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12/01/2004

sick. i think this is the 45th time this year that i have been sick. really sucked cause i had a million things to do last night. somehow most got done. i wasnt planning at all on being in lakewood but figured myself dead or worse if i left.

anyways, its december. unreal.

heath and nugget are living at jacklyns until next tuesday.

my vacation starts tomorrow.

i will spend friday in the city...all by my lonesome.

excited to see amy matt, timmy p, and the obvious amyO, nickie and rez.

so...let me tell you a story.

Disarming the Settler

In less than two weeks I will have seen Guided By Voices a total of 34 times. That 34th time will be my last. Guided by Voices has been far more than just a band to me. They have been a life, a hobby. My first listen of GBV was back in 1995. The song was “My Impression Now”. I remember liking it enough. I had heard it on a SPIN Magazine sampler. In July of 95 I went to Peabody’s in Cleveland to see GBV and more than likely just to hear that song. I don’t remember much from that night beyond it being hot and a bunch of older dudes on stage getting wasted. As much as I liked “My Impression Now” I did not like the band that I watched.

About 16 months passed by before GBV started with me again. I was living in Kent, OH. A few guys that I knew were all about Alien Lanes. I would go to parties and I can remember chugging beer to Hunting Knife. I dug it but I didn’t get it. I had no intention to buy it and I just figured this to be some band from Dayton.

In the Spring of 97 GBV was set to release Mag Earwhig. They were starting the tour in Cleveland at the Phantasy. By this point I was getting more aware of just who Bob Pollard was. I figured him to be the new Lennon or the far less popular. The Phantasy show ended up kicking off what would be the next 7 years of live GBV shows for me. I remember my friend Tom hanging out with Bob prior to the show. Tom actually really got me into GBV. We had a radio show and he would play cuts off Bee Thousand all the time. As for the Phantasy show I remember hearing “My Impression Now” and “Jane of the Waking Universe”. I had never heard Waking Universe before but it stayed in my head and I sang the chorus almost throughout the entire song. I was becoming a fan. I am sure that if I could go back to either of my first GBV shows I would really appreciate what I saw.

It was also at this time that I heard “If We Wait” at a friend’s house. I almost cried. It was one of the most beautiful songs ever. I was starting to become somewhat of a fan. I got into Not in My Airforce. That summer I dated a girl who liked GBV. Her name was Heather and she was obsessed with Alien Lanes. She listened to it non-stop. We took a weekend trip to Athens and I came home with Mag on vinyl cause I still figured that whatever was happening was a quick phase and that I wouldn’t be buying anything more.

I played the hell out of that vinyl. I played it enough that I suddenly needed to see GBV again. That June was the first GBV road trip. Tom and I drove 71 south to Columbus. It was around the time that Jeff Buckley had died. GBV played at Little Brothers. The Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments opened. The entire show rocked. I hung out in the back and listened to the band. When the encores started I went to the front of the stage. At the end of the show I had captured my first GBV set list. They did “Weed King” that night. They also did “Metal Mothers”, “Striped White Jets”, “Flat Beauty” and the usual arsenal of songs.

Following that show I was hooked. I went to Pittsburgh and found Sunfish Holy Breakfast on CD. A few weeks after that I drove to Pittsburgh to see them. I hung out with Bob at the end of the show. I tried my hardest to beg him to play “If We Wait”. It was my favorite song at the moment. He said that he couldn’t remember the words. I sang {stretch of word} the words to him. That got us nowhere. For a good 7 or 8 shows after that I would scream for “If We Wait”. They never played it.

In July of that summer Tom and I drove to Cincinnati to see them at Bogart’s. Show was fun. I remember singing far more than previous shows. After the show was a different story. When we got back to my car I had a new broken window. Someone had bothered to break my window, take a few CD’s and our backpacks. I lost Pavements Brighten the Corners and Straight to Video from TJSA. Tom lost a great pair of Addidas.

