Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-76

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 76

                 Tuesday, 2 February 1999

Today's Topics:

     Andy on VH1's Where Are They Now? - TUESDAY 2/2
       U2,REM and Apple Venus radio, Buffalo radio
           The World is Full of Angry Young Men
            XTC online sales and chart ranking
                 Clhaklhills And Children
                      Steely Knives
                    Ranking Full Stop
                     Okay, it's me :)
              Everything's coming up orchids
                   Django, did you say?
                        The Kinks
    A Quickie In The Morning After Reading GQ Magazine
                 Re: Multifarious Stories
            Thanks Ekrem I'll Write Fresh Air
                   Another campaign...
         XTC Gathering, Mel Blanc, Fuzzy Marbles
                      Re: Huggy Bear
                        Re: Stipe


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Push your car from the road.


Message-Id: <>
From: Janis VanCourt <>
Subject: Andy on VH1's Where Are They Now? - TUESDAY 2/2
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 1999 14:04:40 -0500

Many thanks to DCB-MBB <> for informing us about Andy
appearing on VH-1's "Where Are They Now.

I just visited their site and found that that episode will be broadcast
on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 10:00 on american VH-1.  That's coming right up,

"..and immaculate reception on their portable Sony entertainment
centers..." -AP


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 12:07:57 -0800
From: KenL <>
Subject: U2,REM and Apple Venus radio, Buffalo radio


U2...I too find the Joshua Tree to be less than stellar.  It didn't help
that both that and Rattle and Hum were so overplayed out here in LA on
KROQ.  I still like the first few albums and I did like Achtung Baby.

REM---Still don't have UP but a friend does and I've been hearing it in
his office.  So far I am underwhelmed.  It really sounds like I'm
listening to a bootleg of  demo sessions for an album.  But I'll
withhold judgement till I really give it a spin.  I am also of the
pre-Document school of REM worship but there has been some great stuff
from the WB era.  Just not as consistently IMHO.  And they never do cool
B-sides anymore like they used to.  Just the odd live track now and
then.  They did a killer cover of Television's See No Evil when I saw
them at the Universal Amphitheater on the Life's Rich Pageant Tour
and/or the Document tour.  I have it on a bootleg.  They also did it as
an XMAS fan club single but the live version is better.

Apple Venus on the Radio---Glad to hear that the boys are getting
airplay.  Looks like I'll actually have to turn on the radio now and
maybe even call in a request(!)  The last song I requested was Queen's
"Bohemian Rhapsody" on WPRO Providence, circa 1975/76.  I actually meant
to request something else but when they put my 10 year old voice on the
air I froze in terror and the words just came out of my
mouth..."Bohemian Rhapsody".

Everything Apple Venus will be all new to me as I have not heard any
demos and won't seek them out until after Vol.2. (I've made it this
long).  I'm always afraid that if I fall in love with the demo version
then my enjoyment of the official version may suffer.  I'd rather
explore the demos afterward.  But I am dying to hear them.

Buffalo radio---Good to know XTC might get some airplay in good old Erie
County.    My cousin's ex-boyfriend was a program director/DJ at the
Edge I think.  I believe his name was Rich Gannon.  I don't know if he's
still there.  He was a good guy.  He got my brother and I backstage at
Edgefest a few years back....whatever year the Barenaked Ladies and
Billy Bragg played.

and finally...

Is JHB still on this list?  I haven't seen a post from him since forever
ago.  I'd be interested in his Apple Venus views.  Come back Joshua,
wherever you are.




Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 14:57:41 +0000
From: d-erelict <>
Organization: d-mentia!<>
Subject: The World is Full of Angry Young Men

Someone named "Jason Garcia" <> might have spoke:

> I think I'll order "AV1" online, because it'll probably be $17 at Tower,

Ummm, I think your hostilities are slightly misdirected, J...

The only reason new cd's are $17 at Tower is because the Distributor
(the next link in the chain after the Record Company) charges the retail
store $11-13 per disk, not $.20. And these store take a LOT of money to
keep going. Sure, they make a profit in the long run, but we all gotta
eat, no? I work in a small-ish cd store, that sells mainly used cds, but
we do have quite a few new cds, and these cost us the same as they would
Tower, or anywhere else, even the on-line stores. The only reason these
on-line businesses can sell for cheaper is because they have no large
building to rent, and few employees to pay every week.

