Walk With GBV Expat Tobin Sprout ‘Across the Human Bridge’
In Physical Education, we ask musicians to divulge their earliest, latest and most meaningful encounters with physical media. Today's vinyl fantasies are courtesy of former Guided by Voices guitarist Tobin Sprout. While the Dayton, Oh., legends are prolific enough to make Prince look like Tool, Sprout is unveiling just his first album in the last seven years, The Universe and Me, via Burger Records, on January 27. Making excellent use of what the press release calls his "trembling, boyish voice," and conjuring both psych-era Beatles and Daniel Johnston, this Universe — alongside CLRVYNT — has your back in the form of exclusive first single "A Walk Across the Human Bridge."
What’s your parents’ favorite album?
My dad was a big band guy, but I would have to say Roger Miller's greatest hits. "King of the Road" was his favorite song. My mom really likes Andy Williams. So, [Andy Williams' Greatest Hits].
What was the first record you bought?
The first record I ever bought was the Beatles "My Bonnie" b/w "When the Saints Go Marching In." I found it in a 45 rack in a drugstore in Oakwood (outside of Dayton) where I grew up.
What record has your favorite art and/or packaging?
One would be the English Parlophone release of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour. It's two 45 rpm, packaged in a kind of book. Pockets on the ends and booklet inside. Lots to read and look at while listening.
What’s your preferred method and setting to listen to music?
Best is alone in the car, driving at night. It can be as loud as you want, no distractions. Can play a song over and over if I want. Also on headphones in my studio; it has the best sound.
What’s a record that not enough people own? That too many people own?
Bobby Darin, If I Were a Carpenter, Mono LP/ Atlantic. It has a really nice pressing of the song, clearer than other copies that I have. It also has a lot of other Tim Hardin songs, and a couple John Sebastian songs on it.
What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a record?
I don't think I've spent more than $50 on a record. I got the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour that I mentioned on eBay for $35. A pretty good price. I've seen a lot of albums I would like. The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators is going for something in the hundreds, but I can't bring myself to spend that kind of money right now.
How do you organize your records?
I use to put them in alphabetical order, but for the last 10 years or so, I just kind of just know where everything is — or at least which stack it might be in.
What’s your latest acquisition?
I started collecting music scores from movie I like. Just got a couple of Ron Goodwin, 633 Squadron and the soundtrack from Battle of Britain.