Guided By Robert Pollard

Hot Freaks (subscription service)
Weeks 1 - 3
2020

by Propellerless

With this whole virus situation,
it’s pretty much ended any thoughts of a Guided By Voices tour.

Though out the past couple months I kept an eye daily on Rockathon’s website,

hoping that the sign claiming there will be no shipping during the crisis,

would announce a new release.

Then “Eat 16 : Planet Cake” with the single, was announced.
I jumped on it, just to get my Bob fix.

Then came the announcement of Hot Freaks.

which stated:

Record stores may be temporarily closed and live shows may be on hold,
but you can keep up with Guided By Voices by joining HOT FREAKS. 

Every Tuesday, a weekly email will deliver sneak previews of brand-new songs, plus rarities,
never-before-heard tracks, demos, live concert recordings, rare photos, and videos, recording secrets,
exclusive swag offers, and many more surprises from deep within the Guided By Voices vaults.

A HOT FREAKS subscription is $100 for one year for exclusive access to downloads and streaming content.

Since 1995,
I have always been the kind of Guided By Voices fan that has to have everything,
and I know there are quite a few of you out there who are the same.

So, for me to be happy,
I really want stuff I don’t have.

For that, I will gladly drop $100 a year.

Let’s start at week 1,
I signed up a day late, but received week one with week two.

or something like that.

I ended up getting the two download tracks, “Transfusion” and “Bunco Men”
but none of the info, I have no clue when they are from.
Both songs are cool and sound like they are from the same session.
“Bunco Men” is a different version than from “Suitcase 1.”

There may have been more with this email,
but I didn’t get anything but these two tracks.

Week 2 featured three tracks from “Soundtrack From Planet Cake”
which is the record included with “Eat 16 : Planet Cake,”
a couple collages from Bob, the songs lyrics and the Official 25th Anniversary Music Video
of “My Valuable Hunting Knife”.

Well, being that most likely “Eat 16” will not include a download card
for the single, it would have been nice to feature all 7 tracks.
And even though I’ve seen the original video for “My Valuable Hunting Knife”

a million times and have it on a few dvds,

I’d rather have that than a version lip-synced by someone else.

Week 3
Ok now they have pulled out the big guns.
Do The Collapse - Part 1 (Bob & Doug demos).

I’m not sure what it means by part 1,
because this week we got 24 demo tracks.
Does that mean there are more coming?

In an included letter from Doug dated today, June 2 2020:

“These 4-track demos for what became Do The Collapse are my proof-of-concept

guitar treatments with Bobʼs demos, which I sent back to Bob for approval.

The mixes tended to be guitar forward so those parts could be heard & approved...or not.

I played drums/bass on a few just to fill out the songs (one drum concept made it to the record, in "Zoo Pie").

I’m a big fan of watching a song progress from the demo stage.
That comes from listening to Beatles demo recordings.

Doug started out with Bob’s vocal/acoustic demos and built around it.

Which is pretty much how Bob worked in the years following,
with Todd Tobias and others he worked with.

But here is a question I’ve always had,
Does Bob give them, Doug in this case,
some kind of idea of what he wants,
or does he just see what Doug comes up with?

Because what Doug comes up with in these demos,
is almost like they sat around and worked it out together in the studio.
Though I know that’s not the case.

Like “Surgical Focus,” on the demo, Doug just had Bob’s vocal and acoustic,
Did Bob tell Doug what kind of Lead he wanted?
Because that is the main riff.

Doug says, the guitar is more forward in the mix,
but I think that’s the charm of these recording.
Bob’s choppy acoustic and Doug’s electric rhythm and leads.

Similar to what David Bowie and Mick Ronson did on the
“Ziggy Stardust” album or the Pixies on their earlier work.

“Hold On Hope” has a magic about it with Doug’s riffing
and the complete absence of the strings.

So much great stuff here, “Picture Me Big Time” is brilliant!
 
Besides thirteen songs from “Do The Collapse,”
we get a whole treasure trove of songs which the finished versions
ended up on the “Hold On Hope ep,” singles and Bob’s solo albums.

I don’t think any of these recordings found their way onto any of the Suitcase boxsets,
but to have them all in one place and sounding so good, is great.
As a matter of fact,
if Bob released this as a album, I’d buy the vinyl and the compact disc versions.

Recordings like,
Do The Collapse - Part 1 (Bob & Doug demos) is really what a long time
Guided By Voices fan like me, lives for.

I know no one asked me,
but what I’d like to see here is more unheard demos,

Full concerts broken down into separate tracks, not released all in one week,
but broken down into weekly releases.
That we can put together on iTunes.

If there is going to be video,
how about some behind the scenes studio stuff or band practices?

What I think would be great is to produce videos where Bob tells us
about the inner workings of one of his albums of his choosing.
Or videos of him talking about records other than his,
that he enjoys, being the huge music fan he is.

I spoke with him backstage a few times,
and he really lights up when talking about some obscure bands or albums.

I really want to thank Bob for releasing these demos,

A+

...

Do I think it is worth the $100 yearly subscription?
If we have more weeks like this one,
for sure!

Remember, In Bob We Trust!