Jan 10 2013, 05:14 PM
-The "Holy Grail" of XTC transcriptions! From the master himself! This is TOO COOL for words. Figuring out this song has vexed me and just about everybody else in the world and on line from what I can tell, and it is SO GREAT to get the actual chords from the author. Thank you, THANK YOU
Here's the only decent tab I could find on line. Not quite accurate, but it has a bit of Dave's part as well:http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/x/xtc/road...e_globe_tab.htm
Andy's part is in the right speaker, and Dave's part is in the left.
I have taken the liberty of tentatively naming Andy's chords, and attempting to begin deciphering Dave & Colin's parts.
(I'm using the "Drums & Wires" studio recording, not a live one.)
If anyone figures out more accurate parts and better chord names, PLEASE
This is just a start in figuring out this wonderfully discordant, harmonically intense, one-of-a-kind song. ***********************************
ANDY'S INTRO 1****
22.214.171.124.7.7 (G6maj7 over B bass)
126.96.36.199.8.8 (G6sus4 over B bass)
188.8.131.52.10.10 (G6/9 over B bass)
184.108.40.206.7.7 (G6maj7 over B bass)
220.127.116.11.8.8 (G6sus4 over B bass)
18.104.22.168.10.10 (G6/9 over B bass)
then I think you throw in a little octave break, maybe x.x.0.0.12.12 (G6)?
…and then repeat the above.ANDY'S CHORUS****
ROADS x.22.214.171.124.4 (B6)
GIR...... x.126.96.36.199.4 (B6/C#)
…DLE….0.x.x.x.x.x (E note)
THE……2.x.x.x.x.x (F# note)
GLOBE 188.8.131.52.4.4 (B6/G#)
…x.x.x.0.x.x (G note)
IN YOUR..184.108.40.206.x.x (G6)
CONCRETE ROBE.....220.127.116.11.2.2 (F#m/maj7)
then the single line run on top E string 4-2-4-2, B string 3-2
(notes: G# F# G# F#, D C#)
x.0.4.4.4.4 (B6 over A bass)
18.104.22.168.4.4 (B6 over G bass)
22.214.171.124.1.1 (Bb6/9 over F bass)
ROADS x.126.96.36.199.4 (B6)
GIR...... x.188.8.131.52.4 (B6/C#)
…DLE….0.x.x.x.x.x (E note)
THE……2.x.x.x.x.x (F# note)
GLOBE 184.108.40.206.4.4 (B6/G#)ANDY'S INTRO 2: REPEAT INTRO ONE
…except I think your break halfway through is x.x.0.0.14.14 (Gmaj7b5/D)?
…then the VERSE****
…which I cannot for the life of me figure out! ***********************************
(Here's my go at) DAVE'S INTRO PART****
I think Dave plays something like this against Andy's intro part, but this probably isn't completely accurate:
and then repeats.DAVE'S CHORUS PART (?)****
In the chorus, I think he plays pretty much what Andy plays, except after "Concrete Robe" he moves the chords down in whole tones along with Andy's bass notes, something possibly like:
(A general description of) COLIN'S INTRO PART****
He's sliding between D & G and then E & G on the same string, something like:
3.x.x.x (G)COLIN'S CHORUS PART****
He's following Andy's low notes except for pedaling a B after the riff.
"We're safe in your" he arpeggiates a G6 chord upward,
then an F#m pentatonic riff downward,
and on those descending whole tone chords he slides thusly:
F#-B, x.9.x.x - x.2.x.x
A-A, x.12.x.x - x.0.x.x
G-G, 15.x.x.x - 3.x.x.x
F-F, 13.x.x.x - 1.x.x.x***********************************
As I said, I have NO idea how the verses go.
But I MAY be close on the "Steer me" Bridge.
