Rev. Paul S. Cunningham – Gunhouse Hill

THE SUGARBUZZ INTERVIEW…”COLD BEER N NEW TATTOOS”….Geordie Pleathur interviews Rev. Paul S. Cunningham of sleaze-metal stompers, GUNHOUSE HILL!!! 

“We’ve forgotten that a rich life consists fundamentally of serving others, trying to leave the world a little better than you found it. We need the courage to question the powers that be, the courage to be impatient with evil and patient with people, the courage to fight for social justice. In many instances we will be stepping out on nothing, and just hoping to land on something. But that’s the struggle. To live is to wrestle with despair, yet never allow despair to have the last word.” (- Dr. Cornel West)

“You should never feel ashamed of madness…” (-Adam Ant)

“Burn my misdeeds. Burn the weeds overrunning my garden mind. Burn melancholy, burn boredom. Burn emptiness and misused words. Burn hate, burn rage. Burn illusions that lead me astray. Burn them all and more. Cast ashes to the wind. Start with only pure ardency & unity, then rebuild me in the empty spaces between breaths…” (-Rich Ferguson)

“When I taught in a boy’s prep school, I used to talk to the boys who were trying to make up their minds as to what their careers were going to be. A boy would come to me and ask, ‘Do you think I can do this? Do you think I can do that? Do you think I can be a writer?’ ‘Oh,’ I would say, ‘I don’t know. Can you endure ten years of disappointment with nobody responding to you, or are you thinking that you are going to write a best seller the first crack? If you have the guts to stay with the thing you really want, no matter what happens, well, go ahead.’” (-from Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers)

“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”( -Hunter S. Thompson)

“The ideology that we should not be ‘negative’ is an assault on our capacity to think well. Which again, isn’t to say that we should be cynical or pessimistic or obsess over what is bad (let alone identify the world and the human with essentially being bad). But negation is an essential and indispensable moment of thinking–it is, at its purest, critical thinking. Which is why when people with whom I am politically affiliated say they want to focus on the positive, and nothing but, I have to be skeptical. Our times require subtle and nuanced thought in order to confront what is coming, what is here now, and what has been done already. We cannot merely ‘put forth’ ideas (the positive moment)–we must also say ‘No’. Negation is the power of thought to say ‘No’ to what must be negated. To do otherwise is to remain caught within the seductive and ultimately toxic tendrils of ideology.”

“I forgave everybody, I gave up, I got drunk.” (- Jack Kerouac)


If you read my red-eyed ravings here on a regular basis you’ll know I’m often cryin’ about where have all the real rocknroll, hootckie kooin’, bad motherfuckin’ rockstars gone? I don’t wanna hear nuthin’ else about fookin’ Katy Perry and Kanye West. Apparently, this pisses some old folks off, who wanna hitch their wagons to that corporate gravy train, with the war mongers and the media pigs. Not me, Jack. If you been missin’ the wild hearted rocknroll PERSONALITIES of our laughin’, singin’, yesteryear, and thinkin’ about how all these anemic, brand-name, retirement-age NYC punk era honchos just seem preoccupied with the “Me Show” and makin’ a fast buck on the backs of the corpses and kids, well, here’s a real contemporary rocknroll star, from right here, and right now, in the daunting black shadows and horrific underbelly of the capitalist Martial Law, Post-American beast-lands. I was gettin’ worried that this crazy, rightwing, battlefield Amerikkka police state was incapable of generating anymore genuine article, old school rocknroll, rebel-biker, barbarian-outlaw super heroes. GUNHOUSE HILL are the band you’d want to see as the opening act if you went to see Motorhead, or the Cult. If jokey bands like Steel Panther and the Darkness just piss you off, if you thought Kings Of Leon were pussy richkids and Queens Of The Stoneage were just so-so…If you remember when a lizardskin jacket wearing George Thorogood used to shoot pool with Bo Motherfuckin’ Diddley, back in the day…If you thought Frankie C. Starr was the best singer to come out of the 80′s…If you keep cassette copies of the first albums by Smack, Circus Of Power, Junkyard, Hangmen, KIX, and Sea Hags in your muscle car…If you frequently find yourself missin’ that kind of bad to the bone, gun slingin’, bluesy raunch, that just ain’t so easy to come by, in this godforsaken age of drone assassinations, corporate mercenaries, and pushbutton cartoon disco… Let me introduce you to my friend, Rev. Paul, speak softly, and make no sudden movements. Rev. Paul is a locomotive breathed, hubcap diamond star halo wearin’, full-fledged, hell raisin’ rockstar in the tradition of Captain Zapped and Zodiac Mindwarp, of the Damned, and Black Oak Arkansas!

