Author Topic: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.  (Read 1044 times)

daf

  • Is this for posh knob 'eads?
Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #30 on: January 11, 2019, 04:27:42 PM »
I think the problem is that they're quirky.  Quirky in a particularly annoying way though. 

Well, that's what makes them XTC!

That said - and extending an olive branch - here's some of their most 'trad' sounding songs that you MAY like : *

Ten Feet Tall
All of A Sudden
Love on a Farmboys Wages
Great Fire
This World Over
Grass
The Meeting Place
Earn Enough For Us
Mayor Of Simpleton
Then She Appeared
I'd Like That
Easter Theatre
Stupidly Happy
Church of Women
Where Did The Ordinary People Go?

If none of those tickle your ear bone, frankly, I'd move on and seek elsewhere for your musical pleasures, and good fortune in your noble quest!

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* NOTE - not 'best' (although, they pretty much are!) -  just the ones with the minimum of weird off-putting stuff abounding.

Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #31 on: January 11, 2019, 05:12:56 PM »
Considering Costello's debut was a country rock album and White Music was recorded before This Years Model and Armed Forces that is quite some feat by Partridge & Co.




Don't rise to it Brundle-Fly.

Deep breath...aaaand relax.

Elvis Costello actually said at least one of his tracks, White Knuckles, was a direct attempt at trying to ape the XTC albums he'd been listening to at the time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVmgvbY4h28

Maurice Yeatman

  • His Reverence won't like it
Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #32 on: January 11, 2019, 06:48:00 PM »
Recorded more than a decade after Skylarking, but Todd Rundgren's 'The Surf Talks' sounds like an Andy Partridge XTC song to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNUttqr7yA8

Brundle-Fly

  • I'm so Avant-garden variety
Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2019, 07:29:23 PM »
Recorded more than a decade after Skylarking, but Todd Rundgren's 'The Surf Talks' sounds like an Andy Partridge XTC song to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNUttqr7yA8

via Oingo Boingo?

Brundle-Fly

  • I'm so Avant-garden variety
Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2019, 07:40:36 PM »
Elvis Costello actually said at least one of his tracks, White Knuckles, was a direct attempt at trying to ape the XTC albums he'd been listening to at the time.

In 1988, Elvis Costello visited the O&L sessions when he was next door recording his album Spike. Dave Gregory said that both Andy and Elvis were slightly wary of each other but very respectful and quietly spoke over the mixing desk in some arcane muso language.  What galled XTC was that Costello had done and dusted his production in a fortnight while they were still fiddle arsing around with side one of the LP weeks later, costing them a fortune.

daf

  • Is this for posh knob 'eads?
Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2019, 08:57:45 PM »
What galled XTC was that Costello had done and dusted his production in a fortnight while they were still fiddle arsing around with side one of the LP weeks later, costing them a fortune.

The lack of money is a recurring Andy motif - 'Paper & Iron', 'Love on a Farmboys Wages', 'Earn Enough for Us', and with good reason :

While Costello has managed to pile up multiple millions of quid over the years, Andy seems to have been permanently brassic despite selling about the same amount of records. *

Not touring after 82 didn't help - particularly as all the dough from their touring years was (allegedly) stolen by their then manager, and they were in debt to Virgin for decades.

Still, got a few good tunes out of it - so swings and (English) roundabouts!

- - - - - - - - - - -
* based on nothing - but I'm guessing around 5-10 million 'units' each over the years?
« Last Edit: January 11, 2019, 09:14:00 PM by daf »

Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2019, 09:29:14 PM »
Not touring after 82 didn't help - particularly as all the dough from their touring years was (allegedly) stolen by their then manager, and they were in debt to Virgin for decades.

Didn't they get paid eventually by Virgin (and their dodgy contract) in the mid-2000s?
Probably not millions, but enough to be comfortable for the first time.

Might have inadvertently led to the final break-up.

daf

  • Is this for posh knob 'eads?
Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2019, 09:46:26 PM »
Didn't they get paid eventually by Virgin (and their dodgy contract) in the mid-2000s?

I thought it was more like Virgin just threw in the towel and cancelled their debt (after XTC being 'on strike' through most of the 90s) - so they we're getting all of their royalties for the first time - rather than pocket money.

I think Andy said he's on an average Bank Manager's wage now* - so comfortable, but not anywhere near Costello's Orbit.

