Doug Gillard
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Doug Gillard

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Pop


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" " year's best alt rock CDs""

Best Alternative Rock CDs of 2004 #8 pick
Doug Gillard
Label: Pink Frost

Cleveland's Doug Gillard has been a rock band puzzle piece since the
1980s. He co-starred as the obscure sideman in bands Death of Samantha
and Cobra Verde and, for the last eight years, has served as Robert
Pollard's right-hand-axe-man (and writer of the acclaimed "I Am a
Tree") in Guided By Voices. As GBV calls it quits, Gillard finally
takes a crack at manning the whole puzzle with his solo debut, a hook-
bejeweled passage into three decades (sixties through eighties) of pop-
influenced songwriting and allusions to the Zombies, the Kinks, Nick
Drake, Dwight Twilley, the dB's and Urge Overkill. Promoting a
variation from Pollard's spit-shined power-pop for a more pensive
display, the gifted Gillard plays all instruments (guitar, bass,
drums, piano and percussion) save for drummer Jon Wurster's
(Superchunk) three-song accompaniment, and his unrefined self-
production juxtaposes his own complex guitar solos and piano breaks
with the record's melodically gorgeous tone. --Scott Holter

"San Fransisco Bay Guardian CD Review"

By Kimberly Chun

Doug Gillard
Salamander (Pink Frost)
Think of Guided by Voices lead guitarist Doug Gillard's solo debut,
Salamander, as a Cleveland rock Sideways. Unpretentious, human,
verging-on-middle-aged side-guy soul, with a healthy pour of heart.
There's even a sorta-schmaltzy image of a wine bottle on the cover.
But open it up, and you¹ll find that it¹s a mature not musty, tasty
not tacky, lean not lame, keeping-it-real bouquet of sensitive
midtempo rock flavors " you know, the stuff of not-so-svelte, Rogaine-
free manly feeling that GBV once secretly specialized in. Oh yeah, and
it's good, really good.
Salamander's first three tracks sum up the differences between the
former Cobra Verde and Death of Samantha guitarist's newly uncorked
vintage indie and GBV's now-flattened Bud. The opening song " a breezy
ditty titled "Valpolicella" (not "Pinot Noir"; the Sideways comparison
only goes so far) " is an effortless and enjoyable sip of pop,
perfectly complemented by the lumbering crunch of the bandmate-loyalty
love song "Wait for You." Then Gillard seals the rock-solid fate of
Salamander with the coulda-been-GBV ballad "Going Back (to You)." That
song has all the spare melodicism Gillard brought to GBV, though none
of Robert Pollard's lyrical twists. Sure, words are the weakest links
here, and Gillard tends to prefer the comfort of closure when it comes
to writing his own songs, in contrast to GBV's more haywire
tendencies, but who¹s complaining when the guitarist captures an
emotional turning point so exquisitely, with so little. Though
ethereal solo-Beatles-ish songs like "Momma" are startlingly touching,
and reminiscent of songs off Gillard¹s Malamute Jute EP (Cushion,
1999), the rocky tunes stand out " including the martial "Symbols,
Signs," the clangy 60s girl-group pop "(But) I See Something," and
the lovably lunkish "Give Me Something," which finds Gillard sounding
like he¹s taking a page on playing dumb from Our Bad Girl of Oberlin
Liz Phair¹s book. In all, Salamander adds up to an insinuatingly
addictive recording " a quaffable, classico take on GBV's tipsier
moments of indie rock-o. (Chun) - San Francisco Bay Guardian

"Harp Magazine - Salamander"

Salamander (Pink Frost)
To any honest Guided By Voices fan, Doug Gillard was the real reason
why the band ever flirted with mainstream success. The lone GBV member
with real chops, Gillard made Robert Pollard's bedroom anthems seem
like plausible arena-rock. But Salamander, Gillard's solo debut,
surprises not just because Gillard plays all the instruments- and does
it well- but because his songwriting is as sharp. Gillard always had
an unorthodox sense of structure in Cobra Verde and GBV, something
like a classical rock Frank Black, full of unexpected left-turns that
made for an eminently rewarding listen. From the T-Rex chug of "Going
Back (To You)," to the brilliant Bacharach knockoff in "(But) I See
Something," Salamander easily stands as one of the best guitar albums
of the year. Gillard has not only come out from Pollard's shadow with
Salamander, he's created one of his own.