(Kinda scared to post this, but I trust the Master will correct me.)BRIDGE (?)****
Apparently Dave moves to synth, and Andy's guitar is centered in the mix, possibly playing (twice) something like:
x.x.x.3.x.x (Bb note)
x.x.x.2.x.x (A note)
…then moves up two frets doing the same pattern twice:
x.x.x.5.x.x (C note)
x.x.x.4.x.x (B note)
Then this whole bridge progression repeats and crescendos into the chorus.***********************************
Jan 10 2013, 11:07 PM
Here's Andy's 2008 MySpace discussion with Todd Bernhardt:
TB: Let's talk about "Roads Girdle the Globe."
AP: Well, I've done some research for you! [fake German accent] Jah! It vas fun sewing together ze twins, but I had to put zem down and start the correct research!
TB: Good, you can be our Rhodes Scholar.
AP: Exactly. I knew you were going to ask me why I wrote this song, but I needed to find something out before I could answer. Right after the Go 2 album, I lived in a couple of rooms at 12 Manchester Road, in Swindon -- which is I think the nearest Swindon gets to a red-light district, actually -- with my girlfriend at the time, Marianne, who later became my wife. I was staying up late one night, and I saw a foreign film on television, which was the main spark to writing "Roads Girdle the Globe." For years, I haven't been able to identify what the film was, but I did some research yesterday, and I identified it. It's a Finnish film from 1970, by a filmmaker who also wrote it. His name is Risto Jarva, and the Finnish title of the movie is "Bensaa Suonissa." The English title was "Gas in the Veins."
I can remember very little about the film, other than it's about a car-crazy couple, I think. I think it's a bit of a proto-"Crash" -- which I never saw, but you read so many reviews of a film, you almost feel like you've seen it. So it was this early car-crazy couple film -- car equals sex, you know. Watching this Finnish film, something clicked in my head: Wouldn't it be greatly cynical to write a hymn to the motorcar? Because a lot of people treat cars like a religion. They have to have the correct car, all they talk about is their car, they watch car programs, they get car magazines...
TB: They wash it, they polish it...
AP: Oh yeah, they adore it. It's the altar of the garage. For some people, it's really a religious experience, but I never got that. Because I'm not interested in cars one jot. A car is a car! I'm almost like that with guitars -- whereas Dave, for example, is kind of guitar-crazy. He'll try to talk to me about guitars, and I can almost feel myself closing down, because it's just a plank with wires that helps you write a song, you know? It's the same with cars for me -- it's just a thing that gets you from A to B.
TB: Now, the thing about guitars can't be completely true, because you have to have some amount of anthropomorphic love for your Ibanez, I would imagine. It's been with you a long time.
AP: I have a nostalgic attachment to it. I mean, if that got stolen or broken, I'd feel a little upset. But the level I'm talking about with cars -- you know how crazy it gets. People lose all sense of proportion when it comes to cars, and car worship.
And so, with that car worship, I thought, "Okay, let me write a cynical hymn to the motorcar, if the motorcar could write it itself." It's really the car saying, "Oh, thank goodness there are roads everywhere, and thank goodness it's all been sacrificed for the road, and for my benefit," you know? The holy trinity for the car is...
TB: Oil, iron and steel.
AP: Yeah. "Hail Mother Motor, hail piston rotor, hail wheel!" It's one of these weird sort of holy-trinity things. [adopts whiny pedantic voice] "Well, it's three things, but it's really one thing." [laughs] "So, what do you mean -- is it three things or one thing?" [same voice] "It's three things and one thing."
TB: [laughing] "It's a mystery."
AP: [laughing] "It's a mystery! Nobody understands it. Just shut up and believe it. Send me your money and believe it."
TB: [laughing] Exactly. You have three verses in this song -- did you do that on purpose? Was that part of the whole trinity thing?
AP: No, I think it just probably felt too long with more! [laughs] I was reading a lot about the Futurists at the time -- you know, the Italian art movement? The sort of thing they would write would be in praise of speed, and motorcars, and machines. I think there were big dollops of that in there as well -- so, the lyrics are quasi-Futurist.
TB: I wanted to ask you about the syntax you use in the lyrics.