The drive home from that show sucked. We only had the clothes that we wore to the show. We found a hotel and had to get one bed and we shared it with our friends Tim and Jenny. Reason for the one bed, we had no money. Our money was in our backpacks. That should have been enough to maybe scare me off from GBV. Well, later that fall I was back at the Phantasy. I remember that show being long. I was into it but I was also looking forward to it ending.

In October I went with my friend Tracy to Columbus to see them at the Newport. Superchunk opened. The show was amazing. It was the last time I heard “Exit Flagger” until about a month ago. It was also the show that we scratched down the lyrics to “Teenage FBI”. Cause by now and I heard FBI more than a few times. And I had only heard it live. I also bought my first GBV shirt. It was the Trainhead T. Over the years I have become recognized due to that shirt. It seems that not many other own it or wear it to shows. I have worn that show to almost every show since.

The aftermath of that show also sucked. Tracy and I opted to drive straight back to Kent from Columbus. About 30 miles south of Wadsworth her passenger side front tire fell off of the car. She pulled over; we laughed cause what else could we really do and waited for the Police, all the while rewriting the scribble of “Teenage FBI”.

I started buying records and I was getting obsessed. Obsession seems to be a common theme with GBV.

In October of 1998 I again saw them at the Phantasy. It was for Do The Collapse. They had a new lineup and an album that I had trouble getting into. Over the next couple years I would see GBV about 7 more times. I would catch a free show in Columbus and one of Jimmy Macs final shows in Oberlin. I also would get one more set list. I didn’t travel much. I basically waited for them to come to Cleveland.

One of the greatest shows I have ever seen took place in December of 1999 at the Agora. The American Flag opened. It seemed that on that night GBV played everything imaginable. It also was one of the longer shows that I can remember. Nate shared his Jack Daniels with a majority of the fans. Jim Pollard hung out in front of the stage. During Goldheart Mountain Top he put his arm around me and we drank the whiskey. That may have been the first GBV show that I got really wasted. I can’t remember. I do know that I brought about 8 people with me that had never seen them before. My friend Cliff was one of them. He ended up seeing them almost 15 times.

Next up was the year 2000. I caught the first Beachland show. I can’t remember how many shows that they exactly played at the Beachland but it was during the one that they played “Glad Girls” twice that I was becoming bored. I didn’t want to hear “Smothered In Hugs” I didn’t want to hear about 40 other songs either. I felt like all the shows were becoming repetitive I needed to take time off. I was so into the band that I feared what would happen if they ever stopped. I figured that the best that I could do was stop.

I quit going to shows. In the end it would be me skipping a Cleveland Beachland show and getting phone calls all night from friends wondering what had happened to me. I cut back on my listening and tried to bring them down to the same level of other bands that I enjoyed.

In March of 2002 GBV was playing in Dayton, St. Patrick’s Day. I had to go. The wait was over. I think the show was number 16 or 17. That little bit of break that I took was perfect I was back in love with GBV. They rocked hard that night. Show started around 8 and was done close to midnight. I had seen GBV in Dayton on St. Pat’s day, which rocked. I brought my friend Roxanne to that show. It would be her first in what would amount to a half dozen shows.

About a month later was GBV at the Beachland. The show sold out and I did not get to go. I was bummed but it didn’t matter much cause I was getting ready to fly to Baltimore to see them the following week. My friend Gian, who was a huge fan, had moved to Baltimore the year prior. We had gone to almost all of the Cleveland shows together. It was odd seeing them in another city. It was more odd being in another state. A state that wasn’t a usual stop for GBV. The crowd acted different. They didn’t get to see this 3 or 4 times a year, the fans were almost rabid. The chant of “GBV-GBV” before the band took to the stage started the second that the opener finished.

That summer GBV played a free outdoor show at Case Western. Tom went with me. It was his first show since 97 and the night at Bogarts. We got drunk. Tom didn’t know much of the material, just the old stuff. It was odd; he used to be the one that knew it all. Now I was telling him what songs came from what album.

In the fall of 2002 GBV announced two shows at the old Grog Shop. It was part of the 10th anniversary of the Grog. When tickets went on sale I drove like mad to the Grog for fear of the shows selling out. I was the first person to be on the Grog list, in fact I wrote the Grog list. I still don’t think the second show ever did sell out.

