Daniel's SSR Pick: May 19, 2022

Shotgun Solution: Shotgun 7” (1983, High Rise Records)

I have little in the way of biographical information on Shotgun Solution. I know they were from Rome, Italy, and released this 7” in 1983. Other than that, I only have a few scattered shards of information I’ll share further down.

I believe I first heard Shotgun Solution in the early 2000s. I can’t pinpoint the first moment I heard them, but I had three primary sources for finding out about long lost 80s hardcore bands around this time. The first was exploring other people’s Soulseek libraries, and there were some doozies out there jam-packed with every punk rarity you could imagine. Another was making my way through the Kill from the Heart website and trying to hear every band it listed. The third was record collecting friends, chief among them Brandon from Direct Control and Government Warning. He and the people he introduced me to had a huge hand in shaping my taste in punk to this day.

Back then, I remember wanting a copy of this EP, but being convinced I could find a copy for under $50. Two decades later, I consider myself very lucky to have paid more than double for this copy. I bought this copy from Discogs on Record Store Day. I’m always a bundle of nerves leading up to Record Store Day, because we invest so much money in it. If it went poorly, we would be pretty fucked. However, it’s gone well every time (so far), and this year I think it went well. Weeks, if not months, of work go into making Record Store Day happen at Sorry State, and I remember basking in the glow of what felt like a job well done when I opened Discogs and saw this sitting there. Riding on good vibes, I smashed the buy button and my high was only slightly impacted when I opened the package to find the record had been over-graded. Oh well, the record sounds great, and that’s what counts.

The day this came in the mail, I brought it to a party at Usman’s house and my friend Rich told me he’d never connected with this record. I found that surprising, because I just love it. I’m a huge fan of early 80s Italian hardcore, particularly the loose and wild-sounding bands. Shotgun has plenty of that. While the playing isn’t straight up sloppy like Wretched, there’s a looseness that makes the record feel dangerous. The guitarist is also insane, with a noodly style that reminds me of Negazione in the way there are a million notes but you’re not sure they all make sense. And the lengthy, wah-wah drenched solo at the end of “I.C.Y.K.I.M.F.” is a fucking masterpiece. Trigger warning, though: that song has graphic and misogynistic lyrics that will be enough for some people to write them off completely.

Shotgun Solution’s wildness connects them to bands like Negazione, Wretched, and Cheetah Chrome Motherfuckers, but the anthemic, oi!-ish elements of their sound remind me of Raw Power’s big choruses and the oi! influences you hear in groups like Basta, Klasse Kriminale, and Nabat. There’s just a slight oi! feel, mostly in the guitars, as Shotgun Solution’s catchy and hyperactive anthems are more like classic California punk than anything else. In other words, you can sing along with it. (Though, as I mentioned, you might not want to sing along to “I.C.Y.K.I.M.F.”)

While Shotgun isn’t an easy record to get (I went twenty years without an attractively priced copy presenting itself to me), it seems like there are a lot of copies in the US. I remember an old Raleigh punk telling me about how Raw Power’s van broke down outside their house and the band stayed there for an entire week while they figured out new transportation. I think someone from Shotgun Solution might have been on tour with Raw Power, and they left a big stack of them at the house as thanks for the hospitality. I’m sure that person sold and gave away a bunch of other copies while they were in the States. Side note, this is not my story so I’ve probably mis-remembered the details, but I think it ends with Raw Power’s van rotting in front of said punk house for years until one night the punks lit it on fire and tipped it over. It was gone the next morning, apparently taken away by the city, and no one heard anything else about it.

Another short anecdote about this record. In 2011 (or maybe 2012?) I drove Smart Cops on their US tour. Of course, there was lots of talk of classic Italian hardcore, and the Smart Cops were rabid fans and very knowledgeable. Smart Cops guitarist Edo even played drums in the reformed lineup of Klasse Kriminale. However, at some point, I realized they hadn’t heard of Shotgun Solution. Getting to introduce a bunch of Italians to a killer record they didn’t know about is a highlight in my history as a record nerd.

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