The swing state in this year's election, Ohio, will be a little less swinging when Dayton's Guided By Voices plays its last show on New Year's Eve. But frontman Robert Pollard isn't fazed by his home state's status as the arbiter of American democracy.
"[People here] love it," he says. "But I don't really get into it; it's a game of liars to me."
Pollard, 47, is equally nonchalant about the breakup his band of more than 20 years, saying he's "milked" Guided By Voices and is looking forward to moving into more of a "solo phase" with a new album, From a Compound Eye, on the way next year.
"I'll miss being the leader of a gang," he says. "There won't be the G! B! V! chant, and I'll miss all that. But I'm looking forward to playing more guitar. I want to work without a lot of distractions."
Plus, he added, "I need to get away from the party."
As anyone who's seen Guided By Voices live will surely attest, they aren't exactly the poster boys for the Christian Women's Temperance League. At the rear of the stage the band usually keeps an arsenal of Miller Lite, which each member of the band heads to like the swallows returning to Capistrano. Pollard even gets fans into the act.
At a show four years ago at Brick By Brick, an audience member yelled to him, "Hey, Bob, can I have a beer?" Pollard obliged. "When your brother cries out to you, you gotta help him," he grumbled into the mic, and then tossed the guy a bottle.
The Midwestern band, whose sets are chock full of catchy pop songs that rarely cross the three-minute mark, just finished a series of farewell shows through their native part of the country. "These regional shows will kill you," he says. "There is a lot more drinking backstage."
Pollard said the tour is a lead-up to a finale at the Metro in Chicago, which is sold out. "People are trading their Pixies tickets for it," he says, noting that he's seen bids of $1,300 on EBay. "I'm going to have to control my drinking. It's a three-hour show-I don't want to pass out."
Guided By Voices are in the midst of a West Coast swing. Pollard says he always enjoys playing San Diego, where he has a number of friends.
"It's a good place to play," he says. "People are always buying me shots. When someone buys you a shot, its hard not to do it."The final San Diego show by Guided By Voices will be held at 'Canes, 8 p.m. on Nov. 11. $18. 858-488-1780.