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XTC were an English rock band formed in Swindon in Fronted by songwriters Andy Partridge guitars, vocals and Colin Moulding bass, vocals , the band gained popularity during the rise of punk and new wave in the s, later playing in a variety of styles that ranged from angular guitar riffs to elaborately arranged pop. Partly because the group did not fit into contemporary trends, they achieved only sporadic commercial success in the UK and US, but attracted a considerable cult following. They have since been recognised for their influence on Britpop and later power pop acts. Partridge and Moulding first met in the early s and subsequently formed a glam outfit with drummer Terry Chambers. In , the group debuted on Virgin Records and, for the next five years, were noted for their energetic live performances. They aspired to be 'completely original' and refused to play conventional punk rock, instead synthesising influences from ska , s pop, dub music and the avant-garde. The single ' Making Plans for Nigel ' marked their commercial breakthrough and heralded the reverberating drum sound associated with s popular music. Due to poor management, they never received a share of profits from record sales, of which there were millions, nor from touring revenue, forcing them into debt throughout the s and s. In , they went on strike against Virgin, citing an unfair recording contract , and soon extricated themselves from the label. In the US, ' Mayor of Simpleton ' was their highest-charting single, while ' Dear God ' was controversial for its anti-religious message. The group also inspired tribute bands , tribute albums , fan conventions , and fanzines across the UK, US and Japan. In , Partridge announced that his creative partnership with Moulding had disintegrated, leaving XTC 'in the past tense'. Partridge and Gregory remain musically active. Partridge jokingly characterised the community as being populated almost entirely by people with physical, mental or emotional defects. When the Monkees grew popular, he became interested in joining a music group. He recalled watching local guitarist Dave Gregory performing Jimi Hendrix -style songs at churches and youth clubs: 'Sort of acid - skiffle. I got really in deep. In , Partridge became closer acquainted with Gregory, a diabetic then suffering from a bout of depression , \\\\\\\\\[14\\\\\\\\\] while working as an assistant at the Bon Marche record shop in Swindon. That was a horrible misconception! It was decided that the band have another name change. Instead of a formal audition, the two went out drinking together. During the first band rehearsal, Partridge recalled, 'He sounded like Jon Lord from Deep Purple ; fuzz box, wah wah pedal, bluesy runs. By this time, the punk rock movement had emerged, which opened an avenue for the group in terms of record label appeal, even though the band did not necessarily fit in the punk dogma. As soon as we recorded that session for the BBC, suddenly three or four record labels wanted to sign us up. Partridge characterized the album as ' Captain Beefheart meets the Archies ' shrouded in s-style retrofuturism. He reflected that the album was the sum of everything the band enjoyed, including the Beatles, Sun Ra , and Atomic Rooster , \\\\\\\\\[14\\\\\\\\\] but dismissed the contents as premature songs 'built around this electric wordplay stuff'. By August , XTC were prepared to record their next album. Andrews appeared at the sessions with several original songs, but Partridge did not feel they were right for the band. He began taking Moulding and Chambers out for drinks without inviting Partridge, allegedly in an attempt to take over the group. Andrews left the band in December , while they were on their first American tour, \\\\\\\\\[14\\\\\\\\\] and went on to form the League of Gentlemen with Robert Fripp of King Crimson. We were bickering quite a lot. And I did enjoy his brain power, the verbal and mental fencing. Rather than hiring a replacement keyboardist, Dave Gregory of the covers band Dean Gabber and His Gaberdines was invited to join as a second guitarist. Nobody was fashionable in XTC, ever. Moulding explained that this was because of an industry convention in the s and the s, and that when 'we wanted to shift albums later on, that approach got blown out of the water. Drums and Wires , released in August , was named for its emphasis on guitars and expansive drums. The aimless energy of the first two albums is focused into a cohesive statement with a distinctive voice that retains their clever humor, quirky wordplay, and decidedly British flavor. When touring resumed in November, every date was sold out. It was their lowest-selling single to date. Black Sea , released in September , reunited the group with Lillywhite and Padgham and was well-received critically. Rock Is Going to Help Me ' returned them to the charts at numbers 32, 31 and 16, respectively. Rock' provoked feminist hate-mail for the lyric 'keep her stood in line'. Partridge regretted the song, calling it 'crass but not enjoyably crass'. XTC became their own producers for their next album project. The group scheduled television appearances and an international tour in support of English Settlement. During a live-broadcast gig in Paris, Partridge ran off the stage, and afterward, took a flight back to Swindon for treatment, which amounted to hypnotherapy. It was obvious that he was ill, but exactly what it was, no-one knew. I got in there, they knew what I was going to say. He continued his hypnotherapy treatment, fearing that he was turning into the archetypal rock burn-out such as Syd Barrett. They tried distancing themselves from Reid by renegotiating their contract with Virgin. 