Britsh hard rockers Inglorious are out now with Heroine, their new album that sees the band covering songs by female artists they love and respect. Among the list are classic rock stalwarts Heart and Joan Jett to mega pop stars Miley Cyrus and Christina Aguilera. Inglorious manages to stay faithful to the energy of the original songs while also giving them a rocking new lease on life. Charismatic frontman Nathan James sounds in top form, doing justice to the female rockers that served as sources of inspiration for him. Inglorious also hope to make a positive impact with £1 from each purchase of Heroine on their website going to Women’s Aid, a charity in the UK that aims to end domestic violence against women and children. I had the pleasure of chatting with Nathan James about Heroine, the decision process behind selecting the songs to cover, and how he thinks the new covers will go down on tour.
Jeromme Graham: Let’s talk the new covers album, Heroine. How did you decide the time was right for Inglorious to do a covers album?
Nathan James: Well basically, it was part of our record deal. We knew, at some point, we’d have to do one. And I kind of had the idea going into lockdown in the UK, that why not use this time where we can’t actually perform to get more recording done. That’s what inspired it to be now. And as far as picking female artists, we were doing a cover on tour of an Alanis Morissette song and the crowd really loved it. That’s where I got the idea that it would be cool to do a whole album of female-fronted or sung tracks.
Jeromme Graham: Having heard the album, a lot of the songs you picked are rock classics. did you feel any intimidation tackling songs like Barracuda or Nutbush City Limits?
Nathan James: Yeah, loads. It was super scary. These are some of the best singers of all time, especially someone like Whitney Houston and all these other amazing singers. How I treat the album is that this is me celebrating their talent and going into a studio and understanding that we’re not going to make these songs better because they’re already perfect. That took an enormous weight off me and I could actually just enjoy recording this and enjoy covering these great songs by these great artists. You can’t improve on perfection.
Jeromme Graham: True, that’s a great point. You mentioned Whitney there, with covering songs especially from different genres, do you feel like it can be a bit of a balancing act between wanting to make the song your own but still wanting to capture the emotion of the original?
Nathan James: Yeah, kind of. My thing was that it had to sound like the original because that’s what people love, but it also had to have a bit of the Inglorious flavouring. I wasn’t scared of being genre-defiant, I wasn’t going to try and make everything sound like a rock song because we are a rock band. We’re a very versatile band of musicians and singers so I was more focused on getting it to feel like we were enjoying it, which I think you can hear on all of this album. I think we’re playing and singing our butts off.
Jeromme Graham: Are there any covers that didn’t make the cut?
Nathan James: Yes. Loads. The way I set about picking the artists is that I love female singers, they were my first discovery into singing. The big voices of the ’90s, the Mariahs, the Whitneys, all of those incredible voices. With that in mind, I compiled a list on Spotify and I would just add things that I thought were good and the list hit fifty songs. When it got to fifty songs, I was just like, I need to stop adding things to fucking list. This list is too big. Gradually over three or four months, I kept taking songs out and then I was left with the group that’s in there now.
There was one song that we actually recorded that I was really unhappy with our performance of it. I just don’t think we touched it exactly and that was Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” It’s a beautiful song but I don’t think it sat well enough in my voice to feel comfortable putting it on the album; instead we opted for “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper which is one of my all-time favourite songs. There are so many people I missed. I’d like to do a second album and do all of the others. I love Lady Gaga, Cher, Dolly Parton, there are so many greats that we haven’t covered. Do you know what I mean? I just feel like it would be great to cover Blondie, I really want to do “Call Me” by Blondie. I think we’d do a really good cover of that.
Jeromme Graham: Oh, that would’ve been fun. So, there’s probably a good chance that we’ll see Heroine become a series?
Nathan James: I hope so because it was fun. I can’t begin to say how much more fun it is when you don’t have the pressure of writing. When these songs are already existing, you’re not working on a deadline to get things done and you’re not having to make choruses bigger or make things more singable, you only have to concentrate on performing cool versions of these already cool songs.
It was so much fun. It was kind of like how I started in the music industry. Up until Inglorious, I had only sung other people’s songs. I was in the Trans Siberian Orchestra in North America and I worked with Uli Jon Roth of The Scorpions and sung their songs but never sung my own. So it was kind of going back to what I know and putting my stamp on another artist’s material.
Jeromme Graham: So it was a return to form of sorts. Something that I thought was really cool is that you’re donating a portion of the album’s proceeds to the charity Women’s Aid. Was it important for you to have that tie-in given the concept of this covers album?
Nathan James: Absolutely. After the last year or eighteen months that the world has had, knowing that all these charities have struggled. Women’s Aid is a fantastic charity. They deal with domestic violence. Lots of women found themselves at home with their abusive partners or fathers more than usual because of social distancing, being in lockdowns, etc. I came up with the idea last year and spoke to Women’s Aid and they said we’d love to give you our seal of approval, so they did that. It means a lot. If we can raise a few thousand pounds for an awesome charity, that’s going to be a really positive thing to come out of something I .genuinely enjoyed making so much.
Jeromme Graham: Absolutely. Lastly, are you excited to take these covers out on the road when you guys go on your headlining tour this fall?
Nathan James: Yes. We’re actually doing a festival tomorrow (September 4th). We’ve done one already and the covers went down really well. Tomorrow we’re playing a big bike rally, so it’s all bikers. And then there’s me at the front singing Miley Cyrus. I think it’s going to be fine but we will see. But on the tour, I think people are looking forward to hearing us do this stuff and also stuff from our other albums. We’ll have two albums out this year, we had one out in February and they’re looking forward to hearing all this new material from us for the first time ever. We haven’t gigged in two years nearly.
Jeromme: Wow. Well, hopefully when things are more normal. You can bring the tour to Canada.
Nathan James: That sounds great. I would love that. I love it there. I have some friends there and I’ve been there quite a few times. I’ve been to Canada quite a few times. The last time I was there, I was seeing Guns n’ Roses in Toronto. It was amazing.
The full tracklist for Heroine is as follows:
- “Queen Of The Night” (Whitney Houston)
- “Barracuda” (Heart)
- “Midnight Sky” (Miley Cyrus)
- “Nutbush City Limits” (Tina Turner)
- “Bring Me To Life” (Evanescence)
- “Fighter” (Christina Aguilera)
- “I’m With You” (Avril Lavigne)
- “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts)
- “I Am The Fire” (Halestorm)
- “Time After Time” (Cyndi Lauper)
- “Uninvited” (Alanis Morissette)
Inglorious’ Heroine is out now via Frontiers Music Srl. Signed CD and Vinyl copies are available here: https://store.inglorious.com. £1 from each sale of the album on their website will go to Women’s Aid.