Saturday, 19 September 2009
Ginger (Wildhearts) Interview
I have been a huge fan of The Wildhearts and Ginger's solo releases for as long as I can remember, the first time that I remember seeing the guys live was back on the Mondo A kimbo tour in the old JB's, and they were amazing, totally blowing me away! I was hooked then and have been ever since. The years that followed have been some what that of a roller coaster ride for the band and fans alike with the band being on the verge of world domination on many occasions only to implode and self destruct. One thing that has always remained constant though is the high quality of the music, the passion of the fans has never changed with great albums followed by amazing live shows year after year.
This year the band have returned with their new album Chutzpah! an album that could arguably be their strongest ever release (reviewed previously for Glitzine.net), and I was given the opportunity of a brief Q & A session with Wildhearts main man Ginger. What follows is the resulting interview.
Barry - Congratulations on such an Amazing album. Chutzpah! is one of the strongest releases that the Wildhearts have produced in years, Why do you think that is?
Ginger - I guess everyone has forgiven us for past sins and is ready to accept us as a major force within the rock arena. Either that or we just made the songs shorter.
Barry - Producer Jacob Hansen really seems to have bought the best out of everyone on this album, how did you come to work with him?
Ginger - We wanted a European producer who could get huge, euro-metal sounds, the plan being to give him some pop and see if we could make a hardcore version of Abba. He's a big ELO fan as I also am, I think that was the deal clincher right there.
Barry - Chutzpah! is released via Backstage Alliance and not via your own Round Records, what are the reasons behind this and how did the new union come about?
Ginger - The band collectively decided to step up to a bigger label. I'm hoping that things will be taken to the next level with Backstage Alliance.
Barry - Chutzpah! has been the most collaborative Wildhearts release ever, yet it is the one album that has the closest feel to a Ginger Solo release, how do you think this came about?
Ginger - I wrote most of the melodies. And I was in New York working on a solo album at the time. Somehow the two worlds merged a little.
Barry - The current line of Yourself, CJ, Rich and Scott Sorry appears to be the strongest line up of The Wildhearts in years. So far you've managed to release 3 great albums together (2007's brilliant The Wildhearts, 2008's Stop Us If... and this years Chutzpah!), do you think that you've finally found that definitive line up?
Ginger - I hope so. I really wouldn't want to carry on doing The Wildhearts without any of these guys.
Barry - During the blogs you guys posted on line whilst you were in the studio recording Chutzpah! you listed a whole bunch of song titles, some of which like, Under The Waves, Some Days Just Suck, Vernix and Shine, haven't seen any form of release so far. Are there any plan's to release these songs, say as B'sides to a single or such?
Ginger- I hope so, but the decision of what we do with these songs is now down to Backstage Alliance. All I can say is that I hope they give these songs away for free, as b-sides or free downloads, to the fans.
Barry - You have a UK tour coming up, anywhere in particular that you are looking forward to playing?
Ginger - I'm looking forward to playing everywhere. I can't wait to play the new album in its entirety, all over the Country.
Barry - Have you guys managed to decide upon a set list yet? I know at one point you were asking the fans if they wanted to hear Chutzpah! in its entirety with a few classics mixed in, but would you consider playing Chutzpah as in the version released in Japan?
Ginger - The set appears to be one half the new album and a second half of old hits. This seems to be what the fans demand.
Barry - Already this year you been out on the road playing a few selected solo shows, not long after which I remember reading somewhere that you were putting together a new band. Would this be a new project altogether or just a new band to handle the solo tours and releases?
Ginger - I'm starting a new project with the guys I play with in LA. We don't have a name yet but we just recorded our first song with Mike Clink (Guns n Roses) and it sounds amazing. Can't wait to do more with that outfit. I'd like to record a solo album that I've written too, but finding a budget for that is proving quite difficult.
Barry - Over the years you have been involved in some fantastic side projects from Clam Abuse, SilverGinger 5 to SS666, have you ever thought about revisiting any of these projects.
Ginger - I occasionally consider doing another album with all of the above, but then something new comes in that distracts me. New versus old? The new will always win!
Barry - You mentioned in a recent interview that you have written over 50 songs for the next solo album, any ideas when you may start working on recording it and when it may see a release?
Ginger - Like I mentioned we can't find any labels that will pay for the recording of a new solo album. I hope this changes as I've got a ton of fantastic songs to record and some amazing players to do it with.
Barry - Where do you see the future heading for both your solo and future Wildhearts releases?
Ginger - I don't spend much time looking to the future, I prefer to stay in the moment. I hope I'm busy in the future, and that's about it.
Barry - Your move to New York has clearly had a huge impact on your life, helping you to clean up and I guess sort your thoughts, I remember back in 94 you tried relocating The Wildhearts to New York, do you think had that move have worked out that it would have had the same effect.
Ginger - No, I don't think so. I used to be very blinkered and closed off, and New York doesn't open itself to people like that. Now I've developed the capacity to love and be loved I find that USA responds to that in a very positive way. Basically I get New York now, whereas before it was a little confusing.
Barry - You have always been a very prolific songwriter, have you ever considered writing for other artists?
Ginger - Yes, I've been writing with a few artists recently and I really enjoy the process and hope to continue writing with people and learning from them. Writing with someone is a very satisfying process that is vastly different from writing alone.
Barry - You are close friends with Jackdaw4's Willie Dowling, have you guys ever considered working on a studio project together?
Ginger - We've talked about it but, to be honest, I think I would like to do it more than Willie would. Still, I live in hope.
Barry - Just a quick thought, where did the idea of using Chutzpah! as an album title come from?
Ginger - It's a Hebrew word meaning 'to have balls' that I always loved. When I realised that no-one had used it for an album title yet I decided to utilise it.
Barry - Sometimes you have a tendency of writing some very personal lyrics, are there any lyrics in any songs that you regret?
Ginger - Never, regret would be an insult to the situations that resulted in me talking to you.
Barry - A few years back there was rumours that you may be considering writing an autobiography, telling your story and the story of The Wildhearts. Will any such book ever see the light of day?
Ginger - I'm writing a book that touches on some stories and anecdotes but is in no way an autobiography. I'd like to write more than one book.
Barry - You must have a wealth of un-used/ unreleased songs from over the years, do you think that any of these older unreleased songs could ever see a release, even if only as downloads that fans could buy?
Ginger - I find that I'm always too busy working on new material and new projects that I have no time to revisit the past. It's gone and it isn't coming back, and the future is none of my business, so the present is where I like to stay firmly planted.
Barry - Finally is there anything that you would like to say to Glitzine.net readers, a final thought if you will?
Ginger - Do not judge, be honest, stand by your friends, spread love, be positive and listen to Cardiacs.
Id like to thank Ginger for agreeing to answer my humble question on behalf of Glitzine, and highly recommend that Glitzine readers check out the new Wildhearts album, Chutzpah!as soon as they can! (you wont be disappointed!)
You can catch the The Wildhearts live on tour at one of the following dates -
19th Sept NOTTINGHAM RockCity
20th Sept NORWICH Waterfront
21st Sept SOUTHSEA Wedgewood Rooms
22nd Sept EXETER Phoenix
24th Sept BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy 2
25th Sept STOKE-ON-TRENT The Sugarmill
26th Sept LEEDS Cockpit
27th Sept GLASGOW Garage
28th Sept NEWCASTLE O2 Academy
30th Sept MANCHESTER Club Academy
01st Oct LONDON O2 Shepherds Bush Empire
6th October – Tokyo Liquid-room
7th October – Nagoya Club Quattro
8th October – Osaka Big Cat