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Birthday Gig 2012

The Ginger birthday gig went off in riotous, confetti cannon fashion last night in London. Read on for setlists and a few photos from the show.

The Ginger Wildheart Band.  Photo by Trudi Knight (

Ginger Wildheart Band – setlist from
Just Another Song About Someone
How I Survived The Punk Wars
Girls Are Better Than Boys
Taste Aversion
Forget About It
Surrender (Cheap Trick cover, with Alex Kane)
Sonic Shake (with Alex Kane)

The Ginger Wildheart Band.  Photo by Trudi Knight (

The Wildhearts – setlist from
Nothing Ever Changes but the Shoes
TV Tan
Sick of Drugs
Red Light Green Light
Girlfriend Clothes
Dreaming in A
Someone That Won’t Let Me Go
Mazel Tov Cocktail
Caffeine Bomb
Geordie in Wonderland
Beautiful Thing You
29 x The Pain
Love U ’til I Don’t

The view from the stage.  Photo by Rich Jones

Nita Nitro
Happy Birthday (with Jake & cake)
Vanilla Radio (with Jake)
Is This the Life (Cardiacs cover with 4 guitarists: CJ, Chris Catalyst, Random (and vocals), Kavus Torabi, Dom Lawson bass, Ginger drums
White Lies (with Warner E. Hodges)
My Baby Is a Headfuck (with Jef Streatfield and Warner E. Hodges)
I Wanna Go Where the People Go

The Wildhearts post gig.  Photo by Trudi Knight (

Ginger’s smileybones birthday cake created and delivered by Lee Sinclair from Custom Cakes UK of Bristol
Smileybones Cake, Photo by Lee Sinclair

Also for those that missed it, merchandise from the show is now in the webstore

Ginger and Friends to play Sonisphere

Ginger has been announced on the bill for this years Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth.

He will play the Bohemia stage on Saturday 9th July, on stage at 7.25pm. Joining him will be ‘Random’ Jon Poole, Rich Jones and Denzil, and between them they will be rattling through a set of Wildhearts material to entertain you all.

Tickets are available from the Sonisphere ticket store here.

2010 Draws To A Close…

…so we take a look back on what has been accomplished over the last 12 months.

With the full release of ¡Chutzpah! Jnr, and re-releases of classic Wildhearts albums (all of which are available on the Wildhearts’ webstore), through to the visual and sonic candy of the Guitarmageddon shows, and Ginger’s addition to The Michael Monroe Band line-up, we ended with a very successful set of Ginger & Friends shows following his legendary birthday show at the Garage in London.

Says Ginger:

“Thank you for turning up, in your wondrous droves, to watch the Xmas shows.

Make no mistake I will be taking this new found popularity very seriously indeed, and will return the favour in the shape of much music throughout 2011.

Expect a new solo album and plenty more touring action. Oh yes.

I’ve missed performing in front of your beaming faces and intend on making it a regular occurrence next year.

See you on the road, you sweet, sweet people.


We’d like to thank all of you for your continued support over the past year, and to wish each and every one of you a fantastic Christmas and an even better 2011!

Take care out there!

The Ginger & Friends Web Team

The Haiti Project

A download only charity compilation launches today to raise money for the relief efforts following the Earthquake in Haiti.

The Haiti Project

A message from Haiti Project organiser, Gav:

Upon arriving back in the UK a few weeks ago at Heathrow (and being a little too wrapped up in seemingly important things like whether the plane would land in the snow or if my train would be running) I was immediately greeted and numbed by the horrific and shocking news reports that followed after the Haiti Earthquake. As the magnitude of the disaster continues to grow by the day, I was very keen (like most people) to do ‘something’.

Thus The Haiti Project – a charity download album – was born. Within a few days of sending emails and calls to my nearest and dearest friends an album quite literally ‘came together’.

The album is spearheaded by the anthemic debut track from The Sonic Graffiti, a new band from LA put together by Ginger, Billy Morrison, Michael Butler & Scott Lipps. The track entitled Mystery Number was recorded at Matt Sorum’s studio in August 2009 & was produced by the legendary Mike Clink.

I’d like to personally say a big thankyou to Ginger, Billy, Michael, Scott & Mike for donating this exclusive track, and allowing The Haiti Project to (hopefully) raise even more money.

