Pere Ubu Interview

Pere Ubu Interview

1. Apart from Pere Ubu and David Thomas what other pseudonyms have you put music out as?
None.

2. Have you ever appeared on any other artists music?
Red Crayola, Soldier Talk lp.

3. What do you think about Rocket From The Crypt stealing 3/4 of Rocket From The Tomb's name?
I've never thought about it long enough to have an opinion.

4. Was it Hearthen or Hearpen records?
It was both Hearthan & Hearpen because of the issue of how to deal with the Anglo-Saxon thorn character.

5. Do you listen to any more recent music such as drum and bass, techno, Sonic Youth or Japanese Noise?
Drums & bass is far too tedious and retro-fitted. Techno is a category too wide to comment on. I haven't heard anything recent from SY and Japanese Noise is a whole lot like all the other noise. All fine & good if you want to avoid the big issues. Without a singer music isn't worth doing.

6. Did Hearthen records release anything apart from Pere Ubu records?
HEARPEN HR105 (1977):
MIRRORS, "Shirley" (4:40) b/w "She Smiled Wild" (4:00)
Side 1, written by Crook-Klimek, recorded at Owl Studio, June 1975 by Jaime Klimek, Paul Marotta, Jim Crook, Michael Weldon & Jim Jones.
Side 2, written by Klimek, recorded in the basement, August 1975 by Klimek, Crook, Weldon & Jones. Songs copyrighted Mirror Music. Sleeve photos by Joyce Faust & Jill Marotta. Sleeve design by Michael Weldon.
HEARPEN HR106 (1979):
THE GIRLS, "Jeffrey I Hear U" (5:44) b/w "The Elephant Man" (5:58)
Produced by David Thomas. Recorded at Suma, 2/10/79. Engineered by Ken & Paul Hamann. Songs written by Dagley-Hild-Amos-Condo & copyright Holy Shroud. Sleeve design by Jim Harkey, Mark Dagley & Daved Hild. Pressed at 33 1/3 rpm.
HEARPEN HR107
PRESSLER/MORGAN, "You're Gonna Miss Me" b/w "Hand Piece"
HEARPEN HR108 (1979):
15-60-75, "Here In The Life" (3:36) b/w "(It's In) Imagination" (4:41)
Produced by David Thomas. Recorded at Suma. Engineered by Paul Hamann. Songs written by Robert Kidney & copyright Water Brothers Music.

7. Are you aware of any of the current Ohio bands like the New Bomb Turks or Guided by Voices?
According to my sources there's nobody worth bothering with in Cleveland. But my sources ARE very exacting.

8. You didn't release 'The Final Solution' for a long time because you did not want to be associated with the Nazi imagery soem early punk bands used. Do you see the punk movement as positive, apart from the unfortunate racist minority?
No the punk movement was a conservative and corporate-oriented affair whose sole object was to divert rock music from the serious goals of what was called the new wave in 1973. That term was later co-opted to mean the same as punk. Punk had at its root the notion that rock music should only serve to sell blue jeans and promote simplistic (commercial) solutions. Also this notion that nazi imagery was a minority interest is history rewritten.

9. Is Hearthen records till going? If not are you considering starting a new label up?
No. No.

10. It seems that you had quite a lot of dark imagery in your early music. How do you think your world view has changed since then?
This is wishful thinking. Our imagery is the same now as it was then. We have not changed our ideas a jot. We approach music in the same way with the same goals for the same reasons. Rock music is not a fashion or a consumable. It is our culture. It doesn't need to be "updated." Being a foreigner this is harder for you to understand. You see rock music as from a distance. It's not in your blood. You speak it as a foreign language. You hear it as a strange tongue. BTW, I assume you are british. If you're American then you must adjust the meaning of the above accordingly.

11. Do you still keep in contact with people who were in 'The Cleveland Scene'?
In contact, no, not particularly. But then we never did keep in touch. We don't need to. We understand the same things. We see each other after years and know the same things still.

12. What music is exciting you most at the moment?
I have never thought in these terms. I look for music that moves me and speaks with honesty. THis doesn't come in compartments.

13. Do you ever see yourself stopping creating music?
I have never thought in these terms. I don't plan ahead or make provisions.

14. What were your early influences?
Too many and varied to list

15. What other bands have come along after you started to record that have influenced you?
Nobody.

16. Are there any recordings of 'Great Bow Wah Death Band' and are they going to be released at any point?
Not that I know of. And no.

17. Why did you used to call yourself Crocus Behemoth?
Because I was writing so many articles for the weekly arts sort of magazine that I had to disguise the fact. I was also known as Bob Knuckles but that wasn't as memorable.

18. In one interview of yours I read you claim that psychedelic music was not drug music. Explain.
Of course the more average stuff WAS. But I never concern myself with the average. Psy music essentially represented a way of approaching music that was based on a cinematic use of Sound. It is demeaning to the talented musicians and inaccurate to attribute these ideas to drug-taking

19. do you see the internet as the future of information and music?
Yes. And the future is narrow-minded, self-satisfied, ignorant and brutish.

20. Most of my knowledge of Pere Ubu comes from the book by Clinton Heylin ' From The Velvets To The Voidods'. Do you think this book gives an accurate representation of what was going on in the 'Cleveland Scene' ?
Sometimes and sometimes not. He is an outsider.

21. The Modern Dance is regarded as a bona fide classic, being in many lists of top 100 records of all time - how do you view this acclaim?
We deserve it.

22. You have said that you liked some of the Kraut rock bands like Can. How do you view bands that have come along quite recently like Tortoise, Flying Saucer Attack and Stereolab who are very influenced by that sound?
I liked Can. I heard the others. We didn't perceive these things as Kraut Rock. I'd rather not comment on the recent bands you mention.

23. You have said that you liked free jazz stuff. do you think that jazz is still relevant today?
I NEVER said I liked free jazz. Given the opportunity I note that I avoid improvisation like the plague. Is jazz still relevant. Of course. Does that mean that every form of jazz is "still relevant"? No.

24. Are you going to do any more collaborations with people like Chris Cutler?
Yes. The Mirror Man production at Disastodrome! is a major collaborative effort. Nearly everything I do is collaborative. My talent lies in that mode of work. My ideas alone aren't so good. They need to be tempered and challenged.

25. How do you come up with the lyrics to your songs because they often seem very bizarre?
My lyrics are the opposite of bizarre. Rock music is a non-linear, non-narrative, non-verbal art form. Why do you approach it as if it were logical & empirical? Rock music uses heiroglyphic expressive forms. Rock music is not naive poetry bolted onto primitive rhythms.

26. In your recent recordings there is a lot of accordion. Are there any other instruments you're developing an interest to play?
No.

27. Are any of your songs based on characters in real life? I'm thinking mostly here about 'Kathleen'
Well that song is a tribute to Jim. Are the songs based on real people as if KAthleen were a real person? No. There is no one who can be called Kathleen. Kathleen, in fact, is not the point of the song. She's simply a dramatic tool.

28. Have you ever done a session for John Peel?
Yes, I think so. A long time ago. I don't really remember.

29. How do you view all the thing surrounding the death of Princess Diana?
You need to know two movies: Day of The Triffids (If you look at it you will be blinded and even plants can kill you) and Invasion of THe Body Snatchers (It's impossible to tell who is human and who is not so keep quiet). The media now controls reality. It's been in control in America for 20 years but then everywhere else is always behind the times.


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