On Their Past, Present & Future…
April 2012
Questionnaire: Steve Bateman

"GUN's contemporary take on authentic rock gave them an edge over their peers during the mid-80s. Formed in Glasgow by the Gizzi brothers, they came to re-invent the rock 'n' roll genre. Their debut album, "Taking On The World", brought with it many successful singles, appearances and guest slots with acts such as; The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Simple Minds, Bryan Adams and Def Leppard. With critically acclaimed albums, singles, many awards and line up changes under their belt, GUN decided to call it a day in 1998. Fast forward 10 years to 2008 which saw GUN being awarded with the prestigious Nordoff Robbins Tartan Clef award for 'Scotland's Best Live Band', leading to the band reuniting to an enthusiastic response.

A 20th anniversary "Taking On The World" tour was followed with the Gizzi brothers settling into writing mode, resulting in mini album "Popkiller". The band hit the road again in 2008/2009 with well-received UK and European tours including a UK tour with Lynyrd Skynyrd. Enthused by their return to the live scene and the positive response from a loyal fan base, Jools and Dante decided to go into the studio to record a new album. Fellow Glaswegians Paul McManus on drums and Derek Brown on bass completed the new line up. 2011 saw the band go from strength to strength. When not playing gigs in the UK and Europe they spent the rest of their time writing new material for their new album, due to be released in 2012. The summer also saw the band hit the festival scene with slots through the summer, with sets including a mix of greatest hits and new material.

The latter part of the year saw the band demoing tracks and preparing to head into the studio. The new album was recorded at the infamous Rockfield Studios in Wales. The album, their first full length album in fourteen years, sees them working with producer Dave Eringa, the mastermind behind artists such as the Manic Street Preachers and Ocean Colour Scene. With buzz starting to build around their return, the band are excited about returning to the live scene again in 2012. As a pre-cursor to this, GUN headlined Glasgow's infamous King Tuts Wah Wah Hut in December 2011, with a second night being added due to phenomenal demand. 2012 is already proving to be a great year for the band with a recent UK tour supporting Big Country on "The Crossing 30th Anniversary Tour" and the summer looks to be a great platform for fans to hear the album at various festivals in UK and Europe." OFFICIAL GUN BIOG

Having recently announced a release date of June 11 for their fifth long player - which will be issued through earMUSIC (Edel's international rock label) - the press release for the group's new record reads: "Break The Silence is produced by Dave Eringa. The collaboration resulted in a perfect balance between a modern approach and a vintage energy reminding at times of The Stooges or early Stones. The perfect sonic dress for Gun's inspired and versatile songwriting. Not just another exercise in nostalgia, but an album that "had to be made", made of songs that were too good not to be heard. Gun fans will certainly agree it was worth the wait: the eleven songs forming the new album reminds of some of the greatest rock albums. No fillers, power, energy, refined and rough at the same time. Frontman Dante has expressed his enthusiasm about the new album: "It's great to be back and we're really pleased to be working with earMUSIC. We've always felt we had unfinished business as Gun and we couldn't be happier with the tracks we have on our new album! We can't wait for people to hear it and we can't wait to be out on the road again!"

Jools and Dante now very kindly, and openly, respond by e-mail to R*E*P*E*A*T's questions about the reloaded Gun…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1. When bands reform, fans can be extremely precious about how this may affect a group's legacy. Was this something that ever concerned you and has the reception that you've received surpassed your expectations?
Jools: "Our fans have been accepting and supportive of everything we have done over the last 4 years. However, the excitement and anticipation around the latest line-up and forthcoming album from the fans has been so encouraging to all of us. With regards to reforming and line-up changes, we haven't been overly concerned from a fan point-of-view, as their feedback remains solid and positive. We do however want to reward their loyalty with a record that they will enjoy for years to come."

2. Returning to Gun's early days for a moment, can you remember the first press coverage, radio airplay or TV exposure that you ever had?
Jools: "The first radio coverage came from a local radio station (Radio Clyde). Their rock DJ Tom Russell played the band's demos as well as giving Better Days its first airing. We still enjoy a good relationship with Tom, Glasgow's godfather of rock:). As for press coverage, we were really excited by the first review in Kerrang! of our single/album. After buying Kerrang! as a rock fan for years, there was a feeling of "making it" when your album gets a great review from such a prestigious rock mag. TV is easy, 1st appearance on Top Of The Pops, what an achievement for some young lads from Glasgow."

