XTC for Hump Day. Looking over the past few years of posts, the one band which seems to get the most exposure has been XTC. Not sure why, all I know is they have been one of my favorite bands for years and, as far as I’m concerned, you can never get too much of them.
This session for John Peel comes from October 8, 1979, shortly after the release of Drums and Wires (in August) and ahead of their first U.S. tour March 1980). Drums and Wires gave us Making Plans For Nigel, which became a moderate hit in the U.S. and certainly paved the way for a good turnout.
Aside from the now-legendary stories of Andy Partridge’s stage fright and high anxiety over playing live, XTC had a huge culut following, and were very highly regarded by “those in the know” in the States. I ran one of their Bay Area concerts from this tour and the reception was just short of ecstatic.
Sadly, their touring and live performing days would be pretty much over by 1982, the result of an ill-fated U.S. tour and a nervous breakdown on stage in Paris from Partridge. The pressures of touring and performing live saw a retreat to the studio environment, where they became a recording-only band. With very few broadcast appearances via Radio and TV.
The move away from a live-performance setting brought changes of personnel within the band and would eventually lead to a breakup in 2006. So even though many consider the period of 1977-1982 to be the Golden Age of XTC, they managed to keep it together and release some substantial material all through the 80s and 90s.
For those of you who missed them the first time around, XTC are a band to investigate and they should be high on your list. They were hard to pigeonhole, and maybe that’s the best compliment you can give a band.
Enjoy the session.