Karen Sneddon from Planetmosh interviews Dante from Gun.
Q. It’s been a busy few months for Gun. You did a three night residency at King Tuts in November. It’s not the biggest venue but it’s one of the most iconic. How did it feel to fill it three nights in a row?
On a personal level we had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for. When the request to play our first 3 albums in consecutive nights had come up we thought yeah this will be fun to do. Turns out it was probably one of the most difficult challenges we’ve had to do musically. There were a lot of hours spent in the rehearsal room getting these songs right for live as half of them had never been played before. The end result though was so rewarding for us. The album that we thought was going to be the most difficult was Gallus as it’s more laid back than the others and we were a bit apprehensive of how the fans would react but for me it was the best night as everything seemed to gel just right.
Q. Everyone knows Gun for one song, Word Up. It’s a great song, but do you ever get sick of it?
Yeah a little. In rehearsals it can get a bit tedious, after all its the same three chords going round and round. We’d be talking bullshit otherwise. Any artist who’s played the same songs for over 20 years probably feels the exact same way but we could never stop playing Word Up live as it’s very much part of our heritage. We owe it to our fans. When they pay good money to see you playing the classic Gun songs then I think you have to deliver on that front and when you’re performing it onstage to an audience then you can feel the energy from the crowd which gives it a whole new lease of life. The funny thing though is the majority of young kids out there think that we were the original artist.
Q.In December you signed to Caroline Music. How will that change things for you? What prompted the move?
Yeah that was amazing. It’s great to have Caroline on board. They are a fantastic label that are very much hands on with the artist. We got involved with them after they’d heard a few of our demos which they loved and that kind of started the ball rolling. I think it’s important to have that kind of weight behind you as it can help greatly with getting the maximum exposure for the band not just in the UK but all over the world .
Q.You’re heading out on tour in March, starting in Edinburgh and finishing up in Glasgow at the Barrowland. You’ve played there many times before but it must still be special because it really is on the doorstep of where you grew up. What are you expecting that night? What can the crowd expect?
It’s an incredible venue. It’s one of my favourite places to play and probably the most iconic of all throughout Scotland if not the UK. There is an atmosphere that is captured there, not just with us but every other band that’s ever played there have had the same experience. The sound is always rocking and feeling the sticky beer-soaked wooden floor tremble underneath your feet as the first 10 rows of the crowd are jumping up and down, with the condensation that drips from the ceiling onto your head may seem a bit disorientating, but it all adds up to it being one of the best venues to play. The fact that it is only a stones throw away makes it all the more amazing to play. It’s going to a special night when we play. Our fans can expect the usual mix of the Gun classics as well as airing some new songs from Frantic. What you can be assured of is that it’s going to be an energetic, electric, emotional night. Truly can’t wait.
Q.Your new album Frantic is out on March 23rd. Tell us about it.
We recorded the album in quite a few locations. Sarm Studios London, ICP Brussels and also in Gorbals Sound in Glasgow. Recording in Sarm Studios was immense, after all so many famous bands have worked there. Too many to mention but there’s something quite profound in knowing that Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded there along with Led Zeppelin IV, Bob Marley, The Stones, The Eagles to name but a few. When you know shit like that it makes you want to up your game. ICP was also incredible to record in. There is no other studio that I’ve ever been in that have such a collection of vintage guitars, keyboards, drums etc. Also incredible sounding microphones which dated back to the thirties which were used in World War II in Germany for all their rallies. It was kind of weird to see they still had the Swastika emblems on the front of these mics. It felt a bit uncomfortable to use them but they sounded amazing. There is something to be said about working at a residential studio Being away from home can give you less distractions and allows you to immerse yourself in your music but Gorbals sound is where we spent most of the time recording the album. Being in a studio that’s close to home can also have its pros in that it kind of relaxes you, time limits weren’t restricted so you could come and go as you pleased. The album itself took 2 years to make and quite a lot of that time was used up trying to find the right direction/sound for Gun 2015. It certainly has the same feel of previous albums but I think we’ve incorporated a more contemporary vibe. It’s definitely an album that we are all very proud of.
Q.There have been a lot of changes since forming in the eighties including various changes in lineup and extended breaks but the band has survived and seems to be flourishing. I first saw Gun when you opened for Bon Jovi at Ibrox in 1996. Did you ever think when you started in the eighties that you’d end up playing stadiums with some of the biggest bands in the world, and still be on the go and releasing new music nearly thirty years later?
No not at all. When we finished recording Taking on the World we knew that we were going to be touring quite a bit. Not in our wildest dreams did we ever imagine we would be playing alongside The Stones, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden etc. We were very, very fortunate but I think it was our hunger and passion and not just the music that impressed these guys. That same hunger and passion is still going strong today and that’s probably why we’re here right now writing new music and touring.
Q. Of those years of gigs and tours you must have so many highlights, can you pick out one that stands out in your mind?
Very difficult to say. Our first headline show at the Barrowlands was special. At the time there weren’t many Scottish rock bands signed, we were one of the lucky ones. There was a lot of indie pop etc but it felt like we were stamping our mark on the Scottish Rock Scene playing to a sold out crowd and at the time although we didn’t realise it we were actually encouraging younger upcoming bands to follow suit. I can vividly remember our manager saying to us before we went on to play it very casual to begin with as you don’t want the audience to tire later in the set. I was a bit unsure what he meant by this but when the lights went down the roar of the crowd was deafening. From the moment we played our first song the crowd went into a frenzy moshing and crowd surfing from the onset. I’m looking at the manager saying “look I’m just playing the song I haven’t incited this.” Well the crowd did tire three quarters of the way through but what a night and we’ve got it all to look forward to again.
Q. What’s next after the tour and album release? Any festival appearances ?
Yeah I reckon there’ll be a lot of touring on this album right through to the end of the year. We will concentrate solely on UK and Europe. Who knows what life might throw at us, maybe another big tour support?? Festivals are definitely something we’re looking into at the moment.
Q.With a new record company behind you there must be things in the pipeline?
Too early to call. What this Space.
Thank you for taking the time out to speak to us Dante.