Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

By Eli Zeger

Kevin March has been a drummer with such acclaimed indie groups as the eccentric post-hardcore ensemble Shudder To Think and grungy, violin-oriented rockers The Dambuilders. He’s back again, this time with his most famed and revered band: Lo-fi rock heroes Guided By Voices. March played on their 22nd full-length Cool Planet (released on Guided By Voices, Inc.). It’s the band’s second album of 2014, following February’s Motivational Jumpsuit.

Along with GBV, March is the Creative Director at School of Rock - an after-school performance-based music academy - located in Montclair and Wayne, NJ. He’s also on the PTA board at his daughter’s elementary school. Recently, I spoke with Kevin about returning to GBV, making Cool Planet, and balancing such a hectic yet exciting schedule. Dig in:

Q: How did the process of rejoining Guided By Voices go down?

Kevin March: I received a phone call towards the end of October from [frontman] Robert Pollard himself. I thought he was calling me to discuss his plans for coming to NYC for the weekend. He then asked me to join the band, record and album and tour. I just about fainted ‘cause [Guided By Voices] was one of the best times of my life playing music. To go back and do that again was unexpected, but I embraced it with open arms. Those things usually don’t happen twice in a lifetime.

Q: GBV has released six albums in the past three years alone. What do you think distinguishes Cool Planet from the others?

KM: They all distinguish themselves as pieces of work. The way Bob writes music and the way the band records - [each album] is a snapshot of that moment. The performances are great on this record. I think it’s gonna distinguish itself as its own thing. [Also], all the other records since reforming had Kevin Fennell playing drums, so I’m gonna add a different sound just because I have a different style of drumming.

Q: You mentioned that you didn’t use a click track while recording Cool Planet. What was the reason for this?

KM: We did use one on the title track, because I needed an anchor to play the fills with energy, but not speed up - which I did when we recorded it without the click.

[However], when you’re playing as a band together - to get the proper vibe of the song across - sometimes it is best not to use a click track. This way the music has life to it because it moves; and you just move together as a band. It’s the natural way of recording.

Q: Out of all your years in GBV, what do you believe is the best album you’ve recorded with them?

KM: I think this one is. I [also] loved the ones I did called Earthquake Glue and Half Smiles of the Decomposed. I really do love Earthquake Glue and one of the reasons was because Bob told me to be Keith Moon - and Keith Moon is one of my favorite drummers. He literally told me to, “Go wild!” Not many people tell you to do that in the studio, so I did!

Q: In addition to working with Guided By Voices, you’re also the Creative Director at the School of Rock in Montclair and Wayne, NJ, and you’re an active father. How do you handle such a busy schedule?

KM: I use a calendar, I make sure to try to get enough sleep at night, and I make a priority list of what needs to be done today.

Q: Any favorite recent music?

KM: Two of my favorite CDs from last year were Lucius' Wildewoman - which my daughter really liked (we would listen to it in the car all the time) - and Robert Pollard's Honey Locust Honky Tonk. There are many more; I just can’t think of them right now.

Q: Lastly, what’s the most touching display of fan-affection you’ve received?

KM: At the last Guided By Voices show of the Electrifying Conclusion tour - when we played our last song “Don’t Stop Now” - there was a fan in the front who was just drawn to tears. I realized the impact that GBV’s music and music in general has on people. I would say that was the most touching. Guided By Voices is a band where the fans are so loyal and supportive. They come to the shows and they come to life and celebrate and lose their shit. You’re not trying to win them over. They’re there to take part in this music and the amazing songs Bob and GBV have written and recorded.

Check out Guided By Voice’s vicious rock ballad “Bad Love Is Easy To Do” from Cool Planet:

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