Robert Pollard

Robert Pollard

:"Bob Pollard" redirects here. For the football player, see Bob Pollard (football player)."Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Robert Pollard
Background = khaki

Img_capt = Robert Pollard performing at SXSW 2006
Birth_name = Robert Ellsworth Pollard, Jr.
Born = Birth date and age|1957|10|31|mf=y
Origin = Dayton, OH, U.S.
Genre = rock
Label = Matador Records
Merge Records Fading Captain Series/Luna
Occupation = Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist
Years_active = 1983–present

Robert Pollard (born October 31 1957) is a Dayton, Ohio, USA singer-songwriter, who until 2004 was the leader and creative force behind indie rock group Guided by Voices.

With over 1000 songs registered to his name with BMI, [ [ BMI | Repertoire Search ] ] Pollard is among the most prolific songwriters of his time. In 2006 Paste Magazine listed him as the 78th greatest living songwriter. [ [ Paste's 100 Best Living Songwriters: The List :: Features Music :: Articles :: Paste ] ] In 2007 he was nominated for the Shortlist Music Prize. [ [ Shortlist Prize announces nominees - ] ]

olo career

Pollard began releasing solo records in 1996, alongside regular releases from Guided by Voices. These albums were typically recorded with a small group consisting of current or former Guided by Voices members, and they were generally considered to informally be part of the Guided by Voices canon, as that band would regularly perform selections from the solo releases in concert.

After the dissolution of Guided by Voices in 2004, Robert Pollard launched his official solo career with the release of "From a Compound Eye" in February 2006. Pollard's recent studio work has eschewed the live-band format, instead relying on the multi-instrumental talents of Todd Tobias, who produced several Guided by Voices albums. In 2006, he resumed touring with a new band informally dubbed "The Ascended Masters", which featured Tommy Keene on lead guitar and keyboards, Dave Phillips on guitar, Jon Wurster on drums, and Jason Narducy on bass, but subsequent to the cancellation of some 2006 dates due to a leg injury, Pollard announced his retirement from touring. [ [ Done With Touring, Pollard Preps Seven New Albums ] ] Despite this, Pollard has recently performed two shows in support of his new albums. The first show was on November 31, 2007 in Chicago, IL at The Metro. The second was on December 1st, 2007 in Newport, KY (across the Ohio River from Cincinnati, OH) at the Southgate House. After releasing Superman Was a Rocker in January he announced that he would be leaving Merge Records to form Guided by Voices, Inc., his own record label that will produce his entire musical library.

In May 2008, Pollard announced his intention to form a new band, to be called "Boston Spaceships", who will also tour in the fall. The new band consists of Robert Pollard, Chris Slusarenko and John Moen, although the live band's line-up also will include Tommy Keene on guitar and Jason Narducy on bass. It is expected that the band's debut album, entitled "Brown Submarine" will be released in September '08 and will find Pollard re-visiting some older Suitcase songs (including "Dorothy's A Planet" and "Soggy Beavers") as well as showcasing some brand new material.


"Solo albums:"

*1996 - "Not in My Airforce" (CD/LP)
*1998 - "Waved Out" (CD/LP)
*1999 - "Kid Marine" (CD/LP)
*1999 - "Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department" (with Doug Gillard) (CD/LP)
*2001 - "Choreographed Man of War" (billed as "Robert Pollard and the Soft Rock Renegades") (CD/LP)
*2003 - "Motel of Fools" (CD/LP)
*2004 - "Fiction Man" (CD/LP)
*2005 - "Music for 'Bubble'" (CD EP/7")
*2005 - "Zoom" (CD EP/7")
*2005 - "Relaxation of the Asshole" (LP)
*2006 - "From a Compound Eye" (CD/2xLP)
*2006 - "Normal Happiness" (CD/LP)
*2006 - "Moon" (live CD included with original mail orders of "Normal Happiness")
*2007 - "" (LP)
*2007 - "Silverfish Trivia" (CD/12" EP)
*2007 - "Standard Gargoyle Decisions" (CD/LP)
*2007 - "Coast to Coast Carpet of Love" (CD/LP)
*2008 - "Superman Was a Rocker" (CD/LP)
*2008 - "Weatherman and Skin Goddess" (CD EP/12")
*2008 - "Robert Pollard Is Off to Business" (CD/LP)
*2009 - "The Crawling Distance" (CD/LP) - tentative title only