The rent at my CD store is $10,000 a month, plus electricity, employee
pay, etc. Not a pittance, by a long shot.

CDs may cost $.20 to "press" in bulk, but the there are the record
company people who must get paid, the folks working at the factory for
$5 an hour, the artists who do the cover designs must get paid, and
let's not forget our struggling artist friends who haven't had a paying
job in quite some time. I agree that $17 seems a little high, but then
again look at the price of movies. $7 in some places, and that's just to
sit in front of a screen for 2 hours in a roomful of strangers ;-p

All that said, I'm not anti-online-ordering at all... I've done it
myself... Just thought you may want to reconcider your hostility.




Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 14:56:54 -0600
From: Mark Rushton <>
Subject: XTC online sales and chart ranking

Todd Bernhardt in Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 73, Saturday, 30
January 1999 asks:

"Several people pointed out that AV1 is now available for pre-order
online. Could we again get some guidance from those in the know whether
such orders will count toward XTC's chart ranking?"


I run the Bill Nelson/Be Bop Deluxe/etc website at and when Bill's new album "Atom Shop" was
released last October I inquired to and CDNow as to whether
pre-orders and purchases are tallied through Soundscan.  Soundscan sales
figures rank using a particular methodology towards the Billboard
magazine US album sales charts.  Both and CDNow officials
told me that their sales are tracked via Soundscan.  So the answer, at
least for these online businesses, is YES.  As for other companies, I
have no idea.  If you do contact other online merchants, ask if their
sales figures are tracked by Soundscan.

Even more interesting were the responses I received from people who
worked for Billboard magazine as to how many sales it takes to get on
the album charts.  To hit the Billboard Top 200 album chart, a record
generally has to sell 5000-7000 in a week just to crack it.  This
depends on the time of year and how other things are selling.  It's
probably unlikely that XTC will crack the Top 10, but I wouldn't be
surprised if Apple Venus debuts in the Top 100 or Top 75 in the first

Anybody want to take bets on where it enters?


Mark Rushton
Permanent Flame - The Bill Nelson Web Site


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 23:01:50 +0000
Subject: Clhaklhills And Children

Dear Chalkers,

John B. in Japan was kind enough to share this lovely critique from
his daughter with us all:

> " Well " , I said , " do you think XTC's new CD might  be a hit ? "
> . Mika answered , " If all the songs sound as good as Easter Theatre
> , they're gonna be as big as The Beatles ! "

Most of them are even better so who knows what will happen?
If this album doesn't "do it" for XTC i give up on humanity.

yours in xtc,

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse


From: "Michael Versaci" <>
Subject: Steely Knives
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 17:09:37 -0500
Message-ID: <000001be4c9d$3b06a420$>


I spoke to Todd Bernhardt yesterday, and in anticipation of his (yet)
unpublished comments regarding Steely Dan...

When the first real Steely Dan album, "Can't Buy a Thrill" was released,
they were a band with a solid line-up that had Walter Becker on bass, Donald
Fagen on keys and vocals (background and lead), David Palmer on lead vocals,
Jim Hodder on drums and two talented guitarists: Denny Dias and Jeff "Skunk"
Baxter.  ("Skunk" earned his nickname because of his bout with
"bromodrosis", a.k.a. "stinkfoot".)

Steely Dan  had finished recording "Reelin' In The Years", but neither of
the guitarists could come up with a solo that met the meticulous Messrs.
Becker and Fagen's high (some people say "arbitrary") standards.  Good thing
for us. "Skunk" had already recorded the now famous guitar lick that is one
of the song's signatures, but the brilliant lead guitar parts that permeate
the track from intro to fade were as yet unrealized.

Enter session guitarist Elliot Randall.  Legend has it that he walked into
the studio, listened to the track once, plugged up and in one take conceived
of and recorded one of the finest moments ever captured on a rock record.

