Pere Ubu, RFTT, and The Dead Boys…

Via Dangerous Minds:
Pere Ubu playing live in a Borders bookstore in 2006 doing the song “Sonic Reducer.” On Black Friday, no less!

As Marc Campbell says “In the annals of punk history, this has got to be one of the strangest events recorded on video. The term ‘what the fuck’ was invented for moments like this.”

Many of you might remember this song as the lead off track from The Dead Boys’ debut LP, Young Loud And Snotty (has there ever been a more apt title?)

What you may not have known is that the song was originally written by David thomas of Pere Ubu when both he, Cheetah Chrome, and Johnny Blitz (and Stiv Bators for a short while) were in Rocket From The Tombs.

RFTT only lasted a couple years but were hugely influential and provided much material for both bands thereafter. Dead Boys tracks “Ain’t It Fun,” “What Love Is,” “Down in Flames,” “Caught With the Meat in Your Mouth” and Ubu’s “Final Solution,” “Life Stinks” and “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” all started out as RFTT tracks.

While some proto-punk bands were a milder, albeit unusual, incarnation of their later “punk” versions, RFTT were as savage as any later punk acts. check out the original version of ‘What Love Is”:

RFTT reunited in 2003 and are still active today: http://www.ubuprojex.net/rftt.html

A good source for a lot of the early history of all this is Cheetah Chrome”s memoir, A Dead Boy’s Tale: From the Front Lines of Punk Rock. Rock n roll autobiographies are a dime a dozen and can span the gamut from dodgy to insightful and Cheetah lands about mid mark, with some juicy road hooliganism stories and requisite drug abuse. All in all, a fun read.