By Ginger | May 16, 2004
It’s been a while since doing one of these ‘intro’ things, and I have to say I have been dreading starting up this little habit again. Not because of the work (surely, Dear Reader, you know you deserve that), but because every time I sit down to write an intro, something else good happens. Every day… something new, and something good.
Talk about ‘careful what you wish for’, ‘cos I must have gotten greedy with my wishlist along the way.
It gets like that. Wish for the world, and settle for a large healthy chunk of earth, y’know? Occasionally however, (and you gotta believe that I had, almost, become resolved to the fact it was never going to be me), someone is going to inherit the Earth.
If last year’s ‘black’ was skinny boys in ‘thrifty store’ gear (or ‘classic clothing’ as it is now known as, and sold at five times the price, as a result) staring aimlessly goofy at the floor below their converse all-stars, and the year before that, ‘black’ was short spiky haired boys complaining about their parental neglect issues, then this year’s shade of Johnny Cash is, surely, all about ability.
Rock has gotten itself classy again, and not before fucking time, I am sure you will agree.
When trends fall, quality takes over, and in music, no genre represents quality with the consistency of Rock. Guitar solos are back, because people actually learned how to play that wooden thing that can get your dick sucked. Showmanship has become the new ‘Heroin chic’ (or, put another way, having little in the way of rhythm), because people have taken time out to master a few dance steps, and bust a few moves.
And surely the fact that rhythm sections are becoming more commonly brilliant is down in no small part to The White Stripes. Nothing against the White Stripes, or anyone else for that matter (‘couldn’t give a shit’ actually more neatly rounds up the depth of emotion), but following the success of someone banging on a drum kit like a bored child messing around with the dinner pots could drive the most timid of drummer into a Keith Moon sized frenzy. All the while being applauded by a clueless gaggle of journalists (or is it a flotilla of journalists? or a turd?… yes, a turd of journalists will do nicely).
You can almost feel Big John Bonham stirring in his grave.
Yes, thanx to the lightweight, anorexic variety of ‘garage’ paraded as ‘Rock n Roll’, by the ‘scenesters’, it’s time to let the big boys have a go.
Because the big boys make rock sound the way it should sound.
At the beginning of the year The Wildhearts were about to call it a day, do some crippling US punk (or if British, read ‘pub’) tour, that would have thoroughly demoralised the band into quitting, and we were going to record a final album called “Sod’s Law” that would have been a sweet swan-song, complete with final cash-in tour of UK and Japan.
Then The Darkness asked for us to tour Europe with them.
Our record company, Gut, decided it was an inappropriate tour for us, so we instead booked a bunch of shit-holes to play and earn enough money to hire a bus to take us around Europe (read the journals on this very website, they’re a blast for any aspiring musicians currently considering giving up). Fuck it, we’d figure out a way to eat once we were in Europe.
Only the most independent of passion could see no benefit in touring with the hottest UK Rock act in well over ten years. We, on the other hand, occupy the seam-bursting end of the passion spectrum. The tour went ahead.
The European tour yielded benefits that we would never have believed, had we not believed in the first place.
Album distribution, agents vying for our attention and a much needed ego boost in the form of a ton of Darkness fans rabid over our music. From a state of lovelessness in the UK to ecstatic reactions from music fans throughout the whole of Europe.
This, then, begat the American Darkness tour, which ushered in a new age of appreciation for our ‘un-fashionable’ brand of powerful rock with melody. Beginning with the involvement of a nice big US management company and culminating in a record deal with Sanctuary, with a single (Vanilla Radio) to be released in June.
Then things really started to get weird.
Another tour of America is offered to us by those wonderful, career-saving boys in The Darkness (without whom you would not be reading this, because right about now I would be nestled deep within the Philippines, languishing in paradise, family and guitar in tow).
This new tour commences at the beginning of June. The same week/month that our first ever official Wildhearts single is released in USA.
Make it up? You should be writing books if you can even fucking imagine this shit!
A tour of the UK is completed, (with the mighty Therapy? and the superb Glitterati), which is a huge financial success, and every show is almost sold out, except for the ones that were actually sold out of course. We, quite frankly, make a well deserved mint.
Not bad going, so far, for a band on their last legs not four months prior.
No, it gets better.
We are even, finally, playing Reading and Leeds festival. And on no less a stage than the Radio One stage, a corporation that had us blacklisted from their playlist not 12 months ago.
Then, in January, we will head back to USA for our first headline tour, and with luck we can bring Therapy? along, carrying on the tradition that The Darkness have set down, namely helping out your mates and not being a selfish, pocket-lining cunt.
And it looks like we’ll be demo-ing the new album in July (no longer called ‘Sod’s Law’, that will have to wait until this roll stops a rollin’). Brand new tracks that rock your fucking ass clean from under your hips.
The band are all writing, and the riffs are fucking… fucking… fucking… descriptions fail to do them justice. Choruses and melodies to kill chickens for. I kid you not one jot.
What can I say, as some form of summation?
I guess the moral of this tale is that if you keep your shit together, and DO NOT GIVE UP NO MATTER WHAT… hang on, let’s just repeat that one more time…
DO… NOT… GIVE… UP… NO… MATTER… FUCKING… WHAT!…
….then who knows what fate has lined up for you?
You do not know. Your friends do not know. And you can be pretty damn certain that magazines and record companies do not know.
What I do know, however, is that the longer it takes to make it, the better player you are. And the better player you are the more likely you are to blow someone’s fucking socks off come their first live introduction to your band.
So my advice to any aspiring musicians out there is simply this: keep playing, keep improving and keep the faith. It is all working for the larger goal. It is all important. There is no disgrace in making it big anymore.
Be honourable and be professional… and let’s not break this chain.
The UK is rising again, for the first time since the early ’80’s.
The post Nirvana generation grew up and had some really cool kids. They now attend concerts. As musicians it is our duty, our responsibility to entertain these people, be they parent or child.
The Wildhearts are testament to many things, but the power of quality and the infectious nature of consistency is new to me.
All of this is new to me, and I’m nearly fucking 40, I look great and I feel fantastic. And I can play the living shit out of my guitar. And I love this band more now than I ever have.
There, boys and girls is the eternal power of rock.
And until someone invents a trend that lasts as long as rock has lasted, then trends are strictly for those without imagination. It is all rock, the rest is padding.
FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK – DO IT WITH A BIG FUCKING SMILE ON YOUR FACE!
Still scratching my head, while constantly pinching myself…
Your local Rock Star, and damn proud to represent