Black Guns: sweaty riffs and beer!

Burning down the back alleys of Melbourne’s live scene is Black Guns. Embodying the spirit of Australian rock in a blaze of breakneck riffs, Black Guns have built a solid reputation of good times and sweaty, live energy. They’ve taken their sweat-fuelled show across the country, supporting elitist Aussie bands from Rose Tattoo, The Screaming Jets and The Angels. With the release of their EP In The City last year, Black Guns proved that Aussie rock is still alive and roaring. Now, the band’s latest EP A Year In The Life is upon us and is sure to get bodies rocking and tongues wagging. Guitarist Nick –  “DD’ Black gave us some insight into their new spinner and the loads of beers and shenanigans that went into recording it.

A Year In The Life is a bit of a milestone for us really,” DD admits. “It’s a compilation of material put together over the course of the last year, hence the title A Year In the Life. There are some brand new studio tracks taken from the first sessions for our upcoming album and a bunch of killer live stuff taken from shows throughout 2007 on it. The live tracks represent older tunes which we’re slowly fazing out of the set to make way for our new material. We wanted a chance to release those songs for the folks who’ve been coming to our shows since the beginning. It’s all rock ‘n’ roll though.”

Black Guns have taken the last year to finetune their trademark licks and the results are indicative of an original aesthetic. This time round, Black Guns are more settled in their own skin. “Well, there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since we recorded In The City. Our drummer Scotty had only been in the band for a few weeks when we recorded it and since then we got a new bassist Brad Frost who is also a songwriter. Naturally, things have evolved. We’re better songwriters and I reckon we’ve come closer to finding our own sound on this EP. There were loads more beer and shenanigans in the studio this time too!”

So is there one track on the new EP which is testament to the Aussie rock tradition? “They all embody the Aussie rock tradition!” DD laughs. “Loud guitars, playing gritty, honest, simple rock ‘n’ roll tunes. There’s no attempt to disguise the Aussie accents or replicate the latest Top 40 artists and it goes without saying that it’s played best in pubs with a stubby of VB. Call it meat and potatoes, call it rock ‘n’ roll, call it what you want; you know it when you hear it!”

The EP also contains a slight deviation from their tight VB sculling sound and delve back into the rawness of Australia’s late 60s rock with a cover of The Easybeats’ ‘St Louis’. An obvious choice, when you consider DD’s penchant for classic rock. “We all love The Easybeats and that track is a fave of mine and Tommy’s. We talked about covering it when we first started out but we didn’t do it for some reason. We just started throwing it in at rehearsal late last year and it sounded rad so we decided to record it while we were in the studio. The recording was shit hot so we all agreed it had to go on the EP. It’s a kickass tune – classic stuff. Hopefully we can expose the track to some people who haven’t heard it before.”

It’s only inevitable that a full-length album is in the pipeworks. “Yeah, we’re building up to get an album out mid to late this year. I guess the first thing we want to achieve is the personal satisfaction of finally getting one out. It’s the dream of every kid with a guitar to do an album one day and we’re ready. The band is rocking and we’re all stoked with how the new tunes are sounding. I reckon it’s going to be a big step forward for us. Obviously we hope punters out there everywhere will dig it as much as we do.”

Black Guns are obviously itching to debut with a long-player and the band have the potential to keep the Aussie rock tradition screaming for years to come. “For me Aussie rock is about honest bands beating it out on stage to pubs full of beer drinking rock ‘n’ roll fanatics where anything can happen and it’s always a good time. That’s what we set out to achieve ourselves and there will always be a place for that in Australia and around the world. I think something else that’s a trademark of Aussie rock is the lack of bullshit rock-star ego. That’s something that the music community as a whole could certainly do without – too many jackasses who think they’ll be the next Axl Rose. When you meet the guys in bands like Rose Tattoo, The Screaming Jets and The Angels they’re up for a beer and a chat; there are no tantrums or antics. They’re not trying to tell you they’re the next big thing or crying through their eyeliner or any of that shit. Besides, the music industry is a different kettle of fish these days. I doubt there’ll ever be another Guns and Roses.”

Albeit the fashion-conscious whingers, DD still remains adamant that the Aussie rock scene is still as sweat-drenched and dirty as ever. “There’s a bunch of great Aussie bands out there still rocking it. Some of them are in the mainstream and plenty of others like Airbourne, The Devilrock Four and Hell City Glamours duking it out in pubs all across the country. Personally, I’d like to see a lot more of it out there but there are also a whole bunch of bands with no sweat or balls at all in the Aussie music industry right now that absolutely rule. It’s a great time to be part of the community; Australian music is really kicking ass right now.”

Black Guns now have their sweaty brows set on their EP launch at The Tote on February 1 and punters are in for one hellova rock –  “n’ roll ride, as well as a chance to get their paws on a free copy of the new EP. “Another major difference [with our new EP] is that we’re giving this one away for free. You don’t make any money selling discs so we’d rather make sure that everyone is able to get one than pinch pennies. We’ve got a limited edition, hand-numbered pressing we’ll be giving away at the The Tote. You can’t get a better deal than that. Eight tracks of Black Guns for free!

“I can pretty much guarantee it’s gonna be sweaty and loud. We’re gonna have a bunch of mates there so I reckon it’ll be a real party – plenty of stories to tell the next day. It might be the night of your life; you’ll have to come down to find out.”

Be sure to head out to The Tote on Friday February 1 where Black Guns launch A Year In The Life with good rock mates Street Walking Panthers and My Dynamite