As I have mentioned before, GUN are way underrated and way under-appreciated, it’s almost criminal.
In the beginning GUN got lumped in with the hard rock/glam rock style of bands. Then with the death of that movement, they sat in limbo land in relation to genres and from a label point of view this was not good, as the labels love to group/tag artists as part of a genre and the press would like to report it like that.
Coming in to 1994, GUN needed to make a statement. After a well-received debut album in “Taking On The World” that established a cult following, the follow-up “Gallus” didn’t set the world on fire in relation to sales and back in 1992, sales was the barometer of success. Before the release of “Swagger” GUN was getting a reputation as a band that focused more on social issues. Look at some of the themes running through the songs from their last two albums.
But I was taught that there’s a time in your life
When you’ve got to stand proud
So tell me don’t you think that it’s time we put an end to it all
When you feel that life is dragging you down day by day
You’ve gotta break away
You’re taking on the world
—“Taking On The World”
I’m sick of this world and it’s greed for gold
I’m sick and tired of being bought and sold
—“Steal Your Fire”
Some people lie for it, some people die for it
Some people risk their lives and do time for it
—“Money To Burn”
And I say life is like a long road
With open arms we walk this long road
Swagger was released in 1994 and to great success.
How could that be?
Because the band didn’t fit the conventions of the now defunct hard rock and glam rock movement. The band also didn’t fit the conventions of the Seattle sound.
They fitted the conventions of a rock band. It is that simple. It is that pure. And it was a rocked up version of an R&B Funk hit from 1986 by Cameo that connected.
Who would have thought that a cover of an R&B/Funk song from 1986 would prove to be so popular. When Korn covered it, they more or less copied this version.
“Don’t Say It’s Over”
Reminds of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell” merged with The Cult merged with Bon Jovi’s “Hey God”. When you have a song that does that to you, it means that the song has formed a connection with you on more than one level.
“Crying Over You”
Melodic rock at its best. It’s written by Giuliano Gizzi, Dante Gizzi and Mark Rankin. It sounds like Rankin is throws his voice out in singing the chorus.
The first 3 albums, “Taking On The World”, “Gallus” and “Swagger” are the career albums. No shredding or weird time signatures. Just an honest, arse kicking album with gutsy vocals and prominent guitars.
However, the line-up changes kept on coming. In this case, guitarist Rob Dickson left before the release of “Swagger” to join Bruce Dickinson’s solo band. Drummer Scott Shields also left before the release of “Swagger” with Mark Kerr brother of Jim Kerr from Simple Minds replacing Shields on drums. Music is a relationship business and GUN benefited from a lot of relationships.
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Released in 1997. Three years is a long time in the music business. Especially in the mid-nineties and especially after the success of a cover song.
Radiohead released “O.K Computer”.
Blur, Third Eye Blind, Days Of The New and Sevendust all released their self titled albums.
The Verve released “Urban Hymns”.
The Offspring released “Inxay On The Hombre”.
Live released “Secret Samadhi”.
Collective Soul released “Disciplined Breakdown”.
Foo Fighters released “The Colour and the Shape”.
Kenny Wayne Shepherd released “Trouble Is…”.
Creed released “My Own Prison” and Megadeth released “Cryptic Writings”.
In order to compete, the album needed to be strong. It needed to be very strong and instead it was a weak affair. The only song that makes the cut is “Always Friends”.
And then they were gone.
Break The Silence
Released in 2012. A long time passed. Front man Mark Rankin isn’t part of the band and since GUN reformed, the line-up has constantly changed. First it was Little Angels vocalist Toby Jepson as the new singer and after six months, bassist Dante Gizzi was left to pick up the microphone stand.
In the end it is an inconsistent album with two gems.
“Break the Silence”
It is a worthy addition to the GUN history. It has this new modern rock touch, ala, Kings Of Leon merged with Coldplay and GUN has still kept it in the roots of classic rock.
It’s got this Seventies feel ala David Bowie and Rolling Stones.
And with that, here is my playlist of a super album from GUN. No album filler there.
1. Money To Burn
2. Better Days
3. Word Up
4. Long Road
5. Don’t Say It’s Over
6. Break The Silence
7. Taking On The World
8. Inside Out
9. Crying Over You
10. Always Friends
11. Feeling Within
12. Last Train