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. Nobody addressed the contract for XTC. Virgin were then 'legally required to freeze royalty and advance payments and divert publishing income into a frozen deposit account. Throughout their first five years of existence, XTC never saw a penny of profits from either album sales or touring revenue. 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. Over the course of a 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. During the middle months of , Partridge spent his time in convalescence and writing songs. At one rehearsal, Partridge recalled asking Chambers for 'tiny, cyclical, nattering clay pots', which he replied sounded 'a bit fucking nancified'. In the meantime, Virgin released a greatest hits compilation, Waxworks: Some Singles — , to underwhelming sales. Partridge remembered, 'He asked me to write something a bit more like The Police, with more international flavour, more basic appeal. Here were very talented songwriters — surely, surely, surely they can come up with that elusive thing that is a hit single. That was our psyche. Virtually every contemporary review of Mummer accused the band of falling out of touch with the contemporary music climate. Mummer signaled a strange rebirth for XTC. It was produced by David Lord , owner of Crescent Studios in Bath, and they subsequently negotiated a deal that allowed them to work as much as they wanted on their next album at his studio. Some of the album was recorded using a Linn LM-1 Drum Computer , and extensive time was spent on its programming. When Gregory joined the band in , Partridge learned that they both shared a longtime enthusiasm for s psychedelic music. An album of songs in that style was immediately put to consideration, but the group could not go through with it due to their commercial obligations to Virgin. Calling themselves ' the Dukes of Stratosphear ', the spin-off group consisted of Partridge and Moulding with Dave and his drummer brother Ian. At the sessions, the band dressed themselves in Paisley outfits and lit scented candles. We never knew if it would sell The album also achieved considerable sales in the US. During a routine meeting in early , Virgin executives threatened to drop the band from the label if their next album failed to sell more than 70, units. When shown a list of their names, they recognised none except for Todd Rundgren. His bandmates were not as familiar with Rundgren, but Gregory urged the group to work with him: 'I reminded Andy that Todd had produced one of his favourite New York Dolls records \\\\\\\\\[ New York Dolls , \\\\\\\\\]. In the absence of any better alternatives, he agreed. In January , Partridge and Moulding mailed Rundgren a collection of more than 20 demo tapes they had stockpiled in advance. The album could be about a day, a year, or a lifetime. Using this framework, I \\\\\\\\\[Rundgren\\\\\\\\\] came up with a sequence of songs and a justification for their placement and brought it to the band. And at times we were having a good time. Skylarking spent one week on the UK album charts, reaching number 90 in November , two weeks after its release. In Florida, a radio station received a bomb threat, and in New York, a student forced their school to play the song over its public-address system by holding a faculty member at knife-point. Partridge was reluctant to make another Dukes album, but to appease requests from his bandmates and Virgin Records, Psonic Psunspot was recorded. Partridge felt it was 'a bit upsetting to think that people preferred these pretend personalities to our own personalities Mister and later longtime King Crimson member Pat Mastelotto was the drummer for the entire album. The album was released in February with music that was in a similar psychedelic vein as the Dukes. To support the album, XTC embarked on an acoustic-guitar American radio tour that lasted for two weeks in May. Moulding performed a special event concert with David Marx and the Refugees, a Swindon-based band that reunited him with Barry Andrews. Virgin Records advanced the group enough money to cover their debt in exchange for the promise of four additional albums. Initially, the band had issue with the musical director of Virgin, who, after seeing the songs, was convinced the band 'could do better' and asked them to write more material. Partridge recalled playing some demos for Virgin agents, and compared their reaction to the ' Springtime for Hitler ' scene from the film The Producers. The label rejected his idea. Whatever new music the band recorded would have been automatically owned by Virgin, and so the band enacted strike action against the label. In also reported as in late \\\\\\\\\[\\\\\\\\\] , XTC