Of everything and everyone to have ever come from Swindon, there are few examples as successful or as enduring as XTC.

Founded in 1972 by frontman Andy Partridge and bassist Colin Moulding, the musical outfit grew and grew throughout the 1970s alongside the birth of punk and new wave.

After the additions of drummer Terry Chambers and guitarist Dave Gregory, the local lads became a household name.

A group that did not fit into contemporary trends, XTC found success with a unique sound which still feels fresh to this day, decades later.

Swindon Advertiser: XTC circa 1981, from left: Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Dave Gregory and Terry Chambers.XTC circa 1981, from left: Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, Dave Gregory and Terry Chambers.

Following a run of 12 eclectic studio albums, the band eventually split in 2006.

All four longstanding members of the Swindon outfit sat down to speak to the Adver for the first time to talk about their legacy in the town among other topics.

Reminders of the band remain throughout the railway town with the latest being a mural painted by local artist Dayna Baxter in April 2023.

The artwork depicts the vibrant sleeve for XTC’s third album ‘Drums and Wires’ which was released in 1979 and features their major hit single ‘Making Plans for Nigel’.

Swindon Advertiser: Artist Dayna Baxter with his painted XTC mural in Carfax Street, Swindon.Artist Dayna Baxter with his painted XTC mural in Carfax Street, Swindon. (Image: Newsquest)

Dayna’s mural has been viewed by all four musicians with guitarist Dave Gregory even going to visit the art in person.

“I have seen the mural and I've had my photograph taken in front of it,” he said.

“I'm very glad as the artist did a really fine job because that sleeve art for Drums and Wires sums up XTC even though we evolved and we changed.

“For me, that image straight away shows exactly what is in the tin if you like.

“It's been a long time coming but that mural is very temporary because as soon as those hoardings come down it’s gone.

“I'd like to think that someone will take that piece of hoarding and stick it somewhere permanent because, in all modesty, I think the band deserves some recognition in the town.”

Swindon Advertiser: Dave Gregory went to visit the Swindon mural in person.Dave Gregory went to visit the Swindon mural in person. (Image: Dave Gregory)

Frontman Andy added: “I'm aware of the mural and I'm delighted by it.

“I haven't seen it 'in person' to run my jammy hands over it yet, but it looks great in photos.”

“It’s nice to be thought of favourably by our own town of course,” said Colin.

“My relatives have seen it and told me about it but I haven't been around that way for quite some years.”

Terry remarked: “No, I haven't seen it in person but I'm aware that it's out there somewhere.

“It’s nice as it reminds people I guess that there was something pretty special about it.”

Swindon Advertiser: XTC were founded in 1972 but came to have their most recognisable line-up in 1979.XTC were founded in 1972 but came to have their most recognisable line-up in 1979.

Alongside the mural, the band’s songs can still often be heard being played in pubs around the town on nights out.

Undoubtedly a legacy has been left by Swindon’s four sons in their hometown and the group acknowledges this with pride.

“It’s nice to leave a legacy of any sort as we’re only here for a short time and if you’ve made your mark then that’s fantastic,” said Colin.

“Thanks to all the people who have kept the legacy alive and my appreciation to all of those people who have.”

Andy added: “My little pigeon chest glows with warmth when I think that folks have said they are proud to be from the same town as XTC.

“Hopefully our impact has been felt in a broader fallout radius than just Swindon though but it's a good feeling that the good folk of the town can now demonstrate their affection for us openly."

Swindon Advertiser: St. Peter's Church in Penhill where Colin Moulding attended Friday night youth dances in his teenage years.St. Peter's Church in Penhill where Colin Moulding attended Friday night youth dances in his teenage years. (Image: Dave Cox)

Terry said: “To think that these songs in general still stand up today is great because some songs feel a bit dated but ours still hold their own.

“It’s nice that people associate us with the town as we've always been proud of the town and it just goes to show that you don't have to necessarily come from either Manchester, Birmingham or London to make a success.”

Dave added: “We weren't the town's darlings by any means so it’s taken a long time to get any kind of record recognition locally, never mind respect.

“But it's lovely if people have genuinely fond associations with the band and our music because we’ve never pretended to come from anywhere else, we're quite happy living here.”

Swindon has of course drastically changed since the four friends grew up and it is a very different town to the one that was in the past.