By the time "The Royal Scam" (I once read that it was a favorite of Dave's)
came out, Steely Dan was a duo working with session players.  Only Denny
Dias remained from the original line-up. Michael McDonald (who had joined
around the time of "Pretzel Logic") left the band with "Skunk" to join "The
Doobie Brothers" because they wanted to tour, and "Steely Dan" had retired
from touring due to Donald Fagen's aversion to life on the road. (Beginning
to sound familiar?) "Scam's" liner notes merely list the session players,
and do not reveal which musicians perform on which tracks.  I believe that
Elliot Randall plays the lead guitar bits on "Don't Take Me Alive".  Superb.

Concerning "Do It Again":  the solo is played by Denny Dias.  The album says
that he plays "guitar, electric sitar", but the credits on "Do It Again"
only credit the solo to Dias, i.e.; they do not say what instrument he is
playing.  I've always thought that the solo sounded "electric sitar-esque"
(yeah, I know), but was never certain.  Does anyone know if the solo on
"Your Gold Dress" is Dave on the electric sitar?  It sounds similar.

I was surprised to learn that the lead parts on "Angry Young Men" and "I
Remember The Sun" are Andy and not Dave.  He really is a gifted player, and
is often overlooked as a guitarist (I guess) because  of his many other
talents and  because he was in a band with Dave Gregory.

Jeff Langr contributed to the Rush Limbaugh needle-lee thread:

>Yes, but that's because you perhaps approach
>differing views with an open mind, as opposed
>to the elitist idiots out there who dismiss
>their opposition with hyperbole and ridiculous

I thought people listen to Rush Limbaugh because they like elitist idiots
who dismiss their opposition with hyperbole and ridiculous generalizations.

Rodney proclaimed:

>>I am loathe to enter the debate over this filthy resurrection of Jim
Morrison as a eunuch, Michael Stipe


>>One sucks the joy out of the most significant art form of the 20th
century, while the other breathes life into it.

What would have we been treated to had he actually been motivated to enter
the debate?

I've never been a big fan of R.E.M., but I don't think that Journey, or even
the dreaded "Eee Ell Oh" (Day Video's brother perhaps?) deserve that sort of
vitriol.  This is music, not politics.
The fact is, R.E.M. is a pretty good band.  They have achieved a  high level
of critical and financial success in spite of their unwillingness to
compromise their vision, and have survived  with their musical integrity
intact.  No, they are not in the same league as The Beatles, and if Stipe
actually believes that, then he is a prime example of the celebrity  that
has lost all  touch with reality.    Still, they write interesting songs,
they play nice arrangements and you get the feeling that they are decent
people.  As Jason Garcia has pointed out, their music has a good "feel", and
that is a necessary ingredient that is often lacking in pop music.

Stormy Monday

"Greetings from Sodom, how we  wish you were here
 The weather's getting warmer now that the trees are all clear
 No time left for conscience and we recognize no crime
Yeah we got dogs and Valvoline, it's a pretty damn good time"

Kevin Gilbert

"Bring your horns of plenty
 Gold calves if you got 'em
 We'll get stuck in history
 All aboard for Sodom"

Andy Partridge


Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 16:15:50 -0600 (CST)
From: Marshall Joseph Armintor <>
Subject: Ranking Full Stop
Message-ID: <>

  <<As far as I know, put "AV1" on their "Advance Order"
list yesterday. As of 7:00 PM this evening, the "Sales Rank" reads
194. What, exactly, do we think that means?  Have they sold 194 copies,
or is it the 194th best-selling thing on their website?>>

  I think it means "194th best-selling thing of its type," meaning
Audio CD.  The little list of records at the front of the website,
Dave Matthews (oh, please), Sarah McLachlan (eh), and Lauryn Hill
(truly awesome), are ranked 1, 2, 3....the latest Oprah selection's
also ranked "3," so I guess that's what it is.  I'd prefer some hard
figures; for comparison, the new Ani DiFranco is ranked 16,
Metallica's _Garage Inc._ is 102, and Beastie Boys' _Hello Nasty_
is 84. Their Billboard Top 200 rankings are 29, 36 and 55,
respectively.  As far as pushing AV1 up the pop charts, dunno
what this signifies...probably that out in the real world, rather
than in the NPR-listenin', latte-drinkin', web-browsin' crowd that
reads, metal and R&B is selling more units.
   As of 10:11 pm GMT, 1/29/99, AV1's sales rank is
at 158th.  It was at 151 before I started typing.

