Taylor Hawkins and Jeff Beck Lead Guests On Ian Hunter's New Album


Taylor Hawkins and Jeff Beck Lead Guests On Ian Hunter's New AlbumAlbum cover art by Johnny Depp

(Fran DeFeo PR) Ian Hunter is proud to announce his eagerly awaited new album, DEFIANCE PART 2: FICTION, arriving via the Sun Records label on Friday, April 19, 2024. The 10-song collection will be available on standard vinyl, CD, and digital download. A limited edition 2LP vinyl edition of DEFIANCE PART 2: FICTION featuring 3 bonus tracks will be available exclusively on Record Store Day, set for Saturday, April 20.

DEFIANCE PART 2: FICTION sees Ian Hunter following last year's critically acclaimed DEFIANCE PART 1 with a second collection of mighty new songs as impassioned and powerful as anything in his landmark hall of fame-worthy canon. Like its predecessor, the new album boasts one of the most dazzling all-star lineups ever committed to record, including such close friends and lifelong fans as Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen, and Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick), Brian May (Queen), Lucinda Williams, Dean DeLeo, Robert De Leo, & Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots), Joe Elliott and Phil Collen (Def Leppard), Johnny Depp, Billy Bob Thornton and J.D. Andrew (The Boxmasters), Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Bob Dylan), Waddy Wachtel (Stevie Nicks, Jackson Browne), David Mansfield (Bob Dylan, T Bone Burnett), Tony Shanahan (Patti Smith), Steve Holley (Wings), Morgan Fisher (Mott the Hoople), and - in what proved among their final studio recordings - the late, great Jeff Beck and Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters). Additionally, for the Record Store Day Vinyl the special guests on two tracks include: Mike McCready and Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam), Chris Robinson and Rich Robinson (The Black Crowes).

DEFIANCE PART 2: FICTION - which features an original cover painting by Depp - includes the electrifying first single, "Precious," featuring Taylor Hawkins on drums, Joe Elliott on background vocals and instantly identifiable guitar from longtime mate Brian May (who began his own road to superstardom when Queen supported Mott the Hoople on their blockbuster 1974 tour of the UK and North America). "Precious" premieres today on all DSPs and streaming services.

"We got on really well with Queen," Hunter says. "When you're in a band you can get really bored with each other but they were just normal blokes, it was like being on the road with nine guys instead of just five. Freddie was hilarious and I've kept up with Brian to this day."

Ian Hunter has stood in the spotlight for nearly seven decades, from fronting Mott the Hoople and his renowned partnership with Mick Ronson to his internationally lauded 21st century renaissance with the Rant Band. The DEFIANCE project came together in 2020 as Hunter worked on new songs in his Connecticut basement alongside his longtime collaborator, guitarist/producer/multi-instrumentalist Andy York. With quarantine rules in effect, longtime manager Mike Kobayashi and famed rock 'n' roll photographer Ross Halfin suggested Hunter reach out to some of his friends and fellow artists to fill in the tracks. A spectacular selection of stars immediately agreed, building out Hunter's demos with their trademark talents.

Hailed by Classic Rock Magazine as "a collection of brilliant, swinging rockers," DEFIANCE PART 1 proved among the most critically lauded collections of Hunter's brilliant career, named by Classic Rock Magazine among "The 50 Best Rock Albums of the Year," by Ultimate Classic Rock as one of "Top 30 Rock Albums of 2023," and by MOJO as one of "The 50 Best Albums of 2023," the latter declaring it "one of those rare all-star affairs that transcended the sum of its parts. A crunchy reiteration of rock'n'roll's foundational allure, from one who'd been there, done that and, of course, wrote the book."

Now Hunter returns with DEFIANCE PART 2: FICTION, again boasting a historic roster of guest artists while evincing a harder lyrical edge and denser musical approach. Having long used his voice to explore and examine contemporary issues, Hunter is once more pointing his passionate pen at a society seemingly more out of control with each passing day.

"I was trying to avoid all that on PART 1," Hunter says, "but on PART 2, it caught up with me. Most of those were written two or three years back, so I wanted to get it all out before whatever takes hold in November. It would be dated after the fact."

Songs like the legalization anthem "Weed" - featuring Stone Temple Pilots' Dean DeLeo (guitar), Robert De Leo (bass), and Eric Kretz (drums) and the epic "Fiction" - with keyboards from Mott the Hoople's Morgan Fisher and a stirring string arrangement from David Mansfield (Bob Dylan, T Bone Burnett) - are full of righteous fury and vibrant spirit, Hunter's perspective and gift for protest music as clear-eyed and independent as ever

"I'm neither left nor particularly right," Hunter adds. "I'm just straight down the middle. And so I tried to write from that point of view. An eagle has two wings and if one falls off it perishes. That's what I'm trying to get at. A bit of common sense, you know, Thomas Paine stuff."

Countless highlights abound through DEFIANCE PART 2: FICTION, from a pair of irresistibly crunchy rockers ("People" and "Kettle of Fish") featuring three founding members of Cheap Trick to the raw, emotional "What Would I Do Without You," the latter of which sees Hunter sharing lead vocals with Lucinda Williams - the first duet in his extensive canon.

"Lucinda and her husband came to one of my shows in Nashville," Hunter says. "I love her voice, there's something very childlike, and you just know it's her straight away. You don't forget that voice."

Much to his surprise, Hunter is currently hard at work writing songs for a third installment in the DEFIANCE project. Though born from expediency and quarantine, the communal nature of DEFIANCE has proven a remarkably fruitful creative path for Ian Hunter, still another collaborative milestone in his indefatigable journey through rock 'n' roll.

"I never initiated this," Ian Hunter says. "It just kind of just happened and it turned out great. So I'm going to write some more songs and we'll see what happens again."

Stream "Precious", featuring Def Leppard's Joe Elliott, Queen's Brian May and the late Foo Fighter Taylor Hawkins, below:

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