Single Review: The Rhythm Surf Monkeys – “Where Were You (When My Dad Became a Hero)”
As the scars from 9/11 continue to heal, it will always haunt the memories of those who experienced it, even from the distance of a TV set. It transformed lives, turning ordinary people into heroes; even now, how the tragedy enabled a city and, actually, an entire country to pull together and overcome such a horrifying event continues to inspire.
For composer/songwriter Jim Hiltz, the bravery of the first responders embodied the triumph of the human spirit. The sense of loss and epitome of courage that became associated with them gave birth to “Where Were You (When My Dad Became a Hero),” a soaring anthem from the Rhythm Surf Monkeys, a band that Hiltz eventually formed after recording this single. The track features somewhat familiar vocals, especially those who regularly listened to AOR stations in the early ‘80s. Rob Fahey, whose 1982 rocker “Raised on the Radio” with the Ravyns ended up on Fast Times at Ridgemont High, contributes his raspy, soulful voice to the song, elevating the emotions in the words. “Towers crumble/He was trying rescue you,” Fahey sings, his vocals brimming with intensity.
With its jangling riffs, “Where Were You (When My Dad Became a Hero)” recalls the ‘80s hits of Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp, that warm mixture of classic rock and Americana. However, the breakout star here is teenage guitarist Kyle Reitz, whose charged solos breathe its own catharsis. Coupled with Harry Gary Brown’s swirling sax, they create a tense atmosphere that echoes the urgency in the lyrics.