UJ3RK5: LIVE FROM THE COMMODORE BALL­ROOM

Canadian Art - - Reviews -

PRI­MARY IN­FOR­MA­TION/EMILY CARR UNIVER­SITY PRESS, LP, $20.00

Van­cou­ver post punk/new wave out­fit UJ3RK5 (“You Jerk”) has al­ways been some­thing of a mys­tery to me. On the one side, there’s the le­gendary back­story to the band: In the late 1970s, a group of friends and ac­quain­tances from the Van­cou­ver art scene—in­clud­ing a young Rod­ney Gra­ham, Jeff Wall, Kitty Byrne, Ian Wal­lace, Dan­ice Macleod, Frank John­son, David Wis­dom and, oc­ca­sion­ally, writer Wil­liam Gib­son—start to hang out and jam in a down­town art stu­dio. Gra­ham and John­son (a.k.a. Frankie Ramirez) had al­ready been play­ing as the gui­tar-and-bongo-drum duo, the Gentle­men Two. Wal­lace had spent time moon­light­ing as a bassist on the lo­cal rhythm-and-blues scene and Macleod had stud­ied clas­si­cal vi­o­lin, but for the rest, UJ3RK5 was in those early days, as Wis­dom re­mem­bers it, “as much a social club as a band.”

The band had its first gig at the He­len Pitt Gallery in 1979. Gone were the bon­gos and garbage-can drums. With the ad­di­tion of punk guitarist

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