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Pere Ubu at the Magic Bag, 3 Things To Know
It‚Äôs been 20 years since Pere Ubu came back together after a five year hiatus, continuing a career as an edgy, underground rock outfit that combines style in an arty but still visceral mix that‚Äôs made the Cleveland collective something of a legend.
Led by frontman David Thomas, Pere Ubu has sustained over the course of 16 albums, including the new ‚Äú20 years In A Montana Missile Silo,‚ÄĚ though it‚Äôs only placed one single, 1989‚Äôs ‚ÄúWaiting For Mary,‚ÄĚ on the Billboard charts. Nevertheless, the band and its shifting membership remains active and highly regarded, and Thomas‚Äô bottomless creativity seems likely to keep Pere Ubu going for quite awhile longer...
‚ÄĘ A self-confessed mad scientist in the recording studio, Thomas, 64, approached ‚Äú20 Years...‚ÄĚ with a specific agenda for the album‚Äôs production, which included recording all of the band members in isolation and then building the recordings from their individual parts. ‚ÄúNo two people ever appeared in the same room at the same time,‚ÄĚ Thomas acknowledges by phone. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs about maintaining the mystery of the production. Alfred Hitchcock always said the problem with making movies is the actors, they ruin everything. I‚Äôve long taken that to heart. I subscribe to the idea that everybody has a direction they think a song should go and they will often contaminate other band members with their ideas, which aren‚Äôt necessarily the way the story should plot out. So it‚Äôs a way of keeping everybody working on isolation and I‚Äôm sort of the guy at the center who‚Äôs really the only one who knows what‚Äôs going on.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĘ The new album‚Äôs provocative title comes from Thomas‚Äô fascination ‚Äúwith the notion of a guy who worked his whole life in a missile silo. He‚Äôd come home every night to the wife and kids and then eh comes out after 20 years of service and he looks around at the screwed-up world he lives in and thinks to himself, ‚ÄėI spent 20 years of living hell for this?‚Äô That was sort of the beginning point. I was just interested in how a person would have to balance so many different things in his life as a man, his obligations and all that sort of stuff. So I just began to think about that, and other songs evolved from that.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĘ ‚Äú20 years...‚ÄĚ introduces a three-guitar lineup for the first time in Pere Ubu‚Äôs career. ‚ÄúA long time ago, one of the earliest decisions that shaped the band was I said there‚Äôs only going to be one guitar in this band, and that had certain ramifications,‚ÄĚ Thomas explains. ‚ÄúI‚Äôd been working with Keith Moline for a long time, then Tom Herman came back in the band for a third time and I began to think about if I could combine these two guys into a sort of Frankenstein‚Äôs guitarist, like the ultimate guitarist in the world. That didn‚Äôt work out (laughs) but that‚Äôs been my intention for awhile. So I guess we really skipped the two guitars and wen from one to three, but I really like the expansiveness of the guitars that we got on this record.‚ÄĚ
If You Go:
‚ÄĘ Pere Ubu and Mindbeast
‚ÄĘ Friday, Nov. 17. Doors open at 8 p.m.
‚ÄĘ The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.
‚ÄĘ Tickets are $20.
‚ÄĘ Call 248-544-1991 or visit themagicbag.com.
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