Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #7-26

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 7, Number 26

                  Monday, 16 April 2001


                   Re: Astrological XTC
                 yet more extreme trivia
                      Re: Look look
                      Dirty Imac XTC
           Split Hairs...ahh sweet obsessions!
                        Bad girls
              Kingstunes responds! Ahhhhhh!
             Karen Virginia and Mole (oh my)
             King For A Day tribute progress
             I Want This! And I Want It NOW!
           Enter "Jedi" in the appropriate box
                    The Horizontal Bop
                         Bio info
                   Re: Psychedelic Furs
                     Dave's not here
                    Digital recording
                      I Have a Dream
                       re Andy's G4
                     Wasp in the Soil
                     XTC TRIBUTE SHOW


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You will see fishes that drown in the sea.


Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 08:30:57 -0400
From: "Brian" <>
Subject: Re: Astrological XTC
Message-ID: <006c01c0c283$4320c7e0$4b49bfa8@Brian>


>My boss/friend is having a baby next week, so I went to
> to get an overview of our Taurus friends.  I
>accidentally clicked on Today's horoscope for Taurus and found a XTC
>reference.   Wanna see?  It'll be gone tomorrow so act quickly :)

Astrology, now?
I'm glad I get the Digest, as this means this link'll be gone by the time I
get it - not that I'd run over and support any of this hare-brainedness,

The first (second?) flame gets '10 Embarassing Questions To Ask About
Fire away.

Oh, and XTC kicks ass, or I wouldn't be here.

-Brian Matthews


Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 09:16:39 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tyler Hewitt <>
Subject: dukes
Message-ID: <>

>Just bought 'Transistor Blast' and 'Chips from the
>Chocolate Fireball' last night to tide me over as I
>wait for the remasters to come out.  Has anyone made
>any attempt to connect the songs from *Chips* to
>their particular 60's ancestors?  I mean, some are
>blatantly obvious (e.g.  'The Mole from the
>Ministry'), but some are not.  At least to me.

Song Stories does a pretty good job of this, actually.


Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 17:55:32 -0000
From: "apparratus null" <>
Subject: yet more extreme trivia
Message-ID: <>

hi chalkhillbillies

last month i had the priviledge to be spinning some tunes with, amongst
others, lovely mira of ladytron and legend tim gane of stereolab. this took
place in a cool bar claaed public life in commercial st london.

well part of my set was involving circa 1980 new wave. stuff like the books,
lene lovitch and "i'm bugged". all mr. gane had to say about my set was "you
played an XTC track, right?". we than briefly discussed the merits of white
music. tim likes it much better than go2. we agreed that barry andrews'
keyboard work was uniquely demented.

so, there WILL be a fuzzy warble release, AND another by virgin? that is
just too sublime.



Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 11:57:47 -0600
Subject: Tools
Message-ID: <>

Why all the ballyhoo about computers making music? Why is that particular
tool such a problem? If you think about the history of music, all along the
way there have been new instruments, new technolgies, and when these
advances occurred, there were probably curmudgeonly (is that a word?)
bastards complaining that music as they knew it was lost.

I can just hear some hairy proto-human getting disgusted by those new drums
with animal skin drumheads. "What's the matter with plain old wood?"

Or what about when the fascism of frets appeared, limiting us to a
particular division of the octave?

And is anybody old enough to remember the crap that Dylan got when he "went

And, of course, who can forget the Linn Drums used on The Big Express ?
What were they thinking?

Imagine my shock and chagrin when Song Stories revealed that a song (I
regrettably forget which one) was constructed with a recurring loop of
Colin's bass? Oh, the humanity.



Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 11:32:17 -0700 (PDT)
From: John Relph <>
Subject: Re: Look look
Message-ID: <>

On Fri, 06 Apr 2001 11:25:57 -0400, "Robert C. Miner" <> wrote:
>  Has anyone made any attempt to connect the songs from *Chips* to their
>particular 60's ancestors?  I mean, some are blatantly obvious (e.g. 'The
>Mole from the Ministry'), but some are not.  At least to me.

You can find out a lot of this information by surfing "Reel by Real"
( and reading the
entries for each song on "25 O'Clock" and "Psonic Psunspot".  There are
also articles in the "Articles and Interviews" section of Chalkhills which
address this question in some capacity.

	-- John


Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 21:20:46 +0100
From: "Adrian Ransome" <>
Subject: Dirty Imac XTC
Message-ID: <005001c0c2c4$e5bb2680$10957ed4@atidy>

Just like Dan, I had visions of that Imac tv ad but it went something like

Kid: "hey, uh XTC?"
AP & CM: "Hello, yes?"
Kid: "Get the f*ck outta tha way, I wanna talk to the Limp Bizkit guy."



Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 16:24:28 -0400
From: "Seth Frisby" <>
Subject: Split Hairs...ahh sweet obsessions!
Message-ID: <>

   Well you know i have so many hairs i couldn't possibly split them all,
though often in my more desperate moments I've tried. To tell you the truth
that bit about the Soft Boys not having toured since almost as long as XTC
was really a clever ploy to work in at least a little bit of XTC content.
It's fun, and we should all try to at least throw in their name at the end
of a long post that has little to do with them. But thanks Mole for actually
giving me the dates, I for once had forgotten to look at the source material
(XTC scripture)and was not aware of that
     and yes it is true that all members of the Soft boys did end up touring
throughout the eighties, including Matthew Seligman who played with Bowie
and the Thompson Twins, although he got fired from the last one when they
downsized (I really know nothing about the thompson twins so don't point any
fingers at me just yet..), while not one member of XTC toured ever again
(unless you count Barry of course, which would once again be splitting
hairs)...So when exactly does the first batch of the remastered cd's come
out in the U.S.? Can never remember...oh well...Rest well my friends! (and
thanks for the re-welcome Mole)

Seth Frisby


Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 23:25:05 -0500
From: JH3 <>
Subject: Bad girls
Message-ID: <008c01c0c308$91274b00$>

Molly F. writes:
>I'm such a bad girl, because I use WinMX (it's an alternative to
>Napster.  I only use it to find songs that I haven't heard in years and
>most of the songs I have are out of print.  I do still buy CDs.  But why
>can't WinMX and other peer to peer servers be a utility to find lost
>songs or listen to those artists that don't have the support of major
>record companies.

Because corporate interests aren't willing to accept the burden of trying
to impose seemingly old-fashioned notions such as "honor" and "respect"
for the "rights" of artists and craftsmen on an increasingly value-neutral
society where technology makes any sort of effective artificial control
over "cultural works as information" almost totally impossible?

Or, to put it more succinctly, could it be that society is just totally
f*cked up at the moment?

John "just guessing" Hedges


Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 02:42:55 EDT
Subject: Kingstunes responds! Ahhhhhh!
Message-ID: <>

>Besides, I'm sure Mr. Lennon didn't INTEND to 'pivot his downward modulation
>in his 12 bar blue minor sixth with a pinch of original dominant' (or
>whatever...) -- he just picked up his geetar and sung a tune...  which, in
>the end, PALED --MUSICALLY-- in comparison to Paul's.

Hoh - kay.  I stirred this one up, so here we go.

First off, I want to say to Mr. Drude sorry for the music terminology
overkill, but there's a clear point to make about Lennon's ability as a song
writer and the influence that Paul had on him.

No other band has labored under more assumptions and myths than the Beatles.
It's unavoidable, given who they are.  I got into a tit for tat over Ringo on
another list when someone suggested that Pete Best deserved to be the
Beatle's drummer, that he was replaced because Ringo was homely and Pete got
all the girls, yadda yadda.  Right.  And Paul is dead and The Monkees might
fly out of my butt.  I'm not going further there but to bring up how much of
this stuff colors peoples opinions.  I fell for a lot of it too when I was
adolescent, but after a thirty-five year love affair with their music and
consuming volumes on their history I can separate fact from fiction.
While opinions are opinions, I have the facts to back mine.

One of the trickiest myths to lance is the idea that Paul, being the most
well rounded and best musically trained of the Beatles (fact), was the better
songwriter as a result of that fact.  And that Lennon couldn't really write
well until Paul showed him.  But *that is a myth*.

Here's the facts.  Lennon and McCartney were both influenced to play rock &
roll by the rock & roll artists of the fifties.  Lennon had a jump on Paul by
the sheer fact that he was two years older.  Lennon was basically self
taught, and played only guitar.  Not much else motivated him and influenced
him musically other than rock.

Paul on the other hand had some musical training on piano as well as guitar.
He grew up in a household that constantly had music around, and was into a
lot of other things like standards and show music before he became enraptured
by rock.  His background was stronger and much more broad-based.

When they got together, their common love was rock.  Paul did bring his other
influences to bear, and most certainly *exposed* John to these other styles.
This opened John up to to alternate chord usage and expanded his vocabulary.
But *neither* of them (this is crucial!) were doing any signifigant writing,
either alone or together, until the early sixties (they met in '56).  Both
really started equally at the same time.  I'm sure they competed with each
other, which is good, but both were putting out very advanced (as far as rock
& roll was concerned) harmonic structures to their songs, at the same time
and from the start.  (Get yourself a copy of Please Please Me, their first UK
album from 1963, and listen for yourself.  Check out There's A Place, for
example, by John.  How it starts with a major seventh on the harmonica.  The
dorian style IV chord in the middle, at "There'll be no sad to -*mor*- rows.
The two part harmony melisma that starts the verse vocals.  Let alone the
searching lyrics that foretold of his later writing.  A very overlooked song!
 All John.)

