Guided By Voices' Guitarist A Man Of Many Bands

Doug Gillard keeps a positive focus on recording with GBV.

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."

Gillard added

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.

"I'm

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

a.m. PST]