Fire of Love, the essential debut of one of my favorite bands, The Gun Club, was released in 1981 and was instantly a favorite of bespectacled rock critics and jaded punkers alike. I bought this album when I was an adolescent thinking it was punk. The Gun Club's name had been bandied about in those circles, and I expected something more akin to the Black Flag and The Circle Jerks I was enjoying at the time. Admittedly, it would be a few years and a few spins before I "got it." I have stated emphatically, drunkenly, with fists pounding on the bar that Jefferey Lee Pierce should be hailed as one of America's greatest songwriters.By now we all know how Pierce struggled in life, we know about the demons that rode his heels right to an early grave in 1996, and I am tired and don't want to write about it, but the darkness he carried permeates The Gun Club's work from stem to stern, and always makes me wonder if Pierce was brilliant because he suffered or if he suffered because he was brilliant. It hardly matters now, what does matter is the beautiful and poignant music and lyrics he left behind, and it still moves me. If you are unversed in this important, and oft-overlooked American icon, start here and work chronologically through The Gun Club's stellar discography. R.I.P. Jefferey.