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