The *idea* that Lennon was writing three chord garbage before Paul came along
and *saved* him is utter nonsense!   In fact, John typically had the more
interesting and challenging harmonic structures in the early days.  It's
*his* songs that musicologists drool over in the early recordings.  Starting
major key pop songs on the relative minor, as in She Loves You and All I Want
To Do was unheard of then and uniquely Lennon.  If Paul did it, he did it
later and emulated John!

For me, one of the most fantastic things Lennon ever did harmonically was the
deceptively simple opening to If I Fell.  (I'll try to keep this as close to
layman's terms as possible.)  The song starts in the key of Db major (which
is weird enough, as most rock/pop songs from the 60s were guitar based and
usually in open keys like C, G, D, E, and their relative minors.  And no capo
was used in If I Fell.)   *But* it doesn't start on the chord Db, but on the
II chord (the chord based on the second note of the Db major scale), which is
Eb minor.  Now, the *normal* thing to do (for reasons I won't get into here)
would be a II-V-I progression (Eb minor, Ab7, then Db major).  But *instead*
of playing the V chord (Ab7), he plays D major, which has no relation at all
to the key!  So it goes:

         Ebm                             D (should have been Ab7)
    If I fell in love with you, would you promise to be true

         Db       Bbm
    And help me understand

                    Ebm                     D
    'Cause I've been in love before and I found that love is more

            Em             A7                D    Em F#m      Em
    Than just holding hands.            If I give my heart  to you.....etc.

This is called a chromatic substitution. It's chromatic because the chord
roots move in half-steps from Eb to D to Db, with Eb and Db the only two
notes being in the key.  Now the really *cool* part is that the second time
the D comes around again ("and I *found* that love is more), he blows off the
key of Db which he started on, and uses a transitory chord in Db, a chromatic
substitution, no less, (the D major) as the root chord of the new key, D
major!   Em (which comes next) is the II chord and A7 is the five chord of
the key of D, which becomes the key of the rest of the song!   The D is a
pivot chord form the old key to the new (a half step higher), and a
devilishly clever one at that!

Excuse my French, but it's fucking BRILLIANT!   And totally John!   Paul
*never* did anything like this.  And this was written in early '64!

(Hope all you gee-tar players got you axe handy and tried that!  Killer,
ain't it?  And you thought "hold my hand, yeah, yeah, yeah, yadda yadda!"

Now granted, I did study music theory extensively.  I admit the terminology
is bewildering to non-musicians.  But it is simply a tool that helps me
identify readily the relationships of chords to each other and interpret the
patterns that are used.  But that's part of my job as a musician.  Having
torn apart and played everything they've ever done I can spot the patterns
and the differences with ease and confidence.  John was no slouch, and Paul
was not the primary reason for that.  John was extremely gifted.  Which is
why I said in my post -

>And that John couldn't tell you a damn thing about what I just said, that he
was just such an incredible natural original song-smith genius? <

As for your assertion that he didn't *intend* what he was doing, that it just
sort of happened, that's incorrect as well.  He knew what he was doing.  He
just didn't have any way of describing it.  He intuitively knew on that
opening of If I Fell, for example, that he was playing new twists on the
II-V-I progression.  He had too!  You don't just plop your fingers down on
the strings and have something like that come up!  He thought it out!  Based
on his experience!  Maybe Paul turned him onto music with that progression,
but he *never* showed John how to do that!  Just inspired.

Paul was Paul and John was John.  Both were extraordinary tunesmiths, and
well deserving of their places in pop music history.  Yes, they influenced
each other.  But each put their own indelible stamps on their songs.  To dis
John as somehow a much more primitive songwriter is really totally wrong.
And I'd bet $1000 that Paul would agree if you asked him!  He was extremely
intelligent, talented, innovative, and more knowledgable than folks give him
credit for.  He knew a hell of a lot more about music than, say, Keith
Richards did.

As far as their lowering standards on their solo stuff, I have a different
take on that one.  First, the Plastic Ono Band album has material as strong
as anything John ever did.  Just as did Macca's first did and some stuff on
Ram and Band on the Run and so forth.
In fact, I made a mix tape once of the best material from their earliest solo
records, as well as Harrison's and Ringo's, and called it the Beatle's Last.
It was pretty strong!  What I think occured was not so much that they didn't
have each other to compete with (if anyone didn't notice, they were doing so
on the first few solo efforts anyway.  Remember the beetles in the picture on
Ram getting it on?  Hmm?  Remember How Do You Sleep?)  What really happened
was that they had spent the last eight years going places no one had ever
gone before, and they had nothing left to prove to themselves or anyone else.
 Paul was driven to keep recording and touring, and his relentless output had
the effect of watering down his quality.  John just didn't care enough; by
'75 he stopped altogether to be a real daddy for a change.  You have to admit
he came back with a vengeance, though.  Goddamm Chapman!!!!!

