3 Songs, 5 Minutes


About ESP Ohio

One of the seemingly endless number of recording projects launched by Guided by Voices leader Robert Pollard, ESP Ohio reunites him with one of his most distinguished collaborators, guitarist Doug Gillard. An Ohio native like Pollard, Gillard had played in the glam-influenced punk band Death of Samantha and the more pop-oriented side project Gem before he helped form the group Cobra Verde in 1992. In 1996, after Pollard reached an impasse with his Guided by Voices bandmates, he fired the rest of the band and hired Cobra Verde to serve as his GbV backing band for the 1997 album Mag Earwhig! and a subsequent concert tour. Though Pollard opted not to make Cobra Verde his permanent backing band, Gillard stayed on as GbV's lead guitarist until the band retired in 2004. In 1999, Pollard and Gillard recorded a collaborative album, Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Department, and they made two more albums together as Lifeguards, 2003's Mist King Urth and 2011's Waving at the Astronauts. In 2016, Pollard assembled a new version of Guided by Voices, and when guitarist Nick Mitchell was abruptly dismissed from the lineup a few days before the band was scheduled to play a festival in Cincinnati, Gillard was recruited to take his place for the show. Gillard, who had been playing with Nada Surf, soon signed on as Mitchell's permanent replacement, and before long, he and Pollard began working up material together that evolved into yet another side project, ESP Ohio. Along with Pollard on vocals and Gillard on lead guitar, ESP Ohio featured Mark Shue (another member of the 2016 GbV lineup) on bass and Travis Harrison on drums. ESP Ohio made their debut with a pair of singles released in October 2016 -- "Lithuanian Bombshells" b/w "She Wrote Well (To Tell)" and "Woah Nelly," and "Royal Cyclopian" b/w "I'm In Shock (Hit Me with Tonic)" and "A Mallard Pushing." In November 2016, ESP Ohio expanded their repertoire with a full-length album, Starting Point of the Royal Cyclopean, which like the singles, was released by Pollard's GBV Inc. label. ~ Mark Deming



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