Gun / Hombres: A Milestone Interview With Dante And Jools Gizzi

It has been one week since Hombres, the new album from Gun, was confirmed a Top 10 spot in the Official UK Album chart. This was their first in thirty years since the release of 1994’s Swagger. MetalTalk’s Paul Monkhouse caught up with vocalist Dante Gizzi and guitarist Giuliano ‘Jools’ Gizzi as the band builds up towards their 40th anniversary.

Hombres is incredible. All Fired Up is a great opener. You Are What I Need, as I said in the review, has a Rolling Stones touch. Fake Life is a great Gun song. I apologise to the boys if they see this as an insult, but to me, it has a little bit of an Oasis or Blur strutting modernity to it. 

“If we hear something kind of Blurry in a song and we think we really like that part,” Jools says, “we would put a bit of that in it. We will do it. We’re not scared to try it because we know it works. If somebody picks on it, then great. But it can’t just be the same thing all the time. We are big, big believers in that. 

“I hate listening to a record where I’ve listened to the first track, I’ve listened to the second, third track… Where are we going with the fourth? Well, if it’s not anywhere different from the first one, I’m not going to listen to it anymore.”

“I love it to be like a journey,” Dante says. “I like to introduce different textures and different yields to it. I think it makes it more enjoyable for the listener. They won’t just listen to it one time and go, oh, I know that that sounds very samey all the way through. 

“It’s an intentional thing to make each song quite diverse from each other. There is still an overall sound that encompasses it and the songwriting. I think it gels it together. But it’s nice to have different feels and different moods. I would go as far as saying that’s probably been like us from day one. 

“Taking On The World, for example, you’ve got songs like Shame On You, Money and then you go to songs like Girls In Love. I Will Be Waiting. They’re all very different, and I think Gun have always been like that. I always used to think, why does our sound sound like that? But we’ve always been like that from day one. It’s a good feeling. I like to feel like that.”

“But, on the Hombres album, we really wanted to make it big guitars again,” Jools says. “We really wanted to make it big drums, guitars, everything and really make it rock as much as we can.”

Hombres sounds like Gun. It has their distinct DNA in it. The backing vocals are great. One of my favourite tracks is Falling, and I think Dante’s vocals are incredible. 

“I feel comfortable about being able to sing,” Dante says. “When I listen to Fallen and I listen to that vocal, I think, yes!! I don’t cringe. I really enjoy listening. In fact, I put the volume up and listen to it, you know and that’s something that I rarely do with any songs that I’ve done in the past.

“But that one definitely, along with You Are What I Need. But yeah, I think Fallen is my favourite on the album as well. I spent a lot of time working on that vocal… getting it right because I knew I wanted to get it right. I wanted it. 

“I’ll take as long as it takes until I get this right because I feel so strongly about it because I love the melody of it. I love the chorus of it. I love the way it kind of builds and the structure of it.”

Gun - 100 Club, London - 29 February 2024
Gun – 100 Club, London – 29 February 2024. Photo: John McMurtrie

But across Hombres, Gun have created great rock songs that have all of their key staple things. Anthemic, great songs, big hooks, great performances, big guitars. They are obviously proud of it, and I think rightly so.”

“I said to other people,” Jools says, “and I may have even said that to you when I was in London, but I know everybody goes on about their best album. This is our best album. Dante, I don’t think I’ve heard him sing so well in the studio. I think it was probably the most enjoyable recording session that we’ve ever had. 

“We just felt everything work recording it. We were all sitting recording it and then listening, saying, this is really cool. It was like being kids again. It was like way back in the beginning. It was just a bit nervy at the beginning because we’ve never been in such a big studio. 

“Every recording session that we did we just felt it was pretty magical. It really was. I think you can tell that with the playing and when you hear it back. There were not very many overdubs on it. It was really great.

“Go for it, right hand, let’s make this fucking sound great because I think we had the song ideas. We did have the song ideas, but we just wanted to get a performance in the studio. I was so happy in the studio, recording it with the guys.

“No pressure, like we have our own studio. So there’s no pressure for us, all time, money and let’s just enjoy it. Let’s play it as a band.”

“I think the vocal on Fallen is quite striking,” Dante says, “because I did go into the studio initially and attempt the vocal. But I knew beforehand that this was going to be a vocal that I was going to struggle to get right. No matter how many times I did it. So I was with Simon [Bloor], our producer, and we were just going through it. I’m like, I still don’t feel this is right. I still don’t feel it. 

“At that point, we were about to go on tour. We were doing an acoustic tour, and it was like 1ten shows in eleven days. I remember coming back from that tour, and my voice was not knackered, but you could hear there was so much depth to it. I remember Simon saying, all right, we’re starting in the studio right away the next day. 

“I went, ok, I think we should give it a shot just to see how it kind of sits with the way my voice sounds because it’s so husky. It’s got a bit of life and charisma to it and it is quite edgy sounding. He’s like, are you sure you want to try? I said, look, I know the melody inside out. I know the words inside out. Let’s just go for it.

“Then I did it and that’s when it clicked. So maybe I should tour more before [recording]. The best thing you can want because you’re shit hot live.”

“That’s the best time to record, coming off a tour,” Jools agrees, “because you’re shit hot live.”

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