Guided By Voices' Bee Thousand

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2006 M10 2 - 144 pages
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Marc Woodworth's book covers the album's long and unorthodox period of writing, recording, sequencing, and editing. It includes interviews with members of the band, manager Pete Jamison, web-master and GBV historian Rich Turiel and Robert Griffin of Scat Records. At least sixty-five songs were recorded and considered for the album and five distinct concepts were rejected before the band hit upon the records final form. One late version, very nearly released, contained only a few of Bee Thousand's definitive songs.

The rest were left out and nearly ended up in the boxes of cassette out-takes cluttering up Robert Pollard's basement. The story of Guided By Voices transformation from an occasional and revolving group of complete unknowns to indie-rock heroes is very much part of the story behind the making of Bee Thousand.

In addition to providing a central account of how the record was made, Woodworth devotes a substantial chapter to the album's lyrics. Robert Pollard's lyrics are described by critics, when they're described at all, as a brand of tossed-off surrealism, as if his verbal sensibility is somehow incidental to the songs themselves. Nothing could be further from the truth. Woodworth offers a sustained discussion of Pollard's work as a writer of often sublime, beautiful, and very human lyrics.

The third key section of the book covers aesthetics. Woodworth considers the great appeal of the do-it-yourself nature of Bee Thousand and reflects on the larger importance of the strain of alternative rock for which this record is a touchstone.
 

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Contents

A Man Discovers His Coat Has a Pocket
1
Listener Responses 13
3
Love Purity
4
Listener Response 4
6
FourTrack Tape
12
Robert Pollard
13
Listener Response 5
36
A Correspondence with Lewis Klahr
37
Fauna
110
A SonnetMade from Bee Thousand Fragments Themselves Often Fragments
111
Robert Griffin
112
States Of Being
117
Fiction Man Hardcore Facts Part Four
118
Dan Toohey
130
Listener Response 12
132
Dayton Ode
135

Fiction Man Hardcore Facts Part Two
44
Listener Response 6
54
Don Thrasher
55
Fiction Man Hardcore Facts Part Three
64
Desire Its Limits
70
Kevin Fennell
72
Listener Responses 7 8
81
Spatial Representation 9 of Bee Thousand Action Motives
84
On Robert Pollards Lyrics
85
Listener Responses 911
109
Listener Response 13
137
Kicks
138
Greg Demos
142
Generation
144
Tobin Sprouts Tascam Portastudio 1 FourTrack ElectroHarmonix Memory Man
145
Tobin Sprout
146
Listener Responses 1416
154
Fiction Man Hardcore Facts Part Five
155
Acknowledgments
159
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Marc Woodworth is the author of Solo: Women Singer-Songwriters in their Own Words (Dell, 1998) and a volume of poetry, Arcade (Grove Press, 2002). He edits the international quarterly Salmagundi and teaches at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

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