Sunday, April 25th, 2004

Do The Collapse

Guided By Voices are splitting up.

Last night onstage at the Bowery Ballroom, Bob Pollard announced the news. Billboard reports:

“That’s it,” Pollard said about an hour through the three-hour set, “You can’t be the Rolling Stones. You’ve gotta quit while you’re relatively handsome.”

GBV’s 21-year career will “go out in a blaze of fire,” Pollard insisted, adding that the group’s final show will be held on New Year’s Eve in New York. “We are the kings of indie rock. When we quit, indie rock will die.”

Maybe an overstatement, but there’s more than a bit of truth in that. This follow-up apparently comes from the webmaster of

After almost 20 years, assorted lineups, and countless albums, EPs, singles, triples, stolen bases, misdemeanor convictions, and broken hearts, Dayton, OH’s fortunate sons are taking leave of your senses. ‘Half Smiles Of The Decomposed,’ to be released August 24 on Matador Records, will be the final album from Guided By Voices, one of the most acclaimed independent rock bands of all time.

“This feels like the last album for Guided By Voices,” explains Robert Pollard, GBV’s lone constant member, lead singer, and famously prolific songwriter. “I’ve always said that when I make a record that I’m totally satisfied with as befitting a final album, then that will be it. And this is it.”

‘Half Smiles Of The Decomposed’ is the band’s 15th full-length studio release, following 2003’s ‘Earthquake Glue’ and retrospective box set, greatest-hits, and DVD releases. Although its tour later this year will be the band’s last, Robert Pollard will continue writing, recording, and (possibly) touring as a solo artist. “I love the guys in the band, but I’m getting too old to be a gang leader,” he explains. “There’s a sense of maturity, and even integrity, I think, in continuing as one’s own self.”

Wow. Even though Bob is essentially the band, at least as far as writing is concerned, to retire the band is pretty momentous. It’s also a shame, as Doug Gilliard has added so much to the music that I’m sure will be missed. Talk about your ends of eras. Guess I can’t be missing their last (!) tour this Fall, and I should spin some Alien Lanes today in tribute.

(Cover art for Half Smiles Of The Decomposed here)

BUT – if Bob and the boys ever decide to reunite, The East Bay Express can offer some advice on the odds of succeeding versus crashing and burning, at least as far as 80s indie-rock bands go. Mission Of Burma, Pixies and Urge Overkill act as case studies. From Donewaiting.

np – Neil Young / Decade

By : Frank Yang at 9:55 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. janelle says:

    largehearted boy is going to be brokenhearted boy… well, they’re onto something with the quitting-while-you’re-handsome… it probably goes with quitting-while-it’s-amicable and quitting-while-you’re-still-good.

  2. Paul says:

    I kept hoping that Bobby would do his normal thing and change the album title another five times before it’s released, but it looks like we’re stuck with "Half Smiles of the Decomposed."