William Miller: So Russell, what do you love about music?
Russell Hammond: To begin with… everything.
What is it about a band or particular song, or just music that makes you just love it?
Obviously for me this is all about Guided By Voices. Why do I have 1000 songs from this cultish band from Dayton, OH? Why will I spend weekends listening to nothing for GBV for hours on end, looking at web sites, books, old YouTube videos and the like?
I wanted to answer that question as part of this Friday Music Day but found myself flustered. All I can say it’s “the music” maaan. Catchy melodies, esoteric lyrics, the sheer volume of songs, the fact that they never hit it big all gets jumbled in a giant vat of greatness for me. So there. I can’t go deeper than that, sorry.
But fortunately someone has. The article in the link pretty much covers it all. Even though it’s two years old, the article has particular resonance since it appears that a version of the band has reformed and will play at least one show this summer. Who wants to go?
What is your attitude on deleting songs from an album on your song library? With I-tunes, it’s so simple to eliminate the songs you don’t like that you can basically re-create any album to your liking. Don’t think Yellow Submarine belongs on Revolver? One key stroke and it’s gone. Me? I’m an album guy and for the most part I don’t eliminate songs from albums. If I want to listen to an album, then I have to listen to the way the artist/producer envisioned it (doesn’t mean I don’t use the skip button if I want to). If an album only has one or two songs I like and the rest has no interest I will take those good songs and put them on some “greatest hits” collection. I will admit that in a few cases I have found a song so odious that I’ve had to delete it; but that’s very rare.
This, of course, brings me to Guided By Voices. Robert Pollard has penned, recorded, and released thousands of songs. Even if he batted a phenomenal .600, that’s literally hundreds of songs that are crap. And believe me, even a freak like me will admit there’s a lot of crap GBV songs out there -- dude could seriously use an editor. But then who knows? One person’s garbage song is another’s treasure.
The album Propeller is a great example of this. Released on 1992, this was the album that finally caught the eye of some record company swell from NYC and Guided By Voices got invited to play in the big City with a resulting record contract. It’s the record that propelled (my pun) GBV from obscure Dayton, OH band to at least a cultish indie-darling band. The album is pretty damn good, but as I mentioned above, there’s some just awful songs on it too. I’ve kept all the GBV songs on I-tunes by album but I’ve also created playlists of their best songs (still way into the multi-hundreds) and sometimes created albums that are all killer, no filler. Propeller is one album that is a go to. If interested below is a playlist for Propeller that in my opinion is much more listenable. Perhaps create it on Spotify and give it a listen.
So drop your lists, and share your attitude about changing albums on your personal song library, do you create albums based on how they should have been released?