Thursday, January 19, 2012

STUN GUNS - Live on WNYU - Tape - 1995

STUN GUNS live at Churchill's in Miami. Photo by ??
   This very recording right here, which is legendary and almost mythical in my mind, is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. When I was typing the words to the first or second post ever, I thought "I have to get a hold of that live STUN GUNS tape and make a good digital copy of it one day." My good friend, Erick Lyle was kind enough to mail it across the country, along with 30-40 other tapes that are on loan to me for a bit. If you're as happy as I am about this, be sure to buy the man a coffee the next time you see him. Enough about that....let's get the stories rolling. Here is what George Kelley, the bass player of the STUN GUNS had to say about this time in the band's history.

  "This would have been in August, 1995 towards the end of a nine week tour with the almighty SHAFFERS from Chattanooga. Considering that it was eight people traveling together for over two months and doing all sorts of destructive things to themselves, I don't think there's one person in either band who wouldn't have called it an amazing experience. I sure would.
   We had our fair share of fucked up shows on that tour (it wouldn't have been the STUN GUNS otherwise) but we nailed it a lot too. A day or two after the WNYU show, we had a gig in Manhattan - I think it was called the Gnat Club - that I still think was our best performance ever. We were just super tight at that point, at least when we could stand up.
   So, this would be a little slice of that time. Probably equal parts sloppy and inspired with a little Paul (Enema) Lecours cursing on-air to drive the staff nuts, too. But we genuinely loved what we were doing and loved each other, too. And not a day goes by that I don't miss Andrew Ross Powell and wish that he was still here."
STUN GUNS in Alabama in 1996. Photo by me.

   Erick Lyle has always been a big supporter, friend and archivist of the STUN GUNS since day one. It is because of his tape comp "Technical Difficulties From Day One" that I ever heard the amazing live version of "Revolution Sound" from this recording (the same goes for many, many other people). This is his take on this era of the STUN GUNS and the southern punk of the mid-90's...

    "This is the closest thing to a foundational moment as survives today for what is now popularly called "The Region". Sure, Eric Nelson's band, AUDACITY came to Miami from Dalton, GA to play with CHICKENHEAD in 1992. Sure, Andrew Powell (STUN GUNS drummer) actually went to live in Dalton and went on tour with THE SHAFFERS in 1993. But the real unity began in summer 1995 when Miami's STUN GUNS and Dalton's SHAFFERS embarked on an ill-advised, over-ambitious, yet now legendary 3 month tour of the United States. With almost no shows and no money, this rolling blackout was quickly joined by THE HOOKERS - a proto-SPAWN SACS of Michigan / Miami wildness. The three bands simply showed up and lived for days in punk houses across the country from Lansing, MI to Portland, OR to the roof of NYC's ABC No Rio, closing countless minds as well as their own, forever, along the way. THE SHAFFERS attempted to record in Lansing, but Eric's voice was blown and they never liked the recordings. This trip to WNYU with Region ally and Yonkers legend Joey I, is the best surviving recording of the band (SHAFFERS) and includes some of the best STUN GUNS material too. Accidentally amazing, transcendent, hilarious and simply the best!"

   For those of you in the dark, the STUN GUNS were a Miami punk band that were around for a good chunk of the 90's who delivered catchy punk that was equally inspired by melodic punk, Goodfellas, and the hard living of Miami. Paul Enema would sling out off-the-cuff one liners as quickly as he spit out his rapid-fire lyrics that were both bitingly cynical and tragically astute. George Kelley was always a super nice guy who seemed to be able to discuss anything with anyone and held everything together with his solid bass lines. Their guitarist, Buddha was and still is one of the best guitarists I have ever heard in my life. Andrew Ross Powell is still one of the most inspirational drummers (and people) I've ever seen or heard. Just being in the same room with him felt electric and exciting sometimes. His absence from this world is palpable and uncomfortable at times. Along with hundreds of other people around the world, I will always feel a strange vacancy in this punk scene without Andrew in it. I hope he's resting in peace somehow...or at least putting lotion in his foot-long devil-lock, writing a 43 chord song on the guitar and playing the drums like a man possessed in an alternate reality. RIP forever and always.
One of the many reasons Andrew was such an inspiration to me is because he put everything he had into his every performance. Here he is seen playing bass for KLS at a show where he broke 3 strings on the bass within 2-3 songs. Photo by Josie.

Updated 2013

...and if you're wondering, "soooo...where's the SHAFFERS stuff?", it will be posted tomorrow.

Thanks to Maximum Rock N Roll for letting me use their superior digitizing equipment for this tape so I could get the best quality possible and for all the hard work they've been doing with their magazine since 1977....and for bailing me out of jail in 2002.

OH!!  I ALMOST FORGOT...You can still order the outstanding STUN GUNS LP from Do Ya Hear We!!


Glenn said...

I was just thinking about Andy and wondering how he was. I searched for him on-line and just found out he had died. We used to drive around all day and night with tapes playing at full volume in my 1985 Chevy Blazer. I used to transport his drums to shows in Miami Beach when he played with Powerhouse and Quit. I kind of feel sick. He was a great guy. Do you know how he died?

Harvester said...

I'm so sorry you had to find out this way. It's terrible. He passed away in 2003 due to an overdose. There is an Andrew Ross Powell Memorial Page on FB that is ran by his father if you would like to get in touch with him. He is always happy to talk to old friends of Andrew's.

Glenn said...

I really appreciate you getting back to me. Now that I have had some time, i realize that Andy was not ever going to be a guy that would slow down. He would never settle on a regular job, wife, kids or mortgage. He was burning too bright and flying too fast for any of that. I have been believing for all these years that he was still alive somewhere making people laugh and tearing stuff up. I think I am going to keep on believing that. The world seems better that way. Thanks again.

Unknown said...

Wow. I am in the same boat as Glenn. Hung out with Andy a few times back in his Powerhouse days when we were still in our teens and he would make my sides hurt. Just stumbled on this while reminiscing about the SFLA HC scene. Now I am just bummed.

Jossette VonShadow (Jossie) said...

I took the first picture as well, it was taken at Churchill's, who remembers the year, but yeah. Glenn, actually from what I had heard, he had slowed down A LOT and had a good relationship as well as a son. I don't know all the details but he was doing really well. It was one of those things. Sometime people go to their "old ways" after being good for such a long time that they no longer can take the same as before. Very sad indeed. I found out on one of my days back at Churchill's after I had been away from "the scene" for a long time and it was the worst night, I basically got shitfaced and cried to all my friends that night. RIP Andrew "the hurricane" Powell