Matthew Lurie
- Harp Magazine

"Splendid Zine review"

SPLENDID > REVIEWS > 10/14/2004
Doug Gillard
Pink Frost
Format Reviewed: CD
Soundclip: "Valpolicella"

When people tell us "Don't quit your day job," it's usually because we
suck at the avocation at hand -- or because the person doing the
telling is secretly jealous of our abilities and wants to spoil our
hopes. Neither option applies in Doug Gillard's case. Although his
solo debut is a gorgeous pop excursion, his day job as Guided by
Voices' resident guitar wizard is, for the time being, a more
lucrative outing. People tend to overlook the fact that Gillard wrote
all-time GBV favorite "I am a Tree" and co-penned the oft
requested "Pop Zeus" and "Do Something Real" -- so in a sane world,
his pop songwriting chops would never come into question
Wisely, Gillard has chosen a different trajectory for Salamander than
he followed as a member of GBV or even during his days with Cobra
Verde and Death of Samantha. He mostly eschews atom-bomb riffs and a
glamtastic sneer in favor of classic Kinks-style pop, adorned with
winning melodies and simple guitar tacets. There are strains of latter-
day GBV throughout the disc, but that's only natural given Gillard's
increased role in the indie legends' recent output. While it's not
exactly fair to judge him or his work against his previous work, it's
going to happen, and thankfully, tracks like "Valpolicella" and "Give
Me Something" hold up well against anything in his vast and variety
canon. In terms of stylish grace and off-the-cuff cool, they actually
surpass a lot of it.
Gillard's days as a sideman are quickly coming to an end, but it's
evident from Salamander's tone and sophistication that he's ready for
a spotlight of his very own.-- Jason Jackowiak - Splendid Zine

"Larry Crane, Tape Op"

Jan/Feb 05

Doug Gillard
Doug, the cool-as-shit guitarist for Guided By Voices, unleashes a
solo records as GBV bids farewell. Recorded at Waterloo Sound in Kent,
Ohio, with Scott Bennett and the crew, this CD showcases Gillard to be
much more than a guitarist (no news for fans of Gem, Cobra Verde or
Death of Samantha). Some amazingly strong pop tunes, with hints of The
Wipers, Television (excellent guitar work) and more poking through.
Doug played almost all the instruments, with Jon Wurster of Superchunk
drumming on three tunes (
<> ) - LC [Larry Crane - Tape Op

"Delusions Of Adequacy review"


Doug Gillard
Pink Frost Records

File Under: Solo projects by overlooked members of iconic bands
RILY: The Thorns, Tom Petty, Mathew Sweet, Post-Replacements Westerberg
See Also: By Doug Gillard: Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire
Department (Fading Captain Series, #4)
Out of the blathering ashes of Guided By Voices' largely disappointing
farewell tour comes the suddenly bandless guitarist Doug Gillard,
playing nearly all his own instruments, writing his own songs, and
churning out Salamander, a sly and slippery bit of accomplished pop.
Of course, we have only good things to expect from Gillard, whose
guitar work did much keep GBV relevant all these years. What no one
could justifiably expect, though, is just how sweetly melodic
Salamander actually is.

Deftly swinging a voice around that¹s one part Tom Petty, one part low-
voiced Mathew Sweet, Gillard¹s tunes - most notably, "Valpolicella" -
are built around melodies as strong as they are infectious. The fun
here, especially in "The Wind & Me," is the fun of song itself. Nearly
devoid of splintered guitar licks and warbled cries of reverb,
Salamander prefers to bask in the sunny light of vocal harmony. Even
the mildly distorted thrump of "Give Me Something" and its anthemic
invocation of "Give me something that is true" succeeds more as sugary
falsetto strung over Gillard¹s guitar work.