Comparing Andy and Colin to them is a whole other ball of wax.  One thing I
will say, from a theoretical standpoint, they're brilliant; as amazing as any
songwriters who have ever been in rock!  (As if you all didn't know that!
:-) )  Suffice to say for now that both of them were self taught like Lennon
but just had an innate genius for songwriting.  But I've taken up enough
space and I'll deal with that on another post.
I warned you not to get me started!

TK %-)


Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 06:07:21 -0700
From: "Long's" <>
Subject: Karen Virginia and Mole (oh my)
Message-ID: <000901c0c351$82afcae0$>

Karen & Virginia:

Taurus? If you two want to chat endlessly about cars that's fine, but this
isn't the place for it.

Mole quirked: (regarding the last time XTC played live)

"Unless of course you count the Radio Station Acoustic tour of 89 or the
Late Night Show Gig (the only time xtc went on as more than a five piece) in

How 'bout: 06/09/92 BBC TV Late Show, Books Are Burning live.  Andy lays
down an ass rippin' solo, got the vid to prove it.

Consider yourself out-quirked.

Bags of barmy guitar!



Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 15:59:16 -0500
From: "Richard" <>
Subject: King For A Day tribute progress
Message-ID: <018501c0c393$7017f140$>

I just reread my original post about the King For A Day tribute project.  In
there it states that my target release date was in March.  Whew!  Times flys
when time flys.  There have been several setbacks but it is proceeding.
With a few exceptions, I am expecting all contributions by the end of this

I've received some great stuff and I'm sure there's more to come.

Mastering will be a huge job and will a lot of time but my current plan is
to release in June.

I will post ordering information when the tribute gets closer to release.
Please do not email me trying to reserve one now.



Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 17:53:49 -0500
From: "vee tube" <>
Subject: I Want This! And I Want It NOW!
Message-ID: <>

     On Tuesday April 16,2001 The XTC 'Black Sea Box Set'
   comes out. 153 songs! On ONE CD! British Sterling #10.99!

             Now *that's* what I call 'value'!

                Tube says "pick up on it!"



Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 08:58:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ryan Anthony <>
Subject: Enter "Jedi" in the appropriate box
Message-ID: <>

Dixit Tyler Hewitt in the 25th Digest in the Year of
Our Chalkhills, 7:

"There is to be a census in the UK in early August ...
One of the questions is what religion you are. If
enough people (10,000) declare themselves to belong to
a certain religion it must be recognised by the powers
that be.

"An e-mail is circulating the UK urging people who do
not hold any particular religion to enter 'Jedi' in
the appropriate box. If enough people do this, Jedi
will become a recognised religion in the UK on August
8th, and all those who declared themselves to follow
Jedi will be deemed to be Jedi Knights, and will
presumably be allowed to put 'Jedi Knight' in the
occupation box on their passport!"

Take 1: You and 9,999 of your best buddies can be
declared an official religion just by declaring
yourselves to be Jedi, Power Rangers, Ninja Turtles,
Powerpuff Girls, Masters of the Universe, or Keepers
of the Holy Hand Grenade on your census forms? It
sounds like an Urban Legend. The UK, after all, is the
country which gave us Craig Shergold.

(Who?, you ask? If I tell the story here, Sensei Relph
will chase me off-list with a square-bracketed growl.
Run an Internet search for Craig Shergold, or for
famed Urban Legend debunker Jan Harold Brunvand, or
snoop around at and read all
about it.)

Take 1a: Will the government group Light Side Jedi and
Dark Side Jedi together for quorum purposes, or will
each sect be obliged to reach the 10,000 threshhold
independent of the other?

Take 2: If the story is true, what a pity! British
bureaucrats have decreed that any faith subscribed to
by more than ten thousand souls is to be recognized by
the state, and any shared by fewer than that number is
not. You know the painting by William Blake of God the
Engineer measuring the universe with straight-armed
calipers? I wonder if a British editorial cartoonist
has shown a bureaucrat, sitting on a higher cloud and
armed with a bigger pair of calipers, measuring God.

Falling just to the south of that recognize/don't
recognize line, if it were applied on my side of the
Atlantic, would be the religion of the Hopi Indians of
northern Arizona -- one of the most intricate,
intense, and schism-riven faiths our species has ever

I work for the U.S. Senseless -- er, Census Bureau in
a permanent position unrelated to the recent decennial
headcount. Of course, since that's the only Census
task anyone has ever heard of, everyone I spoke with
last year assumed I spent all of 2000 counting noses.
Wrong, I told them. I count toes and divide by ten!
(Feel free to invent your own variations on that old

Census Bureau employees are asked to fill out census
forms each decade, same as any U.S. resident, and I
happened to receive the dreaded "long form" last year.
Yes, it wanted to know everything from how I like my
eggs cooked to whether I'm dog people or cat people,
boxers or briefs, Leno or Letterman, Wintel or Mac,
and which of Colin's sounds most like one of Andy's
and vice-versa, but it didn't ask me about religion.
Which is good. That is exactly the degree of curiosity
the government should have about my religion.

