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Subject: FAQ: Chalkhills, The XTC Mailing List

This article was archived around: 1 Mar 2002 21:20:08 GMT

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Archive-name: music/xtc-faq Last-modified: 25 February 2002 Posting-Frequency: monthly URL: http://chalkhills.org/FAQ.html Subject: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) From: Chalkhills Administration <relph@tmbg.org>
This page contains the answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) often seen in Chalkhills, The XTC Fans Mail List. It is posted to help reduce volume in the mail list and to provide hard-to-find information of general interest. Questions: 1. What are XTC up to these days, anyway? 2. What is Chalkhills and how do I join? 3. Is Chalkhills archived? Is the FAQ list available for FTP anywhere? Are XTC lyrics available? Are charts, chords and/or tablature for XTC songs available? 4. What are the addresses of the fan clubs? (updated) 5. Is that Woody Allen at the end of "My Love Explodes?" What is said at the end of "Mole From The Ministry"? 6. Who is XTC's drummer? 7. What's the story with "Dear God" and "Mermaid Smiled" on _Skylarking_? 8. Why is the XTC mail list called "Chalkhills"? What does the cover of _English Settlement_ mean? 9. Are the albums _Waxworks_ and _Beeswax_ available on CD? Are _Waxworks_ and _The Compact XTC_ the same album? 10. To what does the song "Pink Thing" refer? 11. Who were all XTC's producers? 12. What recordings should a new XTC-er buy? 13. Why does everyone hate Todd Rundgren, I liked _Skylarking_? 14. Why don't they tour? 15. Has anybody ever covered any XTC songs? 16. What's with the Virgin UK CD of _Drums and Wires_? 17. Who is `Brian' in "Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"? 18. Who are the children in "Dear God" and on _Psonic Psunspot_? 19. Who is that other guy in the photographs from _Psonic Psunspot_? 20. Did XTC do any other covers beside the Hendrix one on _White Music_? 21. What released songs have yet to be compiled on albums? 22. To what does the title of _Mummer_ refer? 23. How does one pronounce the name "XTC"? What is the origin of the band name "XTC"? Is it related to the drug MDMA (ecstasy)? 24. What are the sources of the tracks on _Explode Together_? 25. Have any books been written about XTC? 26. What is "Oxo"? Who are the "never never navvies"? What do all these English phrases mean? 27. Where can I find the _Look Look_ video? Does anyone know how I can get my hands on any XTC merchandise? Where can I find XTC bootlegs? 28. Johnny Nexdor & His Neighbors are really XTC, right? 29. Are the "Curt" and "Roland" mentioned in the sleeve of _The Big Express_ from Tears for Fears? 30. What is that word that Andy sings in the song "Great Fire"? 31. How rare is the _Wrapped in Grey_ single? 32. What is the "Homo Safari" series? Where can I find it? 33. Was "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" written about JFK? 34. What are all the messages scratched in the run-out grooves of XTC records? 35. Has anyone heard They Might Be Giants' song "XTC vs. Adam Ant"? 36. What is Dave Gregory up to these days? 37. Did you notice that the title of the latest XTC album comes from the lyrics of the previous album? 38. Is there sheet music for XTC songs available? 39. How can I contact XTC directly? 40. What happened to the proposed "bubblegum" album? This document copyright (c) 1992-2002 by John Relph. While some information included herein is not copyright and may be used without permission, the compilation of this information in this document in this format is copyright and may not be published in any form whatsoever without the permission of the author. Just ask. This document may be distributed electronically and otherwise if and only if the entire copyright notice and attributions are included. Send corrections, additions and the like to John Relph <relph@tmbg.org>. Thanks are due to these additional contributors: Ben Abbate, Klaus Bergmaier, Stephen Bruun, John M. Chamberlain, Kevin Chanel, John Dioso, Peter Fitzpatrick, Mitch Friedman, Wes Hanks, John Hedges III, Brad Johnson, Jeroen de Jong, Tim Kendrick, Dominic Lawson, Paul Myers, Dave O'Connell, Richard Pedretti-Allen, Jon Rosenberger, Bill Sherman, Harrison Sherwood, Alan Welby. My apologies and thanks to anyone I've overlooked. Answers: ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. What are XTC up to these days, anyway? _Coat of Many Cupboards_, the definitive XTC box set from Virgin Records, will be released on 25 March 2002 in the U.K. The 4-CD set will consist of 60 tracks of XTC's favorite songs, outtakes, alternate versions and rarities, and the best of the demos (other demos unearthed by XTC not chosen by Virgin for _Coat_ will become _Fuzzy Warbles_). The 128-page booklet included with the set will feature an essay written by Harrison Sherwood. (Thanks to Harrison Sherwood for this information.) The official XTC web site was launched on November 23, 2001, at "http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk". The nicely designed site features all of the latest news as well as visuals, audio, a boutique, chat, a version of Shigemasa Fujimoto's "Wonderland" XTC discography, lyrics, and more! Some of the more interesting recent developments: An interview with Andy Partridge is featured in the new book _Behind The Muse: Pop and Rock's Greatest Songwriters Talk About Their Work and Inspiration_ by Bill DeMain. In addition to the interview with Andy, conducted in 1999, the book features interviews with over 40 successful and respected songwriters (including Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Aimee Mann, Matthew Sweet, Suzanne Vega, Todd Rundgren, Nick Lowe, Neil Finn, and many others). Visit the Tiny Ripple Books website (www.tinyripple.com) for more information. _``Listen to What the Man Said,,: Popular Artists Pay Tribute to the Music of Paul McCartney_, originally rumoured to include XTC with John Cleese, was released on October 9, without any contribution from the band. Virgin Records have remastered the first 10 XTC albums and The Dukes of Stratosphear's _Chips From The Chocolate Fireball_ for CD reissue. The Japanese and Canadian release of the remastered CDs feature limited edition cardboard LP-style sleeves with all of the original artwork, mimicking the original vinyl releases. The UK CDs have been issued in standard jewel boxes. These reissues should be available at better music retailers near you (and are available autographed for a limited time at the official XTC web site). _Homegrown - The Wasp Star Home Demos_ has been released in Japan, the UK, and the USA. Unlike _Homespun_, which featured finished demos of the songs of _Apple Venus Volume 1_ in the same order, _Homegrown_ features earlier and rougher demo tracks as well as the final demos, with two or three different versions of some songs. The Japanese CD also features two bonus tracks, which do not appear on the UK or US release. The _Los Angeles Times_ reports: ``XTC's Andy Partridge, having been sent CDs of the band the Apples in Stereo by singer (and XTC fan) Robert Schneider, liked what he heard so much that he called Schneider, and now the two are co-writing songs for a Schneider solo album [_Orchestre Fantastique_], due in the spring.'' Joe Hetz writes, ``Robert said that the work was going great and that the songs keep on flowing. I think he said they have written a dozen or so songs. Interestingly, Robert and Andy are conducting a transcontinental recording session. Instead of being together in a studio, Robert and Andy are trading tapes back and forth across the ocean.'' The official XTC web site reports that Mssrs. Scheider and Partridge are to begin recording together in November. (Thanks to Wes Hanks, Joe Hetz and Sir Demon Brown.) In their spare time, Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding are collecting demo tapes for the release of a box set of demo recordings to be titled _Fuzzy Warbles_. The set is likely to include all of the demos previously released on the fan-club cassettes _Jules Verne's Sketchbook_ and _The Bull With The Golden Guts_, and may also include the songs Andy Partridge wrote for Disney's _James and The Giant Peach_ (the songs were not used). Mr. Partridge imagines the set will include from four to six CDs, with perhaps 20 tracks on each CD. Virgin Records may contribute to the release of _Fuzzy Warbles_. Andy Partridge claims that a "live" version of "I Don't Want To Be Here" will be released on an AIDS compilation some time in the near future. (What exactly is meant by "live" and "near future" is not known at this juncture.) _Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)_, the latest album from XTC, was released on 23 May 2000, and features the drumming talents of Chuck Sabo and Prairie Prince. The album contains "eclectric" songs, as opposed to the "orchoustic" sound of _Apple Venus Vol. 1_. In the USA _Wasp Star_ peaked at number 108 on the _Billboard_ Top 200 chart, it reached the number 6 position on the _Billboard_ Top Independent Albums chart, number 9 on the _CMJ_ Top 20 chart, number 2 on the _CMJ_ Adult Album Alternative chart, and number 6 on the _Gavin_ Triple A chart. In the UK, it reached number 6 on the _Dotmusic_ Indie Albums chart. Andy Partridge has agreed to complete the song "Susan Revolving" for Becki diGregorio to perform on her forthcoming album. Recording is in progress. Stay tuned for further details. ------------------------------ 2. What is Chalkhills and how do I join? Chalkhills is the XTC Fans mail list for the discussion of the music and recordings of XTC (the band). Chalkhills is distributed through e-mail only. Chalkhills is distributed in a digest format and is moderated and administered by John Relph. The Chalkhills digests are sent out irregularly, as posting volume warrants. To join the Chalkhills mail list, send the command subscribe in the body of an e-mail message to <chalkhills-request@els.sgi.com> You can also subscribe to the list using a *DIFFERENT* address than the one you use to send your e-mail by including the address with the command. For example, to join the Chalkhills mail list with a different e-mail address, send the command subscribe e-mail@address in the body of an e-mail message to <chalkhills-request@els.sgi.com> (Note: replace "e-mail@address" with the address you wish to use.) By the way, there is no charge to subscribe to the Chalkhills mail list. To cancel your subscription to the Chalkhills mail list, send the command unsubscribe e-mail@address in the body of an e-mail message to <chalkhills-request@els.sgi.com> (Note: your "e-mail@address" is optional if you have subscribed with the same address you use to send the command.) ------------------------------ 3. Is Chalkhills archived? Is the FAQ list available for FTP anywhere? Are XTC lyrics available? Are charts, chords and/or tablature for XTC songs available? You can find lyrics, photos, chat forums, a discography, and more on the official XTC site at "http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk/". The Chalkhills Archives are available through the World Wide Web at "http://chalkhills.org/". The archives contain back issues of Chalkhills, XTC lyrics, chord charts, pictures, a discography, and many other files. No FTP access is available at present (FTP is so 20th Century). The latest version of this FAQ file can be found at "http://chalkhills.org/FAQ.html". A plain text version of this file is available at "http://chalkhills.org/FAQ". ------------------------------ 4. What are the addresses of the fan clubs? For further reading, writing and rhythmatic on XTC you might like to drop a line enclosing SAE and International Postal Reply Coupon or equivalent to * Ecstasy: 1-38-18 Higashi-Tamagawa, Setagaya-Ku, Tokyo, Japan 158 (in Japanese) Peter & June of _The Little Express_ write: Not long ago, The Little Express was one of the few sources of information for dedicated XTC fans. From 1981 until the present, it became a centre from which the ebb and flow of letters, photos, artwork and news were assimilated, eventually producing and distributing a small, readable entity that captured a part of XTC's world. XTC's ever-growing circle of acquaintances and the arrival of the internet now provides all the current news that the fans are eager to acquire. Events as such have now guided this newsletter to realistically appraise its relevance. Although the printed word still exists and even thrives in many quarters, we feel this particular newsletter, a.k.a. "The Little Express" has reached its final destination. . . . We would like to take this opportunity to say many thanks to every one of you who made [The Little Express] possible. Mark Fisher wrote in to tell us this: I'm now on-line and deeply apologetic for not producing an edition of _Limelight_ for several decades. And not answering anyone's mail for even longer. Fatherhood and a busy job have meant I just don't have the time to be producing fanzines for fun. Sorry. Also, a very detailed (the most) XTC discography is available from Shigemasa Fujimoto. The _Wonderland_ discography (in three volumes) is lavishly detailed and nicely produced, and includes photographs of important and interesting cover art. An indispensable resource for the serious XTC collector. A few copies of the first three volumes of _Wonderland_ are still available. For details, please contact Shigemasa Fujimoto at <scfujimoto@hotmail.com>. A new edition is in the works. Please see Fujimoto-san's online discography on the official XTC web site at "http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk". For still deeper historical details including early demos, gigs and concert bootlegs, get the _Chain Of Command_ booklet from Martin Fuchs, Stuevestrasse 9, D-30173 Hannover, Germany. Martin has also made his information available on the web at "http://mitglied.tripod.de/RaFuchs/xtc/". ------------------------------ 5. Is that Woody Allen at the end of "My Love Explodes?" What is said at the end of "Mole From The Ministry"? ANDY: The little voice at the end after all the fireworks go off, courtesy of the same BBC sound effects record, is a tape that John Leckie had. He was in New York a little while ago, and had his radio cassette player going and he was tuned into this ludicrous New York radio station where this chap was singing this rather... How would you describe this song he was singing? DAVE & COLIN: Rude! DAVE: It was actually a protest song. ANDY: Called "Hey, go f... yourself with your atom bomb" [performed by Tuli Kupferberg. Ed.], this chap was singing this song over the air, and John Leckie couldn't believe the banality of this song so he turned on his cassette to capture it for posterity, and he left the cassette running. At the end of the thing there's a phone-in where they invite people to phone in and comment on the song, and there's this marvellous guy who phones in, with this Woody Allen voice, and he is really outraged... "That's the most obscene abomination of a song!" So we thought this was marvellous and we nailed him on the end of "My Love Explodes". So the strange "Woody Allen" voice is a very irate New Yorker who's commenting on the song "Hey, go f... yourself with your atom bomb". DAVE: In fact, if you want to hear more of the original version, at the end of side 2 [at the end of "Mole From The Ministry"] on the run-out grooves, if you've got a record player capable of playing it, you'll hear spinning backwards at twice the speed, a snatch of this gentleman's song in its original form. John A Lane adds: How many out there realized that the quote on the 25 o'clock record, which goes "go f--k yourself with your atom bomb", comes directly from Allen Ginsberg's book of poems, _HOWL_? Richard Pedretti-Allen adds: To be a bit more specific it is from Allen Ginsberg's poem "America" published by City Lights Books 1956. Ralph Simpson DeMarco adds: The "ludicrous New York radio station" is WBAI FM a Pacifica Foundation left-wing listener-sponsored station. This is the ONLY station in NY that would ever play that sort of song! That guy is named "Frank"! I'd bet my life on it. I used to tape him on the radio all the time. He called every other show on that station in the 80s. He was always upset about something. ------------------------------ 6. Who is XTC's drummer? XTC was founded with drummer Terry Chambers, who "just hits 'em" on _White Music_, _Go 2_, _Drums and Wires_, _Black Sea_, _English Settlement_, and on the songs "Beating of Hearts" and "Wonderland" on _Mummer_, after which he left the band. Since that time, XTC have hired drummers for recording sessions. Peter Phipps drums on the majority of _Mummer_ and on _The Big Express_. Ian Gregory (E.I.E.I. Owen), Dave Gregory's brother, drums on _25 O'Clock_ and _Psonic Psunspot_. Prairie Prince, originally from The Tubes, plays the part of the time bomb on _Skylarking_. On _Apple Venus Volume 1_ he contributes drums, handclaps, thigh slaps, and percussion. Prairie also drums on a few tracks on _Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)_. Pat Mastellotto, from Mister Mister, plays acoustic and electronic drums and percussion on _Oranges and Lemons_. Dave Mattacks, from Fairport Convention, drums on _Nonsvch_. Brian Doherty drums on "Cherry In Your Tree", from the _Carmen Sandiego Out Of This World_ compilation album. Chris Sharrock drums on "The Good Things", found on _A Testimonial Dinner -- The Songs of XTC_. Chuck Sabo drums on the majority of _Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)_. ------------------------------ 7. What's the story with "Dear God" and "Mermaid Smiled" on _Skylarking_? Originally _Skylarking_ was released with the song "Mermaid Smiled" appearing in between "Another Satellite" and "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul". "Dear God" was originally released as the B-side to the UK _Grass_ single. "Dear God" started getting some airplay in the US, so Geffen withdrew initial copies of the _Skylarking_ LP and re-released the LP, removing "Mermaid Smiled" and adding "Dear God" in between "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul" and "Dying". The original UK _Skylarking_ CD preserves the original running order with "Mermaid Smiled" and sans "Dear God"; the US CD has "Dear God" but no "Mermaid Smiled". The 2000 remastered edition of the _Skylarking_ CD (and a previous Canada-only CD) has the same running order as the original UK CD (including "Mermaid Smiled"), but also adds "Dear God" as a bonus track to the end of