Chronicling the creative process for Pop Zeus, the forthcoming Guided By Voices/Bob Pollard tribute comic- including sketches, concepts, finished art and whatever else is in my brain at the moment.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pop Zeus MVPs Revealed! #4- Doug Gillard

Some may think I am crazy having two axe-men in my dream Guided By Voices lineup. But when you got yr Tobin Sprout and yr Doug Gillard, why choose when you can have both! And like Tobey, Doug is not only a brilliant lead guitarist but he is also a staggeringly talented songwriter, collaborator and producer.

There aren't enough hours in the day to explain how much Doug Gillard's inclusion in the GBV jambalaya contributed to the band. Doug made his GBV debut on slowed-down guitar for 1995's Mice Feel Nice (a tape he sent Bob, if I remember right), but he didn't officially join the band until 1997 as a member of the stripped down, revamped "Guided By Cobra Verde". And right out of the box, Doug brought along the Gem (previous band with Tim and Todd Tobias) tune I Am A Tree that the band reworked and recorded as an instant classic for 1997's Mag Earwhig. The song is breathtaking- 3 unreal face-melting guitar hooks in the same songs, more than some bands have in their entire output. And that was just the beginning of a stellar run as lead guitarist for GBV, from 1997 to the very last show on New Year's Eve 2004.

And along the way, Doug collaborated with Bob on several amazing side projects. The first was the pop rock classic Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department, home of the song Pop Zeus (not to be confused with some funny book of the same name). Bob wrote the songs, Doug played everything and produced it. The album was so good, Bob has gone on record saying he regrets not releasing it as a proper GBV record. And the second collaboration was 2003's Lifeguards record "Mist King Urth"- equally great but quite a lot stranger. It contains the kick ass prog rock stylings of Starts At The River, Society Dome and Surgeon Is Complete to name a few.

And since the demise of Guided By Voices, Doug has cranked out a fucking awesome solo record called Salamander. Doug's power as a musician and songwriter seems to know no bounds. And Salamander is the proof. Go check out Doug's website for more info on his post and pre GBV musical life including his recent tour supporting Richard Buckner.

I am proud to include Doug Gillard into the Pop Zeus MVP pantheon. It is difficult to think of anyone more worthy. Rock on, Doug!

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