Chronicling the creative process for Pop Zeus, the forthcoming Guided By Voices/Bob Pollard tribute comic- including sketches, concepts, finished art and whatever else is in my brain at the moment.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bee Thousand 33 1/3rd Book Excerpt

I am just about ready for my big trip home tomorrow. The Pearl Jam/Robert Pollard show in Pittsburgh is gonna be so cool! I will do my best to take pics and video for you all- reminds me that I should check the arena's camera policy (not that it will stop me, heh). So no updates on the blog for a little while as I travel- might be able to get some stuff up from my brother's computer back in Jersey. I will keep you posted...

It was revealed on Disarm The Settlers yesterday that the 33 1/3rd book series on Guided By Voices' classic album Disarm The Settlers yesterday that the Bee Thousand is nearing completion and will be published in September/October!

If you haven't checked out books from this series and you love the rock music, you are really missing out. The series covers a single classic album per book from pretty much any rock era or genre. And the writing is super in depth and scholarly, breaking down each track into the tiniest minutiae- a rock geek's dream come true! So far I have read only the R.E.M.'s Murmur book (pretty good) and the Elvis Costello's Armed Forces book (most excellent) but there are a ton of great albums to explore in book form through this series.

And the Bee Thousand book should prove to be no exception. Here is a fascinating bit about the album's title from the book...
But however many instances of inspiration by or homage to the larger musical culture that precedes it Bee Thousand contains, there is a more local series of memories — what we could call personal memories — which attach to these two unexpectedly twinned words that become the title of Guided By Voices “breakthrough” record. There’s the memory of Jim Pollard, the brother of the “band’s” main songwriter, noticing a mile-marker on the side of an Ohio road that reads, or looks like it might read, “Z1000.” There’s the memory of Robert Pollard noticing a movie marquee advertising the 1992 St. Bernard dog-based Hollywood comedy Beethoven, a letter “u” pressed into service instead of the required letter ‘v’ so that the film name mutates from Beethoven to Beethouen. And there’s the more slippery memory of a Dayton, Ohio nightspot once called The Thousand and One (though it had a different name — Walnut Hills — by the time the Pollards had a regular table there at the dawn of Guided By Voices’ celebrity) where the guys spent evenings talking and drinking with writer Jim Greer (who would go on to author Hunting Accidents: A Brief History of Guided By Voices). The former 1001 club, a place that makes the myth of a musical “scene” in Dayton possible — a myth that gained currency, in part, because of the power of the record called Bee Thousand — is a place kept alive, however unconsciously, in that title.

Great stuff! If you want to read more from the Bee Thousand book, go check out the 33 1/3rd blog. Lots of links and info on the series too, including announcements for rock albums covered in upcoming books. And as soon as I get my mits on the book, I will definitely review it for the blog.

(images courtesy of


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