UBU FAQ     Version 1.0.2

1. Why don't you provide downloadable sound samples of your recorded work?

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?

2. Why are there no band photos on the albums?

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.

3. Why were there no printed lyrics?

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.

4. Why did "Final Solution" disappear for years?

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.

5. The track titles on the Rough Trade Pere Ubu CDs sometimes differ from the titles on the LP releases. Why?

We like to "fix" things. We know what we're doing.

6. The track "Arabia" is listed in the lyricbook as (instrumental), and as having "Lyrics by David Thomas" - itself a contradiction. I know it was released both without and with lyrics... (I've got both versions on LP). The UK CD issue has lyrics (the track is there entitled "Arabian Nights" and the CD booklet gives the lyrics...) Explain, please?

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.

7. [NAME WITHHELD] said he was relieved to find that "My babysitter..." was NOT part of the chorus of LAUGHING.

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.

8. "I've always wondered: did you name the EP after the cheesy b&w 50s movie "Panic In The Year Zero"?

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.

9. 390 DEGREES OF SIMULATED STEREO has to be the worst recording I have ever heard. The tunes were great, but I was wondering, is this a bootleg album, or was the recording either unintentionally bad due to recordings that were available, or intentionally bad?

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 can't hear the synthesizer. The frequencies and wave forms are too subtle to survive the dead acoustic of the stage and anyway the monitor guy blew out the high end in my right ear when he sent a spike thru the side fill. I know what the synth is supposed to be doing. I trust that it is but I can't hear it. Over to the left, the bass cabinet is too loud and the bottom end a mess because the bass player wants his pants legs to flap in the air pushed by the four 15-inch speakers so everything I sing is drifting in and out of an incredible soup of overtone and noise. Meanwhile, you as the audience 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 balcony 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 to ear numbing levels so your girlfriend is getting tired & cranky and you don't want to look at her cuz you'll see it in her eyes but you can hear her fidget and she wants to go home and the guy behind you is talking and you're thinking about why the guitar player is laughing. THAT's what live sound is.

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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