Former Mott the Hoople singer and longtime rocker Ian Hunter is releasing his 13th solo album, Defiance Part 1, on April 21, 2023, and the 83-year-old has a collection of guests from the late Jeff Beck and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, along with members of Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica, Stone Temple Pilots, and more.
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“It was a fluke,” said Hunter on how the album came together with dozens of collaborators. “This was not planned. Really, I’m serious. I really couldn’t believe some of them. I mean, it’s amazing what’s happened. It’s been such a buzz.”
In addition to contributions from Beck and Hawkins, joining Hunter on Defiance Part 1 are Johnny Depp, Joe Elliott of Def Leppard, ZZ Top’s Billy F Gibbons, Duff McKagan and Slash of Guns N’ Roses, Todd Rundgren, Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, Waddy Wachtel (Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards), Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, Dane Clark (John Mellencamp), Billy Bob Thornton and J.D. Andrew of The Boxmasters, and Stone Temple Pilots’ Dean DeLeo, Robert DeLeo, and Eric Kretz.
“Everybody’s sitting around,” said Hunter in a statement. “It’s Covid. Nobody’s going anywhere. We started sending them out. Slash started doing something. Robert Trujillo from Metallic. Ringo Starr, Mike Campbell. Joe Elliott is on a few tracks. Johnny Depp said, ‘Jeff Beck’s with me and we’d like to do a couple of songs.’ I know Todd Rundgren. I toured with Todd way back.” Hunter added, “It’s never-ending. I mean, every day we’d get a phone call ‘this guy wants to do it. That guy wants to do it.’ It was like, ‘I can’t believe this.'”
The nostalgic lead single “Bed Of Roses” also features Ringo Starr and former Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell.
The album first started coming together in early 2020, shortly after Hunter kicked off a run of shows celebrating his 80th birthday, which was cut short by the onset of the pandemic in 2020. Using the lockdown to get back to work, Hunter began writing a collection of new songs in the basement of his Connecticut home. Along with longtime collaborator and guitarist Andy York, the two used only a computer, a small keyboard, a guitar, and a V5 piano.
Forming Mott the Hoople in 1969, the band released seven albums together from their eponymous release in ’69 through their final The Hoople in 1974. Around this time, Hunter was also often collaborating with David Bowie and his guitarist Mark Ronson during the Ziggy Stardust era.
Bowie—who initially encouraged the band to stay together in the early ’70s when they were close to breaking up—went on to produce Mott the Hoople’s fifth album, All the Young Dudes. He also wrote its anthemic glam rock title track, which he shared with the band after they refused his Ziggy Stardust classic, “Suffragette City.”
Following the disbandment of Mott the Hoople in 1974, Hunter released his self-titled solo debut and dozens of albums since, including Man Overboard in 2009, and three more releases with The Rant Band through 2016. In 2019, Hunter joined Def Leppard on stage during their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction for a performance of “All the Young Dudes.”
“There are a lot of reasons for calling this album Defiance,” said Hunter of his latest work. “It’s like, people my age shouldn’t be making records, blah, blah, blah. But we’ve still got a bit left.”
Defiance Part 1 Track List
- Defiance (feat. Robert Trujillo & Slash)
- Bed Of Roses (feat. Ringo Starr & Mike Campbell)
- No Hard Feelings (feat. Johnny Depp & Jeff Beck)
- Pavlov’s Dog (feat. Dean DeLeo, Robert De Leo & Eric Kretz)
- Don’t Tread On Me (feat. Todd Rundgren)
- Guernica (feat. Mike Campbell & Joe Elliott)
- Angel (feat. Taylor Hawkins, Duff McKagan & Brad Whitford)
- Kiss N’ Make Up (feat. Taylor Hawkins, Billy Bob Thornton & Billy F Gibbons)
- This Is What I’m Here For (feat. Taylor Hawkins, Joe Elliott & Waddy Wachtel)
- I Hate Hate (Alternate Version) (feat. Dennis DiBrizzi & Jeff Tweedy)
Photo by Kevin Kane/Getty Images For The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame