Bob Pollard of Guided by Voices visits Planet Score Records
by Jaime Lees
Mon, Nov 9, 2015
Our world-class local record stores are visited by famous shoppers all of the time, but Planet Score Records is just a newborn and it’s already had one very important shopper come around to count its little fingers and toes.
In a story we published a couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to Joe Stulce and Tim Lohmann, who co-own Planet Score Records. Their new shop in Maplewood opened just before Halloween and it was open less than a week before getting a visit from Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices.
The store was named after one of Pollard’s songs. Owner Stulce is a major GbV fan and was looking for a unique name for his business. He says that, “being a big dork,” he posted about his idea for the name onto a GbV message board and requested feedback from other GbV fans.
He certainly got some major feedback, too. The people who run the message board do business with Pollard and passed on this bit of information. Within 24 hours or so Stulce had Pollard’s blessing to use the name. But the store wasn’t open yet and wouldn’t be open for some months. Stulce was sure that Pollard had moved on and forgotten about the whole interaction.
Then, just five days after opening, Stulce got an email from Pollard’s wife saying that the couple were driving into St. Louis from Dayton, OH to visit the store the next day.
We visited the store this weekend to get the story about Uncle Bob direct from the source. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining bright and the shop had Status Quo’s Spare Parts playing on the sound system. (Oh yeah.) It was the perfect record store afternoon.
The small store had more customers than you’d expect for a place that just opened. Friends were popping in to say hello, regulars from the business’ old location were visiting to see the new space and neighborhood shoppers were scoping out the new guys. Everyone there seemed happy and happily busy.
Stulce was no exception, and we asked him questions about Pollard’s visit when he had breaks between helping customers. Stulce’s smile spread wide and he nearly bounced with excitement when relaying the story. He says that Pollard arrived, indeed, and was apparently more kind and thoughtful than anyone could’ve ever even hoped. Pollard stayed at the store for a few hours that day, just shopping and hanging out and patiently signing all of Stulce’s GbV vinyl. He also posed for many pictures and was kind to fans who were shocked to see him just kicking it in the store.
So if Bob Pollard of Guided by freakin’ Voices thinks that Planet Score Records is cool, chances are that you’ll think that it’s cool, too. Check out the new kids on the block at 7421 Manchester Road in downtown Maplewood.
Full Circle with The Flaming Lips: 2012 In Review
By Jaime Lees
Thu., Dec. 20 2012 at 11:54 AM
Editor’s Note: The end of 2012 is upon us (also the end of the world, if you believe in that sort of thing), so we thought we’d put a cap on things by sharing some of our personal favorite shows, albums, events and general shenanigans. Join us as we indulge in some navel-gazing!
When I write articles for RFT Music, I’m not just reporting on music happenings — I’m writing about my life. One day my priorities might change, but for now what matters the most to me is music. Maybe that’s wrong or unhealthy or something, but it’s true, and luckily most of my favorite music moments of 2012 have been documented in some way on these pages.
I’m lucky in that I have a lot of freedom in this space. It’s curated not only by people who give a crap, but by people who value what I have to offer. After seven years of writing for this publication, I’m still grateful and excited for the opportunity. I absolutely adore my job here at RFT Music. My life is my work and my work is my life, and I’m honored to share it with you.
That said, here was my life in 2012:
I rang in the New Year in Oklahoma City. My sweet old dog, Ruby, had just passed and I was in the middle of some serious grief. I ran away for the weekend to hang out with old friends and see two shows with the Flaming Lips and my spirit animal, Yoko Ono. At the stroke of midnight, I was tipsy on pink lemonade moonshine, bathed in kisses and standing inside a massive sonic blast fortified by a fog of rainbow confetti, flashing lights, jumping lasers, hundreds of bright balloons and the twinkling reflections off of a giant disco ball. The Lips played Beatles covers with Yoko and Sean Lennon and Nels Cline; it was absolute bliss and served as a strong reminder of the healing power of live music.
I’ve been saved again and again by amazing music — most of it local. I’m a huge fan of so many of our local bands. Many people wait years for their favorite bands to tour, but for me, my favorite bands play all the time. As an extra treat, I get the opportunity to write about these St. Louis music makers: Lion’s Daughter, Prince Ea, Jimmy Griffin, Jans Project, Demonlover, Roland Johnson, Fred Friction, Nelly and the list goes on and on. I know that a lot of what I write reads as love letters to St. Louis, but I just can’t help myself — St. Louis just makes it too easy. Stop being so awesome and I’ll stop writing about you. Until then, the locals have my heart. (Extra double shout-out to people that I’m proud to call my friends, the hard-working folks at Big Muddy Records, Tower Groove Records and the Rats & People Motion Picture Orchestra.)
I’m not sure why, but this year I felt particularly productive. I was given space to write about music-minded locals who inspire me creatively (Dana Smith), about St. Louis music history (STL 2000) and I got to hype the touring bands that I was the most excited about (Future of the Left, R. Ring). I’m still not quite over the fact that I actually get paid to get drunk and watch Guided by Voices, to eat pizza and listen to Taylor Swift, to try to convince readers that Heart is badass, to watch classic bands like Kiss and Mötley Crüe, to review Madonna from the second row, to jump into the world of Juggalos, to get Sinead O’Connor‘s take on St. Louis (and Chuck Berry) and to praise my personal heroes like Bonnie Raitt and Henry Rollins. If you can find a girl that is luckier than me, I’d sure like to meet her.
Under the advice of my very favorite punk rock couple, I attended a show with a band I’d never heard before: I saw Useless Eaters at CBGB and it was the best damn show I saw all year. These kinds of happy accidents only occur when you actually listen to the suggestions of others, so try keep some cooler-than-you friends around.
And though I was stoked on the lineup this year at our big summer festival, LouFest, I had originally declined to do any LouFest coverage. I wanted a weekend of fun, without having to spend all night writing reviews. But there was a last-minute rescheduling and Kiernan came and found me right before Dinosaur Jr played. He needed someone to write about Dino’s set. I said sure, knowing that it would actually be easy– on some level I’d been prepared to review a Dino show for at least half of my life. Kiernan hunted down an empty beer box for me to write on and then he went back out into the crowd, off on his next mission. I found a pen, ducked under a friend’s umbrella and wrote my notes out on the cardboard. Improvising ain’t just for musicians, you know, and the Dino review turned out to be one of my favorite things that I wrote all year.
The second night of LouFest, I again found myself at the emotional mercy of the Flaming Lips live show, but this time as a participant. I danced onstage with some of my favorite people, and I absolutely rocked that slutty Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz costume, if I do say so myself. It was one of the best days of my life and it’s far too personal to write about here, but trust me, it was a good time and I felt absolutely smothered in love.
Since then my life and routines have gotten back on schedule, and this fall has been one great event after the last, and with the upcoming holiday season is bringing tons of shows that I’m excited about– I predict that I won’t get much sleep through the end of the year.
As for the future, who knows? I’m excited about the new crop of weirdness on the South Side. Magic City, Black James, Syna So Pro, Demonlover, Bug Chaser and Horsey Drawers have my interest right now, but nobody can predict what insanity will come in 2013. I, for one, can’t wait. Bring on the New Year. I’ll be lurking in the many venues, festivals, dark basements, loud practice spaces and fancy recording studios around town. See you at the barricades.
Drinking with Guided By Voices: Can we Keep Up with Bob Pollard? (Spoiler Alert: No)
Mon., Oct. 1 2012 at 7:46 AM
By Jaime Lees
I’m not what you’d call a drinker. Not by any standards. Yes, I enjoy a cocktail or two weekly, but I like to be in control, I like to drive and I already fall down enough as it is — so booze is not my friend. And while I love sipping on a glass of Maker’s Mark (neat, please) and I can always find a good home for a bottle of red wine (my guts), I just can’t keep up with you kids and your rock & roll lifestyle.
1.) Don’t turn down any drink. (With one exception: grape vodka will not be tolerated.)
2.) Drink. Constantly.
3.) Sing along.
4.) Try not to fall down.
5.) Record the results to the best of my impaired ability.
I temporarily lost my best friend (my iPhone) about an hour before the show. (Don’t worry, she’s home now.) This panicked search period totally cut into my “pre-gaming” time, so upon finally arriving at Plush, I headed straight to the bar.
A band I like, Détective, was opening and had just started. The always-friendly staff at Plush was in a great mood and the bartenders were feeling generous. By the time Détective was over, I’d already put down two cocktails and a shot. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but I’m a cheap date.
After a short break, Guided by Voices took the stage and plowed through approximately 300 songs stretched across one set and about five encores. The crowd was full of mostly older, groovy music fans and they all seemed to know each other. People who hadn’t seen each other in years embraced and spent time catching up.
