Scott Krauss played drums in Pere Ubu from 1975 through 1981, then again from 1987 through 1994. On the album Story of My Life, Scott also took over some keyboard duties.
Scott is also the central figure in the band Home and Garden, which is generally a studio project and is now his main musical outlet. MP3s of Home and Garden can be found on the MP3 page.
All I know is I saw Rocket from the Tombs one time, and people can get all wowie-zowie about it, but it really wasn't much of anything.
True. True True. All I know is I saw them once and I really wasn't impressed at all. That may have been when they were on the verge of breaking up, though.
We both could relate to the hissing of the steam coming out of the radiator. He had some weird records, John Cage and all that minimalist stuff. And I dug some of it. There was one record where this guy had strung a long wire between two buildings in New York, and then he somehow amplified the wire, so the final recording was the sound of the city through this wire. Stuff like that. I always thought that was pretty sharp stuff.
Booming out of Windsor was WCKLW, 800khz.
ALL of that Motown stuff was great. "Working in a Coalmine." I remember hearing "Stop in the Name of Love", with that massively powerful organ intro There were a lot of secondary hits that they'd play at that station that wasn't like the big national hits, and you could tell that Motown was fishing around to see if they could have another hit with the same kind of theme. Like, say, "Ball of Confusion" came out by the temptations, then a little while later there'd be another song with the same kind of feel to it, same stuff going on. But it never really had the massive impact. They also played a lot of odd tracks that were maybe studio outtakes or something.
Yeah, I think so. Actually I think Cleveland is still a test market for fast food companies.
I remember hearing "Tamborine Man" playing on one of the neighboring town's FM stations, and I was just blown away by how huge that sounded how majestic. I remember hearing "Little Red Rooster" by the Stones and thinking "yeah, this stuff is okay."
This one friend of mine was telling me that there's this really weird band down in Akron. He said, "You're not going to believe this but they all wear these uniforms and sing about the de-evolution of the human race." So we go down to check this out and it was at a little club called the Crypt. It was definitely one of the weirdest bands I've ever seen. I kept wondering, "Aren't these guys afraid of getting beat up?" I don't know how it all got worked out, but sometimes they'd come up to Cleveland, and we'd take turns headlining. They got into a bunch of philosophical discussions, Jerry Casale and Mark Mothersbaugh versus David and Allen, and it was pretty interesting. I think they got the impression that Pere Ubu was never going to make it because we didn't care whether we made it or not. And we thought they were going to the other extreme.
I think the year that they put out "Modern Dance", "Dub Housing", and "Datapanik" on Radar Records, maybe '78 or '79, for about a year then we did work pretty heavy. After that we did "New Picnic Time", and things were starting to come apart. David and Allan seemed to want to take a hiatus, but Tony and I wanted to go out on the road. And then it took a while, but they decided they wanted to get back and do some giging, so we got Mayo Thompson.
He left right after the album was recorded.
Rough Trade said they'd put up some money because Mayo was involved with them, so we did a couple of quick tours once we had him on board. Then things were starting to get really strange, and Rough Trade decided they wanted to make a solo career out of David.
Oh yeah. We were doing this tour of Europe, and we had 3 days off in London. I thought we were going to book some studio time and record some new material. The closer it got to London, though, the less talk there was about this happening. So when we were about 2 days out from London, I said, "So what's happening with this London recording thing?" Silence. I had just assumed we had it under control. I said, "Are we not doing this?" And Allen said, "Well, actually, Mayo has invited me out to his cottage and I'm going to go there and take a break for 3 days." Tony said he was going to go hand out with some friends. Then there was a message that somebody asked me to give to David, saying that his 8-Track machine was in his hotel room. And I said, "David, what 8-Track machine?" And he told me he was going to do some spoken word recording in his hotel room. So I said, "If Mayo and Allen are going to be gone, and you're going to be busy, what am I supposed to be doing here?"
Right. And then when he did his first solo album, they didn't want anybody from Pere Ubu on it. It was pretty obvious that they wanted David to be a solo act without any Pere Ubu people.
In the beginning Pere Ubu was a solid group effort.
It definitely wasn't later.
In the beginning
there was a whole vision. Cleveland would shutdown at 6 o'clock at night,
and we owned the whole downtown. We could do anything we wanted because
Cleveland was a scary place to be. And we were a bunch of friends who
got together to do this thing. Peter came over to my place one day and
said, "There's going to be this recording session and these are the
people who are going to be involved. Do you want to play drums for it?"