AP: It's like badly translated Italian Futurist manifestos! [chuckles] That's the syntax.
TB: You do this on later songs, too, like "Shake You Donkey Up" -- here, you say things like, "you every race," or "we all safe in your concrete robe."
AP: I guess I just like that disconnect. It's like you've already put the lyrics through a translator. You want to have some fun? Take your favorite lyric, put it into an online translator tool, then translate to Japanese, then to Finnish, then to Italian, then back to English and then read it. It's great fun. It gets so removed, you know? Chinese whispers to the Nth degree. I like that disconnect! I wanted it to be like some of the Italian Futurist manifestos about speed and cars and mechanical things. Because that was the future in 1913 -- it was speed and cars and aeroplanes...
TB: All the potential that technology presented.
AP: Sure, and you can see why it would have been exciting! Of course, you read them now, and they're very naive. It's that kind of naive praise of cars and concrete that I was lampooning.
TB: It's the pre-World War I view of technology, I guess -- after the war, everyone was then able to see the dark side of technology.
AP: Yeah, the mincing machine.
TB: Let's talk about the contrast between this album and White Music and Go 2. Those two first albums are very straightforward and simple, but as I was listening to this song today, I was thinking, "Wow, there are a lot of layers to this."
AP: Well, the instrumentation is quite simple -- it's basically two guitar, bass and drums -- but I wanted it to sound like metal and cars. Like, musically, if cars were making the music. So the chords do crash and grate against each other.
TB: Yeah, I think this song is a really great first glimpse at what's going to happen on Black Sea, where you and Dave come up with these very dissonant yet very complementary guitar parts.
AP: Sure. It was something that I was particularly thrilled by on this song, because everyone's part sat together great. I'd forgotten the bass and drums until yesterday, when I listened to the song on headphones. I thought, "Wow! That bass part is really good, too! Not only do you have two complex guitar parts crashing and colliding and scraping together, but you have this lovely cyclical drum part and a very snaky, melodic bass line." He's probably more melodic than Dave or I are being.
TB: And he's got a really cool, biting tone on this, too. Was there anything special he did on this song that you remember?
AP: I don't know what instrument he's playing -- I don't think it's the Newport, because it sounds too metallic. Maybe a Fender bass? I was playing a Fender Bronco, which is a poor man's Stratocaster. I think I swapped that guitar for a bass, so I could potentially do some bass playing on demos.
I'm on the right channel, with the slightly wiry sound, and Dave's on the left-hand channel. Let me see what I'm doing here [grabs guitar, starts playing] -- I'm playing a high thing in B, with open strings ringing in the middle. It's rather dissonant -- it's like an exotic B-minor, with a C and G thing in there. Difficult to describe.
TB: It's funny that when you play these parts for me over the phone, on acoustic, by itself it's very pretty and jazzy sounding, but when you and Dave are banging against each other on electric guitars, with bass and drums in there, it's something else entirely. You wouldn't think it had any relationship to Jazz, but it does.
AP: Right, when you pull the actual pieces apart, they're quite nice things. Because the main motif thing -- [plays the part underpinning the "roads girdle the globe" part] -- if you played it with a Samba or something behind it, it might be quite pretty! [chuckles] But, instead, Dave and I are purposely crashing into each other with a couple of stock-car guitars. "Wow, isn't that great, the way that Fender tore up that door!" We wanted it to sound metally and car-y -- as if cars could play guitars.
But, returning to my notes -- it's the closest we ever got to Captain Beefheart, I think. Because of the orchestration of the guitars and bass.
TB: I could see that, except for the fact that the rhythm is so regular.
AP: It is a very regular rhythm. I actually really like the tempo of it -- I used to love playing it live. Plus, listening to it yesterday, for the first time in ages -- when the first few bars came in, I thought, "Bloody hell, it's a bit like the Talking Heads for the first few bars!" It's kind of got that [mimics early TH approach] -- you know, you sort of expect me to twitter on, [high, David Byrne voice] "I'm cleaning! I'm cleaning my car!" You know there was a thing in some newspaper in England recently, about their album "More Songs about Buildings and Food," and the fuckers didn't mention that I thought of the title! Bastards.
