Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-141

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 141

                   Tuesday, 30 May 2000


          TVT Snafu / Maybe I Should Have Waited
             Let's not get ahead of ourselves
                 "Wasp Star" disappoints
             I'm guilty . . . but so are you
                     Cranberry Sauce
               Re: My worst fears realized
                  NPR Interview On Line
                       A & C on NPR
                       techno kidz
          wasp star rated 19 in New Zealand?????
           We're All Light....Questions.......
       I'm Not Sure If This Has Been Mentioned Yet
               Note to Brian & LET'S TRADE!
         Axis Mundi / Shouldn't be surprised.....
                    Re: The Final Cut
                     An XTC kinda day
                 Music Of The Hemispheres


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Slide down hill still / Next stop bad dreamsville.


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 01:26:24 EDT
Subject: TVT Snafu / Maybe I Should Have Waited
Message-ID: <>

John wrote:
<<I'll say here first, and to as soon as I finish, that my information that
it was TVT's error in not getting the CD singles in the store in time came
from the guy at Moby Disc.>>

They didn't have the bonus disc at the Moby Disc in Santa Monica when I went
there on Tuesday.  However, the TVT website also listed the LINCS network of
indie record stores around L.A. as having the bonus discs.  And, 'sho 'nuff,
they had seven of them on Wednesday at Benway Records in Venice.  The guy
behind the counter told me they had already sold one, so they must have
received eight of the bonus discs.  So maybe the problem was with Moby Disc,
who knows?

Anyway, I'm too tired to give a song-by-song review of Wasp Star.  I will
say, however, that the two songs that I am *most* impressed with are the two
I was unable to listen to before I bought the album:  Church of Women and The
Wheel and the Maypole.  For me, TWATM is the Easter Theatre of WS, which is
the highest praise I can think of.  The album is still too new to know where
it will end up in my XTC pantheon, but I think it will be up there.

Bob J.


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 01:23:22 -0800
From: Patrick M Adamek <>
Subject: Let's not get ahead of ourselves
Message-ID: <>

I have to second the motion of Gray Packham when he wrote in response to
Mark Strijbos:

>>"Andy, can we please get some really new material next time
>>around? Many of these songs have been floating around for
>>almost a decade and that's just too long, even by XTC
>>standards. Get writing!"

   By far, these comments have raised my ire the most. Seven years
between albums might seem like just cause in buying bootleg CDs of
their demos but it doesn't give you the right to denegrade their
"official" recordings. Suggesting that because you've been listening
to the tunes over and over in demo form for years that they are no
longer fresh by the time the album is released is despicable.

   In contrast to Mark's experience and in agreement with Gray's
statements, I have had a the wonderful experience of listening (for
the very first time) to all of the songs from Wasp Star AS THEIR
WRITERS/PERFORMERS intended me to.  That means something to me and now
I have two incredible albums to enjoy and "tide me over" until
(hopefully) the next album is released.  Gray described what is wrong
with getting ahead of yourself when it comes to following a band

Patrick Adamek


Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 21:53:31 PDT
From: "Jason Garcia" <>
Subject: "Wasp Star" disappoints
Message-ID: <>


Well, you knew it was going to come sooner or later (or maybe you didn't,
since I haven't been posting to this list regularly).  But for those of you
who remember, I'm back, and I'm ready to take on "Wasp Star".

Sounding more like a pared-down "Oranges and Lemons" than supposed
soundalike "Black Sea", XTC make a bouncy album that is curiously lacking on
some levels.  And the more that I digest both "Apple Venus" albums, the more
I'm becoming convinced that they should have separated the wheat from the
chaff, so to speak, and condensed the best material into one volume, what
could have been a truly great record.