We all kind of knew each other and what each other were doing, and when
Peter asked me to play drums I was into it.
Right. And it was
because I thought that Pere Ubu had a lot of unfinished business. And
the proof of that was when Terminal Tower came out and the president of
Rough Trade and David's manager were both getting excited. They kept saying
that now would be a good time to have another Pere Ubu album to release.
And they started trying to make plans to get that to happen. Allen told
them they were out of their minds because David wasn't going to play rock
music anymore, and they decided he was right.
Well, everybody has their favorites. Some people like those albums, some people don't. I can't get any perspective on it, it's too close. I can't stand back and look at it and judge this or judge that. They were all a project, and we all did the project. So maybe one is better than the other, I don't know.
Not really, no.
There's bits and pieces out of every recording that I like, but there
are things I'd change. But I'm too close to it all. It's all Pere Ubu,
and everybody was involved. It was what it was.
It's basically stuff that I was going to try to get onto Raygun Suitcase. I had done some stuff on Story of My Life, and I liked the direction I was going in. So I had these ideas, but David just didn't seem to be able to work with them. I got Dianne to do the vocals and got Michelle to do the guitar and bass parts.
Yeah. It's not really a band, even. Some of the new stuff It's pretty sharp. I can't really explain it without you hearing it. It doesn't seem like any record companies are interested, though, since they all keep turning it down.
I'd like to go back out and gig, but after being in Pere Ubu You can't go backwards, and if H&G had anything to say we'd be a big deal. Nobody seems to care, so obviously we don't have anything to say. I'm not going to go out and try to find gigs for a band that doesn't have anything to say. But I like what we're doing in the studio.
The way it works now is I have a little mini studio at home with a sampler, a drum machine, a mixer, all that kind of stuff. On this last one, I put together an atmospheric thing that I liked sonically, then Dianne came in and laid down a vocal track, then I bumped that tape down on an ADAT and sent it to Tony. He and his guitarist friend added their stuff and then sent it back here, where we mixed the whole thing. It seems to work pretty good.
I also got in touch with Eric Feldman because there's something else that would sound great with some piano on it. We'll see if anything comes of that.
Eric's a brilliant musician. He's worked with a lot of great people. Now he's working with P.J. Harvey. I'm not that familiar with her older stuff, but the one I got interested in was To Bring You My Love. He's not on that one, though, he's on the new one.
Not really, I was just gigging around. There was a band that Allen and I were sort of in doing weird, arty stuff with 2 synthesizers, an upright bass player, and me. There were times I'd gigged with Peter both before and after he was in Pere Ubu. There was a little band we had called Peter and the Wolves. We just played around at a couple of bars, but it was no big deal.
Well, in reviews
some people thought that was a really bad idea. It was a very simple thing:
Chris took over the top end with the frills and the cymbal crashes and
everything and I took over the bottom end on the 2 and the 4. We never
once sat down and talked about what he was going to play and what I was
going to play.
He has a very busy solo career. Actually it was getting to a point where the blocks of time that he would have to block out for Pere Ubu was interfering. And a lot of times with Pere Ubu stuff, it looks really solid, like boom-boom-boom, this is going to happen. Then all of the sudden, boom-boom-boom, it didn't happen. So Chris was starting to have to do too much shuffling around of his schedule, and he decided he would rather concentrate on his solo career. I hear from him every so often. I sent him some of the H&G stuff, and he seemed to like it. He told me that he started his record label because he was having a hard time getting people to put out his stuff.
He was already doing that years before, just after the Henry Cow thing. The whole music business thing I just watch it from down here in Cleveland.
I don't really have much to say. Pere Ubu was what it was, is what it is. I just didn't like the direction I guess, and I didn't feel that I needed to be excess baggage anymore. It was time to move on. There was a lot of performance high points in there. There were nights on tours that were just so stunning. I think the first time we played in Brussels at the Theater 140 You can hear it on that live disc on the box set We were going into the noise section on "Street Waves", and you can hear these 2 people scream. I remember that. Everybody was just sitting there staring at us, their eyes as big as pie plates. They couldn't believe that this weird band was on stage pulling this whole thing off. And then when we went into that breakdown part of that song, that pushed them over the edge. It was pretty magical I thought.