Broken Witt Rebels
It takes a brave band to step out in front of a field of rabid death metal fans, especially when the music you play is a southern-fried, soul-infused brand of rock ’n’ roll. But that’s where Broken Witt Rebels found themselves in when they were asked to step in at the last minute on one of the main stages at Germany’s none-more-metal Wacken Festival.
“We’d been flown out there by a label who wanted to sign us as guests for the weekend,” says singer Danny Core. “Then this bloke says, ‘Some band has pulled out – would you like to play?’. We said OK, so they rented some gear for us. So we’re get ready to go on, the curtain drops and there’s five or six thousand German metalheads in front of us. We went down OK. We were expecting to get killed.”
Broken Witt Rebels aren’t expecting that kind of reception when they stride out on the Rising Stage at the Ramblin’ Man Fair. But while the Birmingham four-piece are closer to the Black Crowes, The Temperance Movement or a rockier, more authentic Kings Of Leon than Cannibal Corpse or Napalm Death, they’re still used to being outsiders.
“Birmingham’s very cliquey,” says Core, whose soulful rasp belies his West Midlands roots. “There’s something they call the B-Town clique – all these cool kids, wearing blouses playing this really swooning, NME music. We never, ever fitted into that scene.”
Going against the grain has served Broken Witt Rebels well. The band’s most recent self-released EP, 2016’s ‘Georgia Pines’, finds them bringing together an array of disparate influences from Fleetwood Mac (Peter Green and‘Rumours’-era) to Aretha Franklin. And while they may hail from Birmingham, UK, their hearts and minds are in Birmingham, Alabama.
“I grew up listening to the Stones and Zeppelin, and they had this American twang to them,” says Core. “It left an imprint. It was just kind of embedded in me.”
The members of Broken Witt Rebels – that’s Core, lead guitarist James Tranter, bassist Luke Davis and drummer James Dudley – quit their jobs a year ago in pursuit of rock ’n’ roll, and Core says that they band have two albums’ worth of material ready to go. “We’re just waiting to for these record labels to get their fingers out,” says Core. “We’ve had a lot of offers, but we’ve turned a lot of them away – you wouldn’t sell your house for pennies. That’s how we look at our music.”
The Rebel’s live show finds them pulling out all the stops – whether that’s to the Ramblin’ Man crowd or the massed ranks of German death metal fans.
“We’re up there to change people’s lives,” says Danny. “We won’t be holding anything back. We lay it all on the line.”