rushonrock: Where do you stand on the Wildhearts reissues?
Ginger: It’s not a lot to do with me if I’m honest. It’s a record company thing. I was only shown then for the first time in the week they were released but fair play to Universal – they’ve done a great job. They’re great value when you consider you’re getting all the B-sides and stuff in one place.
rushonrock: Are you proud of the band’s back catalogue?
Ginger: Well for starters I don’t listen to Wildhearts records as a rule. I only listen to Endless, Namless. But as long as the price is reasonable I’m sure the fans will enjoy these as much as I will – and I’m going to listen to them all! Even if you have a passing interest in The Wildhearts these albums have a certain appeal. I bought The Replacements reiussues a while back- I’ve got them all anyway but I didn’t feel ripped off at all. I think that’s the trick. There has to be some value to a reissue. But these have come at just the right time for me – I’ve got a load of solo shows coming up and I need to learn some new songs!
rushonrock: You’ve also been out on the road with Michael Monroe supporting Motorhead. How did that come about?
Ginger: I’ve always known Mike. I’m a big Hanoi Rocks fan – I used to go to The Mayfair in Newcastle to see them as a kid. I remember hearing about this band called Hanoi Rocks who were playing there and they were supposed to be a mix of punk, rock and pop. Oh, and apparently they looked great. Even before I saw them I knew I was in love with this group! When I got to meet Mike for the first time I said to him ‘I’m already quite fond of you mate’. Then I got toe write with him a couple of summers ago.
rushonrock: At that stage was there talk of a band coming together?
Ginger: The writing was a reasonable success. And we liked each other. We shared a lot of the same interests and liked a lot of the same music. We quickly realised we complemented each other’s sentiments but after that we left it for a bit. Then it became clear that Wildhearts were slowing down and Scott wanted to go home and sort out a few family things. And a short time after that I happened to meet up with Mike again. He said he had Sami Yaffa on bass and would I be interested in trying out for a new band. I said ‘I’m in’ and I kinda talked myself into an audition. I flew over to Los Angeles and tried out for the group. It just clicked and the project’s been an ongoing thing for two years now.
rushonrock: There’s a live album out now but when can we expect to hear the studio album?
Ginger: It’s due at the end of February. It’s great and the perfect record of the assembled cast. It’s being produced by Jack Douglas who just happens to have been involved in some of my favourite records of all time. But the best part of it is that I got to write a lot of the songs. There was a final flurry of activity and all of the songs I wrote got accepted by the rest of the band!
rushonrock: Did you join the project with any hope or expectation of contributing to the songwriting process?
Ginger: The brief was always that I was joining the band as a musician so I suppose the simple answer is no. But that didn’t bother me. They already had a bunch of songs written when I came on board. It just turns out that I ended up getting a bigger and bigger role in the group and that wasn’t expected at all. I didn’t think anyone in Europe would know who I was but when we did the show for the live album it turned out that they’re actually quite fond of me in Finland!
rushonrock: So bagging the band’s first major support slot on the Motorhead tour was a stroke of luck…
Ginger: The Wildhearts have toured with Motorhead and let’s just say Lemmy lives up to all of my expectations and then some! I like the man and I like his music. Motorhead was the first band I ever saw at Newcastle City Hall and they’re the first band that really brought punk and heavy rock together under one roof. What came after them is why bands like Metallica and every other heavy band out there exist today.
rushonrock: The solo shows are being promoted as ‘Ginger Performs The Songs Of The Wildhearts’ – is that what we can expect?
Ginger: Well I saw that was what they were saying and it was news to me! I don’t really know how the solo shows are going to shape up but I don’t have anything to do with the promotion so we’ll just have to wait and see. But if I don’t play a few Wildhearts songs it might appear as if I’m throwing some kind of diva strop. Of course we’ll be playing a few Wildhearts songs but I don’t quite know what. I don’t like to trade on past glories but then I don’t see any reason why I should stop playing some of my best songs just because my band’s on hiatus right now. And Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a few Wildhearts gigs.
rushonrock: What is it about The Wildhearts and the festive period?
Ginger: Well we’ve become a bit of a tradition, like mince pies and brandy butter. For some reason our fans go a bit crazy at Christmas – something happens to them and they just turn into the most amazing people in the world. I didn’t want to miss out on that this year. The Wildhearts may well be on full-time hiatus – it’s certainly unlikely that we’ll do anything as a band for a long, long time. So these Christmas shows are a chance for the fans to get their fix in another way.
rushonrock: So with The Wildhearts on hiatus are you going to slow down?
Ginger: What do you think? I try not to get too overwhelmed with the amount that I do and I just trust that everything will work itself out in the end! But to answer the question I’m starting work on a new solo album in January which I think I’ll call the Ginger Wildheart Band. If The Wildhearts are not going to play then it doesn’t mean that I can’t play the songs that I enjoy and dip into the legacy I’ve helped to create. So with the new band I’m making it clear that it’s not The Wildhearts but it’s an admission of who I am. I’ve set aside 2011 to be the busiest year I’ve ever had – I’ll probably fuck myself so much that I’ll have to take 2012 off! But I’m going to try and work as hard as I can and keep the family together at the same time. It will be a challenge but I’ve always loved a challenge.