Edward Vincent and John Ford make up the dynamic duo that is the Discount Guns – two music mercenaries who have given their souls to reviving rock ‘n’ roll.
And they’ve got a new album in the makes to prove the genre is alive and well.
I met the duo down at Dead Bird Studios for some laughs, tallboys and loud music. Together with studio engineer, Dave Chale, the band and I discuss their history, goals and life in the underground music scene of Louisville.
Two years ago, John relocated to Louisville to escape a small town in southern Illinois in search of brighter lights, a more vibrant atmosphere and a happening music scene. His wife and he found no better location than the metro capital of Kentucky. His buddy, Edward, followed a year later, Discount Guns was born.
In a town where bookings are primarily based on a band’s potential turnout, the new to Louisville duo has fought through small crowds, poor set times and high beer prices. This has not fazed them one bit, as the band just truly loves the raw emotion of playing live.
The low turnout doesn’t discourage us at all. It is all about paying your dues. We played a show one night for four people. The two bartenders, my wife and one dude rocking out front row. As long as there is someone digging it, that is awesome for us. The Discount Gun mafia has seemed to grow one person at a time.
The biggest reason Discount Guns nods heads is the raw energy and soul in their sound. One could not meet a more humble duo, but when on stage the pent up aggression of life, struggle, love and the blues comes pouring out of the two in a rock ‘n’ roll explosion that is unprecedented in the Louisville music scene.
Their most memorable show was described as “just nasty” as both John and Edward were fighting illness, fatigue and a weary mindset prior to their very late set time.
“We honestly didn’t really want to even play, we were kind of dreading getting up there, we were both really sick,” Ford said.
Once their boots hit the stage, the rage inside all musicians prevailed, even over buckets of cold medicine.
“We just let loose. Angry. One of the most energetic sets we have ever played because we pretty much said fuck it, let’s rock out as hard as we can, ‘” Ford said.
Robitussin blues come alive.
What does the band sound like?
The Discount Guns’ sound makes you feel as if you’re the runaway bank-robber in a Quentin Tarantino movie. The sound is Link Wray and Nirvana jamming in some beach house garage. It’s hard but easy to listen to, crunchy and bright.
It is the dirty rock-n-roll that was running around in the late 1950’s into the 1960’s.
The things that make you feel proud about America.
Lately, Americans have been craving blue-collar sounds. Recession? Just look at the success of acts like The Black Keys and Jack White. Americans feel the blues, so they want to be hit by the blues, and this is not B.B.’s and Clapton’s blues.
The modern Blues seem to ask, “What if Robert Johnson hit a distortion pedal?”
A quick, powerful, soul-crushing song that speaks the devil’s tongue in a 2:00 to 3:30 track.
The Discount Guns execute this perfectly, by blending it with their dual-personalities (As John and Edward switch off on guitar and drums), lyricism and energy. The band’s persona is one of two modern cowboys.
…With the Louisville music scene as their first frontier.
Ford and Vincent say they wanted to make an album that features music they enjoy, an album that captures who they are.
“We wanted the record to sound like today, we don’t want to relive something everyday,” Ford said. “Everytime we play each song it is different. Never play the same song twice. Sometimes we play a song fast sometimes we play a song slower. We just wanted to capture the way we play live, that raw, energetic strip-down-rock-n-roll.
Thirteen songs of the best stuff we have, man. First day of recording we had a lot of first-takers. We wanted it to be raw, good, but not perfect.
After listening to forty plus minutes of their first studio effort, I’d say they nailed it: It’s James Dean’s soundtrack cruising hell’s highway in a Mustang. Slick, sexy, and relentless.
The yet-to-be-titled album will be dropping sometime soon this summer, most likely in late June. John and Edward discussed particular types of imagery they want to project, revealing the band’s broad perspective and larger-than-life identity.
So please do treat yourself when their album is released by taking five minutes to download.
“We just want to get it in people’s hands and see what happens,” Vincent said.
The Discount Guns plans to have a private record-release show for their friends, families and their most dedicated followers when the album drops. But anyone determined enough will find their way there.
You can keep up with the guns here.
The boys give me a firm shake goodbye. As we prepared to ride off into a Marlboro sunset, they ask, “Make us look cool.”
The thing is, I don’t have to ….