But, they didn't, and we have to deal with songs like "Stupidly Happy",
which, while catchy as hell, sounds like Andy took the end of "Mayor of
Simpleton" and added more Beach Boys.  Lyrically, Andy's contributions are
lightweight and delve a little too deeply into Bad Metaphors 101- tracks
like "Wounded Horse" should have been left in the sketch pad.  Andy's at his
best when his lyrics gently prod you into a feeling;  lines like "and I've
seen people conduct lightning down to a summer's day" (from the pleasantly
ironic "You and the Clouds...") are sadly few and far between.  Colin,
however, impresses with two excellent songs, "In Another Life" and "Boarded
Up".  The former takes the sentiments he was developing with "Bungalow" and
matures them into a poignant pop ditty.  But it's "Boarded Up" that truly
shines- Colin's uncharacteristic bluesy delivery and sparse, evocative
arrangement make this the best track on the album, easily overshadowing its
peppy neighbors on the LP.

I haven't mentioned Dave Gregory yet.  He's missing, and yes, it's obvious.
I went into this album thinking I wouldn't notice, but many of the songs
have a strange two-dimensional musical quality that I can't exactly
pinpoint;  proponents of the "Dave is missing" school of thought will
definitely agree.  And while Andy's solos are adequate, admit it, he's no
Dave Gregory.

Overall, not a very compelling disc.  Some of the songs have definitely
grown on me, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing- you can listen to
Sugar Ray all day long and it'll have the same effect.  A few great moments,
but for this reviewer it was too much sugar, not enough substance.

That's my $5 worth...


Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 16:52:10 -0400
From: mitch friedman <>
Subject: I'm guilty . . . but so are you
Message-ID: <v03007800b555e24711c5@[]>

Dear Everyone,

It's very heartening to see so many of you/us loving Wasp Star but of
course there will be some detractors. It's not for everyone. It's for
just about everyone.
One thing that does actually bother me is the continued comparison to
the demos and complaints that Andy needs to write more
material. Someone said it best when they replied that the demos were
never intended for anyone but the band the producer to mull over. All
the material on each album would be brand new if we never heard the
demos. Guess what? From now on, that's what we can all expect . . .

See, I am guilty (in a more direct way than I'm comfortable with) for
causing the demos to find their ways to everyone. That's not to say
that I actively went out of my way to make sure all the world would
hear them. What I am guilty of is trusting that the few copies I made
of the demos Andy has sent me would go no further than the people I
had copied them for. Clearly I was misled (and by more than one of
"you").  But don't worry, from now on Andy has promised me that NO ONE
will be receiving copies of his demos. He wants all future XTC albums
to be fresh and surprising for everyone. On the off chance that he
changes his mind and does send me something, the best anyone can hope
for is for me to play them a tape. It's for our own good and more
importantly for XTC's.  We'd all love to hear whatever Andy and Colin
come up with next but I guess we'll just have to wait a few years to
do it.

Three things about Wasp Star that you may not know . . .

1) The "that's how we're built love/don't let it wilt love" part of
"In Another Life" uses the same chord progression as a part of
"Cynical Days" and both songs were born from this one part.

2) Andy wishes they had recorded to a click track for "Boarded Up".

3) Both Andy and Colin secretly worry that the end of "The Wheel and
The Maypole" sounds too much like the end of "You're My Drug"

Bye bye,


Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 21:52:46 -0500
From: RNV <>
Subject: Cranberry Sauce
Message-ID: <>

>> However, it sure makes it easier to tell who's playing what
>> guitar part now!
> Don't assume it is all Andy there folks. COLIN plays guitar
> on some of these tracks. Let the trainspotting continue....

Taking my reading from The Book of Todd Bernhardt:

> AP: ... in the past I was very lazy, and any complex guitar,
> or any fiddly bits, I'd hand to Dave Gregory. With him
> not being around, everyone just turned to me and said,
> "Okay, where's the guitar?" I had to play everything.


Gray Packham said:
> I've always liked Andy's guitar work (check out his stuff
> on the Lilac Time album "& Love For All")

How's that for a coincidence? That was one of my "get through this last
month before WS comes out" purchases. Leckie/Partridge are a sort of poor
man's Eno/Lanois, if you ask me. "& Love for All" is a lovely album, and
Andy's fingers are golden.

But he also said:
> Dave was never an integral part of XTC.

Huh? "Never" is NOT a synonym for "not always".


Annamarie wrote:
> Now, I'm REALLY unable to listen to another band.

