IAN HUNTER – Defiance Part 1 [feat Joe Elliot, Slash, Billy F Gibbons] (2023)

IAN HUNTER - Defiance Part 1 (2023) - full

In the title track of “Defiance Part 1“, his first album in seven years, IAN HUNTER declares with pride that he’s “still flyin’ by the seat of my pants” and “still frolickin’ with all the young dudes.” And both serve him extremely well here. ”Defiance Part 1”, Hunter’s 16th solo outing since parting ways with Mott the Hoople nearly 50 years ago, rocks with a charged conviction that lives up to its title, especially in relation to Hunter’s age. He’s 83, but save for the grizzled husk in his voice, Hunter tears into these 11 songs like someone less than half his age.
This may be Hunter’s eighteenth or so album (not counting his records with Mott The Hoople), but in its speed, its swing, its songs, and its attitude it’s more like a debut. In the statement-of-purpose “This Is What I’m Here For,” he even gloats that “When I was 30, I was over the hill / Fifty years later I can still kill ’em all.” And throughout Defiance (yes, there is a Part 2 coming) he more than lives up to the talk.
There’s a line-up of ridiculously famous star names contributing on each song, namely Slash, Joe Elliott, the late Jeff Beck, Todd Rundgren, Duff McKagan, Brad Whitford, Billy F Gibbons, Ringo Starr, Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, etc. All lend their talents, but none of them overwhelm the songs or come anywhere near to standing in Hunter’s light.

Part of this must be down to his regular collaborators The Rant Band, led by longtime conspirator Andy York, who rock and swing like anything throughout, and by now can anticipate their boss’s every demand.
Part of it must also be the respect for Hunter, who has defied the laws of space and time all his life. But most of this album’s sheer chutzpah and balls is down to Hunter, who has made seemingly not giving a fuck part of his personal mission statement since 1969.

The songs are great. From the title track that’s as metal as Hunter gets (that’ll be Slash) and is a classic Hunter boast (“Got an F for giving too much lip/Got an F for being tragic and hip”), to the poppy Bed Of Roses, about playing Hamburg’s Star Club and features, aptly enough, Ringo on drums, this is a collection of brilliant, swinging rockers.
There are harmonies from Rundgren on the majestic Don’t Tread On Me, there’s a track featuring, impossibly, Taylor Hawkins, Billy Bob Thornton and Billy Gibbons, and there is the epic Angel feat Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford, a ballad as good as anything Hunter has ever done, with the haunting line: “When we move, I hope we go to your place.”
Nobody but Hunter has the power, at this point in their career, to sound so fresh, so new and so exciting.

It’s a genuine joy to listen to Hunter truly kill on the rockers, expressing true defiance – of society and failed political discourse as well as age (he says Part 2 is even more topical). “I Hate Hate,” presented in two versions (one with Jeff Tweedy, one with co-producer Andy York Hunter’s Rant Band), throbs like a new wave prototype.
Hunter sneers his way through “Pavlov’s Dog,” his bite as sharp as Dean DeLeo’s guitar licks, while “Kiss N’ Make Up” mines a swampy groove tailor-made for Gibbons and for Thornton’s vocal drawl.

Meanwhile “Guernica”, featuring Mike Campbell & Joe Elliott, plays Hunter as the smartest man in the room, name-checking classical paintings to frame a discussion about creative inspiration and drive, and making it sound profound rather than posturing.
Hunter has been making music for the better part of 65 years, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who relishes as much as he still does. ”Defiance Part 1” is indeed timeless classic rock, and it makes us that more excited to tuck into Part 2.
Highly Recommended


01. Defiance (Ft. Robert Trujillo, Slash)
02. Bed Of Roses (Ft. Ringo Starr, Mike Campbell)
03. No Hard Feelings (Ft. Johnny Depp, Jeff Beck)
04. Pavlov’s Dog (Ft. Eric Kretz, Dean Deleo, Robert Deleo)
05. Don’t Tread On Me (Ft. Todd Rundgren)
06. Guernica Ft. (Mike Campbell, Joe Elliott)
07. I Hate Hate
08. Angel (Ft. Taylor Hawkins, Duff McKagan, Brad Whitford)
09. Kiss N’ Make Up (Ft. Taylor Hawkins, Billy Bob Thornton, Billy F Gibbons)
10. This Is What I’m Here For (Ft. Taylor Hawkins, Joe Elliott, Waddy Wachtel)
11. I Hate Hate (Ft. Jeff Tweedy)


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