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The Pop Gun Band, a Boston original

Photos of Pop Gun Band.
Photos of Pop Gun Band.
Provided by the band.

The Pop Gun Band came together in 1992 as a three piece rock and roll band with Harry Zarkades, Greg Walsh and ex-member Bruce Allen. Fourth member, guitarist Jim Melanson was added in 1993. They played throughout the Boston area over the years and after several hiatuses reformed in 2010.

Pop Gun
Pop Gun
Provided by the band.

They've supported acts such as the Psychedelic Furs, The Neighborhoods, the New Jersey band, The Smithereens and now have produced their first video.

Last May 2013, Pop Gun released their third recording American Soul at The Middle East Cafe with Boston veterans Classic Ruins as well as A Terrible Beauty. Although guitarist Bruce Allen appears on part of the new album, Allen left the band and was replaced by Harry Sabean.

Pop Gun still rocks with loud and angsty songs, they like playing rawk!

Examiner sat down with Jim Melanson, Pop Gun guitarist to learn more about this original band.

Examiner: Let's start with the now members of Pop Gun and maybe give us some background on the guys.

Melanson: "On Bass and vocals is Harry Zarkades who prior to Pop Gun played in a band on the north shore called Huck 2 then formed Pop Gun with Greg Walsh and Bruce Allen. Harry is also an author, sommelier, and owns The Grapevine Restaurant and Wine Bar in Salem, MA. with his wife Kristin.

Greg Walsh our drummer also does background vocals. Walsh has had a few bands under his belt starting with The Precious Few and then went on to form Huck 2 with Zarkades and Sabean. Shortly thereafter, Pop Gun was formed.

Harry Sabean is the other guitarist who has had a long history with Zarkades and Walsh dating back to the Huck 2 days. When Allen informed us that he was moving, Sabean was a good and natural fit to the lineup. This allowed Pop Gun to continue playing without skipping a beat so we are glad to have him."

Examiner: And how about you?

Melanson: " I've played with many bands over the years as a front man or supporting member both on the cover circuit and original bands. Some of those bands include The Crime, Blind Date, Charcoal Lavage and Pop Gun."

Examiner: How did you get involved in the music business? Were you encouraged by friends or family?

Melanson: "I can't answer for everyone in the band but for me it started with my close n play record player as a two or three year old boy listening to Beatles 45's. My parents also bought my sister and I Ringo Starr and John Lennon soap containers and I think at the time The Beatles cartoons were on TV. The beat, the sound stuck with me and from there on out I always wanted to play rock n roll."

Examiner: What is your band all about? What kind of music do you play? And what kind of music do you listen to at home?

Melanson: "Pop Gun plays straight up old school rock n roll. Guitars, drums, bass, and Zarkades has a growl to his voice. No frills, big hair or over flashy riffs, just straight up rock. We are not really about anything but rocking out and having fun. I know for myself and the other guys we all listen to what we grew up with from our early years to the college years. That era of music 1960's up to 1980's is where each of us found our influence. Police, The Replacements, Social Distortion classics such as Aerosmith, Boston, J. Giles and local favs like The Neighborhoods, Real Kids, Atlantics, too many to name really. I listen to it all plus I am always listening to what is new or has been revamped with a bit more modern sound. So many times in music we see history repeat itself."

Examiner: Any original tunes? In the works?

Melanson: "For fun, we'll throw in a few covers but for the most part, Pop Gun writes all their own material, primarily Zakades does the writing but I get a few in the mix. I think Time Has Come Today (The Chambers Brothers) is in rotation in our set at the moment. Three chords played loud and full with ruckus, how can you go wrong. Usually the place is going crazy with us on this one."

Examiner: Any recordings?

Melanson: "Yes, last May we released American Soul our third recording. It's been so far so good on the reviews from Boston Groupie News, Boston.com, Metronome and The Noise. We recorded this record at Night Train Recording Studios in Westford, MA and had it mastered over at Peerless in Newton. Trigger was our second release which ended up being a mix of new and old recordings. We recorded a portion of that record with David Minehan (The Neighborhoods and now The Replacements) over at Woolly Mammoth Sound when it was in Boston, other parts were done with Tim O'Heir at Fort Apache and a place named Orpheus which no longer exists.The first recording was done prior to my joining the band it was a seven song cassette that actually got a lot of college air time as well as support from both WBCN and WFNX during their local spots.

American Soul can be found here: http://popgunrawks.bandcamp.com/

We also made a video for the title cut of the record American Soul which is up on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5I8RQr9JIE
There are 1 or 2 more videos we want to put out for this particular recording but we are already writing for the next release."

You can catch Pop Gun on March 1, 2014 with Boston Legends the Real Kids and Nervous Eaters at The Spotlight Tavern, 208 Rantoul St, Beverly, MA 01915 For more info contact: (978) 524-0005