What is eyesinweasel? Why not put it out as a Tobin Sprout record?
EYESINWEASEL is my band, with John Peterson on drums, Dan Toohey
on bass, and Nick Kizirnis on guitar. I wanted to do a band album
and tour. If you're playing with a band I think it should have a
band name. Plan to do a solo album next after I finish the soundtrack
for the independent film FORTUNES.
What motivated you to get back out on the road for this record
as opposed to your previous solo efforts?
When I got together with John, Dan, and Nick to record the album
it just worked so well that we had to play live. I had always wanted
Does inspiration come faster for a painting or a song? Has one
thing ever inspired both at the same time?
I go from one to the other depending on what needs to be finished
first. Otherwise it mostly has to do with what i'm in the mood for
Are you aware of the irony that you practice a style of painting
known for it's painstaking attention to detail while you also helped
launch the recent "low-fi" school of musicianship? Discuss.
I just do what I love to do, I don't give alot of thought as to
why, it would just confuse me.
List your 10 favorite album covers - 5 as an artist & 5
as a musician.
ABBEY ROAD, just a photo, simple, no need for words. TURN
TURN TURN, the Byrds, cool haircuts. RUBBER SOUL, cool
haircuts and cool wide angle lens use. THE MADCAP LAUGHS Sid
Barrett, weird haircut but cool. WHO SELL OUT, I always wondered
what it would feel like to get into a bathtub full of beans, great
haircuts too. HEY JUDE, another with just a photo. and the
best of all ELTON JOHN, Capt. Fantastic, just kidding, I
am still a little disturbed by that one, I had to have someone come
and remove it from my collection.
by Brodie Schwendiman
Whenever something connected to the Guided By Voices camp is released,
it's a must-snag for me. Whether it's Guided By Voices itself,
Robert Pollard solo, or the new incarnation of Tobin Sprout solo
music like EYESINWEASEL - the new music outfit for the eccentric
pop guru. Along with a backing band that includes Ohio lords
of overstock, Dan Toohey, John Peterson, Nick Kizirnis and John
Shough, I have become once again a member of the 'must-snag' Dayton
music fan collective.
However, I'm not content on being a simple member this time around,
but nominate myseld the freakin' campaign manager. EYESINWEASEL
is that good.
As a fan of Sprout's soft and sweets amongst the Guided By Voices
catalogue, and then again with his solo work - particularly on 'Moonflower
Plastic' and 'Carnival Boy' - I have to say that Wrinkled Thoughts
is the best material he's released.
The irony here is that everything that makes Tobin Sprout what
he is, unique vocals layered upon creamy pop gems; aren't exactly
what make Wrinkled Thoughts the tops for me.
The beauty is because this record simply rocks. It's Tobin
rocking out in a Tobin Sprout sort of way. The strong-silent-type-rocker
is what he is. Songs like 'Seven and Nine' and 'Hint #9' apply
plenty of seventies guitar riffage, and if the rocking-ness of the
record isn't enough, let's add in the use of some instruments not
common to Dayton musicianship, but indeed a seventies record trait,
like the theremin.
One thing this Sprout fan truly yearns for is to see what kind
of artwork Tobin had been doing during the making of 'Wrinkled Thoughts'
and also to find out why the heck there's a receipt for an old Auto
Wreckers' company from Aylmer, Ontario on the CD sleeve.
from swizzle stick:
Tobin Sprout memorializes first solo tour
last year, Tobin Sprout had never toured as a solo artist. Now,
those fans who werenít lucky enough to make it out to one of the
handful of gigs he did play, can at least try to re-create the scene
in their own homes with a live eyesinweasel disc which will be released
April 13. Recorded on the last date of the tour in Boston, the show
includes 27 tracks (boy it seemed like he played about 45 when we
saw him, but itís hard to keep count when they are all so short
and sweet). There are plenty of cuts from the eyesinweasel disc,
but he also goes back into his Guided By Voices days with "Awful
Bliss," and "Esterís Day" as well as ones like "The Last Man Well
Known To Kingpin" from his excellent solo debut, Carnival Boy.
University's Independent Student Newspaper:
Former GBV guitarist, Tobin Sprout, performs
As unevolved as ever, Tobin Sprout, former guitarist from the
underground legends is back. Guided by Voices (GBV) absolutely rocked
the Middle East Club in Cambridge on Saturday, Oct. 28. It was a
tour supporting his new album, "Wrinkled Thoughts."
