black record
  • Black Record
  • Waiting For The Snow
  • Welcome To The New Dark Ages
  • Strychnine
  • Sonic Reducer
  • I Keep A File On You
  • Nugefinger
  • Spooky
  • Coopy (Schrödinger's Refrigerator)
  • Hawk Full Of Soul
  • Read It And Weep
  • Parking Lot At The Rainbow's End


Black Record ART

Rocket From The Tombs
Black Record

Released November 13 2015.
Produced by David Thomas.

Fire Records FIRECD419 cd.
Fire Records FIRELP419, vinyl. The initial production run is on silver vinyl.

Order RFTT physical product from here.

Release Notes

Members of Cleveland group This Moment In Black History (TMIBH) contributed vocals, tambourine and other bits to 'Black Record.'
"We've had a mutual admiration society going for years. I wanted them involved in the recording. For awhile the album was going to be titled This Moment In Blackness."
David Thomas

TMIBH was kept in touch with the album's progress through demo tapes and works-in-progress downloads.

"I wanted to feel a rival group's eyes on us as we worked. As Pere Ubu became increasingly globalized, I worked with different methods of keeping it grounded in a specific geography. Originally, I intended to incorporate TMIBH into a Pere Ubu record but Carnival Of Souls went off in its direction and RFTT inherited the idea."
David Thomas

TMIBH guitarist Buddy Akita is a member of RFTT.

Production Notes

Produced by David Thomas.
Mixed by David Thomas and Paul Hamann.
Engineered by Paul Hamann at Suma, Painesville OH.
Package design by John Thompson, idrome.

Basic tracks were recorded on an Ampeg 24-track tape machine. The 2-inch analog tape was transferred to digital at 192khz / 24 bit resolution. Overdubs were recorded digitally at the same resolution. The mix was mastered by Paul Hamann in Ozone 6. Download audio was prepared by David Thomas. The vinyl was cut by Pete Norman at Finyl Tweek, London, on a Neumann VMS80 lathe.

All songs written by Akita - Bell - Mehlman - Siperko - Thomas and published by Fire Songs, except 'Read It And Weep' written by Bell and published by Hearpen Music, 'Strychnine' written by G. Roslie and published by Valet Publishing Company, and 'Sonic Reducer' written by O'Connor - Thomas and published by Larry Spier Music.

Rocket From The Tombs (v.7.1)

Crocus Behemoth
vocals, musette, duotron
Gary Siperko
guitar, vocals
Buddy Akita
Craig Bell
bass, vocals
Steve Mehlman
drums, vocals

This Moment In Black History

Lamont Thomas
vocals on Hawk Full Of Soul, backing vocals, tambourine
Lawrence Caswell
backing vocals
Chris Kulcsar
synthesizer on Welcome To The New Dark Ages, backing vocal
Buddy Akita

Questions And Answers

Q. What are the implications of colored vinyl for audiophiles?
Packaging designs are usually meant to add a perspective to the meaning of the music. For 'Black Record' we wanted the packaging to add perspective to the sound. John Thompson was asked to work with black and silver. The colors were chosen to reference the labels of the Hearpen singles, which, in turn, referenced the label of a Music Machine single discovered in the 70s in the used record bins of the Salvation Army store on Euclid Avenue across from the WHK Auditorium.

The first pressing of 'Black Record' is only available on silver vinyl. The front cover of the LP was given an extra coating of silver ink. Subsequent pressings will be on black vinyl.

All vinyl produces surface noise. It's the nature of the beast. The stylus being dragged through the vinyl grooves produces a noise baseline. It can be heard in the gaps between songs. If you hear nothing, great, but it's still there. If your turntable costs $1000s or $50, it transmits surface noise.

The pressing plant that manufactured 'Black Record' offers only a limited palette of color vinyls, chosen according to the chemical compositions that yield the lowest surface noise.

The surface noise of a black vinyl copy of RFTT's 'Black Record' is measured as approximately -45db. The silver vinyl produces a level at approximately -35db. It is a significant increase, but how significant?

Paul Hamann has been the engineer for nearly every Ubu Projex studio recording since 1979. His father, Ken, engineered Pere Ubu from 1976 to 1979 before retiring. Ken had been an engineer since the 40s. He recorded The Cleveland Orchestra during the exacting George Szell years. He engineered most of the Terry Knight productions, most of James Gang, 'Nobody But Me,' 'Time Won't Let Me,' 'Green Tambourine,' and 'Play That Funky Music, White Boy,' among others. He was a pioneer of digital technology and designed and built a hardware Analog-to-Digital converter still used by another audiophile studio. In the conversion to cd audio for the Elitism For The People box set, Ken's 20-30 year old converter, The Sumex Brown Box, performed as well as, if not arguably better, than the latest state-of-the-art software or hardware.

