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Ginger’s Schecter Hellraiser “Chutzpah!” Guitar, Could Be Yours!

Ginger is selling his dark red sunburst Schecter Hellraiser Solo-6 guitar – the very guitar used in the writing and recording of Chutzpah! and Chutzpah! Jnr, and played during the Chutzpah! tour and more recent Wildhearts tours.

Extensively customised through his trademark application of stickers and decals, this is a chance to own a one-off piece of rock history.

Ginger says:
“When Chutzpah! came out, to roaring reviews, most people complimented us on the guitar sound. Even live, people would delight in the fact that we had a modern edge, and it was all down to this thing before you.

This beautiful guitar was responsible for the writing and recording of Chutzpah! and Chutzpah! Jnr, and the world tour that followed.

Of course it didn’t retire there, as I played it, almost exclusively, for many volume packed years, as my go-to guitar. Perfect tone, insanely good tuning (I never owned a tuner in the years I played this one live) and now covered in stickers from all round the world.

On opening up the box there was even an original tour set list, so as an added bonus I’ll chuck in some personal items from the time. Just bits and pieces from that period in Wildheart’s history.

But the main draw, obviously, is this sublime piece of our story. The Chutzpah! guitar.

Gx”

It is being auctioned from Ginger’s official eBay page at www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Ginger-Wildhearts-Schecter-Hellraiser-Solo-6-guitar-dark-red-sunburst-colour/292226690419. You can see the details about the guitar and shipping details on the listing page.

Check it out in action playing Mazel Tov Cocktail on stage during the 2009 Chutzpah! tour (this was before it was stickered up),
on YouTube here.

The auction will run until Monday 4th September – let’s find this a good home!

Happily Lost In Translation (Japan Day 1)

The breaks between visits to Japan always seem longer than in reality. Actually, this kind of warp in time makes sense when faced with the futuristic setting that Tokyo continues to impress upon returning gai-jin (foreigners). Apart from New York City there isn’t a place in the world I miss more than Japan.

Take the food, for example. The mysterious, multi textured, multi-shaped, multi-coloured smörgåsbord that is a Bento Box can repel and delight in equal measure, depending on who is savouring its hidden treasures. A table/box full of assorted tastes and visual treats is my idea of heaven. The thought of putting something unknown into my mouth on the recommendation of Japanese hosts fills me with a joy that Xmas used to, about 30 years ago. And it is always, without exception, a culinary masterpiece jam packed with exotic flavour.

And the drinks? Last night I was drinking sho-chu (a strong wine made of wheat) mixed with vinegar and plum, and was made to feel like I’d just discovered alcohol again. Scott has got himself an addiction to sho-chu and oolong tea. And who could blame him? Without the bloated feeling of beer or the potentially hair trigger drunk that liquor can spring this stuff takes a while to get you there and is thoroughly delicious every step of the way. And all without the tiredness that drinking red wine can sometimes have on an evening out with friends.

Then there are the streets. A smoker’s dream. Nowhere else in the world are there so many people puffing on cigarettes. Indoors, outdoors. Young and old. Everyone is smoking tabs. And not to look hard.

People are also dressed in amazing clothing. Some merely stylish to the max and others kitted out in the kind of get up that American movies tell us people will wear 100 years in the future. And why the Hell not? Every store in Tokyo, no matter what they’re selling, from shoes to garden equipment, sells it with cute cartoons the likes of which are only seen by Western eyes on kids telly.

Society is structured on traditional values steeped in Buddhism therefore everyone takes pride in making the whole work effectively by governing themselves in a proper and respectful manner. Crime, while existing, is an organised and honourable vocation that the criminally minded can aspire to. There’s never been an ASBO written for a young thug here, the perks are just too great.

And then, of course, there are the fans. Loyal, respectful and diligent, they follow with patient tenacity, biding their time, determined to get a photo or autograph or presenting gifts laced with imagination and origami packaging.

And when collected in a venue, the cleanliness of which is completely alien to someone whose apprenticeship was served treading the beer and puke sodden boards of shit pits that make up most of the UK touring circuit, the noise they make is an ode to joy itself. Shrill and completely testosterone free the Japanese crowd makes a whistling squeal that sounds like a thousand kettles collectively and positively thrilled to make tea. Orgasmic and life affirming. This sound is one of the many reasons why The Wildhearts have stayed together for so long.

After a kick ass show at the Tokyo Liquid Rooms I’m startled to hear music business types charting out a three year plan of how the style of music will follow the current recession, based on previous recessions and the resulting shifts in style. The Japanese, it’s fair to say, aren’t a race of moaners.

