April 15, 2021 | 11:00am ET
Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan‘s early Seattle punk band The Living are set to drop their unearthed collection of 1982 recordings, titled The Living: 1982, on Friday (April 16th). Ahead of its release, they’re premiering the music video for the track “Live by the Gun” exclusively via Heavy Consequence.
The song is a classic punk rock anthem, raging against war mongering politicians and the right-wing establishment. A definite UK punk influence can be heard in the driving power chords — played by McKagan on guitar — and defiant attitude of singer John Conte. With lyrics like, “Shoot shoot shoot the gun/ Kill kill kill kill your friends“, the song’s commentary still rings eerily poignant.
For the premiere, the band attached a clip of vintage show footage interspersed with footage of former U.S. president Ronald Reagan and what looks to be the 1983 US invasion of Grenada.
“What I can say right now is that I just watched the video and was struck by how unbelievably f**king great that song is,” drummer Greg Gilmore said, adding,. “Ronald Reagan bad. Punk rock good!”
The recordings for the new collection were recovered by Gilmore, who would play in seminal Seattle band Mother Love Bone alongside the late singer Andrew Wood and future Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament. Gossard is releasing The Living: 1982 on his Loosegroove Records.
All seven tracks were written by McKagan, who once wondered if the recordings would ever make it out of the band’s basement rehearsal space. McKagan was an active member of the punk scene in Seattle before relocating to Los Angeles, where he eventually became a member of Guns N’ Roses.
“We had something magical then, and it was ours,” McKagan said of his short-lived stint in The Living, “so who gives a f**k!”
“The Living was the beginning of all things Seattle for me — a turning point in my life,” Gilmore added in the initial press announcement. “I joined a band and a community. These guys are still my brothers. I’ve cherished these recordings since the days we made them. This record is a fantastic document of a loaded moment. I love it.”
Watch the video for “Live by the Gun” below.