We won't degrade our work. We won't compress the sound or downsample it. We don't spend all those tedious hours making it sound the way we want just to turn around and reduce it to a dog's dinner. If you want to know what we sound like call up your local college radio station. That's what they're for, to serve your needs. Adventures In Good Listening. That sort of thing. Or go down to your mom & pop record store, we know there are some left and they need your support. Ask them to play a copy. Soon enough we'll all be living in a world where art is nothing but software and no objects have value and no ideas have value. What's the rush?
Band photos are a necessary evil for press use but have no business being in close proximity to art. Band photos smack of personality cult. Also, Mik Mellen, who was the Ubu photographer for years, didn't have much interest in taking pictures of people.
From the beginning we never printed lyrics. We printed very little information. We didn't even list who played what. Words can't be separated from the music. Rock music is not poetry bolted onto quaint populist naive musical structures. But in the 80's the cd came along and there were those booklets to fill up. We went along with the crowd. We were weak-willed. Simultaneously, we began to think, "Oh that Tom Verlaine gets credit for writing good lyrics... that David Byrne does... We oughta get credit too!" We were weak. We wised up.
Because of the title. A Sherlock Holmes story called "The Final Problem" was the inspiration for the song. If there's a final problem there's got to be a final solution. Didn't think about it very much until the punk movement came along with its nazi tokenism. The band decided to drop the song rather than risk association.
We like to "fix" things. We know what we're doing.
The lyricbook is the current official version of reality. In the current official version of reality Arabia has no words. Never did. Never will. You clearly are suffering from delusions and are a danger to society. The Grocery Police will be informed.
This is reminiscent of the fellow who recently wrote in saying he thought David was singing "Notta lotta facts" in the chorus of NON-ALIGNMENT PACT. Quite a stretch, considering that the words in question ARE the title of the song.
Well, clearly the title is evolved from that, yes. I wouldn't say we named it AFTER it. Johnny Dromette and I were amused by the notion of Too Much Information. Which is sorta interesting 20 years later in light of the info-sedative nature of the "information superhighway". Which of course is the main reason for calling the box set DIYZ.
If you look at the back of 390 DEGREES OF SIMULATED STEREO you'll see the recording device for each song is listed: "portable cassette machine," "one channel of a Braun reel-to-reel," etc. We listened to all the tapes we had: cassettes, 24-track mobile recordings, professional and amateur. The "lo fi" recordings almost always sounded better to us that the "hi fi" recordings. The ambiance and distortion and accidental nature of lo fi more accurately portrayed the material as played live and the band as experienced live.
A band on stage is an entirely different experience for the musician as well as the listener. Recording a band live is not simply a matter of transforming the concert venue into a studio. It doesn't work. At least it doesn't work for us. On stage, for example, I usually can't hear the synthesizer. I know what it's supposed to be doing. I trust that it is. I can't hear it. The bass is too loud and everything I sing is drifting in and out of an incredible soup of overtone and noise. You as a listener are getting a mix of what we think we're playing as interpreted by our sound man who is usually located in the worst acoustical location in the venue compensating for what he thinks the overhang of the balconey might be doing to the lower mids and how the lousy cross-over in the left bank of speakers might be affecting the upper end on the other side of the room. And there you are standing in the part of the venue that pushes the high end and your girlfriend is tired and wants to go home and people are talking and you're thinking about... And it goes on and on.
We decided that live albums should sound like 390 DEGREES because that's what the live experience is. It's my favorite musical experience and it's my favorite sound. And, of all the tapes, we liked those the best.
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