Its been a while since our last interview so we’re pleased to get back into them again… first up is Scottish rockers GUN, who play The Lemon Tree tonight (supported by the Guttergodz). Pierced Princess is in the big red chair and asks the questions to the lads…
It is amazing to think that GUN has been around for nearly 25 years! What lessons have you learnt along the way?
With that many years under your belt its hard not take advantage of experience & knowledge in the music industry especially in terms of song writing but that’s not to say that we rest on our laurels. We still believe we are learning every day & love listening to what’s happening now!
So… whats the best thing about getting back together?
Playing the old songs, write new songs, felt we always had unfinished business. With Dante singing we felt we had a new sound ‘n’ vibe to offer.
Dante – you have relatively recently taken the role as lead singer. How does this change the dynamic of the old songs when performing live?
I think at first it was always going to be a bit daunting especially taking over the vocal duties from original singer – Mark, and no matter what you’ll always be compared to the original. I’m totally cool with that now but I have also grown up with these songs too, and know how they were sung in the past after all we wrote the songs in the first place and sung on most the demos for Mark to give him the idea of the melody. I really enjoy singing the old stuff but it’s the new material that gives me a real buzz to play live!
You have new members in the GUN clan. What do Paul and Derek bring to the band?
When we auditioned drummers to get the band back together we went into the studio with Paul, I have never known a drummer to be able to play all our songs start to finish on first hearing. We were totally blown away, he is an old school powerhouse drummer with an understanding of how Gun songs should be played! Derek is someone who we’ve known for a long time! He used to roadie for the band back in the early days and sometimes played bass guitar whenever we were having a jam on stage. He is a truly funny guy to be around and I think that’s so important when your touring for long periods .Together they are truly a gifted rhythm section that sounds very close to Gun in the past!
What can fans expect from your new material?
I think the true Gun fans out there will recognise the Gun sound of old; the hooks the riffs that Gun were renowned for in the past but I truly believe the new album offers a new lease of life, energy & hunger that most aren’t expecting!
What can we expect from the December shows?
The December gigs are going to be amazing it will be our first gigs to promote our new album so there’ll be a lot of new songs that we can’t wait to play live and also for the die hard fans there’ll be the Gun classics all ‘n all it will make for a great night out!
You won the Nordoff Robbins Tartan Clef award for ‘Scotland’s Best Live Band’ in 2008 and you obviously still love performing live. How do you keep things fresh on stage?
I think the blessing is that we have such a huge collection of material and all very different sonically so we like to chop and change songs frequently and also with the new album I can’t stress how cool it is to play the new tunes!
What have you learned with all the other projects you’ve been involved in over the break?
We have learned to appreciate what a good band we have at the moment and how well Dante suits the front man tag.
Dante & Jools – as brothers has it been difficult to work closely together for so many years?
Like all family relationships of course there are times when you don’t see eye to eye especially when it comes to working out ideas but it’s also good to have that level of understanding of one another in which you can bounce ideas around. In regards to our family relationship neither of us are afraid to say if ones being a plonker and even after all these years you’d think Jools would learn!
You supported the Rolling Stones way back in 1990, are you surprised that you’re both playing still in 2012?
Not surprised at all as the stones are the biggest band in the world and always will be there…. as for us?…. well like the stones, musics in our blood and we will be playing for years to come. Or for as many blood transfusions as we can manage.
What are highlights of your careers?
There are so many, like playing with stones but more recently and vitally coming back with a killer new album and new band and a uplifting live show and in our eyes a true return to form.
As the statesmen of Scottish rock do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Yeah the usual clichés spring to mind like keep the music true to yourself & don’t pretend to be someone that your not, hard work etc they are all very very important but its more of believing in what you have to offer, simplicity and melody will always prevail!
Is there anyone you would love to collaborate with in the future?
So many to choose from but grown up I was mesmerised by Prince. I remember recording his live performance at the Syracuse Carrier Dome from The Old Grey Whistle Test and used to watch it every night, religiously. If there was someone I’d like to collaborate with I’d say it would have to be him.
You’ve had Sharleen Spiteri as a backing singer – is there any other female artist you’d love to work with?
Which song do you wish you’d written and released?
Talking Heads , This Must be the Place; American Trilogy; Imagine, John Lennon but there’s just so many cool songs we all love.
“Last Train From Central” – ace catchy tune, where did the inspiration come from?
A close friends painful split from his girlfriend and it was his journey home that night
What do you miss most when you’re touring?
Home cooking and family and friends.
How do you rate the current Scottish music scene?
Good to see Scottish rock bands for example like Twin Atlantic and Biffy Clyro doing well and also solo artists like Emile Sande, Paolo Nutini and Amy MacDonald doing the business too, so all in all it’s looking good.
X-Factor and shows in that vein – good for discovering new talent, or just churning out cloned pop?
Yes Leona Lewis and no Jedward and its something to watch on a sat night but not really to be looked upon as the future of music. See previous question. 😉
How do you unwind after a gig?
Few drinks with the fans and generally unwind by whatever means each band member desires.
If you could play a massive sell out gig, anywhere on the planet… where would you choose?
Madison Square Gardens or headline T in the Park.
You played Download in the summer – do you prefer festivals or your own gigs?
Love festivals but there’s no better feeling than a sold out crowd of our own fans.
What music do you listen to on the tourbus?
Elvis, Phoenix, Bowie, Foo Fighters, Black Keys, QOTSA and some Tom Petty. DVDs? We love old classic black n white movies.
Physical CD or download music? And whats the last thing you bought?
Cd as Joolz bought last Cult album.
Plans for 2013?
Touring with new album everywhere, UK and Europe. Gonna be in a few studios writing songs as we have so many wicked ideas at the moment we have to get them to the fans. We are also looking at adding new bonus material to the album in what will be the 25th anniversary of Gun!
Favourite venues to play?
Barrowlands, Brixton Academy.
Best and worst memories of Aberdeen?
Joolz had a pint poured over him at a gig in Aberdeen few years ago but good memory was battering the guy after the show. Good memories of the harbour after shows sometimes hahahaha oh and we played a cool festival last year “Wizard Festival”.
Your five desert island tracks?
1. Any cd inside a massive chocolate cake!
2. Cloudbusting by Kate Bush
3. Heroes by Bowie
4. A Zeppelin track like Dyermaker
5. Could This be Love by Bob Marley
And finally… favourite flavour of crisps?
Cheese and onion! (Jools)
Thanks for your time lads and enjoy the show tonight, hopefully no pint incidents this time!