Download Festival Preview : Interview with Ginger Wildheart

Ginger Notts viii

Having recently ventured out to catch Ginger on his excellent ‘Songs & Words’ theatre tour and with plenty more on the horizon for rock’s hardest working man; we thought we’d better have a word with him! So that’s what we did…

Thanks for having us at your Nottingham ‘Songs & Words’ show – how are you adapting to your new ‘stand up’ role?

Surprisingly well. I was terrified by the concept initially, which is what prompted me to go for it in the first place, I like the idea of doing things that scare me. In fact, I can honestly say I was shitting myself right up until the first warm up show at the Manchester Star & Garter, and then I realised “Hey, I know this crowd!”, and it then became much more familiar. Now I can wait to get back up there. In fact I’d love to continue doing it until people stop coming to see me!

Some of the stories come from pretty messed up times for you. Are they all from your memory or have you had some help along the way?

No, surprisingly my memory worked fine. I did get some help in making sure that the stuff that involves other people was as factual as possible. But I found that as opposed to forgetting things I’d just put the more unpleasant stuff in a box in the attic, not expecting to revisit it. I think that’s what most people do with their traumatic recollections, and this is why I’d suggest everyone write a book.

I think we all have a fascinating story in us that someone would benefit from hearing. In fact I’d go as far as to say that we’ve probably all simply stuck our most interesting times in boxes in our own attics, in order to preserve our happiness and often our sanity.

Are you spoiling a good autobiography with this tour?

I’m not spoiling a good autobiography as much as advertising a good semi-autobiography, in the Songs & Words book, which tells the story of my career so far, except through the songs themselves. This sneak preview is just a little more free form. As far as an actual autobiography, as in a book that starts with my grandparents meeting and all that bollocks is not on my agenda. I find those things tedious, and invariably skip those pages up until the writer gets to a place in their life that I’m actually interested in. Maybe when I’m 80 years old I’ll look back on my life and want to write about it all, but for now I’m still making the story.

You are currently putting together a book about your history behind the songs for your latest pledge campaign; will there be lots not mentioned on the tour in the book… some juicy extras?

Of course. It takes a lot longer to read a book than 3 hours, which is all I’ve got onstage. Believe me there are plenty more stories in the book. I’ve tried to make it about my opinions of the story, to avoid legal action and to incriminate no one. In fact it would be unfair to blame anyone for anything going wrong in the story of The Wildhearts. We were all fucking useless, from the band to the business people. No one had a fucking clue. I think that’s what makes the book funnier.

You share some quite personal information on the tour, which is unusual. Was that a conscious decision to reveal that little bit more or did it all just come out naturally?

That’s the juicy stuff that people are interested in. I could go into detail what we were wearing or how many times we were getting laid, but let’s face it, people would rather hear about me almost getting showered in horse sperm. I want to make the show entertaining, but also very human and very honest.

I’ve nothing to hide and have no problem people knowing I’m just as big a dick head as they are, probably more so. I also wanted to put a few myths to bed.

Songs & Words is not the only thing going on however, you have Download coming up!

This time you’re with Hey!Hello! – with a slightly tweaked line-up?

Yes, I couldn’t be more excited about playing with this line up, and I’m amazed that we’re actually headlining our stage! So far I’ve had more band interaction and activity from the members of Hey! Hello! than I expected or am used to. They’re an amazing team and I’m proud to be a part of it. I think people are going to get one hell of a surprise when they see the amount of energy in the new line up.

With just one album out so far, will the whole set be pure Hey!Hello! or will there be a few surprises too?

Oh there will always be a few surprises, that is what makes it fun for me. We’ll be playing a nice short set packed with energy. It’s a festival, it’s not all about us. So we’re going to get on that stage, blow everyone’s fucking head off, and leave them to go back to watching other bands. I know how to treat a festival, and I also know that we’ll be one the of the names they’ll be talking about along with their Monday morning hangovers.

Inevitable Question: Will there be another Hey!Hello! album/tour?

We’re talking about it.

I would love to hear this band make an album as I recorded everything last time. My little boy named the band. Then I sent what was basically a finished album over to Victoria to sing on in America. But the whole thing was basically named and finished before I got anyone else involved. This time I’d like it to be a team effort all the way. I really believe this band could do some serious damage in the future. We have too many stars in one group for it not to strike people in the genitals and get them dancing. Watch this space.

Download/Donington must presumably hold some great memories for you as you’ve been a regular over the years. What is your favourite Download memory?

The Wildhearts getting the power pulled, when we were 25 minutes into our set, because they thought we were going to incite a riot. Truth is we didn’t even have a 30 minute set prepared, so they did us a massive favour…

But that was an unforgettable day.

You are also good friends with the main man Andy Copping. Do you think he shares that ability to move with the times with yourself to keep things a little bit fresh in the industry? Download has been dominant in the UK for quite a while now…

Andy has the Midas touch. He can see the future. He saw something in The Wildhearts after our first ever show, something that no one else spotted, least of all the band. You don’t get to stay on top like Andy Copping without knowing exactly what you’re doing. And aside from his ability to move with the times he’s loyal, and in this business that is a language that is rarely spoken. It is also a trait that all the successful people I know in music industry share. I appreciate honesty so much, and I think that’s why I am respected by these people. I also think that my need for honesty is why I make enemies too.

And you’re putting together your own Halloween festival this year too! Are the bands all to be selected by yourself?

Oh yes, hand picked by myself for maximum entertainment. We’re doing it as a two day event this year, because it sold out so quickly last time, and the Friday bill is already complete. I won’t reveal any names yet, but fucking hell what a weekend that is going to be. Talk about Halloween…. by the Sunday people will actually be the walking dead after this event. At my age I don’t know how long I’ve got left so I intend to make every event a truly over the top occasion.

Go bigger or get older. And I have no desire to get old and boring.


There’s still time to catch Ginger on his Songs & Words Tour: Tickets

Download 2015 is also clearly visible on the horizon (12-14 June 2015) : Tickets

and… you can keep updated on what’s to come this Halloween on Ginger’s website!