the album (and features improved sound quality over the previous CD releases). ------------------------------ 8. Why is the XTC mail list called "Chalkhills"? What does the cover of _English Settlement_ mean? The XTC mail list is called "Chalkhills" because the name captures the essence of middle and late XTC albums. The "Chalkhills and Children" reference is obvious, from the _Oranges and Lemons_ album, but the name also refers to the `chalk horse', the White Horse of Uffington, in the Vale of the White Horse in Oxfordshire near the borders of Wiltshire and Berkshire. About nine miles east of Swindon, the `chalk horse' was pictured on the cover of _English Settlement_; Andy Partridge says it's a ``prehistoric hill carving of a horse, literally a kind of Iron Age advertisement for an English settlement that was on top of the hill.'' ------------------------------ 9. Are the albums _Waxworks_ and _Beeswax_ available on CD? Are _Waxworks_ and _The Compact XTC_ the same album? _Waxworks_ has been re-released on CD by Geffen Records USA. In other countries you can get _The Compact XTC: The Singles 1978-85_, which contains every track from _Waxworks_, with the addition of three singles from _Mummer_ ("Great Fire", "Wonderland", and "Love on a Farmboy's Wages") and three from _The Big Express_ ("All You Pretty Girls", "This World Over", and "Wake Up"). And now you can get _Fossil Fuel - The XTC Singles 1977-92_, which contains all of _Waxworks_ and _The Compact XTC_ and also includes the singles from _Skylarking_ ("Grass", "The Meeting Place", and "Dear God"), _Oranges and Lemons_ ("The Mayor Of Simpleton", "King For A Day", and "The Loving"), and _Nonsuch_ ("The Disappointed", "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead", and "Wrapped In Grey"). The sound quality on _Fossil Fuel_ is much improved over the other two CDs. Also, _Fossil Fuel_ features the original single mix of "Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down" which was not previously available on CD. _Beeswax_ has been re-issued on CD by Virgin Records Japan. However, almost all of the tracks from _Beeswax_ are available on other XTC CDs. The only track that does not appear anywhere but on _Beeswax_ is the extended version of "Hang On To The Night" which is only 6 seconds longer than the version on the _White Music_ album. Here's a breakdown of where to find the tracks from these albums (if you are unable to find the CD re-issues): _Waxworks: Some Singles 1977-1982_ Where to find it: Science Friction _White Music_ Are You Receiving Me? _Go 2_ * Life Begins at the Hop _Drums and Wires_ (US, Japan) Senses Working Overtime (edit) _Fossil Fuel_ Ball and Chain _English Settlement_ _Beeswax: Some B-Sides 1977-1982_ She's So Square _White Music_ Dance Band _White Music_ Heatwave _White Music_ Instant Tunes _White Music_ Pulsing Pulsing _Rag & Bone Buffet_ Don't Lose Your Temper _Black Sea_ Smokeless Zone _Black Sea_ The Somnambulist _Black Sea_ * Blame the Weather _Rag & Bone Buffet_ * Tissue Tigers (The Arguers) _Rag & Bone Buffet_ Punch and Judy _Rag & Bone Buffet_ * Heaven is Paved With Broken Glass (remix) _Rag & Bone Buffet_ * Notes: "Life Begins At The Hop" appears on most, but not all, _Drums and Wires_ CDs; early CDs from Virgin UK do not feature this track. It also appears on the USA-only compilation _Upsy Daisy Assortment_. "Blame the Weather" is also available on the Virgin UK CD-3 of _Senses Working Overtime_ and on the Virgin France compilation CD _The Tiny Circus of Life_. "Tissue Tigers (The Arguers)" is also available on the Virgin UK CD-3 of _Senses Working Overtime_. The original version of "Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass" does not appear on CD at all. It is only available on the original _Ball and Chain_ singles. ------------------------------ 10. To what does the song "Pink Thing" refer? It's about the singer's ``John Thomas''. It's also about a baby. Apparently Andy and Mrs Partridge referred to their baby as ``The Pink Thing'' and the song grew out of that nickname. As it were. ------------------------------ 11. Who were all XTC's producers? John Leckie produced _White Music_, _Go 2_, _25 O'Clock_ and _Psonic Psunspot_. Steve Lillywhite produced _Drums and Wires_ and _Black Sea_. Hugh Padgham produced _English Settlement_. Steve Nye and Bob Sargeant produced _Mummer_. David Lord produced _The Big Express_ and co-produced The Three Wise Men: _Thanks for Christmas_ (with XTC). Todd Rundgren produced _Skylarking_. Paul Fox produced _Oranges and Lemons_. Gus Dudgeon produced _Nonsuch_. Haydn Bendall and Nick Davis produced _Apple Venus Volume 1_. Nick Davis co-produced _Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)_ with XTC. XTC has had various producers and co-producers for their singles and other non-album tracks, including R.J "Mutt" Lange, David Yazbek, Martin Rushent, Alan Winstanley, and Phil Wainman. They have also self- or co-produced many of their B-sides. ------------------------------ 12. What recordings should a new XTC-er buy? All of them. ------------------------------ 13. Why does everyone hate Todd Rundgren, I liked _Skylarking_? Andy Partridge says: ``Musician and producer Todd Rundgren squeezed the XTC clay into its most complete / connected / cyclical record ever. Not an easy album to make for various ego reasons but time has humbled me into admitting that Todd conjured up some of the most magical production and arranging conceivable. A summer's day cooked into one cake.'' ------------------------------ 14. Why don't they tour? Andy has debilitating stage fright. And he doesn't think their live gigs sounded any good. Aren't their albums good enough for you? ------------------------------ 15. Has anybody ever covered any XTC songs? "King For a Day", "The Mayor of Simpleton" and "Thanks for Christmas" have been heard on Muzak. Ouch. Swedish industrial metal band Misery Loves Co. recorded a version of "Complicated Game" which can be found on their album _Not Like Them_ (CD 1998 SE Earache MOSH 184). Pitchshifter covered "Making Plans For Nigel", released on their limited edition _Genius_ single (7" 1998 USA DGC GFS 223245). Louis Philippe covered "I Can't Own Her" on his 1999 album _Azure_. Dave Gregory plays on that album and others, including Martin Newell's _The Off White Album_, produced by Louis Philippe. The rock/rap/funk group Shootyz Groove cover "Dear God". The cover is called "Dear God (Oh My God)" and appears on their album _High Definition_ (CD 1999 USA Reprise 9 47359-2). The cover only uses the lyrics of the original in the chorus, the verses are completely different. The duo Hautekiet & Riguelle have released a covers-only album entitled _A Minor Thing_. The album includes their versions of "1000 Umbrellas" and "Books Are Burning" (Via Belgium). The Indoorfins, from Lima, Ohio, have released their cover of "Respectable Street", on their album _Sour Toe Cocktail_ (CD 1996 Action Boy USA). Primus covered "Scissor Man" on their _Rhinoplasty_ EP (CD 1998.07 Interscope USA INTDE-90214) and "Making Plans For Nigel" on their _Miscellaneous Debris_ EP (CD 1992 Interscope USA 96208-2). There is an XTC tribute band called The Partridge Family doing the rounds in the UK. No reviews are available, unhappily, but they need a bass player. Send e-mail to DLang1234@aol.com. Robbie Williams's (ex-Take That) _Old Before I Die_ single (1997 Chrysalis), includes a cover of "Making Plans for Nigel". The Italian band Senzabenza covered the Dukes' "Your gold dress" on their first record _Peryzoma_ (CD 1992 Mac Guffin Italy MG-001). The band also played the song on their Italian tour promoting their album _Deluxe_. There is a band called The Vanishing Girls in the city of Groningen, Holland, that only plays XTC songs. It started as a one-gig project, but they've done three or four gigs so far and are planning to continue. The band Soul Brothers, from San Diego, California, did a version of "New Broom" on _We Were Rhythm Gods_ (CT 1987 Scheming Intelligentsia USA). Richard Pedretti-Allen has compiled three fan tribute tapes of XTC covers. The tapes are entitled _Chalkhills' Children '96_, _Chalkhills' Children '97: Don't Ring Us_, and _Chalkhills' Children '98: Modern Time Neros_. Check on the Chalkhills pages for further details, including ordering instructions. Three fan tribute cassette tapes of XTC cover songs, _Obscene Collection_ (14 songs), _Beasts I've Seen_ (15 songs), and _Skylacking_ -- covers of the entire _Skylarking_ album -- were produced by Bizarre Depiction. All three of these cassettes are now out of print. A fourth is in the works. Big City Orchestra covers "Grass" on the b-side of their newest single. The song was also included on Bizarre Depiction's _Skylacking_ tape. Poole released a single called _Sparkle_ with a cover of "Earn Enough For Us" on the B-side. Slowburn cover "Complicated Game" on their 1997 album _Slowburn_. Saeko Suzuki covered "Happy Families" on her album _Studio Romantic_ (LP 1987 Japan Dear Heart MIL 1030). R. Stevie Moore has covered "Another Satellite" and "Mermaid Smiled" on his multifarious home-produced cassette releases. The band Moonshine Willy released a 7" single of "Complicated Game" on the Chicago label Bloodshot Records. Cone of Silence recorded "No Thugs in Our House" on their album _From the Ladle to the Gravy_. Verve Pipe cover "Blue Beret", featured on their single _Photograph_, the promotional collection _85 on 31_ (CD 1997 US RCA RJC 67411-2), and on the compilation album _Volume 5...So This Is A Compilation_. The Cleaners From Venus covered the unreleased Andy Partridge song "Pearl" on their hand-made tape _Living With Victoria Grey_ (CT 1986.04 UK Man at the Off License 0010), also re-released on the box set _Don't Step On My Rainbow_ (7"x5 1996.12 DE Jarmusic JAR-012 NR 2914). _A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs of XTC_, an XTC tribute album, features performances of XTC songs by artists as diverse as Joe Jackson, They Might Be Giants, Crash Test Dummies, Sarah McLachlan, Ruben Blades, Freedy Johnston, Spacehog, The Verve Pipe, The Rembrandts, P. Hux, and Terry & the Lovemen. Iva Davies and Icehouse cover "Complicated Game" on their album _The Berlin Tapes_ (CD 1995.10 OZ Diva 17476-2). Crash Test Dummies recently covered "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" for the soundtrack to the film _Dumb and Dumber_. Their version of the song has been released as a single. Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin covered "Roads Girdle the Globe", available on their album _Up From The Dark_ (CD US Rykodisc ?). Cayuga's Waiters, a college singing group, covered The Dukes' "Vanishing Girl" on their self-produced album _Maintaining the Illusion_. The Japanese group Shonen Knife apparently were inspired by "Making Plans for Nigel" when they wrote their song "Making Plans for Bison", also known as "Bear Up Bison". Listen for yourself. Big Dipper cover the Shonen song on the tribute album _Every Band Has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them_. Robert Wegmann, pop musician from Tampa, Florida, has covered songs by XTC in his live act. The Scottish band Trash Can Sinatras released a limited edition free single, given away at concerts, with covers of "Senses Working Overtime" and "Love on a Farmboys Wages". The Poozies cover "Love on a Farmboy's Wages" on their album _Chantoozies_. The French punk band Burning Heads recorded a cover of "Making Plans for Nigel". The song appears on the compilation _Louder Than Words_ (CD 1993 Noise/Rough Trade N 0214-2) and also on their debut album _Burning Heads_ (CD 1993 Noise/Rough Trade N 0206-2). The Austrian band Der eiserne Vorhang (The Iron Curtain), with Ronald Fleischmann on vocals, performed a song called "Franzi" (Frankie), credited to "Moulding/Fleischmann", released on their own Panza Records circa 1980 or 1981. The story told in the song is almost the same as in "Making Plans for Nigel"; Franzi's parents want him to be good at school and steal away his childhood. The whole thing ends with the suicide of Franzi. The song is now available on CD again: on the sampler _Flieger - Flug 2_ (CD 1994 Reverso Austria 660805). The L.A. band Giant Ant Farm covers the Dukes' song "Shiny Cage" on their 1994 album _Fortune_. Their address is Vaccination Records, P.O. Box 3995, Long Beach, CA 90803. ------------------------------ 16. What's with the Virgin UK CD of _Drums and Wires_? There are three different CDs and four different sleeves (with slight variations) for this CD. The first CD was the original Virgin UK release, which listed only the songs from the original LP on the sleeve, but in fact also contained the songs from the original bonus single, "Limelight" and "Chain of Command", and does not contain "Life Begins at the Hop". The second CD contains the same songs, but lists "Life Begins At The Hop" as well as the bonus songs, on the sleeve. It is also a Virgin UK release. The third CD also includes "Life Begins At The Hop" and has been issued in Japan, the USA, and in the _Collectors Edition 3 Limited Edition Picture Discs_ box from Virgin UK. The third CD is the 2000 remastered edition, which comes with redone artwork. In Japan the remastered CD was issued in a limited edition miniature LP-style sleeve, to mimic the original LP release. In the UK and other parts of the world the CD was issued in a standard jewel box, but including much the same redone artwork. (The sound is much improved on the remastered CD.) ------------------------------ 17. Who is `Brian' in "Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)"? It's Brian Eno, who briefly considered joining the band in 1980, and was also asked to produce XTC's second album _Go 2_. Brian Eno declared that XTC was the only band in a long while he had considered joining; this comment made it to print somehow, and magazines started reporting that XTC's next album (_Go 2_) would be produced by Eno. His response was (basically) you don't need *me* as a producer, you have plenty of ideas as it is. Which casts new light on his work with U2, doesn't it? Andy Partridge, in an interview with the French magazine _Les Inrockuptibles_, had this to say: ``Brian Eno had been contacted to produce our second album, _GO 2_. We met him, he came to a few concerts, but he explained to us that we did not need anybody. I think he emphasized what we had in mind but that our modesty prevented us from saying. In the beginning, we had thought it would have been a great honour to work with someone like Brian Eno, very innovative, with good taste, who ploughs his furrow, as farmers say. . .'' ------------------------------ 18. Who are the children in "Dear God" and on _Psonic Psunspot_? According to _The Little Express_, the child who mimes the first and last sections of the promotional video for "Dear God" is named Todd, and is definitely not Lee Moulding Moulding, Colin Moulding's son. However, Lee Moulding did perform as part of a lip-sync session for the Casby Awards in 1987. Stewart Evans writes: The spoken bits on _Psonic Psunspot_ are by Lily Fraser, a girl whose family lived above the studio. Andy wrote a bunch of Lewis Carroll-ish nonsense and had her read it. Derek Miner adds: Well, I can't quote Andy, but I can quote _Chalkhills and Children_, page 151, from a section on why "Dear God" was dropped from the LP: ``...Lascelles was put off by its controversial lyrics and didn't like the sound of `the whiny American kid singing the first verse' (a ten-year-old girl called Jasmine Veillette, who'd been drafted in by Rundgren).'' If you look at the liner notes of _Skylarking_, you'll notice that Ms. Veillette is the last name under the "Thanks" section... ------------------------------ 19. Who is that other guy in the photographs from _Psonic Psunspot_? E.I.E.I. Owen, A.K.A. Ian Gregory, Dave Gregory's brother, drummer on _25 O'Clock_ and _Psonic Psunspot_. E.I.E.I. Owen also appears in the video for "Mole From The Ministry" and I believe in the video for "King for a Day". ------------------------------ 20. Did XTC do any other covers beside the Hendrix one on _White Music_? Colin's Hermits cover The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus" on the _Without The Beatles_ compilation tribute album, released by Joachim Reinbold's Jarmusic Records (Germany, 1996). The `band' consists of Colin Midnight (vocals, tambourine), David Dreams (vocals, keyboards), Jet Pastorius (vocals, bass), Rex Rapier (vocals, guitar, radio operator), Bongo (drums), and The Proteus Orchestra -- all Dave Gregory. XTC cover Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" on their _White Music_ album. XTC also cover Captain Beefheart's "Ella Guru" on the _Fast & Bulbous: A Tribute to Captain Beefheart_ compilation album, originally released in the UK in June 1988. "Ella Guru" was later released on some versions of the _Mayor of Simpleton_ single. David Dreams covers "Third Stone from the Sun" on the _``If 6 Was 9'': A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix_ compilation album, originally released in April 1990. David Dreams is Dave Gregory on all instruments. Dave Gregory has also recorded cover versions of many of his favorite songs (for himself), including: Cream: Those Were The Days; The Shadows: 36-24-36; The Shadows: Scarlet O'Hara; The Dakotas: The Cruel Sea; Manfred Mann's Earth Band: Pretty Flamingo; Cream: I Feel Free; The Small Faces: Tin Soldier; Jimi Hendrix: Wait Until Tomorrow; Spirit: Fresh Garbage; Richard Harris: Macarthur Park; The Nice: Diamond Hard Blue Apples of the Moon; Arsnova: And How Am I To Know?; Mason Williams: Classical Gas; Jimi Hendrix: All Along the Watchtower; Fleetwood Mac: Jigsaw Puzzle Blues; The Nice: Happy Freuds; Dave Edmunds/Love Sculpture: Sabre Dance; The Beach Boys: Our Prayer; The Beatles: Because; Free: Little Bit of Love; The Edgar Winter Group: Frankenstein; George Harrison: Love Comes to Everyone; The Beatles: I Am The Walrus; The Who: Pictures of Lily; Cream: SWLABR; Todd Rundgren: Blue Orpheus; The Nazz: Forget All About It; Jimi Hendrix: Gyspy Eyes; The Who: Our Love Was; The Kinks: I'm Not Like Everybody Else; Tomorrow: My White Bicycle; The Syndicate of Sound: Little Girl; Denny Laine: Say You Don't Mind; Jethro Tull: Love Story; The Byrds: I See You. Colin's Hermits cover The Beatles' "Strawberry Fields" on the _1967: Through the Looking Glass_ compilation album, originally released in 1990. The `band' consists of Dave Gregory on all instruments with Andy Partridge on vocals. XTC were known to play some covers in concert, notably the theme song from the UK TV