FOLLOWING on from last autumn’s majorly expanded reissue of Miami – read our piece on that, here – Blixa Sounds have now turned their fine archival attention to The Gun Club’s album from the year before – 40 years on now, their punk-blues debut Fire Of Love is getting the deluxe treatment and will be landing at the end of July.
Remastered? But of course; but now Fire Of Love will be rereleased as a 2xCD and 2xLP with ten bonus tracks on both formats, being constituted of a previously unreleased live set recorded at West Los Angeles legendary dive bar of the era, Club 88, recorded on March 6th, 1981.
The CD will also include ten previously unreleased four-track demos and alternate versions, while the LP will include a download card for those; that’ll also come in a gatefold with extensive liner notes from Gun Club drummer Terry Graham and producers Tito Larriva and Chris D – all of which will feature in the CD booklet.
Born in June 1958 in the East Los Angeles suburb of El Monte, California, Jeffrey Lee Pierce’s initial creative outlet was acting – which would go on to inform the drama he brought to his music later. He first picked up a guitar in his pre-teen years, moving through a few short-lived garage bands and writing for Slash magazine under the pen name Ranking Señor Lea.
It was in Creeping Ritual, a band he formed with guitarist Brian Tristan, in which Jeffrey first hit paydirt; he’d discovered the Delta blues from the record collections of Canned Heat singer Bob Hite and L.A. scenester Phast Phreddie Patterson, and decided to make them his own. Creeping Ritual was rechristened The Gun Club by Circle Jerks’ singer Keith Morris and once bassist Rob Ritter and drummer Terry Graham came aboard, they quickly gathered speed. They had already played together in punk outfit The Bags and were a perfect foil for the free-roaming punk-blues of Jeffrey and Brian, who now rejoiced in the name Kid Congo Powers.
“He was injecting blues into the heart of punk rock, struggling to give life into something new and brilliant even if it was old and obvious at the same time,” Graham says of Pierce in the book More Fun in the New World: The Unmaking and Legacy of L.A. Punk.
Fire of Love captures the Gun Club at their rawest and contains swamp-voodoo gems such as “Sex Beat,” “She’s Live Heroin to Me” and the psychobilly stomp of “For The Love Of Ivy,” an ode to the The Cramps’ guitarist.
There’s room for influences too, with Tommy Johnson’s “Cool Drink Of Water” and Robert Johnson’s “Preaching The Blues” being wired into the present day.
Terry Graham writes in the liner notes: “I couldn’t be more thrilled to know Fire Of Love has given so many a nice kick in the ass … I not only loved fighting off the Devil while a member of Gun Club, but I’m proud of what we did on Fire Of Love with Chris and Tito as our guides.
“And if this music continues to irk the purists, I couldn’t be more proud. Jeff, you were one hell of a great musician, but you knew that.”
The deluxe reissue of The Gun Club’s Fire Of Love will be released by Blixa Sounds on 2xCD and 2xLP on July 23rd and can be pre-ordered from Amazon Stateside here.