Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Fire of Love ... The Gun Club & Show # 368

The Gun Club were a very unique band that blended elements of Roots Rock, Blues, Country, Rockabilly and Punk for a style completely their own. Starting out in 1980 in LA, the band was formed by singer/guitarist Jeffery Lee Pierce, Brian Tristan on Lead Guitar, Don Snowden on bass and Brad Dunning on drums. The band initially started out as The Cyclones with Pleasant Gehman on vocals and played Rockabilly, but the singer left after one show and the group continued on as The Creeping Ritual. It was around this time during the bands early beginnings where Don Snowden and Brad Dunning left the group, they would be replaced by Rob Ritter (bass) and Terry Graham (drums) from the band The Bags. After growing tired of their band name they changed it to The Gun Club upon suggestion from Keith Morris of Black Flag/Circle Jerks. The bands first album came out in 1981 and it was titled Fire of Love, but before it came out there yet another line up change. Brian Tristan would leave the group to join The Cramps where he would remain for three years and gain the new name Kid Congo Powers. Following his time with The Cramps he rejoined The Gun Club, but when his first departed Ward Dotson replaced him on guitar.

When the band headed into the studio to record Fire of Love, what was captured on tape was a stripped down primal, original classic album that redefined a genre of Punk. Fire of Love was recorded with Chris D of The Flesh Eaters and Tito Larriva who applied a stripped down, live sounding production style to the songs that made up Fire of Love. The album mixed a haunting voodoo like intensity of American Roots, Blues and Country with Punk Rock for something completely original. The Gun Club is captured in top from the upbeat opener “Sex Beat” to the album closer “Goodbye Johnny”. The album features reworked versions of “Preaching the Blues” a song originally by Robert Johnson, that at howls and roars with the haunting vocals and the energetic guitar bursts of Dotson, while “Cool Drink of Water” is a soulful reworking of a Delta Blues song originally by Tommy Johnson. The album is also fuelled by the addictive Punk-Blues classic “She’s Like Heroin To Me”, the terrifying “Ghost On The Highway”, and “For The Love of Ivy” a song co-written with original Gun Club guitarist Kid Congo Powers. All of the eleven tracks on this album contribute to its atmosphere, whether you refer to "Sex Beat" or the steam engine driving drums and vocals of "Black Train". 

Fire of Love was the debut album of a band that helped rejuvenate the LA Rock music scene and album that stands on its own as an underground classic. The music has been called a number of things such as Punk Rock Blues, Tribal Psychobilly Blues and many other things falling into a number of subgenres. The album has also been said to have been fuelled not only by the sum of its parts, but by the soulful tormented voice of its wild man lead singer Jeffery Lee Pierce which cannot be avoided. The band would continue to make albums until the mid 90s, until lead singer Jeffery Lee Pierce passed away at the age of 37 in 1996. The album and bands spirit live on and Fire of Love continues to burn with a gritty intensity that was first ignited when it was originally released in 1981. 

This Weeks Play List:

1. Jacuzzi Boys - Cool Vapors
2. The Hentchmen - Some Other Guy
3. Supergrass - What Went Wrong (In Your Head)
4. Richard Hawley - Tonight The Streets Are Ours
5. Richard Hell & The Voidoids - I'm Your Man
6. Iceage - Collapse
7. Rotten Tropics - The Commissioner of Sewers
8. Anagram - Those Were The Days
9. The Government - Following You
10. The Ted Clark Five - No Respect To Lose
11. Johnny Cash - Big River
12. Lonesome Lefty - Texas Blues
13. Locusts Have No King - Anna's Smoke
14. Box Car Guitars - My Love Is Blue
15. Free Boat Rentals - Fourth Thrice
16. Indian Wars - 20,000 Cans
17. Iggy Pop & James Williamson - Lucky Monkeys 
18. Sex Pistols - Did You No Wrong 
19. Radio Birdman - What Gives?
20. Lip Service - Jimmy Brown
21. The True Lovers - Masters Apprentice
22. The Gun Club - Sex Beat 
23. The Gun Club - For The Love of Ivy
24. The Gun Club - Fire Spirit

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for September 6. Or subscribe to Revolution Rock as a Podcast.

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