Musician, rock journalist and former Steven Adler collaborator, Brooke Ellis, debuts a preview of his new project HellDefy with “Tribute (For RR)” – a sincerely inspired composition dating back to 1989 that honours the legacy of Randy Rhoads. The elaborate instrumental can be streamed here.
Alleged to be “music that is at least 22 years old, never recorded until now”, HellDefy songs are described as “authentic old school rock”.
In a variety of bands, Ellis has shared concert bills with Marky Ramone, Kevin DuBrow, Mike Watt, Stephen Perkins, George Lynch, Lizzy Borden and has performed onstage with such musicians as Dizzy Reed, Slim Jim Phantom, Billy Morrison, Chip Z’Nuff, Teddy Zig-Zag, Linda Perry, Gilby Clarke and Steven Adler. Over a decade of working with the latter as the admin of the drummer’s official website, Ellis earned notoriety publicly defending the ex – Guns N’ Roses member in a number of controversies that plagued the troubled rock star. But the dedicated fan-turned-webmaster’s loyalty was ultimately ill-fated.
By 2010, online followers knew that Ellis had been hired to write Adler’s autobiography. It was his first such gig before going on to work as a rock journalist. But in a later posting on GNR fan site Here Today Gone To Hell, Brooke lamented the sudden involvement of “many new hands vying for a slice of the book pie”. He alleged that collectively, Adler had an agent, a lawyer, an old friend, a sibling and even a then-bandmate’s girlfriend all claiming to represent Steven’s interests while sharing presumed entitlements to a taste of the anticipated proceeds. In a subsequent interview with TheGNRSyndicate.com, Ellis explained that “a man with the right connections” assured the haphazard team a lucrative book deal if they named him co-author to Steven and removed Brooke from the picture. Shocked by the disrespect of those who sought to profit from his work, Brooke attempted legal action but lacked the finances to effectively pursue the matter. Other conflicts would eventually erupt among Adler’s people, but not before Brooke was deprived of credit for the eventual New York Times Bestseller.
Despite having endured such disheartenment, Ellis’ love for making music survived. A devotee of 70s & 80s rock / metal, the debut of HellDefy and “Tribute (For RR)” coming at the 40th Anniversary of the legendary guitarist Randy Rhoads’ passing was a “profound coincedence” says Brooke, “Randy was a massive influence. His was the first music I concentrated on learning. That was my life. Unlike most players that followed him in the 80s, his style had a deeply educated integrity that still influences people everywhere.”
There have been all manner of tributes to the late guitar hero, but this may be the most unique – a personal artistic interpretation of the vision, talent and drive that young Randy Rhoads left for so many to aspire to.
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