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The History & The Players

From humble beginnings back around the turn of the century, (thats 2000, not 1900 !!!), Gunrunner have, via a series of natural events, evolved into today’s denim-clad beast, a tight, no-nonsense classic rock covers band that are well-versed in customer care and satisfaction.

This Chelmsford, Essex based 6-piece play genres across the spectrum from blues to hard rock, pop to prog rock, punk and beyond. The band call it their “Classic Rock Jukebox”, an eclectic and well thought-out selection of both anthems and obscure musical gems, all designed to transport the audience back to their younger, formative days, awakening memories of great bands and great songs which are imprinted on their musical souls.

Founded by current rhythm guitarist Spencer Pratten over 25 years ago, the aim was to play great songs and play them well. Musicians have come and gone, but the Gunrunner ethos has always stood firm. The early blues-based repertoire that leaned heavily on Cream, Freddie King, Howlin’Wolf and the like, gradually morphed into a more gutsy, rocky base, and in came legendary tracks from Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Thin Lizzy, The Doors, Whitesnake, Journey, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Queen, Small Faces, Bon Jovi, Bowie, Van Halen Saxon and Judas Priest.

If Classic Rock is your thing, then boy have you come to the right place !!

Here's some info about the Boys wot makes the Noise !!

Rhythm guitarist, backing vocals and the remaining founder member. Guitar lessons in the early 1970s led to a life-long love affair with the old six string, though semi-pro football was always first choice until playing, managing and coaching (and a catalogue of injuries) gave way to the lure of the Gibson SG.  Spencer founded Gunrunner in late1999 with old school mates and after the usual transitions every band goes through, we now have the present line up.


His musical influences are wide and varied. Brought up during the 60s and 70s, he was influenced by albums like Led Zep II, Deep Purple In Rock, Paranoid and Split.  Nights spent at The Hammersmith Odeon or Rainbow Theatre watching legends like Sabbath, Purple, Uriah Heep, Groundhogs, Montrose, Doobie Brothers, Kansas, Ted Nugent, Blue Oyster Cult, Steely Dan, Foreigner, Boston, Bad Company and Motorhead live long in the memory. Gear includes his beloved '84 Gibson walnut SG, and the din comes from a Marshall Vintage 40W all valve Combo.


Spencer is eternally grateful to The Rolling Stones for making it perfectly acceptable for a greying person of pensionable age to prance about various pubs and clubs wielding an electric guitar and dressing like he did in 1972.  ( with a slightly larger waistband !!).


Barry started playing drums at the ripe old age of 15, and with three like-minded friends, put together his first band. After about four years together, he got an offer playing full time with a rock and roll band, which he stayed with for all of 18 months. In Barry's own words
"loads of laughs, but not the most challenging work for an ambitious drummer." 


From there on he was playing mostly in blues bands, and along with his bass player, performed together for 15 years.  Later, Barry ended-up in a three piece band with a ZZ Top feel, but the usual call of family commitments led him to retire from performing. However, the lure of the stage proved irresistible, and Baz decided to get back in the saddle (well, drum seat actually), by joining a local Maldon band playing their own blues tracks.


Eventually, he decided that his heart belonged to classic rock and that is when he found Gunrunner.  His audition was damn good and the rest is history. Barry plays a six piece Sonor kit in natural birch with DW hardware and a mix of Zildjian and Paiste cymbals.  


Vince is the type of guy every band needs...brilliant on the technical side and no mean keyboard player. Vince spent some time at the legendary Marquee Studios, Wardour Street with world-renowned producer Phil Harding (The Clash, Depeche Mode and Erasure to name a few) where Vince honed his craft.


Live Gunrunner shows feature Vince nailing it whether it be the growling Deep Purple Hammond B3, The Stranglers punk synth, The Doors electric piano or the opening notes to classics like Don't Stop Believing and Jump.  Vince is also responsible for the PA system, lights, smoke machines and video effects.


If its gonna be in the set, then its gonna be done properly as Vince would say. More of a prog-rocker than Spencer or Baz, Vince's great heroes are Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman. 


Paul Dennis has played in bands since the tender age of 16 but the zenith of his career prior to joining Gunrunner was a progressive rock band called Trilogy, formed in 1981 and lasting for 5 years. Highlights from this time would be a nationwide tour with fellow prog rock rockers Pallas and Solstice, regular stints at the Marquee Club, a Radio 1 session on the legendary Friday Rock Show with Tommy Vance, playing at Stonehenge Music Festival, various recordings at EMI and Phonogram, with a track being included on the EMI prog rock compilation album Fire in Harmony.


Pauls main influences are Rush, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Max Webster . Since his Prog Rock days, he has became increasingly fond of the blues, although, as he freely admits, he misses playing in his favourite time signature of 7/4. Paul says he will never be someone who copies other guitarists note for note, but we are sure you’ll enjoy his slant on things when you come to hear the band as this technically gifted guitarist is capable of great lead work.


Although a lifelong Gibson player, (he owns a Twin Necked Gibson SG in the Jimmy Page mould), in recent years he has moved on to a PRS and uses a Custom 24 and Custom DGT model as his main guitars, along with a Line 6 Firehawk 1500 with an FBV3 Pedalboard.


Gareth is Gunrunners latest addition and what an addition he has been. His solid, yet technically proficient style has melded perfectly with the rest of the rhythm section and

provides a solid platform for Paul and Vince to weave their magic over.

Gareth was taught to play double bass and played in local youth orchestras & jazz bands, before teaching himself bass guitar. He played in function bands before giving up bass when he heard Level 42 - disliking slap bass!


Around 2000 he got back in to playing in bands and joined Hedgehog where he stayed for some 10 years. This was followed with periods in two original bands including recording albums before joining Gunrunner.


Gareth uses Fender basses with old school Trace Elliot amplification and among his favourite bass players are Paul McCartney, Chris Squire, Charles Larkey (Carol King) and Jaco Pastorius

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