With the slightest of name changes, Glasgow band G.U.N. have stepped away from their hard rock past and are aiming at the pop charts with new single 'Crazy You'. But does the change of image mean crazy them? Words: Jonathan Trew
12 mausr 2—15 May 1997
‘I WANT TO FEEL you inside me. I’m so hot. Touch me right there. Oh. that’s so good. Groan. Grunt. Groan. Grunt. Grunt. Sigh.‘ Hullo, what’s this all about then? It’s odd the alleys that music journalism sometimes leads up. This was going to be a piece about the Glaswegian trio G.U.N. and their new album. about a radical change in direction that might just catapult them into the mainstream. But instead we’ve descended into the intriguineg stained world of sex phone lines. unreal fantasies and disconnected solo sex. It‘s a funny old world.
Best start at the beginning. It’s 1989 and five young lads from Glasgow have just signed their first record contract. There’s Mark Rankin on vocals (cousin of Sharleen Spiteri from Texas, incidentally) and brothers Joolz (Giuliano) and
Dante Gizzi on guitar 'When you've made a rock record pretty much three to bunk off school to times in a row, you get a
and bass respectively. Dante is fifteen and has
album. Callus. which is slavered over by the metal mags and does alright in the charts in Scotland and in selected bits of Europe without really achieving mainstream success. Two years later, G.U.N. release ‘Word Up’. a souped-up cover of the funkateer penned by the curiously cod~pieced Cameo. MTV loves it and the subsequent album. Swagger. does very nicely for itself. thank you. Rock/rap is in vogue and everyone is happy.
Cut to 1997. The times they are a’changing and rock/rap. while not dead in the water, is getting into difficulties. Time to go with the ﬂow. or sink and be remembered for covering a song by a man who wore armoured red underpants. Cue 014/ 632 6326. G.U.N.’s new album. Where once there were heavy guitar riffs, now there is harmony; pounding drum rolls have been replaced by forays into dance beats and where there was loud and proud rock
ink his contract. Baby little bit restricted in how bombast. there is
Stafford. the other
guitarist. and Scott you can do things.'
Shields on drums also play a significant part in the band. but they leave for other projects and don’t really feature in our tale. The band release their debut album Taking On The World and it shoots into the Top Twenty. G.U.N. are hailed as the new saviours of British rock and lumped in with the likes of Little Angel. Thunder and The Almighty. So far, so good.
In 1992. G.U.N. follow up with their second
G.U.N. (with Mark Rankin, centre): shooting stars
melody. swing and groove. Along with the significant help of INXS keyboard player. songwriter and producer Andrew Farris. G.U.N. have produced a pop album and. what‘s more. it‘s a good pop album that is likely to make a sizeable dent in the charts. pulling in new fans who previously would have preferred to remove their own teeth with a chisel than listen to a G.U.N. album.
‘We wanted to change because. although we’d been successful in Scottish terms. looking at the full picture we were not what you would call a household name.’ says Rankin frankly. There’s still a fair number of people out there who haven’t heard of G.U.N. and couldn‘t tell you a G.U.N. record. I think it was a gamble for us to do this. but in other ways we didn‘t have too much to lose. Our music is accessible to a large number of people. but because we‘ve made heavier records in the past that has restricted us.
‘It wasn‘t so calculated that we said. “OK. we have to get in more people. let's lose the guitars".‘ continues Rankin. ‘We wanted to make a different record for our own sakes. When you‘ve made a rock record pretty much three times in a row you get a little bit restricted in how you can do things. We felt that we wanted to make a more dance record. a more modern-sounding record. a more pop record.‘
Fair enough. it worked for Everything But The Girl and subsequently Texas. Adapt or die. ‘In music. it‘s all about maintaining your belief in it and moving with the times. If you stand still there's always some guy right behind you who’s going to come up and take your place.‘ as Rankin puts it.
Anyway. enough teasing. What about the phone sex‘.’ Ring 0141 632 6326. This is the band’s information hotline as well as the name of their album. and it allows callers to listen to messages from the band and record their own messages and reviews. Select option four. This is supposed to be fans‘ messages. At the time of writing. the messages there would make a brothel madame blush. It‘s a good publicity scam but leave it until last because ultimately it detracts from a fine album.
0141 632 6326 is released on Mon 5 May.