pere-ubu-raygun-suitcase ART
  • Raygun Suitcase
  • Folly of Youth
  • Electricity
  • Beach Boys
  • Turquoise Fins
  • Vacuum In My Head
  • Memphis
  • Three Things
  • Horse
  • Don't Worry
  • Ray Gun Suitcase
  • Surfer Girl
  • Red Sky
  • Montana
  • My Friend is A Stooge For the Media Priests
  • Down By The River II



Pere Ubu
Raygun Suitcase

Released July 31 1995.
Produced by David Thomas.

Fire Records FIRECD370, cd, Aug 17 2018.

Release Notes

Robert Wheeler and Michele Temple joined the band from Scott Krauss' Home & Garden. Some demos were recorded: Memphis, Beach Boys, Down By The River, and Montana. Garo Yellin was still associated but his duties with The Ordinaires were taking up his time. At that point, Pere Ubu became David Thomas, Jim Jones, Wheeler, Temple and Krauss.

In April 1994 manager Nick Hobbs wrote to the band as the Raygun Suitcase project was getting underway. 'Pere Ubu is dead in the water commercially - not arty enough for the art crowd, too arty and too old for the rock crowd. The old albums have sold as much as they are going to. Unless the next album is exceptional, it's over.'

Krauss sent a stream of faxes complaining about Michele.
Michele added energy, precision, enthusiasm and dedication that were the backbone of the band for decades to come. As did Robert Wheeler and, later, Steve Mehlman.
David Thomas
At a rehearsal, Jones presented the idea that would become Folly Of Youth.

Krauss quit. It was the third time he'd quit since 1978. Years later, he would claim that he quit because he didn't like Folly Of Youth, a song that's always rated as a fan favorite, fast and precise.
Scott said he no longer wanted to be drummer. He wanted to be keyboardist. I said we don't need a keyboardist, we need a drummer. He quit. I sent word through Robert that I would keep the position open for as long as possible. Panic ensued in the rest of the band. I said, "Trust me, do what I say and we will succeed."
David Thomas
The album was recorded to a click track. In August 1994, Scott Benedict, from Michele Temple's band, The Vivians, recorded the drum parts over a weekend in an astonishing demonstation of musicianship. He quit music the next week to be a landscape gardener. The album was released in July 1995 and a tour was booked for October - November 1995. Jones and Thomas decided that the road had finally run out for Krauss. Jones informed him that the road was run out. Benedict's replacement in The Vivians, Steve Mehlman, was asked to join Pere Ubu.
Years later Scott claimed he only found out he was replaced via the internet. What? Maybe I should still be sending him an email every other week, 'Are you still quit?!'
David Thomas

Production Notes

Engineered by Paul Hamann.
Recorded at Suma January, July, August and September 1994.
Package designed by John Thompson, idrome.

2018 Fire Records Release

Remastered and edited by Paul Hamann and David Thomas in 2017.

Director's Cut (2005)

Cooking Vinyl USA celebrated Pere Ubu's 30th year anniversary with the release of The Director's Cut version of Raygun Suitcase.
I reviewed all alternate mixes from the session, sometimes discovering that an earlier mix turned out to be superior to the chosen mix.
David Thomas

The Director's Cut was re-mastered at Suma by David Thomas and Paul Hamann in early 2005. Alternate mixes of: Surfer Girl, Three Things, Down By The River II, Memphis, Vacuum In My Head, and Red Sky were substituted. The 'lost' version of Electricity, recovered from a session desk-mix tape, was also substituted. The demo versions of Memphis and Down By The River II were added as bonus tracks. The packaging was redesigned by John Thompson in the jewel case format with an 8 page color booklet featuring the 'Media Priests of the Big Lie' story. A Director's Cut logo appears on the front cover. The UK/ROW release of The Director's Cut followed in March 2010.

Pere Ubu (v.9.0):

David Thomas - vocals, melodeon, musette, auto-cans, ray gun
Jim Jones - guitar, keyboard bass, backing vocals, keyboards, spike, sleigh bells
Robert Wheeler - EML synthesizers, Ensoniq EPS, theremin
Michele Temple - bass, slide bass, guitar, lute
Scott Benedict - drums
Guest Musicians:
Scott Krauss - drums on Memphis, Beach Boys, Down By The River, and Montana
Garo Yellin - electric cello on Memphis, Beach Boys, Down By The River, and Montana
Paul Hamann - bass on My Friend Is A Stooge, and swirl bells on Vacuum In My Head

Beach Boys, Memphis, Montana and Down By The River II written by Jones - Krauss - Temple - Thomas - Yellin. Don't Worry, Folly of Youth, Horse, Ray Gun Suitcase, Red Sky, Three Things, Turquoise Fins, Vacuum In My Head and Electricity written by Jones - Temple - Thomas - Wheeler. My Friend Is A Stooge For The Media Priests written by Hamann - Jones - Temple - Thomas. Surfer Girl written by Wilson. All songs ©1995 Fire Songs under exclusive license from Ubu Projex, except Surfer Girl which is © EMI Music Publishing.

Release History

  • Cooking Vinyl COOK CD089 (UK) Jul 31 1995 cd in jewel case.
  • Tim/Kerr TK95CD100 (US) Aug 14 1995 cd in digipak.
  • Sonic Records Sonic 104 (Poland) cd mc.
  • RTI Records CKV 1258 2 (Italy) cd.
  • Cooking Vinyl COOK CD089 (UK) Mar 2010 cd. Director's Cut.
  • Cooking Vinyl USA CKV-CD-89 (US) Sep 6 2005 cd. Director's Cut.
  • Fire Records FIRELP469, Drive, He Said vinyl box set May 26 2017

Press Reaction

CD Review Editor's Choice for 1995.

ArtForum's Best of The 90s.

Ted Drozdowski, Rolling Stone, 10/5/95, 00.69-70
"Pere Ubu have been neglected pop geniuses for 20 years, and with the release of their brilliant new Raygun Suitcase, they're poised to remain that way. It's their own damn fault. Whenever the band comes up with a set of transfixing chord changes, it includes lyrics like "I want to be a suitcase/I want to hang around in your Greyhound terminal"... Or they'll graffiti-spray an entire tune with whistling tea-kettle synthesizer... If underground rock had a Hall of Fame that gave awards for influence and creativity, Pere Ubu would be more decorated than Magic Johnson."

Chris Nickson, Alternative Press, 10/95, p.71
"Just when you thought it was safe to go to Cleveland, a new Pere Ubu album pops out of the woodwork... America needs bands like this. After 20 years of breaking trails, they're still walking ahead of the pack. The major difference is that these days David Thomas doesn't sound so strange anymore."

Andy Gill, The Independent, Aug 4 1995
"The new musicians have preserved the squealing electronic avant-garde dynamic of the original band, with the grand, malevolent sweep of tracks like "Memphis" and the instrumental "Horse" as effective as ever in the brooding atmosphere department."