found themselves freed from financial debt and from Virgin after 'making some heavy concessions'. Partridge said the book was badly edited and 'used the crappiest quotes'. By late , Partridge and Moulding had amassed a large stockpile of material. Prairie Prince , who drummed on Skylarking , returned for the sessions. It soon became apparent that the band did not have the funds to record all the material they had. Gregory quit the band whilst in the middle of sessions due to personal issues and discord with his bandmates. Released in February , Apple Venus Volume 1 was met with critical acclaim and moderate sales. Or maybe even a little bit before they left off: this record bridges the gap between the ambitiously poppy Oranges and Lemons and the pastoral Skylarking. The music is built on simple phrases, but the relationships between those phrases becomes tremendously complex. These songs were available to purchasers of the box set in digital format only, with the use of a special download code. From to , Partridge simultaneously released volumes in the multi-album Fuzzy Warbles series, a set dedicated to unreleased solo demos and other material. But he \\\\\\\\\[Andy\\\\\\\\\] wanted to do twelve, which kind of put the wind up me a little bit. We had a bit of an argument about it. During one of the sessions, some of his hearing was destroyed following a studio mishap, which caused him to develop severe and permanent tinnitus. He remained hopeful that the situation was temporary and assured that they had 'not killed off the XTC head. I mean, we still have the head cryogenically frozen. Partridge also said he and Gregory—their differences now resolved—had considered working together again. In July , Partridge wrote in the Swindon Advertiser that he believed his 'musical partnership with Colin Moulding has come to an end. For reasons too personal and varied to go into here, but we had a good run as they say and produced some real good work. His given reasons for the break-up were financial discord, disagreement over the extent of the Fuzzy Warbles project, and a 'change in mindset' between him and Partridge. He also stated that he and Partridge were once again communicating directly by email. XTC did not technically break up in a legal sense. As of , the group still existed as a trademark controlled by Partridge and Moulding. According to Partridge, after some time, 'I sort of took it over, because I thought it was weird that there was another person in the way. It was published by Jawbone Press. Until , Moulding remained largely inactive as a musician. It would seem unlikely, put it that way. It was the first time Moulding and Chambers had played a live gig in decades. Partridge and Moulding did not write together. Each person puts his little prints on them. In Song Stories , Neville Farmer comments that Partridge 'is the boss—erratic but willful \\\\\\\\\[and\\\\\\\\\] runs the band on instinct', while Moulding 'is the voice of calm However, he left the band shortly thereafter. So when Dave came in, and was a much straighter player, it seemed to make more sense, I think. In the mid s, XTC played in London punk scenes and were consistent with music of the new wave, albeit with a heavy ska influence. I think it was fear. It was fear manifested in ludicrously high energy music. All of the songs were run together and it was really uptempo stuff. Of his guitar technique, Partridge said that it evolved from his desire to be a drummer, to 'chop and slash and try to work between what the drums were doing, a so I could be heard, and b because I liked the funk and I liked working the holes that the drums left. XTC are noted for their 'Englishness'. I guess because I am English, it comes out English. London gives me the willies. According to biographer Neville Farmer, Partridge and Moulding tended to write about 'more general aspects of their lives and their attitudes'. If they have an idea about something, they say it straightforwardly. They are no more embarrassed about their view on the world than Andy is about his sex life. That makes them easy targets for criticism. I was that naive. While popular success has eluded them in both Britain and America, the group has developed a devoted cult following in both countries that remains loyal over two decades after their first records. However, the band has left behind a remarkably rich and varied series of albums that make a convincing argument that XTC is the great lost pop band. The band are often compared reverentially to s acts such as the Who , the Kinks, and most frequently, the Beatles. Respect and recognition are the real validation of such claims'. XTC were the only group besides the Stranglers to emerge from the punk scene with a keyboardist. Club wrote that their style of ' post-punk guitar pop ' became popular in the early s among bands such as Kaiser Chiefs , Franz Ferdinand , Hot Hot Heat , and Bloc Party. Partridge believed 'we were trying to push music into a new area. And so we had to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous name calling because we refused to just play stupid. Oh, listen to him , he can play. From the press, the public, their label, and various managers, XTC have been a tragically under-appreciated band in every sense. Swindon did not have a respected music scene as others in Britain. I was always jealous of bands like Talking Heads , who were doing similar things to us but were from New York, and therefore cool. The band were not allowed creative input for their music videos, except for 'The Mole from the Ministry'. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the band. For the drug, see MDMA. For other uses, see XTC disambiguation. English pop group. Pop \\\\\\\\\[1\\\\\\\\\] \\\\\\\\\[2\\\\\\\\\] \\\\\\\\\[3\\\\\\\\\] art rock \\\\\\\\\[3\\\\\\\\\] \\\\\\\\\[4\\\\\\\\\] new wave \\\\\\\\\[1\\\\\\\\\] \\\\\\\\\[5\\\\\\\\\] post-punk \\\\\\\\\[5\\\\\\\\\] \\\\\\\\\[6\\\\\\\\\] art punk \\\\\\\\\[7\\\\\\\\\] \\\\\\\\\[8\\\\\\\\\] progressive pop \\\\\\\\\[9\\\\\\\\\] \\\\\\\\\[10\\\\\\\\\]. Virgin Cooking Vinyl Idea. We were a new pop group. We ran on negative equity for 20 years. On Skylarking The band members have become the deans of a group of artists who make what can only be described as unpopular pop music, placing a high premium on melody and solid if idiosyncratic songcraft. For the orchestral Apple Venus , the budget allowed a day of recording at Abbey Road \\\\\\\\\[with\\\\\\\\\] a piece band \\\\\\\\\[that failed to\\\\\\\\\] match the mathematical precision of \\\\\\\\\[the arrangements\\\\\\\\\] \\\\\\\\\[ Apple Venus Volume 1 relied almost entirely on orchestral or acoustic instruments. Andy had a sort of unwritten rule that everything we did had to be completely original Among the scores of songs Partridge wrote for XTC are perfect examples of a very English genre: rock music uprooted from the glamour and dazzle of the city, and recast as the soundtrack to life in suburbs, small towns, and the kind of places — like Swindon — that may be more sizeable, but are still held up as bywords for broken hopes and limited horizons. Principal members Terry Chambers — drums — Colin Moulding — vocals, bass guitar — Andy Partridge — vocals, guitar — Barry Andrews — keyboards, backing vocals — Dave Gregory — guitar, keyboards, backing vocals — Early members pre Star Park and Helium Kidz era Dave Cartner — guitar — Nervous Steve — bass guitar Paul Wilson — drums Steve Hutchins — vocals — Jon Perkins — keyboards — Main article: XTC discography. How dare the TV force such crap on me?! They had appalling lyrics! Appalling music! Least favorite band in the history of foreverness! Retrieved 27 December Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 20 September Britpop and the English Music Tradition. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. Rolling Stone. Bass Player : 14— Fairfield County Advocate. Chicago Reader. The Guardian. Hit Channel. Official Charts. Retrieved 25 September Phoenix New Times. He had his own future to look after' Tweet — via Twitter. Trouser Press. The recording was never used. Illegal I think now? Record Collector. The Quietus. Team Rock. Record Buyer. April Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 June Retrieved via Newspapers. Phaze 1. Retrieved 13 March Melody Maker. Louder Than War. Retrieved 24 October The Post and Courier. Archived from the original on 3 February Retrieved 18 June Retrieved 27 February Archived from the original on 7 May — via Twitter. The Young Folks. Les Inrockuptibles. Past Daily. Guitar Player. Archived from the original on 17 August The Gainesville Sun. Retrieved 29 April The Daily Telegraph. After a year association, pop perfectionists XTC have ended their relationship with Virgin Records. The Independent. Kinda Muzik. Rundgren Radio Audio. Event occurs at — Retrieved 14 January Archived from the original on 4 June Retrieved 16 June Optimism Flames. Archived from the original on 14 January December Event occurs at —, — Retrieved 5 January Essentially Pop. The Swindon Advertiser. Archived from the original on 29 September Retrieved 12 October Retrieved 9 December Steven just mixes them and I let him. Be cool yulesters' Tweet — via Twitter. Date for your diary' Tweet — via Twitter. Same fella did 10cc one, see that? Retrieved 31 October Retrieved 26 April Retrieved 24 August Not megalomania' Tweet — via Twitter. Retrieved 25 August The New York Times. Louder Sound. Retrieved 17 November The Stranger. Retrieved 16 November Retrieved 18 January Circus fucking tunes? What are they? A sound I liked' Tweet — via Twitter. One Two Testing Retrieved 18 October The Times. Having inspired a whole generation of Britpop artists Record Collector Mag. Retrieved 28 September Retrieved 15 November The Japan Times. Retrieved 22 September The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 October The A. Retrieved 20 February DeRogatis, Jim Hal Leonard Corporation. London: Helter Skelter Publishing. Backbeat Books. Jawbone Press. XTC: Chalkhills and Children. London: Omnibus Press. Adam Ant '. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. Download as PDF Printable version. Wikimedia Commons. Swindon , Wiltshire , England, UK. Problems playing this file? See media help. Principal members Terry Chambers — drums — Colin Moulding — vocals, bass guitar — Andy Partridge — vocals, guitar — Barry Andrews — keyboards, backing vocals — Dave Gregory — guitar, keyboards, backing vocals —