Last Friday Propagandhi unleashed their new album ‘Failed States‘ via Epitaph Records. Bass player Todd recently told us a little about the album [Here]. This week we grab guitarist David to answer our Hotseat Questions. Expand this post to take a read. If you are yet to pick up a copy of the album, you can grab it online [Here].
Name : David Guillas
Band : Propagandhi
Job In Band : Guitar
Website Address : www.propagandhi.com
Hometown : Gladstone, Manitoba, Canada
Hometown is best known for : A stupid statue of a “happy rock” with a top hat and a serviette over its forearm. Beneath it were the world’s most disgusting washrooms—they were so disgusting they had to be shut down.
Best venue in your hometown : The Gladstone Hotel. It is the only venue in town, aside from the Highschool gym.
Favourite show you’ve seen in your hometown : Fred Penner. Twice. He was the only performer that would actually come to our town.
Favourite show you’ve played in your hometown : I have never played a show in my hometown, though when I was young I played the Prince in a performance of the Nutcracker.
How did the band first come to exist? Jord and Chris grew up together in Portage la Prairie—a small town in southern Manitoba, though about ten-times bigger than Gladstone. At some point around 1986 they started playing together and are still going strong twenty-six years later. Todd joined the band in 1997 and I joined in 2006, making the band a four-piece for the first time.
Any particular story behind the name? The name is an amalgamation of “Propaganda” and “Gandhi.” I guess Jord and Chris would have been about sixteen when they came up with that. Not bad, actually. When I was sixteen I was in a band called Jabba the But. Now that is embarrassing.
What’s your most recent release? Tell us a little about it… Our new release is called Failed States and it just came out on Epitaph. I’m very proud of this record, and I know the other guys are too. We worked long and hard on the tunes, and I think Todd and Chris wrote some of their best lyrics yet. And sonically I think it is true to how we sound live. It’s got a rawness and a rowdy edge to it that I really dig.
Got a personal stand out achievement of your band to date? I would have to say that joining the band is my stand-out, personal achievement. They were always one of my favourite bands, and Chris was a huge influence on me as a guitar player—still is. So, to be playing with them—and to be writing music with them…all I can say is that it has pretty much been a dream come true.
OFF THE STAGE
What was your first introduction to music that made you think seriously about playing it? “Sleeping Bag” by ZZ Top. Something about the sound of Billy Gibbon’s tone against that cheesy sequencer and synths got inside my young mind and shook it up. The monster truck in the video might have had something to do with it too. I got an acoustic guitar for Christmas that year, but didn’t really take guitar seriously until about 1993, when I was fourteen.
Any particular band / album or song that you personally credit as a major influence? Influences have come and gone over the years, many too embarrassing to admit to here! But there have been two bands that have consistently inspired me for many, many years: NoMeansNo and Rush. You will not find bands as honest and hard-working anywhere on this planet.
Your first band name, and what style did you play? My first band was with my good ol’ buddy Robbie. We were fourteen, we were TERRIBLE, we considered ourselves “punk,” we were called Populist Manifesto. Jesus wept!
Most prized music related item you own? My guitar. I love this thing. It is an SG body but I had my luthier friend Darcy Bunio replace the neck as the old neck was damaged beyond repair. The new neck is made of black walnut with an ebony fretboard and has twenty-four frets. I also had a Bigsby vibrato unit installed, which is exactly what my life has been missing all these years. Anyway, I could talk about it for hours…I love my axe.
When you’re not doing band related stuff, what are you usually found doing? I like reading, I like writing, I like gardening, I like baking bread, I like playing hockey with my team Caress of Steel, I like bird watching, I like spending time with my niece and nephew, etc., etc.
The thing you most look forward to just before a tour is… Right now I am really looking forward to playing the new songs. I’m also looking forward to seeing old friends.
The thing you least look forward to before a tour is… The lack of solitude and peace and quiet. After a tour is done I am ready to sit in my room and stare at a wall for hours in utter silence.
ON THE STAGE
When on offer, what’s your one must have item on the rider? We don’t really see any point in wasting our money on crazy riders. As long as there is something healthy to eat and maybe a couple of beers to drink after the show I am happy.
Favourite place you’ve toured… and why? Our tour to Central and South America in 2007 was amazing. I had never been anywhere tropical before and I was in awe of the weather and of the lush and often immense flora down there. And the shows we played were all pretty special. We made some good friends down there.
Most memorable show you’ve played? and why? There are many, but I suppose my first show with the band will always stand out. It was in Thunder Bay, a small city in the middle of the wilderness of north-western Ontario. A month or so before that show my brother was in a very serious car accident and was helicoptered to Thunder Bay, where he stayed for a good few weeks. My family and I stayed there too, in some shitty hotel. Anyway, that was a very crazy time, dealing with that trauma and trying to prepare for my first tour with the band. I was glad to get that show over with.
Got a favourite song to play live? This is always changing, but right now I really enjoy playing “Rattan Cane,” off our new record.
Any embarrassing on stage moments come to mind? Several. I am a creature ill at ease on a stage.
Any pre-show rituals? Not really. I just try to stay loose and relaxed. Typically I’ll warm up with my guitar for several minutes before going on and make sure I’m good and in tune. And I try to get out and watch some of the opening bands to get me in the frame of mind of being at a show. It can be easy to forget that you’re at a rock show when you’re backstage.
Last song you listened to? “The Garden” from Rush’s newest record Clockwork Angels.
Last album you acquired? Yellow and Green by Baroness.
Which band or album is currently on high rotation? Yellow and Green by Baroness. This is a very, very great record.
Tell us an up and coming band or artist you think we should go and listen to right now? Rush. I know, I know…they’ve been around for like forty years. But EVERYONE should go and listen to them RIGHT NOW.
What’s on the cards for the next few months for the band? Touring is the order the day for us right now. We’re starting in Eastern Canada, then down to the States. Western Canada should happen before Christmas, and in the New Year we will be hitting Europe.
You can pick any one album for your band to cover in full, what would it be and why? Our new album, Failed States. It is the most challenging and, therefore, the most satisfying to play. And I think the songs are all really good.
You can pick any one band / artist to cover one of your albums in full, what would it be, and why? Harlequin, because they would do it for love.
One band you wish you were able to see live but never had the chance? Yes, circa 1972. Steve Howe is one of my all-time favourite guitar players, and I’d love to have seen him in his prime.
The chance comes up to fill in for a member of a band for one tour, which band would it be, and why? Baroness. Every time I listen to them I think to myself, “Damn, I should have written that.” The way they approach music appeals to me on every level.
A headline tour overseas comes up, tell us two bands you’d take along to support your band. Comeback Kid. They are actually touring with us next month in Eastern Canada and the States. They are a good bunch of guys. And I would love to be able to tour with NoMeansNo, though we’d likely be supporting them. They are the kings of the live show. I would be in awe every single night if we got to tour with them.
Got any final words? I would like to plug our newest and greatest record to date, Failed States. And watch for us in the months to come at a venue near you!
PROPAGANDHI – FAILED STATES
In stores Now via Epitaph Records
Order online now [Here].