Saturday, April 25, 2009

laugh a heffer to the slaughter



peter laughner

august 22, 1952 - june 22, 1977



Aside from those Hearthan 45's recorded as Pere Ubu (subsequently documented on the "Datapanik in the Year Zero" box set) and his earlier association with Rocket from the Tombs, this posthumously released collection of Laughner's home demos and live recordings remains his sole legacy to the world. Rudely jettisoned by Thomas just prior to the early sessions for the album which would become "The Modern Dance" and unable to stage a full recuperation from his addiction to alcohol and substance abuse, Laughner succumbed to acute pancreatits in 1977, aged just twenty-four.

A noted contributor to 'Creem' magazine in addition to his role as
performing artist, veteran scribe and kindred spirit, Lester Bangs wrote his obituary.



photograph by richard kern.


The following cover of Brian Eno's "Baby's On Fire" - from the 1973 LP "Here Come the Warm Jets" - was one of his last recordings. The guitar is as blisteringly visceral as one might reasonably expect - so inspired, in fact, it leaves the original for dead - but it is his vocal delivery here which genuinely surprises. Excellent.


PETER LAUGHNER: BABY'S ON FIRE from "Take The Guitar For A Ride" 2 x LP (Tim/Kerr) 1993 (US)

HANDSOME PRODUCTIONS (PURCHASE PETER LAUGHNER RARITIES)

13 comments:

Jon said...

I've always been a Laughner fan. I was an obsessive Creem reader and characters mentioned in Creem seemed godlike to me.

LInking this to your previous post, while there was not a Cleveland scene as such, there was a definite midwestern zeitgeist. When I was a teenage commie, and a midwesterner, we called it "molecular activity". There were little pockets of strangeness, groups who found each other, all over the midwest.

At the time, I was living in the Midwest, but traveling regularly to either coast. The coasts were deadville. Think really bad country rock and bands in little costumes, not to mention disco. The midwestern mainstream was as dire as you probably think it was, but the prairies were dotted with clusters of young weirdoes, surfin' the amber waves.

Planet Mondo said...

Nice version - have you checked out Eno's super-funk live rework on the 801 Live album...

Ramone666 said...

Ib, fyi: There´s another, semi-official Laughner album called Nocturnal Digressions in existence, which was apparently recorded on the night before he died. Rough but great. See: Handsome Productions

ib said...

Jon:

"Think really bad country rock and bands in little costumes, not to mention disco."

The thought did occur to me. I tried to think what the Midwestern mainstream was like circa '75, and I could visualise Disco, but also the spectre of C&W riding on the backs of the industrially depressed and jaundiced.

Nothing wrong with that; if you're over 35 and exhausted.

I like the phrase "molecular activity". The terminology of chemistry and physics seems very apt.

ib said...

PM: I need to check that one out.

Ramone666: Thanks for that link. Handsome Productions looks like an extremely on the ball collective. Some really cool stuff!

ib said...

Also: it seems quite incredible in hindsight that Laughner died at just 24, while quite appropriate that Sid Vicious bit the bullet at age 21 with the key to the door. Can those obituary dates be true ? What a waste.

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said...

I was gonna post up 801 Live but found out they had released it on cd so, here's Baby's on Fire. Ripped from 33 yr. old vinyl, enjoy!

ib said...

Thanks for the 801 vinyl rip, Nate. very odd, like a Residents Diskomo mix very nearly.

frankenslade said...

I haven't heard this version in years! When I finally heard Take the Guitar for a Ride I was disappointed. Laughner was all over the place (I recall a Richard Thompson soundalike, for instance), more like what you'd expect from a cool music fanatic than a distinctive rock artist, which is what I think his Pere Ubu bandmates developed into. It was sad and "too fucking real" but the guy was definitely an instigator.

ib said...

"cool music fanatic" hits the nail on the head, frankenslade; but what a fucking great guitar player into the bargain! The Richard Thompson association is very apt too. I think Peter Laughner wore all his influences perhaps too readily. Nothing up the sleeve.

Brushback said...

Pretty cool stuff....

I have a Replacements bootleg with pretty much that same Kern photo as the cover.

ib said...

Yeah. Kern did a whole series of "candles" compiled in the book "New York Girls"; kind of like S&M themed Gerhard Richters.

With the huge explosion in online pornography - and its Gonzo niche, in particular - I am inclined to think much of his work has lost its original impact.

Great photographer, nonetheless.