With all four members still living in or close to the town, their opinions on the current state of Swindon were mixed.

Swindon Advertiser: XTC dressed up in Great Western Railway outfits.XTC dressed up in Great Western Railway outfits. (Image: Colin Moulding Collection)

“The unvarnished truth is that I think a massive opportunity has been squandered when I think of all the beautiful architecture that's been torn down or left to rot,” said Andy.

“With some thought and imagination, we could have been a red brick Bath, a little jewel of Victorian beauty.

“But no, all of the wretched, 60's, 70's and 80's comedy architecture got thrown up. It truly offends my eye the beauty I've seen destroyed.

“It's also a shame that the town centre has become a war zone after dark, but that seems to be the fate of many towns. The people of Swindon are good folk.”

Colin agreed: “Swindon has changed hugely as it was a lot smaller obviously and it was just a quaint little red brick town when we were growing up but now it's exploded.

“I don't know half the places, certainly on the perimeter and I don't go to town often but I have to say you know from what I can gather, it's a bit of a mess at the moment.

“There's a bit of deprivation I think at the moment what with people's incomes shrinking and not a lot of investment in the town. So yeah, it's not our finest hour at the moment.”

Swindon Advertiser: The mural on Corporation Street is dedicated to the band and their impact on the town.The mural on Corporation Street is dedicated to the band and their impact on the town. (Image: Dave Cox)

Terry added: “I think for the size of the town it’s certainly missing some decent live venues.

“The whole music scene in this town considering the size of it now should be a lot healthier.

“Unfortunately that's not the case and the actual town centre of Swindon is a pretty depressing place to be in to be quite honest.

“I don’t think it has improved too much other than more houses being here.”

Providing a more positive outlook, Dave said: “There's a lot of worse places you could live and I really like the fact that you have got a nice balance of city and countryside.

“You've got this shopping centre and the railway works with Swindon’s amazing railway heritage, it's great that that's all been preserved.

“I think that's wonderful so we've got that so that's really what the town has to be most proud of.”

Swindon Advertiser: XTC's original line-up for their first two albums, featuring Barry Andrews (second from left).XTC's original line-up for their first two albums, featuring Barry Andrews (second from left). (Image: Newsquest)One major question that remains amongst XTC’s fanbase is whether or not the band would ever have some form of reunion or release new music.

Having put that very question to the four members, the answers differed somewhat but a mutual appreciation of each other and what was done in the past between them was evident.

“I think we've all got our own things going as I do sessions at the moment and I’d want to do another EP probably next year as well of my own,” said Colin.

“As for reforming now, I can't see it really because we've all got different agendas because Terry wants to tour and Andy doesn’t and nor do I so it's hard to reconcile that really.

“Never say never I suppose because with the internet you're able to record remotely with one another and that could quite feasibly happen with the memories of XTC.

“We could each individually record our parts at home and then somebody could mix it so that’s a possibility.”

Swindon Advertiser: XTC with their original line-up in the 1970s.XTC with their original line-up in the 1970s.

Terry, who now regularly tours with his band EXTC, playing covers of the band’s original songs, remarked: “It wouldn’t be a problem for me as I’m still playing live regularly but as for the others, ask them.

“My feeling is no, it will never happen.”

Dave similarly believes it depends on the others and said: “I'd be prepared for the four of us just to get together for a photo session just for posterity's sake.

“If everyone was into it, I would join in but I'm not going to force it and I'm not even going to suggest it.

“I mean I would jump at the chance, but I think Andy is very aware of these men in their 60s and older going out and trying to be his energetic and usual self as they were in their heyday.

“It would be nice but it won’t happen unless it’s Andy’s idea.”

Swindon Advertiser: Colin and Terry as part of TC&I in 2016.Colin and Terry as part of TC&I in 2016. (Image: TC&I collection)

So what does Andy genuinely think of a potential reunion for Swindon’s four musical heroes in the future?

"Personally, that would horrify me, other than for just a kickabout,” he revealed.

“Some of the saddest sights you will see, and hear, are old, fat, bald, hoarse pop groups, waddling around a stage, in front of people trying to relive their youth.

“Move on folks, get your feet out of the nostalgia swamp, it's deadly.

“I'd leave XTC as it is, a perfectly flawed historical event that left much good music in our vapour trail.

“The future belongs to the young.”