FOR some time the re-emergence of classic rock acts has been building. Sales of the magazine Classic Rock have been growing at an alarming rate for the pop pickers on radio stations; and while rest of the music business is in a panic about piratical downloads the hard rock scene has been proving that live is still best.
Indeed the hard rock resurgence has been led by many acts that have earned their stripes throughout the years. Such has been the journey of Gun.
They reformed a while back with Toby Jepson, of Little Angels, fulfilling vocal duties. But Gun are not about looking to the past.
“We don’t want to be a nostalgia band and certainly feel we have something still to say,” Jepson told Belfasmetalheadsreunited. “Our challenge is to convince the traditional Gun fans that the new music measures up to the old and that the band has a new lease of life that can keep the audience wanting more.”
Certainly Gun provided a twist in the early 90s to a rock scene still reeling from the pundits proclaiming that grunge was ‘new’ and the rest had to step aside. The sensibilities and panache of albums, ‘Gallus’ for example, displayed a dynamic interpretation that merged riffs and solos with uplifting choruses
New mini-album ‘Pop Killer’ has already been going down well with audiences, not least the storming swagger of ‘Let Your Hair Down’ which merges the traditional Gun sound with a contemporary twist.
“We were determined to do something different, and not simply retread old steps, and so when Dante, Joolz and I started writing, our challenge was to think a little outside the box and try to bring all our favourite elements to the music that we all love without it being to obvious,” said Jepson.
“We felt compelled to use current technology and sounds to augment our collective love of traditional rock and I think we have achieved that. I think that once the music sinks in it will become apparent that everything Gun stood for in the past - pop inflected, passionate, emotional rock - is still there in abundance!”
When Gun touch down in Belfast for their 8th November date it will be after a gig in Portugal and several in Spain. It is also the start of a UK tour which provides challenges for the band.
“Obviously, it’s our home territory and we have a lot to prove, mainly to ourselves,” said Jepson. “We are hungry for it again, and despite being away for such a long time we feel the new band rocks harder and is more ready than ever before. It will be great fun playing the new songs.”
And, if the reaction in Spain is anything to go by Belfast fans are in for a treat.
”The band hadn’t been there for 10 years, and obviously not with me, but the reaction was fantastic and most encouraging of all towards the new songs that are on our mini album 'POP KILLER'.”
With so many rock acts re-emerging with stronger than ever material Jepson took a moment to reflect on the rock landscape:
”I think that we are in an unprecedented period of change in the music business; bands we all grew up with are getting older and the ability to choose what you listen to has exploded. The internet has allowed us all to side step the force-feeding of music that used to happen back in the day, and as a result the audience has the power now; deciding who and what to listen to and so all the bands that were written off by a very cynical business can survive playing live and creating and releasing music on their own terms.
”The challenge is to take this music and create something that truly stands up and can crossover into the mainstream and allow not just the traditional rock fan to appreciate it but anyone.
“I hate the labels, never understood the need to pigeon hole music, I’ve always believed that there are only two types of music; GOOD and BAD! I hope Gun can be considered a GOOD band!”
Here at Belfastmetalheadsreunited we’ve always dismissed the idea of musical genre stereotyping…and while Jepson may hope that Gun are a good band, we know they are!
But what can fans expect on the setlist?
”We are hoping to play most of the mini album,” said Jepson. “In Spain we were playing two new songs with another nearly ready. I suspect we will play three, maybe four, of the songs.
”We are playing what we consider the 'best' tracks from all the albums, and not necessarily the hits. We have our favourites and some of the tunes work best live even though they were perhaps not big songs from the records. We are about to retire a couple of the songs as we have new music to play, and that is what we are really about now; playing the future not the past!
”Gun always made great records and had hits despite the change in the scene. The danger is to be too concerned about 'what’s happening'. The fans don’t believe that stuff, they just like what they like!
“We have some great new music that we feel delivers a future for us and we hope the audience can feel our commitment and determination coming from the stage.”
GUN PLAY THE LIMELIGHT ON 8th NOVEMBER. DOORS AT 8pm, SUPPORT FROM INCH HIGH. TICKETS A PALTRY FIFTEEN STERLING.