) give our boys some attention this month. On their 'flashback'
page they announce that TB is being unleashed on the world, and mention the
two releases for next year. Quote: "XTC was a great live band in its new
wave days, but many people are still waiting for Partridge and his mates
(???) to dig into the wondrous treasure trove of XTC's home demo
recordings, a few of which have surfaced as B-sides, compilations and
recordings"  The magazine's also started "A Series Dedicated to the Birth
and Growth of Alternative Music" Huzzah. The first four of these CDs (sold
seperately) cover 1979-1982 and only two bands are displayed twice: The
B-52's on 1979 and 1980 and a Swindon combo crooning about British Steel
and Senses. The rest of the play lists are ear candy for those of a certain
age; Elvis, Iggy, Lena, Gang of Four, Specials, etc. IN STORES NOW.

Speaking of being a certain age, I hereby volunteer to compile the most
recent Great Chalkhills Demographic. For some of you neophytes, every now
and then some worthy proposes a little group navel-gazing. It's simple,
it's fun, it's painless, and if the idea leaves you chuffed, we've got a
new flame thread! Simply answer the following questions:

1. Age
2. Sex (don't say yes, please - M/F/N only)
3. Country of domicile
4. All-time-favourite-changed-my-life-forever-XTC-song.

Any and all replies directly to me please so John stays relatively
fit-free. As Christmas is upon us and some of you may not have e-mail
access for a while, I'll leave it open for replies until January 15, and
will post the results to Chalkhills by the end of the month, unless of
course, you all think it's a wonky idea.



Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 09 Dec 1998 16:44:38 -0800
From: "Lynn S." <>
Subject: Re: Sweet Home Alabama

OK, Veronica and any other lurking member from the state,  please accept my
apologies for bashing Alabama.   Yes, I still wouldn't choose to live
there, but it doesn't mean I can't respect the quaint and positive sides of
Southern Culture, which I do.   A lot of my experience had to do with the
times I mentioned, the sixties, the Civil Rights movement, etc.  Alabama
was boiling over with hate and strife.  Also, even though the Civil War had
been over for more than eighty years, a lot of people still despised
northerners.  That was the context into which I was moved.  It's not that
we didn't have our share of those kinds of problems up north too.  It's
that the South definitely has its own unique version, rooted in history,
and more palpable, more intense, and more explicit, as I experienced it.
Then again, the times are changing (as Cory reminded me).  The
provincialism of just about every area of this country is being diluted by
population growth and movement.  In New Age fashion, I'm imaging the
South's huge hot air bubble of a100 year old grudge bursting and wafting up
to heaven.  May it happen everywhere as needed.
Lynn S.


Date: Wed, 9 Dec 1998 17:11:37 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <>
From: Bob Estus <>
Subject: XTC: the decorators friend

Dear Chalkopuffs,

I recently moved into some new office space and decided that some of my XTC
paraphernalia would make fine decoration. So I dedicated a little wall space
to my favorite band. This at the risk of having to explain my involvement in
a "cult" to coworkers and the inherent distraction of having such fab stuff
up on the walls (spurring on the chronic daydreaming).

I merely culled the most colourful stuff from my collection, just a
sampling, not wanting to over do it of course. Results can be seen at:

BTW, If anybody wants to send pictures of their personal XTC shrine. I'll
gladly display them too.

always tasteful,


Message-Id: <v01540b02b294e79aeb71@[]>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 15:53:15 +1300
From: (James Dignan)
Subject: Re: Smoke

Leon X Deggs asks:

>>30) Does Andy sing the word "Fuck" in the song >"Great Fire"?
>Where in the entire song could someone be confused into thinking that
>Parters swears?

apparently, some people who just can't work out Andy's accent think that
the smoke coming around the door is fuck coming around the door. What this
would mean, let alone how anyone could make the mistake, is completely
beyond me.



Message-Id: <>
Subject: TVT postcard
Date: Wed, 9 Dec 98 21:40:27 -0600
From: steve <>

Got the TVT Transistor Blast today.  There's a postcard to send in for
future XTC information.  Everybody be sure to use the little comment area
to ask TVT to release the "Every Demo Ever" box set, OK?

