At this time of year, many people pen New Year's resolutions, pledging to
take it easy and relax a little in 1998.
Not Doug Gillard.
Gillard will be a busy man for most of next year. He is the lone member of
the Mag Earwhig!-era Guided By Voices lineup who will continue to
play with leader Bob Pollard in the coming year. And
Gillard has plans to play in two other bands over the coming months,
splitting time between his own group, Gem, and Cobra Verde, whose members
last worked backing up Pollard.
For now, the 31-year-old guitarist's priority
will be the new GBV album. "I'll do what I can with Cobra and GEM,
but GBV will probably be a
time-consuming involvement," he explained on the phone from Cleveland recently.
After a messy dissolving of the Earwhig! crew, which consisted of
the entire Cleveland-band Cobra Verde (Gillard and John Petkovic on guitars,
Don Depew on bass, and Dave Swanson on drums), Pollard quickly assembled a
new crew, calling on ex-Breeders drummer Jim McPherson and fellow Dayton,
Ohio, resident and GBV alumnus, Greg Demos. Pollard's decision to ask
Gillard to continue with GBV was a surprise to many, including some members
of Cobra Verde. The group had first learned that Pollard planned to stop working with
them by reading a story in Addicted To Noise.
This subsequently caused a rift between Cobra Verde and Pollard, and the
cancellation of their final show at the Metro in Chicago. Gillard is
optimistic about the future of the latest edition of GBV. "There might be
a different dynamic with the new members [of GBV]," he
said. "Demos is one of my all-time favorite rock-bassists."
that he's excited to work with McPherson, as well, whom he first met when
Cobra Verde and McPherson's other band, the Dayton-based Real LuLu, both
opened for GBV in Indianapolis.
Still, he's realistic about playing in a band that has changed lineups
numerous times since forming in the mid-'80s. "If it's just this one record
I'm involved with, or several more, I'm OK," Gillard said. "Either way, I'm
all right being a hired-hand kind of guitarist or a collaborator. I've just
always loved Bob's music, so it's a lot of fun to play."
Gillard insisted that relations with his Cobra Verde bandmates are just fine.
still friends with John, Don and Dave," he said. "I always have been and I always
will. I'm not quitting any bands."
His 12-year musical collaboration with Petkovic, which began with the
influential Cleveland glam band Death of Samantha in 1985 and continued
with Cobra Verde, will carry on with the release of the next Cobra Verde
album, for which he is currently finishing up the guitar parts.
"Doug's involvement [with Cobra Verde] was always more a come-and-go thing
since he was doing another band [Gem] that was more his own project,"
Petkovic wrote in a recent e-mail. Gillard will continue to work with
Gem, the band he founded in 1992, and with whom he penned -- and originally
recorded -- the GBV single, "I Am a Tree."
Gillard said he and Pollard are
collaborating on a couple of songs for possible inclusion on the next GBV album.
Pollard has said that he's already written more than 20 songs. "I've sent him
three or four tunes, and we've been swapping tapes on two of
them," Gillard explained, describing the process in which he sends Pollard
music, chord patterns or a full song without lyrics, which Pollard then
completes and returns to him.
"I come up with a chord structure or music, and Bob handles the melody and
lyrics," he said. When asked what the new songs sound like, he added, "They
don't really sound like anything. One's a short, fast rock-type number; the
second is a slow, acoustic tune."
These as-yet-untitled songs may or may not make it on to the record,
however, Gillard said. "Things are always subject to change up until the
record comes out. Once we get in the studio, more songs may develop between
the two of us, I don't know." [Tues., Dec. 16, 1997, 9