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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thirty Years Ago Today

FIRE OF LOVE, the album by Jeffrey Lee Pierce and his band, The Gun Club was released 30 years ago today on Ruby Records, a division of Slash.

Within a couple of years, Jeffrey had catapulted from the dedicated local punk music fan and president of the Blondie Fan Club to a bona fide artist worthy of his own following.

FIRE OF LOVE was an auspicious recorded debut - likely the first record from Los Angeles punk rock that would incorporate blues in a distinctive way that would distance the band from punk without distancing the players from the scene. The Gun Club, alongside X and the Blasters would carve a unique place in the genre game with their mix of traditional American roots music with a psychedelic and punk rock interpretation. Indeed many years after paving the way for hybrid genres, X musicians, John Doe, Exene Cervenka and dual Blaster/X guitarist, Dave Alvin all have a firm and respected place in the world of Americana (as does Plimsouls founder/front man, Peter Case) as well as punk.

The popular music of the 21st Century is all the richer for Jeffrey Lee Pierce's contributions of genre mashing, and his explorations, a la Arthur Rimbaud of a "long, intimidating, immense and rational derangement of all the senses."

I dare to think there'd be no White Stripes as we know them without The Gun Club's primitive blues. Kid Congo Powers, who started in the Gun Club and was snatched up by the Cramps before the Gun Club even recorded, still carries the torch that his "let's play in a band" mentor lit.

I also daresay that FIRE OF LOVE ranks among one of the best records ever made in the 20th Century.

You can commune with other Gun Club and Jeffrey Lee Pierce fans on the Yahoo Group called WILDWEED.

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