I know what you mean. A friend of mine just left for a year in India and
asked me to make her a few cassette mixes of songs. I dipped in and out of
my CDs and tapes (LPs were off limits because my turntable is currently
missing a needle...) and in the process assembled a very tall, wobbling
stack of albums I'd nearly forgotten about for years. But then WS came out
and I could go from the passably dubbed copy of the promo to the bright,
sharp, cracklingly up-front and overpowering force of Wasp Star, and I just
can't seem to find the time to listen to anything else, and I don't really
care. My wife, thankfully, thinks this is her favorite XTC yet, so she has
been astonishingly tolerant. She says that her favorite had been Big
Express, but she says that this one is the tops.

Which brings me to my next thought(s). I feel that Apple Venus was how
Mummer would have sounded with better production. Can you hear "Beating of
Hearts" in that big "Green Man/Easter Theatre" sound? Lush! Think of how
"Human Alchemy" or "Deliver Us from the Elements" might have sounded if
given the Apple Venus treatment. And "Your Dictionary" is a big brother to
"Me & the Wind". An embryonic "Harvest Festival" lurks in "Farmboy's Wages,"
"Wonderland," and "Ladybird". The Mummer songs harmonize well with AV and
would have been VERY similar if they'd been produced a bit more lovingly.

And, more to the point, imagine Big Express with more looped human drummers
instead of so many machines.... I hear Wasp Star. Rough and crunchy.
Consulting, once again, Todd's fantastic interview with Andy:

> AP: [Stupidly Happy] was the hardest one -- [Prairie Prince] tried it,
> and Chuck Sabo tried it. They were both pretty similar in rhythm
> intensity, but it was no good because the slightest faltering
> really showed. It didn't have the idiocy. So, that was the most
> looped thing on the whole record.
> TB: In '85 you would have done that with the Linn Drum, right?
> AP: Exactly.

And "Wounded Horse" sounds like "Blue Overall" all over again -- in the best
possible sense. And of course, "All You Pretty Girls" = "Church of Women".
Though the topics of the songs on WS and BE don't overlap that much -- WS is
too up, mostly -- the places they were trying to go musically seem fairly
similar. More on this in some later post.


By the way, he's not singing "Oh! It's the middle of the song!" Certainly
not. He's saying:

"Oh, it was me that buried Paul!"

Yup. The truth is out there.

~~ R N V


Date: Sat, 27 May 2000 17:27:54 -0800
From: Michael Travis <>
Subject: Re: My worst fears realized
Message-ID: <>

I probably should reply to this off the list, but since this nutty little
bit of misinformation about my hometown has been broadcast to the world, I
feel the correction should go out likewise.

> From: Patrick M Adamek <>
> Subject: My worst fears realized
> Chalkers,
> Hope you are all enjoying the new CD.  I unfortunately am not able to
> listen to it because of a conspiracy of events that have kept me from
> getting my hands on it.
> It is not like I didn't try to secure a copy.  Sushiman sent me a copy
> the day that he got his from Japan, HMV online indicates that my order
> was sent last week without incident and I visited the only record store
> in town in order to try to buy it outright (even though I have three
> copies coming in the mail), but they "do not usually get new CDs for a
> few weeks."

First, a quick overview of record stores in Juneau. There are the big box
chain stores (K-Mart, Fred Meyer), and the independently owned (Capital
Records [as in capital of the state, not capitol], and Music in the Micks).
Let's not forget Costco's selection of new releases and "classic rock" at
wholesale or below prices.

At the exact time that you mailed this posting, I was listening to my copy
of Wasp Star bought from Capital earlier in the day. They always have new
release orders FedEx shipped to them so that they arrive on or before the
release date. For that matter, they've done this for every XTC album release
since the store has been in existence (over 12 years). It did come in a day
late this time, because FedEx screwed up and their entire shipment of
Tuesday new releases (not just XTC) was misrouted.

> What do I have attribute all of this bad luck to?  I live in isolated
> Juneau, Alaska and the package delivery can take 15-20 days at times.

