Yo, Z! What's the Run By The Gun project all about?
Several years ago I had left the big, important relationship of my life up to that point, my band. Toward the end we were a traveling band, and my friend Rey Miranda used to travel with us sometimes, whenever he could, taking pictures, hanging out. So he knew those guys, he knew the music around us at that time, and he knew something of my relationship to my band and that life. That lifestyle.
When I attempted to put together a new band a few years later, I had asked Rey for suggestions on a band name. He had just returned from a family trip to the Philippines, and he offered, without hesitation, “Run By The Gun.”
“Jesus,” I remember saying, “that’s like the greatest band name I’ve ever heard! Why do you just have that name living at the edge of your finger-tips like that?”
“That’s life, man,” he said. “motherfuckers are living under the gun out here – most everywhere in the world but here. The majority of earth’s population since the beginning of life on this rock. You want to tap into that. Holiday in Cambodia. Sunday, Bloody Sunday. You can’t use either of those…”
“Damn,” I said admiringly. Then he bah-ed out that infuriating Hunter Thompson-esque laugh of his that always seemed to say to me, ‘Bitch, I know everything, don’t ask for explanations. You don’t need that. Take what I’m giving…”
Well, I never used that name for a band. But when it came time for Rey and I to get started on this project, after years of nebulous threatening, for me there was never any question. Run By The Gun. It was perfect. Sure, these kids would never know the endless pressure or fear of daily life at the business end of a fine German weapon procured by a government spook from a disappeared military delivery – they’d never even feel a real hunger pang. And that was what made it work, for me. Our privileged North American lives, spurred on, in those days, by the camaraderie of our New York / Eastcoast hardcore scene, punk and metal, though not quite pretending, and not intentionally disrespectfully appropriating the real suffering of others, or even likening ourselves to those who were actually suffering from birth to the all to early grave – were about simply, naturally testing ourselves. Expressing ourselves and pushing the boundaries of what we’d been told we could question. We weren’t stupid (most of us), we came from middle class homes and went to good schools, but we were fucking angry. What the fuck could we possibly have to be angry about. The normal angst and alienation, separation and status within multiple unattractive systems of control. We were angry about shit we couldn’t prove we had a right to be angry about. Which is even more laden with frustration. and there’s the Spinal Tapian grip:
The best way to honor, glorify, spoof and pay tribute to the ghost-pain that had shaped us was through the world over’s most classic satirical vehicles: comic books and punk rock music.
Anyway, we’ve been at this for a few years now, and I have to say I really am beginning to love our characters. They’re mostly clueless, but they come by it honestly. They’re people, just like us, and they’re trying. Trying to understand, trying to figure it all out, they’re in the midst of setting lofty goals for their young selves while grappling with the urgencies of real life and important questions. Where are you going to go? What are you going to do? WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?
It’s that last one that’s the doozy. If you’ve ever asked yourself the same question – if you love music and you believe in the power of art and love to shape lives, to help you answer those big, big questions, then you’re in the right place. Listen, laugh, don’t judge, and challenge yourself to see if you can’t find even a little bit of yourself in these young characters looking for their way in a world that’s given them TOO MUCH FUCKING FREEDOM. They may not live under the gun, but is being left to their own devices any better? Who, in the end, can truly say.
We hope you enjoy the music of Run By The Gun. – Zambia Greene