>12. Oh yeah, buy my new album - SOME SONGS ABOUT VEGETABLES by
>CHRYS&THEMUMS out in the US in January on the Flamingo label (call

Excellent advice, even if it is from someone who doesn't like Mummer. ;)

- Steve


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 00:55:30 EST
Subject: Wading Through The Ventelator

I looked in Chalkhills And Children today and noted this quote: "Both Colin
& Dave felt that Fox pandered too closely to Andy's propensity for studio
indulgence; 'Andy-ness' as it became known."

Song Stories says: "Paul's inexperience gave Andy more control than usual
and Paul would always defer to the composer in arguments over songs."

This is what I based my idea about Andy feeling that Oranges & Lemons being
the epitomy of what he wanted for XTC.

I also disagree with those who don't like their political songs.  I feel
that the way Andy & Colin write their social and political commentaries has
rarely made the sentiments look dated.  This is rare for a band that does
this sort of thing.  "President Kill" is a fine example.  That song
represents my reaction to to the Thatcher/Reagan years we all pretty much
had to live through.  When Bush was elected, what was the difference.  For
that matter Clinton basically got elected and still panders to the right
wing too much for my liking.  Which is what I think Andy was getting at with
that song.

Yes, yes, yes the music industry is being ruined by some ridiculous fashion
model- type girl thing.  If you ask me it's a shame that most of the acts on
the Lilith Fair tour look like some Anorexic-Anonymous meeting.  Thank
goodness for the Indigo Girls.  Look it's the same problem with fashion in
general.  All these girls killing themselves to look like Kate Moss and
quite frankly not many men I know like the way she looks.  It seems to me
the only people who approve of this waif thing are women who are told this
is fashion by other women , who would like to see you kill yourself trying
to look like this and gay men who probalby feel the same way.  Listen the
only way a model "looks good" is if the clothes she is wearing looks good, I
guess that makes them overpaid clothes hangers.  And sorry to say but this
is what record company execs are looking for these days, As usaul they are
only missing out on true talent.



Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 02:33:21 -0500 (EST)
From: Funk Genie <>
Subject: Re: Government Arts Funding
Message-ID: <>

I have to say that anybody who says that the government shouldn't be
involved in arts funding probably has never been involved in the arts
especially on the administrative side.  I have been involved in arts
administration for many years now. The government allows the average
person to see art. Privately funded art only allows a small minority to
view art because art production, and its preservation is VERY expensive.
Furthermore, the government subsidizes the work of
artists. Many of these artists would not be able to display these works if
it weren't for the help of organizations funded by the NEA. AND it seems
that government funds for arts education through galleries and museums are
going to be one of the few ways that children will recieve arts education
in a time when many schools are closing out their art education programs.
As for cutting taxes so that people will spend more money on the
arts-BULLSHIT! If people had more discretionary funds they would just go
out and buy more cell phones and cars. There are people involved with my
gallery now who have more than enough money to donate but I practically
have to go down on them to get their money or time.
The music industry is devoid of governmental support and thus it panders
to mediocrity to make fast buck. If artists as superior as XTC can barly
make it in such a system do you really think that said system would
support artists like Robert Mapplethorp?  Bitch all you want
about supposed government censorship of art but the fact of the matter is
that it RARELY IF EVER happens. If anything, the government should be
giving more money to the arts.


Message-ID: <000b01be242a$c48799c0$28010101@dave>
From: "david robson" <>
Subject: Nice to be back on..
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 21:49:29 +1100

Hey chalkicans...

Just a short message to say how nice it is to be back on the list after a
short absence. All this talk about the positives and negatives of "Oranges
and Lemons" quite surprises me as I really LOVE this album! It wasn`t my
introduction to XTC (Black Sea was but that`s a story I`ve already told) and
I find it to be a wonderfully consistent and diverse listen. Any album that
contains melodic gems like "Chalkhills and Children" and Colin`s MAJESTIC
"One of The Millions" (My favorite XTC song!) coupled with Andy`s chilling
"Across This Antheap" has to be worth the price of admission alone. I could
go on, every song an old friend for me anyway. Let`s face it. XTC`s lower
moments substantially crap on most of today`s supposedly "finer" bands best
material. It appears for me that XTC are literally getting better with each
new release. "Nonsuch" was brilliant, with some of Andy`s finest lyrical
imagery and melody - witness "Then She Appeared".

I am really looking forward to next year. New XTC material for the first
time in what seems an eternity. I just know it`s gonna be worth the wait.
Dont you think?

