Home and Garden

Home and Garden

BandRockAvant-garde

Groove-based, avant-garde rock.

Biography

By 1982, Pere Ubu, a band that had blazed a trail of influence (if not outright commercial success) through the punk/new wave scene, had broken up. Scott Krauss, Ubu’s founding drummer, who had left shortly before the band’s dissolution, was already exploring new musical avenues when he was joined by Ubu bass player Tony Maimone. Together they entered the recording studio as Home and Garden. Freed from the expectations put on an established band, they indulged their artier impulses and recorded “How I Spent My Vacation,” an EP of killer grooves and airy, ambient explorations. Joined by long time friends Pat & Doug Morgan on guitar and former Ubu sound-techs Jim Jones and Pat Ryan on production, Home and Garden was conceived to be more of a studio project, a non-group with a fluid line-up, than a proper “band.”

Feeling the need to expand their sonic pallette, Krauss and Maimone recruited Jones to be the continuing guitarist. On vocals, they brought in writer/poet/performer Jeff Morrison. Not a traditional singer or lyricist, Morrison set his spoke/sung lyrics in exotic locales throughout history: Marco Polo making his way through China, King John bemoaning his place in history, the adventures of penguins in a side-show. Musically, the boys in the band followed suit creating interesting sounds, textures, and arrangements to complement the imagery, which while “strange,” and “exotic” on the surface, were in fact pop songs at heart. The band was set free to indulge whatever musical idea came their way - from the garage-ballast of “The Voyage,” to the proto-electronic world groove of “Monkey Town,” to the prog-leaning “Bells of Ever and Never.” Toss some free-jazz riffs, some Motown grooves, and some New Wave rock into the mix and you had a rich and surprisingly coherent stew of musical experimentation called “History and Geography.”

This version of Home and Garden only played out live a handful of times. Before “History and Geography” was completed, musical wanderlust set in, and Maimone set off on his way, eventually making Brooklyn, NY his home and playing with the likes of Bob Mould, Frank Black, They Might Be Giants, Jon Langford, and many others. The remaining members put the finishing touches on the LP.

Released in 1985 on Randy Meggitt’s After Hours label, “History and Geography,” garnered favorable reviews and charted well on the burgeoning college radio scene.

*Terminal Magazine* wrote:
“The LP shows a wide range of inputs all grounded in the rhythm section that made Pere Ubu one of the live wonders of the ‘70s, but with a more refined sensibility.”

*CMJ* wrote:
“Beautiful impressionistic lyrics are coupled with melodic freeflow. We like this one lots!”

The U.K.’s *Outlet Magazine* said:
“[Home and Garden] has done a real custom job on this and it’s made to last more than a term!”

In *SPIN*, Andrea ‘Enthal wrote:
“It’s the ability to make all the technology sound human rather than all the humans sound technological that makes ‘History and Geography’....stand out from the synthmonger pack.”

Perhaps the LP’s most effusive praise came from Byron Coley:
“Imagine literate. Imagine beautiful. Imagine real goddamn good.”

With an album to promote and more music swirling through their heads, Home and Garden regrouped; adding Michele Temple on bass and guitar, and Robert Wheeler on synths. The project had become a band. They gigged constantly in the Cleveland-area and embarked on mini-tours of the east coast. With Jones switching off between keys and guitar and Temple between guitar and bass, this line-up could translate the complicated studio arrangements into a live setting. They quickly established a reputation as one of Cleveland’s best live bands. They continued to record new music, releasing the “Hideout” EP in quick order. More singles, compilation tracks, and gigging followed. Eventually, the grind of it all got to Jones, who left the band (but would return on occasion to play an odd show). He was replaced by Rick Christyson.

By 1987, Tony Maimone and Jim Jones were playing with Ubu frontman David Thomas’ Wooden Birds. A compilation of early Pere Ubu singles had been released earlier and had done surprisingly well. It was beginning to seem like Pere Ubu had unfinished business that could be tended to. Krauss made overtures, and in 1987 Pere Ubu was reborn. The core band that had recorded “History and Geography,” would form the core of Pere Ubu for that band’s next four albums (“The Tenement Year,” “Cloudland,” “Worlds in Collision,” and “Story of My Life”).

With Pere Ubu demanding progressively more of Krauss’ attention, Home and Garden began to fade into the background. Christyson left the group. The band continued on as a four piece composed of Krauss-Morrison-Temple-Wheeler, and continued to record and play out, but by 1990 had pretty well stopped.

As Pere Ubu was preparing to embark on its 1993 tour to promote “Story of My Life,” Maimone left the group, r

Discography

- How I Spent My Vacation EP - (Bizart Records) 1982
- History and Geography LP - (AfterHours Records) 1984/(Dead Man’s Curve U.K.) 1986
- Hideout EP - (AfterHours Records) 1985
- Melville B/W Sir Flea 7" 45 - (AfterHours Records) 1986
- Killjoy 7" EP - (Herb Jackson Records) 1988
- V/A From The Eerie Shore CD - (Synthetic Records/Jim Clevo) 1989
- V/A The Killer Blow CD - (Blue Bus Records/Jim Clevo) 1989
- V/A Clearing The Air CD - (Jim Clevo Presentations) 1990
- V/A Terminal Drive CD - (from Pere Ubu box set Datapanik in the Year Zero) (DGC) 1996
- V/A Cleveland Squawks CD - (CLE Magazine 5.0) 1997
- History and Geography (re-mixed and expanded) - (Exit Stencil Recordings) 2006

Set List

Primarily new and older Home and Garden material with a handful of Pere Ubu songs.

Fix My Horn
Come Home
Birthday
Waterbabies
Holiday
Monkeytown
Big Winter
Life Stinks
Prairie Sailors
Laughing
Bells Of Ever and Never
Heart of Darkness
King John