Sunday, 6 April 2014

Top 102 Albums Minus 14 - Fire of Love

Top 102 Albums Minus 14
Fire of Love - The Gun Club
"I'm going to buy me a graveyard all of my own
and kill everyone who ever did me harm"

Hank Williams staggered from the bar onto the dusty highway. StEaling an aXe from John Henry he chopped down electricity poles and JACKed up on electro convulsive blues, as a WOLF drove past in a tattered limousine HOWLING some artery rippinG pUNk yarn discovered rotting in a bootleggers shack by Harry Smith .

Stripped back, shredded roCk that stands beside bands Like The Stooges, The Birthday Party, Einstürzende NeUBauten in the intensity of its exorcistic orgies.

Shamanic lead singer Jeffrey Lee Pierce seemed to call up the ghosts of the past but only in seedy dives. I really wish I could have seen The Gun Club live at the time.  When I put this record on I just want to dance. The little bit of teenage blood left in my weary veins pumps to my somnolent synapses and I shake like a preacher with the DT's and kick like a mule with a toothache while flapping my elbows like a dehydrated chicken. Elegance is not my thing.

Seriously though, this is an essential album, digging deep into the substrata of country music and the blues and reinvigorating it. Without The Gun Club would we have had The White Stripes? I doubt it. And for something so polluted with heroin, killers and the devil herself, there is something almightily PURE about this record.


I guess a Gun Club influence on me might be divined in this lullaby to drugs/love. You take your pick.


  1. Seeing the Gun Club live at a semi-shithole of a club on their Fire of Love tour was for sure a formative experience of my young concert-going days,* Séamus, and this record has stood the test of time some 30+ years later as well (one of my own all-time Top 10). It also helped introduced me to people like Robert Johnson, Skip James, Tommy Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, etc., which would have been its own reward, but I have to laugh when I think about that because far from being prissy alt blues rockers or purists, these guys once had their amplifiers catch fire at a gig because of all the distortion they were putting out. Are you familiar with L.A. contemporaries the Flesh Eaters? Their awesome A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die came out the same year as Fire of Love and on the same label and is similarly degenerate only replacing country blues with a weird jazz influence. What a great year for music that was.

    *I wasn't old enough to drink legally, but I snuck in with a fake ID!

    1. I meant purity of intent, rather than tradition.. I've never met The Flesh Eaters but know their singer produced half of Fire of Love. That and your recommendation will have me checking them out.

    2. Séamus, I understood that "purity of intent" thing re: the Gun Club! As far as the Flesh Eaters, check out that one album I mentioned and see if you like it because I think it's by far their best. Chris D's howling may take a while to grow on you as well, but I think it's rather perfectly suited to his lyrical terrain. That album's version of the Flesh Eaters also included John Doe and D.J. Bonebrake from X and a couple of guys from the Blasters as well. Nice record to play back to back with the Stooges Funhouse, too.

  2. Correction: "monitors" not "amplifiers" above as I recall.

  3. Liking this on first listen. Must have been an influence on Bluefinger and SVN Fingers- two great albums by Frank Black/Black Francis from 2007/2008. Insomnia sounds great too!


    1. Glad you're enjoying it Brendan. I really enjoyed blasting it out today when everyone else was out. Must check out the Frank/Francis albums.

  4. Hi Seamus. I don't know this record and am the worse for it. This is blowing my mind. Thanks.

    1. You are very welcome. I feel like the Carny in a Freak Show / Funfair - "Step right up! Prepare to have your mind expanded! Feel that Fire of Love! In the hall of mirrors see the blues and country fold and contort themselves into the sleeve of a 12" record album, with space left for some white lightning'. "