Having recently signed a solo deal with Merge that will be inaugurated with the Jan. 26 release of "From a Compound Eye," former Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard has already recorded its follo
Having recently signed a solo deal with Merge that will be inaugurated with the Jan. 26 release of "From a Compound Eye," former Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard has already recorded its follow-up, tentatively dubbed "Normal Happiness." That set is expected in October.
"I have actually fulfilled my contract with Merge already," Pollard tells Billboard.com with a laugh from his Dayton, Ohio, home base. Actually, the 26-track "From a Compound Eye" has been finished since 2004, and while assembling music earlier this year for the Steven Soderbergh film "Bubble," Pollard got the itch to record the songs Soderbergh didn't opt to include.
"It's a pop album," Pollard says of "Normal Happiness." "It has 16 two-minute pop songs. I wanted to make a record like that." One track confirmed to appear is a newly fleshed out version of "Boxing About," which appeared as an instrumental on the recent "Bubble" EP.
Having spent most of the year catching up on lost time in Dayton in the wake of Guided By Voices' final show last New Years Eve, Pollard admits he can't wait to get back on the road. His first post-GBV solo tour will begin in late January, and will find him backed by guitarist Tommy Keene and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster, along with a bassist and another guitarist to be announced.
"I don't think it will be much different than a Guided By Voices show," Pollard says. "I don't know how else to do it. It's not going to be me sitting at the piano with a spotlight on me. I'll get drunk, come out and stumble around!"
Pollard has not ruled out performing GBV material during the shows. "First of all, there are 26 songs on 'From a Compound Eye,' and we're going to do 22 or 23 of them," he says. "That's a big chunk of the show. I'll do a few songs from some of my EPs, two or three from the [side project] Moping Swans, and there's a Circus Devils song I want to do. I may do eight or nine songs from old Robert Pollard albums, and maybe a GBV song or two in the regular set. Then, maybe an entire Guided By Voices encore."
The artist plans to hit the road a little less hard than in GBV's heyday, predicting that he will "stick to the states and just hit the big cities. It will be more of an every other weekend thing, like three shows, for probably three months or so, to make it as painless as possible."
In May, Pollard is planning two releases on his own Fading Captain Series imprint: the debut album from the Takeovers, which features him in collaboration with late-era GBV bassist Chris Slusarenko, and an album with Keene under the moniker the Keene Brothers.
"Tommy will send me the music and I will do the vocals," Pollard says. "It's funny because he told me that when he was a kid, he was in a band with his brother called the Keene Brothers, and his brother's name is also Bob!"
As previously reported, Pollard will be on hand for three book signings next week in Dayton, Chicago and New York to celebrate the release of the GBV biography "A Brief History -- Twenty-one Years of Hunting Accidents in the Forests of Rock and Roll," released this week by Grove/Atlantic. A DVD of GBV's final show, "The Electrifying Conclusion," is due Nov. 15 via Plexfilm.