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
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:
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!
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:
back to jerseybeat.com
l back to top
is an independently published music fanzine
covering punk, alternative, ska, techno and garage
music, focusing on New Jersey and the Tri-State
area. For the past 25 years, the Jersey Beat music
fanzine has been the authority on the latest upcoming
bands and a resource for all those interested in
rock and roll.