Pere Ubu are a rock music group formed in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1975. Despite many long-term band members, singer David Thomas is the only constant. The group is named after the protagonist of Ubu Roi, a play by Frenchman Alfred Jarry.
While Pere Ubu have never been widely popular—usually categorized as "underground rock"—they have a devoted following, have been hugely influential on several generations of avant-garde musicians and are a critically acclaimed American musical group.
Critical opinions of Pere Ubu include: "the most original and important of the new wave bands"; "the world's only expressionist Rock 'n' Roll band" and: "Pere Ubu will be looked back on as the most important group to have come out of America in the last decade and a half. Either that or they will be entirely forgotten" .
Pere Ubu have consistently conducted their affairs as they see fit, regardless of convention: They refuse to discuss or explain their sometimes odd music, forgoing newspaper and press interviews. Pere Ubu have compiled a list of guidelines for touring, live performances and the like, including such statements as, "Lighting should be theatrical rather than rockist. We are interested in atmosphere, mood, drama, energy, subtlety, imagination-- not rock cliché," and note that the Danish Broadcasting Corporation is one of the few organizations they trust to record live performances, "solely on the basis of the King of Denmark's defense of the Jews in WWII".
Tired of being asked to define their music, Pere Ubu coined the term Avant Garage to reflect interest in both experimental avant-garde music (especially Musique concrète) and raw, direct blues influenced garage rock. Thomas has stated "Avant Garage" is "a joke invented to have something to give journalists when they yelp for a neat sound bite or pigeonhole."