Gillard¹s melodic sensibility falters on Salamander¹s dirges, "Momma"
and "Blockout." While one can sense solid songs ekeing their way out
behind Gillard¹s bare acoustic strums, these tracks are held back by
Gillard¹s vocal accents, which vacillate between being vaguely and
comically British.

Harmony, at least in the music industry, seems to be back in full
force. Recently, The Thrills, Rouge Wave, and countless others have
been harvesting the fertile ground of the layered vocal harmonies of
the 60s and 70s. Gillard¹s 14-track debut, which may have guitar
melodies as strong as its vocal melodies, seems to prove that the
resurgence of harmony as the crucial center of pop songwriting is a
renaissance worth heralding. Many of Salamander¹s tunes are sure to
last beyond this year¹s chic-sugar revival.-- Ryan McCarthy
- Ryan McCarthy

"Swizzle Stick review- Neal Agneta"


Doug Gillard
Pink Frost/Bog Takeover Records

First impression
Yes, Virginia, there is life after Guided By Voices, and it doesn¹t
just begin and end with Robert Pollard.

Where you¹re likely to hear this CD
college radio

Song you should pick to play on the jukebox
"Valpolicella", "Going Back (To You)"

Drinking Partners
Jason Falkner, The Church, and of course, Guided By Voices

The Morning After
At the end of the day Doug Gillard may ultimately be regarded as
Robert Pollard¹s main hired gun, brought into the Guided By Voices
fold after the dissolution of the "classic" Sprout/Mitchell/Demos, et
al lineup in the band¹s mid to late Œ90s heyday. Few outside the cult
of GBV¹s most devoted hanger-oners, recognize that Gillard¹s pre-GBV
collaborations parallel the depth and breadth of Pollard himself.
True, the Voices may have "broken" Gillard to a national audience, but
his roots had long been ensconced deep in the fertile soil of ¹80s
Ohio indie-rock, namely with Homestead Records favorites, Death of
Samantha. Following that band¹s prolific run, Gillard enjoyed a tenure
with the decidedly angular Cobra Verde, and later fronted his own off-
kilterish power pop aggregation, Gem throughout the mid Œ90s right up
to 2001. Gem¹s 1995 debut LP Hexed, ushered in a new era of melodic
sensibilities and wryly measured songcraft that would eventually
become Gillard¹s present calling card. In fact, 1999 saw his first
wide-scale solo release, the excellent Malamute Jute EP, a makeshift
appetizer for the current Salamander that demonstrated just how
developed his hook-driven prowess had become.
Despite all the years hanging along side Robert Pollard (resulting in
some six extremely consistent GBV albums), Doug Gillard never
completely embraced Bob¹s fragmentary, mid-fi aesthetic, but the finer
nuances he endowed in GBV are fully realized here, and the vision is
purely his own. Salamander kicks off with the barely
pronounceable "Valpolicella," a brilliant strum and jangle stunner
that¹s on par with Todd Rundgren¹s equally hooky,
unpronounceable "Lysistrata." Then there¹s "Going Back (To You),"
another right and tight jewel that fits like a glove here, but would
have surely been deemed to conventional for a GBV album. "Me & the
Wind," and "Symbols, Signs" would have made the last Gem album,
Sunglare Serenades all the more likeable, the taught "Give Me
Something" points precisely to Gillard¹s more vigorous, stop-on-adime
GBV ax-workouts, while the relatively raucous "Drip-Nose Boy," is
clearly indicative that he retains a firm indie-rawk footing. Amidst
all the aforementioned grandeur, there¹s still another eight gold
nuggets here that I don¹t have the space to extol on, but let¹s just
say this may be one of those rare albums that produces a new personal
favorite on each subsequent listen. Perhaps more importantly, now that
Guided By Voices is in the sunset of their run, we¹ll ostensibly have
more than just Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout albums to look forward
to in the coming years. (Neal Agneta) - swizzle Stick

"Lost At Sea -Peter Lindblad"


Doug Gillard
Pink Frost Records

Rating: 9.5/10 ?

