Life Lessons from Robert Pollard
Wisdom from the man who brought you Guided By Voices
Photo by Brennan Cavanaugh.
Touring is something you get used to. It can be difficult and grueling, especially for a band like us that drank a lot and played three-hour shows, but I learned to enjoy it. I learned to relax during the long drives and make better use of the hurry-up-and-wait aspect of load-ins and sound checks (like, not attend them). By the end of the tour, I’m more than ready to go home. After a couple of weeks at home, I’m anxious to go back on tour.
Writing is easy. It’s an ongoing process, like eating, breathing, or sleeping. It shouldn’t be painful or difficult. It’s a report on the state of the soul and, like the soul, should be continuously evolving. It does so through inspiration. From people, books, film, music. When inspiration is lacking, you get writer’s block.
Three-way phone conversations can blow me.
Real friends come to see you play even if they don’t like your music anymore.
Everything seeks perfection but never achieves it. Imperfection is better. Try it. It’s easier to attain.
Anger is a twisted form of courage. It wishes to obliterate fear.
In the early days of Guided By Voices, when no one was listening, I was impatient. I used to tire of people in the band very quickly. I had physical altercations with them. I even resorted to bullshit tactics, like telling the band I was quitting and we were breaking up, then forming again a month later with new members. I have learned to allow people to exist, grow, and find out who they are in the band, to give them all the time they need. As long as they are enthusiastic about the music, they can do whatever they want.
Lo-fi is like any genre. If you have the songs, the attitude, and the vision, it’s going to be inspiring. If you don’t, it’s going to be lifeless. Lo-fi was the last truly charming and inspirational movement, the perfect extension of punk. Not only did you not have to know how to play, you didn’t even have to worry whether it sounded good by contemporary production standards.
Sing, scream, whistle, drink, and have a good time every night.
True culture and the enhancement of life are being devoured by technological progress.
We are all gods. You can never underestimate the creative potential of a human being. Nor the destructive potential.
When you’re touring, there’s a time warp. A week seems like a month. It’s always good to go home, where time decelerates back to the point of predictability.
When you’re depressed, hard work is the cure. The next time you get depressed, go out in the backyard and dig a six-foot hole. But don’t jump in it just yet.