Oh, and I did something stupid -- lunchtime, I did that thing where you sort of check your credentials, because there was a Sunday supplement in the cafe, when I went in and had a coffee, and I thought, "Ooh, 'England's 50 Best Songwriters'! I've got to make the Top 50, surely!" I sat and read the supplement, and was I in the Top 50? [chuckles ruefully] Fuck it, no. And yet, some of the people that were in there -- "What's that person doing in there? What the fuck is Pete Doherty doing in there?" He's one of England's Top 50 shitheads, you know?
TB: I was going to say -- "Top 50 Heroin Addicts."
AP: Yeah, it just goes to prove you shouldn't check your own credentials, because you're going to be in for a slap. The really annoying thing is, the second I die off, people are going to go, "Hey, do you know, they were quite good!"
TB: [laughing] "I'm going to buy lots of their albums!"
AP: "I'm going to buy lots of their albums -- it's a shame he died!" You just know it's going to go like that! Bitches. [laughs]
TB: [laughing] So, I wanted to mention that, for me, this song comes closest to what you guys achieved in terms of the mix -- the Big Sound -- on Black Sea.
AP: Yeah, at the time, this was my favorite track on Drums and Wires. I thought that, if you cut that album down the middle, this was sort of at the core of it. It is very drummy and very wiry!
TB: Were you the one who came up with the album title?
AP: Yeah. It was celebrating the guitar line-up, you know? Plus, we knew we wanted more of an emphasis on the drums, because we were a little frustrated that we didn't get that so much with John Leckie.
TB: But obviously that was a big part of your sound live.
AP: That was a big part of our sound. It was like, "Why can't we get that on record? Let's try to find somebody who can get this on record." This album was a big jump toward it. We wanted to celebrate the move away from keyboards back to the primitive twang and thump.
TB: I also like the title because it boils it down to what every band is -- even if you have keyboards, it's still wires, you know? Everything is drums and wires.
AP: We were going to call the album Boom Dada Boom. I'd been reading about the Futurists, I'd been reading Dada-ism, because I liked the mischievous nature of it, and then, in The Beano, a kid's comic, I saw a picture of Dennis the Menace's dog -- this is the English Dennis the Menace, who's very different than the American one. He's much more Satanic -- he's got dark, spiky hair, and he's got a dog called Gnasher, and I think he's got a pig called Rasher who was a later addition. In one frame of the comic, Gnasher was playing a drum set, and just smashing the shit out of it, and it said above it, "Boom Dada Boom." I thought, "We've got to have that as the cover." But then someone said, "Oh no, Beano won't let you use the drawing," and all that, so it was a matter of, "Alright, we'll come up with something else."
TB: You were talking before about how you viewed this song as the core of the album -- is that why it ends side one of the LP?
AP: I tend to think in terms of openers and closers. That's how I'll put an album together -- "What's a great opener, what's a great closer?" When it was vinyl, I could do that for each side.
TB: And you have two great closers on this album, because "Complicated Game" is also a great one.
AP: Yeah, we got lucky on this one.
TB: So, tell me about the "Vernon Yard Male Voice Choir," which sings the "bo-bo-bop-bo-bo" part.
AP: That was everybody we could rustle up at the time. We were being visited by two A&R men from Virgin -- the legendary Al Clark, and an Australian chap called Laurie Dunn. They're on there, plus all of the band, our two roadies -- Steve and Jeff -- and I've got a funny feeling that Hugh Padgham's in there as well. Either Hugh's in there, and Steve Lillywhite is working the tape machines, or the other way around. So, there are nine people, and we may have even tracked it up a couple of times, because I wanted it to sound moronic. "Don't sing too in-tune." It's one of those.
