Pere Ubu

Formed August 1975.
Pere Ubu

Biography

Pere Ubu is an experimental rock music group formed in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1975. Despite many long-term band members, singer David Thomas is the only constant. The group is named after Père Ubu ("father Ubu"), the protagonist of Ubu Roi ("Ubu, the King"), a play by French writer Alfred Jarry.

While Pere Ubu have never been widely popular—usually categorized as "underground rock"—they have a devoted following and are an influential and critically acclaimed band. Pere Ubu have compiled a list of guidelines for touring, live performances and the like: "Lighting should be theatrical rather than rockist. We are interested in atmosphere, mood, drama, energy, subtlety, imagination—not rock cliché." The Danish Broadcasting Corporation is one of the few organizations they trust to record live performances, "solely on the basis of the King of Denmark's defense of the Jews in WWII".

To define their music, Pere Ubu coined the term avant-garage to reflect interest in both experimental avant-garde music (especially Musique concrète) and raw, direct blues-influenced garage rock. Thomas has stated the term is "a joke invented to have something to give journalists when they yelp for a neat sound bite or pigeonhole".

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BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Lady From Shanghai

    Lady From Shanghai 2013

    Reviewed by Martin Longley
    First new album for three years from Cleveland’s famously experimental sons.