Sunday, November 28, 2004

I had too much to dream last night.

Here's my proposal for the 3rd annual Experience Music Project Pop Conference.

Poseur Extraordinaire: Robert Pollard and GBV recreate the adolescent male rock fantasy

A friend at writes:

So, on to the show. Instead of an opening act, GBV began their set with a retrospective film: photos of the band (and especially Bob) faded in and out over stock Deep Thoughts-type scenery while a string version of "Window of My World" that sounded exactly like Ray Conniff played in the background. Though funny, this, like another GBV song says, went on for far too long.... It was so over-the-top cheesy, there's no chance it was meant to be serious. The whole club was laughing. But it WAS a weird prelude.

My slightly different take is that as with much of GBV's mythos it was meant to be cheesy but also to be taken seriously in a large-hearted, good natured way. I mean this is a guy who basically willed himself in his 30s from basement cock rock preening to actual superstardom, in a subdued indie rock kind of way. This is a guy who ironically is given to saying that he's gonna play "all the hits" even though he knows his commercial radio airplay has been minimal despite TVT and Ric Ocasek's best efforts. As fan art demonstrates "Guided by Voices It Started As a Kind of Fantasy 1983-2004" (Jay Robertson, GBV-Inspired Art Work #4,

This talk will examine the ways in which Bob from Dayton became the Fading Captain and turned GBV from a basement recording project into semi-legendary indie rockers by examining the band's self-created mythos, its live performance style, and its recorded output. I will make a multimedia presentation including sound, images, and video/DVD captures. I begin at the moment when GBV almost imploded before it really ever began. By the 1992 self-produced Rockathon LP Propeller, GBV still really hadn't played live. But Pollard wanted to start his album with a Rock Anthem in the Live at Buddokan mode. No problem--he creates an excited crowd shouting "Gee Bee Vee! Gee Bee Vee! Gee Bee Vee!" His every song sounds like a completists' best rock riffs mixed up in a Vegomatic. He has studied every leg kick, microphone helicopter, and assorted other cock rock classic poses as performed by Jagger, Daltrey, et al. And 20 years on, Pollard has for his small but faithful fans become what most ten year old boys dream about while bouncing on beds and riffing on their air guitars: A Bona Fide Rock Star!

And speaking of rock and roll fantasies, here's mine:

If I had a band, its name would most definitely be "This happy breed of men" and it would play loud dour guitar music somewhere between The Mission of Burma and My Bloody Valentine. Several song titles already come to mind: "Pursued by a Bear," "The very naked name of love," "Seen the Spider," "Gazer Joy," "Because my name is George," and "The muzzle of restraint." For good measure our set would end with a Jonsonian encore of the punky "Turd i' your teeth" followed by three covers: This Mortal Coil's "I am the Cosmos," The Mr. T Experience's "A Song About a Girl Who Went Shopping," and a frenzied finale of The Weddoes' "Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft" in full Albini effect. That's the harmony in MY head; such is the stuff dreams are made on.

No comments: