Film Review: Hired Gun

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Voltage Productions/Vision Films









“A hired gun is an assassin; the best available musician that gets hired to go on tour to deliver that music for that artist. Nobody will know who he is, but he gets that gig cause he’s an elite player!”

Our own backyard of Nashville is full of the quintessential hired gun, but so is your record collection and the stage from the last great concert you went to see. These are the top-notch musicians who back the artist, make their album’s sound great, and breathe life into the songs we can’t get enough of. The hired gun is the player that you only know by their memorable riffs, but not their names.  

The new film Hired Gun tells their stories and showcases their extreme importance and influence on the music we love! – told from both the studio session player side of the equation and the touring band member perspective.

While recognizable artist’s such as Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, and P!nk all appear in the film to praise the musicians they’ve chosen as their own family, this film never allows their star power to overshadow the hired guns.

Amongst the list of appearances: Nita Strauss (guitarist Alice Cooper), Phil X (guitarist Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry), Rudy Sarzo (bassist for Ozzy, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake), Jason Hook (guitarist Five Finger Death Punch, Alice Cooper, Mandy Moore), Jeremy Spencer (drummer Five Finger Death Punch), John 5 (Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson) and Greg Upchurch (drummer Puddle of Mudd, Chris Cornell, Three Doors Down).

While we don’t think of legendary names like the late Randy Rhodes (Ozzy Osbourne’s guitarist) or Jason Newsted (Metallica bassist for 14 years) as hired guns, this film exposes the fact that they were actually nothing more than that when they stepped into their respective roles.

Other highlights of this film are the in-depth look at the impact that Kenny Arnoff (drummer John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, and Elton John) had on “Jack & Diane,” how the Nine Inch Nails opened the door for their once touring guitarist Richard Patrick to create his band Filter (“Hey Man Nice Shot,” “Take A Picture”), and the inside stories of touring with Alice Cooper, KISS, Five Finger Death Punch, and Bon Jovi.

Where most music documentaries chose to only look at the star, or even at their most monumental albums, there’s never any credit thrown to the unsung heroes that make it all come together - until now! Hired Gun gives us a very interesting insight behind the scenes of what we don’t always chose to look at, but something that’s always right in front of us.


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