You know-a hallelujuh throwback to all those colorful, larger than life characters! Like Rick James, Noddy Holder, Lemmy Kilmeister, Tyla, or Wendy O. Williams! FINALLY! Rev. Paul rocks like King Diamond fronting ZZ Top, he’s a throwback to the early days of W.A.S.P., he’s like a cross between Blackie Lawless, David Roach, Tom Keiffer, and Zakk Wylde! If you know Axl stole his serpentine dance offa the Shark Island dude, that KISS took the phrase, “Psycho Circus” offa Tall Dwarfs, or that those goggles Sixx was wearin’ in the “Dr. Feelgood” vid, he snatched that whole look offa Francois from Motorcycle Boy…If you are an aging hard rock enthusiast, in these irreparably corrupt and Authoritarian Plantation States, who yearns and yearns for simpler times, and a Jack Daniels, spandex, AC/DC, and tits fueled lifestyle that working slaves can only taste in highpriced, tiny increments in Vegas nowadays, chances are, you’re the outlaw kind who is most  inclined to appreciate a band as nasty and loud as Gun House Hill. If you still think that the much maligned Shooting Gallery were a kickass live band and lament that their far superior, seldom heard demos never came out instead of that poorly produced album with the misguided Hanoi Rocks rehash….If you like classic metal, southern rock, honky tonk, and aggressive punk rock rudeness, these doomed prophets are your sleaze metal cavalry. Gun House Hill’s gritty, unshaven, deep-fried rocknroll sounds like a meth induced barfight between Tattoo Rodeo and the Sleaze Beez, or if that’s too obscure, between Dangerous Toys and Britney Fox. First thing I thought, upon spinning their disc is how ideally suited they’d be for film soundtracks-like you know that Mickey Rourke movie, “The Wrestler”? Hell! Remember that pro wrestler, the Undertaker? If there was still a rock and wrestling connection, like in the Captain Lou Albano and Cyndi Lauper era, Rev. Paul and his dangerous crew of one percenter street preachers could easily be integrated into the wrestling “heel versus face” story-line! They might call the Rev, “DEMON PREACHER”, after Razzle and Nik Fiend’s early goth band. Highly recommended to dudes who work at locally owned leather shops, know who Chris Holmes and Eddie Trunk are, make frequent jokes about obscure Dio songs, and attend biker rallies. Or anyone you know, who was pissed about Bill Ward not being paid a right-on wage for the Sabbath reunion. Those guys. THAT is the GUNHOUSE HILL audience. Rocklahoma ticket buyers. True Believers. Die hards.

Nobody sounds like this anymore, except maybe Rhino Bucket, Black Label Society, or whoever Jizzy Pearl is singing for this week. Rev. Paul has blue mohawked Swedish Motley Crue babies and hairband wannabe’s in his stool! Hellfire, brimstone, and the biker. He’s like the Answer to the musical question, “What If The Nuge Wasn’t so confused about who’s the GOOD Guys and who’s the bad guys”? If you’re sick of reading about Jack White and Skrillex and have been muttering obscenities to yourself about where have all the badass motherfuckers gone, well, here’s a rogue bunch of pirate kings who might give you some hope with their fiendish battle hymns to easy ridin’ and roadhouse queens. You hear those pukey little kids with the emo shags and great clothes you can’t afford anymore, always over-using the phrase, “OLD SCHOOL”? Rev. Paul and his leather clad band of savages are the epitome of “OLD SCHOOL”. Anybody remember RAGING SLAB? Krash City Magazine, Uber Rock, and Sleazeroxx dot com readers, and fans of Buck Cherry, The Almighty, Guns N Roses, Ozzy, Motley Crue, Ratt, David Allen Coe, or the Supersuckers will enjoy shirtlessly guzzling Jim Beam straight from the bottle while blasting songs like “Here Today & Hell Tomoorow”, “Livin’ ByGuitarThe Gun”, “Outlaw”, “Lonely River Highway”, and my personal favorites, “Carney Sideshow Beauty Queen” and “Lowridin’ Ripped Up Jeans”.

SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE:  Growing up in Boston, what local bands do you remember liking, how did you first discover rocknroll, and discuss early bands….

REV. PAUL:  When I was young I was very drawn to the bands with big personas, my first record was “Dressed to Kill” by Kiss followed closely by “Rocks” by Aerosmith things like that. By my teens I was big into shock, glam, even punk early Alice Cooper, Motley Crue, The Sex Pistols. When 1987-88 rolled around I was ripe for something new. I got it with a wave of just brilliant yet dirty sounding low slung guitar rock like Guns ’n’ Roses, Dogs D’ Amour, Circus of Power, Faster Pussycat, The Cult, Junkyard, and Rock City Angels…

SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE:  What bands and albums changed your life, some desert island discs?

