Interviews with XTC
June 24, 2010 2:27 AM   Subscribe

An XTC Fan named Todd Bernhardt has somehow managed to gain access to the band and associates, and has been conducting lengthy interviews for the past few years and posting them to his fan page on myspace. (via) Session Drummer Pat Mastelotto on recording Oranges and Lemons. Andy looks at guitar playing and players: Part I Part II Part III Part IV. Colin Moulding Discusses King for a Day. Prairie Prince on recording Skylarking.
posted by Devils Rancher (25 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

Great post and I'm looking forward to reading all of these. After so many years of the band being "on strike" from Virgin Records and then coming back with two fantastic albums, it's now such a disappointment that XTC is longer together. The world needs a new XTC album.
posted by gfrobe at 3:41 AM on June 24, 2010

Moulding has allegedly quit music and Partridge, at least at one point, had written that he couldn't get in touch with him, so reading the Moulding interview brought a big goofy grin to my face.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:51 AM on June 24, 2010

Looking forward to reading through these. Also, I'll have to see if any of those expanded re-issues have come out yet.
posted by aught at 5:36 AM on June 24, 2010

Thanks for the heads up - haven't followed Andy in a while. Man, when they had their original drummer they were the best band in the world.
posted by jetsetsc at 5:38 AM on June 24, 2010

Great stuff and headed for my reading list. I enjoy playing their stuff for people and see how they like it even though they've never heard of XTC.
posted by tommasz at 5:51 AM on June 24, 2010

Well, I know what I'll be doing this weekend...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:08 AM on June 24, 2010

Partridge cracks me up.

I also heard that bit about Moulding quitting music. That would be sad. I do like Andy Partridge songs, but Moulding's often had this wonderful melancholy to them. Partridge can be a bit didactic sometimes.

As for 'somehow getting access', I suspect that at this career stage, one does that by sending an email or calling on the phone. They're not exactly wealthy rock stars. (Though if 'justice' were equal to 'being a wealthy rock star', my personal and highly biased opinion is that Partridge & Moulding deserve it a lot more than most folks that get it.)
posted by lodurr at 6:14 AM on June 24, 2010

XTC deserves a great documentary about them. So many problems and such great music.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:35 AM on June 24, 2010

Great post, thanks so much. Really looking forward to diving into these.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:40 AM on June 24, 2010

As for 'somehow getting access'...

I thought about that wording after I hit post. I'm sure there's a story there somewhere -- I just didn't track it down.

And hey, it looks like Moulding hasn't entirely lain it down -- he's contributed a bass track on a new album by Duncan Maitland.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:49 AM on June 24, 2010

Man, when they had their original drummer they were the best band in the world.

That's pretty near true, and that Rockpalast video from 1982 is well worth seeking out. I understand that the reasons for Partridge quitting touring were many, but to whatever extent he's since said they "weren't really a live band", he's full of shit - they were awesome.
posted by anazgnos at 6:55 AM on June 24, 2010

Thank you thank you thank you.
posted by chinston at 6:57 AM on June 24, 2010

I'm just going to brag here. I've seen XTC live. Twice.

It was in the early '80's and they were touring with The Police. They played the Arena at the Arizona State Fair, and it was great!

We all piled in the car and drove down to Tucson to see them again the next night at a much better venue at U of A.

What a great show! Sting was still playing the upright bass.

I believe that Partridge had crippling stage fright and seeing XTC live is sort of a rare and unusual thing.

I feel so freaking lucky!

"We're only making plans for Nigel..."
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:06 AM on June 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is it possible to send a poster a bill for the hours of what would have been an otherwise productive day due to the awesome mindsucking awesomeness of their awesome minduscking post? Devil's Rancher, I salute you.

I will likely be spending the rest of my day listening to Skylarking and Oranges and Lemons, and my favorite remix of Cockpit Dance. Also, I need to look and find my 12 string.

Incredibly nice find.
posted by timsteil at 7:26 AM on June 24, 2010

XTC deserves a great documentary about them. So many problems and such great music.

Oh my yes! PLEASE somebody go make an XTC documentary.

Ruthless Bunny, I am so incredibly envious of you.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 8:02 AM on June 24, 2010

Stranger things have happened to more curmudgeonly-yet-talented musicians, DiscourseMarker.
posted by at 8:03 AM on June 24, 2010

I especially love this bit:

AP: So, it was just like, "Hmm, how can I emulate being a Beatle?" As kids, we actually used to play being The Beatles, out in the street.

TB: You played a game?

AP: Yeah, just sort of a free-form game. "I'll be Paul, you'll be John" -- you know. "I'll be Pete Best. See you!" [laughs]

TB: [laughs] "I'll be Stu. Argh, my head!!"

AP: [laughing] Yeah! And your girlfriend could be Astrid. Or Asterisk, since she's always kind of a footnote to the band.

Anyway, during this game, you'd have a tennis racket, or a plank of wood, or somebody might even have a Gene Autry plastic guitar or, god forbid, a Beatle plastic guitar with their pictures printed around the edge. Four of us would stand there, one hitting a bucket with a knitting needle, and three of us with things that were vaguely guitar-shaped, and the girls would dutifully scream. We'd run away, and they'd chase us.

posted by Devils Rancher at 8:18 AM on June 24, 2010

I'm looking forward to the re-issues as I never got the early-2000s remasters of the eighties albums except for Skylarking. The original eighties CDs are were poorly transferred; I must get better-sounding Black Sea and English Settlement (and all of the others, really).

I did get the Dukes of Stratosphear reissues released last year, and they are fab.
posted by D.C. at 8:24 AM on June 24, 2010

of course any thread about XTC would be lacking without a link to this example of Andy Partridge's peerless pop-musical scholarship.

An old friend saw them on their last tour. He was especially impressed by the way they started & finished "Battery Brides", nailing the tempo and pitch changes pretty much just like they did on the album. They were a real live band, alright.
posted by lodurr at 9:30 AM on June 24, 2010

Man, when they had their original drummer...

Found this last night, also via Chalkhills:
Terry Chambers, post-XTC
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:44 AM on June 24, 2010

I really wish Partridge would put out a solo record, but it seems like that will never happen. Fuzzy Warbles can be sifted down into about 4 records (or 3 really great ones), but it's not enough ohhhh it's not enough.
posted by greenland at 12:20 PM on June 24, 2010

Prairie Prince is absolutely among the smartest, funniest and most bad-ass drummers in rock. Totally an underrated commodity.
posted by mintcake! at 12:40 PM on June 24, 2010

I can't hear mention of Oranges and Lemons without hearing this incredible solo in my head...

Looks like some good links to dig through. Thanks.
posted by JBennett at 2:14 PM on June 24, 2010

Here's a bit of illicit bonus material -- from what was the holy grail of XTC bootlegs, back when:

Shaving Brush Boogie, from The Drunken Jam:
Okay Princess, open that fucking hospital baby!
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:38 PM on June 24, 2010

Speaking of XTC: their cover of All Along the Watchtower is perhaps the best. Bob Dylan fans detest it, which only makes their cover that much more enjoyable.
posted by Dreamcast at 8:11 PM on June 24, 2010

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