Peter Laughner Peter Laughner 5xLP box set
I knew PETER LAUGHNER from his guitar solo on “Final Solution” by PERE UBU, and bits I’ve read over the years on the Ubu Projex website. I read that Richard Hell book where he talked about LAUGHNER being a tryhard New York wannabe who could write a good song but was a loser because he took his own life, and for that, Hell spat on his grave. If anything, that made me want to listen to LAUGHNER more, and you’d be rewarded by doing so. His work was the next logical move on the timeline from BOB DYLAN to LOU REED / VELVET UNDERGROUND to TELEVISION. I sure as hell can’t write like LAUGHNER, and I’m not sure what he’d say about this rekindling of care surrounding his music and story, but in my immodest admiration, I gotta say: this is really fucking good. This boxset is incredible, considering that it delved so deeply into so many lost tapes, bootlegs, and unreleased recordings, and was able to produce a great sounding array of music spanning only a few years, but which possesses innumerable, unlikely and refreshing influences and ideas. I’ve never been a believer when people say “this artist transformed this song and made it their own,” but there’s an insane live version of “Heroin” here that LAUGHNER made all the more insane with his improvised guitar that made me lose my mind. This five-LP box set fetches a pretty penny, but seeing as copies of LAUGHNER’s self-titled and Take the Guitar Player for a Ride have asking prices a little under what this goes for, you may want to just pull the trigger here, considering you’re getting a larger quantity of music. The booklet containing photos and samples of his writing is fantastic as well. It’s simple but beautifully packaged. A curious coincidence on quality; both the PSYCHOS (reviewed below) and LAUGHNER cover “Summertime Blues” on their posthumous releases. Badass.