REV. PAUL: There have been a few albums through the years that have drastically changed how I listened to music, the first on that list is “ Appetite for Destruction” by G’n’R and more over “Young Man’s Blue’s” by Rock City Angels that album even changed how I played a more stripped down less is more kind of ride, hell I even stole a few tricks from Bobby. Sadly, Bobby passed last year, he was and still is a huge influence on me, in later years we met via the net and sent tunes back and forth, and just talked about the greatness of rock. I do miss that…


REV. PAUL: My main guitar is a early 2000’s Bo Diddley by Grestch. As main guitar it had a super badass look, it was just right for the project I was working on, that project was Gunhouse Hill, but we will get back to that. So the Bo was just a great rock guitar, but I know I could make it better, so I upgraded the bridge pick-up and put a Bigsby on it and the sound is like it looks, trashy fat goodness…

SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: Origins Of Gun House Hill, describe each of the other members.

REV. PAUL: Gunhouse Hill is a band that I got together in 2008, I think, we are a mish-mash of people in one of the most rural places east of the Mississippi, so that in itself was a challenge. The bass player, John was easy-he is my brother in law, the drummer, Jason and other guitar, Scott, answered an add I put on craigs list of all places. We all come from different areas of the country, as well as different musical styles. I am the singer/songwriter/guitar player, the songs are big and in your face, old school rock. The songs are big with very well constructed parts with well written lyrics, and a huge back line. We have two CD’s out the first one is 2010’s “Dirty” which is a great disc, we got a lot of press and a nomination for album of the year from WTOS. Our second outing to the studio was for our new EP “Outlaw” it is from top to bottom solid…

SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE:  How many full length albums have you made and where can the fans go to procure them? Describe your specific releases….Weren’t you on a Circus Of Power tribute album? What did Circus Of Power mean to you?

REV. PAUL: I have done two songs for two tribute albums, they were around the same time, I think around 2004 or 5, anybody that knows my solo work knows I was going through a very dark cowboy style sound, there was a lot of big air, slide and harmonica. The first tribute album I did was a Dogs D’ Amour tribute, and the song I chose to do was “Princess Valium” that tune was so cool, and definitely in my wheelhouse. I enjoyed the tone I got and the slide parts really stood out. The second tribute album was for the Circus of Power tribute album “Working for the Machine” and for that one I chose “Slip Away” also very much in the vein of what I was doing at the time, it actually was the first thing I recorded with the Bo. This song was harder I changed the arrangement to suit a mostly acoustic angle, though there is a weird part in the middle that is the lead riff coming out of utter silence, it is kinda crazy, though I have no idea if Gary or Alex have heard my rendition of there song, but I had to do it Circus of Power was one of the biggest influences on my sound…

SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE:  What do you do to make a living, how do you balance family-life with rocknroll?

REV. PAUL:  I have been writing and recording songs for a solo album, but it is slow going, I have a beautiful wife and two great kids, and what looks more and more like a farm every day, couple that with in my neck of the woods a lot of jobs are seasonal so you end up having many jobs in the summer and one in the winter, hell that is if you are lucky, but I should have a solo album out in October, well thats what I am shooting for…

SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE: What does “freedom” mean to you? Which of the eviscerated Bill Of Rights should be restored?

REV.PAUL:  I will say in Gunhouse Hill, I have deliberately steered away from politics, but I have a song on an anti-war album from our great state of Maine called “Songs of Peace”. I also have a song that I wrote during the Bush years called “Another Year” it is a scathing indictment on the neo-con agenda ,that being said, I am not very happy with some of the choices Obama has made, drones, the Monsanto Protection Act and the like. I have seen the so called “Patriot Act” just decimate our civil liberties.  I have watched how through the years the illusion of freedom has become thinner and thinner, being a student of history, moreover early American history, I find it disheartening when people so blatantly abuse The Constitution. I am a registered Independent, and a pretty liberal one at that, you don’t spend decades going to Walden, and not have something rub off..

SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE:  What else do you want to communicate to the rocknroll people?

REV. PAUL:  If I had something to say to rockers, I think it would be, don’t let them change you, wear eyeliner if you want, wear a top hat, black leather, big boots, swear, cuss, but just be you, be heard, be loud….

SUGARBUZZ MAGAZINE:  Thanks, Rev., I urge all my faithful Sugarbuzzin’ Sugar-stars to join your gutter glam congregation!