Scottish rockers GUN have been rocking for thirty years now so, coming to the end of 2018 and their current run of shows, we spoke to Dante from the band to not only look back at the past but to look forward to 2019 and what the future holds in store for the rock band.
So, we're coming to the end of the year, how would you sum up 2018 for GUN? Dante: Yeah, it’s been a great year in terms of festivals performing throughout Europe and U.K. We have just finished off a series of our own gigs showcasing our new album which has been going down incredibly well live with audiences. We are also currently working on doing something really special for next year as it’ll be the 30th anniversary of Taking On The World.
What are your plans for 2019, can we expect any new material from the band? Dante: Well, as I’ve said it’s going to be the 30th anniversary of Taking On The World, we plan to release a very special album. Unfortunately we are not at liberty to say too much regarding the finer details but we will be releasing a very special album in relation to the anniversary. We also expect to be touring and playing festivals on the back of the release,so watch this space!
You formed back in 1987, what do you think have been the best and worst changes in the music industry? Dante: It is rather sad the way the music industry has evolved obviously with songs being readily available for streaming etc. I think this has had a detrimental effect on the way music has been written and produced and in turn lessened the standard to some extent. Quantity over quality is a big factor as artists need to be seen more to compete in the social media’s and with too much time away they can easily be forgotten. The idea of someone listening to 30 seconds of your music and being able to decide whether it’s good or not is a very narrow minded way of thinking. It’s certainly not the listeners fault if it can be heard using these platforms. I also think new bands/artists don’t get the same attention like they did in the past with record labels. When we signed to A&M we got a five album deal which gave us the ability to mature as writers and were given every opportunity to get the right songs no matter how long it took. I think the positives is that if you’re a new artist you can really push it all by yourself without the need for a label behind you. If you can build up an audience online and have a strong fan base the labels have a tendency to sit up and listen.
When you formed back in 1987 what were your ambitions and, now, in 2018, thirty+ years into your career, what are your ambitions as a band? Dante: I was very young when I first joined the band and I got very lucky in the sense that I was joining a band that was already signed so I was going to earn a wage. I think the ambition was to be able to travel and tour our music throughout the world and in order to do that you obviously had to have some sort of success. You always have those dreams in your head but playing to huge crowds, performing on Top Of The Pops, having your music being played on the biggest radio stations throughout Europe, winning MTV Awards, touring with the biggest bands in the world certainly wasn’t anything we’d expected. I think the ambition now is to continue to write great songs and being able to tour them is a huge achievement in itself.
What advice would you give the GUN of 1987? Dante: It’s very easy to look back and make those changes you reflect on that didn’t quite turn out the way you wanted. I can’t give specifics as there are too many to consider. The only advice I’d give is to be true to yourself and if you believe in something strongly enough be more assertive and don’t take no for an answer.
Looking back over an incredible 30 year career, what do you put your longevity down to? Dante: That’s a tough one. We are band who love to play , write great songs and reinventing yourself is an fundamental way in maintaining longevity. We put so much importance in creating the right songs. We want our fans to really love the music we release and I think in turn that thought process has been a key factor with the longevity of the band.
There is much discussion about the future of rock when the major bands call it a day. What are your thoughts on this? Dante: To be honest I don’t think there’s many major bands that have called it a day which is a great thing. So long as there is love for the songs no matter how old you are and can perform at the highest level there’ll always be a demand.
Check out this classic clip of GUN performing their cover of "Word Up":
What about new UK rock bands, have you heard or seen any bands that have really caught your attention? Dante: Yeah there’s been quite a few really cool rock bands out there. We had a band called Austen Gold perform with us on tour who are amazing. Great players and a great sound to boot. Also The Dirty Thrills are a band worth checking out with some great songs and really exciting to watch live.
At the end of your career, you're sat in a bar looking back over your career, what will be your proudest moment? Dante: Hahahaha too many to mention but one that sticks out in my head was playing a free concert in Valencia which was to mark the start of the summer. It was promoted by the biggest radio station in Spain and was staged on a large stretch of motorway. I remember being told by our record company guy that we’d be playing in front of 250,000 people. Sure enough when we got on stage at 2am it was the most surreal thing I’d ever seen. It honestly was a sea of heads as far back as the eye could see. It was incredible. I will never forget it.
Thanks for your time, we'll hand things over to you to have the final word. Dante: To all our fans out there we just want to thank you so much for your continued support. It truly means the world to us! We’ll be back next year with a special anniversary album and tour. It’s gonna be a belter!