In 1995, Jim Greer basically beat every other rock critic ever by joining the band he helped mythologize.
After all, Robert Duncan never joined KISS, Lester Bangs never played with Lou Reed and Dave Marsh didn’t join the E Street band, but after Bee Thousand, Greer replaced Greg Demos as the bass player in Guided by Voices.
Now, to be honest, given the lo-fi tendencies of Guided by Voices, being their bassist isn’t the most high-profile gig. It’s not like he joining New Order or R.E.M. or something.
That said, the first time I actually noticed any bass part in a Guided by Voices song, it was Greer’s haunting work on “King & Caroline,” a gorgeous fragment of a song that is most just a chiming guitar, that lilting bass and Robert Pollard’s voice.
Oh, so now you know
We’re all standing in line
For the King and Caroline
And the wisdom they will sell us
And the wisdom they will sell
At 1:36, you can dismiss “The King & Caroline” as one of those song fragments that come out of nowhere on Alien Lanes to whet your appetite for, you know, the real songs.
That said, when at the end, the rest of the band chimes in — one at a time — on the word “sellllll,” you suddenly realize that GBV, at least, considers “King & Caroline” one of the real songs.
As will you when it gets stuck in your head.
“King & Caroline”
“King & Caroline / Motor Away” performed live on the Jon Stewart Show, 1995
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