Gun pay disco homage to Hot Chocolate

Brothers Dante and Jools Gizzi of the long-running Scottish band have been huge fans of the song, a Top 30 hit in 1978, since childhood.

Every 1’s A Winner is known as a funk-meets-pop track, but its riff is pure rock – to me, it’s right up there with Sweet Child O’ Mine,” says singer Dante. “We had great fun recording the song and getting dressed up to make the video, which is a pastiche of the old TV series, Soul Train.”

The Gizzis actually plagiarised Every 1’s A Winner with Gun earlier on in their career. “I won’t tell you which of our songs Jools [guitarist] and I ripped it off for, and you’ll never guess,” Dante laughs.

Proceeds from this re-make will be donated to cancer charities. Errol Brown, Hot Chocolate’s iconic singer, died of liver cancer earlier this year, and the Gizzis’ own father succumbed to the pancreatic variety in 2005. “We’re doing this for very poignant reasons,” Dante says.

As Gun prepare to hit the road again Gizzi insists that touring continues to give the Glaswegians the same satisfaction it has done the band formed back in 1997.

“Aye. And we’re still building an audience,” he states. “We meet lots of people who had lost track of the band and stumble across us – the whole, ‘I can’t believe you’re still going’ thing. Recapturing hearts is so great and those remarks are understandable; this line-up is different to the one that they probably recall.”

With original frontman Mark Rankin retired as a performer – though he still works in the music business – Dante Gizzi, previously their bassist, took over as frontman of Gun in 2010 when former Little Angels man Toby Jepson stepped down. The group’s current album, Frantic, is Dante’s second as lead vocalist and he admits it took time to grow into the role.

“At first there was definitely some fear, we’re still really good pals with Mark, but it’s only natural for people to make comparisons,” he nods. “We will always play our hits, but bringing out new music helps to reduce the shock factor, and I’m absolutely loving being out at the front [of the stage].”

Reviews of Frantic, Gun’s sixth studio album, were generally positive, though Gizzi winces when reminded that Classic Rock bucked the trend, our writer David Stubbs claiming that it fell “into a groove of pure denim trad rock”, closing with the question: “where did the funk go?”

“We were never a funk-rock band,” Dante protests with usual good nature. “To me, it sounds like your guy listened to the album in a bad mood and with a hangover from the night before.”

Or maybe the identity confusion is attributable to Word Up, the rocked-up remake of a Cameo dancefloor standard that gave the band their biggest hit in 1994.

“Was that song a blessing or a curse?” Gizzi ponders. “I see why you’d ask the question, but mostly it was a huge blessing. It was us going completely against the grain, which has always been the Gun way. And that’s still the case today.”

Gun Tour Dates

Sep 29: Birmingham The Institute Sep 30: Norwich Waterfront Studio Oct 01: London The Borderline - PLEASE NOTE AMENDED VENUE Oct 03: Sheffield Corporation Oct 04: Leicester The Scholar Oct 05: Liverpool Loft Arts Club Oct 07: Dublin Academy 2 Oct 08: Belfast Limelight Oct 09: Aberdeen The Garage Oct 13: York The Duchess Oct 14: Bristol Fleece & Firkin Oct 15: Plymouth The Junction Oct 16: Southampton Talking Heads Oct 17: Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms Dec 05: Manchester Academy Dec 18: Glasgow Barrowland

Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.