Locked and loaded 

UK rock band Young Guns didn’t have the biggest expectations for its first substantial trek across the pond.

“We were kind of thinking, ‘We are first ones on, from England, and no one is going to give a shit,’” singer Gustav Woods said. “It’s been fantastic, though. We were hungry. It’s so great to come someplace new and get people to hear you for the very first time. We’ve even been playing for similar sized crowds that we are playing for over in the UK. It feels like a new chapter, in a very exciting way.”

In Europe, Young Guns usually fills the headline slot — a role they will return to almost immediately after this tour, although they’ve shared the stage with bands as big as Bon Jovi, Queens of the Stone Age and Guns N’ Roses.

Those opportunities came on the heels of their debut album, All Our Kings Are Dead, and this year’s Bones, which just saw a stateside release this month.

“We pushed ourselves to be a better band,” Woods said. “This is the most material we’ve ever written going into an album, and we stripped that down to the very best. We hit a level we hadn’t been able to get to. The hours we put into this let us be as good as we wanted to be.”

A lot of those hours were spent making things great instead of just good.

“You have to push yourself. You can’t be happy with good enough,” Woods said. “Whilst you can never have true objectivity or separate yourself from what you are doing, I think that, to some degree, we did that.”

The inscrutable hard rock on display in Bones is largely due to the group returning to its roots.

“What we tried to do was go back to our first loves, the records we listened to all the time when we were younger: Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana and the Foo Fighters,” Woods said. “It was the music that shaped our childhood, and we wanted to write a record that made us feel like those records did when we were growing up.”

It was a lofty goal, yes, but one the five guys seem to have met.

“We’ve never been shy about our ambitions,” Woods said. “If we are as good as we can be, things will happen.”

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