Guided by Voices: Booze, Leg Kicks, and Chemistry

Categories: Interview

Matt Davis
Guided By Voices

One of the more prolific bands in rock history (21 albums and counting), Guided by Voices has managed not only to have a hearty discography but also the ability to consistently write quality songs, keeping rabid fans addicted while getting new admirers to jump aboard the band's eclectic ark. The songs' lengths and production values may vary, but the result is the same -- a unique sound that engages splashes of several kinds of rock, including lo-fi, pop, punk, garage, psychedelic, and progressive.

Since the band's inception in the early '80s, the driving force behind the merrily mischievous music makers is Robert Pollard, a former Dayton, Ohio, schoolteacher. Though the band has seen a lot of personnel changes over the years, Pollard currently is playing and touring with members of an early GBV lineup and doesn't see that changing anytime soon.

"The so-called 'classic lineup' is a term pegged by Matador Records for their 21st anniversary bash in Vegas four years ago," he says. "I've got no plans for any lineup changes for GBV. We're having a blast."

Any GBV fan will tell you that the band's live show is something not to be missed. The band is definitely not afraid to drink a beer or 20, and from beginning to end, it's not just any old show. Booze-injected and loaded with energy, band camaraderie, and plenty of Pollard's signature leg kicks, it's a goddamned experience. It's like dropping the band and a few hundred diehard fans and other music lovers into a great big envelope, sealing it up, and handing the package over to a giant who shakes the whole thing vigorously for a couple of hours, dropping everyone out at the end in a sweaty, smiling stupor. It's sincere and fun.

From the countless sing-along favorites, like anything from 1994's Bee Thousand to poignant beauties like "Fair Touching" from 2001's Isolation Drills, Pollard says to plan on hearing a mix of new and old.

"This tour includes a lot of songs spanning the entire GBV canon. Lots of new songs from the two albums we released this year, Motivational Jumpsuit and Cool Planet. Also, it's the 20th anniversary of Bee Thousand, so we'll be doing quite a few songs from that album. And then we'll sprinkle one or two songs from the rest of the albums that the "classic" lineup performed on, like "Teenage FBI" -- close to 50 songs in all.

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Sweet preview! Can't wait for Sunday!

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