That makes at least two great things about the Land of
the Free and the Home of the Brave. And the other?
Hey, American propeller planes can intercept and
outmaneuver Chinese fighter jets!

Ryan Anthony

An independent Internet content provider


Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 18:13:46 EDT
Subject: The Horizontal Bop
Message-ID: <>

>From: "Drude" <>
>Subject: Re: Kingstunes Komments

Drude quotes Tom Kingston:

>------->Oh, my.  I missed this one.  I hope this Mr. Drude isn't serious.
>Do I have to rend his knee jerk, uninformed opinion to tiny little shreds
>with factual theoretical analyses on Lennon's extraordinary and ground
>breaking usage of relative minor replacement, unusual resolutions of
>secondary dominants to sub-dominant minor substitutions


...And replies...

>Well, I never...
>Um...what ever ARE you talking about?  I guess I haven't taken as many
>music classes as you.

What Dr. Mellers was hinting at, Drude, was that there is a greater
complexity to Lennon's songs of both the Beatle and post-Beatle eras than
meets the eye, that Lennon's work is full of surprising and unconventional
chord sequences, and that these highly inventive uses of chords were Lennon's
own and were not dictated to him by McCartney and/or George Martin during the
writing process. You seemed to imply this in your original post.

To make a point of this sort, it is sometimes necessary to resort to the
theoretical gobbledygook, although perhaps not *quite* to that extent. Ahem.
One suspects Mr. Kingston's puckish sense of humor may have gotten the better
of him there. I'm sure no insult was intended.

One observation that has been made about Lennon's writing style is that his
melodies tended toward the horizontal rather than the vertical (readers of
Ian MacDonald's "Revolution in the Head" will know where I'm going with
this). While McCartney's melodies bounce around in difficult intervalic leaps
-- "In Penny Lane there is a barber" -- "a man of a thousand voices keeping
perfectly still" -- "her words of kindness linger on when she no longer needs
you" -- "making each day of the year" and on and on, Lennon's melodies tended
to be flatter, repeating one or two notes: "When I was younger, so much
younger than today" -- "When I wake up early in the morning" -- "I am he as
you are me and they are we and we are all together" -- "living is easy with
eyes closed" -- "newspaper taxis appear on the shore" and so forth. (Of
course, there are countless counterexamples throughout the Beatles' songs,
but the trend is unmistakable.)

It may simply be that these two highly distinctive songwriters wrote melodies
that best suited their own voices, and that McCartney, technically a better
singer (I said *technically*, Mr. LaCarte!), wrote more challenging melodies,
and the intensely verbal Lennon, always more concerned with the relation
between lyric and meaning, wrote melodies that were meant to get out of the
way of the words.

MacDonald goes so far as to characterize the duality as "truth" (Lennon)
against "beauty" (McCartney), but I'm not sure this isn't an exaggeration in
service of a point. (He is, frankly, frequently guilty of this.)

He goes on,

   Seeing music as a vehicle of thought and feeling, Lennon stressed
   expression at the expense of formal elegance, which held no interest
   for him per se. Intuitive, he cared little for technique and nothing
   for the rules, which he would go out of his way to break. As a result,
   while sometimes obsessive and crabbed, his music rarely betrays itself
   and hardly ever strays unintentionally into bad taste. On the other
   hand, McCartney, by nature drawn to music's formal aspects yet wholly
   untutored, produced technically "finished" work almost entirely by
   instinct, his harmonic judgment based mainly on perfect pitch and an
   acute pair of ears. However, while his music, at its best, is the very
   opposite of inexpressive, he could, entranced by his own fluency, all
   too easily be distracted from meaning, producing glib prettiness, vapid
   exercises in style, and excruciating lapses of taste [see Maxwell's
   Silver Hammer].

What do you think to this:

Our Humble Daisy's melodies are obviously heavily steeped in McCartney's
intervalic style: "And the moon, which formerly shone on the marbled midnight
mile" -- "Climb up here beside me, we can ride and find a friend unfound"
--"We'd laugh because each drop would make us grow up really high" -- "What
was best of all was the/Longing look you gave me" -- "I simply want her in my
arms/Forever more, is that an odd request?/Is that something so funny?" --
can you imagine any of these melodies emerging from Lennon's throat? I can't,
but I could easily attribute them to Macca.

Like McCartney, Partridge is "drawn to music's formal aspects," and he too
produces "technically 'finished' work almost entirely on instinct," but the
advantage he has over his predecessor is that he has McCartney's own negative
example --he's seen the dangers of self-indulgence, of divorcing style from
meaning, of becoming "entranced with his own fluency," and avoided it. The
end result has been a career dedicated to formalistic adventures, of trying
on this or that musical hat in much the same manner as McCartney--without the
fatal lack of self-discipline that mars McCartney's output. It is a long
strange trip indeed from from the rollicking architectural play of "Stupidly
Happy" to the world-beat intricacies of "You and the Clouds," and yet he
rarely strays far from his melodic McCartney muse.

