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Guided By Voices' Bee Thousand

Guided By Voices' Bee Thousand
Your Price: $12.95 CDN
Author: Marc Woodworth
Publisher: Continuum
Series: 33 1/3
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 144
Pub. Date: 2006
ISBN-10: 0826417485
ISBN-13: 9780826417480

About the Book:

For many Guided By Voices fans, the album Bee Thousand is the holy grail – the album on which the band's singular talents gel into something approaching rock'n'roll perfection. This 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 Guided By Voices 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, author Marc 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. Marc 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.

What people say:

"Everyone I know who listens to Guided by Voices was introduced to their music by some knowledgeable friend, a role which Marc Woodworth ably takes up in his short book. ... Simultaneously a mythologizing and demythologizing book, Bee Thousand demonstrates yet again the power of Faulkner's claim that 'the past isn't even past.' …Woodworth's book should help listeners of any age find joy in such oddities as 'Hardcore UFOs,' 'a dairy creamer explicitly laid out as a fruitcake,' and the 'kicker of elves.' More generally, anyone interested in DIY-type bands should find the bands narratives relevant." — popmatters.com

About the Author:

Marc Woodworth edits the international quarterly Salmagundi and teaches at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.