<<Also: I picked up a live Captain Sensible album and Sugar's
"File Under Easy Listening" in the cut-out bin at Strawberries,
for $2.99 each.  Can ya dig it?>>

   Yeah.  *sigh*  It does do me a little pain to see Bob Mould's
records in the cutout racks, though, as I idolize the man...but
it not his fault Ryko pressed way too many of those records.


np NMH, _In the Aeroplane Over the Sea_


Message-ID: <>
From: "Molly Fanton" <>
Subject: Okay, it's me :)
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 14:41:46 PST

    The wounderful Todd Bernhardt said:
<<Oh, Molly, you and your ironic wit! C'mon, fess up -- you're
actually Andy Partridge>>

    Oh yeah, I'm really Andy.<tongue directly in cheek>  You got me.
What made you guess, my wonderful wit.:)  I wish I had his true wit.
He's a lot wittier than I am.  But watching his interviews he's done
some of his wit sort of rubbed off on me.
    BTW, I canceled my order on CDnow, and I decided to get AV Vol. 1 on
Music Boulevard for only $6.90.  Thanks to the $10 discount coupon.

Who isn't Andy Partridge


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 19:36:12 -0800 (PST)
From: Brent Palmer <>
Subject: Everything's coming up orchids

Fellow Chalkhillians,
     After a brief glance at the lyrics for the new album on The
Little Lighthouse, I'd be eager to hear "River of Orchids" on the
basis of its lyrics alone!  (Could we see it released as a single?)
However, I don't see it garnering airplay in Australia all that
easily.  The closest thing to an "alternative" station is Triple J
(99.99% of broadcast material being generic pseudo-alternative sludge
with one thing in mind: to keep the kiddies moshing!).  However,
(after a while) they eventually caught on to Elliot Smith's latest, so
there might be _some_ hope of them providing _some_ exposure for the
new offering from the Bards of Swindon.  (Maybe if XTC used a
nom-de-plume such as Facial Cancer, called the album _Kill Your Dog
For Satan_, and put a large depiction of a marijuana leaf on the
cover, the Jaded Juvenile Joke and its subjects would lap it right up!)
     By the way, I have to come clean: recently I've found Chalkhills
to have become a tad un-stimulating - particularly with the unceasing
"David Oh versus a formidable squadron of Page Down keys" debacle, the
dissection of REM, etc.  But I am optimistic that Chalkhills' content
will make a sudden return to being a refreshing read once _Apple Venus
I_ hits the shelves...
     Hence concludes my two cents' worth,
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 02:33:59 -0500
From: Rob Hill <>
Subject: Django, did you say?

Pete <> inquires:
>Can anyone familiar with Joe Pass recommend some of albums
>of his to start with? I've been into 'non-guitar' jazz lately and want
>to check out some of the great guitarists. Ditto for Django?
>(hey there's a band name...)

Don't know about Pass, but I've got Blue Note's "Best of Django
Reinhardt" which is mindnumbingly brilliant. Particularly the opening
track "Limehouse Blues," which simply floors me every listen. The solo
reminds me of gator wrestling, for some reason. Dave Gregory's "Pink
Thing" solo could plausibly be influenced by the mangled-fingered one.

Perhaps there's no rock band called Django as of yet, but there is, of
course, the cult spaghetti western by that name. Gunslinger Django
slouches into town dragging his coffin behind, seeking whores & loot. As
far as cruelty & human depravity are concerned, this one makes Leone's
Fistful of Dollars trilogy look like a Frank Capra flick.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 10:24:47 +0000
From: Geoff Murrell <>
Subject: The Kinks

Stephen Mahoney wrote:

>         I spent the whole morning listening to the villiage green
> preservation society, arthur, and everyone's in showbiz and I have now
> come to the conclusion that the kinks are my new favorite band ( next to
> xtc, of course) with lyrics which have acute social awareness and a broad
> range in sound- which other albums should I hear next? there are so many
> it overwhelms me....

Well Stephen,  you're a lucky man. You have discovered one of the richest
seams in the history of rock and pop.

