Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guided By Voices' drummer Kevin Fennell lists drum set on ebay for $55k, Robert Pollard fires him via email

Kevin Fennell with Guided By Voices @ Terminal 5 11/8/2010
As reported by multiple sources last week, classic-era Guided By Voices drummer Kevin Fennell, who played drums on GBV essentials Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, and countless others, listed his drum set on ebay with an asking price of $55,000. 

Fifty-five thousand dollars.

According to the listing, "These drums have played three US and three European tours including the 2010 Reunion Tour. They have played Central Park Summer Stage and The Jon Stewart Show. On top of that...they are simply good looking." For delivery options, Fennell also adds, "Hand delivered and set-up by Kevin anywhere in the continental USA. And if you're nice he might just jam with you."

Well, sounds awesome. Except for the insane amount of money he's asking for. And that's where things go sour in this situation. Apparently, GBV mastermind Robert Pollard is not too happy with Fennell's asking price, in addition to touting the Guided By Voices brand in the listing (which Fennell explicitly has done).

A post written on Guided By Voices official Facebook page this evening stated:
Which prompted me to do a little research. What I found was a Facebook page, allegedly setup by Kevin Fennell, for the sole purpose of providing information on the ebay listing. Additionally I also found what ALLEGEDLY (must stress that) is an email exchange between Kevin Fennell and one Robert Pollard. You can read the cringe-worthy, and ultimately depressing, exchange below, posted under a comment from that page that reads:

"Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2013 1:22PM
From: Sarah Zade-Pollard
Subject: Re: From Bobby
Hi Kevin,
Bobby left you a voicemail message and needs to talk to you. Please call him when you can.
Date: Fri, 18 Oct 2013 20:37:53 -0700
From: Kevin Fennell
Subject: Re: From Bobby
Bob, I thought that it would be best to respond to you voice-mail message via e-mail to avoid any argument or confrontation. I just don't feel comfortable being attacked or having to explain myself, it's bullshit. You obviously are pissed about my decision to sell my drums or maybe my asking price. If you recall I did mention that I would most likely be selling them but I wasn't sure how to go about it at the time.

After rejoining the band, I was hopeful that we would be more active regarding playing out and having the opportunity to earn money. As a result, I passed on two full-time job opportunities at OSU to make sure I was available for the band but we only played 2 shows this year, with no mention of anything in the future. That's just it, there has never really been much communication and I guess I'm tired of being "on call" at the drop of a hat.

It seems to me that we are not on the same page and maybe my expectations exceeded yours. I think it's unfortunate that you have any issue with me selling what belongs to me. I went out of my way to make sure that I did not use the band name for personal gain. I only stated the facts about my history with the band on E-Bay. You know that I have devoted a large part of my life to the band and have been loyal from the beginning. It's too bad that same loyalty was never reciprocated and I think you know what I mean.

Maybe it's best that I resign my position at this time. I don't feel that I need to ask your permission about personal decisions ie: the asking price for my drums. If that's the case, it's better that we part company now.

Date: Sat, 19 Oct 2013 8:24AM
From: Bob Pollard
Subject: Re: From Bobby
Hey Kevin,
Thanks for responding and there will be no argument or confrontation. There was no attack. There was simply a statement and observation by all, and you don't realize how many, that you have made a fool of yourself by your asking price. First of all, most people would like to know who the fuck you think you are and who you think Guided By Voices is that you can warrant that kind of asking price for your fucking drums. And yes, you did mention the band and use the band as a selling point. You said, "These were the drums that were played on Bee Thousand" and other albums. Should I ask for $50,000 for the metal trash can I banged on My Valuable Hunting Knife? Do you see the absurdity and where it can go from there? You don't have to ask for my permission to sell your shit but you do my friend, have to ask permission to use the name Guided By Voices as I own it.

You can call it resigning if you want but you were already fired. I've been wanting to do that for a long time. You're an amateur, you play too fast (which is the sign of an amateur). I've asked you to slow down and get behind the music but I can tell that you don't know what I'm even talking about. You know, I diligently sought you out for this reunion thing. I said I wouldn't do it if I couldn't find all four of the original members of the so-called fucking Classic line-up which is a laugh to begin with. I employed the assistance of others to find you. Now, I'm regretting that I ever did that. I could have gotten Jim MacPherson or Kevin March and no one would have given a shit, it would have all been the same.

I owe no sense of loyalty to you whatsoever. 100% of the gratitude should come from your end. Good luck in gouging someone for your fucking drums and don't ever fucking bother me again.
PS - Oh yeah, and calling it "being on call at the drop of a hat" for the exorbitant amount of money that you received for these calls is the epitome of biting the hand that feeds you. Do not delude yourself, Kevin, that people gave a shit who was behind that drum kit. And if you have a problem with me you can call me or meet me face to face if that's what you fucking want. Not just myself, but others, know you to be a rude, opinionated and insufferable individual. The little anecdote that you told about J Mascis in Denver (you know, the J Mascis "who gives a fuck" story) was the final straw anyway. And you know what most people can't believe about you asking $55k for your drums, minimum? Is that you're not even on drugs anymore."

I wonder how J Mascis got involved in all of this?

Anyhow, Guided By Voices has a new album coming out, their 500th this year, entitled Motivational Jumpsuit. The band has no dates listed on their tour page at the moment. Album art for Motivational Jumpsuit below...


  1. take down that email, would ya?

  2. Once on the Internet, always on the Internet.

  3. "Once on the Internet, always on the Internet" is a shitty attitude.

  4. this thing is plastered all over the major indie rock blogs at this point and only one article so far has directly linked here. If Fennell deleted his FB post, I wouldn't have posted the text in full, but it's been up for days now. If GBV or Pollard's management asked me directly to remove it, I would do so instantly. But apparently I didn't exactly "break" this story.

  5. Indeed. Fennell himself posted the email exchange on his FB page, apparently because he felt that "the truth of it" was "important" enough to publicize, so it's not exactly a private affair any longer. It's a shitty attitude to feel the need to drum up (har har) sympathy and publicity for himself by posting what was ostensibly supposed to be a private exchange between himself and Bob. Frankly, his cluelessness as to why Bob's angry with him is laughable.

  6. Yep. I take Pollard's side in this whole thing.

    1. pollards side all the way. 55k for real? gimme a break, and besides march was 10x the drummer fennell ever was

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  8. Not sure what the big deal is. A man can ask whatever he wants for his stuff and can offer the provenience to help the cause. Whether anyone will buy it is different. I think what Kevin was really saying is (if you read between the asking price lines $):

    I love this kit and it's history so much. It and GBV means the world to me, but I would part with it for some finical stability for me and my family, if someone with tons of cash wants to pony up.

    Not being around them, and reviewing Bob's reaction, I'd say the issue is not the kit, but many things that have been in the air. Nothing changes the fact that Kevin has been part of a great band at some of it's best points. Maybe he is a shitty drummer (I have enjoyed his playing, personally), but this also might have added to the charm that the band and it's lo-fi lo-pro roots where planted in.

    As for posting the email, Kevin was wrong to do so, but so was Bob's posting that fired him (he's such a control (hot) freak). Both were unprofessional things (which I happen to love about GBV and their dirty laundry in general).

    Life is too short to hate the ones who you have great history with. Move on with love.

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