Monday, July 18, 2011

Music On Monday: The Gun Club

Fire of Love

You'll find The Gun Club on the 80s cowpunk lists, but I think they shade a bit more country than a lot of the other (more western) bands they were associated with -- in fact, some people apparently consider them the first alt-country band. (Not that I think any band is the "first" of anything, really, but okay. They're also called "punk blues" and "tribal psychobilly blues" and "early roots rock" so, you know, whatever.)

Their history and line-up is pretty convoluted; founder and singer Jeffrey Lee Pierce was about the only constant as various musicians (including Kid Congo Powers of the Cramps, Patricia Morrison of Sisters of Mercy and Debbie Harry on backup vocals) and celebrity producers (Chris Stein of Blondie, Robin Guthrie of the Cocteau Twins) came and went. The band formed in 1980 (when Blondie fan club chapter president Pierce met Ramones fan club chapter president Powers!) and continued in one form or another until Pierce's death in 1996. (Read the whole saga here.)

While they are pretty consistently interesting all the way through their run, I have a personal fondness for the earliest recordings. Here's a track off the first album, Fire of Love -- "Ghost on the Highway":

And from Miami, "Mother of Earth":

That is just scratching the surface - you could probably cruise YouTube and listen to them for a week! And if you still have some free time left, there's a great set of interviews with Kid Congo Powers online here (especially if you're a Cramps fan). Enjoy!

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