Ginger Says – We cannot fail – because the only critic capable of thwarting our zest for life, for the unchartered and intensely difficult times ahead, is ourselves
By Ginger | January 5, 2004
HAPPY NEW YEAR, ALL YOU FAITHFUL…
…and go fuck yourself, all you moaning bastards that have marred what was otherwise a perfectly rotten 2003!
Jeez, what a year!
It started well. Independently reaching the hallowed UK top 20 and appearing on Top Of The Pops with ‘Stormy In The North, Karma In The South’. Personally financed by our management and myself, the single and self directed video shot way past all expectations. So much so in fact, that had we not been so broke from paying for everything ourselves, we could have made a killing at Ladbrokes if we’d been able to bet on its success.
After signing to GUT records the following two single fared less favourably and neither touched the sales of our own efforts. Still, that’s progress.
The biggest surprise tho’, came in the form of our ‘feelgood’ album ‘The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed’, the first full length release in some six years. And of all the feelings associated with the execution of said recording, ‘good’ never entered the running. With location cut from Los Angeles, to Vancouver and eventually to commence in Skegness, armed with zero budget, things were not primed to be the most joyous of experiences. And in our album making history that really is saying something.
With Danny entering alcohol-rehab on the morning of his scheduled bass parts, the mood began to darken. And then the lights that had once been the inspiration for the reformation began to collectively become extinguished. Danny had been having a hard time in the months prior to recording. He was becoming less interested in rehearsing, sometimes not turning up at all, and the shows were suffering as a result of lack of band morale. This lack of morale was not entirely down to Danny of course, but it was becoming increasingly clear that his interests were not in making The Wildhearts the best band it could possibly be.
Which was the whole point of getting back together in the first place.
From what we hear, the stint in alcohol rehab hasn’t been entirely successful, but for the purpose of the recording sessions it was imperative to stick with the budget, this meant the schedule had to be adhered to – to the day. No one could possibly learn the bass parts in a morning, so I was roped in to play.
So, apart from the original producer backing out at the last minute, leaving me with the job of production (again, necessity and time), I’m now the Bass player!
The album began as an intended collective of songs from all members. I had a bunch of new songs I was dying to try out, and come demo-day I was eager to hear the fruits of the lads labour.
Of which there was one, the CJ penned “Out From The Inside”.
Being producer, arranger and main singer / songwriter (I really had hoped to ideally sing about HALF of this album) meant that I was away from my family the whole time the album was being recorded, with no money coming in, and a family relying on my financial input and emotional involvement. And stress began to kick in.
Stress turned into frustration, and frustration turned into panic.
Not the best time to break the routine to tour the UK with Amen, I’m sure you will agree. A fantastic idea at any other time of the century, but not necessarily at this time. Still, contracts are contracts, and from the studio to the road we reluctantly went.
On looking for a suitable stand-in to replace the ailing Danny, the only guy that was even close to filling the shoes was Random Jon Poole.
It is important to know that at NO time was it planned to replace Danny with Jon, or anyone else for that matter. We just needed a bassist that was match fit and able to complete the tour.
Then something really disturbing happened. Some of the fans began turning against the band for the first time in our mixed up, replacement filled history. And for the first time I was forced to take back the statement I had always stood by.
Our fans are the greatest fans in the world.
Now I would have to get used to saying that most of our fans are the greatest fans in the world, I’d marry them in an instant, but some of them are the kind of fucking arseholes that I would personally like to kick repeatedly in the mouth.
The insults aimed at Jon, for no more heinous a crime than ensuring that the tour went ahead, that fans were not let down and the band were not sued, were nothing short of disgraceful.
Accusations of ‘trying too hard on stage’ (!) and ‘not being Danny’ (?) neither phased the guy, nor put him off his stride in completing the job that he’d accepted gracefully. Proving that his balls are a damn sight larger than those of the hidden little shits that would hurl insults at a guy trying his best in an amazingly difficult situation.
