rolling stones gunface 1997Can You Hear the Music?


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Rolling Stones songs: Gunface
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Your tongue lickin’ way out of place/ I’ll rip it out/ I’ll stick a gun in your face/ You’ll pay with your life…

Written by: Jagger/Richards
Recorded: Ocean Way Recording Studios, Hollywood, USA, March 13-July 1997
Guest musicians: Danny Saber (electric guitar, bass and keyboards), Jim Keltner (percussion)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012

From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
I taught her everything/I taught her how to dream/I’m gonna teach her how
to scream
. The narrator is clearly motivated by a desire for revenge on his
ex-girlfriend, and it is with a gun in his hand that he intends to satisfy this
desire. The situation could not be clearer. The lover feels betrayed and plans
to let his weapon do the talking, and then quit town without a trace.
“Gunface” exemplifies the Stones’ new approach. It is simultaneously rock
and funk, and bears the stamp of Danny Saber, a California producer and
remixer, and onetime member of Black Grape. The producer and sound
engineer of this Manchester-based alternative rock group was none other
than the excellent John X. Volaitis, who was responsible for much of the
technical work on Bridges to Babylon. “Gunface” has never been performed onstage.

The opening drums are reminiscent of “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, but
there the resemblance ends. This is not to take anything away from the
extraordinary drum work, for Charlie is at the top of his game on this
album. Jim Keltner’s contribution is also prominent, driving home the
rhythm with his shaker before turning his attention to the congas, the
maracas, and various other percussion instruments. Danny Saber, a veritable
one-man band, plays a very effective low and funky bass line, and also
throws in some guitar. And it is over this superb rhythm section that Keith
(or possibly even Mick?) adds his own guitar and some masterfully crafted
riffs, enhanced by a delay of the kind he had a tendency to overuse in the
eighties (thanks to his MXR pedal). Ronnie then answers him, initially with
a series of short solo phrases, some played with the fingers and some played
slide (he does not come in until the twenty-fourth bar), and then with a
heavily distorted solo at 2:54, almost certainly on his black Zemaitis. In the
refrains, Danny Saber is also on keyboards, with synth pads and electronic
effects that are frankly out of keeping with the musical world of the Stones
and therefore not in the best of taste. Mick, meanwhile, gives a very good
vocal performance, as at ease in R&B as he is in rock and blues.

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