Where to start? You have already listened to two of the best in VGPS
and Arthur. I would suggest you make 1967's Something Else by the Kinks
your next purchase. It contains the classic Waterloo Sunset and David Watts,
(which you may recall was covered by the Jam) amongst it's 13 tracks, and if
get the recent reissue CD, you'll get 8 bonus tracks as well!
Another favourite of mine is 1971's Muswell Hillbillies.

You certainly shouldn't be disappointed with any of the albums up to the
mid 70's School Boys in Disgrace, although you should remember that some
of the very early stuff is a very basic and a bit rough and ready, although
Ray Davies's song writing prowess is evident even on these, and of course
they contain the early classic singles, YRGM etc.

Personally, I'm not a big fan of the Kinks output through the late 70's and
80's, when they became a bit 'formula heavy rock' for my liking but there
are a few gems tucked away even on on these, and a lot of them are
favourite albums of many on the Kinks Preservation Society digest,
particularly the younger US contributors, so it's worth giving everything
a listen.



Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 12:18:06 +0000
From: The Larsons <>
Subject: gardening

>Dunks said of REM:
>nitpick about.  See, I'm getting in the spirit.  Great post, though I defy
>anyone to recite the lyrics of "Gardening at Night"

The neighbors go to bed at ten.
Call the prayer line for a change.
The charge is changing every month.
They said it couldn't be arranged.
* ------------------------------
Larson Family Web Page:
* ------------------------------


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 09:29:08 -0500
Subject: A Quickie In The Morning After Reading GQ Magazine
From: "Duncan Watt" <>

Mornin', chalk-eaters...

GQ mag, February 1998(Heavyweight Champ Holyfield cover), p. 70... XTC's new
album, "Rockfield"(TVT), reviewed, badly. Typical "Being For The Benefit Of
Mr. Kite" aping-put-down ref, followed by unabashed fawning for '... the
fine symphonic drip of "River Of Orchids" and the verbal taunts of "Your
Dictionary"...', finished off with a mild scolding for 'mimicking about'.

Big review in Major Magazine, wrong title, skimmy review.

Right on the money, Tyler, re: Joe Jackson "Heaven And Hell", an absolute no
shit must-listen. 10-second review: It's a treatise on the Seven Deadly
Sins, and while the metronomic use of cheap drum machines and fake strings
against the beauty of the other elements(for example soprano Dawn Upshaw's
voice) is intitally grating, you soon realize with a thwack on the forehead
it's *supposed* to be... Alternately delicate and vicious, this darkly
jagged, violent and cynical record is truly a masterpiece, not to be
enjoyed, IMHO. Plus, cool graphics (and cameos).

Am I the only one still trying to unscramble Sherwood's puzzle(Chalkhills
#5-69: >Hmmm. Maybe something to this I Ching business after all. I just
an online I Chingada, threw the digital coins, and got this:"Upper Nuclear
Trigram: Khan: Water, Gathering (like rain, droplets become oceans)")?

(okay, it's an anagram for something, but with all those letters? maybe a
number of small anangrams, but... maybe it's not even a puzzle at all! but
still, and he mentioned the crossword-Normandy invasion thing in the next
pp, so... okay, to , results: Main Entry: tri.gram,
Pronunciation: 'trI-"gram, Function: noun, Date: 1606, 1 : TRIGRAPH (2), 2 :
any of the eight possible combinations of three whole or broken lines used
especially in Chinese divination... okay, there are three lines separated by
colons... but "Khan"?... if this isn't a puzzle, I'm looking pretttttttty
sillllly right about now... no! think positively! musn't let 'Wood have the
upper hand!...)  okay, okay, fucking I'll say it! uncle! How about a hint,

Dun: Can: Watt


Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 16:34:41 -0500
From: Steve Pitts <>
Subject: Re: Multifarious Stories
Message-ID: <>


In 5-72 Peter Cunliffe wrote:

> Smithereens by Nick Harper (humour, guitar virtuosity, great
arrangements, TUNES) <

Oooh, surely not. I agree with three of the four, but 'great arrangements',
no sir. In my small multiverse the two most disappointing albums of 1998
were perpetrated by Glenn Tilbrook, latterly with Squeeze's own 'Domino'
but also with his production on 'Smithereens'. I loved 'Seed', and was most
impressed by what I saw of Nick performing on the Squeeze tour (both solo
and with Squeeze) towards the tail end of 1997, but IMO 'Smithereens' was a
_huge_ disappointment, not in the least because much of the humour,
virtuosity and tunes were smothered by the mix.

