[Cover photo Andy Rourke and Kav Blaggers]
Blitz Vega, comprised of the duo Andy Rourke of The Smiths, and Kav Blaggers formerly of Happy Mondays, has released their first released the new track in over two years, introducing a special guest: one-time Smiths’ bandmate Johnny Marr and his guitar. The song, “Strong Forever” was created to support those who are experiencing bullying and those who are struggling with mental illness.
Kav Blaggers explains:
This song is for the kids who are being bullied as well as people and families who are fighting battles to survive. Mental illness and depression can stem from feeling helpless. When all the odds are against you, you stand tall and take every challenge as it comes.
Everyone is dealing with their own challenges, especially now. People have to look out for each other a lot more at the moment. We all seem to be fighting to survive, but it’s not too late. There are lots of good people on this planet who want to do something positive, big or small, it’s just hard to notice them sometimes with all the noise. But now’s the time to make some kind of difference if you can.
Originally written by Kav Blaggers and Andy Rourke for a campaign against discrimination in football (soccer), a theme which he could easily explore by drawing upon their own experiences, “Strong Forever” evolved into a “broader message of support that can apply to so many different situations; its song title and chorus – a rallying cry for inner strength in the midst of outside adversity.”
Co-produced and mixed by Z-Trip (Kasabian, Public Enemy, LL Cool J), the song sees Andy Rourke and Johnny Marr recording together for the first time in 35 years. While the two have played together live several times over the years a studio recording has never surfaced until now.
Andy Rourke comments:
We approached a few people to guest on the track and I asked Johnny, who very kindly recorded some guitars and sent them over. Johnny and I have remained friends, we’ve known each other since we were 13 years old. He’s my oldest and dearest friend and I feel our friendship gets stronger as time passes.