August 29th, 2010 | Features | 0 Comments
This week’s band of the week is one of the most underappreciated psychobilly punk bands ever. Or fuck that, they’re one of the most underappreciated bands ever, period. They had a badass frontman who persevered with his vision, despite constant, numerous setbacks. Today, they may not command an incredibly large cult following – not even Big Star or MC5 calliber – but those who know them know where it’s at. The band of the week is…
I first heard about Gun Club via Jack White, who is apparently a huge fan and covered songs of theirs like “She’s Like Heroin To Me” in concert with The White Stripes. Being a huge White Stripes fan, I instantly needed to know what the deal was with this band Gun Club as soon as I heard that Jack White was influenced by them.
The deal with Gun Club is they were based in L.A. and they were basically the vehicle for frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce. Their first album Fire Of Love is a punk classic, and has what are probably their best known songs on it, such as “She’s Like Heroin To Me” and “For The Love Of Ivy”. Their second, the Chris Stein (of Blondie fame)-produced Miami is alright if you put aside the botched mix. The Las Vegas Story is pretty good but their fourth album, Mother Juno (produced by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins), is the other classic in their discography.
Though it’s an effects-loaded and somewhat dreamy sounding album (as you would expect with a Cocteau Twin at the helm), Guthrie doesn’t rob the band of it’s power to rock and tracks like “Bill Bailey” and “Yellow Eyes” end up standing out as among the best in the band’s canon.
In 1996 frontman Pierce died at the age of 37 of a brain haemorrhage. Photos from later in Pierce‘s life as kind of sad, as the guy who once looked the epitome of rock star cool had devolved into a bloated, drugged out old bugger. To add to that, Gun Club‘s post Mother Juno albums have little to recommend. Even so, any band that could release such wild, possessed music as is contained on Gun Club‘s first four album’s is deserving of legendary status.