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Pere Ubu - Interview with David Thomas

  by Dominic B. Simpson

published: 16 / 10 / 2004

Pere Ubu - Interview with David Thomas


Pere Ubu are currently touring Britain performing a live soundtrack to the classic sci-fi film, 'It Came from Outer Space'. Frontman David Thomas talks to Dominic Simpson about it

Seminal and legendary, Pere Ubu originated somewhere in the apocalyptic industrial wastelands of Cleveland, Ohio, sometime in the mid 70’s. Named after a chaotic French play, their dissonant proto art-punk noise went on to influence much post-punk and industrial music, with the likes of Joy Division claiming the band to be a big influence. They are over in the UK for a week-long tour; however, these dates won’t be any ordinary gigs, and instead the band will be performing a live soundtrack to ‘It Came From Outer Space’, the suitably dystopian 1953 sci-fi thriller based on a Ray Bradbury novel which used the theme of spacecraft and alien sightings to touch on the Cold War paranoia that affected America after the Second World War. The tour includes dates at Liverpool, Glasgow, Brighton, and London’s Hackney Ocean; well, they would have played at Hackney Ocean but, according to the band’s website, “The Ocean went into liquidation. Pere Ubu's performance of 'It Came From Outer Space' was cancelled by the accountants who are now in control. Please note that fans calling to The Ocean have been told that they were not the ones who cancelled the show. This is not true.” So there you have it. In honour of the remaining dates, Pennyblackmusic got in touch with longstanding frontman David Thomas about the tour (the questions were posited before it was announced that the Hackney Ocean date would be cancelled). PB : You did a live soundtrack to the film 'It Came From Outer Space' once before in London at the Royal Festival Hall. Why have you specifically chosen this film? DT : A couple of reasons. I am a big Ray Bradbury fan from my youth and in my youth I watched every B-movie sci fi film there was. 'It Came from Outer Space' always stood out a little bit because of the poetry that survived from Bradbury's script. It therefore seemed like a good candidate for "revision" via a modern soundtrack. PB : What made you decide to do a live soundtrack to a film in the first place? And what can we expect during the soundtrack? DT : It seemed like a good idea at the time. Our music is very cinematic. Very visually oriented. It's a natural progression. Many of the elements in the soundtrack are drawn from identifiable Pere Ubu songs that have been re-jigged or modified. We will also be adding voice-overs and other sonic amendments in order to restore some of Bradbury's lost dialogue and narrative. PB : Is it true that we’ll all be wearing 3-D glasses ? DT : Yes. PB : Will you be performing a set of your more well-known tracks or will it be one continuous set of specially composed new material? DT : The latter. PB : You're playing 7 dates across Britain, including the Hackney Ocean in London. Is there any particular reason for choosing the Hackney Ocean? What about the other six venues ? DT : The Hackney Ocean as you know has gone into liquidation. The accountants who are in control have seen fit to cancel our show among many others. The other 6 venues are part of an ambitious new arts network who are interested in this sort of material. PB : Thank you.

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Pere Ubu - Interview with David Thomas

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