Our hosts, the lovely Kaoru and the wonderful Coach, of Vinyl Junkie, follow us everywhere to make sure that we are looked after and the shows go off without a single hitch. Not many managing directors of record labels have this much of a relationship with the musicians they work with, maybe that’s part of the reason why the music industry over here is in such great shape?

In summary, I love this place. Fucking love it.

And it would appear, after 15 years of being invited back, that the feeling is entirely mutual.

Argita Gozai Mas, Banzai, Yopporai, let’s get high.

Gx

Stoke Memoirs And 3D Spex (Day 8)

Who knows why some gigs you absolutely love and some you just can’t get into?

The band all loved the show in Stoke, the audience were amazing, the hecklers heckled in good spirits (albeit during an announcement that our friend Tim Smith has severe health problems- I guess bad manners don’t wait for appropriate moments to spring forth, huh? Nice one mate. Your girlfriend will be so proud, if you ever get one, ha ha), the guys in the band all played like a well oiled machine and the songs flowed like easy conversation. Me? I just couldn’t get into it. By the end of the second set the onstage sound had reached such muddied proportions that I could feel myself shouting to hear my vocals, so in an attempt to keep my voice for tomorrow’s show (and the rest of the tour) I let the crowd sing the final song 29 x The Pain. It was a curious moment with Hot Steve handing the microphone to seemingly everyone in the audience that doesn’t know the lyrics. Still, it has to be said that in another venue an SM57 would have been stripped from its cable and never seen again. A fine testament to the sheer decency of the Stoke crowd.


And while on the subject of hecklers and people not realising that we were going to be playing the new album in its entirety, I would like to make certain that my intentions in highlighting the heckling was not to incite further violence or have anyone threaten to ‘sort them out’. I don’t want to see ANY violence at our shows, okay?

I understand that some people will feel short changed by the decision to play the album and this is something I’d like to clarify. This decision was made during a fraught time where we couldn’t make our minds up as to what to play: old, new, rare, popular, etc etc etc. We put the vote to the fans on the forum and you unanimously voted for us to play the album. We take your responses very seriously indeed, and so we made a last minute decision to honour the popular voice, and deal with the disapproval of the minority, in this case. We can only offer, as consolation for anyone who might be disappointed with the decision, the fact that we have a band playing at the very top of their game (playing some songs that will never be played live again), one of the worlds very best sound-men, an awesome bill and a very competitive ticket price.

It looks like we will continue to support our albums by playing them in their entirety, in the future, if we are to continue to make albums. There are tons of bands just trotting out the best of set and releasing no new music, this is fine and supporting this is also great, but that isn’t The Wildhearts. Not at all. We want to the future to be an exciting place with musical innovation as well as a nod to the past, hence the two sets, both of approx equal length.

I hope you will continue to join us on our musical journey, and for anyone who only wants to see the ‘best of’ set I hope you have enjoyed the past 15/20 years and leave with fond memories. It’s been a great ride, hasn’t it?


After the show we were invited to a private screening of Final Destination 3D, which the band and crew later decided against, favouring, instead, another night drinking on the bus. Doing the same thing every night drives me a little stir crazy so Gav and I decided to round up some friends and make the screening anyway. Walking into a huge cinema that is completely empty is a thrill that no-one should pass up if ever given the chance. We selected our seats and watched as the 3D format threw chisels at us, as well as various body parts, in spectacular fashion. A great bit of gory fun with some very inventive kills, all sadly marred by the worst ending since The Happening.

Still, the gorgeous Krista Allen appeared in the movie, which was a bit of a treat.

Back on the bus we watched Step Brothers together and took ill laughing so hard at the drum kit/bollock interface scene.

Driving through Stoke as the clubs had long closed yet the scattered, drunken debris still roamed the street looking for a final fight or a fuck, but will probably settle for a kebab, I couldn’t feel more alien.

It’s a feeling I get every now and again and one that gives me great comfort.

Sometimes I just really feel different than everyone else.

Gx

Birmingham, My Birmingham (Day 7)

We’ve always enjoyed good times in the Midlands and tonight was no exception.

Apparently there’s some kind of divide between Wolverhampton and Birmingham that forbids people from the former going to see bands playing the latter. We have sold precisely half the amount of tickets that we usually sell when we play Wolves Civic, adding weight to this theory. Still, come showtime the modest little room in the O2 Academy is literally jam packed.