Maybe this is why "Wounded Horse" holds so little appeal for me: Lots of
folks have commented that it reminds them of a Plastic Ono Band number, and I
certainly agree with them (for example, that subdominant minor chord in the
ritard is a Lennon signature--see "Happiness is a Warm Gun") and since it's a
country/blooze pastiche you certainly wouldn't expect it to display a lot of
melodic intricacy, but its heaviness and musical in-jokes wear thin after a
while. I'm a melody junkie. What can I say?


>From: "Steve Johnson" <>
>Subject: Computers and Music: Is it Art?

>So here's my philosophical question:  Is there anything wrong with
>using computers to make music?

Of course not!

There are, however, *many* things wrong with letting the computer make the
music *for* you, and unfortunately, many people who use computers to make
music don't make this distinction.

I can cut and paste like a motherfucker, but I don't consider cutting and
pasting to be a musical skill.

Harrison "Da Capo till you puke" Sherwood


Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 18:39:43 -0400
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Bio info
Message-ID: <l03130300b6fd2fdc7755@[]>

>Hello fellow XTC-ers.  I am wondering if any of you might happen to have
>some information on Andy's life as he grew up?  What school did he go to,
>what he was like as a kid, his parents, family etc..
>I have looked all over for biographical information about him but I have yet
>to find any.  This would be greatly appreciated.

  You can find some biographical information in Song Stories, Neville
Farmer's book on XTC, which has been discussed on this list. Don't know if
it's still in print, but you may be able to find a used copy somewhere. I
forget how extensively it goes into his childhood, but there's a photo of
him I remember in there from when he was around 18 that's a dead ringer for
my old college friend Chris Barnard when he was that age. Separated at
birth, only Andy had long hair. Kind of hard to imagine, innit?

Christopher R. Coolidge
"The bad news is, there is no key to the universe. The good news is, it has
been left unlocked."
-Swami Beyondananda


Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 19:06:35 -0400
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Re: Psychedelic Furs
Message-ID: <l03130301b6fd33f46db8@[]>

>Maybe someone on this list can advise----I see where the Psychedelic Furs
>are on tour and coming to Madison in a few weeks.  I always liked this band
>a lot, but I don't know what this current incarnation consists of.  Does
>anyone know?  There were two brothers who formed the core of the band,
>right?  Can't remember their names, have no CDs to refer to------  I wonder
>if anyone has seen them on this tour and knows if it's a legitimate reunion
>or some ripoff act formed by a former drummer or something like that-------
> I might go see them if they are halfway legitimate.
>The XTC content here is limited I guess.  Weren't both bands considered
>part of the "Class of '77"?  Anyone know of any other connections
>between them?

  I'm rather surprised they're back together under the old name. Last I
heard Tim and Richard Butler, bassist and lead singer respectively, were
recording with a more stripped down modern rock type project called Love
Spit Love, who released two albums I know of. I quite like the first album,
haven't heard the second. I hear it didn't do too well so that's probably
why they're reforming the PFurs. I have most of their old albums on
cassette, they pop up in the local used album emporium in the dollar bin
with astonishing regularity. As far as I know the PFurs are the class of
'80 more than '77; they may have played around England in some form before
'80, but that's when they released their debut album, so they're more
contemporaries of U2 and The Cure than XTC.
  The only XTC connection I can think of is they share a producer in Todd
Rundgren, who produced their most successful album, Forever Now, and I
believe Steve Lillywhite produced their first two albums.(I don't have Talk
Talk Talk handy at the moment, but I'm pretty sure; he seemed to produce
just about every British post-punk band in the early 80's)

Christopher R. Coolidge
"The bad news is, there is no key to the universe. The good news is, it has
been left unlocked."
-Swami Beyondananda


Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 19:15:08 -0400
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Dave's not here
Message-ID: <l03130302b6fd37e25a00@[]>

>A question: Did Dave Gregory actually sing on the studio recordings?  He
>appears to sing on the videos.  All this time, I thought the voices were
>just Partridge and Moulding.
>Just bought 'Transistor Blast' and 'Chips from the Chocolate Fireball' last
>night to tide me over as I wait for the remasters to come out.  Has anyone
>made any attempt to connect the songs from *Chips* to their particular 60's
>ancestors?  I mean, some are blatantly obvious (e.g. 'The Mole from the
>Ministry'), but some are not.  At least to me.
>Rob Miner

  Dave definitely did some backup vocals; his pleasant grownup choirboy
voice(judging from what I've heard from Remoulds, all of three tracks) is
unremarkable as a lead instrument, rather like Elliot Easton of The Cars,
but invaluable as a backup voice. His backup vocals I miss the most on Wasp
Star, and they would have made a good album great. His lead guitar and
arranging skills wouldn't have hurt either. Oh well, divorces are hardest
on the children. (not to mention the chalkhills)

