Most know Tobin Sprout as a former member of seminal indie band Guided by Voices. Alongside Robert Pollard, Sprout gouged a unique pattern into the surface of indie rock for more than a decade, eventually splitting with the band only to return to the GBV fold from time to time.
As a solo artist, Sprout continues to create his own, unique style of rock that combines the tunefulness of The Beatles and The Byrds with modern lo-fi garage rock. His latest album, The Universe and Me (2017, Burger) — his sixth solo album and first in seven years — is a gorgeous collection of songs that rocks with a child-like winsomeness that cloaks sober topics that range from superheroes to life after loss.
We caught up with Tobin and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he had to say:
1. What is your favorite album?
Tobin Sprout: I don’t have one.
2. What is your least favorite song?
“Send In The Clowns.” Makes me want to rip my skin off.
3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?
Playing live and recording.
4. What do you hate about being in a band?
The driving mostly, but I’ve learned to relax and enjoy the time.
5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?
Beer, Miller Lite but I’m starting to change to Amstel Light, but it can be skunked sometimes. Also like Leinenkugel Summer Shandy. Good beer when cutting the grass.
6. In what city or town do you love to perform?
We’ve had all great shows on this tour. Brillobox in Pittsburgh comes to mind. Real small club but packed. Johnny Brenda’s in Philly. Great stage, crowd. Big Room Bar in Columbus, Asheville Mothlight. So many cool clubs. Did a daytime outdoor show in Memphis that was really fun. River Series. Love The Cactus Club in Milwaukee. Across from At Random
7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?
Maybe Cincinnati, first show of the tour. Low turnout but thought it was a good show.
8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?
At times; make my living through art, too. Between the two I do pretty good. Been self employed from about the early ’80s. So it took to my early 30’s to make a living with art and music.
9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?
Stand up comedy maybe, Although I think my wife Laura would be better at it than me.
10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?
Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins. Liked watching that show way back when.
Tobin Sprout plays with Elf Power Friday, July 21, at Reverb Lounge, 6212 Military Ave. Tickets are $13 Adv./$15 DOS. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com