I would love for everyone to spread word around the internet world via their Twitterings, Facebookings, Myspacings, bloggings and other ‘ings’. Lets raise some money.


The Haiti Project Tracklist:

1) The Sonic Graffiti – Mystery Number (Exclusive)
2) Eureka Machines – Being Good Is Ok, But Being Betters Better
3) Electric Six – Newark Airport Boogie
4) Jackdaw 4 – Jesus Wants My Soul Back
5) The Loyalties – Sofa Surfin’ UK (Acoustic)
6) Antiproduct – When We Find Love
7) The Organ Beats – Happy Birthday/Come On Home
8) The Wildhearts – Unbroken
9) Tragedy: All Metal Tribute To The Bee Gees – Nights On Broadway
10) Radio Dead Ones – Take It On Trust
11) Ricky Warwick – Love Owes
12) Brijitte West (Feat. Jesse Malin) – How To Be Good
13) Moi? – This Is All That I Wanted
14) Laika Dog – Piano Song
15) Sorry & The Sinatras – Riverside
16) Children of The Unicorn – Nightshark

The download album costs just £5 and is available from MusicGlue.

16 songs for £5!? Oh yes!

All of the proceeds will be donated directly to the ongoing relief efforts and you’ll end up with 16 great tracks. Good deal.

Go To Hell

Nestled unassumingly near the front of Töölö, in the heart of Helsinki, is the best restaurant in the world. Lots of restaurants seem like the best restaurants in the world, and almost are, but there is only one that can be king.

And this place is called Hell.

Stylish and sparse, and serving up fine food until 4am, this awesome hostelry offers treats ranging from reindeer pizza to snails with garlic and blue cheese (called Gas Lipstick, named after the drummer from Finnish megastars HIM and his obsession with this sublime dish – which is possibly the tastiest thing in the world).

It is here the four members of rock’s unsung super group (the band you hate to love, the over-proof underachievers, the resplendently independent… etc etc…) soak in the familiar air that is a Helsinki welcome, speak about activities in 2010, eat rare steak so tender that one has only the exquisite taste to remind you that there is actually something in your mouth, and recall the last 48 hours.

We hadn’t been in Finland for a full day before we’re being ushered to the One Eye Tattoo studio, where we will receive free ink, courtesy of Taneli and Pete. They will tirelessly tattoo wrists, necks, arms and ribs, gratis, while handing out free beers. The last time this happened to us was… um… that’s right, this has never happened to us before*.

Previous to that we were invited to attend the opening of a Wildhearts exhibition at the Helsinki City library, where a couple of Wildhearts fans had pooled their not inconsiderable collections together, much to the bemusement of the elderly patrons perusing the library section of the gallery, that serves as a humble reminder that the power of music is a transatlantic phenomenon in which no translation is needed.

MTV filming and magazine interviews/photos are conducted and radio interviews & station take-overs are undertaken before being treat to yet more delicious Finnish fare bolstered by copious Langerot (translated as ‘long drink’ it’s a pint of gin & grapefruit soda based heaven that must be tasted to be believed, I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love this stuff instantly) and Fisu (a chilled vodka fermented with Fisherman’s Friend sweets that delivers a huge, delicious wave to the sinuses and plants a warm glow to the chest, simply outstanding) leaving us merry and satisfied.

It’s been a great couple of days spent with wonderful people. So great, in fact, that we didn’t want to leave this morning (after about 30 seconds worth of sleep**), but I’m glad to report that we are in Tampere right now, getting ready for tonight’s show. The hotel is lovely and the band are loud.

Also the Chutzpah Jnr mini album will be available at all future gigs that The Wildhearts will play, so I trust you will all get a copy. And in the meantime please feel free to pas it around in files. You deserve it. You’re lovely.

See you at Xmas.


*Actually I have had free tattoos before, in Japan, but it wasn’t a whole band session, and hey, let’s try not to let mundane details get in the way of literary flow. Artistic license is why reading is fun, right? Er… right?

**This is an exaggeration. Once again I’d like to take the time to admit to using a little artistic license with which to effect a blunt punch to what could be considered a humorous insert.

A Brief Update, A Small Summary, And, Finally, A Bit Of News.

