Voices Carry

For Guided by Voices' bibulous frontman, drunken rock & roll is a form of love

Pollard harnesses the power of song more effectively and more often than any other songwriter, and yet he's remarkably casual about the art of writing. "I only do it when I feel like it," he says, dismissing any questions about maintaining a disciplined writing schedule. "Every once in a while something'll come over me and I'll be, like, 'Ah, I feel like writin' some songs today!' But yeah, some people think I sit down and write every day because I write a lot of songs. A lot of times, when I do get the notion, I'll write a lot of songs, a lot of song ideas and then I'll work on 'em later, just hash things out. Just depends on what kind of mood I'm in, what's next."

Pollard's prolific nature, as both a writer and a drinker, has everything to do with his belief that rock & roll is by definition unfettered. Every song is another blow against those who want to commodify music; every drink is a belt against those who want to sanitize fun. Robert Pollard, just like his beloved rock & roll, can't be learned and can't be tamed.

"They" wanna tone down rock, but GBV won't let 'em.
"They" wanna tone down rock, but GBV won't let 'em.
Mississippi Nights

"Just let it come naturally, as life does. When you feel like it, do it," he advises. "I never press; I've never concerned myself with the possibility of writer's block, and I haven't gotten it luckily, so far. I don't think I can. I've been into music all my life, I've been into rock all my life, and it's kinda become a part of me. It's all I really know how to do anymore."

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