Fittingly for the final show on the tour, Sprout and backup band
"Eyesinweasel" churned out a fast, loud and hard set late into the
night. As Richard Davies, the one-man acoustic opening act, put
it, "I am the calm before the storm." This statement was an accurate
portrayal of what was to come when Tobin Sprout took the stage.
The band hopped up onto the small platform in front of the sardine-packed
crowd, beers in hand, and said, "We've got 45 songs on this set
list, and we need to get through them." Unfortunately, the band
did not make it through the whole planned set but what was played
turned out phenomenal and sufficient. Tobin kicked off the show
with a couple of songs from his most recent album, "Let's Welcome
the Circus People," the LP which the tour was promoting. Songs like
"7 & 9," followed by, "And Then the Crowd Showed Up," whipped
the cult fans into a frenzy for what was still to follow.
Tobin played one of his most famous songs, "E's Navy Blue," next.
This alluring song's captivating opening guitar rift drew in even
the viewer farthest from the stage. As most do, Tobin quickly jumped
into the crowd favorites, namely GBV material. He began the classics
with "Atom Eyes," an underground anthem off the Guided by Voices'
1996 album, "Under the Bushes, Under the Stars." He also played
the soft yet unrefined melodies of "Awful Bliss," from "Bee Thousand,"
flanked by the short "You're Not an Airplane," on the same album.
Sprout proclaimed his amazing legacy by only playing the GBV tunes
that he had written. After those opening songs, Sprout weaved material,
old favorites and beer-inflicted chatter. Over the next few hours,
the band continued to pump out faster and louder versions of every
song as the crowd was mesmorized by his ever-peering eyes, which
pierced the smoke-filled haze and made contact with the souls of
every person in the Middle East's back room.
Eventually, every song was an old one. "King Shit and the Golden
Boys," (part of the five-album boxed set) was drawn upon several
times as the night progressed. "Scissors" and "2nd Moves to Twin"
were included, both somewhat lesser known recordings that go to
prove the cult-like following of GBV. Every person in the place
knew every word.
Toward the end of the show, and into the encore, Tobin played
several more songs off of "Bee Thousand." "Ester's Day" and "Mincer
Ray" were particularly incredible because as I closed my eyes, I
could have sworn that I was at a GBV show. The likeness was amazing
Perhaps the greatest song of the night was, "A Good Flying Bird."
This song is on "Alien Lanes" and epitomizes the spirit and tone
of Tobin Sprout's writing. Its poppy and quick overtones make it
a signature of the material that he contributed to the music of
Tobin Sprout has always been an unusual performer. He takes on
the stage persona of a poetic Jim Morrison -very still and quiet,
with little or no movement. His extreme body language and enthusiasm
, however, demonstrate both his devotion to the material and his
never-ending quest to fulfill the desires of the fans, without whom,
GBV and Tobin Sprout would not be able to exist.
- Zak Starer, Justice Staff
Guided By Voices revisited
On Wednesday, October 11, Little Brother's will host former Guided
By Voices guitarist Tobin Sprout's new band, Eyesinweasel. Tobin
is touring for the first time since Robert Pollard broke up the
quintessential GBV line-up some five years ago.
Eyesinweasel will be playing songs from its forthcoming full-length,
Wrinkled Thoughts (Luna), due out October 17. While GBV fanatics
may find minor qualms with it, the album no doubt surpasses last
year's Let's Welcome the Circus People, not to mention anything
Sprout's former band has done in his absence. Wrinkled Thoughts
leads off with Seven and Nine, which was released as a single earlier
this year. The propulsive track echoes GBV's heyday and showcases
electric playing from guitarist Nick Kizirnis, bassist Dan Toohey
and drummer John Peterson. Elsewhere, on cuts like Slow Fanges and
Hint #9, Sprout shows that Pollard wasn't the only member of GBV
capable of the masterfully oblique line. On the former he sings,
"A hundred monkey theory, an internet to the weary." Yeah, well,
what can you say?
Anyway, it's great to hear Sprout back with a full band. The record
rocks unassumingly, churning up many a great hook along the way,
while Sprout's voice liltingly flies over top. While GBV seems on
a path of fulfilling Pollard's every drunken whim, Eyesinweasel
has crafted a great record.
Eyesinweasel: Wrinkled Thoughts
Tobin Sprout was the songwriting second-banana in most of Guided
By Voices' enduringly prolific career, a role he maintained through
1997's Mag Earwig. Though frontman Bob Pollard has always personified
the band with his drunk-uncle joviality, wet Beatle kisses, and
nifty Midwestern schoolteacher back story, Sprout was his most frequent
partner in writing the verbose bursts of lightly toasted pop enigma
that define the band's near-bottomless catalogue.
