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
a year 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."
You can hear the unbridled joy of creation in these tracks. Each musician playing a cornucopia of instruments.
Playing around - seeing what works - seeing what doesn't work so well. You can practically hear the smiles on
the band's collective face when someone stumbles upon a cool riff, or new sound. You can sense the excitement
that these musicians felt at the increased possibilities offered by electronic instruments. While their peers
at the time were using electronics to downplay the "human element," to become more mechanical, Home and Garden
used the sounds to explore human passions, frailties, and dreams.
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.