The monitors on this tiny stage are so powerful that one would need to stand about 4 or 5 feet away from it to actually hear it. There is no 4 or 5 feet ‘back’ on this tiny stage, therefore no one can hear a thing onstage.

The show was the hottest gig I’ve played in a very long time. No air onstage made the experience hellish, especially for me and Ritch. Come You Took The Sunshine From New York I came so close to blacking out that I failed to notice singing the first verse in an entirely different key. No monitors and no oxygen will do that to a person.

Anyway, if the crowd noticed (which I’m sure they did) they quickly forgave me and proceeded to supply severely voluminous vocal support throughout. Their stamina was inspirational and kept the band motivated to keep rocking when there was no life left in us at all.

At one point in the final song I moved to CJ’s side of the stage in order to stop myself slipping on the swimming pool of my sweat in the middle of the stage. His side? Dry as a bone. That guy is way too cool.

All in all, possibly the best show of the tour. At least on a par with Nottingham.

Later we all ate at the Koh-i-Noor, a superb Indian restaurant that plays 80’s rock ballads at the behest of their manager. You won’t find a more surreal soundtrack to an extra spicy King Prawn Ceylon. It’s directly opposite the front of the venue. Check it out next time you’re at a gig.

Birmingham, we love you. Still and always.

Gx

Brighton Rocks (Day 1)

First day of the tour, and I don’t think it could have been any more spectacular.

A delightfully full Concorde 2 watched in joyous rapture as we ploughed through the album from first to last track. The band played incredibly well and the crew performed with military precision, although the man of the match award must surely go out to Shirt, our awesome soundman, who almost ruptured the very grounds of the venue and turned the area into a brand new glory hole.

Very proud of everyone for such a wonderful first gig.

I LOVED the fact that everyone in the crowd stood and listened, something I feared might feel extremely awkward was, in fact, a beautiful moment of sharing. Something that hasn’t happened since we first started back in late 80’s.

It really feels like something new is starting to happen. As clichéd as that sounds. I felt a thrill last night that I haven’t felt at a Wildhearts gig for an awful long time like there are uncharted waters we have yet to sail. Playing with the audience in full attention mode, while bells and whistles fly around the stage from the backing tracks, made me realise that there is always a new thrill when you are improving your sense of spiritual balance. Every day is a new day, every sight is seen through fresher eyes and a less cluttered mind. Every experience is new and exciting.

I almost lost it introducing Tim Smith last night. After visiting Tim recently it made me realise how precious life is and how much we take our health for granted.

I’d like you to take a moment today to tell someone you love them and also to give thanks for your wonderful, working body. You are a very fortunate person and please try to remember that.

It was great to see Chris McCormack, Rich Jones, Crazy Carmen and the uniqueness that is Random Jon Poole. Chris, I look forward to getting this going in 2010, Rich thanks for the book I read the marked page… ouch!, Carmen-keep your port away from me and Jon-congratulations, it’s great to hear that everything is going so well. Hope you got home okay. Love to Louise.

Next stop Bristol. You really have an amazing crowd to beat. Just sayin’…

Gx

Wine Inspired Musings

So that last rehearsal is done, we’ve eaten the best Indian food that Bradford has to offer (Saffron, check it out) and now we’re waiting for the bus to turn up and take us onto the Wildhearts tour that I’m more excited about than any in a very long time.

The difference?

We are playing songs that feature backing tracks and de-tuned guitars, the sound I’ve wanted for the band for so long.

It really feel like we are bringing something new to the show with this set, we really feel like we are doing something that excites us after all these years.

There is little point in a band like us staying still after almost 20 years. We must do something that we haven’t tried before otherwise we’ll turn into a bunch of trees. Big, bored trees. In a tired old punk-o-metal forest. Or something.

Seriously, hearing the band so hopped up on volume, harmonies and riffs is a thrill that I can’t wait for you lot to experience.

This feels new. It feels fresh.

Yeah, I know, people have used samples and loops before, but the point is that we haven’t.

There aren’t many things that can stimulate after doing it this long, and we are stimulated. Mighty stimulated.

This is a sound that I feel thoroughly buzzed about. Something that we will feature for the rest of our career, if I have anything to do with it.

Fizzy pop punk is dead for The Wildhearts, we are going to take this somewhere unknown. Who on earth knows where that is, but it’s going to be an amazing ride.

The story is far from over.

Fuck, I feel like I’m in a new band now.

And as awesome as we think this album is we cannot wait to record the next one. Who knows what crazy shit that album will throw up?

As always expect the unexpected.

Man, sometimes it’s great to be in a band!

Gx