| Home | Fading Captain Series | GBV News | The
Band | The Music | The Critics & Fans | Merchandise
| Other Stuff |
Tulsa World - June 29, 2001
By Mark Brown
The boy in Bob Pollard gets up between 7 and 8 most
mornings to make collages and write pop songs. The man
in him is on the road so often -- singing and jumping
and drinking through too many rock 'n' roll shows --
that his personal life has taken a pounding.
Pollard's 43, but it's still too early to tell where
the boy ends and the man begins.
"You get older and you get bored," says the marathon
frontman of Guided by Voices. "We sit around in a bar
and drink too much, but what else is there to do? You
can't go throw a ball against a wall or play army."
Pollard has kids, but they've flown the nest. That
leaves him a lot of time, most of which he spends
writing new songs, whether at home or on a tour bus.
His songwriting on the album "Isolation Drills,"
Guided by Voices' newest, is brutal stuff. Some are
calling it autumnal. It has the feeling of transition
"It's somber mood music based on my life at the
time," Pollard says. "I'm over that now, and the next
won't be so personal and dark. I always wanted to make
that kind of album. I try to make sure every album has
Which makes Pollard something of a Sybil. His career
is a pop music personality disorder. Guided by Voices
cranks out nearly an album a year, and then there are
Pollard's other four bands.
"It's ridiculous," he admits. "I'm doing three or
four albums a year now. I love to write and when I get
a batch of songs I don't want them sitting around
because I get tired of them."
Guided by Voices started, Pollard says, as "a hobby
we kept to ourselves." He was in his 14th year of
teaching school when he took stock. The band had six
records, all financed internally; Pollard, finally,
had tired of teaching. An opportunity presented itself
when GBV played a New York show and got noticed.
"I originally did this for fun," Pollard says, "and
didn't think I was a talented-enough guitar player or
singer. Now I'm quite sure I'll be making records for
the rest of my life.
"I don't hear the kind of music that inspires me.
That leaves it up to me to try and create it. To
"You reach a lot of kids as a teacher but I'm
reaching more now," Pollard reasons. "It's a better
People weren't supposed to notice Guided by Voices,
but they have. Odd people, like the San Francisco
mayor's office, who proclaimed a "Guide by Voices Day"
in their fair city, and editors at U.S. News and World
Report and Fortune, mags that shouldn't be making room
for indie rock.
Strangely, it all seems to justify Pollard's
successes and, even, excesses. When he woke up one day
and realized that his career had sort of found him, he
settled into the whole thing, age be damned.
"I'm actually grateful it happened later," he says.
"If I'd been in my early 20s I would have flipped out.
I'm still not that stable.
"People don't realize what even a minimal amount of
success can do to your life: interviews, video cameras
pointed at you, you've got to tour all the time and
deal with a lot of people."
People. Always people. Even those familiar with
Pollard don't quite get him. His lifetime achievement
award as a rock 'n' roll breadwinner provides him with
"the last laugh," he says.
"When friends would say to me, `You're not really
going to do that, are you?' I'd say, `Hell, yes, I'm
gonna do that.' I can't imagine anybody not wanting to
be in a rock band. It's the most decadent, free job
you can have. Even actors want to be rock 'n' roll
stars." It's the rock 'n' roll stars as actors that
"I'll read a movie ad that says `Bon Jovi turns in a
fine performance.' And I'm thinking, `Is that