Pere Ubu frontman David Thomas is in the midst of a bit of a renaissance now. The renaissance has seen the legendary singer take his first band, Rocket From The Tombs, out on the road (pics by Davis White of a D.C. gig here, and that shot up above). And he's had Fire Records begin an enormous, and enormously important, string of reissues recently. The first box set, Elitism For The People 1975-1978, was released in 2015 and this year saw the release of the next set in the series, Architecture Of Language 1979-1982 which came out a few months ago. This set, containing material a good deal more bracing than the more famous works on the first box, showcases the risk-taking that David Thomas and his band -- whatever the line-up -- have undertaken in the first few years of the band's long existence.
Now, beginning tomorrow as a matter of fact, Pere Ubu will be taking their act on the road on these shores. The band's current line-up of David Thomas, Steven Mehlman (Drums), Michele Temple (Bass), and Robert Wheeler (Synth and Theremin), will be joined by Gary Siperko (Rocket From The Tombs, Whiskey Daredevils, Mofos) on lead guitar. The group will be performing a variety of cuts from those first radical releases collected on those 2 box sets.
Still, "This is not a greatest hits tour!" as the press materials state. No, in typical Thomas fashion, the tour, dubbed "Coed Jail! Tour 2016", will present Thomas with the task of replicating some of the most challenging music recorded in America in the post-punk years live. He remains an artist, as he explained in this interview with me last year, driven by "the need to get it right--just once."
Video of a recent live performance of "Navvy" from Dub Housing (1978) below, courtesy of Fire Records.
[Photo: Davis White]