show _Fireball XL-5_. Tapes exist of XTC/Helium Kids doing a cover of The Kinks' "Tired of Waiting For You". ------------------------------ 21. What released songs have yet to be compiled on albums? The following released songs are not available on any album or XTC compilation album: "Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass" The original version is on the _Ball and Chain_ 7" and 12" singles. A remixed version can be found on _Beeswax_ and _Rag & Bone Buffet_. "Goodnight, Sucker" From the _3D-EP_. "Are You Receiving Me?"; "This is Pop?" Live versions from the Australian and Japanese _Making Plans For Nigel_ singles; these tracks were released on the Japanese-only limited edition compilation CD _The Greatest_. "Set Myself on Fire" Live version from the _Towers of London_ single. "Battery Brides" Live version from the _Towers of London_ doublepack single. "Living Through Another Cuba"; "Generals and Majors" Live versions from the _Sgt. Rock (is Going to Help Me)_ single; these tracks were released on the Japanese-only limited edition compilation CD _The Greatest_. "Beatown"; "Roads Girdle the Globe" Live versions from the Canadian _Love At First Sight_ single. "Burning With Optimism's Flames"; "English Roundabout"; "Cut It Out" Live versions from the _Love On A Farmboy's Wages_ 12" single. XTC Home Demos: "Terrorism"; "Let's Make a Den"; "Find the Fox"; "The Troubles" Demo versions from the _The Meeting Place_ single. "Ella Guru" From the _Fast & Bulbous_ compilation, also available on some _Mayor of Simpleton_ singles. "Living in a Haunted Heart"; "The Good Things" Demo versions from the _Mayor of Simpleton_ single. "Happy Families" Remixed version from the _She's Having a Baby_ soundtrack album, but this soundtrack album is widely available. "My Paint Heroes"; "Skeletons" Demo versions from the _King for a Day_ single. "King for a Day" remixes Remix, "Czar Mix", "Versailles Mix", "I Dub Thee Sir Mix" (four mixes in all), from various _King for a Day_ singles. "Always Winter But Never Christmas"; "Rip Van Ruben"; "Bungalow"; The Dukes of Stratosphear: "It's Snowing Angels" Demo versions from the _Window Box_ cassette. "Always Winter But Never Christmas" is also available on a UK single of _The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead_ and on the Japanese _Demo Tracks_ CD EP. "Rip Van Ruben" and "Bungalow" were to be released on the UK _Wrapped In Grey_ CD single. "The Smartest Monkeys" Demo version from the _The Disappointed_ single, also released on the French _Gribouillage_ CD EP. "Down a Peg"; "My Bird Performs"; "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" Demo versions from the _The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead_ singles, was also released on the Japanese _Demo Tracks_ CD EP. "Dear Madam Barnum"; "Humble Daisy" Demo versions from the French _Gribouillage_ CD EP. "Traffic Light Rock" Live version from the _Presented Free by Record Mirror_ single. "I'm Bugged"; "Science Friction" Live versions from the _Hope and Anchor Front Row Festival_ compilation album. "Respectable Street" Live version from the _URGH! A Music War_ soundtrack album, but this soundtrack album is widely available. The "Homo Safari" series ("Homo Safari"; "Bushman President"; "Egyptian Solution"; "Mantis on Parole"; "Frost Circus"; "Procession Towards Learning Land") Not released on any album, but the entire series was included on the _Dear God_ CD EP. "Frost Circus (No. 5 in the Homo Safari series)" and "Procession Towards Learning Land (No. 6 in the Homo Safari series)" are included on _Mummer_ CD. David Dreams: "Third Stone from the Sun" Dave Gregory's version from the _``If 6 Was 9'': A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix_ compilation album, released both in the UK and USA. Colin's Hermits: "Strawberry Fields" Dave Gregory and Andy Partridge, from the _1967: Through the Looking Glass_ compilation album. "Merry Christmas Song"; "Psychedelic Christmas" Andy Partridge sings these jingles on the _Holiday Greetings From Geffen Records_ promotional CD EP. "Medley: Senses Working Overtime/Grass/Love on a Farmboy's Wages" Acoustic radio tour version from the _ONXRT: Live from the Archives Vol. 1_ compilation album, otherwise only available on bootleg albums and tapes. "Blue Beret" Acoustic radio tour version from _The Adventure Club Sessions_ compilation album, otherwise only available on bootleg tapes. "Cherry In Your Tree" From the _Carmen Sandiego Out Of This World_ compilation album, but this album is widely available. "The Good Things" From the _A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs of XTC_ tribute album, but this album is widely available. Colin's Hermits: "I Am The Walrus" Dave Gregory's version from the _Without the Beatles_ compilation album, released only in Germany. "Rocket" From the _Place of General Happiness: Lyrics by Ernest Noyes Brookings, Vol. 2_ compilation album, but this album was widely available. "Easter Theatre"; "How Easter Theatre Came To Be" Demo and interview from the _Easter Theatre_ single. "I'd Like That"; "How I'd Like That Came To Be" Demo and interview from the _I'd Like That_ single. "I'm The Man Who Murdered Love"; "Didn't Hurt a Bit" Demo versions from the _I'm The Man Who Murdered Love_ singles. And of course the songs on the _Jules Verne's Sketchbook_ and _The Bull with the Golden Guts_ fan-club only cassettes may not be considered widely available. ------------------------------ 22. To what does the title of _Mummer_ refer? Here's an excerpt from an interview published in the June 1984 issue of _Musician_ magazine: "In comes I," explains Andy Partridge, principal songwriter / singer and outspoken wit of XTC, is a line frequently used in the mummer plays that take place around Christmas time in rural England. The ancient tradition has the players -- the townsfolk -- dress in suits of rags and tatters [and newspapers] and follow a basic script having to do with cycles of death and rebirth. Just an ordinary folks' entertainment in the days before telly, which is why traditions like mummers are now rapidly dying out. Disguise is important to the mummers, says Partridge, and recognition would "spoil the magic. If somebody said, `Ere!'" (Partridge's Wiltshire accent, full of "errs" and an unpronounceable way of saying "ou," broadens, flattens and widens to become a perfect Monty Pythonesque yokel.) "`You're Fred the Baker!' he's have to go home in tears 'cause he'd been recognized. It's an ordinary people's show business. They don't go on stages to do it; they do it in the street or they knock on your door and come in your house and do it." Disguise is also important to _Mummer_, the album. This is a band in a business devoted to pushing yourself in front of other people and demanding attention, but XTC has no enthusiasm whatever for the task. They try to keep their sense of normalcy and reality by planting themselves in their surroundings to keep the sentiments true, but disguising the facts with metaphors to keep people from getting too close. "None of us are really into hey-notice-me," says Partridge. "We'd all like to be rich and obscure." ------------------------------ 23. How does one pronounce the name "XTC"? What is the origin of the band name "XTC"? Is it related to the drug MDMA (ecstasy)? Curtiss Hammock writes: Like the three letters that make up the name. Eks--tee--see. It's supposed to sound like the word ecstasy, I think, but in the end, it will always just be three letters from the alphabet. Note that the name "XTC" pre-dates the drug "ecstasy". The name of the band was coined circa 1977, the drug was not invented until the '80's. Robert Stacy sent in this excerpt of a phone interview conducted with Andy Partridge by Brett Milano, as published in the November 7, 1984 issue of the _Fairfield County Advocate_: Advocate: How did you choose the name XTC? Partridge: We started calling ourselves that around 1975. We've been in existence -- myself, Colin and Terry plus revolving fourth members -- from 1973 onwards. The original form we took was kind of punky, because we were crazy on the New York Dolls. We were called the Helium Kids, and we used to do our darndest to look like the Dolls, and act like the Stooges. We chose XTC because we thought it would be a marvelously easy thing to see in print. Which it is -- people always do put it in capitals -- they're forced to give us respect! It was kind of like the music, short and sharp and hopefully with no unnecessary crap in it. A: Aside from being a pun. P: And think about all the other puns there've been! Think of how the Beatles must have felt, being called that! That's a terrible pun! We've since discovered all these other things that have been called XTC. We've found it's a contraceptive in the States, we've found them in garages -- we'd go into the gents, and there'd be a tin on the wall saying, 'XTC.' I brought a pack home as a souvenir -- don't think I'll ever use them though . . . they're probably too old by now. ------------------------------ 24. What are the sources of the tracks on _Explode Together_? The following, taken from ``X-plaining XTC'' (part 1) and ``X-plaining XTC Part 2'', based on an interview by Steve Kolanjian and David Dasch, published in _Aware_, A Rock Music Research Journal, No. 8, Winter 