Music News

XTC: Stupidly Happy Ever After

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"It's my 14-year-old daughter Holly," beams big daddy Partridge, who prompted her to sing out of tune to resemble a bunch of kids in a playground or Bananarama, take your pick. "She's got really good pitch because she sings along to her Foo Fighters albums continuously. I said, "Can you sing wrong? It's still not bad enough.' So we used 10 passes of her shouting and singing out of tune."

Now having seen to the completion of both volumes of Apple Venus, Partridge, true to form, has no desire ever to listen to it again. Or revisit any other old material, for that matter. None of that "these songs are my children" shit.

"It's like any art form. Why do you want to futz around with it over and over? You do your art, you finish it and it's out in the world. I don't want to know about it then. I want to move on to the next new thing. It's like a dog returning to his vomit."

Oddly enough, XTC was interviewed for a book where longtime friend Neville Farmer asked the band to do just that. Despite it being authorized, Partridge doesn't think Song Stories is a particularly good volume. "He interviewed us about every song on every album. Despite the fact that he edited it very badly and used the crappiest quotes, we gave him 10,000 words on everything and he had to use 250 on each song. We had to listen to all the albums to comment on them and all in one sort of hit, two and a half years ago, and that's the last time I've heard our albums."

So what did he think? "White Music is charming because it's naive, very young and very goofy. We were just kids desperately looking for a style of our own. And it sounds kind of forced in a goofy, pre-Devo sort of way. Go is the worst album just in terms of the songs aren't very good. Then Barry Andrews left and we changed direction. Dave came in and we became more of a guitar band. Drums and Wires wasn't half bad. Black Sea I thought was pretty damn good and English Settlement. I think we've gone uphill since then.

"But the early ones," he grudgingly gushes, "yeaaah, ya gotta love 'em. They're just charming naive art. We didn't know what we were doing, but we just wanted to do it loud."

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Serene Dominic
Contact: Serene Dominic