3. How long after this was it until you first felt that you had 'found' your audience?
Jools: "As for finding our audience… after the single, album, constant touring on our own, our first big support tour with Simple Minds and generous radio/MTV play, by 1990 we were beginning to see that we had built up a solid UK and European fan base."

4. Where did the impetus come from to blend classic hard rock music, with radio-friendly choruses, pop hooks and memorable melodies?

Jools: "It's true that first and foremost we are rock fans, however, it's difficult not to be influenced by the music you hear when you are growing up. Our record collection was not all AC/DC or Led Zeppelin, there were Boomtown Rats, Bob Marley, The Beatles, T-Rex, David Bowie, Elton John and The Rolling Stones records in there too. It can be restrictive to only listen to one genre of music when writing and I guess our melodies and pop hooks comes from keeping an open mind when it comes to influences… even ABBA… yes, we are not shy when it comes to a bit of Dancing Queen. Just for the record though, it was our sister's album."

5. Your new LP is soon-to-be-released, so can you tell us anything about this - sonically, where it fits into your back catalogue etc?
Jools: "We feel this album is up-to-date and modern with "sound" influences from past and present bands. The Foo Fighters, T-Rex, The Cult and The Killers to name a few, but still with all the memorable choruses, hooks and big guitars that are synonymous with GUN."

6. Production-wise, what was it like working with Dave Eringa?
Jools: "As for working with Dave Eringa, what a pleasure that was! His pedigree speaks for itself! His reaction when he first heard the demo totally blew us away, it was more than we could have imagined. When you have someone like Dave who believes in your work the way he did, it really helps to motivate you on even more. We wanted to get right into the studio and repay his faith with recording a great album. Not only is he a really nice guy, he is one of the most imaginative, intuitive and inspirational producers we have ever worked with. When someone can almost read your mind as to how you want something to sound, it gives you total faith and confidence in the process you are going through."

7. It's been said that Prince will often make music for days on end without even sleeping! But, what's the most amount of hours that you've worked in a recording studio for without taking a break + can you also recall your very first day in a studio / the first song you ever tracked professionally?
Jools: "I think we read somewhere that sleep deprivation is a form of torture and can lead to madness, so as second generation Italians we are quite partial to a siesta or two. On a more serious note though, when recording this album we were doing 14-hour days - you do what is needed to get the job done. The first song we ever tracked professionally was Can't Get Any Lower in the studio where we recorded the Taking On The World album."

8. As guitars lie at the heart of Gun's sound, do you know the exact models and effects pedals that you want to use on individual songs, or is this achieved more through a process of elimination?
Jools: "I like the sound to be natural and come from my playing and my imagination, rather than effects pedals. I appreciate the sounds they make, but I just prefer to use a chorus pedal and a booster for my guitar solos. Keep it simple is my guitar playing philosophy."

9. Lyrically, what were / are your aims with the words that you write for your music - have they always been written in tandem or separately?
Dante: "In general, lyrical ideas surface when we are building the songs from scratch - for us, the melody is really important and sometimes words come into your head that gives you the impetus to tell your story! You only have to look at prolific songwriters such as Bowie who was renowned for jumbling-up newspaper clippings in order to make a song sound incredibly interesting lyrically. But, I have to say, most of the time I like to write about what's been happening around me and depending on the song's feel, you can find yourself immersed in what you want to get across!"

10. Has it been important to you to collaborate with co-writers / producers from time to time?

Dante: "Working with other songwriters is very much embraced by ourselves. I think there are a lot of bands out there who would choose not to and I can understand that, but we feel really comfortable with it! It's always very exciting to see how other people work and how it may differ from our songwriting process. Sometimes, taking on board ideas that you may not be accustomed to can be a challenge, but you've just got to have an open mind and usually with that intention it can be very rewarding!"

11. Having now had some distance from each of your albums, are there any tracks that you view differently and what did you learn from making each record?
Jools: "You are never going to love every track you have recorded. I think we have learned to appreciate what we have done in the past, whether we like it or not and realise that's where we were at that point in time. The main thing we have learned, is to make the record WE want and not have outside influences playing a part."

