My work on an album often begins as a sound I hear in my head. (Sometimes a scene in my memory.) This sound partly anticipates the evolutionary path of the band according to my understanding of the musicians involved and it partly reflects my personal hopes for my own work. I construct or intuit a back story to that sonic framework. This back story is more or less detailed and is peopled with characters. Sometimes elements of this back story appear in lyrics. Not always. The purpose of the album then becomes to capture a specific psychological moment from the backstory. The 10-11 songs on an album become the dots on a pointillist canvas which serves to capture that moment. Finally there is the album title. This is the last chance to shape the envelope of that moment.
As I have stated elsewhere the back story for this album was the Jim Thompson novel he never wrote. The title came to me as I was sitting in my local during what we call the Dysfunctional Hour. Some pubs have Happy Hour. The Nep has Dysfunctional Hour. The title seemed to me to be the perfect Jim Thompson title. Knowing what would lay ahead I was not happy. Weeks went by as I searched in vain for an alternative. I was then determined to construct the album package in such a way that the consumer would have no easy outs, no pat answers. John Thompson did a great job, as did Kathy, his wife, whose self-portrait is the cover image, and their daughter Mimi whose handiwork is the centerfold image. At the end of this process John noted that there still remained the Irony Card. We agreed that there was no way around this, which is, of course, why the Irony Card is so beloved by those who can stomach it. It allows for a Mobius Strip of denial. Pere Ubu does not dabble in irony - it is the last refuge of the weak-willed and cowardly. We are no cowards. So I instructed John to insert "This is an irony-free recording." I have two regrets: (1) that we did not design a logo and add a trademark symbol for "irony-free" as if it were a product line (thanks to Keith for this idea); and (2) that I did not instruct John to add, "We really mean it!" But of course then we would have had to add, "No, really, we mean it." And then on and on and on... (Iron-ists can never allow themselves even a momentary glance at reality.)
A companion album of radical reinterpretations of the songs by members of the band was released Oct 6 2006 as a mail order and concert merchandise sales only cd. It's called Why I Remix Women.
What does the title 'Why I Hate Women' mean?
"Why I Hate Women is based on the Jim Thompson novel that he never wrote but might have. As you're reading, Bruce Springsteen's 'Nebraska' is playing. Your woman pads into the room, naked, and sits down beside you because she wants to be near. That's what it's about."
"Didn't you ever notice that they are all love songs?"
Produced by David Thomas Engineered by Paul Hamann at Suma, Painesville OH. Thanks to Dids for input. Package design by John Thompson and Mimi Thompson, www.idrome.net. Portions recorded at Homer Page Farm, Harvest Moon, The Red Roof in Willoughby OH (Room 143) and The Farm (Utica PA) at various times in 2005, principally in October-November. Mix finished in March 2006.
Distributed in New Zealand by Yellow Eye Distribution
Glitterhouse GRCD651 (EU/UK) 9/19/06 cd.
"I don't care if you never listen to another Pere Ubu record. It's not important. What is important is that you hear this record, as it is marvelous to hear. There are too many ideas here, crafted to perfection, to avoid. Not one swelling guitar riff is uninteresting. No electronic intersection is wasted, unlike current art-band du jour DELETED, who don't know when to reel it in and keep it interesting, proving that perhaps even today's biggest bands can still learn a thing or two from a band like this." - DecoyMusic, Ben Rice
"Ubu engage in their own highly stylised Americana. Highly mature, desperately riveting... Ubu are producing work that stands alongside their early masterpieces." - Uncut, David Stubbs
"This is a terrific one way ticket journey and beautifully intense." - Nunzio Tomasello, Rockstar (Italy) December 2006
"The noir notion affords Ubu the opportunity to return to the vivid musical topography of The Modern Dance and especially Dub Housing, with "Caroleen" careering along obsessively, and tracks such as "Babylonian Warehouses" and "Blue Velvet" offering dark, desolate but intriguing emotional landscapes. The latter song is a remarkable piece of sympathetic improvisation, featuring some beautiful blues-harp from Jack Kidney, and Thomas's haunting retreat into a place where 'The sun does not warm me/The clean rain does not fall.'" - Independent, Andy Gill, Sep 15 2006
"A black and incandescent jewel and without question a peak of the ubuesque oeuvre. A wonder." - Rock & Folk (France), Oct 2006
"It's all so ****ing great. Best ever. The two records together as wonderful as Pet Sounds and Smile, except instead of Brian Wilson's fractured genius and The Wreaking Crew, best studios in L.A. , David's fractured genius, a four piece rock band and Suma. David's more democratic production and writing procedures allow for more surprises and unexpected beauty. I know David isn't big on the Beatles, but the WAY that you put this stuff together feels more Abbey Road then Capitol Records." - Mark Hutchinson, 9/22/6
"Record of The Month" in both Italian magazines Blow Up (October) and Il Mucchio (November)
"Convincing return after a four-year break by the new look U-Men." - Mojo, Sept 2006
"'Babylonian Warehouses' is the best Pere Ubu song ever." - Musikexpress, Albert Koch, Oct 06
"Why I Hate Women is a bold reclamation of the group's status as a rock band...It's an impressive re-statement of everything that made Pere Ubu important in the first place." - The Wire, Tom Ridge, Oct 2006
"He who is not afraid of the dark will love this intelligently grabbing Rock-Album." - Rolling Stone Germany, Jürgen Ziemer, Sept 2006
"Best album since Raygun Suitcase; 'Caroleen' is the strongest rocker since 'I Will Wait.'" - Spex, Werner Ahrensfeld, Sept 2006
"Still crafting songs that will last for another 30 years." - 030 (Berlin), Sept 2006
"No other band sounds like Pere Ubu, and Pere Ubu sounds like no other band. Sure, there are distinctive features of Ubu's music that allow you to recognize it from album to album - singer David Thomas' high, lonesome wail; 3-D synthesizers that map the contours of every song from within, like robot surveyors under extreme duress; Midwestern rock arrangements with equal parts Motown and Stooges - but why does it almost always add up to a perfect coherent thing? Why do I get the feeling every time I listen to an Ubu record that not a single note, phrase, squawk or bleep is out of place? What the hell are they doing in there with those machines? Thomas, the band's founder, leader and sole consistent member over the past 30 years, insists that Ubu isn't an "outsider" or "alternative" rock band, but one that has heedlessly pursued its vision of what rock music promised to be in the 1960s and '70s and therefore represents the authentic mainstream. As Thomas sings on "Synth Farm," "Honey, I'm a-goin' forward/And the future's reversin' back." If you listen to Pere Ubu enough, you'll start to believe it too - Why I Hate Women certainly shares more genes with, say, the Seeds than any retro-haircut-rock band that'll be barfing all over Silver Lake tonight. According to Thomas, this album is an attempt to write the novel Jim Thompson never wrote (he was too scared?), and the title belongs in the mouth of the album's desperate, corrupt protagonist. It's a premise that fires the band up: where recent Ubu albums have sounded like elegies for an America that no longer exists, or that has failed to come into being, this record is a thrill ride from a bar where "the beer don't work on me" all the way to the great family-style restaurants of Texas, "the land of the free," with kind waitresses, pinto beans, coleslaw and more meat than you can eat. My fellow Americans: awake, and claim your true heritage!" - Orange County Weekly, Oliver Hall, Sep 14 2006
"The seeming peculiarity of Pere Ubu's dense sound and the surface gloominess of the lyrics belie the fact that the band actually creates fun music. This may not be party music, but it will raise the adrenaline, if not the testosterone, of those who listen. Put it on and prepare to jump around the room and shake things up. This is not dance music per se, but it would be impossible to sit still while the music's playing." - Pop Matters, Steve Horowitz, Sept 2006