Pere Ubu Spotted In The Real World
Charlie Dontsurf reports (2010):
There's a review of 'Folly of Youth' in a new French book called 'Mes Disques Improbables' by Pol Dodu. Dodu writes a blog
with review of 'Love Love Love' and other Ubu songs.
'Blow Daddy-o' appears on a French compilation cd called 'A Man And A Machine 02
On French tv, Canal +, there is at the moment a series called 'Carlos,' about the infamous terrorist. The soundtrack is very good. In it, Sonic Reducer, in its Dead Boys version but credited O'Connor/Thomas.
Charles Williams reports, 6/8/9:
In Grange Hill (a classic British kids TV series set in a school which ran for 32 years until 2008) there is an episode where one of the girls, Trisha, gives a reading lesson to her dyslexic friend Simon Shaw. And the text? It is the NME (or Melody Maker) review of "Dub Housing" entitled "Ubu: The Modern Dance Speeds Up". The mind boggles! After some delving. The original air date was 23 January 1979 which means the scene must have been filmed late 1978 at about the time of release in November.
Chris Stebbens reports, 7/12/08: I have beeen on a night out in my home town of Ulverston and am still reeling from finding Modern Dance on the jukebox of the local sporty pub (The Globe) BRAVO!!
Mike DeCapite reports, 12/27/7: In case no one's shown it to you, I'm sending the passage below from a new Steve Erickson novel, Zeroville. Zazi is a 12-year-old girl who lives in the context of music the way the main character, Vikar, lives in the context of the movies. "The Sound" referred to is the sound of the Stooges and others, including, presumably, Ubu.
Vikar says, "Once Cassavetes told me about seeing A Place in the Sun when it came out. He hated it so much that he went back and saw it the next day and then every day for a week, until he realized he loved it."
"He is to movies what the Sound is to music."
"Isn't that weird when that happens?" says Zazi. "It's like the first time I heard the second Pere Ubu album and thought it just blew completely, I thought anyone who liked it must be stupid and full of shit - and then for about a year it was practically the only album I listened to. It was the only album that made any sense at all. So why does that happen? The music hasn't changed. It's still the same exact movie, but it's like it sets something in motion, some understanding you didn't know you could understand, it's like a virus that had to get inside you and take hold and maybe you shrug it off - but when you don't, it kills you in a way, not necessarily in a bad way because maybe it kills something that's been holding you down or back, because when you hear a really great record or see a really great movie, you feel alive in a way you didn't before, everything looks different, like what they say when you're in love or something - though I wouldn't know - but everything is new and it gets into your dreams."
Mike DeCapite adds: I read an Ubu reference several years ago in one of the early George Pelecanos novels - the main character's a reluctant private eye who talks a lot about the music he's listening to - but it was just a tip of the hat rather than a whole passage like in the Erickson book.
Peggy Van Buskirk reports, 9/11/7: I got a DVD from the library, the 40th Anniversary Special Edition of Dr. Strangelove, and in one of the special features they were interviewing the wife and adult son of the [now deceased] screenwriter, Terry Southern. The son was wearing a Pere Ubu T-shirt.
Charlie Dontsurf reports, 1/30/6: Have a look to the Brian Wilson's Smile DVD, disc One, Bonus, Aftershow featurette, 8'52, Paul Mertens, a Brian Wilson's musician, interview and ... who's that man, having a beard wearing a black coat and a beautiful hat, going behind Paul Mertens ... yes, it's Mr David Thomas!
Lance Eads reports, 11/4/5: I was watching the fictional news program, "the Colbert Report" on Comedy Central last night and the host mentioned Pere Ubu. He was talking about congressional districts in Ohio and mentioning the connections between Ohio and the rock music world. He referred to Pere Ubu as a "groundbreaking" band or something along those lines. On the screen they briefly flashed a picture of the band. I just had to share. There! I did it! I'm not dilusional. You do exist! I think. How'd I get here? Whoa! My fingers . . . they . . . feel . . . NEVER BEND PLAID EGGNOG! NOOOooo... .
Charlie Dontsurf reports, 9/5/5: Pere Ubu appears in a new french novel, "Cosmos Incorporated" by Maurice Le Dantec (Editions Albin Michel). The main character, Plotkine, reminisces about old things and sings ... (page 101), "Plotkine se surprit à fredonner une veille chanson oubliée d'un groupe rock américain des années 1970-1980, nommé Père Ubu: I don't need a cure, i don't need a final solution...."
Oliver Wolf reports: I don't know if you've already heard about or seen this but an episode of rock n roll Jeopardy had a category re Cleveland ("Cleveland Rocks" maybe?). The hardest question in the category was something along the lines of "this pioneering Cleveland band took it's name from Jarry's Ubu Roi," etc. I don't have to add that nobody got it. My wife and I looked at each other and at the same time said "Pere Ubu" excitedly and then she dropped her plate of spaghetti all over the couch. thanks a lot.
Neal Jacobs adds: ubu was also one of the correct responses last week in the VH1 Rock Jeopardy game show.....for $800.....under Cleveland Rocks........name the active & influential cleveland art rock band originated in the 70's named after a French poet Alfred Jarry character....... nobody got it right on the show.......announcer man even hacked up the pronunciation a tad.
Why no one in Pere Ubu went to college...
Scott Lipscomb and Joe Stuessy in their textbook "Rock and Roll: Its History and Stylistic Development," published by Prentice Hall, and used in US college courses write on page 329:
Growing out of the new wave movement [The writers imply that Devo & Ubu were following on from Talking Heads! - ed.] were groups like Pere Ubu and Devo. The latter (from Akron, Ohio) took the idea of the machinelike, repetitive patterns and created a robotlike sound, using short, clipped vocals and instrumental lines. The result was a very antiseptic rock sound, seemingly devoid of emotion-- almost as far from soul music as one can get. Pere Ubu (from Cleveland) was similar in some ways but the "vocals" [Note the quotes around 'vocals'! - ed.] of David Thomas varied from blunt, choppy declarative phrases and repeating words and phrases to sudden bursts of emotive squawks and shouts. Generally (with the exception of the Talking Heads), this style of new wave seemed to be a brief fad around the turn of the decade and has had little linger effect.
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