History Of Guns - Volume 2 - Issue 2 - Guns At Dawn
This is where it begins…
History Of Guns formed in Feb 1996. The first rehearsal was in Stagger's bedroom featuring Del Alien on vocals, Max Rael on keyboards and Stagger Lee on bass. There was supposed to be a guitarist but he didn't turn up. Four months later in Discipline Studios in Tottenham they recorded their first demo, titled, 'Reformation Day', which makes up the first 5 tracks on this compilation. (Max overdubbed the guitars thanks to the wonders of multitrack recording.)
This was the dying days of the time before computers, Cubase and Logic had taken over for recording music, and it was all about saving up beer money to be able to afford to go into a demo studios and record on to real-to-real tape as much as you could get done in a day. Tracks usually quickly mixed the same day by the resident engineer with varying degrees of success.
Collected here are most of the things recorded at demo studios during the first couple of years of History Of Guns. It isn't everything. The song 'Cyber' got lost forever. The master DAT was never returned to the band of an ill-advised recording session in Essex, and all that exists is a muffled audio cassette… 'Drip Fed' is the only inclusion from that session here. The band have asked us not to include the other two tracks, a disastrously mixed version of 'No One Dies' and a track called 'Distance Moving' was apparently deemed too long in it's original form by their then manager and so was drastically shortened to the point of not making any sense any more.
Some of these songs had structure in place, verse chorus changes etc had to be programmed into the drum machine in advance, others such as 'Wildflower' and 'Shallow' are complete improvisations. Max playing the keyboard for 'Shallow' with one hand and hitting the pads on the drum machine with the other.
The rare early live recording of History Of Guns in Waltham Cross playing the track 'Speed' was recorded on an old boombox on to audio cassette, high fidelity it unfortunately is not. Dominic Hemy from The Resonance Association has done a sterling job of mastering this compilation, a particularly challenging task when taking into consideration the age and original media he had to work with. We salute him!
Also included at the end of the compilation are the three tracks from the compilation series No Holy Additives… 'Secret Garden' from Vol.2 is a pleasing mess recorded at Sync City. 'Random Death Bag' from Vol. 3 was the very first thing the band recorded at Max Rael's house using Cubase. 'Reconstructing Terror' from Vol.4 is a later Cubase-recorded piece, from after their debut 'Little Miss Suicide EP'. It was the first thing they recorded after Stagger Lee's departure from the band.
Videos apparently exist for the Reformation Day tracks; which, if the band can find them, we'll be uploading to YouTube in due course. Until then, step with us into the time machine, and witness the bloody birth of that band they call History Of Guns.
Click on a track to download the mp3 or download all tracks and album art as a zip file.