Soon, it'll be closing time for Guided By Voices. Last call is a New
Year's Eve show in Chicago that promises to be the indie rock social
event of the season, if not the decade. Afterward, Robert Pollard will
turn off the lights on the band's 20-year career and shoo the drunks
and other assorted hangers-on into the streets to serenade the city
like soused alley cats with rambling, off-key versions of "I Am A
Scientist" and "Tractor Rape Chain."
It hardly seems possible that anything could upstage such a momentous
occasion, but wouldn¹t you know it; one of GBV¹s own has gone and done
just that. Salamander is the first solo album from guitarist Doug
Gillard, and it¹s a revelation.
Some of that old Pollard magic must have rubbed off on him, because
Gillard has crafted a classic pop record, and I don¹t use that term
lightly. The songs of Salamander are elegant and beautifully crafted,
with a bittersweet flavor that owes as much to The Lemonheads and The
Pernice Brothers as it does to George Harrison, the Beach Boys and the
bands of the British Invasion Pollard idolizes.
It's the kind of album that makes you look at someone like Gillard in
a whole new light. No longer will people see him as simply a sideman
who can play a mean guitar. His plainspoken lyrics get highly
personal, revealing a depth and character he¹s only hinted at before.
Welcome to the big leagues, Doug. Take whatever jersey number you
On the winsome opener "Valpolicella", Gillard sings, "It sure feels
good to have a moment of Divine." The whole song is a little slice of
pop heaven, from the gently swaying acoustic guitar to the sweet "La,
la, la, la, la, la, la" background vocals and the unassuming charm of
its infectious hooks. Salamander seems to feed off Gillard's
personality, adopting his sly Cheshire cat grin in the lighthearted,
buoyant pop bounce of "Me and the Wind" and the brooding intensity of
his stage presence in the balls-out, angry acoustic strum of "Symbols,
Mostly though, Gillard is preoccupied with fading memories of people
and places that have left an impression on him; his lyrics are
evidence of the kind of wisdom that only comes with age ‹ not that
he¹ll be applying for his AARP card anytime soon. Stirring up echoes
of Beck¹s Sea Change, "The Cape And The Bay", with its ocean spray
melody and rich acoustic sweep, is a wistful look back at a
relationship that fell into emotional disrepair. On a drive past that
takes him past the water, the truth comes crashing down on him and he
sings, "Right there, it dawned on me that you were blessed." And so
are we, the listeners, awed by the arpeggios Gillard plucks from his
guitar ‹ the kind that remind of Pete Townshend¹s more reflective
moods. Somehow Gillard keeps them from burying one of Salamander¹s
prettiest melodies.
Nothing, however, compares to the closer, "(but) I See Something."
Rolling piano tides and Joshua Pollack¹s vibrant, plaintive violins
play together like laughing children who don¹t have a care in the
world. And yet there¹s a hint of regret in the music that makes you
wince ever so gently, as if you¹ve just remembered something you did
that caused someone else pain.
More folk-oriented than what you'd expect from someone whose solid-as-
bedrock electric guitar crunch injected some life into GBV in the
band's later years, Salamander offers up lithe, expressive acoustic
textures and soft beds of strings, tastefully arranged by Pollack, on
the ballads "Momma" and "Present." The songs are tender odes to women
who've touched his life over the years. Caught in the longing undertow
of "Present" are these lovely, humble words: "Frequent is the day/
I'll turn to her and say: Thank you for the years/ Your presence is
still felt in here." Anybody need a hanky?
After wiping away the tears, Gillard turns up his amps on the driving
anthem "Fate, Say It Again" and the sneering "Drip-Nose Boy", biting
guitar salvos that show that when Gillard wants to rock, he still
means business. His solos are masterful exercises in restraint. He
nestles them in the song instead of parading them about to stroke his
ego and that speaks to just how good he¹s become at making music
that¹s so fully realized, you wouldn¹t want to change a note. That he
plays all the instruments on Salamander, except for Pollack¹s strings
and the three songs where Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster (also of Jay
Farrar and Marah) plays on, makes you appreciate Gillard all the more.
Salamander¹s brilliance shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who
knows anything about Gillard's past. He's paid his dues, with
interest. Long before joining Pollard's merry band of drunken rock n'
roll misfits, Gillard was cranking out powerhouse guitar riffs for
Cleveland's Death Of Samantha, the 80's precursor to Cobra Verde.
Later, as part of Gem, he recorded "I Am A Tree", the best song by far
on the somewhat weak ‹ my opinion, for what it's worth ‹ GBV record
Mag Earwhig!.
Who knew back then that Gillard would have us basking in the glow of
one of the warmest, most endearing pop records in recent memory?
Salamander is music for that old man sitting in a rocking chair on his
porch, reflecting on a life filled with sorrow and joy. As it all
comes flooding back, he can¹t help but be amazed at how it all
unfolded, not in any preordained way but in a random series of events
that, by some twist of fate, worked out just as they were supposed to.
And there¹s somethingŠ wellŠ perfect about that, no matter how many
times you¹ve screwed up. I¹m not sure that makes any sense, but I
think you get the idea. Gillard still has a lot of living to do and
with any luck he¹ll be making records like this for a long, long time.
And that¹s the kind of hope I cling to.
Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
- lost at sea

