It's odd for a cover song to reveal so much about a band as unique as the Gun Club were. With the exception of the lyrical overhaul, their rendering of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Run Through the Jungle" is pretty faithful, but goes down like a cruel lover with a mile-wide mean streak. The Gun Club's music excels in revealing the dark and inaccessible regions of the subconscious self—leading the listener down a long and dark corridor, they invite them through an unmarked exit, and then turn on them in a frenzy of sexual and sometimes violent depravity. They were scary, self-destructive, and had an air of real recklessness about them—just like all the good things that come from Los Angeles.
At the opposite end of the GC spectrum are the destructo speaker-crankers that most fans adore them for. This isn't a Gun Club primer, just the appreciation of one fan who believes they complete all the important punk-blues circuits better than any other band who's tried, with hooks and snarl to spare. Witness below: the totally unhinged, hoodoo ritualism of "Death Party", in which Blind Lemon Jefferson meets a blown Marshall stack.
All the original Gun Club albums are mandatory listening as far as I'm concerned, but don't sleep on the (hopefully still available) Early Warning double disc of demos, live songs, and previously unheard solo-acoustic Jeffrey Lee Pierce material. I also strongly recommend JLP's Go Tell the Mountain autobiography, if you can find a copy. (Used ones are currently fetching stupid money on Amazon.) Though I haven't read it in years, I remember it being a deeply personal and commanding read chronicling the years just short of those which lead to the author's untimely death. Reminiscent of the troubled loners, outcasts, and drunks that inhabit the songs of the Gun Club, Jeffrey Lee's narrative is at times like watching a toilet flush in slow motion. And while it's easy to romanticize anyone after they're gone, JLP's story offers plentiful evidence that he was a guy who really lived it, something that his closest confidantes tend to agree with while in the same breath citing his arrogance and unbridled narcissism as the root of his undoing. Like many others, I still find myself deeply moved by the Gun Club, and I remain in awe of their routine exorcisms of the ghosts down every highway, real or otherwise.