Christopher R. Coolidge
"The bad news is, there is no key to the universe. The good news is, it has
been left unlocked."
-Swami Beyondananda


Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 19:42:42 -0400
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Digital recording
Message-ID: <l03130303b6fd3b4e27c2@[]>

>Obviously, I would love to have real cello or flute players playing
>some of the parts on my recordings, instead of using digital samples.
>I'd be thrilled to hang out with the string section at Abbey Road
>while they sawed away at my compositions!  But until then, I will
>still call myself an "artist" as I work away in my little upstairs
>bedroom "studio."
>So, Hillers--do I hear any disagreement?  Just curious.
>Steve (My Bird Sings, Well, Somewhat Sweetly) Johnson
>P.S.--While it's not so explicit, the perceptive reader will find the
>above argument rife with XTC content.

  No disagreement here, I just picked up a used Boss BR-8 digital recording
studio for $550. and though it just has 8 tracks it packs a lot of power
and is very simple to use; anyone who's navigated a MIDI synthesiser and a
4-track would be up and recording after an hour of looking at the manual
and a couple of dry runs. After recording just one track of one song, I'm
ready to return to the world of songwriting after writing just five or six
songs in as many of the past years,(I have possibly a few hundred written
down in lyric form from between '75 and '93) adult responsibilities having
distracted me. What motivated me is my old late-80's band may be getting
back together thanks to a recent divorce on the part of the lead singer(his
wife made him quit the music business; I'm thinking we should cover "My
Dictionary" on our comeback album). and I even wrote him a song that sounds
a bit too much like "Ball And Chain" for comfort. That has to be changed a
bit. I steal from the best.
  I was actually inspired in a way by Mitch Friedman's album, which I found
in Montreal for a dollar. I listened to the whole thing in the car on the
way home and I thought to myself "I can do that too!" There's some tricks
and effects I hear on his album, however, that sound like they took hours
to get right; I don't have time for that with a full-time job and part-time
graduate work. I'll have about a month between semesters in May and June,
and that'll be the time to crunch some demos. I'll have to settle for a
more basic pop production, I'm thinking Brian Wilson with an 8 track and
less of a voice.

Christopher R. Coolidge
"The bad news is, there is no key to the universe. The good news is, it has
been left unlocked."
-Swami Beyondananda


Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 09:04:48 -0500
From: "GLEN GREEN" <>
Subject: Homegrown
Message-ID: <000901c0c5b5$1330eda0$70ab560c@oemcomputer>

Just received Homegrown and my hat in the mail Friday, Making it a GOOD
Friday indeed. I ordered my cd from silver moon music, since cd universe put
my other order on back order I would recommend trying silver moon if you
don't want to wait!! Can't take the CD out of the player,(except to hear
Easter theater!!) what a CD a must buy for everybody!!.  Hey Phil thanks for
the Hat, I'll probably order another one just to be on the safe side.  I
still wish you would resurrect the green shirts instead of the white ones.
Wes just what are the miniature sons that Andy and Colin thanked you for on
the credits.  Gotta run, Happy Easter to everyone !!




Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 16:21:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: John Relph <>
Subject: I Have a Dream
Message-ID: <>


Well, okay, perhaps I should say, "I had a dream".  An XTC dream, to
be more precise.  And in that dream I believe I was at some sort of
XTC convention.  I was sitting in a booth, at the side of a large
hall, with three other XTC fans.  There was a small collection of XTC
rarities on the table.  I thought to myself, "Self, I thought I was a
pretty dedicated fan, but I don't believe I've ever seen these singles
before!"  The most interesting item was a sort of picture disc, one of
those really cheaply manufactured singles that looked like it was
printed on the side of a cornflake pack.  Double-sided, laminated with
just enough vinyl to be playable.  And about six inches in diameter.
It was Italian, and apparently an official release, with two
never-heard-before demo tracks from Colin Moulding.  Wow!  I was chuffed.
And then we got to watch a never-before-seen XTC video, another Colin
track!  In the video, the set was a house front along the edge of the
water, perhaps a bit like Venice (Italy, not California).  There was a
narrow walkway in front of the house between it an the water.  The
song had two verses.  In the first, Colin and Andy were standing on
the walkway in front of the house, and in the second, as a sort of
punchline to the song, Colin pushed Andy into the water.  Excellent!

Only later did I realize that those singles don't exist, and I don't
have to worry about hunting them down.

	-- John "still waiting for some homegrown" Relph

NP: Graeme Revell "The Insect Musicians"


Date: Sun, 15 Apr 2001 22:52:54 -0700
From: Randy Hiatt <>
Subject: re Andy's G4
Message-ID: <>

Steve Johnson said
Is there anything wrong with
using computers to make music?

My answer is:  Absolutely not!
and I'd say you bet... is it a better ditch if you used your hands to
dig it?   Shovels are cool.

