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October 26, 1987 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-10-26

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The Michigan Daily-Monday, October 26, 1987- Page 9

(Continued from Page 7)
Thomas, the band evolved from the
pimply teen dilemnas of their early
singles (like "Final Solution") to the
metal machine mantras of The
Modern Dance and Dub Housing to
the art-rock eccentricities of The Art
of Walking and Song of the
Bailing Man, culminating in their
1982 dissolution.
The band that is currently touring
the U.S. bears as much resemblance
to David Thomas' backup band the
Wooden Birds as it does to the old
lineup of Pere Ubu. Original-Ubu
drummer Scott Kraus is the only
addition to the lineup that recorded
Thomas' Blame the Messenger
earlier this year without m u c h
fanfare, a group that included Ubu-
alumni Tony Maimone a n d
Ravenstine and fold-newcomers Jim
Jones and Chris Cutler. Why then
the sudden switch back to the
illustrious Ubu moniker?
"Well, it walked like a duck, and
it quacked like a duck, and it looked
like a duck, so it was a duck," says
Thomas. "Last year, the Wooden
Birds did a show with Scott (Krauss)
sitting in on drums, and we did some
different stuff. We thought it
sounded really good, so we asked
Scott to join us for the next Wooden
Birds album. We started working on
that project, deciding what it was
going to be and how we were going
to work it, and in the end, it was
basic ally Pere Ubu. We had known
years ago in our heart of hearts that
Pere Ubu would work again, so after



want to


a long debate we decided this was
probably it."
Unlike Britain's Wire, another
beloved bunch of late '70s gnarly
noisemakers who earlier this year
reincarnated themselves as the Pet
Shop Boys, Pere Ubu have no

Pere Ubu, including 'Go' (from The
Art of Walking ), 'Caligari's
Mirror,' 'On the Surface,' and
'Navvy' (from Dub Housing), 'Non-
Alignment Pact' and 'Over My
Head' (from The Modern Dance), and
'Heart of Darkness' and 'Final
Solution' (chronicled on Terminal
Tower ). We like our old material.
We're quite pleased with the entire
breadth of our product. In the end,
Pere Ubu is not songs or a particular
sound. It's a way of doing things, a
social-communal effort. We didn't
write material that was disposable,
that would become obsolete or
would be supplanted in our hearts by
something that was newer and more
modem and therefore 'better.' We
like it all. Pere U~bu set off to go
somewhere, and the songs along the
way are the tracks of our tears."
But why a resumption of Ubu
projects at this point, five years after
the sound of the smokestacks ceased
to exist?
"This is not a reunion," elucidates
Thomas. "This is Pere Ubu. We
won't fit this time as much as we
didn't fit last time. We know that
but it doesn't matter to us. We get
together because we create
something together that is valuable
and has worth to it. Unfortunately
there's a real need for the 'avant-
garage' again. There's a real need for

doing music that has worth, that
considers itself 'something.' What is
music supposed to be, just product?
Obsolescent new songs to be hits for
a while, with no intrinsic worth or
merit? Shouldn't music be
something that is an intimate form
of expression?"
"Music is a social intercourse,
with a certain amount of effort and
imagination on both sides of the
stage," continues Thomas. "When
you get that, you get a performance
that is memorable and has a
uniqueness, and a warmth, and a
raison d' etre. Music should be
complex, human-like
communication, rather than 'baby,
baby, baby, I can't live without
you.' That's just 'goo-goo, ga-ga,
gee-gee' type stuff. Music now has
the vocabulary and potentiality for
complex visions and depth of
communication and understanding.
I'm astounded that people are
satisfied with retreading the same old
stuff over and over again. We're not
looking to go back or repeat
something. We want to rock again.
We looked around at the general state
of things and said, 'we can do better
than this.' We're looking to
continue the business we left
unfinished. We're continuing down
the road we set out on."
Some of that unfinished business

includes recording a new LP as Pere
Ubu, to be called The Tenement
Year, releasing the long-awaited
second volume of Pere Ubu live
recordings, entitled One Man Drives
While the Other Man Screams, and
marketing a full-length video filmed
during the Art of Walking tour six
years ago.
As for their live performance
tonight, expect the unexpected.
"Ubu has always been exactly the
opposite at the point of what you

expect," explains Thomas. "When
we were doing our 'art' albums, the
actual concerts were very 'pop' and
'rock,' and when we were doing our
'rock' albums, the concerts were
very arty and weird. You can't trust
Ubu to do anything that seems
obvious. All you can expect from
Pere Ubu is six guys on stage."
Pere Ubu will play at Alvins
tonight with the Detroit group

GOLD SALE! Three Days

David Thomas

qualms about performing their old
"We'll be doing mostly new
material, as this tour is preparation
for the studio," says Thomas. "But
we have releamed some old material
that covers the whole spectrum of

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