"I Wanna Go Backwards" is more than just the title of Robyn Hitchcock's upcoming boxed set. It's a theme that will stretch into next year -- until he releases a new album with his latest band, the Ven

"I Wanna Go Backwards" is more than just the title of Robyn Hitchcock's upcoming boxed set. It's a theme that will stretch into next year -- until he releases a new album with his latest band, the Venus 3.

"Well, every dozen years or so it's time to re-release the back catalog," Hitchcock tells Billboard.com. "Of course, in that time, the back catalog has swollen somewhat. When you dig it up it seems to pull up even more material out of the ground. All this stuff accumulates. It's the opposite of a rolling stone which, of course, gathers no moss. This stuff gathers everything."

The first fruits of Hitchcock's latest gathering will be heard Nov. 13 on the five CDs (or eight LPs) of Yep Roc's "I Wanna Go Backwards," which accumulates three albums -- "Black Snake Diamond Role," his solo debut from 1981, 1984's "I Often Dream of Trains" and 1990's "Eye," all with bonus tracks, plus the two-disc B-sides and rarities collection "While Thatcher Mauled Britain Part 1 & 2." Yep Roc is also releasing 1982's out-of-print "Groovy Decay" as a digital download.

Hitchcock says Yep Roc is next targeting his recordings with the Egyptians during the '80s for a similar boxed set treatment, tentatively due May 1, 2008. Before that, however, Hitchcock hopes to release "Shadow Cat," a set of unreleased recordings from the '90s, while Britain's Sartorial label is planning to reissue the remastered catalog of his first band, the Soft Boys.

"It's not as stimulating as making a new record, but it's far better than them being out of print," Hitchcock says of the archival projects. "I think I'm just a bit slower about that task than I am about making a new collection of songs."

He's been doing that, too, with the Venus 3, his band with R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and his touring sidekicks Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows, Minus 5) and Bill Rieflin that debuted with last year's "Ole! Tarantula." Hitchcock says the group has already held sessions in England and Arizona and plans another one in Seattle in late November, with a release in the late summer or fall of 2008.

"I think we've already recording hundreds of songs for it," he says. "It's great for me; I've got this band of guys that, because of all their other (groups), play all the time. So they're always just on and ready to go."

Hitchcock begins an 11-date U.S. tour, accompanied by Harvey Danger frontman Sean Nelson, on Nov. 2 in Milwaukee.