So, it’s been a while since I wrote something here, eh? Dunno why, I guess I’ve been off busying myself with other pursuits or something. Either way it’s safe to say that I’ve missed you.

First things first, go buy the new Devin Townsend album, Addicted. Absolutely the best stuff he’s released since the awe inspiring City by SYL. You will absolutely not regret this purchase.

Oh, Antiproduct are leaving the sunny confines of LA to return to the rainy little winterland we call the U of K to appear as special guests at The Wildhearts’ Xmas shows. Given that The Loyalties are opening up this evening should effortlessly rank alongside any Xmas special we have ever put together.

And, while on the subject of the Xmas gigs the thorny issue of Chutzpah Jnr. The decision to make this available exclusively to people attending the Xmas shows is not a decision that has been made by me or, to my knowledge any member of the band. I’m sure this is a slight error and that the CD will be available at shows after Xmas. All I can personally say on the subject is that I hope the CD will NOT be on sale outside of the concert environment, dictating that you make some online friends and have them buy a copy for you. Who knows, actual friendships may subsequently blossom ensuring you all have international destinations for your future holidays? Having said this, we have management and a record label that make these decisions for us, so for all I know (and let’s face it I’ve been known to be wrong as frequently as any air breathing humanoid) you might soon be able to download it without any further effort or social value whatsoever. Yay.

Speaking of gigs, the birthday show sold out in a rapid and amazing blast of  excitement, at least for me. It’s a pretty proud old(ish) fart who knows that you are so keen to help me celebrate in style. So proud, in fact, that I have invited pretty much everyone to the party. Expect to see a veritable rainbow of familiar faces and musical masterchefs cluttering up the tiny stage at London’s Relentless Garage. I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out that we’d like you to familiarise yourself with this tune:

We hope to present a live version of this song at some point in the evening and your participation in the chorus would be greatly appreciated. We also hope to have a twitter address set up for live twittering during the evening. So whether you’re in the actual venue or a billion miles away on a nearby planet, or even somewhere in between, you can make your presence known.

We will NOT, it must be heavily stated, be streaming the show live or recording the event in any shape or format. Filming will also be strictly dissuaded. This is a private party after all. All I can say, in my meekest defence, is that I hope to have more than one birthday next year, failing that I suggest you get tickets even quicker next time. We may even make tickets for next years show available at some random point mid-next year, to give some of you the chance to arrange travel arrangements and organise a spot of Xmas shopping. For the rest of you dotted around the world, outside of practical range of this event, I can only offer, as some mild condolence, how the rest of us all feel at not being able to spend New Years in New York, Summer in Saigon and Easter in Egypt. Let’s face it, only God can be everywhere (and, between you and me, even She’s confirmed on the bill for the birthday bash).

I’ve been writing a lot lately. Right now I’ve been happy to write for other artists but it’s got my creative sword quite fiercely sharpened on this welcome stone of demand. Expect at least two albums next year to feature my strong involvement. A bold statement? You betcha. And if it doesn’t happen then I assure you that it won’t be through lack of trying. I’m itching to create like the monstrous creative force I intend to be next year, and I suspect this level of energy will be enough to make this happen. That and your positivity.

I am also pitching for my own radio show through which I hope to educate and entertain with a veritable barrage of unfamiliar delights chosen specifically to stroke the imagination and coddle the mind. Pray with me that it comes off and I know we can achieve this. Sharing my vast love of music is part of the vital service I hope to dedicate myself to in 2010.

There are a few other things that might or might not be happening, none of which I will jinx by announcing here at this point. Instead I’ll exercise a little more respect for the health boosting effects of good news and keep you all waiting.

Still, you know me. As soon as it’s safe to announce I’ll be laying it on y’all. As a bringer of good tidings I find much comfort.

Have a brilliant Xmas, and if I don’t speak to you beforehand keep your powder dry and your intentions brilliant.


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.


Pictures From The Twelfth Day


At Rock Radio, Manchester for an acoustic rendition of The Only One.

Read the rest of this entry »

Same Old Newcastle (Day 11)

Family present? Tick.

Friends all lined up to see you stand or fall? Tick.

Audience about to stand in almost respectful silence? Tick.

Funny thing about playing Newcastle is that it still feels like you’re paying your dues.