Methinks you live in an alternate universe. Unless something is shipped book
rate on a barge, it's a three hour plane ride from Seattle. Mail comes this
way daily. Air mail should come a day or two later than a Seattle resident
would get it, at most.

> I had delusions that either the packages would slip through and get here
> (maybe even before the release date?) or that (gasp) the record store in
> town would somehow have it in stock and I would pay the $18.95 for
> it (the going rate for almost all CDs, the price for used CDs is
> $10.95...I wonder how they make a profit).  Of course, none of these has
> happened so I am saving up all of my Chalkhills issues until such time
> that I can enjoy them as I have anticipated doing for the past 6 months
> or so.

Bollocks. Capital sells for list price, not more. Or you could wait for Fred
Meyer to get it and pay a dollar or two under list.

> I did get the Fountains of Wayne - Utopia Parkway in the mail from CD
> Universe the other day and while it is really pretty good I sort of have
> a blank spot in my CD player.
> Temporarily not reading Chalkhills in Juneau,
> Patrick

I find it ironic that someone who broadcasts their residence here in every
post doesn't support the local economy. I am basing this on comments from
your past posts as well as this one.

Here's an example of the type of service you can get with an independent
record store: When the Partridge/Budd Through The Hill collaboration came
out, Robert at Capital ordered one for me automatically, because he knew I
was an XTC fan and may not have known about it. (Of course, I had no
obligation to buy.) That's the type of personal service I get by not giving
my money to huge corporations with predatory pricing.

Enjoying Wasp Star in Juneau,


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 21:52:14 PDT
From: "Bob Crain" <>
Subject: NPR Interview On Line
Message-ID: <>

Presented as a public service to our non-US resident friends, and US
residents who weren't near a radio on Sunday:

Oh yes, I agree with everyone about Wasp Star.

-Bob Crain


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 14:35:04 -0500
From: Steve Schiavo <>
Subject: A & C on NPR
Message-ID: <>

This is the URL for Andy & Colin on Weekend Edition Sunday via RealAudio.

- Steve


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 21:04:58 -0700
From: "May O'Mahoney" <>
Subject: techno kidz
Message-ID: <>

I just have to say that I COMPLETELY agree with Seb.

Sure, a fair share of techno is slop but C'MON - some of it really

Take, for instance, "Suzuki" by Tosca - it's the aural equivalent of
eating a peppermint patty.

How bad could that be?

OK, now you can all scoff and sniff.


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 22:54:03 +1200
From: Chris <>
Subject: wasp star rated 19 in New Zealand?????
Message-ID: <>

Simon wrote:
>>P.S. As of last night Wasp Star on Amazon was rated as Number 21 in the UK,
19 in New Zealand and 16 in the US. Lets all keep buying>>

rated 19 in New Zealand???? Excuse my ignorance but would anyone know
how these ratings are worked out??

Chris :-)


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 19:53:02 -0700
From: "Dan P." <>
Subject: We're All Light....Questions.......
Message-ID: <>

1. How long before some big utility/energy company approaches Andy
about making this their new commercial jingle (" So you won't mind if
I kiss you now/And maybe come on in for the night/Don't you know in
this new Dark Age/We're all light/We're all light").  The tune and the
lyrics are perfect.

2. Does XTC sell it?


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 15:21:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: Molly Fanton <>
Subject: I'm Not Sure If This Has Been Mentioned Yet
Message-ID: <>

I went to Boston for my brother's wedding, and while I
was there I bought a copy of Wasp Star (my third copy,
one promo, one I ordered from Amazon and now from Sam
Goody), and I noticed that both John Relph and Simon
(webmaster of Bungalow) were mentioned in the
acknowlegments at the back.  Wow, our own moderator.
That's so great.  The last time this happened was when
Squeeze mentioned the webmasters of on
their last album, Domino.
Now I have to wade through the digests I got in my
mailbox. :)


Molly's Pages:
My Tribute to Talk Talk & .O.Rang:


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 17:02:12 EDT
Subject: Note to Brian & LET'S TRADE!
Message-ID: <>


I've got SO DAMN MUCH rare XtC audio and video and no one to share it
with.  Any traders out there?