TB: I wanted to ask you about your own vocals on this -- it sounds as if you're doubling up, and there are times where you're trying to sing a little out of tune with yourself, to "broaden" the note, to make it a bit dissonant.
AP: Do you know, I never twigged that from listening yesterday. I just thought, "Jesus, this is the epitome of 'seal bark' in places!" Johann Sebastian Sealbach! [laughs] Sorry.
But I think I wanted it to have a desperate edge. I didn't want it to sound comfortable.
AP: Because they're killing machines! They're destroying the planet. They're stalking the planet, like modern, mechanical wolves. How many people do they kill each day?
TB: [sarcastically] Oh, cars don't kill people, people kill people.
AP: [laughs] Okay, well, you get out of the car, and let's see how many people you can kill then. If you put that gun down, let's see how many people you can kill.
So, yeah, I wanted it to sound scary, frightening. I wanted it to sound like the uncomfortable thing it is. I mean, how many lives -- and how many towns, for that matter -- have been sacrificed to the car? English towns have been gutted, they've been filleted, all for the sake of the car. I'm on my high horse a bit at the moment, but England has been sacrificed at the altar of the motorcar, and I'm sure a lot of other countries can claim the same thing as well.
TB: Let me ask you about the volume change at the beginning of the song. Why did you do that?
AP: Yeah, that was me saying, "Look, can we have the intro so when we get to the "roads girdle the globe" motif, that really crashes. You know, you get comfortable with it during the intro, and then it's, whoop, up the fader comes, and the whole track kicks in a bit more for that motif.
TB: And, as you say, it's mostly guitars, bass and drums, but there is keyboard during the bridge.
AP: Yeah, the little monophonic Korg. Just for a slight change of atmosphere. And that's the "Steer me, Anna" bit, which was for my ex-wife, Marianne.
So, back to my notes -- did you know this song is made up of major 7ths, which are immensely cheesy chords. But they're an inversion of major 7ths that seem to bypass -- good car analogy there, "bypass" -- the cheese! Because major 7ths are -- you know that group America? "Horse with No Legs" and all that? But their songs are full of that stuff [plays some chords on guitar] -- I hate those cheesy chords!
"Roads Girdle the Globe" is full of those chords [plays underpinning of verse], but I just stumbled into an inversion that just seems more linear, and not as sickly. It's got more bite to it.
TB: And if you and Dave are also creating one uber-guitar part with your two guitars, that helps too, I'd think.
AP: Yeah, you're right. It's totally burned off any cheese, I think. I'll tell you the notes -- in ascending order, it's D, G-flat, D-flat. So, it's one of the few times I ever used a major 7th, but I didn't realize it was. I don't know much about music theory, really. It's all naive art for me.
Do you know Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin's version of this?
TB: Yep, I do.
AP: It was reading an interview with Dave Stewart, where he was talking about this song, and that's where he pulled out the fact that it was major 7ths, which I'd never realized -- I mean, at that point in time, I really didn't know what the hell I was playing. He said, "Oh, I love the fact that they've done these inversions that don't sound cheesy."
And I quite like the cover -- he made it much more like the plush interior of a car. I think we were doing the metal door panels, while he did the nice, comfortable seats and things. I was very pleased that he did it, I was really flattered, but the end product was a little bit like that group Dollar -- they were an early Trevor Horn-produced Pop group thing, all very lush synthesizers and programmed songs. It was unusual to hear Dave Stewart take this big, clangorous, industrial Futurist song and make it more like Dollar.
TB: He's quite a musician. I was a big fan of his because he'd played with Bill Bruford, and I got to hang out with him and Barbara a little bit when a band of mine opened for them back in the early '90s.
AP: Ah, so you didn't come at him from the Egg angle, then?
TB: No, I found out about Egg because of the Bruford/Stewart connection, then listened to them afterwards. Actually, Bruford enlisted Stewart's help on his initial solo albums because Stewart is so knowledgeable about music theory. So, it's interesting to hear you say that's how you found out about the theory behind your own chords!
