June is the season I was introduced to Guided by Voices. In my mind, they are really more of a live band, with Bob Pollard doing karate kicks, swinging the mic around in one hand and a bottle of Budweiser in the other. I first saw GBV play at Irving Plaza in New York City when I was 19, right around my birthday, June 20th. I never heard of them, but went because my friend dragged me out. I was blown away. Tobin Sprout was still playing guitar, right before Alien Lanes came out. The song that captures me was Over The Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox. I remember the feeling of melting into the crowd when he says “and if you do, I’ll come back and marry you.” After that I was hooked.
Within a week, I bought the Vampire on Titus / Propeller dual album. Then I digested the Lo-fi sound, which was a characteristic that somehow highlighted the emotional sensitivity of Bob’s songwriting. Making it accessible and relatable to the Tascam Porta One cassette 4-track I started out recording with.
I would also spend my 21st birthday seeing them at the Trocadero in Philly. Actually a couple days before, which kept me from drinking at the bar. So my friend and I chugged some 40’s of St. Ides in the alley before the show.
Summer was the season that I realized my dream to rock on stage and expose myself in my recordings, more like a diary than an album. I am 45 this year and so grateful Robert Pollard & Guided By Voices have been in my life.
Making music is such a massive part of who I am. In a way, it is my religion, and performing on stage is a spiritual experience. I always thought it was because my father was a musician and it might have been a way to relate because he was often not around. I wanted a language we could both communicate in. But in this moment I realize it was Bob, with the same name as my father, that guided me to the life of songwriting and performing that I cultivated.
This is the season I dust off the GBV catalog (now in my iTunes… always wanted the original box set on vinyl) and celebrate over 25 years of rocking out with this influential band. The club is fucking open.