1981-82, and No. 9, 1983, respectively, is a list of the tracks from _GO+_ and _Take Away / The Lure of Salvage_ and their origins; all original tracks are from _Drums and Wires_ except where noted: _GO+_: These tracks are dub version of songs on _Go 2_, respectively "Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)", "Jumping in Gomorrah", "Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)", "I Am the Audience", and "The Rhythm". In dub technique, the original tape is reprocessed through the mixing board, with some elements altered, some removed, and some new ones added. "We Kill the Beast" features the sound (inadvertently recorded) of a tape of another piece rewinding. _GO+_ was initially issued with _Go 2_ in Britain (and perhaps elsewhere), the LP and EP wrapped in a poster and all three items in a plastic bag. Later, there were sold individually by record dealers in the US. Signal Ad (Commerciality) - "Refrigeration Blues" (a _White Music_ outtake) The Day They Pulled the North Pole Down - "Heatwave" (B-side of "This is Pop?") slowed down The Forgotten Language of Light - the percussion track from "Millions", the Japanese couldn't figure out what Andy's scat singing was all about, so assumed it was an ancient Indian language (explained in Japanese on the lyric sheet that was included in their edition) Steam Fist Futurist - "Real by Reel", used as a prelude to this track in some live shows in 1980 Shore Leave Ornithology (Another 1950) - "Pulsing Pulsing" (UK B-side of "Making Plans for Nigel") Cairo - "Homo Safari" (B-side of "Life Begins at the Hop") sped up, with Andy's wife Marianne handclapping The Rotary - "Helicopter" Madhattan - "That is the Way" I Sit in the Snow - bridge from "Roads Girdle the Globe" Work Away Tokyo Day - "Day In Day Out" sped up, plus Barry Andrews' saxophone track from all nine takes of "Red" (from _Go 2_) played simultaneously New Broom - "Making Plans for Nigel" slowed down The following has been excerpted from ``Andy Partridge Comments Take Away'', published in _Limelight_ Issue 2, Autumn 1982. Commerciality (Signal Ad.) was based on an unfinished and unreleased track from White Music called Refrigeration Blues. The lyrics are a poem called Signal Ad. (Saleable futurity). The first part of Work Away Tokyo Day is original and that's joined to all of the sax parts of Red played at once and then Day In Day Out sped up very fast and with a new bass line. Mr. Ditko is an American cartoonist who produced some extremely moral comic books called `Mr. A.' According to Steve Ditko there is only right and wrong, no grey areas. Mr. A. was the uncorruptable central figure of these books. My favourite track from the album is possibly Rotary which is improvised singing / yelling over stripped-down Helicopter. ------------------------------ 25. Have any books been written about XTC? Five books have been written about XTC as far as we know. These are as follows: _XTC: Art sonique et vieilles querelles_ by Philippe Bihan published by Alternatives & Paralleles France, March 23 1999 (in French) _XTC: Song Stories - The Exclusive Authorized Story behind the Music_ by XTC and Neville Farmer published by Hyperion USA and Helter Skelter UK, October 1998 ISBN 1-900924-03-X _XTC, Chalkhills and Children, The Definitive Biography_ by Chris Twomey published by Omnibus Press UK, March 1996 ISBN 0.7119.2758.8 _XTC_ by Vittorio Azzoni published by Gammalibri, Italy, 1986 (in Italian) _XTC, Testi con traduzione a fronte_ by Paolo Bertrando ISBN 88-85859-87-9 Published by Arcana Editrice, Milano, Italy, 1982 Distributed by Materiali Sonori Exports, Valdarno, San Giovanni, Italy (in Italian) ------------------------------ 26. What is "Oxo"? Who are the "never never navvies"? What do all these English phrases mean? These songs and albums all have phrases which may not mean much to anybody living outside the UK. We offer a paltry few explanations: "Aunt Sally" A pub game played, in Oxfordshire and bits of Wiltshire and Berkshire, by throwing a stick at a white "head" or "dolly". "Mills and Boon" Mills and Boon publish trashy English romance novels. "Milk Tray" Milk Tray is a box of chocolates. UK TV commercials feature death defying ways a guy can bring the candy to his love, including dropping down from the sky in a parachute (a spoof of James Bond kind of thing). "Test matches we might win" England apparently never wins their test matches (cricket). "Rael Brook shirts" Rael Brook are a well-known brand of conservative dress shirt. "Punch and Judy" Punch and Judy live in a "brand new council plot". Housing is provided in Britain by local government for people who could not otherwise afford to live anywhere else. The occupiers pay rent, and the council is responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the property. After the war, council housing was built on a large scale, and an area of such housing is known as a council estate. When Andy says he was brought up on the council estate where his parents still live, he is a) giving himself a bit of working-class credibility (and class is still very important in Britain), and b) implying that his parents are ordinary, low-income people whose modest dream would be to live in a bungalow by the sea. _English Settlement_ The horse on the cover is the Uffington White Horse, in the Vale of the White Horse, not far from Swindon (see (8) above). "Red Brick Dream" "Castles and Kings" and the "North Star" were classes of steam locomotive (built in Swindon; see below). "Train Running Low on Soul Coal" A "Sprinter" is also a train engine, but a modern one this time. They'd have been brand new when the album came out. They're short (usually two coach) diesel units and are, incidentally, incredibly bad. Some of them are not much more than rail-mounted busses. _The Big Express_ Swindon was *the* main junction of the Great Western Railway, hence the cover of _The Big Express_ (with the insert of the lads in their GWR uniforms). Phil Hetherington adds: The GWR *was* Swindon, basically. Swindon Works was where the GWR built pretty near all of its locomotives for many years (and probably the coaches and goods wagons, too), as well as doing all of the major overhauls and so on. For several decades, the Works was Swindon's main employer, so its importance cannot be emphasised strongly enough. (See also "place of former employment" on Colin's map of Swindon in _Go 2_.) This importance continued long after the formation of British Railways in 1948, as the GWR had always been a fiercely independent company and this continued long after nationalisation. Swindon Works continued to build locomotives, in fact the last steam locomotive to be built by BR was built there in 1960. I'm not sure exactly when the Works closed, I think it was during the '80s but I may be wrong. It may still have been open when the album was made, but the writing would have been on the wall even then. Brian Carter of Swindon, Wiltshire, United Kingdom, rebuts: . . . the eventual closure of the railway works (in 1986) had almost no effect on unemployment in the end. During the 1980s, Swindon was the fastest growing town in Europe, and is now the HQ of several national and international companies. (Did anyone notice that Fossil Fuel is marked "EMI Swindon"?) I know Andy always says he hates Swindon, but he does still live here (as do Colin and Dave), and they must be applauded for recording the town's heritage (and there are lots more Swindon clues in there than most people realise). "The Everyday Story of Smalltown" "Oxo" is a brand of beef stock, sold in small boxes of cubes, each one individually wrapped in foil. "The sally army" is The Salvation Army. "Happy Families" The name of a British card game. "Senses Working Overtime" "England's Glory" is a brand of wooden matches. Their slogan was, at one time, "A striking beauty". "Dying" A tea cozy is a fitted sometimes knitted covering for a teapot (not the kettle), to keep it warm. "She's So Square" Cath McGowan was the (at the time) ultra-hip host of a pop music program in the UK called Ready, Steady, Go! It was apparently trendier than Top of the Pops was during its run from 1963 to 1967. Lord Sutch, a.k.a. Screaming Lord Sutch, is a long-time singer and persistent candiate in bye-elections (mid-term one-off elections to parliament) for the Monster Raving Looney Party. "Towers of London" "Londinium" is the Latin name for London. "Never, never" is typically an expression for buying things on credit. "Navvies" refers to the diggers of the Navigation Canals, and many of the original navvies were immigrants from Ireland at the time of the great Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s. Later, these "navvies" became railway workers. "Navvies" has come to be a demeaning term for Irish laborers, especially those that work on road or rail. Andy is almost certainly referring to the railway navvies in "Towers of London" -- the GWR of course running through Swindon to London. "Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down" The cover of the single is modelled after "Ship" brand box matches. "Leisure" Andy sings two lines from "Lazybones", a Tin Pan Alley classic written by Hoagy Carmichael, but changes them to fit the song: "Lazybones, looking through The Sun / how d'you ever expect to get your