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Greenville News - South Carolina  
March 7 2001 
By Donna Isbell Walker
Entertainment Writer

Transcribed by Billy T
Guided by Voices lead singer Bob Pollard is something of a sponge when it comes to songwriting.
During his 15 years as a fourth-grade teacher, Pollard wrote songs that wouldn't seem out of place coming from a 10 year old.  Many of those songs featured wild imagery and long flights of fancy.
"When I was around 10-year olds, I kind of assumed the mindset of a 10-year-old.  It was definitely reflected in my songs," Pollard said in a recent phone interview.  "Whereas now, I'm around ....30-something drunks," he said jokingly, referring to his bandmates.
That's not to say that the songs on Guided By Voices' forthcoming album, the rocking "Isolation Drills", are the sonic equivalent of a weekend bender.
They are, however, opaque and enigmatic - and intensely personal.  A year on the road will do that to a musician.
Guided By Voices had just come off its most extensive tour, one that seemed likely to vault the band from its celebrated niche in the indie rock pantheon into the mainstream of rock and roll.
The tour left its mark on Pollard and his bandmates, and it didn't change their musical status all that much either.
"We were gone most of the time, and it took its toll...on most of the band members' lives.  It turned out that I began writing these really personal lyrics based on, like, people who were left behind and people that I met.  So without revealing too much and hurting any feelings, its probably the darkest, most personal record I've made,' he said.
Of course, it isn't always easy to pick out the personal references in Pollard's lyrics, to find the core meaning in a line like, "Cigarette lifter/the frozen violins?Solid movement.'
Pollard has often written about his life, but with the truths hidden under dense layers of words.  Still, that doesn't necessarily make it easier to reveal himself musically.
"It's harder," he said.  "But that's just the way things worked out.  When I'm performing live, its actually easier to sing about things that don't mean anything, like hot freaks and robot boys and things."
Aside from the lyrics, Guided By Voices' sound has always been assigned the low-tech, garage-rock slot by perennially categorizing music critics.  That's OK by Pollard.
"I don't want to make a  big, really, really slick record.  I want to make a really good record with a good, room-filling guitar sound.  I really like the sound of, like, music that was recorded in the early 70's...I'm not into music being overdone and too slick."
The voices guiding Pollard and his bandmates just could be voices from the past.