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GBV to call it quits

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"We are the kings of indie rock. When we quit, indie rock will die."


Guided by Voices to Break Up After Next Album

Brian Howe reports:
Inevitability: it's inevitable. Some institutions become so entrenched in our collective psyche that their disappearance seems an impossible fantasy. The Roman Empire waned, which must have seemed as absurd a proposition to its citizens as the fact that the United States will also one day pass seems to many of us. Venice and California will shear off and subside under the sea. Even the sun will eventually expend the last of its stored energy and blink out like a bulb. So it should come as no great shock when our most beloved long-running bands eventually throw in the towel; nevertheless, when it happens, it remains a jarring reminder of transience.

With the advent of Guided by Voices' recent box set and best-of compilation, Human Amusements at Hourly Rates, we should have seen that last nail poised above the coffin. After nearly 20 years and 15 full-length LPs (counting their upcoming swan song, but not any of the Fading Captain stuff because, frankly, oh my god); after numerous EPs, singles, side projects, box sets and compilations; after two decades of beer-swilling, mic-twirling, back injuries, line-up shifts, prolific four-tracking, and fully cementing their entry in the indie rock canon, Guided by Voices will call it quits at the end of 2004.

The official website of Dayton, Ohio's lo-fi laureates announced the decision late yesterday, with a quote from Pollard regarding the band's forthcoming final album, Half Smiles of the Decomposed, which is set for release via Matador on August 24th. "This feels like a last album for Guided by Voices," Pollard said. "I've always said that when I make a record that I'm totally satisfied with as befitting a final album, then that will be it. And this is it." Guided by Voices reportedly recorded 15 songs with Todd Tobias at Waterloo Studio in Kent, Ohio. While there is, as of now, no official tracklist, there is a purported one floating around the Net. I gleaned this one from gbvdb.com, a Guided by Voices database, but cannot in good faith vouch for its veracity. Nevertheless:

01 Asphyxiated Circle
02 Closets of Henry
03 Everybody Thinks I'm a Raincloud (When I'm Not Looking)
04 Gonna Never Have to Die
05 Huffman Prairie Flying Field
06 Sing for Your Meat Leon
07 Sleepover Jack
08 Sons of Apollo
09 The Girls of Wild Strawberries
10 Tour Guide for the Winston Churchill Memorial
11 The Window of My World

According to Billboard.com, Pollard also announced the break-up at a show on Saturday evening at New York's Bowery Ballroom. "That's it," Pollard reportedly said an hour into the set. "You can't be the Rolling Stones. You've gotta quit while your relatively handsome." He added: "We are the kings of indie rock. When we quit, indie rock will die." As message boards light up with threads weighing Pollard's relative winsomeness; The Death of Indie Rock becomes the most hotly debated topic since Roland Barthes' The Death of the Author.

The Guided by Voices website also maintains that the band will embark on a final tour this year, and that Pollard will continue to write, record and probably tour as a solo artist. "I love the guys in the band," Pollard explains, "but I'm getting too old to be a gang leader. There's a sense of maturity, and even integrity, I think, in continuing as one's own self." One's own self will have to wait a while for details of the full tour, but Matador's website has a few dates listed for GBV in June. Watch me jumpstart:

06-17 Champaign, IL - The High Dive (w/The Waxwings)
06-18 Iowa City, IA - Gabe's Oasis (w/The Waxwings)
06-19 Lawrence, KS - Wakarusa Festival (w/The Donnas)

Interesting.  But to me GBV stopped being GBV and started being Pollard with a backing group under the name GBV after the "Under the Bushes Under the Stars" album.  To me Tobin, Mitch, Kevin, and Bob were the real GBV.  Even though that was not even the first true line-up.

I Am A Tree - Guided By Voices

"I am a tree - I show my age when I don't cry
I have the leaves that will fall off when wind blows by
Don't strip off my bark - I have been stripped of it before
Yesterday's gone and tomorrow has so much more in store

You are a bird - you're taking off in every way
Say the last word until there is nothing more to say

Don't interrupt - you know the squirrels are my friends
Get off my limb - for I will break before I bend

I'm planning to see
I'm planning to feel you all over me
So climb up my trunk and build on your nest
Come and get the sap out if me
I am a tree!
Fruitless and free!
No symmetry!
Touch me and see!

I am a tree - counting my rings will do no good
I won't live long but I would be with you if I could
When you take flight, remember me to one who lives there
Since you have flown, there's something special in the air"

Not to dis fellow Gem City acts, and not that their Materiel wasn't decent for softer rock, bu these guys totally trashed our shared rehearshal space above the nite owl, piling about 20 racks of empty beercans and who knows what else in the hall, they're shabby, trashy drunks...so fuck 'em sideways with hedgetrimmers.


PS The Breeders suck too. Brainiac Ruled.

testtone wrote on Mon, 26 April 2004 12:15
"We are the kings of indie rock. When we quit, indie rock will die."

What does that make Yo La Tengo then? Zombies?


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