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Guided by Voices: Booze, Leg Kicks, and Chemistry

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One of the more prolific bands in rock history (21 albums and counting), Guided by Voices has managed not only to have a hearty discography but also the ability to consistently write quality songs, keeping rabid fans addicted while getting new admirers to jump aboard the band's eclectic ark. The songs' lengths and production values may vary, but the result is the same -- a unique sound that engages splashes of several kinds of rock, including lo-fi, pop, punk, garage, psychedelic, and progressive.

Since the band's inception in the early '80s, the driving force behind the merrily mischievous music makers is Robert Pollard, a former Dayton, Ohio, schoolteacher. Though the band has seen a lot of personnel changes over the years, Pollard currently is playing and touring with members of an early GBV lineup and doesn't see that changing anytime soon.

"The so-called 'classic lineup' is a term pegged by Matador Records for their 21st anniversary bash in Vegas four years ago," he says. "I've got no plans for any lineup changes for GBV. We're having a blast."

Any GBV fan will tell you that the band's live show is something not to be missed. The band is definitely not afraid to drink a beer or 20, and from beginning to end, it's not just any old show. Booze-injected and loaded with energy, band camaraderie, and plenty of Pollard's signature leg kicks, it's a goddamned experience. It's like dropping the band and a few hundred diehard fans and other music lovers into a great big envelope, sealing it up, and handing the package over to a giant who shakes the whole thing vigorously for a couple of hours, dropping everyone out at the end in a sweaty, smiling stupor. It's sincere and fun.

From the countless sing-along favorites, like anything from 1994's Bee Thousand to poignant beauties like "Fair Touching" from 2001's Isolation Drills, Pollard says to plan on hearing a mix of new and old.

"This tour includes a lot of songs spanning the entire GBV canon. Lots of new songs from the two albums we released this year, Motivational Jumpsuit and Cool Planet. Also, it's the 20th anniversary of Bee Thousand, so we'll be doing quite a few songs from that album. And then we'll sprinkle one or two songs from the rest of the albums that the "classic" lineup performed on, like "Teenage FBI" -- close to 50 songs in all.

Proving that age really is often just a numeral, the amount of years under the band's collective belt doesn't mean any slowing down of the show.

"We're still having fun. I think the chemistry is still there and warrants live performance," Pollard says. "I needed to hear how the new material from our two new albums translated to the stage. I think it does very well. We still spark a decent amount of energy for our ages. We're getting up there, but it doesn't matter."

As far as what he's putting in his own ears these days, Pollard says, "I still listen to mostly old stuff. I'm kind of out of touch with what's happening contemporarily. I've heard some really good stuff on indie labels like Sacred Bones and Hozac. I'm just not as diligent in my search for interesting new records as I used to be. Also, I keep myself pretty busy with my own output."

For sure.

Guided by Voices is scheduled to perform Sunday, June 15, at Crescent Ballroom.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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Like Up on the Sun on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest local music news and conversation.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

9 Tips for Using A Fake ID To Get Into A Show Here's How Not to Approach a Journalist on Facebook The 10 Coolest, Scariest, Freakiest Songs About Heroin The 30 Most Disturbing Songs of All Time


Like Up on the Sun on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest local music news and conversation.

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