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The Dukes of Stratosphear

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In 1985, the British pop band XTC recorded an EP of affectionate parodies of '60s psychedelia and guitar pop called 25 O'Clock. Instead of releasing the EP under their own name, they released the record under a new moniker: the Dukes of Stratosphear. Working with producer John Leckie, all three members of the group adopted pseudonyms -- Andy Partridge was Sir John Johns, Colin Moulding was the Red Curtain, and David Gregory was Lord Cornelius Plum. For this one project, Gregory's brother Ian joined the band under the name E.I.E.I. Owen. The EP was released without mention of XTC's name anywhere on the record, and the group members claimed they had nothing to do with the project. Two years after the appearance of 25 O'Clock, the Dukes of Stratosphear released a full album, Psonic Psunspot. By the time Psonic Psunspot appeared in 1987, XTC had begun to admit in interviews that they were indeed the Dukes of Stratosphear. Later in 1987, both the EP and album were released on a single compact disc, Chips from the Chocolate Fireball. XTC then resumed working under their regular name, issuing new material throughout the 1990s and early 2000s before splitting up in 2005. Four years later, expanded versions of Psonic Psunspot and 25 O'Clock appeared via Partridge's own label, Ape House Records. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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