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Billboard Magazine
by Bradley Bambarger

Special thanks to Antoinette M Niebieszczanski for transcribing!

NEW YORK -- It may sometimes seem as though indie rock has gone the way of the

dinosaur.  If so, no one has told Guided by Voices.  The power-pop cult heroes

have embarked on a fresh, fertile phase, with a new label deal and an album

that trades in the band's basement-bred sound for veritable radio readiness.

Due August 3 from TVT in the United States, "Do the Collapse" was produced by

Ric Ocasek, whose roots in skewed airwave fodder served him well in directing

Guided by Voices' first effort since leaving the Matador label.  The melodic,

three-minute rock operas written by group guiding light Robert Pollard take on

new luster with Ocasek's sonic staging.

On the same wavelength, Pollard and Ocasek both hail from Ohio (the former

Dayton, the latter Cleveland) and both are endlessly in tune with the vintage

verities of 60s and 70s rock.

"Bob and I like the same bands -- and don't like some of the same bands,"

Ocasek says.  "He knows every record ever made, and you can hear that history

in his band."

A child of FM radio, Pollard has "always wanted people to have the chance to

hear Guided by Voices on the radio," he says, "and who knows that 'radio sound'

better than Ric Ocasek?  I remember when the first Cars album came out, with

the Police and the first Devo album, too.  That was a great time on the radio."

Working with Ocasek in New York's Electric Lady studios, Pollard and company

learned the virtues of "being more patient and reaping the reward," he says.

"We're used to doing a record in a week, and this one took a month and a half.

But even though Ric upgraded the fidelity for us, he never wanted to sand down

our eccentricities."

The group's previous homemade aesthetic notwithstanding, Ocasek is dismayed

that Guided by Voices hasn't been on the radio more all along.  "It's where

they belong, with all those unbelievably catchy, artful songs," he says.  "I've

always marveled at the poetic sophistication of Bob's lyrics, and I love every

song on this record.  All I did was try to frame the premise of the band --

that sense of creative adventure."

After a series of underground albums on the Cleveland indie label Scat

culminated in 1994's classic "Bee Thousand", Guided by Voices embarked on an

artistically efficacious tenure with Matador Records.  A whole host of albums

and EPs resulted, including the masterpiece, "Under the Bushes, Under the

Stars".  The final Matador years featured the band's"Mag Earwhig!" and

Pollard's hook-heavy solo disc from last year, "Waved Out".

"The years with Matador were fun," Pollard says, "but we thought we needed to

take advantage of more resources if we wanted to expand our audience.  And

while Matador has been down on rock as of late, TVT is excited and full of


A unique feature of Guided by Voices' deal with TVT lets Pollard indulge his

prodigal imagination with solo albums and various offshoots via his

fan-oriented Flying (sic) Captain Series on Record Head/Rockathon (distributed

by Luna Music of Indianapolis).  Flying Captain's first fruits include the

old-school indie rock of Pollard's third solo set, "Kid Marine", and two low-fi

projects under the noms de guerre  Lexo & the Leapers and Nightwalker.  Another

solo disc could see light by Halloween.

"Teenage FBI", the first single from "Do the Collapse", is being shipped to

commercial alternative radio in early July, with the full album going to

college outlets later in the month.  "Teenage FBI" is also the first track on a

TVT sampler that will be distributed on the summer HORDE tour, and the song

appears on the TVT soundtrack to "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".

Guided by Voices -- with Pollard joined by guitarist Doug Gillard, ex-Breeders

drummer Jim MacPherson and new bassist Tim Tobias -- have played live at

alternative festivals in California and various trade events this summer.  A

club tour commenced this month in the northwest, with a fall trek supporting

kindred spirits Cheap Trick to follow on the east coast.

Pollard is clear-eyed but excited about the future of Guided by Voices.  "The

seeming death of great guitar rock bums me out," he says, "but I know it'll

come around in the popular imagination again.  If it can happen with swing,

man, it can happen with anything."