A Conversation With Steven Gillis
Gillis bridges the electronic and organic aspects of modern rock, from touring with his Family Values Tour for over twenty thousand fans, to playing post-bop jazz for 100 people at a club venue. His dynamic drumming weaves between programmed tracks and thick distorted guitars seamlessly while creating drum parts that defy today’s heavy rock stereotypes.
Early Life and Education
Steven Gillis attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate, earning both his law and legal studies degrees. Following a legal career, Steven decided to return home and focus on his true passion: writing novels.
Since 2010, he has published six books, such as Walter Falls and The Weight of Nothing novels as well as short story collection Giraffes. Additionally, he co-founded Dzanc Books with Dan Wickett and now teaches writing at Eastern Michigan University.
Walter Falls is a novel that came about almost by itself, with its smart-alecky tone that never let up until tragedy overtook its characters. Steven Gillis is also an accomplished drummer who regularly performs at Chicago’s Transient Sound studio – having worked with artists such as Los Lobos, Naked Raygun and Nickie Bain among many others.
He has extensive mechanical engineering experience working on projects such as museums, universities and corporate facilities. Since 1988 he has been with Mueller Associates managing many complex museum and higher education design projects.
Gillis is also a highly-acclaimed novelist and literary renaissance man, having published more than six works of fiction as well as being one of the founding members of 826michigan. His most recent piece Walter Falls follows two young American slackers on an adventure through North Africa.
Codiak Biosciences, Carrick Therapeutics, and Homology Medicines all count him among their boards of directors; additionally he has served on those of eGenesis, HiberCell, Skylark Bio and Corixa Corporation & Immunex Corp as well.
Achievement and Honors
Gillis graduated from Berklee College of Music and worked as a drummer for 20 years afterward, performing thousands of gigs around the country and abroad with various musicians. Additionally, during this time he recorded both jazz bands and post-bop groups before opening and operating Transient Sound recording studio.
He serves as managing director at ARCH Venture Partners and sits on the boards of several life science companies such as Theraclone Sciences, Lycera and VLST. Additionally, he was chairman for Codiak Biosciences, Variation Biotechnologies and Pulmatrix.
He is the author of Walter Falls and The Weight of Nothing novels, Giraffes collection of stories and Benchere in Wonderland (Hawthorne Books 2015). Additionally, he co-founded Dzanc Books with Dan Wickett.
Gillis is co-founder of Dzanc Books and 826michigan, author of six novels and two short story collections, as well as running Transient Sound studio which has collaborated with bands like Los Lobos, Long Count Quartet, and Nicholas Barron.
Mr. DeSimone also served as Chairman of Corixa Corp from its inception until it was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline in 2005, serving from its inception until then being purchased by them in 2005. Additionally, he founded ARCH Venture Fund and held various leadership roles at their biotechnology portfolio companies such as Bluebird Bio (BLUE), Allozyne, VBI Vaccines and Pulmatrix during that period.
Gillis is an innovative performance artist and producer in his free time, creating electronic-driven pieces which defy today’s heavy rock stereotypes.
Steven Gillis is an award-winning author of six novels and two short story collections, as well as writing for newspapers and magazines. Based in Ann Arbor and working from his home office, Gillis’ writing has often been described as lyrical, mesmerizing and noirish in style. Gillis founded 826Michigan as well as co-founding Dzanc Books alongside Dzanc founder Andrew Dzanc (co-publisher).
Matthew enjoys music immensely and enjoys performing in local bands. Additionally, he’s an enthusiastic podcaster hosting Matt & Shane’s Secret Podcast as well as A Fair One with Tommy Pope.
Gillis outdid himself against an elite opponent on Sunday by scoring nine three-pointers and 29 points in Purdues 80-60 win at Rutgers – setting a Mackey Arena record while helping propel Purdues victory and propel their conference title pursuit forward.