Dave Robson.


Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 10:33:21 -0500
Message-Id: <>
Subject: All I Got Was Transistor Blast

Last week, I received an e-mail from the English Web CD company (www. "Your order has been despatched..."

And, lo, it came to pass that Transistor Blast was in my mailbox when
I got home yesterday. So, it took about a week from the time it was
despatched 'til I received it.

Great packaging! I really like the four different colors of the jewel
boxes, and the insert. The music's way cool: it's great to hear Drums
and Wires-era versions of their songs, and Barry Andrews organ playing
continues to amaze, amuse, and bedazzle.

I'm really happy with the first CD I've played, and I'm very much looking
forward to listening to the rest of this box set. I ended up with the
Cooking Vinyl British version. I'd be curious to know if the TVT (American)
version has the identical packaging - the packaging is striking, really.
Nothing that the jerks at Virgin would have approved, no doubt.

It's great to see positive things happening for XTC.

Wes (who's at work listening to "Cover Up" by Michael Penn, enjoying it,
but wishing he had TB and "Imagination", too)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 11:53:31 EST
Subject: 1st post

Hi all, my name is Matt, I'm a musician and this is my 1st post.  I've been
reading many of the recent posts and decided to join the melee.

First, XTC stuff.  I personally of the opnion that Mummer, Big Express, and
Nonsuch are among the STRONGEST of their offerings.  Of course, I love all
the stuff up to Mummer of course (don't have the 1st album, and Go 2 is
good, but, being a pianist/keyboardist, the keyboard sound is extremely
annoying to listen to).  As far as I'm concerned, though, Mummer was the
first album where they started to really come into their own.  Album-wise
and production-wise, the previous albums were great, but felt more like a
collection of songs with great but fairly 'normal' production.  With Mummer
they seem to explode, and every album after that seems fairly seamless to
me, in terms of songwriting variety, production identity album-to-album, and

 With Nonsuch, I think they included a number of their strongest songs to
date, especially interesting because it seems that they have no 'agenda'
with that record, with the possible exception of presenting each song as a
'picture' or snapshot, especially considering illustration on the back of
the jewel case.  I mean, maybe War Dance isn't Colin's strongest song, but
how can one say that 'My Bird Performs,' 'Humble Daisy,' 'Rook,' 'Omnibus,'
'That Wave,' hell, the whole record practically, aren't/isn't among the
strongest, most succinct statements to date?

Thanks for reading.



Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 12:13:54 -0500
From: "Jason Hauser" <>
Subject: XTC enlists; Bitter fruit stains celebs

Just some bits and pieces culled from "The New Book of Rock Lists"  by Dave
Marsh and James Bernard (1995) that mentions our boys or people they've
worked with.  Books of lists are generally entertaining trivia, but this one
is really crap.  It is extremely opinionated and tries to be hip by
overdoing the rap and hip hop genres.  I don't recommend this book at all.
Don't buy it.  Don't gaze at it.  No, seriously, look over there!

Nevertheless, here are some mentions in the lists, with other artists added
for context:

Great Engineers, Compiled by Peter Bochan (radio personality, produces
"Short Cuts"  annual amalgam for NPR)
1.  Alan Lomax- For his recordings with Woody Guthrie, Muddy Waters, and
Leadbelly, among others
16.  Hugh Padgham- The one part of the Police that Sting carried forward;
also works with XTC.
18.  Todd Rundgren- Most notably, the records he's made by himself, true
solo discs that offer an exceptionally high sonic standard.  Also Grand Funk
Railroad, Patti Smith, Hall and Oates, more.

Critics Pets:  Artists Critics Believe Can Do No Wrong
1. Arrested Development               5. The Clash
2. The Beatles                               6. Elvis Costello
3. James Brown                             38. XTC
4. Butthole Surfers                         40. Neil Young

Loosen Up!  Rockers Who Should Read Fewer Books
1. Elvis Costello:  Who *cares* why people write letters to Shakespearean
3. Andy Partridge (XTC): To take a break, and just to remind yourself that
you're a real guy, not a fictional conceit.
4. Tom Waits: Take the pledge on that beatnik stuff.  No fair unloading all
that used Kenneth Rexroth on poor Rickie Lee Jones, either.

