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Pere Ubu Update Tour Lineup
The Quietus , August 23rd, 2013 08:47

Experimental rock pioneers are forced to rearrange their lineup after facing visa problems

Following the release of their fifteenth studio album The Lady From Shanghai, Cleveland experimentalist legends Pere Ubu have hit a spot of trouble during their follow up North American tour after the band's non-US members were denied entry into the country. The band have published a statement on their website, titled 'We Fought the Faceless Government Clerk and the Faceless Government Clerk Lost,' which attempts to present a solution to the problem involving stand ins and the wonders of modern technology. Read the statement below.

"Pere Ubu has added Cleveland guitar maestro Dave Cintron to the lineup for its September tour of the eastern USA and Canada. Mr. Cintron substitutes for British guitarist Keith Moliné, who is unable to enter the US due to the visa approval process delays, ongoing since May. The group's second synthesizer, Gagarin, is also unable to join the band on tour, but plans are in progress to produce a remote performance live from their homes in London, by way of a complex cell/broadband system.

Band leader David Thomas says that the show will be different to the UK and Europe tours but it will still be Pere Ubu and the audience will be witness to the morph that is part of this band's unique history. "Mr. Cintron brings a unique perspective to the songs and we will subsume that into the collective. Pere Ubu is The Borg."

The improvisational nature of both the band's composition process and its performances means that all the songs in the set will have to be rewritten and relearned, particularly those from new album Lady From Shanghai (Fire Records).

"We will do what others call impossible," Thomas says. "The songs from the new album are anti-logical, played in nonsensical structures and with inscrutable tunings. None of it can be written out or translated. We will devise new patterns of anti-logic.

"The remote performance will only be for one song but it's a victory nonetheless," Thomas said. "For a month I've been in my studio working on this project. Everyone says it can't be done... Oh well."

Gagarin was to play his own material as a support act in many of the tour's cities. Instead, Mr. Thomas will take to the stage and manage a remote performance of the music. Other members of Pere Ubu will contribute and Mr. Thomas promises to dance.

"Moral victories? We got a million of 'em," Thomas said. "And lots of Pyrrhic ones!"

Many fans are angered by what they see as an attack on freedom of expression. "With all due respect, it's nothing as grand as that," Thomas said. "Big organizations are comfortable with hierarchical methods of production, but the cultural history of the last hundred years is marked by the emergence and then dominance of a more chaotic folk methodology found in jazz, rock, blues and country music - music of the 'people.'

"The visa restrictions are the product of a mind set relevant to the 20s, when the hierarchical paradigm seemed to be the only game in town: orchestras, big bands, show bands, Tin Pan Alley, etc. Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph/microphone would eventually change all that.

"Lawmakers, in response to the paradigm shift, have been encouraged to codify 'artistic merit' as a visa requirement. That's when you get a real mess - faceless government clerks ticking boxes."

We recently revisited Pere Ubu's landmark The Tenement Year LP for an Anniversary piece, as well as talking to Thomas for A Quietus Interview earlier this year. Have a watch of a clip of them performing at Melbourne's ATP earlier this year below.

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