Paul was raised to be an engineer. He has impeccable hearing. He has never had a speeding ticket - he can sense police radar guns. He is also a cutting engineer and a musician and, though he plays bass in local traditional folk groups, his favorite band is Blue Cheer. Paul is old school. He is a part of the machine. To drag an opinion out of him requires determination and the repetition of ever more precise questions. When he gives an answer it is unvarnished.

These questions were put to him:
1. Does the additional surface noise of the silver vinyl spoil your listening enjoyment? "No."
2. Is it something that you, as an engineer, are bummed out about? "No."

He, uncharacteristically, volunteered the following: the art of the packaging with silver vinyl outweighs any concern about additional surface noise.

He is happy, as a consumer and as an engineer, to have the silver vinyl. "It's cool."

With the purchase of any cd or vinyl lp from Fire Records, the consumer is given codes for free downloads of any and all of the following: two lossless audio formats (FLAC and Apple Lossless), high quality AAC (iTunes) format, high quality VBR MP3 format and high quality CBR MP3 format. These conversions are produced and/or overseen by David Thomas, often in consultation with Paul.

Fire Records is dedicated to quality. (As well, their boss, evidently, once told his staff, "We are now in the business of David Thomas.") They use the range of technology and delivery methods to make available a wide spectrum of audio formats. Consequently, each format can be used a little differently to drive home Meaning. And even stop for a burger along the way.

Every recording that leaves the studio is a compromise. Every. Recording. That. Leaves. The. Studio. From that point of view it's all flawed. It's all a failure. The best option, then, is to be deaf. Only the deaf hear the world as it is. Silent.

About the reunion tour, what will -
What reunion? We've been here all along. Where have you been?

Why did you record 'Strychnine'?
It was the best fit as a segment of the story of the album. Why reinvent the wheel? 'Strychnine' is dedicated to the panoply of social engineers everywhere who explain, very patiently, that their poison is good for you.

Communex captured the Cle way of telling a story, which is a mix of the Intrusive Other and the Self Participatory with a firm grounding in the Law of Unintended Consequences and a contented fatalism - 'it's all gonna go wrong but what difference does that make?' Add the funhouse mirror of the Extreme Mediator and you've got it all.

In the span of a two minute video she assembled a concise template. If you want to know about Cle in the 70s, or how we assembled songs, or what the Intrusive Other is all about, don't bug me - watch the video.

Press Reaction

Editor's Choice - AllMusic

Louder Than War
"Along with some classic guitar shredding, each song is classic, great garage, with garage hooks again and again."

Herald Scotland, Keith Bruce
"Raw rock'n'roll that so many try (and fail) to emulate."

A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed
"Furious music that shoots adrenaline up the spine. There's more fury and energy here than most of the music being made by kids young enough to be David's grandchildren. A primer on exactly what American punk was, is, and needs to remain."

Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune
"Rocket From the Tombs is not just the great lost proto-punk band of the '70s. It's one of the best bands of the 21st Century too."

Record Collector (UK), Tim Peacock
"Arguably their fiercest record yet."

New Noise Magazine (France)
"Black Record is energetic, nostalgic, absolutely sincere and ultimately beautiful."

David Fricke, Rolling Stone
"No one else in American rock, underground or over, in 1974 and '75, was writing and playing songs this hard and graphic about being f**ked over and fighting mad. No one else is doing it now."

Coopy Video
by Kiersty Boon

Strychnine Video
by Kiersty Boon

Welcome To The New Dark Ages Video
by Kiersty Boon

RFTT - welcome PROMO alt colour
'Welcome To The New Dark Ages' is is the third video single from 'Black Record.' The b-side is 'Pretty' from the Barfly album.

RFTT - Strychnine PROMO  alt colour
'Strychnine' is dedicated to social engineers everywhere who explain, very patiently, that their poison is good for you. The b-side is 'I Sell Soul' from the Barfly album.

RFTT - Coopy PROMO INSERT alt colour
'Coopy (Schrödinger's Refrigerator)' is is the first video single from 'Black Record.' This is a radio edit of the album track. The b-side is from the Barfly album.

Tour Poster