One of the first UK rock musicians to demonstrate how crowd-funding could really be successful in the non-mainstream world with his phenomenally successful 555% (Pledge Music) campaign, in 2014 Ginger Wildheart embarked on the G*A*S*S (Ginger Associated Secret Society) project. Fans signed up, and in return, received three exclusive tracks a month and opportunities for a whole host of goodies. At the end of the process, a ten-track release of the most popular tracks, Year Of The Fanclub, was made available to the general public. G*A*S*S Mark II (Round Records) is the Directors Cut… Ginger’s own preferred curation of his favourite tracks from the experiment. Continue reading
It’s been eight years since popular and absurdly costumed Norwegian Death-punk act Turbonegro split with frontman Hank von Hell (aka Hank von Helvete, Hank Herzog von Helvete, Hank From Hell, Herr Tugen, Hertugen, Hanky El Magnifico, Frank Hank, Hanky, Hertis, Hans Erik Dyvik Husby). Eight long years since the world was treated to classic song titles such as ‘Hobbit Motherfuckers’, ‘Bad Mongo’, Rendezvous With Anus’, ‘Blow Me (Like The Wind)’ and of course ‘I Got Erection’. Continue reading
The opening discordant, overdriven stabs of ‘Hello Cruel World’ set the tone for The Primals debut album All Love Is True Love (Southern Lord), a tone that summons the spirit of the fuzziest, poppiest and dirtiest moments of Nirvana’s In Utero (Geffen) jamming with The Pixies and that is every bit as gorgeously sincere as that sounds. So it may come as a surprise to learn that this grunged explosion comes courtesy of John Henry of Metalcore savages Darkest Hour, accompanied by Chad Fjerstad (Dead To Fall) and Andrew Black (The Explosion), a project you’d, like me, have been forgiven to have expected to be churning something more crusty or Hardcore based. Continue reading
August 2018 saw the lives and times of UK bluesy rockers Massive Wagons change, perhaps irreversibly, as hot on the heels of a headline performance at SOS Festival that impressed punters and Ghost Cult alike, their fourth album Full Nelson not only hit the racks, but mounted a serious, and unexpected for the band, assault on the UK album charts, achieving a truly impressive week one position of #16.
With the band experiencing a step up in profile in the run-up to release, guitarist and founding member Adam Thistlethwaite took time out to shoot the breeze with Steve Tovey. Continue reading
Rocking horse shit. That’s about the only thing as rare as a band nailing aesthetic, mystique, live shows, credibility, a groundswell of genuine interest, a devoted fanbase and SONGS on their debut album. Rocking horse shit. And Creeper’s Eternity, In Your Arms (Roadrunner). Continue reading
That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even a band may die… but not this band, and not today. For this is the era where bands do not go gentle into that good night (or if they do, they come back pretty quickly the next morning, handsome smiles flashing an unsaid apology as if to say “nothing happened here”). So here Backyard Babies stand before us, six-strings in hand, with a new selection of their trademark Hanoi Rocks meets The Wildhearts meets Alice Cooper glam punk tunes on their new album, Four By Four (Gain Music).
It was eighteen years ago that Backyard Babies burst onto the scene, heading a Scandinavian raucous of bands that included The Hellacopters and Hardcore Superstar with bold, bright punked up rock music that stuck two fingers and a stacked knee high boot into the groin of grunge, bringing sleaze and pizzazz back to a table that was wringing wet with the limp celery, hummus and self-loathing of a 90’s music scene that celebrated introspection and mumbling. 1997’s Total 13 (Scooch Pooch) saw the Babies ‘Bombed’ (out of their minds) with boots stuck with glue (yep…) and set to take over the world.
And yet it didn’t quite happen. Moderate success came their way, though in 2004 it seemed like they’d cracked it with the stomping Stockholm Syndrome (RCA) led by Guitar Hero playable track the mighty ‘Minus Celcius’, a career high grandstand tune if ever there was one. The world may be an oyster, but oysters don’t always contain pearls, and two subsequent uneventful albums passed by until in 2009 the Babies released a compilation album that was said to mark the passing of the band.
The band have been keen to stress Four By Four is not a comeback album, more a picking things up from where they left them, and all the expected sounds and styles are in place. Nicke Borg’s distinctive voice leads the way, with Dregen ripping jacked up glam rock from his guitar, but try as they might it’s all a bit flat, and all a bit pub rock. Some good tunes go by – lead off single ‘Th1rteen or Nothing’ is a stomper – but the core of the album is filled with wistful (wasteful) numbers, as the duller tempo of tunes like ‘Mirrors (Shall Be Broken)’ choke the remnants of life. It’s not bad, but in the end, you’re left with the feeling that whatever it was that used to make these guys spark no longer sizzles but sputters.