Songs are met, initially, with a stillness of quiet approval before a loud cheer of authentication as each song ends. It is, at once, both off-putting and comforting. Nowhere is like Newcastle, and that’s just as it should be.

For me Newcastle is my own microcosmic version of the UK, and in this version crime is met with indifference by authorities almost annoyed by its inconvenience. It’s hard to get jail time in Newcastle. My oldest friend, Panda, meets me during the day for a catch up. He looks very normal. It’s only recently that he’s gotten the use of his right eye back after a severe beating from three teenage strangers who jumped him from behind, knocked him unconscious and proceeded to stamp on his head as he lay. Doctors have reconstructed his eye socket and quite a lot of his face, his eyeball has been taken out twice for surgery and right now only his sense of positivity is getting him through the day. It’s a miracle he’s walking. Or even alive.

The criminals were caught and arrested (having beaten someone up on CCTV only minutes before attacking Panda) and let off with two cautions and one easy sentence. He will be out after a year or two with good behaviour.

They’d have had to kill him to get a more fitting punishment.

This is my England.

More and more people I know are being attacked, or telling stories of people attacked, by random thugs born of a society that provides no release of boredom and a government that offers no deterrent.

When the UK issues the ‘three strikes and out’ law (three offences and you’re in jail, buddy) then I’ll bring my family back here to live.

The band played amazingly well. The audience eventually thawed and lost their cool. It was great to see friends and family again. The bus eventually pulled away to the sound of drunken people arguing by the big market. No doubt someone will end up a bloody mess in A&E somewhere and the public will glibly pay for the doctors’ bills with their monthly taxes. Bills that will continue to mount.

If these people are going to cost us money then wouldn’t one taxable expenditure of a jail sentence for repeat violent offenders be a far cheaper and much safer option?

Don’t we get a say?


Leeds And Glasgow (Day 9 & 10)

Wow, what a couple of days. Leeds Cockpit was, quite possibly, the best show of the tour. The audience were incredible and the band played a stormer. The resulting high followed everyone back to the bus where we proceeded to party like we were the Rolling Stones or something.

Come morning I woke up with the kind of hangover that more resembles still being drunk.

Hot Steve met me on the stairs armed with with an ice cold bottle of Magners he was enjoying. One sip made me want one myself, but on closer inspection the closest thing to cider in the fridge was champagne, presented to me by No Americana a few days ago. I don’t usually drink the stuff but one glass went down so well that it was followed by first another, and soon the whole bottle was gone. It’s not even midday and I was drunk beyond belief.

No problem, I’ll sleep it off.

On being awoke, around 7pm I realised that I was still drunk. So drunk, in fact, that I accepted the offer of a few drags of a spliff. I’m no smoker and have an incredibly low tolerance to the stuff. Already disorientated and spinning the pot hit me like a well aimed upper cut.

Once I eventually found the dressing room I realised that my bag was back on the bus, so, on leaving by the side entrance I heard the door slam shut behind me. Banging on the door proved useless due to the level of volume inside the venue.

It is now 8:25 and I’m due onstage in five minutes.

The phone, typically, died as I continued leaving messages on everyone’s answer phones due to the zero reception within the venue.

Now I’m stoned, drunk, confused, and my paranoia is growing due to the amount of Wildhearts fans outside having a cigarette.

Fuck it, I’m just going to have to slope in undercover of the fans. I manage to squeeze myself into the packed Garage where a security guard recognises me and allows me access to the dressing room.

Fortunately we are running late, gear problems forcing a late start to the set. Just enough time to get my stage clothes on.

It takes me a full song to realise that I’m not wearing an ear plug and the band are so deafeningly loud that I can’t pitch. I eventually righted myself and began the longest gig of my life.

I will never play a show stoned again in my life. It was the most terrifying thing imaginable. What really struck me, through the hazy paranoia, was how fucking good this band are. How dynamic Ritch plays the drums. How amazing our sound man is. How great our crew is. And how incredible our audience is.

Glasgow, thank God it was to you that I played the scariest show I’ve ever played. You made me feel like I was home. You calmed me down and allowed me to, occasionally, enjoy the thrilling spectacle of a rammed Glasgow show with the best band I could possibly experience it with.