All About XTC
Last update: 16 August 2014

XTC hail from Swindon, a once decaying railway centre and now growing business centre, in Wiltshire, England. XTC have been singing songs voicing their view of the world since 1977, when they hit the London music scene during the height of the Punk explosion. With the name XTC, they were often mistakenly considered to be part of the Punk and New Wave movements themselves, but XTC are determinedly pop! One of the foremost and long-lived bands in the power pop movement spearheaded by such luminaries as The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and The Kinks, XTC have ofttimes tipped their hat (and winked their collective eye) to those bands, and many others. In the mid-80s, XTC went underground and appeared, dressed in purple paisley, as the psychedelic Dukes of Stratosphear with their EP 25 O'Clock. Since that time XTC have had hits in America with such songs as the controversial "Dear God", written as a child's letter to his creator, which helped their album Skylarking become the favourite of many XTC fans, and their anti-fame song "The Mayor of Simpleton", from their 1989 double LP Oranges & Lemons. XTC's latest album is called Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2), and marks the return to XTC's electric sound. Andy Partridge calls it "eclectric".

XTC is arguably led by Andy Partridge, guitarist, singer, prolific songwriter, and public persona of XTC. Andy can be brilliant, witty, and difficult by turns. Andy also suffers from acute stage fright, a factor which led XTC to end their career as a live touring band in 1982. Andy, born in Malta, has lived in Swindon for most of his life. Andy has been influential in the music world since the early 80s, working with such artists as Thomas Dolby, The Residents, Riuichi Sakamoto, Terry Hall, Cathy Dennis, Joan Armatrading, and Harold Budd. Andy has also been in demand as a producer for the likes of The Lilac Time, Martin Newell, Yazbek, and Peter Blegvad.

Colin Moulding is the other member of XTC, responsible for many of the songs that people remember XTC for, including their first breakthrough hit "Making Plans for Nigel", the anti-war "Generals and Majors", and the MTV favorite "King for a Day". Colin is the bassist for XTC, and has contributed his talents on the bass guitar to albums by such artists as Sam Phillips, Peter Blegvad, and the French alternative group Affaire Louis Trio.

Some say the musical meat of XTC was provided by Dave Gregory, who left the band during the recording of Apple Venus Volume 1. Dave was hired prior to the recording of the album Drums and Wires to replace original keyboardist Barry Andrews. Dave is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, playing guitar, keyboards, singing background vocals, and providing string arrangements as well. Dave is often in demand as a session and live player, having worked with such artists as Peter Gabriel, Zeke Manyika, The Big Dish, Aimee Mann, the Italian singer Alice, Jennifer Trynin, and Brian Stevens.

The original drummer for XTC was Terry Chambers, a no-nonsense hard drinking man. He loved to tour and to pound the skins. When XTC went from being a well-oiled touring machine to a studio band with time on their hands, Terry decided to leave the band and moved to Australia with his wife.

Barry Andrews was a one-of-a-kind keyboard madman, the original fourth member of XTC. His antics as well as his melodic and rhythmic contributions helped form the basis of the early XTC sound. It was his originality as much as anything that eventually led him to quit the group. He went on to work with Robert Fripp's League of Gentlemen, and then formed the band Shriekback, who met with a good measure of success.

XTC's latest (and perhaps last) album is called Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2). It's a more straightforward electric guitar album than their previous (Apple Venus Volume 1). The album was produced by Nick Davis and XTC, and features the talents of drummers Chuck Sabo and Prairie Prince. The album has garnered very positive reviews.

More recently, XTC and Virgin Records released Coat of Many Cupboards, a 4-CD retrospective box set, on March 25, 2002 (April 2 in the U.S.A.). The 4-CD set consists of 60 tracks of XTC's favorite songs, outtakes, alternate versions and rarities, and the best of the demos. The 128-page booklet included with the set features an essay written by long time Chalkhills subscriber Harrison Sherwood.

And what are they doing now, you ask? Idea Records has released the Apple Box, which finally brings together the two acclaimed Apple Venus albums Apple Venus Volume 1 and Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2). The box set also includes the demo albums Homespun and Homegrown in a “stunningly simple, pure white [box], matte laminated with a peacock feather varnished on the box lid. A white matte slipcase completes the look. Inside, each CD is packaged in its own paperboard wallet with new artwork and a 64-page book contains the lyrics to all the songs . . . with new liner notes by Andy and Colin.” The set was released by Idea Records on 31 October 2005 in the U.K. Order yours today!

Andy Partridge has also released numerous volumes of his Fuzzy Warbles, home demo recordings including songs previously released on Jules Verne's Sketchbook, The Bull with the Golden Guts, and Window Box, as well as many other previously unavailable home demo recordings. Available from APE House Records.
XTC's Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding
We'll continue to make records.

(courtesy TVT Records)

Read the Chalkhills and XTC Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list to find out more about their latest activities.

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