The 150 Essential Post Punk Records (as selected by Brian Keizer, a novelist
and music critic who lives in San Francisco)
1. London Calling- The Clash
9. Heart Attack and Vine- Tom Waits
10. Los Angeles- X
11. Black Sea- XTC

Michael Azzerad Picks The 50 Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Drummers
(Michael Azzerad is a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and wrote "Come
As You Are: The Story of Nirvana".
1. Keith Moon                           14. Mitch Mitchell
2. John Bonham                        15. Bill Bruford
4. Ginger Baker                         23. Budgie
8. Ringo Starr                            30. Prairie Prince
9. Charlie Watts                         39. Dave Grohl
(note:  Phil Collins conspicuous in his absence?)

Alphabet Soup
1. REM                           6. UFO                11-25:  any guesses?
2. NWA                          7. UB40
3. OMD                          8. U2
4. EMF                            9. ABC
5. XTC                            10. INXS

But the best part of this book is some quotes by the extremely nasty Mr.
Debbie Harry, 1979:  10 cents a dance, with a nickel change!
Cher, 1989:  If she could turn back time, she'd still be a bag of tattooed
bones in a sequined slingshot.
LaToya Jackson, 1984:  This over hyped horror is a hymn to Halloween, 365
nightmares a year!



Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 14:06:02 -0500
From: todd steed <>
Subject: Zappa...oh yeah!?

I for one, love Zappa.  Some people prefer muffins, but I for one, prefer
Zappa.   I find a love for Zappa and XTC to be somewhat

I got to interview the man once. Thrill of a lifetime.

Toddus Allrightus


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 15:03:58 -0500
From: John Schoneboom <>
Subject: The Drummer Presently Known As Prairie Prince

Todd, anticipating flames, wrote:
> XTC drummers and their fit to the Swindonians, in order:
> 1) Prarie Prince

Thank you.

The truth is I think they all sound about right for the records they
were on, and I'll always think of Terry Chambers as XTC's real drummer,
but I'm happy to see Prairie get his props because I think he is as fine
a drummer as this world has ever produced.  (The first three Tubes
albums are, are, arrrrrrrrrre....stupendous!)

your pal,


Message-ID: <>
From: "Martin, Alan" <>
Subject: Whine, Whine, Whine
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 15:29:40 -0500

WHICH IS PRECISELY MY POINT!  People who like this sort of thing are richly
rewarded by our society year after year (when was the last time you walked
into a record shop and said, 'Oh!  I didn't know Phil Collins had a new
album out!'??).  But what about those of us who DON'T like it and have to
listen to it anyway, every time we turn on the radio or watch TV?  Don't
give me that old 'there's always the off switch' routine either, because
the off switch is somewhat inaccessible when you're in a shop, bar, mall or
leisure centre and that sickening mulch comes oozing through the P.A.  At
my workplace the radio is on all the time, and you can't change the channel
without taking a vote from 200 employees.  I AM LITERALLY FORCED TO LISTEN!

Cry me a river Susan...

Alan J. Martin
Electronic Commerce Services
(919) 851-8888 x3076


Message-ID: <000601be247c$0f8baff0$f06dcec0@t24806009694.DOA.STATE.LA.US>
From: "John Voorhees" <>
Subject: The Meaning of it all...
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 14:31:26 -0600

Brian Matthews made the tragic mistake of asking...

>Concept album?
Concept album?
I'd like to know what the 'concept' is...<

Okay, sure.  There's a few of them at work, all involving cycles and
Innocence to experience, childhood flings to marriage, life to death to life
again.  The whole album moves like a ... well, a season cycle.  Even,
especially, with Dear God in there.  It follows up Man Who Sailed both
chronologically and in spirit.  Flesh, blood and bone is everything,  I
don't believe in Heaven or Hell...  Followed by Dying - a frightened vision
of the End with nothing spiritual behind it.  But the body gets burnt back
into the cycle through the Sacrificial Bonfire.

Personally, I think it beats the crap out of Pink Floyd.