> If by some bizarre chance you like XTC *and* Roy Harper <

Why 'bizarre' (at the very least there is thee and me <g>)?? For me Roy is
one of the very best performers of his generation, and yet hasn't received
anything like the success and recognition that he ought to have done,
partly because of his own intransigence in the face of the vagaries of the
music industry. Remind you of anyone connected with XTC??

Duncan Kimball wrote:

> the fact that anyone actually knows that many words <

Don't be daft - I'd bet it was all done with a computer program, there are
certainly plenty of them about. Of course, they still had to be woven into
the text, and that was well done, but I doubt that he sat down and dreamt
up all those anagrams from scratch

BTW I agree with the recent comment about 'Inevitable Groin', since I hear
it as - the inevitable 'Groin' - too, and that would strike me as part of
the Peel pastiche

BTW2 TB CD 2 is in the CD drive as we speak, and I still can't make up my
mind as to whether I like the random ordering or whether I'd prefer the
tracks to be chronologically sequenced. It is nice to see that Cooking
Vinyl are willing to try something different, but it makes the first two
discs feel too uncoordinated or dislocated IMO

BTW3 I finished reading 'Song Stories' yesterday and I have to say that I'm
ambivalent about it. It is great to hear the stories behind some of the
recordings, but in some ways I've learnt things about individual songs
that, with hindsight, I might have preferred not to know, especially WRT
the underlying messages in the lyrics. It also never ceases to amaze me how
little control the record industry allows the artist over their own work.
It really is about time that the whole edifice came crashing down and was
replaced by something that better connects those with the talent to their

Cheers, Steve


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 18:22:12 -0500
Organization: FARUQ AL-FARUQ to infinity



From: "Michael Harvey" <>
Subject: Thanks Ekrem I'll Write Fresh Air
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 18:48:24 -0500
Message-ID: <000201be4d74$318075c0$>

Hello to all in Chalkhills,
	Wow I am starting to post with such a frightening frequency....

	Ekrem, your suggestion lit up my brain! I am a huge fan of "Fresh
Air" and have passively wished that Terry would get Andy and Colin on the
show. After reading your post however, I fired of an email to the show.

Here it is:

This is Michael Harvey from Utica Michigan. I am a daily "Fresh Air"
listener. Your show, and NPR in general, have restored my faith in both
journalism and radio. I would like to sincerely thank you and your staff for
giving me something to look forward to each day during my drive home. I must
add that you show a tremendous amount of brilliance in your guest selection
which is only surpassed by your interviewing skills.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you to try to attempt to
arrange an interview with Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding of the British
pop group XTC. They are releasing their first new work in seven years in
February and are scheduled to be in the U.S. to promote the album. I would
love to hear my favorite artist on my favorite radio show.

Thank you,

This would be sooooo cool!

Catch y'all later.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 19:32:04 -0500
From: Ben Gott/Loquacious Music <>
Subject: Another campaign...


I've e-mailed VH-1, NPR, three radio stations in Maine...and the dumbest TV
station of all!  That's right -- you too can tell those bastards at M-TV
that you want some XTC, dammit!  Their e-mail address (remember: early and
often!) is

I think it's incredibly cool that someone from Cooking Vinyl is taking the
time to read this list...that restores my faith in (some sectors of) the
recording industry.  Go, CV!


    Benjamin Gott :: Bowdoin College :: Brunswick, Maine 04011
 ICQ 7737594 :: Telephone (207) 721-5513 :: Mobile (207) 798-1859
Someone leans in my direction / Quizzing on my jukebox selection...


Message-Id: <v03102800b2dabcf9179d@[]>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 19:09:27 -0700
From: Richard Pedretti-Allen <>
Subject: XTC Gathering, Mel Blanc, Fuzzy Marbles

To Russ and the other attendees,

You're welcome.  Thanks for the "thanks" and thanks for attending!  It
was fun (and not a lot of effort to organize).

To Chalkhills,

We had 24 people in attendance, one naked, one in XTC underwear (proof
was provided) and the rest seemed to be "normal" XTC fans.

