How much would you pay for a piece of music memorabilia? Would you be willing to drop $20,000 for a guitar once played by Kurt Cobain, or MAYBE $25,000 for a microphone that Shane MacGowan dribbled scotch and blood onto? OK, well, how about $50,000 for Kevin Fennell’s drum kit? Who? Exactly.
Fennell was the classic-era drummer for Guided by Voices, i.e. he played on Bee Thousand, Alien Lanes, and more indie rock masterpieces that the group’s been touring behind for the past couple of years (“Game of Pricks” is my most-played song on iTunes, FYI), and to earn a little scratch, he decided to put his kit up for sale on eBay. For $50,000. Needless to say, no one’s placed a bid yet, but the listing hasn’t gone completely unnoticed: the GbV Facebook page wrote, “For the record, the band Guided By Voices has nothing to do with the sale of Kevin Fennell’s drums. He is acting on his own and is no longer in the band.” Not only that, but in emails discovered by F*cking Nostalgic, via “Guided By Voices’ Kevin Fennell’s Drum Set Auction” on Facebook, GbV’s lead singer/flexible drunk Robert Pollard voiced his disapproval for Fennell’s money-making scheme.
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
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.”
Pollard has already written 47 songs about the incident.