* (Rosey, being shown into the rather nice tour
bus and feeling a bit overawed by the occasion) Do you remember playing
in Cambridge in, I think, 1995? We interviewed Danny, when he had long
hair. I asked Ginger if he remembered the gig, and he said that he didn't
remember 1995, full stop!
- Yes, I remember that!
* And then later in the 90s I put you on with The Jellys at The Portland,
and then before that I interviewed you with Honeycrack at Bedford Esquires,
what a lot of great bands you've been in. What do you know now about
rock'n'roll that you wish you'd known back in the early days?
- Nothing at all. Do you know what rock'n'roll is? It's called growing
up by making hundreds and hundreds of repeated mistakes. That is what
rock'n'roll is. Some people get to an age where they stop making these
mistakes, and some people don't. You do reach a cut off period when
you've got to stop acting like an adolescent arsehole. And that is what
rock'n'roll is about. Think about what rock'n'roll is; it's belligerent
behaviour, stupidity to the max, killing yourself with alcohol and drugs.
That is rock'n'roll. Now these are things you can get away with when
you're young - some people don't - they die - while others have a fucking
amazing time, a great time, most of the time they're quite depressed,
but they kid themselves they're having a good time. Then you get to
an age when you stop drinking and you stop acting like a tit, and you
look back at what you've done and your reputation, and see that it's
cool and realise what you've achieved. And I hope that's me; I've stopped
drinking and taking drugs and I look my age, I'm 56! So I've got away
* You and Keith Richards both!
- I haven't got a map of the world on my face, although I do have one
on my arse!
* What about in terms of record companies and the biz, did you not
get screwed over by labels and so on?
- We were never screwed over by record labels, we just took so many
drugs and drunk too much, so that we believed that was happening. Running
our own label now, doing it ourselves, we realise that; we had a bank
giving us money and all these people doing these horrible mundane jobs
for us, and we didn't appreciate it, we took their money and wasted
it, we stuck it up our noses and drunk it. Of course they took a huge
percentage, and it was a kind of slave work, but there's reasons for
that. There's reasons your album is in the shops and in magazines, and
you have people doing your press, and you have nice T shirts and videos,
big studios and expensive producers. And that reason is called a record
* Do you not prefer being on your own label?
- Yes, and there are things we learnt from being on major labels. We'd
like to sell as many albums now as we did before, as there would be
a lot of money coming in so we could do things at a bigger level, and
then we'd be extremely happy being on our own label, but we're fortunate
enough to have a fan base that is loyal enough that means we can do
things at this level, still put on biggish shows and do an album a year.
So we always feel lucky.
* How did you manage to get this [the vinyl version of current single
'The New Flesh'] on the display racks at HMV?
What's that? The new album on 7 inch? That's
the first time I've ever seen that single, I didn't know it was available
* Ahhh, cos I was going to ask you about it. Look, it's on lovely
I was going to ask you why you chose white?
- Umm, because it has a white sleeve? Back in the day it would have
been white so we could skin up on it, but now that we're sensible older
gentlemen it's because white is a sensible colour!
* I think coloured vinyl is lovely, do you think there's a resurgence
- It would be wonderful if I had a record player, will this go on my
* I was going to ask you about the lyrics for 'The New Flesh'
- It's about when you burn yourself, and you get new skin
- No actually it's quite political, it's about the younger generation
and the world they're coming into, and they are the new tomorrow, basically.
* This gig is actually in aid of Love Music Hate Racism, I wondered
if you had any opinions on that issue?
- I don't even know what it is, I only heard about it today
you tell me about it?
* Well in the 70s there was Rock Against Racism with The Clash, Steel
Pulse, The Specials and so on, playing gigs against the National Front
- Yes I remember that, I'm not that young remember!
* Well, sadly with the growth of the British National Party there's
a need to do it all again, and only the other week the NME run a huge
issue on it and gave out a CD with lots of trendy NME bands on it, with
the likes of Baby Shambles, The Enemy, Estelle and so on supporting
- But are any good bands behind it?
Scott and Ginger in front of Love Music Hate Racism banner
* The Wildhearts? From today at least, I hope. The Gallows, Lethal
- Some of the others sound like an advert for smack, bands that have
been ruined by it and others that should be doing it! There are genuinely
talented musicians out there who'd die for a fraction of attention these
bands are getting. I see buskers on the underground who have more talent
in their little fingers than Pete Doherty has in his whole body, and
I'll stand by those words. I don't like his music and I don't like what
he stands for - if he lived in my country, the fucker would be banged
up! It frustrates me that there's people out there that don't get breaks;
I believe he wouldn't be famous if it wasn't for his girlfriend. Most
musicians want to be known for their music not for injecting themselves
with poison, painting shitty pictures with their own blood and abusing
their own fans. Smack has caused me a lot of problems; people have choices
- he had a lot of choices - he had a decent, fortunate upbringing and
I don't know what pain he's running from - but he has a lack of spirit
and a lack of soul. I hope the guy's getting better
* To go back to Love Music Hate Racism, I think it's trying to reinforce
the idea that multiculturalism is a positive thing worth defending
- It's funny; as I was saying to Sophie that rock music is predominantly
a white form, being a brown musician in rock'n'roll bands, I've always
been in a minority, there's very few black or brown people in rock bands
or in rock audiences. Despite its origins. It's a great form, but it
hasn't really crossed over.
