Freedom Fighter

Album: Music from Another Dimension! (2012)

Songfacts®:

  • Guitarist Joe Perry penned his politically conscious rocker after watching a documentary about the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, who is the leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army. The 30-minute film reports on the LRA's abduction of thousands of children as soldiers and sex slaves and the movement to bring Kony to the International Criminal Court. Perry explained during a listening party at The Box Club in London's Soho (as reported by The Quietus) that he was deeply inspired by the filmmakers behind the documentary: "I thought it was interesting to have that song on the record - it's a bit off-the-track from our usual songs, about fun and entertainment," he said. "We're usually trying to get people away from the problem. I was influenced by something I saw on Facebook about this guy following the story of a warlord, which was this thing that went viral this year. I felt like tipping a hat to these people, these kinds of people who go out there and put their ass on the line to try and bring the truth out to people. Not just like CNN and Fox News and all these big corporations, but the people giving us all kinds of information, allowing people to make their own decisions. Those people I consider freedom fighters. They get cameras, pen and ink and microphones and whatever it takes, and they get out there and they get blown up, too, along with the other fighters. I read it in the morning, and wrote all the lyrics and put it down and by the end of the day it was done. It felt like a burst well: I had to say this stuff."
  • Perry found the hardest thing about writing the song was picking the lyrics, having penned so many verses for it. The music came as an afterthought. He told Rolling Stone: "It had to have the drive and the power. I didn't really care if it sounded like AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith or what – it had to have the drive to capture the freedom fighter thing."
  • Perry sings the song himself, one of two tracks on Music From Another Dimension! to feature the guitarist on lead vocals.
  • The actor Johnny Depp contributes backing vocals to the rocker. Depp is no stranger to the world of music, having played slide guitar on the Oasis 1997 track "Fade In-Out," and also performed on The Pogues' singer Shane MacGowan's first solo album. Perry told Artist Direct "Steven (Tyler) and I were out in L.A., he was working on American Idol, which was basically two days a week. The rest of the time we were in the studio. It was so inspiring living out there in L.A. and rubbing elbows with so many musicians. Johnny Depp was one of them. I have to rate him as a first-class musician. As great as an actor as he is, he's also right there as a musician. I guess the acting thing outweighed the music thing way back when, but he's a musician through and through."

    Perry explained at the London Listening party how Depp ended up on this song: "Well I needed a guitar, actually. We'd left a lot of stuff in Boston and he's got a great guitar collection and is a great guitar player, great musician and he was down at the studio a couple of times - so I asked him if I could borrow a couple of his axes. So he brought them down and as we were laying the tracks down for this song, by the time we finished it was two in the morning and it was time to do the backing vocals, and usually whoever is left there in the studio will end up doing it. He was there in the studio with some of his buddies so he ended up doing the 'oh yeah's and stuff.
    But you can really hear it on the deluxe version of this record," he added, "we have the DVD and he sat down and we kept it rolling and he really got a chance to cut loose."

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