• POP GUN MEN at Hearts 20/6/79


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      POP GUN MEN at Hearts 20/6/79

      Al Webb Was TAGG'S first editor, and a wonderful job he did! Al also wrote record reviews and interviews with Rock Luminaries that will also be resurrected through these pages.


      Pop Gun Men were formed out of remnants of X-Ray-Z and the early version of Secret Police.

      John Ray (drums), Peter Rich (vocals, sax), and Maurie Bund (guitar, keyboards, vocals) have combined with Andrew Picouleau (bass, vocals) and Dys Nalon (guitar) in a merger that thrives on gut energy at the same time as it feels the need to experiment a little with arrangement ideas and not quite conventional song structures.



      This night was their first gig, not made any easier by a mixed crowd (punks, straights, in-betweens, local musos) and the inevitable reciprocal sussing out between band and audience.

      With Pete Rich out front flashing his teeth and his sax, the band sped through a first set that didn’t give all that much away except for the fact that they operated on a fairly high level of energy and that they were capable of varying the feel so as not to wear themselves too thin too early.

      Maurie Bund’s large guitar sound, courtesy of the late Jimi Hendrix, out the fatness into the overall picture of sound, while Nalon’s sharper rythyms a\ and occassional synthesiser-like distortion gave it a tidy counterpoint.

      Add Rich’s sax, some rapid fire Stranglers-style bass from Picouleau (one of the most articulate bass players on the local circuit), and some good old fashioned, solid drumming from Ray and you have the “Gun” part of Pop Gun Men.
      The “Pop” part came into its own in the second set.

      The gut level heavies gave way to a more, er, “modern” sound. Evidence of backbeat influences and some more imaginative drumming from Ray crept into the music and gave the band’s music a greater open endedness.



      But Pop Gun Men, mainly through the fairly standard R & B vocals of Rich and sometime Bund, never quite fly off into adventure land and ultimately fall back on muscle rather than oblique ideas.

      Mind you, the song lyrics cover some pretty novel ground. “Snap Crackle Pop” and “Wiz Kids”, the two songs that introduced the second set, unearth a sense of humour whose only problem is that Rich’s straight delivery clouds them with normality.

      By the final set, with the band concentrating on stronger songs, it was obvious that the middle ground between X-Ray-Z and secret Police is where Pop Gun Men take their stand, straight-faced throbbing rock tempered with a taste for adventurous ideas and lateral thinking in moderation.

      AL WEBB
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