John Voorhees


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 15:42:33 -0400
From: Brian <>
Subject: Re: Scuse me while I miss the point


>You can't be vastly wealthy, right-wing, utterly conformist and MOR and
then pretend to understand the plight of the homeless, or revolutionary
struggle or any of the things that Phil has leant his poorly-honed lyrical
skills to.<

Now, I'm not a Phil Collins fan, by any stretch of the imagination, but
I also don't run screaming from the room (necessarily) when one of his
tunes comes on - his pap is pretty easy to filter out.
But, WHY can't Phil be concerned about problems to the extent that he
wants to sings about them? I'd think that music would be a excellent
vehicle for talking about what's on your mind (I mean, hell, that's what
it's all about - you can't have a song about NOTHING... even 'Seinfeld'
was about SOMETHING). He's made a name for himself, and tries to use his
power to increase awareness. I'm not a social worker or a Greepeace
advocate or anything like that, but I think that I'd do the same thing
in his shoes. Give the guy SOME credit.

>Nobody wants to hear a rich man feigning empathy. It's sickening.<

Who else but those with money are going to help those who don't?

>Finally, you are, of course, perfectly entitled to like Phil's music and
even him. Quite how you can appreciate his records AND be a fan of XTC is a
complete mystery to me, but the choice is yours.<

Some cliches?
"Variety is the spice of life..."
"The world's like a bowl of granola - what ain't fruits and nuts is
"It takes all kinds..."
Whatever. You get the picture.

* Digital & traditional illustration/animation
* Caricaturist-for-hire
* RENDERMAN ~ One-Man Band Ordinaire


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 15:46:57 -0400
From: Brian <>
Subject: Re: Zappa


>> There aren't too many people out there who enjoy listening to Zappa<<


Yeah... oh?
Man, I can see maybe bashing Phil, but Frank?

* Digital & traditional illustration/animation
* Caricaturist-for-hire
* RENDERMAN ~ One-Man Band Ordinaire


Message-ID: <0143041F00B7D011B7C500A0C9005151206F0D@IMA_NT1>
From: "BOB O'BANNON" <>
Subject: drummers
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 15:56:52 -0500

Nicole wrote:

>>>If there is one thing missing in the newer XTC music... its the
drums... they don't really seem to have a mind of their own, they are
just background! Opinions?<<<

Led Zeppelin would have never been the same without John Bonham; the Who
never were the same without Keith Moon, and XTC have never been the same
without Terry Chambers. Very few drummers have been equally clever
enough to become an essential part of his respective band's overall
personality and sound (I'm guessing REM's sound, for instance, will
suffer very little at the loss of Bill Berry, because I think he's
always been a pretty uninventive drummer). So although I would not
necessarily say that XTC's post-Chambers drummers have been merely
"background," I don't hear them taking XTC's songs to the next level.
Terry did that.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 17:18:20 -0500
From: (Bill Peschel)
Organization: The Herald
Subject: Issue songs


That songs should be "about" something I cannot argue with. To my ears,
there's a difference between stating a position and describing a scene
that the issue affects.

Case in point: "No Thugs in Our House" is not just about racism, but
about Graham and his parents (who, as you all know, made little Graham
promise that he'd be a good boy). They can't understand why the police
suspect Graham, but, in the end they'll make sure he escapes punishment
because Da is a high court judge.

(Given the info lately that Sting was mightily influenced by XTC, I
wonder if the Police song "Humanize Yourself" was drawn from "Thugs,"
with the memorable lines "Billy's joined the National Front / He always
was a little runt / He's got his hand in the air with the other c***s /
You got to humanize yourself.")

And to stitch in the Mondigreen thread, I always thought Sting sang "I
work all day in the factory / Building La Machines is not for me")

Ahem. Anyway, "Thugs" I like, and since I heard it for the first time
recently, the chorus has been bashing about in me head (hey, beat's
"Having My Baby" anyday; at work for some reason, it's the Who's "Her
man's been gone / nearly a year / he was due home yesterday / but he
ain't here" from "A Quick One While He's Away).

"Melt the Guns" however, goes on about twice as long, and runs about as
deep as the title indicates. The music's nifty, but you can only shout
at me for so long before I start getting irritated. "President Kill" has
the same effect, lyric-wise.

Even the Tubes carried it a bit too far on their album "Remote Control"
despite some killer tracks like "Telecide" and "T.V. is King." As you
all know, Prairie Prince was the groups drummer, and (double stitch
bonus here) Todd Rundgren was the producer!

-- Bill Peschel
Book page editor, Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald


Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 20:47:27 -0500 (EST)
From: Miller <>
Subject: XTC Equipment
Message-ID: <>

Hello does anyone know what type of equipment XTC has been known to use?
In particular guitars.  Thanks.



