My work on an album often begins as a sound I hear in my head. (Sometimes a scene in my memory.) This sound partly anticipates the evolutionary path of the band according to my understanding of the musicians involved and it partly reflects my personal hopes for my own work. I construct or intuit a back story to that sonic framework. This back story is more or less detailed and is peopled with characters. Sometimes elements of this back story appear in lyrics. Not always. The purpose of the album then becomes to capture a specific psychological moment from the backstory. The 10-11 songs on an album become the dots on a pointillist canvas which serves to capture that moment. Finally there is the album title. This is the last chance to shape the envelope of that moment.A companion album of radical reinterpretations of the songs by members of the band was released Oct 6 2006 as a mail order and concert merchandise sales only cd. It's called Why I Remix Women.
As I have stated elsewhere the back story for this album was the Jim Thompson novel he never wrote. The title came to me as I was sitting in my local during what we call the Dysfunctional Hour. Some pubs have Happy Hour. The Nep has Dysfunctional Hour. The title seemed to me to be the perfect Jim Thompson title. Knowing what would lay ahead I was not happy. Weeks went by as I searched in vain for an alternative. I was then determined to construct the album package in such a way that the consumer would have no easy outs, no pat answers. John Thompson did a great job, as did Kathy, his wife, whose self-portrait is the cover image, and their daughter Mimi whose handiwork is the centerfold image. At the end of this process John noted that there still remained the Irony Card. We agreed that there was no way around this, which is, of course, why the Irony Card is so beloved by those who can stomach it. It allows for a Mobius Strip of denial. Pere Ubu does not dabble in irony - it is the last refuge of the weak-willed and cowardly. We are no cowards. So I instructed John to insert "This is an irony-free recording." I have two regrets: (1) that we did not design a logo and add a trademark symbol for "irony-free" as if it were a product line (thanks to Keith for this idea); and (2) that I did not instruct John to add, "We really mean it!" But of course then we would have had to add, "No, really, we mean it." And then on and on and on... (Iron-ists can never allow themselves even a momentary glance at reality.)
"Why I Hate Women is based on the Jim Thompson novel that he never wrote but might have. As you're reading, Bruce Springsteen's 'Nebraska' is playing. Your woman pads into the room, naked, and sits down beside you because she wants to be near. That's what it's about."
"Didn't you ever notice that they are all love songs?"