I made audio cassette "Party Favors" for everyone (Andy on a wild
verbal rant from the Nonsuch era followed by Bags Of Fun With Buster,
including the Scratch Scrotal Mix).  They are all gone and I just
mailed the original, so don't ask ME for a copy.

We took control of the audio at 8:15.  My promo copy of Apple Venus had
not arrived so we were out of luck for the REAL stuff (or so we
thought) and started with some of Andy's demos.  Various people brought
listenables and we heard select cuts from Dave Gregory's "Remoulds", a
few selections from the Chalkhills Children series and a few of Colin's
demos.  (No, I don't have a copy.  As much as I'd love to hear them
again in a quiet environment, I can't.)

Russ showed up with the Mojo sampler CD and we were able to hear the
Apple Venus version of Easter Theatre.

By all indications, we met my commitment to "play something that you've
never heard before."  Everyone got to hear something new or different.

Furthest Traveler: Olof Hellman, who happened to fly in from Chicago
that evening on business.  Furthest (tele-)Attendee: Harrison Sherwood,
who phoned in from the East Coast stating, "Wherever three or more are
gathered in his name, so shall I be."  He was calling from the
luxurious surroundings of his Jacuzzi.

We didn't have much of a chance to play acoustic guitars because of the
other pub patrons (I think they had had enough unfamiliar music for one
night).  Late in the evening, John Relph did pull out Becki's guitar
and started played along with a few XTC songs being played from the
jukebox after I had torn down my rig.  A bit later I played my
scat-jazz version of Set Myself On Fire (preceded by the obligatory
insecure-amateur-musician disclaimers) that I had planned to do for
CC98 but never got it recorded.

Between Becki diGregorio, John Relph, John Wedemeyer, Randy Posynick
and Chris (?? - I've forgotten the other guy's name who brought his
guitar), we had a lot of talent in the room but the "feel" was never
"right" for acoustic performances.

We were even supposed to get a visit from Al Gordon, the cartoonist who
has included Andy "Peartree" in a few of his comic books, but work
deadlines prevented his attendance.

Sorry to those who couldn't make it.  Everyone that I communicated with
about the event sounded like very fun people with the exception of Dave
(the self-proclaimed "Bohemian") From S.F. who slammed the whole notion
of having the gathering on the peninsula because it reminded him too
much of the Ohio town that shunned him for his sexual preference and
left him bitter and aggressive with a propensity to call people names,
as documented in the juvenile emails he sent me privately, in a
confused effort to hurt them so that he could support some deluded
feelings of superiority.

...and regarding Russ' comment: "Makes me wonder how Mel Blanc would
have done as a rock n' roll singer."

>From the Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll:

Mel Blanc had an frustrating rock and roll career fronting bands like,
Mel Blanc and the Blanctones ("I'm A Roadrunner, Baby", #7, 1966), Mel
Blanc and the Rubber Bullets, and Intentionally Blanc ("Fiwe", #3,
1971).  Though gaining a few chart singles, success was not sustaining.
 Hoping to ride the sucess of the single "Fiwe", Blanc left to pursue a
solo career.  Going solo proved tough mainly due to the breakup with
his long time collaborator, Karen Deller.  On his own, Mel's songs
didn't have the same verve and were not well received by the public.
His only one major label release, "My Mind Is Blanc" (RSO, 1973) met
critical acclaim but failed to chart.  Subsequent efforts released on
minor labels faded without notice.  One last ditch attempt in 1977,
entitled simply "Mel" was a dismal attempt to capture the disco craze.
Mel's abundant and highly publicized cocaine use prevented him from
delivering acceptable performances and he was universally shunned by
his audiences.  After detoxification and rehabilitation, Blanc spent
his adult years working in animated features for Hollywood movie
studios, the work that had kept his various forays into music alive for
so long.  Various retrospects have been issued that display the range
of trademark vocal pyrotechnics that had long made Mel famous.

You may have heard the Springsteen cover "Fiwe."


Lastly, I spoke with Andy on 24jan98 and he mentioned that Fuzzy
Warbles could amount to four discs worth of material (and will probably
be sold at a discount price due to the less-than-pristine fidelity).
XTC starts work on AVv2 in April and hopes to release it in September.
So with Transgender Blast, AVv1, Fuzzy Warbles and AVv2, we could be
receiving 10 new discs of XTC material in 1999.   ...kinda makes up for
a bit of the lost time, eh?