Those shows were numbers 19 and 20. Both shows were special. It was the Grog. It was GBV in a smaller venue many songs got retired that night. I haven’t heard Pop Zeus again or Piss Bucket. For the first time I ever I heard The Official Ironmen Rally Song. Channel 3 News did a feature story on the band. My shirt was one of the first shots used. In the audio you can hear my “WHOO”! When Bob announced that they were kicking things off with “Lethargy” on night two. Night two would start another chapter of GBV in my life. One that would encompass 10 shows, 4 states and one amazing girl.

* *
The girls name was Meg. Meg Earwhig; well, maybe just Meg. Meg was that girl that had seen GBV more than me. Meg was the girl that had traveled all over the place just to see them. Meg was all about the live show.

Our first GBV show would be my 21st. We saw them in Columbus. 84 Nash opened. We decided on going to the show around 2:00 that afternoon. It all happened during a series of emails on how we should go to GBV. I had to work at 6:00 a.m. the next day. Columbus is a two and a half hour drive from Cleveland. It didn’t matter. Meg had some crazy presentation at school about kidneys that was still not completed. Again, it didn’t matter. We drove to Columbus, GBV played. We drove back from Columbus. Actually, Meg did the entire drive. The only thing I remember from that drive home is the Breeders Last Splash.

I must admit that a lot of this is hazy. I have no idea if some of these mentioned shows are actually in order. Anyways, if my memory serves correct our second show would happen in Indianapolis on New Years Eve. I think it was around that time that we started playing what we referred to as “The Game”.

The Game consisted of us playing GBV trivia. It came down to us saying, “I’m thinking of a Guided By Voices song”. We had 10 chances to respond. You could ask 10 questions. “Is it off of The Matador Albums? Are they currently playing it live?” Meg was enough of a GBV nerd to play this game with ease.

Following New Years I went about 4 months until my next show. For that we set out to Cincinnati for a free Earth Day show. Earth Day was taking place the same time as Easter. GBV was starting to become my holiday band. The Earth Day show was unique. We saw them play in the daytime. It’s possible that they finished in the night but I can’t remember. The event was an alcohol free event so Meg brought her flask and things moved along fantastic.

In June of 2003 GBV announced a short leg of shows. The shows would be taking place in Michigan, Ohio and New York. The Ohio show, taking place in Akron would oddly enough fall on Megs 25th Birthday. The trip to Michigan was fun. Minus some kid hitting Meg’s car, the rest of the trip was a good time. We saw them at a place called The Intersection. Bob fell during “My Valuable Hunting Knife” and the show had to be stopped. Granted, the band was well into encores I still felt a tiny bit slighted.

Akron was insane. Its one of my favorite GBV shows, if not the best. We arrived in Akron fairly early. We found a spot in line. After that it became whom we would run into next. I think that all of our friends came to that show, including Gian who had flown in from Baltimore. The Akron show would be his last. The show was hot. I drank Blue Moon and Rolling Rock all night. We stood in front of Bob the entire show. Bob wished Meg a happy birthday. Towards the end of the show a fight broke out. It was nuts. I jumped on the stage to secure a set list. I am sure I risked myself a bit but I didn’t care. We left that show with 1 drumstick and 2 set lists.

We never did make it to New York. We talked about it but it just never materialized. We ended up waiting a couple of months and then headed to Newport, Kentucky to see them at the Southgate House. That show was in August of 2003. Fans were rowdy. I was drunk. Somehow I managed another set list but as to how that is completely forgotten.

It was around this time that Meg {who became my girlfriend shortly after our first Columbus show} and I were coming to an end. Granted, that end took about 9 months but that’s another story. I had gone through a period in which I never wanted to see GBV without her. She completed the experience. We both loathed the same songs. We both hated when they closed with Scientist, blah, blah, blah. Well, separated as we were we caught GBV at the new Grog Shop. Overall a good show, including a few songs that I had never heard live before.