From the outside looking in, it can be easy to judge people we don’t know. Take Danny Worsnop as a prime example… the last Asking Alexandria album From Death To Destiny (Sumerian) was widely seen as a step back at best, and tepid filler at worst (though hardly a commercial failure, nonetheless), so jumping ship to a more commercially viable band, the cynic would say, prolongs his stay in the limelight and at the top, and gives him a better chance of maintaining the Sunset Strip lifestyle. The cynic will be shot down in flames by joie de vivre of We Are Harlot (Roadrunner). ‘Blame It On The Love Of Rock n’ Roll’ as someone fairly successful once sang…
While first track ‘Dancing on Nails’ is decent and rocky enough, second track ‘DLT’ (Dirty Little Thing, not a defence of disgraced UK DJ Dave Lee Travis) is one helluva fuel injection turbo boost that prompts an face-splitting grin, as the guitars rock out and Worsnop belts out the chorus, and it all makes sense; whatever you perceive his motives to be, you can’t fake energy, you can’t fake fun and you can’t fake rock n’ fucking roll, and We Are Harlot has all three in spades.
I don’t know Worsnop, but any doubts I had are banished by the genuine, honest, uptempo and spirited rock n’ roll on display throughout.
From that moment on, the album flies by in a conveyor belt of Joe Perry-on-speed chord-bashing guitar liveliness and vocal exuberance. Worsnop brought the rock to AA at times, but here he’s set free and has never sounded better, and it must be said, it’s great to live in a world without breakdowns. He may not have the distinctiveness of an Axl or a Jon Bon Jovi but there is a touch of blues, a touch of pop and a bucketful of rock, and a nice gravelly tone to Worsnop’s voice, particularly on the bourbon-ballad ’I Tried’. ‘The One’ swaggers, ‘Flying Close To The Sun’ and ‘Never Turn Back’ have radio hit written all over them while ‘One More Night’ is head-on smash (hit) of Appetite For Destruction (Geffen) and The Wildhearts.
However, don’t think for a second this is a retro-by-numbers homage to The Legends Of Rock. Yes, you can hear Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses have had their influence in the sound, but this is a flying by the seat of its pants, gregarious, germane, gratifying, gratuitous and genuinely great album.
Following the theme of the rest of the tour, these Songs & Words dates take place in small and unique venues, which will provide an intimate setting for Ginger’s acoustic and spoken word show, which will share stories from his 20+ year career in music, starting with the early days of The Wildhearts, and leading right up to extremely successful 555% PledgeMusic campaign.
Apr 11: Old Rep Theatre – Birmingham (UK)
Apr 17: Puppet Theatre – Norwich (UK)
Apr 18: City Varieties – Leeds (UK)
Apr 24: Sugar Club – Dublin (IR)
Apr 26: Leicester Square Theatre – London (UK) (SOLD OUT)
May 01: Eastwood Park theatre – Glasgow (UK)
May 02: The Mining Institute – Newcastle (UK)
May 08: Century Theatre – Coalville (UK)
May 09: Dancehouse Theatre – Manchester (UK)
May 15: The Lane Theatre – Newquay (UK)
May 16: Blakehay Theatre – Weston-Super-Mare (UK)
May 30: Camden Rocks Festival – Camden (UK)
Ginger Wildheart is currently writing the Songs & Words book, which forms part of his brand new PledgeMusic campaign. The book will chronicle the stories behind his songs, spanning from the early days of The Wildhearts, to the record-breaking release of 555%. But in order to complete one particularly notable period of time, we’d like you send in your questions about the songs released as part of the Singles Club back in 2001. This saw the ambitious plan to release a 3-track single every month for a year (which may sound familiar to those of you who are G•A•S•S• members!). Sadly, the project didn’t see its way to completion, but it did give birth to 18 new solo tracks (3 of which were finally released on the A Break In The Weather, which is still available on iTunes).
Ginger is including stories behind the making of these songs, the feelings surrounding the singles, the disappointment felt when the idea was shelved, etc. Please send anything you’d like to know, and see written about in the Songs & Words book in to email@example.com.
As a reminder, here are the song titles that came out of this project:
I’m A Lover Not A Fighter
Don’t Let Me Die Lonely
Thailand Uber Alles
And This Time I’m Serious
Re-inventing The Wheel
Blinded By Absinthe
Where Did Everyone Go?
Cars & Vaginas
You, Me & B.T.
Not Bitter, Just A Little Disappointed
The Saga Of Me & You
A Better Man
The Saga Of Me & You
The Dying Art Of The Chorus
He has also announced his upcoming UK tour, where he will be performing his Songs & Words show, spanning material from The Wildhearts, Silver Ginger 5, Clam Abuse, and his myriad solo material. He has also brought back his Hallowe’en Hootenanny as well, with all dates below.
Apr 11: Old Rep Theatre – Birmingham
Apr 24: Sugar Club – Dublin
Apr 26: Leicester Square Theatre – London
May 01: Eastwood Park Theatre – Glasgow
May 09: Dancehouse Theatre – Manchester
May 15: The Lane Theatre – Newquay
Oct 30: Slade’s Room – Wolverhampton (The Nightmare Before Hallowe’en, with Hey! Hello!)
Oct 31: Slade’s Room – Wolverhampton (Hallowe’en Hootenanny, with The Ginger Wildheart Band)