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Swindon Evening Advertiser, 21 March 2003

Tribute to XTC

MANY bands came and went with the new wave of popular music in the late 1970s.

But one group of four young men proved to be stayers on the music scene.

Swindon's very own XTC have been an enduring force since 1977 and even now, as a two-piece, continue to write and perform.

With a strong cult following, it was only a matter of time before a tribute band popped up now X-sTatiC will be performing in XTC's hometown.

The band was formed when drummer, guitarist and singer Dan Barrow was driving home to London along the M4 and was playing the album Nonsuch as he drove past Swindon.

It was like a switch inside his head had turned a light on Dan would create a tribute to his favourite band, XTC.

"It was a concrete tree of an idea," said Dan, 28.

"I could form an XTC mark II. A ground force that goes out into the field and wages the battle formulated by the generals and majors in their red-bricked fortresses," added the musician enthusiastically, referencing some of the band's songs.

Dan sought out like-minded musicians, formulated set lists, demos and gigs, and he found it a lot more difficult than he had envisaged. But in the end it was worth all the trials and tribulations.

"XTC were one of the reasons I quit corporate journalism to become a broke drummer," he said.

It took Dan a year to get X-sTatiC up and running.

And now he says he gets a kick out of playing his favourite tunes with other people.

"The thing is listening to XTC is a very personal thing. So to get together and play with others it's like having your thoughts read," said Dan.

Their first gig was The Hope and Anchor in London and they went down a storm with XTC fans crawling out of the woodwork to see them.

Bass player Ed Percival said: "We put the word out over the internet, so we had no idea how many people would be interested in coming to see a tribute to XTC. We were so nervous because we had all put so much work into getting it to sound just right. We sold the place out."

Dan moved back to singer and guitarist in the band when drummer Adrian Ogden joined X-sTatiC. Mick Casey is the other guitarist and backing vocalist.

X-sTatic will be playing some of XTC's best known songs, including Making Plans For Nigel, Senses Working Overtime and Sgt Rock, at Riffs Bar, Greatfield, between Purton and Wootton Bassett, tonight. Entry is free.

"This is an incredibly important gig for us," said Dan. "XTC stopped playing live in 1983 and it is our mission to bring all those great songs back to life for fans old and new. Playing in Swindon feels like a homecoming, because that is where it all started."

Flicky Harrison, Swindon Evening Advertiser, 21 March 2003.

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