Rising Stars interview: THE REBELLES

The Rebelles is formed of Tracie Hunter, Elizabeth Westwood and Phoebe White, and ahead of their debut album they have released a single of the Mott the Hoople classic ‘All The Young Dudes’. Over the band for more on the single, upcoming album and possible massage for the fans…

How did the Rebelles come about?

Tracie Hunter (TH) – I had written 3 albums, the last one a soaring masterpiece- released  to a world of indifference, I started to feel like I couldn’t give so much for so little return – I needed something less personal that would keep my hand in and keep me performing, I literally woke up on morning and the idea was there – 3 females , all your fave  songs- bingo- called them up and that was that -

Phoebe White (PW) – when Tracie pitched her idea to me, I was coming out of a period of illness and really wanted to get my teeth into something exciting again. The idea of 3 part harmony punk was typically original I thought… lots of great tunes to choose from and to offer a new take on. There’s not a lot of female voices in this genre of music from this era (although those that are… like Deborah Harry… are legends). I’m a blues and soul singer and have turned my ear to the americana vibe in the last decade or so so I felt I could add something and that it was something a little different for me. I like variety in life.

Elizabeth Westwood (EW) – I joined when there was a line up change in The Rebelles.  We do some of the same tunes as the first incarnation, but the additions are rockier which highlights our change of direction.  This came to fruition when we started to do associated songs.  E.g. The writer or musician in the original would be involved with the recording or production or both of The Rebelles version.  We know a lot of rock & rollers – so that helped.

The band members have a wide musical background. Pooling these together, what sort of sound can we expect from the Rebelles?

TH – We’re not that different,  Liz and I are rockers, P is the youngest, from a different era but rocks it still..  perhaps in a more britpop kinda way but raised on 70s musical food – were like a bleedin gospel choir that rocks.

PW – 3 part female harmonies puts a certain sheen over this typically guitar based music. We’ve experimented with a number of line ups in the band and are still refining it. It’s full throttle when we’re all singing… feedback from our audiences has said that it can bowl them over… to have a wall of vocal sound on top of the strong guitar riffs and the like. Musically, we often arrange it so we sing a guitar or bass riff, rather than have the band do it… so the songs are the same as the original but also different. In some tracks, we mash two songs together.. musically leading each song vocally gives us options in how we can segue melody and meaning together.

EW – Three lead vocalists in harmony that feed off each other.  We’re from different backgrounds and different parts of the world – but that’s the cool thing about music – it can bring you together beautifully.  Tracie and Phoebe reign me in when needed – if not the whole album and live set would be very big rock and roll trousers ;-)

‘All The Young Dudes’ is your first single. Was the idea here to use a classic song to try and get some airplay/momentum for the band, that say an original song wouldn’t

TH – You could say that – the whole album is covers ;)

PW – This is a covers project. Putting a new spin on old favourites. There are a few lyrics I really get a kick out of singing… written and originally sung by a fella and now 3 part harmonies by us… new meanings arise that can take the audience aback (should I stay or should I go has a new controversy to it for example)

EW – As said – this is an associated album.  Wait until you hear Kenney Jones from The Faces drumming on our version of Stay with Me.  It’ll knock your socks off.

The debut album coming up, will that be all cover versions? Who else is guesting on the album?

TH – Chris Spedding , Glen  Matlock, Ian Hunter, Slim Jim Phantom, Kenney Jones (Faces), James Stevenson, James Hallawell

PW – Making this album has been a total delight. A labour of love. A meeting of minds. And a lot of fun.  We’ve got our crew too, Neil Gabbitas on guitar, Mallet Hallet on drums and some others. And we’ve made some great videos to go along with the tracks too.. working with some really talented folks in the film industry.

EW  – We got in all the old boys who made it (still make it!) happen in the first place.  I think we’ve aced the ‘Whistle test’.

There have not been that many successful all female bands in the rock world, why do you think that is?

TH – Because we’re all witches and will never be as good as men at stuff ;-)

PW – Yes maybe, but the ones who are successful are legends and still cult icons… there’ll be no disappearing into obscurity for the women of rock. There’s a whole political conversation in this question too… with all arts, and in business and politics.. but I’m not going there. We’re just doing our thing, pooling our experience and talents and making music. And we happen to be women.

EW – They’re usually seen as a gimmick – trying to be the same as an all male band.  Almost tarred with the same brush as all-female football teams etc.  All male bands appeal to both sexes – chicks want to be with the band members and guys want to be in the band….so that chicks want to be with the band members etc…..cliche but true.  I listened to the Runaways when I was a kid – thought they had proper attitude and looked great, but the music needed to be on a par with the other (male) bands I listened to.  Sometimes it wasn’t… There’s a hell of a lot of female musical talent around.  I think the time for really successful all-female bands is on the cards and sooner than you think.

PW – all female football teams win the world cup these days!  Times are a changing

Tracie – growing up in a rock ‘n’ roll household did your dad steer you towards a musical life or was this something you always wanted to do?

TH – He didn’t steer me that way at all, I did it to get attention – then got good

PW –  We’ve all grown up in music and the arts… it’s a funny thing, to find your own motivation for following in the footsteps of your elders.  I’ve often questioned if it’s my true path or not.. whether I’m just following or actually leading myself… but I come back to it time and time again. It’s love.

EW – The music that surrounds you as a kid can definitely effect how you feel and what you like.  What moves someone musically is very personal though.  Can’t ever remember my opera singing mother turning me on to Rage Against The Machine…..You gotta find out for yourself.

Tracie – having a famous musical parent does that help or hinder you in you musical career?

TH – I have no idea – I mean it’s not like I reached lady Gaga’s dizzy heights so maybe there is the answer.

PW – Fame is such a fallacy these days. Celebrity and artistry are two very different things. And it’s not the same industry as it was for our parents generation. I don’t think a comparison can be made.

EW – I think growing up around the music industry gives you an edge about understanding the business.  Probably a cynical edge but an edge all the same.

What would the Rebelles like to achieve by the end of this year?

TH – We would like to be touring and getting paid well for it- make a nice change ;)

PW – World peace and the end of poverty….? Ok ok, we’re just a humble band so its about getting the album and videos out there… would like to play some international gigs (got a few things in pipeline), collaborate some more and start planning the next album. There’s loads of people we’d love to work with.

EW – Another record, lots of gigs and lots of travel!  (Especially places that few bands play – like Fiji, the Maldives…:-))

Message for your fans…

TH – I thought this said massage your fans – not sure that’s a go

PW – Thanks for all your support thus far, we’re loving the love and hope we can spread it farther and wider.  Peace.

EW – Come and see us!  Let’s rock out!


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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)

Power Plays w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)

MILES NIELSEN AND THE RUSTED HEARTS Hands Up (indie)
THE FARGO RAILROAD COMPANY Something In The Water (indie)
THE DARK ELEMENT If I Had A Heart (Frontiers)
LIBERTY LIES A Thousand People (indie)
DIRTY SHIRLEY Here Comes The King (Frontiers)
CARRY THE CROWN Runaway (indie)

Featured Albums w/c 11 November (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 WORK OF ART Exhibits (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SIGN X Like A Fire (Pride & Joy Music)
14:00-16:00 JACK BROADBENT Moonshine Blue (Creature Records)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

MAGNUM Sleepwalking (1992)



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