We’ve had far too much sophistication and elegance gracing these pages recently, so let’s smash it all to the floor with Guns N’ Wankers For Dancing and Listening, from ooh, way back in 1994. Now I was bought up to believe that only us British chaps and our Antipodean cousins understood the word ‘wanker’ properly but I’ve recently caught some of you North American types using it too, for the benefit of any doubt it means ‘one who wanks’, a self-abuser, an onanist, a jerkoff etc etc*
Such were the views of Duncan, Pat and Joolz when they formed Guns N’ Wankers on the day Brit punkers Snuff split up in 1991, named in tribute to the bloated mess that Axl and co. had so quickly become. They became part of the UK punk/hardcore scene that featured, the totally fucking sacred, Leatherface**and Wat Tyler^ and toured incessantly – I only caught them once at Leeds Duchess of York on 14 December 1993, at Leatherface’s last gig, when I saw them I wrote that they were, ‘OK hardcore, every so often they’d catch light and be absolutely brilliant’, which listening to For Dancing and Listening now, is a bit wide of the mark, it’s better than that.
Let’s get it right out in the open, ‘Skin Deep’ is just one of my favourite tunes – powerful, emotional, bitter, tuneful and perfectly played, what’s not to like? okay, granted, if you were a kazoo freak you’d find the complete lack of kazoos a little disappointing maybe, but for the rest of us normals it’s fast closing in on perfect.
Keep telling me good things come to those who wait,
And I wont be there.
You’ll find out for yourself, soon enough.
I wont try to make it right.
Or make it understood.
When that point of view means nothing to you.
Something about this track just sets my whole nervous system alight, the adrenalin starts to creep around these tired old veins and I start to hop up and down bellowing whichever words I can remember. This is why I like music, because it can make me feel this good, this alive. ‘Skin Deep’ has been giving me this ever since I first heard it on a Fat Wreck Chords sampler almost (sobs) 20 years ago, that’s some scary maths right there!
Of necessity the rest of For Dancing and Listening, whilst very good just can’t hit these same heights again. My favourite bits are the poppier offerings like opener ‘Blah, Blah, Blah’ and the almost baggy opening of ‘Help’ (not a cover!), but then again the mighty thrashing ‘Blown Away’ takes some beating too, and as for the drums on ‘Nervous’, ex-Wildheart Pat Walters just destroys! There’s also some almost Megadeth riffage hidden away in the middle section of ‘Surprise’ too, which just, umm, surprised me.
This is seriously good music, played with real precision and emotion by three really good musicians, that deserved to sell at least as many copies as both Use Your Illusion albums. I suspect you’ll either relate to this type of racket or you won’t, but do me a favour do try ‘Skin Deep’ at least. At their best Guns N’ Wankers come very close to emulating Leatherface, I can think of no higher accolade here, but before they went their separate ways, back into a reformed Snuff and the wonderfully-named Dogpiss^^they were a real force for good in the world.
P.S – for one of the encores when I saw them GN’W sort-of reformed Snuff on stage to play ‘Win Some, Lose Some’, their finest moment – words fail me.
*see the internet is the joyous font of all knowledge!
**creators of my second favourite LP of all-time Mush; I’m not good enough to write about it yet though.
^anyone out there know their Sexless EP? another work of pure inspiration, with the best cover EVER.
^^I didn’t make that up, honest. Their LP Eine Kleine Punkmusik is a 1537 fave.
Just for the heck of it, Debbie Gibson as it should be done: