Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Southgate House hosts: GBV TRIBUTE!
Features numerous Midwestern bands
If you've been reading this site for any length of time, you already know: I like Guided By Voices.
Pollard and his crew single-handedly put Ohio on the cultural map of Rock N' Roll History - you know, despite the whole story of why the R&R Hall of fame is situated in Cleveland and stuff.
Pollard didn't so much write great songs, as he did redefine and revolutionize the concept of independent music.
When you heard Guided By Voices, as a musician, you felt anything was possible. No more worrying about recording costs, because you realized not everything has to sound like fucking Def Leppard. Don't like bridges? Don't do them! Is your song only :45 seconds long? No problem.
There hasn't been a similar revolution since Bob Dylan and The Band recorded off the cuff at the Big Pink, or since Alan Lomax conducted his field recordings that lead to the surge in folk music of the 1960s.
Thankfully, I'm certainly not the only one who appreciates GBV.
This Saturday Pollard's legendary favorite venue The Southgate House will host "A Tribute to Guided by Voices" starring some of the Midwest's favorite bands, who freely admit their affinity for short, anthemic rock songs.
The night was organized by Cincinnati musician Christopher Wales, of the band Lonely The Seabird and he did a fine job.
Lonely The Seabird, The Kyle Sowashes, Paper Airplane,The Sailing, The Woosley Band, The Black Canary,The Heedonists, Midnight Wild Streets,Loose Threads, St. Jude's Vigilance Committee, Textbook Committee, and The Harlequins
It can take a lot of effort to organize one of these things, so it's thanks to people like Wales for taking the hit for the fans.
He also took some time out to talk to PWA for his thoughts on why he decided to do the show and the significance of Dayton's native son:
PEOPLE WITH ANIMAL HEADS: Why did you decide to hold the show? How/why did you choose the bands? I noticed you got a good cross section from across the Midwest.
CHRISTOPHER WALES: I participated in a Wilco tribute show about 2 1/2 years ago and a Beatles tribute show last year. Both were incredibly fun and it was so great to hear certain bands twists on such great songs. The choice of the bands - some I sought out from being a fan of them - others I was not entirely familiar with but they wanted to be a part of and I am excited about everyone's set!
PWAH: It's great that it's being held at the Southgate House, probably Pollard's favorite venue. Was that a conscious decision?
CW: Most definitely a conscious decision. Aside from being my favorite place to see a show, it's definitely Pollard's homecourt - and so it's fitting that a tribute to his music be held there. The people that run the place have been great to work with, and as someone who's attended a fair amount of shows there and played a couple - I've never had a bad experience. That place is a Midwestern, if not national, treasure.
PWAH: Will there be any surprises, like say (cough) Pollard joining anyone onstage?
CW: No plans of that - but it's certain to be a great night of music!
PWAH: Why do you appreciate the music of GBV so much?
CW: For me - the man is an endless well of great music. It's almost overwhelming. I've been a fan for 13 years now, and still have trouble keeping up! He's made mention before of his music being Ragu Rock -"it's all in there" and the 4 P's: Prog, Pop, Psychedelic, and Punk. And I think that's so true! There's a song and then some to fit whatever mood I'm in. At the same time - not every song does it for me - but I'll be talking to a friend and they'll love that song. Something for everyone. Additionally, he keeps putting out my new "favorite song". The two proper releases of last year: Coast to Coast Carpet of Love and Standard Gargoyle Decisions sit up there with some of the GbV classics, in my opinion. And the new one: Robert Pollard is Off To Business is set for a June 3rd release. It's the most rewarding thing in the world to be a fan of his.
PWAH: What do you think GBV's legacy means to the Midwest?
CW: I think the myth of GBV will do nothing but grow - and grow favorably - over the years to come. It really does come down to some average ordinary Midwestern dudes that had some extraordinary talents - that chose, in a lot of cases, to not give up on them. My personal favorite memory as a fan was talking to Bob Pollard about the band Yes. One of my favorite bands - and also a favorite of his. At one point we're both singing Heart of the Sunrise together. This was quite a few years ago, but remains etched in my brain. The point I'm trying to make with that is that I think being from the Midwest, Dayton in particular, has allowed perspective. These guys were fans of rock and roll just like us. And still are.