Doug Gillard’s formidable body of recordings is as impressive as it is voluminous, encompassing his work as a key member of such notable combos as Guided by Voices, Death of Samantha, Cobra Verde, Gem and Nada Surf, as well as an array of notable collaborations with the likes of Richard Buckner, My Dad Is Dead, Yuji Oniki, Bill Fox, The Mice, Mascott and Sally Crewe & the Sudden Moves. Parade On is the Ohio-bred, New York-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist’s third official solo album.
Although he’s well established as a luminary of the American indie-rock community, Gillard’s musical sensibility is firmly rooted in the time-honored old-school virtues of catchy melodic craft, emotionally resonant lyrics and emotion-charged performances. Parade On gems like “Ready For Death,” “Angel X,” “I Shalt Not Want” and “Upper Hand” effortlessly embody the magnetic melodicism and vivid wordplay that have been constants in his work. “Wire backing Paul McCartney”, the apt shorthand that’s been used to describe Gillard’s output, is especially on-point in regards to Parade On.
Growing up in the rock ‘n’ roll hotbed of Cleveland, Gillard’s talents established him early on as a major player in his hometown’s underground rock renaissance. He first gained attention as a charter member of seminal glam-punk iconoclasts Death of Samantha. Later, he co-founded the D.O.S. spin-off Cobra Verde and simultaneously recorded and released two albums, an EP and various singles of his own compositions with his combo Gem.
In 1997, Gillard began an eight-year stint as lead guitarist and sometime songwriter with Ohio lo-fi legends Guided by Voices. During that period, he was featured on six of the band’s albums as well as various singles, EPs and side projects. By the time Guided by Voices disbanded in 2004, Gillard had already branched out as a solo artist with the acclaimed Malamute Jute EP. In 2005, he released Salamander, his first full-length album under his own name. (Technically, however, Gillard made his solo debut with the 1990 cassette release It’ll Be Such A Thrill, a collection of tunes that he home-recorded between the ages of five and nine).
Moving to New York in 2007 further intensified Gillard’s output. In addition to playing his own shows and releasing his 2009 solo album Call from Restricted, he also became a member of popular alt-rockers Nada Surf and all-star Beatles tribute combo Bambi Kino. He also composed and recorded the scores for the independent features American Cannibal and Donnybrook while continuing to record with Guided by Voices frontman Bob Pollard as the prog-rock studio duo Lifeguards. Recently, he reunited with the original Death of Samantha lineup for a series of reunion shows and the live-in-the-studio album If Memory Serves Us Well.
His prestigious resume aside, the eleven effortlessly engaging tunes that comprise Parade On rank with the most compelling music that Gillard’s ever created. The album was recorded in New York City and Austin, TX, with Gillard playing every instrument except drums. Drumming duties were shared by George Duron (Roky Erickson, Jon Dee Graham) and Travis Harrison (Unsacred Hearts, Taxi Taxi). Harrison also engineered the New York sessions, while Louie Lino (Nada Surf, Matt Pond) was behind the board for the Austin recordings. The resulting album once again marks Doug Gillard as a creative force of the first order.