With about 72 hours left to go in the life of Bob Pollard’s gift to rock’n'roll, Guided By Voices, rather than reflect on the thrills this American treasure has brought us, let us instead bring up the oft-argued position that Pollard doesn’t know how to edit himself, rarely exercises quality control, etc.
But before we get to that, is there an obligation on Pollard’s part to be any more or less focused, to display greater follow-though than say, someone who passes comment on hundreds of recordings a year? Is Bob any more or less arrogant to assume that every composition or recording is worthy of commerical release than the blogger who pollutes the universe with mind-numbingly boring details about his or her personal life?
I’ll save the next question for those of you who have actually done the research and aren’t just repeating shit you’ve heard a hundred times. Is Guided By Voices’ hit or miss ratio any better or worse than that of Bob Dylan, Mark E. Smith, Neil Young, Jay Z, Prince Rogers Nelson or the Frogs?
I think the GBV ouvre holds up pretty fucking well compared to any of the above — and that’s even if you take ‘Bee Thousand’ out of the mix. Naturally, I’m biased, but so is everyone with a pulse. The only people on earth who have a problem with Robert Pollard’s insane creative output are a) record company fucks who struggle to shift all of it (present company included) and b) self-styled guardians of quality control who are just as hung up on how their tastes reflect on themselves as they are the actual content of what they’re reviewing. For the actual human beings who purchase GBV records, having a lot to absorb is a blessing rather than a curse. Though I’m aware that Mike Piazza, waiting patiently for his Dream Theatre triple CD/DVD box set to arrive, could make a similar argument, Pollard’s efforts yield far more than “a few gold flakes” and only suffer comparison to his older work if you’re somehow embarrassed that you’ve liked the same band for more than 3 years. That is, without said band having the promotional savvy to break up, go insane, fall into lengthy legal battles with record company fucks, end up in prison, etc. I mean, shame on Bob for not having provided a hot enough backstory (until this week, that is).