A few months later, actually this past Spring, we were supposed to see them at Little Brothers in Columbus. A bunch of crap happened, we weren’t speaking, and then we were. In the end I picked her up and we drove to Columbus. We had an incident with the opening band The Go. Basically it came down to the lead singer being an asshole. We drove home that same night from Columbus. Later the next day I was driving to pick her up so we could head to Louisville, Kentucky for another show. This meant driving all the way back to Columbus and then a few hours more to Kentucky. Louisville was awesome. Someday I want to live in that city. Following that show we took another stab at being a couple. That didn’t last long.

In June we saw GBV play in Dayton. The show ranks right up there with the Akron show and the Agora show. We spent the night in front of the stage. The band gave us beer. We heard a couple of songs twice. We saw a few old drummers. GBV played “Subspace Biographies”. They also did about 4 encores eventually reaching a point where they had nothing left. That would be the last time that Meg Earwhig and Electric Newspaper Boy, Mr. and Mrs. 29 times to some, would see GBV together. I think it was during that time that GBV announced that they would be breaking up at years end.

The most recent show that I saw was at The Beachland back in October. I have said it since then, that if that show would have been my last I would be beyond content. It was the first time in a long time that for the most part I stood way in the back and just listened. I didn’t wear The Shirt. I didn’t get wasted, I just watched the band. They delivered on all cylinders. They played “Gold Star for Robot Boy”. They also played “If We Wait”. It was sloppy but they played it. I had given up requesting it almost 6 years and 20 shows ago. One of the best parts of the night was when I reunited with Meg Earwhig for some up front action, followed by an encore that featured Tobin and Bob singing “14 Cheerleader Coldfront”.

This past July I took a weekend vacation to NYC to visit some friends. After a night of drinking a girl looked at me and quoted some Belle and Sebastian lyric. I lit up and started asking her about bands. She was from Cleveland but lived in NYC. She had seen about 10 GBV shows. GBV was going to be playing a free show on her birthday this past August in NYC. I really wanted to go but couldn’t get the time off of work. A few days before the show I got a voicemail from the NYC girl, AmyO. AmyO left me a message saying that she got tickets and wanted me to call her. I figured the tickets were for the free show. Nope, she had bought us tickets for the first two {of what would end up being three} shows to take place in NYC this December. She told me that she knew I liked them and thought it would be fun. I don’t think she had any idea that I was one of the biggest GBV nerds on the planet. When GBV played the free show, AmyO called and let me listen to the band. They sounded good. It was at that point that my excitement of seeing them with AmyO in NYC began.

I am now just a few days from my final shows. I have taken my time gathering these fragments. It’s so much to take in. GBV really has had a huge impact on my life. I made a mix CD for part of the drive to NYC. It consists of songs that I still haven’t heard live or would like to hear again or just terribly enjoy {i.e. “Dragons Awake” which may easily be one of the worst GBV songs ever, yet I adore the live version}. After the NYC shows I’ll write a stronger conclusion or I will at least scribble down some songs from a little band from the mythological town of Dayton, OH.


Songs for the Middle Aged Children


1. Short on Posters
2. Liars Tale
3. Radio Show {Trust the Wizard}
4. The Hard Way
5. Drinkers Peace
6. When She Turns 50
7. Club Molleska
8. Pendulum
9. Blatant Doom Trip
10. Squirmish Frontal Room
11. Fantasy Creeps
12. Don’t Stop Now
13. Scissors
14. Postal Blowfish
15. Dayton, OH {19 something and five}
16. Key Losers
17. At the Farms
18. Optional Bases Opposed
19. Knock em Flyin’
20. Over the Neptune/Mesh Gear Fox
21. Lethargy
22. Unleashed! The large hearted boy
23. Exit Flagger
24. 14 Cheerleader Coldfront
25. Beg for a Wheelbarrow
26. Shocker in Gloomtown
27. Skin Parade
28. Back to the Lake
29. My Valuable Hunting Knife – the hand clap version
30. Now to War – electric
31. Choking Tara – creamy
32. Dragons Awake – live
33. Quicksilver – yep, Bob solo…what the future is all about.

 

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