Ben Harper has reunited Innocent Criminals to re-record their 1997 song “Jah Work” to benefit Australian pro skateboarder Lewis Marnell. The 30-year-old skateboarder died on January 30 from complications from diabetes, a disease he lived with from the age of 10. His untimely death has left his family in dire financial straits.
Harper is a lifelong skateboarding enthusiast and friend to skaters around the world. The recording marks the first time he has worked with The Innocent Criminals since 2007. The song will be available on iTunes tomorrow, with all proceeds going to the family memorial fund.
“Lewis was a brilliant artist and athlete not to mention a truly beautiful soul. We loved him and his contributions to skating, and we thought a song would be a wonderful way to celebrate his life and help his family,” Harper said in a statement.
Marnell made his mark in 2008 when he was named Skater of the Year by Australian skateboarding magazine slam. He was married in late 2012, and died only a few months later, leaving his family with a large debt. Global efforts to help the family financially ensued, with Harper’s being the latest.
Harper has divided his time between a mix of projects since 2007, including Relentless7, the super group Fistful of Mercy and a new collaboration with Charlie Musselwhite.