Guns For Hire – 100th Issue of Zig Zag Magazine, 1980
Mod was a laugh and those who laughed loudest were the kids who started it and could see beyond The Bridge House to its inevitable end. For a while The Cambridge and The Wellington were good places to hang out but mod was dying by the time the world knew it existed. Few of the bands survived the hype but the spirit of the Early mod boom and the experience of punk fired the imagination of Vaughn Toulouse, well known face about town, who set about creating the perfect rock band. He roped in a few of his mates for this ambitious project and the first line up of Guns For Hire settled down as Vaughn, Bob Bethnal (Green), Gary Foghorn Crowley, Tony Lordan and a geezer called Paul on drums.
These were the Guns’ finest days, ligging around town on the back of a non-existent band. Make no mistake, the idea of becoming a proper band was still a germ in Vaughn’s turbulent brain. Booze and chaos were still the order of the day as Virgin’s Shop staff found at their party. In September, three months after the fateful Marquee night when the Guns were conceived, the first batch of badges was delivered.
I thought this was it but better was to come.
The following Sunday there was a Guns For Hire outing to The Venue to see The Teenbeats. During the gig Ginge (Spizz roadie and acting Guns manager) was approached by one of EMI’s ever-on-the-ball A&R men who offered The Guns lodgings in a studio, all expenses paid until they came up with a single shaped thing. Laugh? We thought our trousers would never dry. It was after this ridiculous incident that the idea of a proper band began to rear it’s head and seemingly overnight Vaughn turned in a bundle of really catchy streetwise lyrics. After toying with an all-star pickup band under the name of Vaughn Toulouse and the One Armed Bandits, he got on the case and came up with the first all-singing, all-dancing version of Guns For Hire.
Supported by Banshees promoter Dave Woods, the band went into the studio and got together a tape featuring Vaughn’s first batch of songs and a devastating rockabilly version of Siouxsie’s “Staircase”. The band entered the present decade as Vaughn on vocals, Mike Herbage on guitar and ex-Madness boss John Hasler on the stool. The demos put the band in the same sort of field as The Nips, The Chords and the best of Madness, though don’t take that as definitive. At the moment, on the strength of the demos several major labels are pursuing the band with pens at the ready.
Anyway, that’s the history of the Guns and with a single ready (“I’m Gonna Rough My Girlfriends Boyfriend Up Tonight”) they stand on the threshold of success. I can only hope they’re as successful a band as they were a joke.
REMEMBER: GUNS FOR HIRE….DON’T HARGUE! – Suspect O’Typewriter