Wildhearts image by Trudi Knight

Wildhearts – NOT Greatest Hits

As the sheer joy of the new Wildhearts album continues to sink in, we turn this week’s NOT Greatest Hits to explore the Wildhearts deep album cuts as well as those of the extended Wildhearts Family. That means anything recorded by anyone that has ever been an official member of the Wildhearts. If anyone is playing that has at any time been an official Wildheart, then it is up for consideration.

 The Wildhearts NOT Greatest Hits Playlist

The extended Wildhearts Family

Who’s In?

That is A LOT of material. In fact, way more than we had anticipated when we started this. Just the current line-up gives us: Three solo albums from CJ, one under the guise of CJ And The Satellites and an album each from Honeycrack, The Jellys, The Mau-Maus. CJ also gave us the legendary Bleeding Hearts and Needle Marks by The Tattooed Love Boys. Danny gives us a Yo-Yos album, a Main Grains album and EP, a Chasers EP and a song for England’s 2018 World Cup campaign as part of The Tallywags. Ritch Battersby gives us Grand Theft Audio. While, of course, Ginger is one of the most prolific songwriters of his generation and even he has lost count of every recording he has appeared on.

Then we are on to former members. Scott Sorry means we have Sorry And The Sinatras, his solo album and a Brides Of Destruction album (which, to be fair, was pretty bad so it won’t be troubling us here) and an Amen album. There were six eligible Dogs d’Amour albums thanks to Bam. Then we have all of the amazing work by Devin Townsend. Jon Poole sees all his Cardiacs work eligible, not to mention more prog than you can poke a stick at. There’s also JP’s God Damn Whore album which featured the one night only superhero, Chris Catalyst. Chris means we had to consider his Eureka Machines as well as dozens of other bands and projects. The often forgotten Jef Streatfield makes some rather splendid work by Plan A come into consideration.

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So what was meant to be a straightforward Wildhearts NOT Greatest Hits covering their deep album cuts kinda got a bit out of hand. Throw in the fact that our NOT Greatest Hits playlist series is on Spotify and Ginger’s loathing of the “service” means the majority of his solo work, some of his best band projects, as well as that of the Wildhearts, are not available, we have really made a rod for ourselves. We should have made it just a Ginger and The Wildhearts effort, but we didn’t, so yes, of course, there are loads of things missing. There’s no Supershit 666, Howling Willy Cunt or Sonic Circus. Nothing off Ginger’s revolutionary 555%.

The Wildhearts

As for the core of this project, The Wildhearts themselves, we know they are not exactly the best-known band out there, but you know what? That says way more about those that haven’t heard them, the radio stations that barely play any rock and when they do, rarely get further than Kings Of Leon of Foo Fighters and the record industry that has consistently failed to harness them. Sure, Ginger might not have always helped the situation, but again, that says more about the lazy bastards at the record companies than it does about him. Nah, sod that. That is the last thing we wanted from him. Toeing the line is not how you harness that sort of talent. It was up to them to keep up, not for him to slow to their crawl.

The impact of the greatest band the world has never heard of

When the Wildhearts first appeared, it changed everything. They came in an era of stadium and arena rockers and whichever of those massive bands you liked – whether it be a Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Motley Crue or whatever. I loved, and to be fair, still do love Aerosmith, but Steven Tyler, to quote Morrissey, said nothing to me about my life. Skid Row’s Youth Gone Wild wasn’t about kids from the regional British market towns. Def Leppard may have been from Sheffield and waved their Union Jacks, but their sound was of polished corporate American FM radio. Metallica? Iron Maiden? Sure, you may like them, but since when did songs about impending nuclear war or concept albums about fantasy novels talk to those of us partying in the park with a ghetto blaster and bottle of Thunderbird?

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But The Wildhearts did. The Wildhearts spoke to us. In fact, they were us. They were us that had got on stage, grabbed their instruments and sang our lives back to us. They took ALL of our favourite bands and rather than ape them, they deconstructed them and built something new. The Metallica fans loved the heavy as hell riffs; the Cheap Trick fans creamed themselves over the pop choruses and harmonies. We heard the punk of The Clash, The Damned and Ramones. There was the American alternative rock scene in there. Queen was in there. The first time I ever met Ginger to talk to was at a Kiss Konvention. Just listen to their epic B-side classic, 29x The Pain, which comes straight out and lists all those influences.

 

Beyond The Wildhearts

And the music in Ginger’s soul that he couldn’t make fit into the Wildhearts, he just did even more himself. Country, folk albums, power pop, and thrash. He teamed up with so many different musical stars. Fuck You Brain with Ryan Hamilton in aid of The Samaritans was simply magnificent. He took a step back and wrote and played the guitar for Courtney Love and Michael Monroe. In the case of Courtney Love, he wrote her best single since Celebrity Skin.

Ginger jumped into Jason and The Scorchers. There was the G.A.S.S. project that gave us more new music in a year than you would think was even possible. Ginger’s star-studded Birthday Bash events were always the best day of the year. Despite putting out two (or three, depending on your view) beautiful albums, Hey Hello was destined never to be a long term thing.  Pledge Music is a dirty word today, but back when it was the saviour of music, who was it that put it on the map? Yep, it was Ginger and his record-breaking 555%. He’d flit between his Ghost In The Tanglewood folk persona and his part in the aural terrorism of Mutation with the ease the rest of us change socks.

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My love of the Wildhearts and Ginger

I’ve seen Bruce Springsteen more than two dozen times. I named my dog Iggy after the true king of rock n’ roll. My earliest memory is of shouting “Gas Gas Gas” with my dad. Adam Ant first introduced me to music that felt like mine and was my gateway drug to punk. I named my business after a Faster Pussycat song. I desperately wanted to be Nikki Sixx as a teenager and idolised Steven Tyler. I’d have bowed before Lemmy. My favourite guitarists are Johnny Thunders, Ace Frehley, Ron Asheton and Malcolm Young. I consider Ramones the greatest band ever. I’d sell a lung to have seen AC/DC with Bon. My favourite song is by Otis Redding.  It is written into my will that Lynyrd Skynyrd is played as I’m lowered into the ground. Yet, who’s my favourite? Who do I love above all others? Which band means more to me than all of the others combined?

The Wildhearts. I love the Wildhearts. Yes, I love the Wildhearts more than any other band and Ginger Wildheart above any other artist. Even with the bias of today considering Ginger a pal, whenever we talk or email, I feel butterflies like I had only previously felt when I met Muhammad Ali.

 

Not on Spotify – extras

With Ryan Hamilton

 

The missing Wildhearts “White Album”

 

Hey Hello v1.0 – the world will one day regret not making this version famous

 

The Hellahearts Babies…

 

Making Pledge Music

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