Monday, May 21, 2012

I Am A Scientist by Guided by Voices

I am a lost soul
I shoot myself with rock and roll
The hole I dig is bottomless
But nothing else can set me free

Welcome to the Lost Soul of Rock & Roll. I thought it was appropriate to have the first post relate to the title of the blog.

Am I a lost soul of rock and roll? My former boss referred to me as a lost soul of rock and roll and there are days when I feel that is true. Rock and roll has been a major part of my life since I was a child. Music has helped me along during some difficult, amazing and humorous times, so creating this blog was my way of sharing my love of music with the world. 

The first song I selected to showcase is 'I Am A Scientist' by Guided by Voices (GBV), a band from Dayton, Ohio. This track is from their 1994 masterpiece, Bee Thousand. If you know nothing about this band then the best way I can describe them is imagine that a group of music fans ingested huge amounts of the British Invasion, garage rock, hard rock, psychedelic rock, power pop, progressive rock, avant-garde music, punk rock, and post punk and then formed a band.

Under the leadership of front-man, Bob Pollard, this band has released numerous albums, singles, split singles, box sets, and everything in-between from 1983 until their break-up in 2004. Every release is something different and I mean that in a good way. GBV's sound ranges from lo-fi rock to slick productions without disappointing fans.

Guided by Voices was not a good band - they were great. They are one of a handful of bands that I have been obsessed with in my lifetime. I've attended some thirty-five shows and own countless GBV releases. Somewhere in a cardboard box you'll find some of my live bootlegs and rarities compilations that I acquired from 1995 to 1999 via tape trading. I've met some wonderful GBV fans over the years and still keep in touch with those crazy kids.There are some great GBV related stories I'd love to share, but I'm saving them for some upcoming posts. Gotta save up on material.

How did I fall in love with this band? I went to Lollapalooza '94 in Columbus, Ohio with Captain Chemtrail and Dizzy D to check out out The Breeders, Beastie Boys and Smashing Pumpkins. I heard The Flaming Lips were going to be at the show and wanted to see their performance. At the time, I knew GBV in name only because they were making a name for themselves on MTV and in some music magazines. I grew up twenty minutes north of Dayton and the local paper was also giving them plenty of praise.

Anyway, I had suffered through sets of Nick Cave and The Boredoms. I thought things would get better with L7. They took the main stage but there was a band making noise on the second stage. Lollapalooza had bands on a main stage and bands on a smaller second stage during their festivals. L7 informed the crowd that it was GBV and the ladies of L7 thought it was cool that GBV was rocking hard. On a side note, no tampons were thrown in the crowd by L7. Captain Chemtrail wondered if we should check out GBV and I said no. Big mistake. Perhaps the biggest rock & roll mistake of my lifetime.

A few months later, I was at a CD store near Wright State University with Captain Chemtrail and Ryan Dellwood, andother brother of rock & roll. It was one of those places that allowed customers to listen to a CD before purchase. Dellwood was listening to Bee Thousand and told me to come over to hear a song called 'Tractor Rape Chain'. It was an acoustic number with some fuzzy guitar moments, which did not sit well with me for some reason. I was in a Pixies and Fugazi kind of mood.

I returned to that same store a month later sans Chemtrail and Dellwood. I asked to check out Bee Thousand. This listen was different because I was knocked upside the head with the opening track, 'Hardcore UFOs'. It sounded like a long lost Beatles song. I bought the CD. 

The following weeks were nothing more than a heavy rotation of Bee Thousand. Each listen was a different experience. Then one day it was another knock upside the head courtesy of 'I Am A Scientist'.  I was amazed with the song and still am to this very day. The lyrics alone are fantastic.  

Enjoy 'I Am A Scientist'. This song is one of the best first doses of goodness one can ingest towards becoming a GBV fanatic. 

To all of you GBV fans out there: God bless the Pine Club. The club is open. See ya, sideburns. 


  1. Had a nearly experience hearing Bee Thousand in my local store in Pittsburgh. Initial reaction to "Hardcore UFOs": sorta Byrdsy, R.E.M.-ish... at ten bucks it was a bargain to take a chance on the cd, and it started an odyssey that hasn't quite ended.

  2. I was overseas in Japan when GBV unleashed Bee Thousand. I heard about the band and the album after reading a Spin article about the best albums you never heard. I looked all over for the album but none of the stores had it yet. I did find The Clown Prince of the Menthol Trailer, so I bought that and had to go out to sea for a few months. During that time at sea I absorbed that EP. When we got back to Japan, I went hunting for Bee Thousand again. No go, but I found Propeller/Vampire on Titus double album. It blew my mind again. Most of my friends were knee deep in Pearl Jam, but when we would get to drinking I would pull out my GBV and it got their attention a little, but not until I got Bee Thousand, was I able to convert a lot of folks to the ways of GBV. Bee Thousand solidified GBV as my favorite band of all time and it still is since 1994. Thank you for sharing your story. I love hearing about how people fell in love with the same band I have loved for years.