FAQ Animation
Frequently Asked Questions concerning:
PENNSYLVANIA


Last updated: 8/29/11
Why does pere ubu lie about the total time of the pennsylvania? It's not 70 minutes, but about 52, because the last 18 is silence. It's simply cheating.
Wheelhouse ends at 5:02. At 8:02 Fly's Eye (alternate mix) begins followed by My Name Is... which takes up the rest of the track. There are three minutes of silence from the end of Wheelhouse to the beginning of Fly's Eye though to be truthful there is an audio event that occurs. So, yes, there are only 68:00 minutes of noise being made. You're right we cheated you out of 2:00 of noise. (This email is what convinced us to never release an album over 45 minutes long again.)

First EREWHON, then MEADVILLE, and now PENNSYLVANIA. Your recent albums, or at least the album titles, seem to find you pre-occupied with the idea of places, real or imagined. Is there a connection between the three albums? Is this some sort of "travelogue trilogy"?
Everything I do is connected. How could it not be? I am not "pre-occupied" with anything. Sound and space and the nature of human consciousness are bound together. Space is a teacher. It speaks to us with sound. The human consciousness is based on sensual heiroglyphs that can be accurately communicated by the use of space and space is re-creatable by sound. There it all is in 4 sentences. I am not interested in travelogues. I aim to accurately portray the human experience. This is the methodology that the accidents of my personal history have set before me. I'm gonna use it. You got a better idea?

The hidden track at the end of the record is "My Name Is..." Why didn't you just list it as a regular track?
It was a piece of music we played during the jamming process from which we derive the songs that make an album. We were recording our rehearsals on a DA38 8-track digital recorder. The track is live and unedited-- you can hear T counting changes-- and I overdubbed the "vocals" using the standard Apple Voices software to speak the line. I like the music so I wanted to put it out but I didn't want to make the album longer than approx 45 minutes, and I didn't want to add another "weird" track cuz we already had The Duke's Saharan Ambitions and when we did too many "weird" tracks on ART OF WALKING we got alot of needless and irrelevant grief. Note the following from the design process page:
"We should consider cutting down the length of the visible sequence. Though people will say they want long albums they actually grow resentful and fretful without understanding why once the playing time creeps above 45 minutes."

Are you obsessed with Brian Wilson?
I have no obsession with Brian Wilson. Now, answer me: why would I use him in stories or songs? What does Brian Wilson mean? What is the object lesson? When I speak of BW what am I really referring to? What is the significance of the Smile album? The language, the grammar and vocabulary of rock music is the result of a cumulative process. We refine the heiroglyphs that we inherit from those who have gone before. We build on the past and continue lines of development. We progress! That's what rock music is. And if any musician denies this that's fine. That musician, however, is not a rock musician and is incapable of playing rock music.

What are the main differences between RAYGUN SUITCASE and the new album? My personal opinion is that the new one is more experimental.
The only difference I see is one of intent. There's a different set of intentions. The content, the MEANING, shapes the form. The form is not the end in itself. The medium is NOT the message. The message is the message. Revolutionary, hunh? We aren't experimental. This whole idea of some bands being experimental is nothing but a journalistic trick to avoid answering the hard question. Groups like us are branded because we approach rock music as an art. Why do you allow all those other, non-"experimental" groups to get away with blithering nonsense? Why do you take all those press agent pronouncements so seriously? Is it ignorance of the history of rock music? Is it laziness? Why do you think after more than 40 years that juvenile social posturing has any relevance to rock music? Answer those questions before branding us experimental. We know what we're doing. We don't need to experiment.

Was the recording or process of the album different?
I make use of space rather than studio gadgets and effects units. I hate touching eq. I fear subtlety. When I want to hear a certain sound I change the space in which the sound is generated until I hear the/a sound I understand. For various reasons that I won't go into I wasn't able to attack the soundscape with quite the same abandon I enjoyed during RGS. And RGS was recorded without a drummer. Those are the only differences.

Why there are two original songs with borrowed titles: Woolie Bullie & Muddy Waters? You did the same thing with Highway 61 Revisited on EREWHON.
Rock music is the folk music of the indigenous population of the North American continent. All folk musics draw on the past often redeploying the same themes and symbols in a process of defining and refining the heiroglyphs that describe the human experience. These are then adopted by a next generation. Clearly, there's a conscious choice being made. Because it is a choice there is a reason. You can deduce that reason yourself. You've heard the song. You can read the words. Why do YOU think I've chosen those titles?

Why "Pennsylvania?"
Look at a road map. Think about it. From the beginning geography has been part of the vocabulary of our music. Increasingly we have come to see it as an integral part of who we are. Pennsylvania is the space between where you are and where you're going and the roads are no good and the speed limit is stupidly low.

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