AP: Yeah, I had to read it in an interview with somebody else! "Oh, is that what I did? Oh, he's right, I did do that!" How degrading. [chuckles] That's another thing you shouldn't read your own press about.
©2008 Todd Bernhardt and Andy Partridge. All rights reserved.
Oct 18 2013, 03:04 AM
Todd B: This week we feature Mr. Dave Gregory's take on "Roads Girdle the Globe," which Andy discussed in early June. Originally on 1979's Drums and Wires, this version was recorded for the John Peel show on 8 October 1979, and is featured on Transistor Blast -- Disc 1, to be precise. (Yes, we've posted this before, but hey, it's a great version.)
Dave Gregory: The Drums and Wires LP was recorded and mixed in just 12 days in June 1979, except for the single "Making Plans for Nigel," which we spent a whole weekend on prior to the album sessions. It was only my third or fourth visit to a professional studio, and I could hardly believe my good fortune at the realisation that, at last, this was now my full-time occupation. No sooner had we toweled off following my debut tour with XTC -- which had begun in Exeter on April 18th, promoting the new single "Life Begins at the Hop" -- than we were back in rehearsals at the end of May to learn and arrange new songs for the album. There was a very happy, very positive vibe in the band and we couldn't wait to get back to work.
We'd enjoyed working with Steve Lillywhite and Hugh Padgham on the singles, so the choice of producer and engineer was a no-brainer. Virgin's Townhouse Studios were then brand new, and we gratefully availed ourselves of the state-of-the-art facility. The smaller Studio 2 was at the far end of the building, and we immediately felt at home there. It had a fantastic live room, perfect for recording Terry Chambers' brutal hammering; I remember Andy once saying to Hugh, "I want these drums to sound massive"-- of course, Hugh would later go on to record yet more massive-sounding drum kits in that very room. Because the studios were new, there was the odd sound-leakage problem that had yet to be corrected. In the big room next door, Jethro Tull were recording and word filtered back that Ian Anderson had been unable to successfully record his mandolin overdub due to Terry's battering of his drums from the live room of Studio 2!
One reason the D&W album was completed so quickly was that the songs had been thoroughly rehearsed and routined. Another reason was that there are very few overdubs; all the basic tracks were recorded live, using headphones but no click tracks. Punk rock, see? Four of the songs we'd already taken out on tour: "Life Begins at the Hop," "Making Plans for Nigel," "Outside World," and "Roads Girdle the Globe."
When Andy first brought "Roads" along to rehearsal I seriously wondered how we were ever going to make sense of it, much less so an audience. Its dissonant, jagged chords were bounced off a thrashing, metallic drum beat interwoven with a preposterously sinewy bass line. Only when Steve and Hugh were setting up the mix for the track did I suddenly hear and appreciate what Colin was playing there -- genius! He played a black Fender Mustang bass through a H+H bass amp with an Orange 4"x12" cabinet; Andy played a Fender Bronco guitar that I believe belonged to his then brother-in-law Robbie Wyborn (Andy's in the right-hand channel); I used my '63 Strat, bridge pickup (threw switch to neck position for the middle 8) through my '62 Tremolux amp (I'm in the left-hand channel). Terry was still using his kit of black Premier drums.
And on top of all this was the vocal. Andy's impassioned rant against the cult of the motor car, with the famous seal-bark at full throttle. I always looked forward to the a capella "roads girdle the glowwwwb!", followed by Chambers' metallic tom-flam, that heralds the coda. We "got" the take on the second pass, broke for dinner, then returned -- refreshed -- with a posse of blokes from Virgin Records to help out on the choruses (we insisted they sang for their supper). I remember us all gathering in the live room behind Terry's drums, drinks in hand; even Hugh joined in, while Steve manned the board.
We all loved playing this song live, despite management pressure to drop it -- it had none of the hit potential they wanted from us -- and it remained in the set for most of our touring years.
©2008 by Todd Bernhardt and Dave Gregory. All Rights Reserved.