Note to Brian:

As you wrote: "Your reply is sarcastic, stupid and pointless as any
retort that was ever made to stir up the muck."

Well, my reply was definitely drenched in sarcasm.  "Stupid," yeah
I'll give ya that one, the majority of my posts here are.  As for
pointless, I believe that the point was that Andy pays enough
attention to what he's doing in the studio that he wouldn't screw up a
damn fade-out.  It wasn't meant to "stir up the muck" as much as to
poke some fun at your idiotic statement.

Hugs and kisses,



Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 12:43:21 +1000
From: Iain Murray <>
Subject: Axis Mundi / Shouldn't be surprised.....
Message-ID: <>

Firstly, thanks to everyone who took the time to answer my question
regarding "axis mundi". I feel thoroughly enlightened, and at least 10
IQ points better off than I was at this time last week.

Secondly, "Wasp Star" has totally failed to make any impression on the
Australian Albums Chart (shock horror). I just had a look at the ARIA
(Australian Recording Industry Associaion or something) web site -
making its debut at #1 in Australia this week is.....

<drum roll>

"Mad Season" by Matchbox 20.

I think I'm going to be violently and copiously sick....




Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 15:32:50 +1200
From: "Simon Curtiss" <>
Subject: Re: The Final Cut
Message-ID: <018501bfc928$4ef950a0$2d64a8c0@emigre>

Ages ago - Steve wrote
<<Finally (no, really, #6-124 was my 28th digest in 36 hours) in #6-123
Chris2 included:

> 'The Final Cut' - Pink Floyd <

in his list of records that he listens to all the way through. Wow. I knew
that somewhere out there would be someone who actually liked this record,
but that much. Amazing>>

Well if you are going to listen to this album then it's really got to be the
whole thing or nothing. I think I give it an airing about once every 4 years
or so.  Unless you are showing off the stereo separation on your new
hi-fi/headphones, when off course you whip it out (ooer missus) and stick on
"Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert" (or whatever it's called) for the
missile attack bit that starts in one ear goes straight through your head
and explodes in the other - FUN!



Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 17:28:34 -0700
From: "John Keel" <>
Subject: An XTC kinda day
Message-ID: <00a801bfc904$d3fba600$>

Hi kids,

So, I spent a good part of today rummaging through record stores and had
quite the XTC-theme day.  It started with XTC on NPR, then as I was driving
down the freeway and hour later, Harry Shearer (Spinal Tap, SNL, The
Simpsons, etc.) played "Stupidly Happy" at the beginning of his weekly radio
show.  I have to tell you, it sounds great on the radio and I think it would
be a hit.  So, I arrive at Rockaway Records in Silverlake (where Beck
lives - somewhere) which I've always heard about but had never been to.  I
immediately find a 12" single for "Love on a Farmboy's Wages" and then a
little later I find an old "Creem" magazine from April 1979 with XTC listed
on the front and an article inside regarding some New York shows for "Go 2"
and the fact that they don't have an American distributor yet.

I leave there and wind my way down Sunset Blvd. in the heat and wind up at
Virgin Records. I'm only in there about fifteen minutes (compared to two
hours at Rockaway) but in that time they play "Standing in for Joe" and "The
Wheel and the Maypole" back-to-back over the in-store sound system.  Of
course, they also mix in sound effects of someone farting and toilets
flushing during "TWATM" for some completely unknown reason, but I think it
was pretty obvious that they weren't part of the song.  Still, what was that
all about?

Okay, back down Sunset/stop at Tower Records/run into a gorgeous Script
Supervisor I know/chat/leave and stop at a little music store up the street
that I can't remember the name of and - once again - I find XTC stuff!  This
time it was the 12" single of "Ball & Chain" and surprise - the French
version of "Go 2" with a different cover - it's just a color shot of the
boys with Colin & Barry on the front and Andy & Terry on the back.  Wow!!