In fact, there was a lot of love out there. Drunk dudes were hugging each other and swaying, starting the ubiquitous “GBV! GBV!” chant just as frequently as singer Bob Pollard was doing his trademark high-kicks. And as I was clapping along with a new song off of Class Clown Spots a UFO, I looked around and saw a young amorous couple straight-up fingerbanging on a couch along the wall.
I took this as a sign to drink more and headed back to the bar. Making my way through the crowd, the floor felt uneven, but it was so crowded that I couldn’t have beefed it even if I’d tried. From the stage, encouragements to drink came as swiftly as the next short song. Pollard passed a bottle out into the crowd and said “Help yourself. Don’t get greedy.” When an empty bottle was passed back to him minutes later he was incredulous, smiling and said, “It doesn’t even look like the same bottle I passed out there! It’s not even the same size!”
I kept up my pace and before the first encore I realized that almost all 30 or so of the people that I knew at that show were blotto. And that my designated driver was tipsy. And that the handwriting in my notebook was getting big and loopy. But the combination of good drinks and better music totally took over and at some point I surrendered to the will of our gods from Dayton, Ohio and became one with the swaying, stumbling bros.
I loved every minute of the performance, but if you’re looking for a set list, I certainly can’t give you one. Check other, more knowledgeable, less sloshed sources. I know that at one point during the set, I thought Man, I think they’ve already played every song that I could’ve wanted to hear! and right then they started “Smothered in Hugs.” (A personal favorite.) My little crew and I had a glass-raising sing-along along with the rest of the audience. Pollard lifted the microphone and said “Fuck yeah, St. Louis! You fuckin’ kick ass!” I’d have to agree. Back atcha, GBV. The show was one for the record books. I’ll look back on it fondly just as soon as this hangover subsides.
Concert Review: The Breeders in St. Louis
Saturday, May 10, 2008 – Pop’s
(setlist by RØB Severson, review by Jaime Lees)
It used to take a lot for me to drag my ass to the East Side. But after last weekend, good ol’ Sauget, Illinois, might be one of my favorite places to hang out or see a show. Saturday the Breeders played Pop’s, and the whole experience was just so damn pleasant. One would never know they were mere yards from the terrifying, toothless tranny hookers that congregate just on the other side of Route 3.
Before the show I was disappointed to hear that Pop’s was going to close off half of the venue (something the venue does at certain shows), but when everyone made it inside, it was clear that this was the right decision. Floor space was tight, but not smashed and the balcony was cozy.
Sure, drinks are always more expensive on that side of the Big Muddy, but the staff was helpful and laid back, showing no signs of the aggro tendencies I’ve witnessed there during other shows. The staff seemed to recognize that this was a show for sleepy indie folks and acted accordingly. I asked a bartender if he caught the sound check and he said, “I didn’t. And you know, I don’t know anything about the band. But I’ll tell you what: those sure are some nice people. Great smiles, too.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Watching the band is like catching up with old friends. Older songs (“I Just Wanna Get Along,” “Divine Hammer”) induced much heart-swelling and the newer songs from latest album Mountain Battles (“German Studies,” “It’s The Love”) blended perfectly into these live sets. On stage, Jose Medeles and Mando Lopez, also of pumped-up punkers Fear, kept the rhythm section bumpin’ and thumpin’ while remaining mostly heard and not seen. New kid Cheryl Lindsay hopped in where needed with extra vocals and instrumentation, and mostly stood calm and still on the side of the stage.
Predictably, Kim and Kelley Deal (and their mega-watt smiles) took center-stage. Both seemed at ease, happy and comfortable with the audience, sharing jokes and answering questions. In addition to Breeders jams, the Deals sang quite a few songs by the Amps (including “Empty Glasses,” a rarity), Kim’s other band. Kelley graciously stepped into the wings when she wasn’t needed during Amps songs, but could still be seen through a rip in the stage curtain rocking out and enthusiastically singing along as if she was a mega-fan.
1. Tipp City (Amps song)
3. Bang On
4. Shocker in Gloomtown (Guided By Voices cover)
5. Divine Hammer
6. Night Of Joy
7. No Aloha
8. Pacer (Amps song)
9. We’re Gonna Rise
10. It’s The Love
11. Walk It Off
12. New Year
14. I Just Wanna Get Along
15. Happiness Is A Warm Gun (Beatles cover)
18. German Studies
19. Empty Glasses (Amps song)
21. Fortunately Gone
22. Here No More