XTC’s Andy Partridge Recalls the End of His Live Career
XTC co-founder Andy Partridge looked back at the moment he knew he played his final show and said, “My dream had died.”
The British new wave band was just about to start a North American tour in 1982 that was expected to take them to the next level of success. Instead, Partridge fell ill and wound up in the hospital before any of the shows took place, ending XTC’s live career and plunging them into heavy debt.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, the singer and guitarist said the root of the issue was his attempt to come off valium, which was prescribed to him as a child when he struggled to deal with his mother’s mental health issues. “It was the ‘60s,” he explained. “‘Poor kid’s upset, his mum’s loopy, why not stick him on valium?’ I became addicted.”
In 1981 Partridge forced himself off the drug but then experienced other side effects. “Over the next year, my brain melted,” he said, adding that he suffered memory loss and physical disability and that his management and record label ignored his requests for help. “I was laying them a golden egg,” he noted.
While XTC never performed again onstage after Partridge's 1982 collapse, they went on to record a series of albums before splitting in 2006. “My love of making records came to the fore once I knew they didn’t have to be built for reproduction,” Partridge said. “Being in a drinking gang that saw the world was thrilling, but it paled quickly.”
Now 70, he’s just released an archival collection of holiday songs, My Failed Christmas Career, but he noted that he’s stopped writing new music. Saying he’s lost “the anger of the fight” and entered his “withdrawal years,” Partridge explained, “It’s difficult because it’s just a feeling. It’s just ‘getting old’ shit.” He added that he was “waiting for my music mojo to return, in between researching UFO events.”
Looking back at his time with XTC, Partridge said, “I’d hate you to think I’m knocking anyone in the band. I love them to bits. An only child, I never knew the brother thing, but they were my brothers.”