Monday, June 14, 2010

New (to me) XTC Videos

Real friends drive you to the airport. Facebook friends virtually drive you to the cyber-airport.

One of my Facebook friends started posting a bunch of XTC videos I'd never seen before. (And isn't that the true beauty of the internets?)

A little background before I share:

XTC, a great live band and an even better studio band, stopped touring in 1982 after Andy Partridge had a mental breakdown and developed a crippling case of stage fright. The band would play occasionally in the years that followed at a few radio stations and on TV.

After their April-Fools-Day psychedlic joke EP 25 O'Clock (released under the pseudonym the Dukes of Stratosphear) sold better than their regular albums in 1985, Virgin (XTC's record company) told the band they wanted them to have a big-name producer for their next album. Virgin gave the band a list of names and they chose the only one they recognized: Todd Rundgren. The band flew off to Woodstock, NY where they clashed with Rundgren almost from the start. The album that resulted, the "life in a day" song cycle Skylarking, which manages to sound simultaneously lush and tossed off, would become a huge hit thanks to "Dear God," which was a B-side that wasn't even on the first pressings of the record.

These two videos date from 1987 -- an appearance on the British TV show The Tube, hosted at the time by former Squeeze keyboardist Jules Holland. (The show would be cancelled soon thereafter when Holland used the word "fuck" in a live promo for the show.)

The songs are both from Skylarking, which featured both the megahit "Dear God" and the insanely catch "Earn Enough For Us." But XTC didn't play the song people knew or the catchy song. Nope. They played two dense album tracks that fans would leave fans ecstatic and leave everyone else scratching their heads.

Still, the videos are pretty cool -- and if you haven't seen 'em, they're new to you.

"The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul":

"The Meeting Place":


Anonymous said...

I've had dreams like that -- with the human chessboard. :)

Holly A Hughes said...

Love the Prisoner references! (Right down to the jackets the band is wearing.) I went to Portmeiron once, just to see this bizarre Welsh resort where the Prisoner had been filmed. Knowing that XTC had filmed videos there would have been an extra thrill.

Alex said...

Hmmmm.... I guess the Prisoner references went right over my head (never really saw any episodes until last year) until you pointed them out. Thanks, Holly.