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Archive-name: music/xtc-faq
Last-modified: 25 February 2002
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Subject: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
From: Chalkhills Administration <>

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.


  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
  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
 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 <>.

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.



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
"". 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 ( for more

_``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

_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

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


in the body of an e-mail message to


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


(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


(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

You can find lyrics, photos, chat forums, a discography, and more on the
official XTC site at "".

The Chalkhills Archives are available through the World Wide Web at
"". 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
"". A plain text version of this file is
available at "".


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

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]

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
<>. A new edition is in the works. Please see
Fujimoto-san's online discography on the official XTC web site at

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


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: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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_

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

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
     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
"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
"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
     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.
     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


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

      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

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

    _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

    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

     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".

     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.

     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 now offers some XTC
merchandise in its Boutique, including CDs and LPs. The web site also

     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

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

    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

    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

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
    Johnny Japes and His Jesticles: _Bags of Fun With Buster_:
    _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
    The Dukes of Stratosphear: _Psonic Psunspot_ UK LP: LOOSELY

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


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 "",
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

_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 ""
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
    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

    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

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM