Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #9-6

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 9, Number 6

                Thursday, 30 January 2003


               Two halves make a great hole
                    Gold Word Ribbons
       Mike Myers appears to like "The Big Express"
             If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
                      Millions Live?
          Decent price for Fuzzy Warbles in USA
                      new xtc album?
                        Demon Seed
                Girdling the XTC globe...
     (indirect XTC topic): BECKI DIGREGORIO!!!!!!!!!
           wrapped in grey single available...
         leckie and lobos love that "Dukes" sound
         Exactly How Andy Partridge Kicks My Ass


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Here comes President Kill again.  Broadcasting from his killing den.


Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 18:01:25 EST
Subject: Two halves make a great hole
Message-ID: <>

I have to agree that the two Fuzzy Warbles make one great demos album. Yes,
there are tracks I'd remove but that's going to vary. Some folks love the
instrumental stuff (I'm not a big fan of it) and the demos (like them but
would have liked to see them released separately -- perhaps call it
DEMOstration  XTCby Andy Partridge).

Then again, there would be that gaping hole that only the bootleg market
could fill at too much cash with too little quality.

I couple of other favs from last year--I purchased Martin Newell's at the end
of the year and think it's a return to form. Not as strong as the remastered
re-released Off White Album (Martin's best IMO).

What I'd really like to see is a solo effort from Dave Gregory. It doesn't
have to consist of originals but, perhaps, some off beat selection of his
favorite songs in different arrangements. I'd also love to see him do a tour
playing the songs of XTC. He did contribute a big part to their sound (if not
their songwriting) and think he has every right to play some of them in a
"tribute" environment. After all, Dave Davies did the same thing with his
brother Ray's many songs in his solo show.

Dave, release it as a live album.  I'm sure you could get a number of your
friends to appear with you (Colin Moulding  might even be interested) at
least on the album.

Another great moment in rock history....

Pete Townshed's recent bust was a bit of a shock. Perhaps he's telling the
truth. It would be nice to believe that.

Just curious as to why Colin's Mates didn't make the cut for Cupboards. It
would have seemed a natural (then again, it was for Virgin). Perhaps he was
saving it for Fuzzy Warbles (until he withdrew ). I'd still ove to see that
short little tune released.

Now that Andy's opened his closet, I hope we'll get to hear the bulk of the
material from Verne and Golden. Hopefully nothing embarrassing leaps out
while he isn't looking....

I'm rather surprised that Andy and Colin haven't licensed all the radio
programs that have appeared on bootleg and released them. With the improved
sound, liner notes, etc., I'm sure that most fans would be willing to pony up
the additional $$ (then again, based on some of the complaints about the cost
of Fuzzy I could be wrong).


Date: Sat, 25 Jan 2003 05:48:50 -0800 (PST)
From: Wes Long <>
Subject: Gold Word Ribbons
Message-ID: <>

Kidz -

A few weeks back, Sir John Johns and I shared a few
hits from His virtual water-pipe and chatted about all
the covers of the Dukes releases - including singles.
The conversation can be read in the Dukes section of
Optimism's Flames. You've not seen the Dukes section?
It's, uh - well, hidden... but it's not well hidden.
If you've not found it - here's a hint: track 9 of the
Dukes CD anthology - find the image and you've solved
half of the puzzle.

Love sure keeps a bright house.



Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 00:35:37 -0500
From: Jefferson Ogata <>
Subject: Mike Myers appears to like "The Big Express"
Message-ID: <>
Organization: The Antibozo

I was just watching James Lipton's "Inside The Actor's Studio", with guest
Mike Myers. Myers started talking about a very difficult period in his career,
and said it was "like, Jane, get me off this crazy thing -- like train running
low on soul coal." Does this expression exist outside XTC lyrics, or is it an
Andy original?

Jefferson Ogata : Internetworker, Antibozo


Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 06:22:02 -0800 (PST)
From: Todd Bernhardt <>
Subject: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
Message-ID: <>


Interesting story from the Associated Press:

"Six retail record chains, hurting from lower music sales, competition
from CD burning, online music and large discount stores, are teaming
to offer consumers digital music in their stores and over the

The stores have formed a joint venture called Echo that will provide
technology for digital music and allow the retailers to offer
individual tracks for downloading to portable devices and computers."