But actually the real issue may be computer accuracy verses humanized
feel.  I work with computers allot and I would never let one make
artistic decisions on its own, it just can't do it.

Some people use the computers capability to "correct" flaws in timing
and/or editing note values, this is where our ears might hear the
computer, and most don't like the sterile feeling/smell this gives off.
You now can tweak programs which can add "human feel"  to overly
accurate passages, but these too are just patterns which to a trained
ear can still be a tad computery.

I can't think of a music product today that doesn't have a computer in
there someway or another.... take Andy's Pod (guitar processor) for
example, and Andy's G4 doesn't surprize me, it's the easiest to use, the
tool shouldn't get in your way.

My G4 with ProTools  and a Digi001 interface (killer setup) is the best
musical instrument I have ever imagined.  You can edit music like you'd
edit graphics.  To have the power and capabilities these cheep products
offer was unheard of only 10 years ago, and digital audio quality is on
the rise, ...and easy to share.

It's all in how you use it.

Randy (or in my case how I hope to use it) Hiatt
you can hear my stuff at


Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 13:43:02 -0700
From: "Steve Young" <>
Subject: Wasp in the Soil
Message-ID: <>

Found "Homegrown" (Japan pressing) in the XTC section of a local record shop
yestoday (Easter Sunday!) and wanted to share my impressions.

Brilliant packaging, as usual.  Really earthy / musky tone on the cover and
throughout.  Look into the center of the plastic spindle for a surprise a la
"planet venus" on WS.  The liner notes are typical over-the-top whimsical
A.P., with three charming & droll C.M. contributions.  They all contain
facts I hadn't known about these songs!  There is also a white insert with
all Japanese lyrics/characters, which is of no use really.  But you must get
the Japanese release just for "Bumper Cars" (see below).

I really like that several "stages" of the songs are explored.  As many as
three (!)demo versions are paraded before you (for one song) as the record
progresses.  This way you really get the sense of the creative process, with
all its bumps and ridges.  These are naked *musical* admissions, people --
I'll take these sorts of revelations over the contract dispute/falling
out/infighting gossip any day of the holy week.  Nothing can shake my faith
in this sort of work.  Beautiful and really quite inspiring.

A few tracks even "melt" into each other, which I thought was a nice
"albumistic" touch.  The "Man/Murdered" germination is particularly
interesting, as it's one of the few "demos" on the record that bears no
musical similarity to the final product (and is pretty good in itself).  In
some cases I like the demo even more (!) than the studio track, as in "Some
Lovely" and the jug band version of "In Another Life".  Homegrown works
great in conjunction with Wasp Star, and I'd say enhances its appeal, if I
ever dreamed that were possible.

"Bumper Cars" is amazing; I must report it *is* worth shelling out for the
Japan pressing just for this song, although I know most "hardcores" have had
it for years.  "Didn't Hurt A Bit" is great too, for those of you without
the "Man/Murdered" single.  Thankfully A.P. makes another "Fuzzy Warbles"
reference in the liners, which brings it one more big step out of the
internet world and into the real.

Plus: no sign of any re-releases!  I really look forward to hearing
reviews/details of these soon... don't want to order until I know what I'm
getting!  The wallet's hurting, yes indeed it is...



Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 16:49:01 -0700
From: "Sattie Clark, 17 Reasons Why Music" <>
Message-ID: <>



CONTACT:  SATTIE CLARK 503-695-3531,


Sattie Clark of 17 Reasons Why will host an XTC tribute show at
Laurelthirst Public House on Saturday, April 28th.  The show starts at 9:30
p.m.  Cover is $5.  Performing will be McKinley, Ezra Holbrook, Kaitlyn ni
Donovan, National Anthem, Pirate Jenny, Here Comes Everybody, Brian Jones
(of Stella), and Charlie Nanos (as well as Sattie).  Each performer will
perform a short set featuring several XTC covers and one or two of their
own songs.

Over the course of 24 years and numerous albums, XTC has had only a meager
handful of hits ("Making Plans for Nigel," "Senses Working Overtime," "Dear
God"). But for lovers of clever, melodic guitar pop, this unassuming group
from the hopelessly unfashionable exurban-London town of Swindon is a band
of colossal and enduring significance. Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist
Andy Partridge, XTC has created a repertoire of sometimes manic, sometimes
mannered, yet always marvelously imaginative tunes to rival Elvis Costello
or any other great pop writers of the past 20 years. From the New Wave
angularity of such early classics as "Drums & Wires" and "Black Sea" to the
sweet pastoralism of the Todd Rundgren-produced "Skylarking" to the
stylistically expansive, thematically cohesive two-volume "Apple Venus,"
XTC has found more and more ways to prove the glorious point first stated
on its debut album: "This is pop!"
				~Marty Hughley

For order of performers, set lists and/or other information, please
send email to or contact Sattie at 503-695-3531.


End of Chalkhills Digest #7-26

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