Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I just finished reading Guided By Voices: Twenty Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll. It was much more interesting than I thought it would be. I mean, I love GBV dearly, but they don't have a history of acting freaky in public or having torrid love triangles and their drummer didn't lose an arm or anything dramatic like that. In spite of that, the book manages to give us a good portrait of a cult indie-rock band in the 90's. Sometimes it's more instructive to view an industry from the bottom or the middle than the top, like reading about a cult actor in Psychotronic versus a big-star puff piece in Premiere. Those big stars never tell you anything interesting; they have too much to lose. Here's the top three scandalous revelations about GBV from the book:

1. Sometimes, when it looks like Bob is chugging a beer on stage, he's really intentionally spilling most of it down the front of his shirt.

2. The song "Teenage FBI" was inspired by an incident from when Bob was still a teacher. A student caught him picking his nose and told the whole class.

3. GBV did most of their rare bad shows during the "Cobra Verde" period, so I'm glad I didn't see them then.

The one thing the book didn't tell me: What's up with the British accent? It used to freak me out a bit, but I'm used to it now. When British singers sound "American", it doesn't bother me, but the reverse reminds me of bad early Ministry.


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