Because it's an AP story, you can find it lots of places, but here's


The believer is happy; the doubter is wise. --Hungarian proverb


Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 14:14:29 -0600
From: Chris Vreeland <>
Subject: Millions Live?
Message-ID: <a05210200ba5b4238220f@[]>

Hidy, hillery, doo,
	Does anybody hereabouts have or know of any recordings of the
song Millions performed live? I'd like to know how they ended it, if
they ever played it live.

Chris "Arrange one myself?" Vreeland

Oh, joy. It's another website.


Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 17:32:18 -0500
Subject: Decent price for Fuzzy Warbles in USA
Message-ID: <>

Hi folks;

I just ordered Fuzzy Warbles Vols 1 and 2 and got them for $17.98 each
(I believe that's just a hair over 10# according to recent exchange
rates).  I am a subscriber to Goldmine magazine, and a supplier in
Berkeley, California called Mod Lang regularly advertises in that
record/CD collector's publication;  they just advertised that they now
carry FW.

Mod Lang's phone number is 1-510-486-1880, and the e-mail address is

They also have a website, which is:

I have nothing to do with Mod Lang except to be a happy customer.

Happy shopping,


Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 19:25:47 -0500
From: "Danny Phipps" <>
Subject: new xtc album?
Message-ID: <000901c2c72c$f942fac0$4b8c04d8@phipps>

does anyone know anything about a "new" xtc release
coming out on caroline records this year called "music
to help you breathe more easily"?  it can be found on a
list at the following link --

just wondering.......



Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 11:04:04 +0000 (GMT)
From: Dom Lawson <>
Subject: Demon Seed
Message-ID: <>

Hello campers...

Happy New Year and all that bollocks. Glad to see a
modicum of good sense has returned to the list since
the disappearance of the stinky troll...I've been busy
as all f**k with work and various other things
recently, so apologies to anyone who has missed my
razor-sharp wit and pearls of homespun wisdom.

Anyway...first things first...I don't know if anyone
gives a toss, but the lovely Deborah and myself will
become parents for the first time this summer. I
promise you all that I will be singing XTC songs in a
vague and tuneless manner at the poor mite until full
brainwashing has been achieved. Not to mention the
Black Sabbath back catalogue...

Secondly, and somewhat feebly given my prior are my top picks of 2002. Get down
the shops, pronto!

1. OPETH - Deliverance/Damnation

Two albums from Sweden's finest prog metal combo...the
latter will be released in March 2003, but us meeja
whores got a sneak preview last year. Glorious,
spine-tingling stuff throughout...'Deliverance' is the
heavy half of a month-long bout of
recording...'Damnation' is the "mellow" section, and
will be more than palatable to the sensitive souls
among you. If you like a bit of early 70s mellotron
mania, with lilting acoustic guitars, beautiful
melodies and a hint of prog rock, do not miss out when
this hits the racks. Trust me, it's fucking

2. PORCUPINE TREE - In Absentia

One of the most underrated bands, like, ever! And not
just because Steven Wilson (the head honcho) was born
in the where I grew up (Hemel Hempstead, fact fans!).
This is the band's umpteenth album, and is easily
their heaviest to date...there are still plenty of
sumptuous melodies, but the OOMPH factor has been
multiplied. Thrillingly, Steven Wilson helped to
produce the two Opeth albums mentioned above. Blimey.

3. TOM WAITS - Alice / Blood Money

Not one, but two fantastic albums from the great man.
Tom Waits for no one, baby! 'Nuff said...

4. HATE ETERNAL - King Of All Kings

Quite possibly the most brutal record I've ever heard.
35 minutes of blistering blastbeats and savage,
neo-demonic vocals. Marvellous stuff. You'd hate it.

5. VARIOUS - Love, Peace & Poetry

A fabulous compilation of obscure Brazilian
psychedelic music from the late 60s/early 70s...not
sure how I ended up hearing this, but it really is
wonderful stuff. Dukes fans will dig it, James Brown
fans will dig it, overweight metal fans from Brighton
will dig it...can you dig it? Yes, you can. For info,

Naturally, I could go on. If anyone wants a huge and
tiresome list of great metal albums from last year,
mail me privately. Sadly, I'm quite serious.

Still haven't got the Partridge albums yet...but
they're dirt cheap in my local branch of MVC - about a
tenner each, from what I can remember. Once I sell a
few more bags of crack to the local kids, I'll be
hot-footing it to do the decent thing...

Gawd bless you all. Salut!


Currently Playing: Tracker "Polk" (one for the
discerning Calexico fans...)


Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 22:50:26 +0530
From: "Sughosh Varadarajan" <>
Subject: Girdling the XTC globe...
Message-ID: <000f01c2c7c0$8ea017e0$5dec5ecb@SughoshVaradarajan>

Hey folks!

Here's a fun little thing...check out the site ...maps
out the fan following of a band by location and plots em on the world map as
well....proud to say I've already covered India in purple (that's their
colour for 1-100 fans)...why don't we all drop in and show the world (and
maybe Andy as well) how many of us there are?


(Stupidly Happy was on air again last night! Wheeeee!!)


Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 16:09:25 -0500
From: "Danny Phipps" <>
Subject: (indirect XTC topic): BECKI DIGREGORIO!!!!!!!!!
Message-ID: <>

chalkies of the 'Hill! --

come one, come all!  altogether now, chant with me ~

aaaaahh!  now......we have attained total enlightment!!

becki, YOU ROCK, sweetheart!  "god's empty chair"...."seven
worthies...of the bamboo grove" -- what else left to say
but MORE!  MORE!  MORE!  let's all hear some head-trippin'
psychedelia from the mystical queen "b" herself!  ;-)  get
davie g. involved with it again like you did on your own
two albums here!!!  it'll be KILLER!

people, if you love xtc, you'll love becki!  not only is
she a diehard xtc-fan(atic) like the rest of us, but she's
a TALENTED diehard xtc-fan(atic)!!  please contact her at

or check out her website at

we NEED more friends like her on our side!!  trust me,
folkies, you will NOT be disappointed in these releases!!

sweet go, girl!!!  my ears are moist and
sticky from these multiple eargasms listening to your
KILLER tunage!  ;-)

now let us chat again the name of the mystical one:

becki digregoriommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm..........

/danny  ( the Dream - unwavering!)

"Too many people preachin' practices -- don't let 'em tell
 you what you wanna be!"
                                              ~ mccartney


Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 09:44:13 -0800
From: "Thomas Vest" <>
Subject: wrapped in grey single available...
Message-ID: <>

Hello everyone

I meant to send this a few days ago but forgot to do so.  eBay has an
auction going on for the elusive- ever so rare Wrapped in Grey cd single.
It is currently up to $321.32 with 20 hours left!  Here is the link:



Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 17:11:47 -0600
From: "Will Kreth" <>
Subject: leckie and lobos love that "Dukes" sound
Message-ID: <001201c2c8b4$f6e61ee0$060fa8c0@thinkypad>

Having been off the list for awhile, not sure if this John Leckie
interview regarding his work with Los Lobos last year made the cut
before (published last June in Mix Mag):  (full interview with
Leckie here)

"We spent about 10 years with Froom and Blake, and I wouldn't trade a
second of it," says Steve Berlin. "I love the records we made together.
But it was time to do something new. We have a new label, and we wanted
to approach this album in a different way. In no way would I ever
disparage Mitchell and Tchad's work, but it had become almost too
comfortable working with them. We'd gotten to a place where we didn't
have to work very hard, frankly. They covered so much ground and were
able to make any idea sound brilliant, even if it was a crappy idea. And
I mean that with all the love in the world. But to a certain extent,
working with John [Leckie] revealed how much we counted on Mitchell and
Tchad to cover many, many bases and to do some of the work that we
probably should do as a band."

Leckie says he has known Blake for quite awhile and thinks very highly
of him: "He works here at Real World [Peter Gabriel's studio in England]
a bit, and I've met him a few times there. So I told Tchad I'd been
asked to do Los Lobos, and he said, 'I'm not surprised. They're always
talking about you.' They said they liked the Radiohead record I did [The
Bends]. But David Hidalgo also said he really likes The Dukes of
Stratosphear [the psychedelic alter-ego of XTC]. He said, 'That's what
we're going for.' I thought, 'Oh Christ! What am I getting into?'" he



Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2003 18:24:22 EST
Subject: Exactly How Andy Partridge Kicks My Ass
Message-ID: <>

>From: art et affiche <>
>Subject: Wes, you make me depressss
>Did you noticed another example of "songwriting self-canibalism"
>in FW 2, with Ra Ra for red Rocking Horse"? Andy stole the notes
>of the "Despite the fact that not one backed him" line at the end of
>the chorus, and grafted them in the "Holly up on Poppy" chorus, on
>the last line, "Ride and play the alchemy that love performed, laughing".
>Find others examples. It's a funny little game to play!