ide projects

Fading Captain series

During the mid-90s, in addition to GbV albums appearing annually, Pollard's prolificacy typically was vented onto innumerable singles, EPs, compilations and other side releases. However, once signed to a major label and constrained to the expectation of producing only a single album per 18 months, Pollard began the self-financed and released Fading Captain Series, a series of releases both under his own name, and a wide variety of pseudonyms. In addition to solo and archival releases, Pollard began collaborating with fellow musicians and friends by mail via a process dubbed "postal rock" - Pollard would receive completed musical backing tracks, and add his own lyrics and vocals. Albums under the Airport 5, Circus Devils, and Go Back Snowball monikers, among others were produced in this fashion.

In December 2006 Pollard announced that the Fading Captain Series was being concluded with the release of "", a 50-song "best of" collection spanning from 1999 through 2007. [ Robert Pollard Plans Seven Albums, New Label | Pitchfork ] ]

The bands that used to release works in the Fading Captain Series now release records on other labels, such as The Takeovers' "Bad Football" coming out on Off Records and the Circus Devils "Sgt. Disco" coming out on Ipecac Records. In addition the Pollard albums "Kid Marine", "Motel of Fools" and "Fiction Man" were all released in the Fading Captain Series although Pollard's other solo albums were not.

Acid Ranch: (archival recordings featuring Robert Pollard, Kevin Fennell and Mitch Mitchell)

*2002 - "Some Of The Magic Syrup Was Preserved" (2xLP—Pollard's first double album)
*2005 - "As Forever: A Manifesto Of Fractured Imagination And Wreckless Living"
*2007 - "The Great Houdini Wasn't So Great"

Airport 5: (Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout)

*2001 - "Tower in the Fountain of Sparks"
*2002 - "Life Starts Here"

Circus Devils: (Robert Pollard, Todd Tobias and Tim Tobias)

*2001 - "Ringworm Interiors"
*2002 - "The Harold Pig Memorial"
*2003 - "Pinball Mars"
*2005 - "Five"
*2007 - "Sgt. Disco"
*2008 - "Ataxia"

Go Back Snowball: (Robert Pollard and Mac McCaughan)

*2002 - "Calling Zero"

Hazzard Hotrods: (Recording of informal 1990 performance by Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Mitch Mitchell, and Kevin Fennell)

*2000 - "Big Trouble" (re-released as "Bigger Trouble" 2005)

Howling Wolf Orchestra: (Pollard and various GbV members)

*2000 - "Speedtraps for the Bee Kingdom" (12" EP/CD)

Keene Brothers: (Robert Pollard and Tommy Keene)

*2006 - Blues and Boogie Shoes

Lexo and the Leapers: (Robert Pollard backed by The Tasties)

*1999 - "Ask Them" (12" EP/CD)

Lifeguards (Robert Pollard and Doug Gillard)

*2003 - "Mist King Urth"

The Moping Swans (Robert Pollard, Greg Demos, Jim MacPherson and Tony Conley)

*2005 - "Lightninghead to Coffee Pot" (12" EP/CD)

Nightwalker (pseudonym for archival GbV recordings)

*1999 - "In Shop We Build Electric Chairs: Professional Music by Nightwalker 1984–1993"

Phantom Tollbooth:

*2003 - "Beard of Lighting"

Psycho and the Birds: (Todd Tobias supplementing Pollard solo demos)

*2006 - "All That is Holy"
*2006 - "Check Your Zoo" (7" EP/CD)
*2008 - "We've Moved" (due Feb 26)

The Takeovers: (Robert Pollard and Chris Slusarenko)

*2006 - "Turn to Red"
*2007 - "Bad Football"

Other record labels

When Pollard announced that the Fading Captain Series was being concluded he also announced that he was starting up a new record label, then called Record Company Records but later re-titled as Prom is Coming, [ [ Pollard Preps Self-Released EP, LPs for Merge, Ipecac | Pitchfork ] ] which is named after a song off his first solo album "Not in My Airforce". The first (and thus far only) release on Prom is Coming was "Silverfish Trivia".

