There is no other band quite like Pere Ubu.
The kind of musical group that forces scribes to beg the heavens for the right adjectives (I'll go with “brilliant”), Pere Ubu rose in the mid 1970s from the ashes of Cleveland pre-punks Rocket From The Tombs. Former Rocket singer David “Crocus Behemoth” Thomas and guitarist Peter Laughner were the engines behind Ubu's original incarnation; this lineup debuted with the still-bulletproof single “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” (a reworking of an earlier Rocket number) in December 1975. Thomas and Laughner were an intriguing sight to behold: Thomas' hefty frame made his high-pitched wails all the more shocking, while Laughner's reckless, substance-abusing escapades risked obscuring the ridiculously talented musician and writer within. As for the music of this early (and, dare I say, best) version of Ubu...well, you'll have to do some homework and form your own opinion. (Hint: The 1985 singles compilation Terminal Tower is a good place to start.)
Laughner's self-abuse led to his death in 1977. John Thompson, who has designed the majority of Pere Ubu's album covers since the very beginning, remembers Laughner's days working at Drome Records, the Cleveland music hub that Thompson once owned.
"An overwhelming sense of failure and utter dread of public humiliation, basically,” he answered. “I don't think I've done anything right, so I don't want to quit until I get it right. I'm tired of the humiliation of not getting it right. That's what keeps me going. If I ever get it right, I'll quit that day."
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