FAQ Animation
Frequently Asked Questions concerning:
WHY I HATE WOMEN


Last updated: 02/27/2017
What do you think when you read all this literature about the New Weird America (like Six Organs Of Admitance, Sunburned Hand Of The Man) and the old new folk from Devendra Banhart, Vetiver et al. Have you listened to those bands??? And if so, do you feel a kind of pioneer for them???
Nope, haven't listened. I'm a pioneer for no one. You don't want to follow me - I always head for Donner's Pass. Pere Ubu is a dead end. It's almost designed to be a dead end.

Why would you say that Pere Ubu is a dead end?
Where does anyone else go from where we have gone? We have ventured where we as unique individuals working collectively have chosen. No one else is us. And we haven't even gotten to where we are going yet. It's like being blindfolded and taken on a trip out into the middle of nowhere, dumped out of the car and told to get on with it. Get on with what? To follow someone you must know the point they started at and the direction they are going or the point they finish at. You have to have coordinates. We hide those from view. Or they are unknowable by outsiders. Either way amounts to the same thing.

You are experimenting a lot with different microphones and are not very much into "store-bought" effects. Why? Explain your working process, please
Sound is a function of space. All audio effects simply duplicate / generate / imitate "real world" spatial characteristics. Most of everything we've ever recorded has been in the same room. I like that consistency. I like that uniqueness. I like the parochial nature of that. So I like to work with that space rather than store-bought virtual spaces. It is a conservative approach and it has its limitations but it is my approach as producer and I prefer my mistakes to someone else's mistakes. Awareness of the limitations of my conservativism prompted me to ask members of the band if they'd like to do remixes of the album, leading to the WHY I REMIX WOMEN release.

Pere Ubu in the seventies introduced several innovations in the rock music scene. Who, according to you, at the moment is really making something new?
I am uninterested in "making something new." I am interested in mainstream rock as the fundamental voice of the American folk experience. I am interested in exploring the narrative voice within the mainstream. Pere Ubu is mainstream rock. Justin Timberlake is weird experimental music. Robbie Williams is avant-garde. Britney Spears is constantly coming up with something new and innovative. Pere Ubu does the same old thing. "New" is a trap and a scam to dupe student-types and other naive people.

I understand that you no longer use microphones for recording. I understand this concept a little, using the magnetism of the speakers, but I don't completely get how this works. Could you explain how exactly you do this and what prompted your decision to do this? I am also curious, what do you use for live performances then?
A microphone and a speaker are technically very similar - close enough to be described as being identical. It doesn't take much. Some load-balancing and a few simple tricks. I had for a long time complained to my engineer, Paul Hamann, that I didn't like transience and pointless fidelity above and below the range that I was interested in. I also hated equalization. It is a cruelty perpetrated for the sake of convenience and the limitations of audio reproduction. I don't bow to limitations. I attack them. All the equalization in the world can't change the fundamental nature of a sound - it can only "torture" it. You can add or cut 12db of any frequency at any point in the spectrum and achieve nothing but abortion. You kill the soul of the sound. It is an egocentric pursuit at the expense of "righteousness." Better that you bring the sound into the world as you want it to be. (I am waxing metaphorical here for the sake of brevity.) Paul took all this in over the years and came up with a solution. Live I use standard-issue microphones. The live performance and the studio performance are only coincidentally related in that the same individuals are involved. Using my "hyper-naturalistic" techniques in concert are utterly impractical. A studio is a controlled environment. A concert stage is a chaotic environment. That's as it should be. Many musicians try to make the concert stage into a controlled environment. They are amateurs ignorant of their craft.

Do you really hate women or is it just fiction/art?
Ask Snoop Dogg why he kills so many policemen. Ask Ian Rankin why he murders so many people.

How much in your lyrics is autobiographical, and how much is pure fiction?
None of it is autobiographical. I've written 2 semi-autobiographical songs in my life. One was called The Story of My Life. The other was called Bicycle. That's it.

Is the new Pere Ubu album a sort of concept (as the title suggests)? What was the idea when you began working at it?
Every album I approach starts with a back story - like a film in that way. That back story is filled with characters and scenes which come to me in greater or lessor detail. From that back story I choose a psychological moment that interests me. My work on the album then consists of "describing" that moment. Sometimes the back story or characters from it appear in the lyrics. Sometimes not. I choose musical ideas from the rest of the band that will suit in one way or the other the purposes of describing that moment. WIHW, as I have mentioned elsewhere, is my idea of the Jim Thompson novel he never wrote. (Jim Thompson was a 50s pulp fiction writer who specialized in very dark novels.)

Which one of Pere Ubu songs do you like most?
I have no favorites or I have so many that it is impossible to list them. There is no song I write that does not start out as a favorite. Otherwise why bother? I remember fondly the ones that work out well - that successfully accomplish the particular moment. The ones that don't I continue to rewrite and hone until I get it right.

Some days ago I was casually reading a Lester Bang's article about Peter Laughner. Since then, I began listening to "Life Stinks" from "Modern Dance" in a different way. How do you remember those years (Rocket from the Tombs and first Pere Ubu Singles)? Is there something of that period that has remained unchanged? What? And what else changed?
I don't "remember" them until somebody asks me a question about them. I don't look back. I am not nostalgic. The question you ask is too unspecific to prompt any memories. Nothing of that period has changed. The past does not change. It's locked down and sealed tight. The way I approach music is precisely the same now as it was 30 years ago. I've not changed a single idea. The world changes. Pere Ubu does not.

Pere Ubu cannot be understood unless you start with the fundamentals. We are a Midwestern hard groove rock band in the tradition of the MC5 and Stooges. Tom Herman used to say the best guitar part is the one that requires you to move your fingers the least. If you can't make it work with one chord and the will to rock then you oughta find other work. Rocket From The Tombs was and still is a brutal rock experience. When it finished I was determined to find out where else it could go. I have said over the decades that Pere Ubu was founded on that principle, that the foundation of Pere Ubu, as far as I am concerned, is the ability to produce brutal groove rock. That's the base camp from which we launch expeditions. But because we have proved we can do it we don't have to keep proving it every subsequent album. The mission is/was to go forward from that point.

Rocket from the Tombs, Pere Ubu, David Thomas, David Thomas and Two Pale Boys: what are the main differences or peculiar features in the art of these different monikers/projects?
Each band allows for unique perspectives. Pere Ubu is like a big budget Hollywood movie. Pale Boys is like one of those splodgy Fellini films or European art house movies dubbed into English. Each can achieve different perspectives unavailable to the other. One is not better than the other. They are simply different, and allow me to do different things.

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