The Wildhearts – Ginger Wildheart talks to us about Britrock Must Be Destroyed tour and questions from fans!
Feature by Graeme J. Baty
Back in 1994, I saved up my pocket money and I bought a tape after hearing a crazy song on (probably) the Radio 1 Rock show. That song was Suckerpunch and the Tape was Earth Vs The Wildhearts. I think I played that bugger to death! Many years later I still love that album and the band. Local legends they are!!
It’s always great to see The Wildhearts and side-projects in any form. However, this tour is something of a different beast! The classic lineup is back in action and ready to tour the UK in May. Britrock Must Be Destroyed Tour brings not only the Wildhearts but other 90s favourites Reef, Terrorvision and now Dodgy have now been added to the bill. Something for everyone!
Graeme caught up with Ginger Wildheart for a chat about the tour and other things, with some help from the lovely folk at All About The Wildhearts Facebook group!
How did the whole Britrock Must Be Destroyed tour come about?
Our manager, Andy Farrow, invented it. He’s a canny businessman so he thought up an idea that none of the bands would have. It’s a killer bill, and The Wildhearts needed no more prompting than to just be asked.
Will the tour feature full Wildhearts sets? What material will be performing? Just older 90s stuff or a mix from all periods?
On this tour we will only play the songs that make the audience sing and dance. We want to win the prize for best crowd of the tour, and I’m pretty confident it’s in the bag.
Which band (other than yourselves) are you really looking forward to seeing?
All of them, it’s going to be a great evening of music.
What is the last gig you went to as a punter?
I don’t get a chance to go to half the gigs I’d like to, or I have some days off and don’t hear that one of my favourite bands just played my town. The last gig I went to was Sparks, which I took my little boy to. I want him to see all my favourite bands, while they’re going, to have something to compare current music to, for purposes of quality insurance.
What album or band are you currently listening to and just can’t get enough of?
I play music every day, usually all day. In the car and at home, my world is never silent.
The last CD I really became obsessed with was the latest Fratellis album ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’, which is fucking astounding. I had to start listening to the last Scaramanga Six album ‘Chronicle’ again to ween myself off that one.
The last vinyl album that blew me away is the last Bokassa album ‘Divide & Conquer’, which is just a relentless riff fest of magnificent proportions.
I also play a lot of older music, and right now I am listening to ‘Mock Tudor’ by Richard Thompson. A spectacular collection of songs, as are most of his albums.
I often look to your Twitter posts and feel inspired. It’s great to see a real person with passions and battles of their own. For the last 6 months or so I’ve battled severe depression and have found being open and honest is a great help personally and for those around me. You often touch on your own mental health issues. I find music is a huge lifeline when times are bad, what keeps you going and what advice can you give to those of us who struggle?
I use music as my medication. I also try to eat healthily and exercise, but I also drink, so that can be a bit of a grudge match.
I try to stay busy too, as isolation will put me straight back into my own head.
And as long as I have a guitar around I can write my feelings into song. Writing songs has saved my life countless times, and continues to do so.
Do you find your illness affects how you write and perform music?
I think it makes me more prolific, as I have plenty of emotional information to work with most of the time. Writing as much as I do can be a drain on some, if you’re my manager or a casual fan, but you have to understand that I have to do this. I don’t write music just to sell it, I often write to help myself through a bad patch. That’s when I find myself at my most prolific.
Lee Foster asks…
Can you turn up CJs guitar?!
If he had to stand next to Danny’s bass cab he’d fucking turn up too.
Andrew Holmes asks a few questions…
Are you surprised that you have a very loyal following after all these years?
I’m very, very honoured. I’m not surprised because I never stopped working, making music and playing live, and that was always a sign of a career musician as far as I was ever concerned. Full-timers don’t get proper jobs, we make this work. I treat my supporters with respect too, so while I feel very lucky and I don’t feel surprised.
After the new album is released next year, is the intention to tour the hell out of it and its a success will there be more albums in future?
For The Wildhearts? I hope to record a new album every year.
Any plans to record ‘Stop us if You’ve Heard This One Before” Volume 2?
Nah, I don’t think so. I mean who knows, right? Maybe someday we’ll discuss it and thinks it a great idea, but for now the plan is to get ourselves back on the map, and we need fresh, new music to do that.
How are songwriting duties tackled for the new album? All Ginger or are the others involved too?
Everyone is contributing. Obviously I’m contributing more than the others, but that’s just because I’m a workaholic and I shit songs out every day. I can’t expect anyone else to maintain that kind of pace.
Scott Turnbull asks…
What colour packet should cheese and onion crisps come in?
Steve Clark asks…
Is it harder to come up with cracking tunes after all these years of knocking them out, or do they still flow out?
They still come thick and fast.
I dunno how, but I don’t run out of inspiration, and if I’m inspired by something then it sounds like music in my head. It’s a very fortunate curse to have.
Steve Dodd asks…
Is it awkward at festivals when you’re on the same bill as bands/band members you have bad blood with?
I’m not sure I have bad blood with any band members anymore. I sometimes can’t be around extreme drinking and threatening behaviour, being a father, but my concern always comes from a place of love. I have people who don’t speak to me anymore because their partner doesn’t get along with me, and that’s just loyalty, I get it.
But there’s no musician I wouldn’t walk up to and say hello.
Lewis Sellers asks…
Will SG5 ever be resurrected?
I honestly don’t think so. It’s something I did at the time, and I enjoyed it, but it was an age thing. Wanting to wear funny gear and blow things up. I’m very much more basic these days.
Niall O’Conner asks…
The new album you’re starting work on will be the first full album recorded by what most fans consider to be the ‘classic lineup’. Any pressure? Or is it exciting?
No pressure at all, the songs are already written, for the most part. And we’ve rehearsed them, and they sound fucking great.
There is only excitement. I honestly can’t wait to see what our album sounds like with these four elements. It’s a supergroup of extreme people, perfect for times as confusing as these.
The tour arrives in Newcastle on the 20th May 2018 at the Newcastle O2 Academy!!