>From there I hit Rhino Records which never seems to have anything I'm
looking for and then lastly I stop at Record Rover on Venice Blvd. which is
where I found a bunch of 12" singles previously mentioned here but this time
I notice a section of 7" 45's that I've walked by countless times and they
have the singles for "Ten Feet Tall", "Mayor of Simpleton" and "Great Fire".

What a day!  The only thing that would have made it better was if my air
conditioner worked in my car!

Okay, sorry for another long post.  I just get so excited!!

Thanks for listening . . . again.

"The world is not my home, I'm just a-passin' through."
Tom Waits


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 23:36:13 -0600
From: "Bob O'Bannon" <>
Subject: alarmless
Message-ID: <>

As much as I love the tunefulness of Wasp Star, I am plagued by this
recurring question: what has caused XTC to quit reinventing themselves with
each successive album? In some respects I think Wasp Star contains some of
the band's finest moments, but in other respects I am saddened by the
absence of a certain adventurous spirit that characterized all previous
albums. There was a way in which Black Sea transcended Drums and Wires, in
which English Settlement departed from Black Sea, and in which Big Express
stepped outward from Mummer, that no XTC album since Skylarking has
accomplished in quite the same way. It seems the band has been rather
content lately to take ideas from previous albums and simply streamline them
for a more focused effect. There are advantages to this, because I think
Andy especially is understanding better the value of simplicity and
restraint, but there are disadvantages, too. Listening to XTC these days is
not so much an adventure as it is a reaffirmation of everything I already
know about the band.

Andy advised songwriters in the interview to "alarm" themselves
when writing tunes. As catchy and irresistible as his new tunes are, there
is certainly nothing alarming about them. I guess I wish Andy would pay
closer attention to his own advice.

Bob O'Bannon


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 21:25:31 +0100
From: "David Edwards" <>
Subject: Music Of The Hemispheres
Message-ID: <001f01bfc8e2$f2384000$8321893e@oemcomputer>

Music of the Hemispheres

I need help (so I'm told on a regular basis). I didn't get Playground at
first, now I think it's tremendous. But I still don't get the drum intro.
All you learn-ed musicians, what am I supposed to be listening for, what am
I missing? From the interviews, Chuck and Andy are clearly in on it - can
somebody put a finger on my limitations? Also what does Colin mean by 'In
Another Life'? Does he mean 'maybe things'll be different next time', or 'I

Something I got late was from Church of Women: 'Performing that miracle,
raising the living' - as opposed to raising the dead and the miracle
thereof. Nice one, passed me by at first. The actual quality aside, isn't
this their most even album since ES? There are no horrors like 'President
Kill', 'War Dance', 'Last Balloon' (I know, I wish I could, I love the
sentiment, but it's just too slow.).  I think it's +very+ strong: it's
particularly good to hear Andy singing so fantastically well, after the last
outing. You have to shake your head fatalistically though at Andy's
determination to put this out second: the last one got +all+ the attention -
being the first for 7 years - and now this one, which is surely both much
stronger and much more user-friendly, is getting +much+ less. Is it fate or
the sniggering song-creator plotting inside Andy's head that knows it's much
safer without too much success and attention? (It knows what happens when
people 'make it' big time)

Couple more points: Thanks to Todd Barnhardt for his really fantastic,
astute, knowledgeable interviews. Loved the story about the dogs bollocks
and the CD giving - great stuff! Also loved David Seddon's articulate
analysis of the album. Someone said ITMWML was too deliberately
radio-friendly, but I ask you, a song that says to the great wobbly-headed
public: "What you've never had you'll never miss I guess"! Not quite what
advertisers have in mind as Muzak, I'll wager! Also it was very interesting
to see how Colin reacted to the suggestion that the demo drum beat used on
'We're all Light' (must be a single, I loved it instantly) was designed to
catch the radio listener's ear. In this world of people who sell their
grandmothers (cats at no extra cost) at the drop of a hat, this is a guy who
was ruffled by even the suggestion that Andy might have had
radio-friendliness in mind. That shows that they are very much a team: it's
this rejection of the bullshit-for-money ethos that makes them so different
and special and. not bullshit.

David 'Gargoyle-Free Zone' Edwards


End of Chalkhills Digest #6-141

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