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Pere Ubu Understands America And I Don't

A considered analysis by academic Robert Loss, of the Columbus College of Art And Design. More accurately, David Thomas Understands America...

The Last Best Hope For Western Civilization - Rock N Roll?

By the time I formed Pere Ubu in August 1975 I was able to choose from a body of local musicians who, like me, were fed up with the music business, didn’t want to be in yet another band, and had little patience left with Rock N Roll. A year before I had written Final Solution, a send-up of the starry-eyed 60s mythos of Rock N Roll Rebellion.

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Any yet, after 46 years of fighting my corner, nearly alone and sometimes at odds with members of my own band, I have had an epiphany thanks to Richard Ashcroft (formerly of The Verve). He refused to appear at music festivals run by the government or under government restrictions designed to mollify citizens alarmed by confusion, mixed messages and weaseling in the face of the pandemic.

Bad move, Boris. There is just enough left of Rock N Roll, even in 2021, to make a musician a bad choice for an ally. I have no political opinions or criticism. I speak only of practicalities. Likewise, I have no patience with the likes of Van Morrison’s conspiracy angles. I’m sure any number of musicians have similar views. Maybe Richard Ashcroft. I don’t know and I don’t care enough to research it.

To mask or not to mask? It’s irrelevant juxtaposed to any degree of social concern / responsibility or even basic politeness, i.e., cut the crap and just be bothered enough to care for your fellow citizens even if they are wrong.

The point is this. Rock N Roll still has the power to create a formidable base of people inherently uncooperative and antagonistic to coercive, abusive and / or cynical, self-serving authority.

What the hell is a government good for anyway? We are told social distancing and masking, etc., is to be a matter of individual choice. OK. I’ll buy that. But then so are taxes, bicycle lanes, fighting the Nazis, traffic lights, parking fees, etc. etc. etc. Murder and robbery anyone? Right!

Years ago, in a different world, my brother exploited the greed of credit card companies, absolutely legally mind you, to earn tens of thousands of dollars, two free cars and dozens of other perks. He actually employed people to aid him. He had no interest other than Beating The System by playing its own game to an unimaginable extreme. He had been a chess master at 17. He held up a cheap plastic trophy. “This is what I got for being a master,” he said. He held up a bag of money. “This is what I get for using the same skills.” He’d leave bags of cash sitting around his never-locked home, like trophies. I always said that with a thousand like him I could bring down the whole system.

With Rock N Roll still exerting power, there is a body of hundreds of thousands such people. Maybe that's Western Civilization’s last best hope. Ironic. Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard and Ozzy Osbourne to the rescue of William Shakespeare, Martin Luther and Abraham Lincoln.

DPK and Soup Shows Available

DPK TV (Datapanik TV) kicked off June 5 2020. It's an (actually) live livestream hosted by David Thomas and Communex (Kiersty Boon). $5 a month gets you access. You can delete membership, hassle free, anytime. Join and become a Patron or go to the DPK Page for access to past episodes - free to Patreon Fannatics and available at a nominal rental for others.


The Sound Of The Sand (1981) Winter Comes Home (1983) Variations On A Theme (1983) More Places Forever (1985) Monster Walks The Winter Lake (1986) Blame The Messenger (1987)

Monster Box Set (1997) Mirror Man (1999) Bay City (2000) Live Free Or Die (2017)

EREWHON (1996) Meadville Surf's Up! (2001) 18 Monkeys on a Dead Man's Chest (2004)

David Thomas Special Projex

David Thomas Solo Projects David Thomas and two pale boys Cutler Thomas UbuDoll Greenland David Thomas and foreigners

The Book Of Hieroglyphs Pere Ubu Scrapbook Chinese Whispers, The Making Of Lady From Shanghai Cogs, The Making Of Carnival Of Souls Baptized Into The Buzz

Living Room Concerts Radio Play of Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi Disastodrome 1998 Disastodrome 2003 Geography Of Sound Lecture

Mirror Man Bring Me The Head Of Ubu Roi Long Live Père Ubu! - The Spectacle Lost In Art, The Ballet

It Came From Outer Space X, The Man With X-Ray Eyes Carnival Of Souls

Bay City Mirror Man Two Pale Boys How To Be A Singer Surf's Up!

Articles and Essays by David Thomas