One of the greatest lo-fi indie records of all time, Guided By Voices‘ Bee Thousand, turns 20 this summer.
In a couple weeks, you can hear some of that album straight from the source, in one of the smaller, more intimate venues that GBV plays these days – The Granada in Lawrence. And as if that weren’t incentive enough, the band is back with its “classic” 90s lineup.
“Lo-fi is like any genre,” said GBV mastermind Robert Pollard way back in 2005 in an interview in Magnet. “If you have the songs, the attitude, and the vision, it’s going to be inspiring. If you don’t, it’s going to be lifeless. Lo-fi was the last truly charming and inspirational movement, the perfect extension of punk. Not only did you not have to know how to play, you didn’t even have to worry whether it sounded good by contemporary production standards.”
Since then, Pollard has continued to churn out material, releasing 6 albums since 2012. The latest of which, Cool Planet, was just released in May.
How, you might ask, does an artist as prolific as Pollard continue putting out quality work for so many years?
“If you write a song and your mom thinks it’s good, shit-can it immediately,” advises Pollard. “Writing is easy. It’s an ongoing process, like eating, breathing, or sleeping. It shouldn’t be painful or difficult. It’s a report on the state of the soul and, like the soul, should be continuously evolving. It does so through inspiration. From people, books, film, music. When inspiration is lacking, you get writer’s block.”
Apparently, inspiration is rarely lacking for Pollard. And recent reviews of GBV’s live shows indicate that the rowdy antics from the band’s early days in small clubs in Dayton, Ohio are still in full effect.
“First off, GBV front man Robert Pollard polished off his bottle of tequila before hitting the stage,” wrote Gretchen Robinette for brooklynvegan.com after a recent NYC gig. “Normally, he’s got that bad boy with him for about the first half the set (or for as long as it lasts). I’ve seen Bob take the stage in various stages of inebriation over the years, but Friday he was well in the bag before they played a single note of their massive set list. Which brings me to memory number two of the evening; the setlist was massive. I mean, a GBV setlist is always a sight to behold, but Friday they played nearly 50 songs and the evening concluded with a whopping three encores. I guess a 50-song, three-encore set is sort of par for the course with GBV, but it blew my mind regardless.”
High leg kicks and all.
Somehow, there are still tickets available at $25 a pop. Oh, and get this – Bobby Bare, Jr. is the opening act. God damn. Get in while you can, folks, and if you see me there, I’ll be the guy matching Bob on tequila shots.
Any more wisdom, Bob?
“Three-way phone conversations can blow me.”