day's work...". _The Sun_ is a tabloid newspaper in the UK, and not one in which one might be expected to find job adverts. ("What a perfect way to sum-up the song! Too bloody clever by half that Partridge bloke..." says Mick Casey.) "Respectable Street" A "caravan" is a small travel trailer or recreational vehicle, in this case one which never moves from the front yard ("garden") of the neighbour's house. "Chalkhills and Children" "Ermine Street" is one of Britain's traditional "Royal Roads" dating from Roman times and probably earlier. The best known one is Watling Street, which runs from London (and is now the A5) to Shrewsbury. The others are Icknield Street and the Fosse Way. Ermine Street runs north from London towards Lincoln, and was a major Roman road. The most obvious straight stretch is now used by the A10 and A14, between Cheshunt (London) and Huntingdon. However, there is a Roman road called "Ermin Street" which touches the outskirts of Swindon and goes to the Roman town of Cirencester. This passes about a mile from Andy's childhood home. It has always annoyed me how they misspelt "Ermin" on the album sleeve! "1000 Umbrellas" "Sunny Jim" was a cartoon character used to advertise a breakfast cereal, called "Force", many years ago. (Something like "Over the roofs jumps Sunny Jim, FORCE is the food that nourishes him" -- hence Andy Partridge's line "Sunny Jim couldn't jump it".) Nowadays Sunny Jim is used as a slightly patronizing term for a young man (e.g., "Don't get lippy with me Sunny Jim"), and is usually followed by a punch in the face. "Rag and Bone" The rags were used for paper and the bones for fertilizer - hence, a rag and bone shop is a place where discarded things are made useful, as in Yeats's metaphor for creativity, "the rag and bone shop of the heart." By extension, a _Rag and Bone Buffet_ is a place where discarded songs are made into a nifty record. "Smokeless Zone" A smokeless zone is a region of an inner city in England where the smog and pollution is so bad that by-laws have been introduced to ban open fires and large chimneys. So living in a smokeless zone is living in a polluted inner city. In this case, an area so polluted that respiratory problems have set in, so penicillin is needed. (However, Brian Carter claims there hasn't been smog in the UK for at least 50 years.) ------------------------------ 27. Where can I find the _Look Look_ video? Does anyone know how I can get my hands on any XTC merchandise? Where can I find XTC bootlegs? The official XTC web site at www.xtcidearecords.co.uk now offers some XTC merchandise in its Boutique, including CDs and LPs. The web site also reports: Andy and Colin are piecing together some good things for you to buy exclusively from this web site. Coming soon will be a large format paperback containing facsimile pages from their notebooks. You'll see lyrics, drawings, Video ideas and all sorts in black and white and colour. Also planned are a photo album and special discs, unobtainable in stores. However, at the moment it is well-nigh impossible to find any other XTC merchandise. You can sometimes find rare and exciting XTC merchandise advertised in magazines such as _Record Collector_ and _Goldmine_. Much XTC product is available on Internet auction sites such as eBay and Amazon.com. From time to time, people will also advertise XTC merchandise for sale or trade on the Chalkhills list (also see the Chalkhills Classified Ads and Merchandise pages). Chalkhills does not distribute bootleg or other unofficial recordings nor does Chalkhills know of sources for these recordings. Individual subscribers to Chalkhills may have further information on bootleg or other unofficial recordings. Caveat emptor. Happy Hunting! ------------------------------ 28. Johnny Nexdor & His Neighbors are really XTC, right? Nancy McGrath writes: Actually, "Johnny Nexdor & His Neighbors" is not XTC. It is Sean Altman in multiple roles, with a few friends thrown in for good measure. For those of you not familiar with him, Sean is one of the lead singers of the amazing rock/pop/R&B a capella group, Rockapella. Sean co-wrote "Change My World" with his friend and collaborator Billy Straus; the song is their tribute to XTC's style. David Yazbek writes: Johnny Nexdor is not XTC. But it's pretty obvious that Sean Altman was doing his best A.P. impersonation. It's the only cut off that album (_Carmen Sandiego_) that I wasn't around for, but I probably would have told him to tone down the XTC-ness a bit. ------------------------------ 29. Are the "Curt" and "Roland" mentioned in the sleeve of _The Big Express_ from Tears for Fears? Quoth Jon Drukman, in Chalkhills Digest #69: They do the train noises with their breath at the beginning of "Train Running Low On Soul Coal" and I think general synth support at various places. BTW, does anybody happen to think that that train impersonation is the best simulation of a railway train ever created? I do, and it sounds a damn sight better than if they had just dubbed a train effect onto the tape, too. (The guitar as whistle really blows me away.) However, Mitch Friedman puts Jon to the lie: Kurt and Roland of Tears for Fears did nothing but lend their synths to XTC since they lived in Bath at the time so they weren't responsible for making those breath sounds, that was Andy. But here's the BIG bit of news: the raspy sound that you hear as part of the train impersonation is nothing other than a wire toilet brush being dragged quickly across the metal rim of a closely miked snare drum. ------------------------------ 30. What is that word that Andy sings in the song "Great Fire"? The word you hear is "smoke". Not some four-letter word. Here are the correct lyrics to that section of "Great Fire": I've been in love before But it's never been as hot as this *Smoke* curling round the door Memories of old loves crack and blister Mister fireman bet you couldn't put me out if you tried ------------------------------ 31. How rare is the _Wrapped in Grey_ single? In a recent interview with _Record Collector_ magazine, Andy Partridge said that only 2,000 copies of the _Wrapped in Grey_ single were pressed, and then Virgin withdrew the release. The single was originally to have been released on 7 September 1992. In his _Wonderland_ XTC discography, Shigemasa Fujimoto claims that 500 copies of the CD-single were pressed, and that 450 of those copies were destroyed. Some number of copies of the 7-inch single were also pressed, and it is believed that most of those were destroyed by Virgin Records as well. Unfortunately, the exact number of 7-inch vinyl and CD singles pressed (and subsequently destroyed) will probably never be known. Suffice it to say that the _Wrapped in Grey_ single, both in 7-inch vinyl and CD-single format, is very rare. ------------------------------ 32. What is the "Homo Safari" series? Where can I find it? Andy Partridge explains the "Homo Safari" series, in a telephone interview with Stewart Evans for a KFJC radio special, in the fall of 1987: What happened was, we actually did the instrumental "Homo Safari" [the B-side to the _Life Begins At The Hop_ UK single], and it came out, and everyone said 'what a strange little track, the instrumental on the other side', and we were quite chuffed that people actually noticed it. For some reason, there's a film in existence of us doing a playback to this on Irish television. I don't know if there are any Irish fans out there who happen to have a video recording of this, but it's probably one of the most bizarre instances -- all of us are set on a row of stools playing this inside-out instrumental, "Homo Safari", to one half of the stereo because the TV station botched up the taping thing and there's just one half of the stereo! So we're miming to one half of the stereo of a very strange B-side. But what happened it, we put that out, and then we actually wrote other instrumentals. . . maybe they were intended to have lyrics on them later, maybe they were just sketches of ideas that were going to be worked into something different. So the "Homo Safari" series was put together as this cupboard to contain tracks that we didn't know what to do with. They were tracks that didn't seem to fit the feel of XTC, or they were tracks that only myself was on, or me and Colin, or just Colin and Dave or whatever. They were really like lost kids. So the Homo Safari *series*, the word series was added and then we just grabbed a number -- six -- you know, it felt like a good number -- and it was like this box to put these tracks into that -- we didn't want them go astray and remain homeless and never come out. Kind of like an artistic pebble-bin. We actually made a mistake, and put out parts five and six, and someone wrote a letter in and said `what happened to part four, you've forgotten it?' And we all sat 'round and slapped our foreheads and said `My goodness, we've forgotten part four!' And it's true, we'd actually jumped and numbered them five and six and we'd forgotten four. Actually four is the weakest one, 'cause that was knocked up very quickly, and that's one of my least favorite things that we've ever done. There's very few things that I would disown of ours, but funny enough part four of the "Homo Safari" series must be one of the only things. The "Homo Safari" series includes the songs "Homo Safari", "Bushman President", "Egyptian Solution (Thebes in a Box)", "Mantis on Parole", "Frost Circus", and "Procession Towards Learning Land", numbered from one to six, respectively. Jon Rosenberger adds: The Homo Safari Series can only be heard its entirety on the UK 5" CD Single for Dear God. Different parts of the series appear as B-sides on various old XTC singles of course, as such they can be found on these UK singles. 