By Ginger | May 17, 2002
The tour, the record… the whole damn thing.
Dread. That was what I felt the day before we played our first show of the tour. With The Wildhearts, anything is possible (as you’ve probably figured out by now, unless you’ve recently joined us… in which case, please read on). And if things are gonna go wrong, they’re going to do so when you’re looking away, smiling at the future or laughing with a friend. Disasters of the Wildhearts variety don’t come with any bells or invitation. And like buses they’re big and, er, red.
The first show in Dudley dispersed any ghosts lingering from the last visit. It was tight, if a little rigid, but definitely on course. Now all we needed to do was make it to Newcastle, a few days later, without a hitch. If we got that far, I’d have been very happy. Some business needed to be taken care of back home in the North East, particularly for Danny. After getting that far, I’d be happy that things would pick up, the band would relax a little more, and if we made it to the end of the gruelling 12 dates with only a couple of duff gigs, we’d have still been on course.
I didn’t expect that we’d get through the whole shebang without one bad show. But we did. Funny, innit?
Cardiff was stunning. We’d forgotten just how mental Welsh people are about this band. Cambridge was a rock extravaganza of unexpected proportions, and would have been reviewed by Steven Wells (a huge supporter of The Wildhearts) for NME, if the reviews editor didn’t think we weren’t suitable for a live review – their reasoning for the decision being "they’re too Kerrang!". Nice to see that even in an age where ROCK is more popular than ever before in libido history, there are still a few old guard that haven’t got the fucking foggiest. Still, they’ve got Andrew WK to champion – who needs to stick with homegrown? They probably still think we sound like Iron Maiden anyway.
It’s fucking typical of the clouded view that this country sometimes still has for British ROCK. The Who, The Clash, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles… all British guys, right? Changed the world of music, right? The Wildhearts are a British institution, and yet someone from a paper as influential as NME can’t see the social relevance of a bunch of local guys selling out every show in an unannounced tour to sexy people of all ages ROCKING AND FUCKING WELL ROLLING AND FUCKING WELL LOVING IT ALL THE WAY TO FUCKSVILLE. Punks both old school and new, old metallers, nu-metal kids, pop kids, indie kids, trendies and straight lookers – where else do you ever see this many different types of character comfortably rubbing shoulders in the name of fun? That night, Andy Cairns insisted we’d just restored his faith in rock ‘n’ roll. I know it restored mine.
The tour ended in Manchester with a sold out show, which was given a 5K review by Kerrang!. Not a bad jaunt for a band that has been on its last legs so many times that we should have gone into wheelchair manufacturing. Strange how sometimes you could swear that you know. Well buddy, you just don’t know. Not about anything. Stop fooling yourself. If things are shit in your life, you can bet that at some point things are going to turn around so quick that you’ll insist you’re still asleep. Good times don’t come knocking; they barge into your home and start helping themselves to your misery, gorging like the last supper and eating away that flimsy backdrop you used to call a life. Eating your cancer. Leaving you disorientated and smiling.
And don’t forget that it can also go the other way.
I never forget for one second that this is The Wildhearts. It’s a nasty dog with a sweet side, but a bite from a nasty dog sure leaves scars in your memory. There, there, good dog, just play nice. Me? I’ll just keep petting with a keen eye on the quickest way to the door.
How pure are a rock band supposed to be anyway? We drink like athletes preparing for the World Cup of consumption. We wake every day with hangovers the size of God’s arse, and then we rock. And then we drink. Every day it’s like this. Fucking brilliant life, this is. But not suitable for anyone but power-built rock horses like The Wildhearts. We eat the shit that other bands are afraid to sniff.
After the final show we were granted couple of days off to say ‘hi’ to the family and unpack the sweaty shit from the sweaty tour bag, before packing again and heading off to the studio to finish off mixing.
During the studio session, post-tour talk veered off in a million tangents and landed on a plan. Instead of making one mini-album, why not make it two EPs? It’d mean more tracks, more exposure, and more touring. More ROCK. The road bug had hit hard and the virus was infectious. We are a live band, and whatever it takes to get us back into that environment is the way to go. The mini-album idea looks likely to still go ahead in Japan, where singles are almost impossible to set up. There’ll be more touring to follow. And that means more drinking and more ROCK.
See, all bands need to feel wanted, whoever they are. And it doesn’t just come by seeing your face in news reports in magazines. We need to be accepted by the audience as a cooperative rush of adrenalin that only a gig can instigate. The audience and the band share the energy like a good meal, a fucking banquet… except touring makes you thinner, of course.
The studio tracks sound immense. They’re literally groaning at the seams with riffs and melodies… and riffs. It is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
The first release looks set to be Vanilla Radio, hopefully to coincide with a very special one-off event. C’mon, we’ve played to almost 10,000 people on this tour. We’ll play to another 20,000 before the release of the first batch of new shit hits your high street. If everyone buys a copy we’ll chart. And who will be able to ignore this phenomenon when that happens?
Come August / September, do us a favour and keep a fiver in your pocket, will ya? Tell your friends to do the same. In the name of British ROCK. In the name of The Wildhearts, the band people hate to love. Buy this shit and put our ugly, pale mugs back on your TV!
Y’see, at this point in time we can do nothing but wait and see what comes of this tour / recording excitement. The band are focussed and prepared to go at it like a gang of hungry wolves at a Weight Watchers convention, given the chance. Our future is in your hands. And we know that you know exactly what to do with your hands.
We’ve been added to the Lost Weekend bill (Ed’s note – this isn’t happening now), and are also headlining the second stage of Nottingham’s Distortion festival. Things seems to be going places – big open places – helped by the tireless work of our new manager, Rudy Reed. All we need is your support. And that’s a good place to be… for now.
We’ve never had such a good view. Front row fucking seats for the game of the century, to put British rock back in the world arena. With you there, we will see this thing through. We’ve never needed you as much in our lives. And you wanna know the funny thing? You never needed us so much either!
Down a large one with me and toast the new revolution. This one will be televised. The time is not to talk, the future will be built on action. The Wildhearts are the only British rock ‘n’ roll band with enough pedigree to become a classic ROCK story. The ones you love to tell. Bad boys done good. Underdogs at the table of success. We are the only band around right now that have seen the dark side, made human mistakes essential for spiritual growth, and arrived out of the ass of defeat rocking like full force road bastards existing only to kick the ass of a new generation.
It’s a good time time to be alive, people… let’s make it better, huh? Stick together and stay apart. They won’t know what fucking hit ’em!
FUCKING COME ON!