Interview – Doug Gillard, Part I

He’s In Two Bands, He’s Popular

Doug Gillard, modern guitar legend, to play Saturn twice this fall.



By Andy Harris

lsjiduYou don’t have to look or listen too hard to find the sound of this man’s guitar. Perhaps you’ve heard it on an episode of Scrubs. Or maybe you’ve heard it on video games such as NCAA Football 06. Certainly you’ve heard it on quite a few recordings from Guided By Voices, Cobra Verde, Death of Samantha, numerous Robert Pollard side projects, and even on his solo albums where he plays under the name Doug Gillard. That’s right. His name is Doug Gillard and he is a modern guitar legend.

Gillard currently plays lead in two bands, Nada Surf and Guided By Voices (GBV from now on), that will be appearing at Saturn in October and November. New releases are out by both bands, with more on the way soon. We skyped in with Doug on a beautiful Monday afternoon. Here’s part one of our interview. Part two will come out leading up to the GBV show:

Doug Gillard: Hello?

Andy Harris: Hey Doug. It’s Andy.

DG: Hey, how’s it going Andy?

AH: Alright, man. How about yourself?

DG: Good.

AH: Cool. Well thanks for taking my call. I appreciate your time.

DG: Yeah. Sure thing.

AH: So what’s been going on this weekend? Guided By Voices played in Iowa, correct?

DG: Yeah we did.

AH: At the Garp Fest. How was that?

DG: Mmm hmm. It was pretty cool. We just went up for that one show. We had just gotten back from a tour a few days before that, and we were home for a couple of days. We did a big long West Coast tour which took us through some of the Midwest as well. It was really good. Really successful I thought.

AH: Alright. I’ve got some questions from our local Birmingham listeners that have been sent in just for you, Doug Gillard.

DG: OK, great.

AH: Number one. Breely from Birmingham wants to know, Doug Gillard, what is your favorite color?

DG: I don’t know if I have a favorite color. I wear a lot of navy blue for some reason, so I guess you could say that.

AH: You’re playing in Birmingham twice this fall. Gene from Birmingham wants to know, after either the Nada Surf or Guided By Voices show, would you be willing to “Meet, meet me in the ladies room?”

DG: Oh really? Gene? Is that probably spelled G-E-N-E?

AH: Well…as a matter of fact, that is correct! That is how it’s spelled.

DG: Well, if it’s a guy named Gene, I probably won’t be meeting him after the show. But that’s a neat question from that person. I’m a KISS fan. Early KISS. I love early KISS.

AH: Indeed.

DG: It’ll be neat to see Brian’s (Teasley of Saturn) new club. I haven’t been in there.

AH: Yeah. It’s a pretty awesome place. And they’ve been bringing in a lot of bands that might normally have skipped over Birmingham. Maybe they would play Nashville and Atlanta and skip us in-between. But that is much less of a case now.

DG: Well I have a feeling a lot of bands came to know the Bottletree as a great place to stop and play. I’ve been there a couple of different times. Once with Nada Surf and once when I was touring with Richard Buckner as his guitarist. I ran into Brian last year some time at an outdoor radio festival thing in Cleveland, and he was showing me pictures of what was going to be Saturn. I thought it was pretty cool.

AH: It’s definitely been a great thing to have. Great venue, great sound.

DG: Well that’s great to know.

AH: And filling a necessary gap in town. Getting a lot of acts in a room that size that, like I said, normally wouldn’t have come here.

DG: Great.

AH: Alright. Let’s move on to some more rapid fire questions. Doug Gillard, what’s your favorite planet?

DG: Planet Score.

AH: Planet Score. Good one. Man, you’re on point. Foreign language that you’re most proficient in?

DG: Pig Latin.

AH: Pig Latin! Coffee or tea?

DG: Coffee, but I love a good tea.

AH: And finally, Doug Gillard, what was the name of your first childhood pet?

DG: Stubby.

AH: Stubby! What was Stubby?

DG: Haha, yea. Stubby. He had a stub tail, so we named him Stubby. Well, he was the first real pet I had. I was born into a family that already had a Pekingese named Bimbo and my dad kept him outside in the Ohio winters. I don’t think you’re supposed to do that. But, I count Stubby because he was the first pet that I acquired when I was a kid.

AH: Stubby. Good dog name. Good name. I had a Chappy and, while he didn’t have a stub tail, he only had three legs.

DG: Chappy. I like that.

AH: Very cool. Well thanks for your time, Doug. You got any parting shots for the Birmingham crowd?

DG: I would like to say please come out and see Nada Surf and GBV. We’re both playing at Saturn, really?

AH: Yes, indeed. Both at Saturn.

DG: Well, that’s cool. I haven’t looked far ahead enough to know. I thought it was just GBV. Turns out it’s Nada Surf as well. That’s cool. So come see GBV and Nada Surf. You’ll get a good show!

AH: I’m certainly looking forward to it. I’ll be at both shows for sure.

DG: Alright, Andy. Thanks.

AH: Cool, man. Well have a good one, Doug. Thanks for talking to me.

DG: Thanks for calling. Take care.

AH: Bye bye.


Nada Surf plays Saturn on October 1st

Doors 8pm / Showtime 9pm / $18 in advance / $22 day of

Amber Arcades opens

Guided By Voices plays Saturn on November 7th

7pm / 8pm / $26.50 / $28

Surfer Blood opens