Oct 14, 2008

As We Go Up, We Go Down


I had just loaded up 76 of my favorite Guided By Voices songs on my iPod (narrowing it down to 76 was incredibly tough) when I decided I needed to get out on the intertubes and find out what Bob was up to these days...

Truthfully, any time I'm seeking the latest on Bob Pollard I'm actually secretly hoping to discover that he's decided to get the band back together for a beer deluged rock tour that's heavy on dates in Dayton, Ohio. It's really out of guilt. I don't regret much, but one thing that eats at me was my decision to skip out on Guided By Voices' last ever, final farewell, never-to-be-seen-again concert at The Metro in Chicago on New Year's Eve 2004. I'm not exactly sure why I didn't go. What was I thinking? Maybe I didn't really believe this was the end. Bottom line: I'm an idiot. That show happened to be one of the greatest four hours in rock history. Maybe it's not that big of a deal considering Bob Pollard has continued to make music at a near break neck pace since then and Bob himself has said "I am Guided By Voices." (You can't really argue with him when "the band" has featured dozens of lineups over the years.) I'd try to explain why Guided By Voices is so important (especially since you've probably never heard of them) but that's a near impossible task in a few paragraphs on a blog.

Here's a sample -- the lyrics to one of my all time favorite GBV songs, Echos Myron:

Tower to the skies
an academy of lies
And what goes up surely must come down
And we felt the mighty blowup with the walls coming down
Or something like that

Most of us are quite pleased with the same old song
And all of a sudden I'm relatively sane
With everything to lose and nothing to gain
Or something like that

Man of wisdom and man of compromise
Man of weak flesh in an armored disguise
All fall down

"If it's right you can tell" echos Myron like a siren
With endurance like the liberty bell
And he tells you of the dreamers
But he's cracked up like the road
And he'd like to lift us up, but we're a very heavy load
And we're finally here and shit yeah, it's cool
and shouldn't it be - or something like that

So anyway, Guided By Voices still isn't getting back together. But I did find out that Bob has (another) new band, Boston Spaceships, that is touring. Of course, as my bad karma has earned me, they played a music festival here in Dayton exactly ten days ago. I'll have to settle for the new album, Brown Submarine. You can listen to a track here.

Bob also has a new book, Town of Mirrors: The Reassembled Imagery of Robert Pollard, that just released in August. More often than not, GBV album covers were a visual manifestation of Bob's lyrical style and it sounds like this book is an extension of that.

In my meandering I also found out that one of the "classic" GBV band members, Tobin Sprout, has a website featuring his very cool artwork (like the image posted above). It's like Alice in Wonderland meets Dali meets Frida Kahlo. I love it.

4 comments:

Ward and June said...

I too love GBV and have never seen them or any Pollard group. I know that Pollard is GBV, but I somehow still seem to connect with the GBV stuff a little deeper.
Under the Bushes Under the Stars is my favorite album.


-Ward

Ward and June said...

Echoes Myron is one of my all time fav GBV songs, especially those last three lines, wow. As Ward already said we never saw them either but if we had lived closer to Chicago we may have attempted that last show thing. We live in a small town surrounded by other small towns and usually have to head to North Carolina which also has small towns, but their small towns are cooler I guess.

James said...

I agree about the Bob/GBV difference. I think it's partly because on his solo work and other off shoots he's always gone more experimental routes that don't feel quite so GBV.

If you EVER get to see Bob live, you absolutely must. He rocks for the sake of rock.

Jim said...

"I NEEEED AAAH ROCK!...I wanna rock"

Alien Lanes is fantastic but got to stick with Bee Thousand.

Favorite to run too:
*Everywhere With Helicopter
*I am a Tree
*The Official Iron Men Rally Song

Favorite to listen to if I have had too much red wine:
*The Goldheart Mountain Top Queen Directory
*As We Go Up We Go Down
*Sheet Kickers