Tour over and directly back into the studio without time to unpack a bag, the toll was finally becoming evident, resulting in a stint in hospital for your truly. Stress related nervous breakdown, or just a need to escape the growing negativity? Whatever… I fell. Mentally and physically.
With the album in the bag, all that was left for me to do was mix the damn thing, then recover and wait for the responses to the painful process that was the new album.
And what a response.
Most, thankfully, accepted the new songs, appreciated that things have to move on, and that change in anything (and indeed everything) is inevitable, as well as essential. Most welcomed the new direction taken as something that would stand proudly alongside future Wildhearts albums as a refreshing oddity. More pop fused, with the euphoria that is fatherhood taking centre stage as the main inspiration for the songs. The album is a breezy, well crafted slice of Pop Rock. As daring, and radical a step in an age of Hardcore anger-fuelled Metal, proliferating the genre, as would be possible to make, without turning Reggae. Then came the accusations of ‘sell-out’!
I mean, isn’t selling out what people accuse you of when you willingly join in with the popular style of the times? When you copy the sound of the collective in order to facilitate easy commercial gain? Therefore, isn’t making a blatant Pop Rock album, in an age of screaming-agitated-testosterone-led frontmen screaming about the injustices of their childhood, the exact opposite of selling out?
People actually wanted us to split up, on the strength of one album!!
Maybe I’m just getting old, but I never wanted any of my favourite bands to quit, y’know? And I can’t say I loved every Stones, Ramones, Motorhead, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Iggy, Kiss or Cheap Trick album ever recorded, but where would they be if their fans dropped them on the first album that didn’t rate as their favourite release?
Some of this minority, that would claim that the band had indeed ‘been destroyed’ by the latest offering, were actually people that I had personally talked out of committing suicide in the past. Talk about loyalty, or even standing by a pal when he’s down.
You faithless shits.
You know who you are, and you also know who you will not have in your team should the darkside once again invade and envelop your confused world.
I hope that we have lost this contingent of ‘fan’ for good. I honestly do.
2003? From death threats aimed at me by virtue of my stance on the Iraq War, to those that demanded I disband The Wildhearts because you didn’t like one fucking album, to accusations of ‘betraying’ Danny because we wanted him to take the music as seriously as we do (even though we left the bass player spot open, at the cost of making a video for ‘Top Of The World’ without a bassist, in order to allow him to come back to the fold, should he have decided to dedicate himself to the group in the manner needed to ensure at least a decent attempt at a break, in this most fucked up of businesses), to you, the very few, I single fingeredly salute you.
You have tried to break us and you have failed.
In fact you have succeeded in making us stronger, crowning Jon Poole as a hero, and Danny as a martyr (shame on you, you fucking fools, shouldn’t you have been helping instead?), pushing us to look to the US for new ground to show off our wares, resulting in gaining US management, a US tour and imminent US record company involvement.
Those with least to say say it the loudest. We heard you, and we wore the courage of our own conviction as armour. Nothing prepares you for an attack from your own, and nothing like it makes you more resolved and determined to prove your worth. You succeeded in making us proud of ourselves and not to merely rely on appreciation.
We will carry on, with a new album of more than 30 songs, recorded later this year.
We will do this for ourselves, and for the people that understand that movement comes from fucking well moving! Changing. Trying. Testing new ground. Attempting things that seem terrifying in the mind. Having the guts to fail and the courage to applaud someone else’s brave efforts, whatever the outcome.
2004 belongs to those that would not judge, lest they themselves be judged.
It belongs to the victor, the one that would stand alone and speak, in a sea of silence. Inspire movement in an age of apathy.
We cannot fail – because the only critic capable of thwarting our zest for life, for the unchartered and intensely difficult times ahead, is ourselves.
And we take NO shit!
God bless those of you that have stayed with us…
…and a parting fuck you to those that have jumped ship.
this year and the next bunch to follow