- - - -
* (£33 grand according to google)

Brundle-Fly

  • I'm so Avant-garden variety
Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2019, 09:47:07 PM »
Yeah, Costello had a much better record deal than XTC in the early days. They should've signed to Stiff rather than Virgin.

Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2019, 09:47:59 PM »
Recorded more than a decade after Skylarking, but Todd Rundgren's 'The Surf Talks' sounds like an Andy Partridge XTC song to me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNUttqr7yA8

Thanks for posting this, it's great.  I like Rundgren but have only heard his earliest stuff.  I hope this turns into an XTC fan music-recommendation thread.

daf

  • Is this for posh knob 'eads?
Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2019, 10:04:10 PM »
Yeah, Costello had a much better record deal than XTC in the early days. They should've signed to Stiff rather than Virgin.

Legally, they can't talk about it, but here's how the financial nightmare unfolded :

Quote
The cancelled American tour incurred XTC with a £20,000 debt, and since it left them unable to record new material, they decided to reexamine their financial affairs. Confused as to where their earnings had gone, the group requested that manager Ian Reid help pay for the debts, but he refused, saying that they had owed him money. They tried distancing themselves from Reid by renegotiating their contract with Virgin. Six more albums were promised to the label in exchange for covering their debts, as well as a guarantee that subsequent royalty and advancement cheques be redirected into the band's own deposit account. Royalty rates were still kept relatively low, as the group's A&R man Paul Kinder explained, they had "appalling management for a number of years. Usually if a manager has got any kind of business acumen he will renegotiate the contract to get a better royalty. A record company expects this, which is why they keep royalties low initially. It's just business really. Nobody addressed the contract for XTC."

Quote
By January 1983, Reid was no longer the band's manager, but legally retained the title until around 1985. In April 1984, the group learned that he had incurred them an outstanding value-added taxes [VAT] bill and that he had significantly mishandled their revenue stream. A lawsuit was filed by the band, while he counter-sued for "unpaid commission on royalties". Virgin were then "legally required to freeze royalty and advance payments and divert publishing income into a frozen deposit account." For the next decade, the entirety of the band's earnings would be invested in the continued litigation. The group supported themselves mostly through short-term loans from Virgin and royalty payments derived from airplay.

At one point, Moulding and Gregory were working at a car rental service for additional income. Partridge was eventually left with "about £300 in the bank", he said, "which is really heavy when you've got a family and everyone thinks you're 'Mr Rich and Famous'." A court-enforced gag order restricts the band from speaking publicly on the alleged improprieties. According to Partridge, Reid was "very naughty" and left the band with roughly £300,000 in unpaid VAT.

Music journalist Patrick Schabe elaborates:
Quote
... what is known is that [Reid] inked a deal with Virgin that wound up working out primarily for Reid, secondarily for Virgin, and not at all for XTC. Throughout their first five years of existence, XTC never saw a penny of profits from either album sales or touring revenue. Reid, on the other hand, took out large loans from Virgin, borrowing against XTC's royalties, to the tune of millions of pounds by some estimates. Even after the band settled out of court with Reid, because of the terms of the contract, Virgin was able to hold XTC liable for the sum. Because of XTC's failure to tour, the likelihood of ever repaying Virgin dwindled further and further away. Over the course of a 20-year contract with Virgin Records, and after achieving gold and platinum status in album sales on a number of discs, XTC never saw any publishing royalties.

Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2019, 10:16:20 PM »
'Into The Atom Age' is the top banger off White Music, I reckon.
I'd go with "Radios in Motion" but I do think XTC never really hit their stride till Dave Gregory was in the ranks. Barry Andrews was miles better in Shriekback.

non capisco

  • My valve is screaming for appeasement.
Re: The "XTC are sort of okay if you like that sort of thing' thread.
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2019, 10:28:52 PM »
I'd go with "Radios in Motion" but I do think XTC never really hit their stride till Dave Gregory was in the ranks. Barry Andrews was miles better in Shriekback.

Agreed, aside from the 'Are You Receiving Me?' single my favourite versions of White Music/Go2 era songs are all live recordings made after Dave joined, the version of 'Battery Brides' on the 1980 live album absolutely pisses over the album version. And the various live bootlegs from the U.S tour they did just after 'Drums And Wires' came out have ferocious versions of the likes of 'Beatown' and 'Crowded Room' that really benefit from two guitarists.