Guided By Voices Break Up… Again

James sent me this news tonight.


If you don’t wanna read all of that, here’s the gist: Guided By Voices is breaking up. Again.

I’m known in these parts as a pretty huge Guided By Voices fan. I wouldn’t say rabid, because you generally have to shoot wild rabid things (and I don’t wanna be shot), but I sure do like me a healthy dose of this group’s awesomeness.

Thing is, they broke up before, in 2004. That one hurt more, because it seemed like a thing too good to be true (but that actually existed) was ending. Of course, Robert Pollard and his merry band of various and sundry reprobates and cohorts kept us supplied with a fairly constant stream of new music despite the end of that flagship group. Seriously, look up the related 6-year discography, sometime. To call these guys prolific is understatement of the year.

Then, in 2010, they came back and toured again with the ‘classic 90s’ line-up. And things were great. They made 6 huge records, toured and made us all believe in the power of GBV again. And now, this. Mid-tour, even.

Well, how do I feel about it? Mostly OK, this time. They had an incredible run, and then another one. And I am not fooled into believing that Pollard is even close to done releasing new music. He’ll probably have five more records out before Christmas. I don’t expect the content to stop at all. So, that they are no longer operating under the GBV name (again) sucks, but it ain’t the end of the world. Commenters on that article (link above) were saying they were already waiting for the next reunion tour. Ha. I don’t know about that one, but we said no way once before, so who knows?

The only thing I find really shitty about all of this is that they have a pretty loyal fan base (not many are actually rabid, just to reiterate), and to break up mid-tour is pretty shite. People bought tickets. Some were travelling from large distances to be there. Sure, they can get a refund, but it’s kind of a kick in the nuts to everyone who was supporting them. As my lovely wife pointed out, unless they really can’t get along, or there are health issues that make it impossible, they could at least man up and finish the tour. Go out on a high note, so to speak.

I have typed this before, and here I am doing it again:

R.I.P. G.B.V.

[thanks for keeping me in the loop, James!]

13 thoughts on “Guided By Voices Break Up… Again

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks Dude, but you know, at this point, it just is what it is. They’ve been going so long and had so many members and broken up before… who knows what’ll happen. All I know is Pollard is likely to keep hammering out 5-10 records a year, he doesn’t need the GBV name. It was nice to see the classic line-up together again, though, I will admit that. Dammit man, Doug Gillard is one of rock’s most underrated guitarists. Period.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      With your wide and varied musical intake, I find that a bit hard to believe. I’m willing to bet it’s a case of you’ve heard them but just didn’t know who it was. There was a point in the mid-90s (when they were being produced by Rik Okasek) that a couple of their albums were the most accessible, even had a couple of radio hits.

      If you still don’t know a note, that’s OK. A lot of people don’t. I shout about my love for them all the time, but am hardly offended when someone says WHO? You don’t need the crash position. Unless you’re about to go discover them for yourself. They will knock you backwards with their awesomeness.


        1. keepsmealive says:

          At this point, you’re absolutely correct. Hundreds of releases. Under the GBV banner, there are a few main albums towards which people seem to gravitate. Bee Thousand, for sure. Alien Lanes. Under The Bushes Under The Stars. Mag Earwhig! Go a bit earlier you get Propeller and Vampire On Titus. The well-produced stuff I mentioned were Do The Collapse and Isolation Drills (and the Hold On Hope EP). But there’s also much to love in the other records too!

          There’s also a pretty cool Hits collection called Human Amusements At Hourly Rates, but it’s only about 30 songs and misses out on a TON of stuff I would have included. Like, obvious songs they missed, not just the whinging of a hardcore fan. Shoulda been a 3CD set. Anyway, it’s still a pretty decent primer and absolutely kills in the car with the stereo turned up.

          As for all the other band names (and Pollard solo), they’re all so good (to me)…

          When I really got into them (around 1994), I just started buying the new releases and worked backwards as best I could. For you now, in 2014? I’d say, if you’re interested in trying them out, just pick them up as you see them. No such thing as a bad release, I swear. It’s all good and solid and beautiful. Those ones I mentioned (above) might contain songs you’ve heard before, which is why I listed titles). Otherwise I’d just say get any of them!

          Now, for you and your vinyl-only, the earlier you go in their career the more you’re likely to pay. However, if in your travels you find yourself a copy of Bee Thousand on vinyl, buy it. And it you don’t like it, send it to me! If you do like, and you find another one, buy THAT one and send it to me! That’s a grail list item, for me!!


            1. keepsmealive says:

              Oooo Bee Thousand. I love that album. Love love love. It’s… well, I won’t spoil it. But I’ll be curious to know what you think of it, if you find it on vinyl. They can be, um… pricey:


              There was a re-release of it, the Director’s Cut, with 3 LPs! Sadly, it ain’t exactly cheap either.


              It’s always been my dream to find one in a bin for about $10, in some shop that didn’t know what it was they had.

              You might do well to get an official download, or buy the CD for $10, to try it. I highly recommend buying it (support the band!!) and getting it in your ears, though. So great.


  1. Deke says:

    Well it’s on your radar and it sucks when your a fanboy and a band pulls the plug! Back in the day in the mid 80s when Hanoi Rocks called it quits it was a few months later In Kerrang that I found and I was bummed cuz I loved there Two Steps From The Move album so nowadays it’s instantaneous boom social media…..


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Yeah I’m pretty deep into these guys, at this point, it’s true. One of these days I’m gonna share my list of all the stuff I have of theirs… it’s a bit nuts.

      They started in the 80s, and if they’d broken up back then, like Hanoi, you’re right it woulda been a while for news to filter down. Then again, fast forwarding to this day and age and the interconnectedness you so rightly pointed out, and given how much gets released in a year by these guys, some people may not even notice. Like, oh lok, another Pollard solo disc! Another Circus Devils! Another Boston Spaceships… And so on. If news travelled like the 80s now, people might never know GBV was gone, just think they were on hiatus or something! Haha.


  2. Deke says:

    Just read your link. Sucks that they torpedoed the tour though. Never followed these guys but I feel sorry for the people That were gonna travel to see em. Unfortunately everyone loves a Train wreck in this day an age…


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks for reading all that, Deke! Yeah, it sucks. I love that band. Even at their weirdest, densest and craziest, I still love it. When they broke up in 2004, Pollard said he ‘no longer wanted to be leader of a gang anymore,’ or something close to that, anyway. Maybe that’s the case here and now, too. Or, well, who knows. Could be just about anything. We might get more details as time goes on (or we might not). Just have to wait and see. As for train wreck, well, you’re right. But GBV have been going so long (and the mainstream has so rarely cared) that this won’t even be on most people’s radar (I’m guessing).


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