Smog Veil Records Reissues Pere Ubu Co-Founder’s 1975 Album This Week

click to enlarge Smog Veil Records Reissues Pere Ubu Co-Founder’s 1975 Album This Week
Allen Ravenstine
Independent label Smog Veil Records (based initially here in Cleveland and now operating out of Miami, Florida) has been unearthing audio treasures since the early '90s, describing their releases as mostly “ridiculous, bombastic and otherwise under-appreciated rock 'n' roll from Northeast Ohio.”

Lately, they’ve been focused on the Cleveland music scene with a series of archival releases under the banner of Platters du Cuyahoga. Launched in late 2015, the most recent release was last year’s exceptional Sunday Morning Revival from the Schwartz Fox Blues Crusade, which documented a single jam session captured on a Sunday morning in the spring of 1967, featuring Cleveland legends Glenn Schwartz (guitar/vocals), Jimmy Fox (drums), Bill “Mr. Stress” Miller (vocals/harmonica), Tom Kriss (bass) Rich Kriss (guitar/vocals) and Mike Sands (piano).

Now, they’re back with the next installment in the series. Allen Ravenstine’s Terminal Drive, which will be released on Friday internationally on red colored vinyl (including a digital download), CD and digital/streaming.

The release from the Pere Ubu co-founder is notable because it’s a piece that very few have heard in its complete state. An audio excerpt was released in 1996 on the Pere Ubu box set Datapanik in the Year Zero as part of a bonus disc of Pere Ubu-related projects and bands, but this marks the first time that the entire piece has ever been officially released. In fact, for many years, the complete recording was thought to be lost.

As archivist Nick Blakey explains in the liner notes, Smog Veil began hunting for a copy of the whole piece in January 2015, with an eye to release it. At that time, as he writes, “both the master reel and any safety copies were missing and unaccounted for, as was the digital transfer done in 1994” for the box set. As is the case with many of the titles that Smog Veil releases, it was a long search, but they happily found a copy that they were able to use to put together this release, which was assembled at Suma Recording Studio in Painesville.

Recorded in 1975, Terminal Drive features Ravenstine on synthesizers and tapes and Albert Dennis on string bass.

Ravenstine recalls being holed up in his Prospect Ave. apartment (where he had recently moved in after some time living out in the country), beginning the initial work on the piece that eventually became Terminal Drive. He later took what he had done to the Motion Picture Sound studio on Payne Ave. where Dennis added in his string bass. By October of '75, work on the project had been completed and he remembers inviting “some friends,” including Peter Laughner, over to hear it. Eventually, they went down to Ravenstine’s girlfriend’s apartment to “watch the premiere of a new TV show called Saturday Night Live.”

Thanks to the extensive research and interviews that Blakey conducted, you can read the complete story behind Terminal Drive in the liner notes (including recollections from both Ravenstine, Dennis and many others) that are included with the release. It’s a fascinating and meticulously assembled look back at this brief moment in Pere Ubu-related history. Terminal Drive will be available online and in stores and you can also order directly from Smog Veil’s website.

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