One of my favorite XTC recordings is the little B-side cut that accompanied
"Easter Theatre," in which Andy explains "How Easter Theatre Came to Be."
It's a wonderfully intimate little self-interview, presenting him in a
subdued and reflective mood and curbing his more extroverted side -- the
Parlor Andy rather than hysterical motormouth of "That Wag," for instance.

What I value it most for, though, is the insight it gives into Andy's
songwriting methods. In it he describes, as you will remember, a process
whereby he had come up with some very nice chords with slightly dissonant,
chromatically climbing passing tones, which lead to a climax that cries out
for some sort of resolution. He then describes the experience of having a
chorus that he'd written several years earlier suddenly surface again in his
memory ("then that little ball bearing...") and Ah! The tension is relieved,
the climbing, tension-building tones of the verse find a way to break open
and flood forth with beautiful major-chord resolution: "Enter Easter and
she's dressed..."

Biographers have noted an observation of John Lennon's, in which he
characterized his songcraft as "making little bits which you join up later."
I believe Andy is this sort of songwriter as well, and Marie-Helene's finding
a snippet of "Holly" in the middle of "Red Rocking Horse" is a very good
example of it. Other examples that I can dredge up: "Blue Beret" contains
large swatches of "That Wave"; "Goodbye Humanosaurus" has a note-perfect
version of the turnaround from "Then She Appeared." (I'm sure there are

He seems to be a collector, a hoarder, of *moments.* Being (he says; I'm not
sure how much I believe him) a musical illiterate, he doesn't think of, say,
the line "Hookah with my senses bubbled"(or, as it appears in
"Humanosaurus,""Just you raise your voice in chorus") as "a good way to get
from IV to ii and then V7," or (especially) "a good cadence that allows me to
introduce a bridge." Instead, I think he hangs his assessment on the
emotional effect of the cadence. He writes it once, noting the effect it has,
and squirrels that observation away. Then, if the song is unsuccessful, fair
enough -- but even in failure he has a *moment* that he can pull out again
later and apply in some other context.

Look at the way he uses the line in both songs: In each case, the lyric sung
against the cadence expresses the climax of an idea that's been building, a
sort of final bubbling over of a pot that's been boiling for the last few
lines. That, I think, is what sticks with Andy: Not the technical
"usefulness" of the moment, but the emotional effect: "I need some
pot-boiling-over chords... Where can I get them...? A-HA! Never used the
pot-boiling-over chords from Goodbye Humanosaurus, I'll just recycle them!"

It's the difference between an artisan and an artist.


If there's one thing that Fuzzy Warbles proves it's that if you landed Andy
Partridge on a desert island with nothing but two popsicle sticks and a
rubber band, within ten minutes he will have written a deeply affecting piece
of music for popsicle sticks and rubber band. Plainly, the man eats, sleeps
and breathes music in ways that the rest of us can't conceive.

It's not a matter of technique, or of practice, or of developed skill. It's a
matter of knowing exactly what is right and what is not right. You can
develop your chops for decades and still not be able to pull off an Andy
Partridge song. That's OK. Most people can't.

"I Don't Want to Be Here" has a moment that epitomizes that perfect
*rightness* that Partridge tosses out with such amazing regularity. The song
is rather relentlessly negative: images of frustration, of disillusionment,
of inability to escape, mingle with a resolution on the part of the singer
never to allow himself to be treated so badly again by a lover. Only the last
lines of the chorus hint that he knows that all his bluster is pointless, and
ruefully (and I think, secretly happily) he admits:

   I don't want to let love spoil the day again
   But it may again, who knows

But here's the Beauty Part: The song is primarily in B major, although it
makes feints in the directions of both E major and F# major. The chord under
"I don't want to let love spoil the day again" is C# minor (a minor chord
built on the second degree of the scale, not at all an unusual choice). But
under "But it may again" -- remember, the only line the song that's
optimistic -- he goes to a C# *major* chord, which puts the song suddenly and
briefly into the key of F# major.

Now, this isn't a new trick or anything. The Beatles did it a million times,
as did countless composers before them. But to arrange the chords and lyrics
in such a way that the only optimistic line in the whole song is harmonized
with a quick modulation from minor to major (that is, from "sad" to "happy"
chords) -- that is, in anyone's book, pretty damned deft.

It amazes and depresses me a bit that there aren't stadiums full of people
waving soccer scarves and howling "I Don't Want to Be Here."

Harrison "Gap ad?" Sherwood


End of Chalkhills Digest #9-6

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