I was a full-fledged Guided By Voices Freak going on two years,
and I have my Guided By Voices membership card to prove it.
I had every GBV recording except for “Forever Since Breakfast”
thanks to a new thing called the internet.
As a matter of fact, the main reason I got on the internet
was because of Guided By Voices.
Being that I lived in Hawaii, it was very helpful to keep up
with what was going on with the band and their new releases.
I first started on the internet using other people’s computers
then I moved to WebTV.
With WebTV, I started the Guided By Voices website,
“Guided By Robert Pollard”.
The site featured stills from “Watch Me Jumpstart”
and a few other things.
I might have been the only one who saw the site.
In 1999, with Breck, it became guidedbyrobertpollard.com,
and evolved into what it is today.
But in 1997, Mag Earwhig! was kind of a surprise.
Though some of the past members were on the record,
however, most of the songs featured a whole new line-up.
Judging from what GBV fans on the internet were saying at the time,
I was not the only one surprised by the new sound.
But unlike some of them,
I was quite happy with the big rock sound.
The new band was Bob with Cobra Verde, which was
an Alt/Glam band that had toured with GBV in the past,
and featured Doug Gillard on guitar,
who would be very important in Guided By Voices history.
Finally a GBV album with a real lead guitar player and
Bob was probably happy to have musicians that could take
the band in more of a Prog direction that the old band couldn’t,
like with the songs “The Finest Joke Is Upon Us”, “Portable Men's Society”
and “Sad If I Lost It”.
Apparently the album originally was going to only feature
songs with the new band, but perhaps Bob thought it would
be too much of a shock to the old fans.
So he gathered together members of the old band
and recorded a batch of songs to sandwich between the
Cobra Verde recordings.
This was a masterstroke on Bob’s part, because the
finished product is great.
My only criticism with the album is,
I always thought it would be better if the album started
with track seven, which is “I Am Produced” and spread the first
six songs within the album.
Though I think it’s a great song, “Sad I Lost It”,
comes in too soon, seems like it should be more towards the end.
And the two singles, “I Am A Tree” and “Bulldog Skin”
are too close together.
That’s just me being picky,
but still it’s a damn great album.
Lots of great rockers like, “Not Behind the Fighter Jet”,
“Portable Men's Society”, “Little Lines”, Mute Superstar”
and the earlier mentioned singles, “Bulldog Skin” and
“I Am A Tree”, the latter, written by Doug Gillard.
“Jane Of The Waking Universe” a leftover from the
“Under The Bushes Under The Stars” and features the old
Billed as a Prog/Rock rock opera,
Mag Earwhig! is a great collection of rock songs and
short twisted pop songs.