* Have you heard Lethal Bizzle? He seems to have been able to woo
white indie kids, his version of 'Staring at the Rude Boys' with Gallows
for instance, and completely converting the indie kids on the NME tour.
But as you say, it is unusual. There was Dub War
- Have you heard Dag Nasty's version of 'Staring at the Rude Boys'?
It's brilliant! And bands like Bad Brains and Fishbone, they just totally
mixed things up, Ginger and I loved what they were trying to do! Everyone
one who knows me knows that I've lived with racism, I've tried not let
it bother me, it's something you get used to. In fact I have a great
idea for a black metal band, they'd be 5 really black Rastas and they'd
be called Nigger-Mortis and the album would be called 'True Black Metal',
how fucking cool would that be? And then I'd have an Indian version
of the Ramones called Sikh Heil, with an album 'Sikh and Destroy'
(CJ and friends collapse laughing, RR doesn't know what to think)
What do you listen to when hoovering?
- Vivaldi, he helps with suction. But I'm allergic to dust.
* What's best. Chips or cream buns?
- Cream buns, cos you can squirt the cream all over your girl's body
Chips off a girl is probably not a good idea.
* You toured with the Manics back in 1992
- Yeah we went on their first ever tour
* Yes I saw you so many times on that tour
- I exposed Richey, that he wasn't playing and had a teach yourself
rock guitar book with him! Although it said '4 Real' on his arm, I was
never sure which bits of him were genuine and which weren't. James is
a lovely bloke. They really liked us, the fact that we were '4 Real';
we did this gig at the Marquee with them, but they were so shy they
didn't dare talk to us, it took them 7 gigs or so before they dared
come and say anything to us. And then they asked how come every night
we managed to get so fucked up but every morning there we were fresh
and ready to go, leaving the hotel with our bags, looking as right as
rain. When they asked how we did it, I just said 'Years of Practice'!
* I remember a piece in Select from that tour, which was meant to
be about the Manics and their destructive rock'n'roll lifestyle, and
it ended up being about you! Do you think that there was some sort of
lyrical affinity between Ginger and Richey?
- I don't know, I don't really look that deep into music personally,
and Ginger only mimes every other gig!
* Do you feel that you've got a happy combination of solo and band
- Yes, I need the Wildhearts to support the solo stuff. I've been in
bands since I was 17 and I'm 40 now, and I still love it! And I feel
really fortunate to be able to release albums, to play to big crowds
and so on. I don't regret the passing of bands like The Jellys or Honeycrack,
although they were both really good bands to be in that I learnt a lot
from, and I believe that whatever band you are in, it doesn't matter
as long as your hearts in it. We've got two albums coming out next year,
including a covers album and a Kiss type album - not one where we sound
or dress up like Kiss but where we all get to take turns to do the different
parts, including lead vocals, which we can all do - after a fashion!
* So you're happy in your musical life?
- Very happy, but not as happy as I am in my private life
to stay in really nice tour buses, we get to play to big crowds, who
really appreciate it, and after all these years we are all around to
tell the tale. And we all get on, we are all friends, which is really,
really nice. And there's lots to look forward to with the new albums
and DVD. So we never grumble or moan now. It's our twentieth anniversary
next year, yet we still have lots of new fresh ideas, trying things
we've never done before, which rejuvenates the spirit. And the fans
like the new stuff as well; we're not doing 'The New Flesh' tonight
but we're doing a lot of new stuff; we always have to mix old and new,
we have a good 200 or so songs and we learnt 35 for this tour, but we
can only fit in about fifteen per gig so we change the set each night,
so no one will know what we're going to play each night. Not even us!
* Well I think that's it, thanks a lot.
- You're welcome, I enjoyed it. Don't forget to print those band names
I mentioned and to let me know, I'll win 50 quid on a bet if you print
them, and you can have half!
Thanks to CJ for his time and to the band for playing
the gig. Thanks also to Gav for fixing everything up and all at The
Junction especially Rob Tinkler and Gary Brown. Can I have my 25 quid
now please CJ?!
Words and pix by Rosey R*E*P*E*A*T, more pix on our