Monday, September 10, 2007

The Modern Dance

From 1989, here's the amazing Pere Ubu with guests including Debbie Harry, doing a great live version of their sublime "Waiting for Mary."

The song, which is about as pop as they ever got -- note the similarities to the Stones' 1967 acid hootenanny "Sing This All Together" -- is from their quite wonderful "Cloudland" album.

The video, of course, is from the David Sanborn-hosted Night Music, still the best show of its kind ever on television. As you can glean from the roster of guests Sanborn introduces in the clip, the format was an hour of glorious genre-bending electicism on a weekly basis -- a big surprise, then, that it only lasted a season. Still, I don't know what's more remarkable -- the fact that Pere Ubu, the same band who made their name with ultra-abrasive avant garde sonic squalls like "30 Seconds Over Tokyo" and "Final Solution" also recorded this charming bit of psychedelic whimsy, or the fact that a major network ever put a venturesome show like Night Music on the air.


Anonymous said...

Ah, thanks for that memory - I loved that show.
I wasn't surprised to see it get cancelled - it never seemed to offer that guaranteed-megabucks-for-the-suits vibe that helps a show reach orbital escape velocity - but I would have hoped for another season or two, and bigger potential overseas. Only Swedish TV picked it up outside the US, if memory serves.


Anonymous said...

Great, great! Thanks for posting!

Had a rough weekend and this really was a nice surprise. That's Jim Jones on guitar too, who has played in several great Clevo bands like the Easter Monkeys.

Anonymous said...

BTW, my garage band in the early 80s used to cover "Final Solution."

"The girls won't touch me
Cos I've got a misdirection
Living at night isn't helping my complexion
The signs all saying it's a social infection
A little bit of fun's never been an insurrection"

Cleveland Bob said...

Thanks for video, Steve. Far and away the poppiest song that Ubu ever recorded.

Great stuff. Hiram Bullock from the Letterman Show playing guitar there next to Debbie.

And yes, KC, that most certainly is Jim Jones on the axe. He's played with tons of folks up to and including my pals, Keith and Scottie Pickering in the ever memorable Speaker/Cranker.

One last personal note about Ubu. That's original Ubu member Scott Kraus on drums. I used to date his sister-in-law, Irene, for a while. A real sweet girl.

Anyway, she invited me to the 1981 Pere Ubu Halloween party. I went covered in green clothes with face and hands colored green as well. My costume was, "The Grassy Knoll".

Dave Thomas dug it.

Cleveland Bob said...


Should be Krauss and not, Kraus.

Anonymous said...

Wow... what a great clip. Cleveland Bob and I saw them on this tour in Chicago. Now I'm in the barren wastes of NE Wisconsin. Sanborn was just here and I declined to see him 'cos I always thought he was a lite jazz hack. May hafta re-evaluate that stance now, I guess...