"Magnet Magazine - Jud Cost"


Doug Gillard
After two decades of hiding his lustrous guitar work behind the names
of various Ohio combos ranging from Death of Samantha and Cobra Verde
to Guided By Voices and several Robert Pollard solo projects, Doug
Gillard has finally decided to stand up and be recognized. It's no
surprise that Gillard, who plays almost all the instruments on his
solo debut, can do thrilling indie-pop jangle like falling off a
log. "Valpolicella" and "Wait For You" resonate as heartily as
anything by Tommy Keene or early Velvet Crush. What's especially
appealing on Salamander, however, is Gillard's flexible voice, a
limited tool he wields most effectively. (Gillard has previous
experience behind the mic in Gem, his mid-'90s band.) In a startling
bit of quick-change artistry worthy of a chameleon on a paisley
shirt, "Momma" finds him mutating from the head-in-the-gas-oven
desperation of Ray Davies to the two-pack-a-day wheeze of the other
half of the Kinks' brother act, Dave Davies. Of course, it's an easily
virtuosic guitar and his Nick Drake-like way with a tune that should
help pay Gillard's room and board in his post-GBV career. (Pink
Frost/Big Takeover,
<> ) - Jud Cost
- Magnet Mag

"Cleveland Scene"


Doug Gillard
Salamander (Pink Frost)

Pink Frost is a brand new imprint co-run by Jack Rabid, publisher and
editor of America's finest alternative music magazine, The Big
Takeover. As Rabid has probably been Guided by Voices' biggest fan in
the national media over the past decade, it's no surprise that he's
behind GBV guitarist Doug Gillard's solo debut. If there is a surprise
on this record, it's that Salamander is quite a departure from the
manic British Invasion-fueled power pop of GBV. Gillard instead opts
for a more introspective, orchestrated affair that rekindles the
ghosts of such baroque-pop legends as the Zombies and the Left Banke,
as well as bringing to mind the excellent works of modern fellow
travelers such as Eric Matthews and Brent Arnold and the Spheres. In
addition to being a first-rate vocalist -- the melodies here are often
spellbinding -- Gillard is quite the multi-instrumentalist, playing
virtually everything on this album, including guitar, drums, bass,
piano, and percussion. Guided by Voices is now in the middle of its
farewell tour, but here's to new beginnings. Salamander is a hell of a
start. -


