Soul legend Bobby Womack has credited Damon Albarn's group Gorillaz for kickstarting his career after excessive drug use robbed him of his creative edge.
The singer/songwriter, dubbed 'the last great soul man', all but quit the music business following the death of his infant son in 1978 and he admits much of the music he wrote and recorded after the tragedy wasn't up to his previous standards.
And he'd quit completely when Albarn called and asked him to be part of Gorillaz for the group's Plastic Beach album.
Womack tells WENN, "I went through burn-out... I was always doing music or working somewhere and then one day I lost the feeling and I didn't believe in myself, I didn't believe in the songs I wrote. I walked away.
"Then Gorillaz called me and asked me if I'd join them on their next single. I'd never heard of Gorillaz. I said, 'I've heard of The Monkees!'
"But they loved me when I didn't even know me and the single was a big hit and then they said, 'Will you do a tour?'"
Womack was reluctant because he feared he'd be around drugs again and he didn't want to risk his sobriety, but the money he was offered was too good to turn down.
He adds, "I'd dropped the habit and I hadn't sung in a while and I hadn't been around entertainers... But they were paying me tax free way over what I would have earned doing nothing but dates in five years, so that impressed me.
"There was no drugs around on tour, there was always people happy and loving each other... I was like, 'What kind of place is this? Heaven?'"
And the experience inspired Womack to start writing again: "One day I was riding on the bus and I told my assistant to tell the driver to pull over and get my guitar and bring a a pad and I wrote about 20 songs. My thoughts were running crazy. I was like, 'Thank God, that's the feeling I wanted back.'"
The soul man is now planning a major comeback with a new blues album, called Living in the House of Blues, which features collaborations with Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and Rod Stewart.