Doug Gillard is officially back in Guided By Voices, and he and Robert Pollard have already started a new side project. It’s called ESP Ohio, featuring current GBV bassist Mark Shue and drummer Travis Harrison, founder of Serious Business Records and member of The Homosexuals and Double Dong.
The A.V. Club reported on guitarist Gillard—who wrote “I Am A Tree” from the album Mag Earwhig!— returning for what was believed to be a one-off gig in Ohio earlier this month. GBV boss man Pollard fired guitarist Nick Mitchell earlier that week, and brought back Gillard, who played with the band from 1997 up until the Electrifying Conclusion tour in 2004. Pollard and the gang threw up the rock signal and Gillard flew in from Brooklyn just in time for sound check in Cincinnati, learning a set that included “Baby Grace,” which Gillard had recorded but never played live.
On the agenda this year is a new GBV record this September featuring Pollard, Gillard, Shue, guitarist Bobby Bare, Jr., and drummer Kevin March, also from the mid-’00s GBV lineup. A pair of singles from The ESP Ohio are due out later this fall on Rockathon Records, the first of which, “Royal Cyclopean,” is now streaming on Soundcloud. The new tune features “maximum riffage” from Gillard, regal horns befitting a royal Cyclopean, and those mysterious Pollard lyrics the kids love.
“Royal Cyclopean” will hit store shelves on October 21, while Guided By Voices will kick off their new tour August 13, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gillard will remain as a full member of his other band, Nada Surf, although according to the band’s Facebook page he “will have to miss a handful of our summer/fall shows. we’ll play those nights as a trio (our vintage selves!) and will make them special.”