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Ahead of an intimate Aberdeen show Gun singer Dante Gizzi lifts the lid on touring with The Rolling Stones

Gun Aberdeen
Scottish rockers Gun are set to play Aberdeen. Photo supplied by Sonic PR

Scottish rockers Gun were playing small venues on an American tour when they received a fax confirming they would support The Rolling Stones.

Within days of playing 200-capacity venues in the States, the Glaswegians were performing to 60,000 fans in Europe.

It was a sliding doors moment for Gun in 1990 that singer Dante Gizzi remembers ahead of their intimate performance at HMV, Aberdeen.

The band will play the in-store gig in the Granite City on Monday October 17 to promote their new album The Calton Songs.

Released on Cherry Red Records, The Calton Songs is a celebration of Gun’s career via vibrant representations of their career-defining songs.

A year after releasing their debut album, Gun were invited to join The Rolling Stones on their 1990 Urban Jungle stadium tour across Europe.

It was a pivotal time for Gun who would go on to rack up a string of hit singles.

Scottish rockers Gun will play HMV in Aberdeen to promote their new album. Photo supplied by Sonic PR.

Dante explains: “We were one month into a two-month tour of the States and started to hear rumours we were being touted to play with The Rolling Stones in Europe.

“When you hear things like that you just think ‘don’t build your hopes up, it’s never going to happen’.

“It was a really difficult tour because no one had heard of us in the States.

“Trying to win over people who are seeing you for the first time is tough.

“The Stones’ management sent a fax when we were in Texas. In those days it was fax machines, there were no mobile phones or anything like that.

“It said the Stones want you to do the tour.

Such a buzz touring with the Stones

“We did another week of touring then had two shows in Los Angeles. One night was going to be a corporate gig in front of press and record companies.

“Then the next night was going to be fan based. They asked if we would be up for doing an afternoon matinee show and evening show.

“That was so we could fly to Rotterdam the next day for the first gig with The Rolling Stones.

“It was such a buzz getting that tour. Around 60 other bands were in the running for it, big bands.”

‘That sealed the deal for the Stones’

Gun, who will be back in Aberdeen for a show at The Lemon Tree on December 11,  opened for the Stones for the first time at the De Kuip arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands on May 18 1990.

Such was the popularity of the Stones, the venue was sold out for three nights.

Gun would play almost 30 shows with the Stones, including sell-out gigs at Wembley and Hampden.

Singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards perform with The Rolling Stones.

Dante said: “When asked what was needed for the tour other bands were putting all these requests for such and such amount of time on the stage.

“They were also asking for all these different stuff on their rider.

“We just sent a fax saying ‘we’ll take whatever you can give us’.

“I think that sealed the deal for The Stones.”

A pint with legend Mick Jagger

New album The Calton Songs takes its name from the area of Glasgow where Gun grew up, and where they still write music.

They had come a long way from Glasgow to supporting the Stones every night in front of tens of thousands of fans.

Rock icon Mick Jagger even revealed Gun were chosen from the other candidates because they reminded him of a young Stones.

Gun to headline Aberdeen HMV in promotion of their new album. Photo supplied by SonicPR.

Dante said: “We were in Munich and in this really cool club with one side all cordoned off for the band.

“When I saw Jagger I went up to him and asked if he minded me asking a question.

“I asked why they picked us out of all the bands.

“He said ‘That’s easy. It was because you reminded me of us when we first started out’.

“I thought that was incredible.

“To say thanks I asked if I could buy him a pint.

“He just said ‘it’s alright. It’s a free bar’.

“So I thought ‘okay, I’ll help myself to a double Jack Daniels’.”

BANG!… from 200 to 60,000 fans

Following their time on The Rolling Stones’ Steel Wheels / Urban Jungle tour, Gun recorded hit album Gallus in 1992.

Fast forward three decades and Gun now features Dante, Giuliano ‘Jools’ Gizzi (guitar), Paul McManus (drums), Andy Carr (bass) and Tommy Gentry (guitar).

Dante said: “What an experience touring with the Stones was.

“You have to imagine what it was like playing a month of 200 and 300-capacity shows in the States.

“Then BANG… straight into 60,000 sell-out stadiums.

“You’re walking out onto the stage thinking two days ago I was playing to 200 people.

“It was such an incredible transformation and to get my head round that took a bit of time.

“When you do stadium shows it’s a different ball game.

“Again Jagger gave me a bit of advice. He said try not to look at the front of the crowd.

“Look at the back, the sides and as far as you can.

“Try to look into the fans’ eyes and try to acknowledge them and make them feel part of the show.

“That’s because they’re so far away it’s very difficult to make them feel they are part of the show.

“I thought that was a good point to make. ”

Gun to meet fans at HMV show in Aberdeen

Dante is relishing the opportunity to perform, and tell some stories about the band’s career, at the HMV date in Aberdeen.

gun aberdeen
Gun will play Aberdeen HMV to promote new album The Calton Songs. Photo supplied by Sonic PR.

He said: “I love playing Aberdeen and can’t wait to play up there again.

“The HMV show is more acoustic-based and it will just be Jools and I doing some stuff.

“We will also be chatting with fans and signing stuff.

“I love that, interacting with fans. It is such a great feeling.”

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