Say It's Your Birthday: XTC's Andy Partridge

Today is the birthday of XTC guitarist and vocalist Andy Partridge, born in

Malta in 1953.

Partridge, along with Colin Moulding (bass) and Terry Chambers (drums) were

all former members of the Swindon, Wiltshire based Star Park rock band,

when they changed their name at the height of the punk boom to the Helium

Kidz, hiring King Crimson keyboardist Barry Andrews to round out there

sound. Another name change to XTC, and the quartet signed to

Virgin Records and released an EP titled 3D. In 1978 they recorded

their first album, White Music in a week, and claimed their place as

the spiritual inheritors of mid-to-late '60s psychedelic pop (think

Revolver and Pet Sounds) The LP charted at #38.

Their follow-up, Go2 was even further out, and more menacing; stomping

on rock conventions as they sang their nervous, hyperactive songs. XTC

songs tread into deep waters, addressing such mature subject matter

as parenting, religion, and class-structure, with an alternating views of

wonder and skepticism. On Drums And Wires, the band proved they

could make commercial-sounding music without sacrificing their considerable

intelligence. Barry Andrews left, replaced by guitarist Dave

Gregory. Drummer

Chambers exited in 1982 and they continued along as a trio, releasing

The Big Express , in which the band

lamented about life in the big city, and celebrated the alternative ("The

Everyday Story Of Smalltown"). But that's not to say XTC was bucolic and

soft--rather they expressed their wry sentiments accompanied by

full-blasting rock. Todd Rundgren produced

Skylarking to mixed reviews. They've since produced three more albums,

continuing to transfix fans with their durable pop and intelligent

lyrics. Some go so far as to call them the best purveyors of pop rock

of the '80s and early '90s. It is also the birthday of Cris Dreja

(Yardbirds), and Jesse Colin Young.