Nearly identical in basic style to Pollard's own distinctive songs,
classic Sprout co-writing credits like Bee Thousand's "Hot Freaks"
and Alien Lanes' "A Salty Salute" mingled seamlessly in with the
albums' blink-and-you'll-miss-'em nuggets. Obscure to all but the
band's notoriously dedicated core fans, Sprout struck out on his
own around the time that the group's popularity started to extend
significantly beyond its cult of lo-fi fetishists, indie-pop connoisseurs,
and residents of Dayton, Ohio.
Sprout's subsequent solo work has found him gently straying from
the GBV formula in terms of the stuffed mouthfuls of cryptic lyrics
and attention-deficit song lengths. Starting with 1996's apprehensive
Carnival Boy, and through the increasingly memorable Moonflower
Plastic (1997) and comparatively somber Lets Welcome the Circus
People (1999), Sprout's confidence has grown audibly.
His new project, Eyesinweasel, reunites Sprout with early 80's
Dayton collaborators fig.4 and marks his most accomplished collection
of songs to date. Like most of his solo work, much here indirectly
recalls GBV but is far less indebted to the British Invasion principals
than Pollard. Though the ghosts of classic pop are never entirely
far, missing are his former collaborator's taste for kernels of
Who-like pomp and grandeur, resulting in material that is sonically
more modest but no less compelling.
Signing in with squealing guitar feedback, Wrinkled Thoughts bursts
into the tight, pogo-worthy power-pop burner "Seven and Nine," among
the most musically muscular tracks in Sprout's career (along with
this album's scorching "Hint #9") and certainly among the best.
From there, the tempos decrease but the songs are unfailingly smart,
direct, and evocative. On the vocally subdued yet lyrically loaded
"Marriage Incorporated," he can't resist putting twenty pounds of
syllables in a ten-pound sack GBV-style with lines like "like a
viable fetus in a union like uterus/miscarry or under go?" But like
most of the emotions conveyed across the album, the undaunted sweetness
of "There She Goes Again," among others, reveals a songwriter mining
for real sentiment and hitting pay dirt.
Wrinkled Thoughts may not radically expand Sprout's own cult of
fans, but if a recent (rare) NYC show is any indication, its songs
have struck a nerve and have rightly assumed a prime spot in the
hearts of the faithful.
from Yale Herald:
Eyesinweasel: Wrinkled Thoughts
Underground pop is the genre that keeps on giving. Ever since
the Byrds and Beatles, there's been no shortage of earnest lads
offering their own spin on the three-minute slice of guitar chime.
The '70s had Big Star, the '80s had pre-sup-erstardom R.E.M.; the
'90s had Guided by Voices (GbV), who put meticulously-crafted pop
through a lo-fi blender of sloppy recording, choppy edits, and incomprehensible
It worked. GbV didn't destroy their songs; they brought them into
focus, burning away the extraneous detritus of production to clarify
the stunning beauty of their melodies. Guitarist Tobin Sprout, meanwhile,
who left the band in 1996, has been experimenting with clean production,
most- recently as lead songwriter for Eyesinweasel.
These aren't GbV songs. They've got clearly defined verses and
choruses, logical lyrics, and they lack telltale cassette hiss.
GbV's blink-and-you'll-miss-it aesthetic is gone; with 14 tracks
spread over 36 minutes, Wrinkled Thoughts has no problems with conventional
There are some awkward moments. A little more alt-rock whine would
turn a few tracks into Foo Fighters songs, and for a moment your
heart sinks as you imagine Carson Daly waiting to snatch Sprout
away, but these are the exceptions. Most of Wrinkled Thoughts stands
squarely outside the fleeting banality of the TRL mainstream because
Eyesinweasel has tapped into a sound so archetypal it might as well
be timeless. GbV's guitar roar can be heard in some of these songs,
but so can a chiming 12-string that could be channeling the spirit
of the Byrds' Roger McGuinn; elsewhere, a shimmering faux harpsichord
could have come from an early-80s R.E.M. session. Eyesinweasel isn't
derivative, but it is aware of its history, which in today's new-new
rock world is an accomplishment in itself.
Eyesinweasel may never break the sort of ground GbV did, but that's
all right. It's done something even rarer: it's become traditionalist
without becoming "retro." As long as there's guitar, bass, and drums,
music like this will be around; as long as songwriters like Sprout
keep coming up with melodies as powerful as the wistful, swelling
chorus to "Marriage Incorporated," there'll be a reason to listen.
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