Thursday, May 31, 2007

COME TO THE DEATH PARTY, YOU AIN’T GOT NOTHING TO LOSE

The most underrated GUN CLUB record in my book, and until the past few years one of the hardest to find, is the five-song 1983 “DEATH PARTY” EP. This record came after what many, including me, believe to be a very mediocre album, 1982’s “Miami”, which is a classic, textbook sophomore slump. After “FIRE OF LOVE”, one of the greatest debuts of all time and one of the finest American rock records of any era, expectations were through the roof that these Los Angelinos could turn in another ten songs of hopped-up punk rock bluesarama hellfire, but they didn’t even come close, opting instead to let the folks from BLONDIE (!) put their record out, and allowing them to water down the sound and fury considerably. That’s why a year later, when “Death Party” came out, it must’ve been a total slap in the face to hear the snarling, fire-and-brimstone backwater blues of the band back in place again. The EP itself came packaged in one of those thin 12” picture sleeves popular at the time, and I never remember seeing it around. I always thought it was an “import”, and until Sympathy put it out on CD with a bunch of extra live tracks in 2004, my copy was one of the only ones I’d ever seen.

Here’s the hellish title track, easily the best thing the band ever did outside of the ten masterpieces on “FIRE OF LOVE”.

Play or Download THE GUN CLUB – “Death Party”

8 comments:

Kyle said...

Yeah that was a hard to find record. There was a 7" version of it as well, iirc.

Re: Miami. The sound does suck, but I still think the songs are good enough to make it a worthwhile record. Why oh why would anyone let Chris Stein near their recording?

Gun Club had the coolest guitarists. Kid, Ward Dotson (Whom I loved in Pontiac Bros and Liquor Giant) and then Jim Duckworth (whose legendary status is sealed with me from his having participated on the Panther Burns Debut LP)on this one. I don't have any point, just had to mention it.

Anonymous said...

I liked (and still like) Miami, but that's potentially because it's the first Gun Club I'd heard. There really are a lot of great songs, and the production may not be raw enough, but it hasn't hindered my listening experience.

-trickknee

Dan said...

Am I the only one who thinks Fire of Love is overrated compared to the rest of the Gun Club's output? I'd put Miami over it. My absolute favourite, however, is the Las Vegas Story

Karl said...

'Miami' very mediocre? Them's fighting words Jay! I never could understand why this album was considered such a disappointment by some. Sure the production ain't what it could be, but I think JLP was really starting to get his songwriting chops together on 'Miami'. The only song I could've left off was 'Run Through The Jungle' 'cos it seemed somewhat unnecessary, but the likes of 'Carry Home' & 'Texas Serenade' are among my fave Gun Club tracks.

'Death Party' occupies a special place in that it was the first Gun Club record I heard, & I like it a lot, but there's something about 'Miami' that makes me put it up there alongside 'Fire Of Love'. A different beast it is, but still one of my faves.

Dave said...

To add to the chorus, I don't get the dissing of Miami either. I think it's a much better disc than Fire Of Love (no slouch itself) and the production ain't that bad at all. Now come on, Jay, enough of this nonsense!!

mrow said...

"Death Party" is my favorite early GUN CLUB record. It's got all the fire off the first LP fueling the songstuff/musicality found on the second. This cut was a fave of mine, too.

But hey: ALL these recs pale next to the beauty/tragedy of JLP's last stand - Lucky Jim!

Anonymous said...

can understand the criticism, the production, didnt overawe me either, But "very mediocre??" is not what i would describe it as, if anything its more urgent than " F.O.L".....
any way for my dough , "mother Juno" remains the "underrated" gun club album

Aaron G said...

my brother had a copy of this record and I am in Melbourne Australia. Is it really that rare?