Cheers, Richard


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 22:34:30 EST
Subject: Re: Huggy Bear

>Burlesquatch                                  Spilly
>Thursday Throatculture                   Leo Buscaglia's Inferno
>The Easily Offended                        Tepid
>Sasketchewan (sp?)                        Persnickity
>Huggy Bear                                     Flibble Dee Floo
>and so on...

Don't know about the others, but Huggy Bear actually does exist, they
are(or were)a sexually integrated(i.e. both girls and boys in the
band)punk band from L.A., or somewhere on the west coast. Never heard
them myself, but I remember them mentioned in an article on the Riot
Grrrl movement of a few years ago.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 22:34:43 EST
Subject: Re: Stipe

>No matter how many times Stipe sells out, he'll never matter to anyone
>outside of the cult of initiates who hang on his every mumbled word.  The
>only time he's edgy is when he's insulting the Beatles, and the people who
>are still moved by them.  His petulant foot-stamping over the fact that REM
>aren't considered in the same league would be funny if it weren't so
>blasphemous.  For all the special pleading on his behalf that his lyrics
>and delivery are "moving" not one person can instantly recall the melodies
>to dozens of REM songs, because the songwriting is so appallingly weak (and
>their supporters are the same people who bitch about rap!).  Oh, but they
>sell out football stadiums around the globe... selling you a world tour
>wrapped in grey.

  Brilliant, sir! :-) Though I'm a fan of REM's early work(I began losing
interest in them around Document), I do notice that their music had a
tendency to lack in the melody department at about that time. I think it's
because up until Life's Rich Pageant(their creative peak, IMO)the band wrote
as a unit and the songs actually had melodies; the only trouble was you
couldn't understand what Stipe was singing. Beginning to some degree with
LRP and especially Document, Stipe started enunciating and learning not to
slur his words, or maybe he learned to compensate for his partial
deafness(he couldn't hear himself sing very well). Somehow at that point he
became convinced he has SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO SAY, and that what when I
realised what a horses ass he could be behind the microphone.(I hear he's
actually a very nice and painfully shy person; trouble is when shy people
perform in public they can overcompensate and seem overly intense or pompous
or something else.)I liked it better when I was wondering what the hell he's
mumbling. "Sitting Still" from Murmur(damn, I almost typed Mummer!)is still
a complete mystery after hearing it at least twenty times.

>Bill Hicks had a term for whiny little people like Stipe: fevered egos.
>The reality is this: the support for hack touring bands who catered to a
>contrived, conservative "alternative" movement in the 1980s (read: REM) was
>financially detrimental to pure pop bands like XTC, who actually deserved
>the success.  There was a time when a record could chart purely on its own
>merits, without any smoke and mirrors, and those songs hit the heart like
>adrenaline.  They wore their politics and spirituality in their hearts, not
>on their sleeves.

  Man, Bill Hicks was the real reincarnation of Jim Morrison, and he never
sang a note. The guy is possibly the greatest comic I've ever seen, and I
have yet to find any of his videos for sale or rent(or room to let, fifty
cents :-))here in Vermont. Once in a blue moon Comedy Central will run some
of his old material, and those evildoers of the world had better run for the
hills screaming, 'cause Bill Hicks is coming and he's got a microphone and
he knows how to use it. Personally I liked REM for the interplay of the
whole band, especially Peter Buck and Mike Mills, who were neither the
greatest guitarist or bassist in the world, but as a band they grew together
and learned their instruments together. Unlike XTC, they're probably better
off without their drummer; Bill Berry as a drummer was adequate at best. On
their later material REM still functioned best when they remembered they
were a band and not a forum for Michael Stipe's tortured ego. Monster is
their best later album for me because for once the guitars are up front and
Stipe is for the most part down in the mix, with the exception of a couple
of ballads like "Everybody Hurts."

  But hey, Stipe deserves being trashed by someone as articulate as you for
what he said about the Beatles a few years ago. He's entitled to his
opinion.  Fair is fair.



End of Chalkhills Digest #5-76

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