From The Desk Of Doug Gillard: We Had Bulldog Skin

Doug Gillard is known (rightly so) for his guitar wizardry in bands such as Guided By Voices, Cobra Verde, Death Of Samantha and, for the last few years, Nada Surf, but that notoriety sometimes overshadows the fact that he’s an accomplished solo singer/songwriter. With his third LP, Parade On (Nine Mile), Gillard continues to show off his virtuosity—solos like the one on “On Target” are just ridiculous—as well as his knack for catchy, folk-inflected power pop. Gillard will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him. To see more photos corresponding to these entries, go here

Gillard: The Guided By Voices 1997 tour for Mag Earwhig! took us through the whole of the U.S. Earlier that year, we had filmed the video for “Bulldog Skin” at the Phantasy Nightclub in Cleveland, and it was about to be premiered on MTV’s 120 Minutes. Dave Doughman from Swearing At Motorists was our sound man that tour, and very much part of our traveling gang.

The night it was scheduled to air, we were between cities on drive days in the Dakotas, and stopped in Bismarck, N.D. The Comfort Inn we were at had limited-to-no cable TV, and didn’t receive MTV at all, so we had to improvise if we wanted to see this thing air.

The desk clerk recommends a huge sports bar across the street, so after dinner (Pizza Hut, I think. Dave Swanson dubbed us “Hut Freaks” that tour) we mosey over to the sports bar, and get some beers. The place had umpteen screens going. We tell them we are a band (because there was no way to tell by looking at us) and we have a video premiering in about 20 minutes.

“Do you have a screen you can turn to MTV?”

“Emm Tee Vee?” they shout back, sounding like the Pace salsa ad. “I reckon we could turn off that soccer geeme, noo one’s watchin’ it. Hey Merle, is …(unintelligible)? Okee. Yah, we sure can, yoobetcha.”

The locals and regulars look at us sideways, and I think one guy even did a Bob Seger in “Turn The Page” regarding our Don Depew, who had hair past his shoulders.

Anyway, comes time for the video and we’re the only ones looking at the screen. Eventually the whole bar turns to the screen as well. “Hey that really is you guys!” As if the seven of us busted in just to tell a sports bar we were going to be on MTV. After the video airs and Matt Pinfield returns to the screen, a few locals gather ’round to buy us beers.