Young Guns

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Young Guns


Despite running on two hours sleep, admitting “I’m just with it now,” Wood is very thoughtful when discussing the journey his band has taken so far. The synergy that exists between all five members of Young Guns goes back to the fact that they were friends before playing music together.

Having lived “in a completely different area than I was used to, hanging around with different people,” fate played its hand when Wood moved for his studies. One little change altered the lives of Gus, brothers Fraser and John Taylor (lead and rhythm guitar), Simon Mitchell (bass), and Ben Jolliffe (drums). After meeting around the Buckinghamshire area, particularly at local music venues, the mates decided to form a band. The group that fans know today has seen its share of personnel changes over the years. Honing their sound for around three years, Wood says the chemistry within the core group was “the catalyst” to take things to the next level. “It’s been a long time coming in a lot of different ways,” the singer admits.

Whether it’s an exercise in public relations or a massaging of egos, many bands claim to have a diplomatic process when it comes to songwriting. Wood’s proclamation that “everyone has a contribution,” has a real ring of authenticity.

“It’s good because everyone feels an equal level of connection to the music we write, which is great.” Too many cooks doth spoil the broth though, he warns. “That’s five dudes painting one picture; everyone will have their own idea of how it should be. It’s not perhaps the quickest process, but it makes everyone feel like they’re a valued member of the band.

“It’s always an uphill struggle, but it means that everyone is a little bit prouder of what we do.”

Honing that chemistry hasn’t happened overnight, but it’s resulted in the tight machine of intensity you see and hear today. “Everyone’s settled into their roles over time. We all pull our weight in different ways. We were really finding our feet. Finding who we were, what we wanted to be. After the first release [2009’s Mirrors] we were really excited. It did really well, we toured off the back of that. It allowed us to begin to shape ourselves and to define what we wanted to be as a band.”

With a certain dark, brooding charisma and punk rock-style abandon onstage, Wood has the ingredients of a one man army, almost leaving his bandmates in the background. He affirms, however, that “it’s nothing like that.” Another element that separates Young Guns from their predecessors is their apparent lack of in-fighting. Good ol’ Gus won’t likely be pulling a Nigel Tufnel and exiting the band in frustration, “we’re lucky as a band because a lot of bands argue and fight. We might bicker like family, but the dynamic between everyone is great.”

Times have changed for rock stars from the days of their Soundwave counterparts Van Halen and Alice Cooper, thanks to the probing eye of technology and a change in culture, and it’s something Young Guns have certainly had to deal with, as well as benefit from.

“In this day and age there’s no real room for that,” the enigmatic Gus says of the glory days of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. “You’ve gotta work so hard, a singer in a band has to be ready to sing. You have to be serious about it.

“We enjoy cutting loose and having a good time, but fundamentally it’s a lot of hard work and that kinda thing only works when everyone is on the same page.” He believes the appreciation of work ethic over theatrics has its own rewards, “I think rock ‘n’ roll doesn’t mean what it used to, but it’s definitely in a cool way. Now I know the value of working hard on something I believe in.”