If you had asked me when I was a kid between the ages of 10 and 13 what I wanted to be when I grew up, my immediate response would have been “Major League pitcher and rock star”. Not either/or. Both.
I’ll spare you the details, but I was a pretty successful pitcher in various youth leagues for a few years. But then I was infected by the rock virus, and by the age of 15 I had traded one far-fetched dream for another.
But it turned out that the new dream wasn’t so preposterous when I staked my career on my ear rather than on my arm. When I was only 20, I was in a band with one of my musical heroes. By the time I was 24, I was in a touring band with a record deal. We were reviewed in the New York Times, NME, Rolling Stone and, of all things, People Magazine. We signed an eight-record deal with Epic Records a mere two years after we decided to quit our day jobs and chase the Rock Dream. Which turned out to be a one-record deal. You know the story. But still, by the time it was over we had enjoyed more success than most bands ever experience. I learned how difficult it was to be even moderately successful in that business.
And this is why I love and respect Robert Pollard, who’s best known for his rock band Guided By Voices. He’s had an amazing, unlikely and enduring musical career, which includes the release of over 2,000 songs on dozens of releases (including this collaboration, which was pretty good despite his poor choice of songwriting collaborator). I can list at least 200 Pollard creations that I think are pure genius. But you know what? I’m really envious because the talented so-and-so also pitched a no hitter!
In this interview, he almost brushes off his college no-hitter (he does admit he had a good brush-back pitch) as a fluke. But I’m sure it wasn’t. Oh, yeah, and he’s a successful visual artist, too. Who does this in one lifetime? What next? Pollard finds the cure for the common cold? Discovers the Lost Ark? Reconciles Einstein’s Time Travel Paradox?
You are living the dream, Bob! Or maybe you’re living my dream further into the future than I’ve been able to. But keep bringing the heat. Keep bringing it!