12. As the title of your new long player is a rather striking and apt reference to your return, I was curious to know if any Gun records ever had alternative titles that were nearly used?
Jools: "We have always been certain of song and album titles and this new record is no different. We just wanted to keep up the momentum and excitement for the release of the album going and keeping the title back added to the fan chat etc. Break The Silence is one of the tracks from the album also. What do you think of the name?"

13. Prior to Break The Silence, each of your previous albums all had exactly 10 songs - was this a conscious decision?
Jools: "We would like to give you some deep and profound answer here, however, it's simple, it's hard enough to write 10 good songs never mind 14 for a record."

14. Of the band's b-sides, are there any that you think should have been album tracks or perhaps any album tracks that you think of as great lost singles?

Jools: "Word Up was originally a B-side and the track Coming Home, in hindsight, should have been on the first album as it's such a good song."

15. Do you have any plans to eventually put out previously unreleased material/rarities from the Gun vaults, such as the original/rockier 0141 632 6326 demos + a comprehensive DVD featuring a live show, promo videos, TV clips etc?
Jools: "To be honest, we haven't even thought about putting out previously unreleased material, and yeah, the original demos of the 0141 album were far more rockier than the eventual release. For now, it's all about this new record and we're all really excited about getting that out before thinking about anything else. If we get any success with the new record, then who knows, we may go back and look at some of the old demos and rarities to bridge the gap till we get the chance to make the next record."

16. In 2008, Glasgow was named as a 'United Nations City Of Music'. Does these please you and who do you consider to be among some of Scotland's finest musicians and groups?
Jools: "For Glasgow to receive such an accolade does make us feel proud, as this is the city we were born and grew up in and to have played even a small part in a city's musical culture, fills you with a sense of pride. From The Sensational Alex Harvey Band to Biffy Clyro, Nazareth to Simple Minds, The Skids to Texas have all played a big part in putting Scotland on the musical map and we are of course still claiming Bon Scott and the Young brothers as being Scottish:)."

17. Having been signed to a major label (A&M Records) in the '80s and '90s, I think any fan of Gun would agree that you were very underrated and never truly had the mainstream success that you so rightfully deserved. Was this frustrating for you during those years, and then, was it a difficult decision to call it a day in 1998?
Jools: "It's always frustrating when you think you could have done more or been bigger than we were and you can frustrate yourself even further with "what ifs?". What we are really thankful for, is the opportunity that we had in the 80's and 90's and the fact that almost 25 years from the first record release that people still want to listen to us. It would be fantastic if this was to go global and give us a second chance in our more mature years, to do what we really enjoy doing. As for calling it a day, 1998 was the right time to do it. Not the easiest decision, but definitely the right move for all of us at that time in our lives."

18. Looking to the future, it's great to have you back and I wondered what it's been like revisiting old material as well as playing new songs onstage - has the experience of performing live changed for you now with new members and Dante taking over lead vocals?
Jools: "Thanks, it's great to be back with what we feel is a great record. The old songs always go down well at the live shows and how quickly the fans are engaging not only with the new material but the new line-up of the band, is so encouraging. We have the advantage that Dante was known already to the fans and lots of GUN fans supported our El Presidente venture with Dante on lead vocals, so the crossover in our opinion has been pretty seamless. The fans have really connected with Paul on drums, Derek on bass and Johnny on lead/rhythm guitar through our regular meet-and-greets after a gig. We are really comfortable with the line-up and it just feels right."

19. Some final quickfire questions, do you have a treasured Gun song, album, LP sleeve, video, gig and memory?

Song - Jools: Better Days as it was our first single.

Album - Jools: Taking On The World.

LP sleeve - Jools: Gallus.

Video - Jools: Shame.

Gig - Jools: Valencia - We played and headlined a free summer festival in front of 250,000 people.

Memory - Jools: Farewell gig at the Barrowlands.

20. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Jools: "Chips!"

A very special thanks to Jools + Dante, and to Gun's Manager, Andrew @ SevenFour Music, for all of their time and help.

"Break The Silence"

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?