The Gun Club – Fire of Love (New Rose) 1981


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I find myself listening to this record more and more. I first read about the Gun Club in an NME review of a gig they did at the Town and Country Club in the early 1990’s. It sounds lame now, but the journalist recounted this drunk and possibly drugged bloated powerhouse of a man belting out music so vital that t I just had to hear it. I remember ordering Fire of Love from the record store in my local shopping centre after my parents had bought me a CD player for my birthday and this was the second CD I owned (I can’t tell you the first one out of my fear of humiliation).

The Gun Club began as Creeping Ritual in 1979 but by 1981 they had changed their name to The Gun Club and released this slice of  southern gothic, blues, punk. The founder of the band was a guy called Jeffrey Lee Pierce and he remained the only constant through multiple line-up changes. The band broke up on many occasions and Pierce’s alcohol binges were a constant strain. Pierce died in 1996 from brain hemorrhage at the age of 37. In 1984 the band lineup included Kid Congo Powers (The Bad Seeds) and Patricia Morrison (Sisters of Mercy). Incidentally those two musicians released a single under the name Fur Bible and if anyone out there has an MP3 of that recording I’ll gladly name my next child after you.
Fire of Love was their debut record and I remember the effect it had on me when I first heard it. It was like no punk music I’d ever heard and it certainly wasn’t the histrionic shambolic goth-punk of early Nick Cave. This was gothic swamp rock played by an evangelical, traveling good-ol’-boy bluesman who d somehow sold his soul to the devil. It was frightening. It was about sex and race and murder and drinking and drugs and the blues. It was delta blues shot through a prism of heroin, blood and safety pins. It was vital, it was new and it is one of the most important records ever made.

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2 Responses to “The Gun Club – Fire of Love (New Rose) 1981”

  1. Well I gotta agree that it was it was a fantastic debut – it wan’t punk or blues or rock or any other tag. It borrowed everything & created it’s own. I was living in London when it came out sharing a bedsit with my friend Peter & his girlfriend. Peter & I used to play the record endless while drinking endless? cheap scotch as we would get into the record. That is until he started to get sick from the alcohol & threw up over his girlfriend in bed one night. And that ended that. A few years after I had returned to Brisbane I saw the band (well half of it plus the Johnnys rhythm section) play at the National Hotel (a long gone venue) and it did not move like I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the night but did I bounce off walls, feel like I could walk through walls, nah. I bought a couple more lps but they did not move me. I love those first 2 albums and still play them now, might even buy the cd’s! The rest is patchy for me but for a moment maybe a little more they were it.
    The bands story is over here if you want it http://www.furious.com/perfect/gunclub.html

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