From: "Wesley Hanks" <>
Subject: San Diego Hates TB!
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 17:50:16 -0800
Message-ID: <000001be24a8$99dc2640$571c1d26@wes>

Well Rounded Ones,


The San Diego Union-Tribune

December 10, 1998, Thursday



TVT Records

* 1/2

The music of XTC has been repackaged more often than a pass-along Christmas
gift. Over the past 15 years, the British band has been the subject of at
least six live, greatest-hits or b-sides anthologies.

It's not that XTC is undeserving of all the attention. Since the late '70s,
when the band bopped onto the post-punk scene, its quirky brand of Beatle-
esque pop has been consistently interesting and influential.

But this four-disc set, compiled from live BBC broadcasts and concerts, has
little that is fresh or revelatory. The material on at least one of the
discs was released in an earlier incarnation, and there are no songs the
devoted XTC fan hasn't heard before.

There are, to be fair, plenty of good tracks, including such staples as "
Making Plans for Nigel," "Generals and Majors" and "Life Begins at the Hop."
Those songs, though, tend to be milked for all they're worth: "Nigel," "Hop"
and "This Is Pop" are all repeated in different versions. And precious
little is drawn from what many consider the band's best album to date, "
Skylarking." ($50.99) JAMES HEBERT

Smiling Knowingly,


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 1998 23:34:13 -0500
From: Jim Slade <>
Subject: Prairie Prince Ranked Over Terry Chambers?!?!

> XTC drummers and their fit to the Swindonians, in order:
> 1) Prarie Prince
> 2) Dave Mattacks
> 3) Terry Chambers
> 4) Big Express Dude (Don't make me hunt it down)
> 5) Ian Gregeory
> 6) Peter Phipps
> 7) Pat, poor Pat

> Now I'll absorb the flames...

All right, Todd.  You are a brave man.  Terry Chambers kicks butt over
Prairie Prince or any other competent studio pro XTC has used since his
departure.  I'm not talking Neal Peart/Terry Bozio butt, but Ringo/John
Bonham butt.  Actually, I liked the few songs with Peter Phipps a lot too.
Since then, the drums sound like dinky, overproduced soup cans, and that
includes most of the drum sounds on their coffee-table classic, Skylarking.
Skylarking is XTC for audiophiles who tired of keeping up with the
permutations of Yes (maybe this will get us off the you-know-who thread and
onto other prog-rock stuff that's not relevant).  XTC with Terry Chambers
made analog, vinyl records that jumped off the turntable and occupied their
own special space.  Every record that followed Mummer (yes, I like Mummer a
lot) - excluding the excellent Dukes stuff - came with the current
midi-from-the-box sound of the week.  The main reason, I believe, was that
they stopped playing with a vital drummer, a drummer whose primal stew
relieved them from feeling the need to throw in the kitchen sink on every
song.  I'm not saying that XTC hasn't come up with a number of good-to-great
songs since Mummer, but they're no longer a rock 'n roll band.  Sorry, I
like the art that develops naturally out of rock 'n roll and soul music
better than studied excursions in post-Art Pop:( I hear you: Partridge is a
genius blah blah blah (and Colin has great hair blah blah blah [don't forget
Dave's stunning arrangements...]), but they lost the passion of rock 'n roll
following Mummer and Terry Chambers in particular.  Am I calling for stunted
artistic growth and all that?  In a sense, yes.  Poor Pat had no business
with XTC; Dave Mattacks was biding his time on Nonsuch.  Prairie Prince is
great for their status in Modern Drummer magazine, but come on, no young
*rock 'n roller* is deciding to learn the drums based on his stuff.  Terry
had some of the qualities of Ringo and John Bonham!  His drumming made me
want to dance, and that's not something anyone should want to see.  Yes, I'm
outraged, and my tongue is only partially in cheek.  The best drumming on
anything Andy's been involved in in the last 10 years is the disk he
produced for Martin Newell.  Rock 'n roll drumming needs to swing, even if
the drummer's chops are a bit primitive.  It goes without saying that these
comments are only my most humble opinions, and you don't have to convince me
of Prairie's exquisite chops on "The Man Who Sailed..." and other fine



End of Chalkhills Digest #5-37

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