The Dukes Of Stratosphear were a side project of XTC that was started as a joke, and which ended up bringing a fair share of recognition to them. Basically, Andy and producer John Leckie had been hired to helm a record by Christian artist Mary Margaret O’ Hara. For circumstances too hilarious and too long to reproduce here, the pair were sacked hours before their work was to begin. Having had their agendas disrupted, they decided to employ the time on their hands to do some psychedelic recordings under a different moniker. The name “The Dukes Of Stratosphear” had been around for a long time, actually, as it was one of the names which were weighed up before the “I’m in ecs-ta-sy ba-bee!” incident that settled everything down for good.
The drummer for the project was Ian Gregory, Dave’s younger sibling. They all had alternative egos for the sessions – Andy was “Sir John Johns”, Colin was “The Red Curtain”, Dave was “Lord Cornelius Plum” and Ian picked the moniker “E.I.E.I Owen”. For years, the band denied that they were the Dukes, and if you have a look at the credits of “Skylarking” you will see an acknowledgement to “The Dukes of Stratosphear for letting us use their guitars”. Continue reading