As Doug Gillard:
"Please Please Please" single written with Kendall Meade of the band Mascott, 2010
Call From Restricted, 2009, 347 Records
Salamander lp, 2005, Pink Frost
Malamute Jute ep, 1999, Cushion

"Symbols, Signs" video, iFilm
Audio Eagle Records Compilation, Fall, 2007.
Track: For What I've Done.
Musicians For Minneapolis Bridge Fund Compilation Fall 2007. Track: Call From Restricted
2008 - Production, guitar, upcoming lp, The Oranges Band
2008 - Guitar/vox on 2008 LP by The Hold Steady

4 songs, incl. "I Am A Tree", streaming, on

Member of/ Appears on the LPs:
Lifeguards - Waving At The Astronauts (2011)
Bambi Kino - Bambi Kino (2011)
Nada Surf - IfIhadaHiFi
The Hold Steady - Think Positive
Meadow - Richard Buckner
Mag Earwhig - Guided By Voices
I Am A Tree EP - Guided By Voices
Do The Collapse - Guided By Voices
Isolation Drills - Guided by Voices
Earthquake Glue -Guided By Voices
Universal Truths..- Guided By Voices
Half Smiles of the.. Guided By Voices
Human Amuse.. (best of) Guided By Voices
Austin City Limits DVD/LP - Guided By Voices
Nightlife - Cobra Verde
Viva La Muerte - Cobra Verde
Egomania - Cobra Verde
Hexed - Gem
Sunglare Serenades - Gem
Strungout on Jargon - Death Of Samantha
Where the Women .. - Death Of Samantha
Come All Ye Faithless - Death Of Samantha
Chopping Down the ..... - My Dad Is Dead
Scooter - The Mice
and more ...........



NYC based indie-rock songwriter and guitarist Doug Gillard was lead axist for Guided By Voices, Nada Surf, Bambi Kino, Richard Buckner, Cobra Verde, and many others. Doug composed the song "I Am A Tree", (Mag Earwhig, Guided By Voices 1997, Cleveland band Gem, 1995) which was used as the title of a 2006/7 episode of TV's "Grey's Anatomy". Gillard was in Guided By Voices from 1996 until the end of the band in 2005.
Robert Pollard and Doug Gillard released the 1999 LP "Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department", and have collaborated on 2 other projects under the moniker "Lifeguards".

He's been a solo artist since 1999, with the LP "Salamander" and the EP "Malamute Jute". A member of the late Guided By Voices for 9 years, Doug also recorded on the latest lp "ifihadahifi" by Nada Surf, and tours with them as a guitarist. In 2006, recorded on the LP "Meadow" by Richard Buckner, and toured as Buckner's guitarist. Gillard recently composed the music for the film documentary "American Cannibal", which had its controversial premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Other films scored include "Donnybrook" and the upcoming "101 Salvations".
2010/2011 also sees Gillard reuniting with Robert Pollard for the second Lifeguards album, to be released in Feb 2011.

In 2010, Doug joins the band Bambi Kino with nada Surf's Ira Elliott, Cat Power's Erik Paparazzi, and Maplewood's Mark Rozzo.
Also currently producing an LP for the Austin pop band The Zest Of Yore, and Baltimore's The Oranges Band.
2008 - Guest Guitar and Vocals on the new Hold Steady lp "Stay Positive".

2009 "Call From Restricted" LP is released on 347 Records.
2010 - ifihadahifi by Nada Surf is released
- Bambi Kino plays 4 nights at the Indra in Hamburg to celebrate Beatles first gigs.
- Gillard backs comedian Dave Hill for "This American Life" Christmas Special.

- Doug Gillard Electric will open for Doug's ex-longtime band, Guided By Voices, New Year's Eve at Irving Plaza, NYC.

Link to the Video for "Symbols, Signs"