1. Homo Safari - _Life Begins at The Hop_ 7" 2. Bushman President - _Making Plans For Nigel_ 7" 3. Egyptian Solution (Thebes in a Box) - _Senses Working Overtime_ 12" 4. Mantis on Parole - _Wake Up_ 7" and 12" 5. Frost Circus - _Great Fire_ 12" 6. Procession Towards Learning Land - _Great Fire_ 12" and #'s 5 and 6 can be found as extra tracks on the CD Reissue of _Mummer_ as well. ------------------------------ 33. Was "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" written about JFK? Andy Partridge has said repeatedly that the inspiration for Peter Pumpkinhead came from a Jack-O-Lantern impaled on his garden fence. Here's an excerpt from a 1992 interview with Dave Kendall, MTV veejay: DK: . . . and Andy, did you originally decide "OK, I'm gonna write a song about a mythical Jesus-JFK-type figure", or were you staring at this Jack-O-Lantern. . . ? AP: Jesus Jones figure. You can tell what HE does for a living! DK: Freudian slip! AP: Your Freudian slip's showing! No, I didn't. I felt sorry for this Jack-O-Lantern I carved for the kids, and I couldn't bear to put him in the bin, so I stuck him on a post in the garden so I could see him every day. He looked really, really great, you know. Nicer than most people I know. Then, the poor thing started decomposing, you know, getting all this grey ooze out of his mouth, and his eyes were getting all green and furry, and I thought, "I'll immortalize him." So I started to write a song about a perfect thing with a pumpkin head, and if you're perfect, you tell the truth, and if you tell the truth, you have power, and he got so much power the government had him bumped off. So, that's a lesson not to tell the truth. ------------------------------ 34. What are all the messages scratched in the run-out grooves of XTC records? Oddly enough, there are very few secret messages scratched in the wax, but some of them include: _English Settlement_ UK LP: Waddies 6X Rules Hic! _Great Fire_ UK 7-inch: REGIMENTAL _Great Fire_ UK 12-inch: NO TIME FOR SARGEANT'S _Grass_ UK 7-inch: HAYSIDE / DEAR TODD _Grass_ UK 12-inch: CUT WITH A MOWER AT THE TOWNHOUSE / NO COMMENT _The Big Express_ UK LP: BASTARD SON OF HARD BLUE RAYHEAD Johnny Japes and His Jesticles: _Bags of Fun With Buster_: COMPLETELY BOLLOCKULAR / FLUMP! _King for a Day_ UK 12-inch: ONE FOR HIS NOB / TWO FER DOIN' IT The Dukes of Stratosphear: _25 O'Clock_ UK EP: TO BE TAKEN TWICE DALI / I CAN SEE FOUR MOLES The Dukes of Stratosphear: _Psonic Psunspot_ UK LP: LOOSELY FROM THE STIFF BEACH... / WITH PINK WARMTH The flip side of the _Grass_ 12-inch single included both "Extrovert" and "Dear God". "Hard Blue Rayhead" was a working title for _The Big Express_. Both "Pink Warmth" and "Stiff Beach" were pre-XTC bands; Dave Gregory formed "Pink Warmth" circa 1967, Andy Partridge formed "Stiff Beach" circa 1970. "Great Fire" was produced by Bob Sargeant. "Waddies 6X" is a strong English beer. ------------------------------ 35. Has anyone heard They Might Be Giants' song "XTC vs. Adam Ant"? On They Might Be Giants' 1996 album _Factory Showroom_ they perform a song called "XTC vs. Adam Ant". It would appear that They Might Be Giants are XTC fans, as they also perform the track "25 O'Clock" on the XTC tribute album _A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs of XTC_. Gineen says of "XTC vs. Adam Ant": Great song...........and the violin bits lend to XTC melodies..... Who wins? Listen for yourself. ------------------------------ 36. What is Dave Gregory up to these days? Guitargonauts, the Dave Gregory website at "http://www.guitargonauts.com/", is the place to find the latest news. The site is produced by Debie Edmonds and Mark Strijbos, and includes a discography, photos, guitars, music and more! Visit today. ------------------------------ 37. Did you notice that the title of the latest XTC album comes from the lyrics of the previous album? Originally this was a coincidence. The words "Orange and lemon / Raincoats roll and tumble" feature in the Andy Partridge song "Ballet for a Rainy Day" on _Skylarking_. The album after _Skylarking_ is called _Oranges and Lemons_. The words "some nonesuch net holds me aloft" feature in the Andy Partridge song "Chalkhills and Children" on _Oranges and Lemons_. The album after _Oranges and Lemons_ is called _Nonsuch_. Again, these were mere coincidences. _Oranges and Lemons_ was named for the bright colors of the music, a psychedelic and brash collection of songs. _Nonsuch_ was named for the castle by that name built by Henry VIII, a spectacular edifice which was supposed to be a lasting monument, but which has since been destroyed. However, fans noticed these coincidences and pointed them out to Andy Partridge, so during the preparations for the writing of _XTC: Song Stories_ he perused the lyrics of _Nonsuch_ and decided that the phrase "apple venus" had a nice ring to it. And thus we have _Apple Venus Volume 1_. That has all stopped with the release of _Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)_. ------------------------------ 38. Is there sheet music for XTC songs available? The short answer is no. There is no commercially available sheet music for XTC songs. In 1981 XTC released _Eleven Different Animals_ in the UK, a book with sheet music and guitar charts for eleven XTC songs, but that book has been out of print and unavailable since. A few transcriptions of XTC songs were included in various issues of _The Little Express_. However, Larry Stevens writes: I have in my possession published sheet music for Mayor of Simpleton. I found it in the sheet music section of a local music shop back when Oranges and Lemons was released. It's quite a bright and beautiful product. John Dioso adds: The songbook for the movie "Times Square" includes the sheet music for XTC's song "Take This Town, " as well as Gary Numan's "Down in the Park" and the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated." Numerous Chalkhills readers have contributed chord charts, transcriptions and tablature for XTC songs, see the Chalkhills Archives. ------------------------------ 39. How can I contact XTC directly? Please visit the official XTC web site at "http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk/" for information on how to contact XTC and their distributors. We here at Chalkhills have no official (or unofficial) relationship with the band and cannot relay your messages. ------------------------------ 40. What happened to the proposed "bubblegum" album? Karen O'Brien did an interview with Andy Partridge for _The Independent on Sunday_, published on September 6, 1998: [In 1993] Partridge had presented a new project, songs he had written as homage to the bubblegum-pop bands of the late Sixties to early Seventies. He felt the idea was blissfully simple: "I wanted Virgin to say that they'd bought this entire back-catalogue from this imaginary label called Zither. They said, 'So you go on Top of the Pops and play one of these songs?' I said, 'No, this is a fake historical document!' So they said, 'Okay, we get a young band and dress them up in early Seventies clothes?' I said 'No, no!' They just didn't get it." Cue much shaking of pony-tailed heads. The Zither project was to have been "nicely banal, pitched around 1970, a dozen tracks about sex. . ." Three of the songs have been released in one form or another. "Cherry In Your Tree" (originally intended to be performed by "The Captain Cooks") was released on the children's album _Carmen Sandiego Out Of This World_ in April 1994. "Candy Mine" was released on a single Andy Partridge did for John Flansburgh's Hello CD of the Month Club in November 1994. "Standing In For Joe", released on _Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)_, was originally intended for the bubblegum album. And one of the fictional band names intended for the project, Knights In Shining Karma, was used as the title of a song released on _Apple Venus Volume 1_. Some of the other fictional bands to have been recorded for the project include the following: The Lemon Dukes Knights in Shining Karma The Captain Cooks Sopwith Caramel The Ten Commandos The Twelve Flavours of Hercules Solid Gondolas The Barbers of Penzance Anonymous Bosch The Brighton Peers The Tweedledeens The Herbert Fountains Irving Merlin The Lollipopes The Four Posters The Periwig Pack Cake's Progress Jellyache Funnel Of Love The Rubber Ducks Ancient Grease The Piccadilly Circus Tent Rip Repair Company Kitchener's Sink Isambard Kingdom Necessary On A Bicycle? Some of the songs to have been included on the project include the following: Lolly Let's Suck It And See My Red Aeroplane Cherry in Your Tree Candy Mine Jelly Baby Standing In For Joe I'm The Kaiser Visit to the Doctor Cave Girl All Aboard for Bubble Land ------------------------------ End of Chalkhills and XTC FAQ *****************************