Guided By Voices: A Brief History

James Greer

Having played bass in Guided By Voices for a couple years, author James Greer proves a knowledgeable voice for detailing the band’s lifespan. It is suggested that GBV replaced The Replacements as America’s blue-collar rock band, taking the stage so inebriated that catastrophe as often as genius followed. GBV mixed an unflagging tunefulness, treble-kicked by the ’60s British Invasion and early Who. In the forward, director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic) muses on living vicariously through frontman Robert Pollard’s song craft. The average reader will hardly care to hear of songs recorded in 30 minutes with cheap Radio Shack mics in a basement littered with half-full beer cans, nor delight in the exploits of The Monument Club, a glorified drinking fraternity of childhood pals from Dayton, Ohio, where one of the most brilliant band names was born: Richard Flavor and the Flavors featuring Robert Flavor. Greer’s book succeeds in reminding that what made many of the early-’90s indie rock bands so enjoyable was that they let their creativity and ingenuity take precedence over the big business and selling of rock ’n’ roll’s soul.