In spring 2007 Pollard began a singles collection called the Happy Jack Rock Records Single Series in which one 7" record was released per month for 12 months starting June 22, 2007. All the records featured an A-side from Bob's dueling Merge releases that year ("Standard Gargoyle Decisions" & "Coast To Coast Carpet Of Love") and a non-album B-side. 1,000 of each 7" was pressed. [ [ GBVDB - Guided By Voices Database ] ]

Pollard's album "Superman Was a Rocker" was the first LP released on Happy Jack Rock Records (although the vinyl version of Circus Devils' "Sgt. Disco" had been released on the same label in 2007).

In 2008 Pollard announced the forming of yet another new label Guided By Voices Inc., named after his former band Guided by Voices. The first album release on Guided by Voices Inc. was "Robert Pollard Is Off To Business", preceded by the 12" EP "Weatherman And Skin Goddess".

EAT and Town of Mirrors

In the fall of 2003 Pollard released "EAT", a literary magazine consisting of original poems and collages by Pollard. As of October 2007 "EAT" is on its fourth issue. [ [ Rockathon Accessories ] ] Pollard's collage art is featured on many Guided by Voices albums (notable exceptions being the two released on TVT Records).

Robert Pollard's collages have been collected and will be published in "Town of Mirrors: The Reassembled Imagery of Robert Pollard", due out in sometime in 2008. "Town of Mirrors" will feature roughly 150 collages, 20 of which were created specifically for the book's release.

Boston Spaceships

Boston Spaceships is Pollard, John Moen (Decemberists, Perhapst), and Chris Slusarenko. The band's first album, Brown Submarine, was released on September 16, 2008, on Guided by Voices, Inc. The band toured fall 2008 in support of the album.

ide projects mentioned by Pollard that have not yet happened

* Red Explosion (mentioned back in 1996 or so)
* Polymorph Orchestra (mentioned around the time of Isolation Drills)
* Frozen Sissy (allegedly a collaboration with his brother Jim Pollard)

Personal life

Pollard was a fourth grade school teacher for several years prior to the release of "Bee Thousand" in 1994. In James Greer's book "Guided by Voices: A Brief History: Twenty-One Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll" he states that songs such as "Gold Star For Robot Boy," "Teenage FBI" and "Non-Absorbing" were inspired by his days of teaching.

During high school Pollard was a tri-sport varsity athlete. His most notable athletic achievement was throwing the first no-hitter in the history of Wright State University. Pollard has stated that he and the other members of GBV beat The Beastie Boys and Billy Corgan in a basketball game. He also stated that Kim Deal and Kelley Deal were cheering for them during the game and that Steve Drozd was riding on a bicycle during the game. [ [ Nude as the News: ] ]

Much of the inspiration for Pollard's work has come from time spent hanging out with his high school friends from Dayton, a group he calls "The Monument Club". [ [ erasing clouds book review: gbv a brief history ] ]

He has two children (Erica and Bryan) with his ex-wife Kim and wrote a song about each, with "Your Name is Wild" being about his daughter and "My Son Cool" being about his son. [ [ Guided By Voices | The A.V. Club ] ] He re-married in 2007 and still lives in Dayton, OH. [ [ MAGNET Interview: Robert Pollard ] ]


External links

* [ Robert Pollard Official Website]
* [ BMI entry for Robert Pollard]
* [ Coast to Coast Carpet of Love Review]
* [ Man With Emission: Are Robert Pollard and his spend-happy collector fans sowing ecological catastrophe?] (Washington City Paper)

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