Rebel Hero is a heartfelt nod to the trailblazing female artists whose defining sounds shaped popular music.
‘They’re the renegade spirits of yesteryear', according to former Fun Lovin’ Criminals frontman Huey Morgan, and they've been ‘drowned out by pop-by-numbers acts in recent years’.
I wrote Rebel Hero during the pandemic when things weren’t going too well.
I had to cancel the debut EP. I also lost two really important shows due to COVID. The brakes went on my career, I started drinking too much, and I became physically and emotionally ill.
I first read Huey’s book Rebel Heroes back in 2017, a couple of years after it came out.
I don't know why, but during those early dark and depressing pandemic months, I picked it up again, and the book took on a different meaning for me
I was down, beaten, and feeling pretty fucking sorry for myself. But everything I needed for inspiration was right back there on the pages.
In Rebel Heroes, Huey tells us where he believes music started to lose its soul. He writes about the ground and rule-breaking voices of yesteryear.
There are a lot of people in the book who spoke to me metaphorically early doors. Like Jimi Hendrix who led me to pick up an electric guitar, blues legend Robert Johnson who inspired a song I wrote called The Deal, and Prince’s story that went into Mayte’s Lullaby.
But the female artists resonated the most in this moment, including Janis Joplin, Cass Elliot, and Amy Winehouse.
I remember the first time I heard Janis Joplin’s voice, and I literally cried. Janis does that. She pins you to the wall in a real WTF moment.
Cassie Elliot had a beautiful voice. She battled relentlessly in an era with a different idea of what a pop star should look like, and like many of her peers, excesses took their toll.
And Amy’s story is just plain tragic. A little girl lost in an industry that didn’t give a shit about protecting her from her demons.
Excess may have played its part, but these women gave everything for their art.
As I took all of this in again, I started thinking, for fucks sake, get a grip. I might have been down on my arse but was alive and kicking.
At that moment, the spark went off. And I decided to write a song.
Rebel Hero is for Janis, Cass, Amy and every other free-spirit renegade who lives for the music.
I hope you like the song.
Big thanks to Huey for writing his book Rebel Heroes. Go buy a copy here.
Special thanks to Mark, Griff, Alex, Will, Rich and Rach for helping bring the vision to life.
Take it easy.