Ginger Wildheart – Sinner, Saint… he came from The North

Ginger Wildheart - Like a No.36 bus , you wait ages for a new album and then three turn up at once.

Interview by Adrian Hextall

 

 

Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners have released their debut album, via Wicked Cool Records. The self-titled LP is an energetic album that celebrates rock’n’roll and as Ginger explains it is in “the spirit of the music that we all collectively love, from childhood to the present day. Little Feat, The Allman Brothers, Wilco, The Band, Creedence, The Jayhawks, Lone Justice, Jason & the Scorchers, Georgia Satellites, Status Quo, The Stones…from roots country to rock n roll and Americana.”

Formed in August 2019 when Ginger joined forces with Neil Ivison and Nick Lyndon from the band Stone Mountain Sinners, the band lineup was completed with drummer Shane Dixon (Tri-City Fanfare). The album was recorded at Mwnci studios in Pembrokeshire, Wales, with Dave Draper producing.

The LP kicks off with their first single “Wasted Times,” which sets the tone for an album of pure rock n roll, peppered with country touches. The listener will find a further seven original songs, including “Lately, Always” plus two covers: “Dirty Water” by Status Quo and “Six Years Gone” by Georgia Satellites’.

We caught up with Ginger on a warm summer evening, with him sitting in the garden with Maggie, his gorgeous border collie running around on the grass as he chatted to us with one of BrewDog’s latest ‘Double Punk’ IPAs in hand. A mere 8.2%. 

MGM: Thanks so much for joining us Ginger. There’s a new album with the Sinners out now but I believe it’s been done for some time? And a new one not too far away? 

Ginger: Yeah, it was recorded just before lockdown. It wasn’t planned or anything. We got together in a studio to see what it would sound like, and it sounds really good, but it’s been nearly two years. It’s good that we have got an album that we’re going to tour in October for the first time with people hopefully knowing the songs. We’ll get to see a little bit of participation, which bits the audience will sing along to, you never know so that’s something we’ll see for the first time in October.

MGM: Some of us managed to watch you at last year’s lockdown reprieved Birthday Bash at 229 the Venue in London. December 17th 2021.

Ginger: That was a very fundamental show for us as to how we ended up here. The bonds within the band are based on friendship. Let’s face it. We’ve been doing nothing and we did manage to put together a couple of shows for festivals. We just got through by the skin of our teeth and then at the birthday show it rose to another level. I don’t know what it was, but something happened to me in that show. And I just thought, ‘oh, this is actually really, really good’, you know? And I knew it was good idea but it just something about, you know, we’ve been off the pitch for a long time and now it’s time to prove it on the pitch again and it’s a true delight. It’s taken all of us by surprise, The Sinners

MGM: I would imagine it’s a nice break for you not constantly being front and centre? Vocal duties are shared with Neil. You’ve said it for years, that you never really wanted to be the lead vocalist. Somehow you did morph into that person that person though.

Ginger: I did, somewhere along the line though I think I got quite good at it [laughs]. But it still doesn’t negate the fact that I didn’t ever want to be a singer, just because I’m good at it. I enjoy it now that I don’t have to do it all night. And Neil enjoys singing. So it’s not hard to get him on the mic. The fact of the matter is the whole band can sing and so by the time the second album comes out everybody’s taking a lead. I’ll be a quarter of it all and that’s it’s a dream come true for me. As you know, I don’t mind singing and I love singing harmonies though, especially the low harmonies that everyone struggles with. I found that one the most fun, it’s very seldom I get to do it, it’s brand new experience for me. I get to do harmonies, I get the lead singer and I get to be a bit of a fan for a lot of the time.

Neil is a fantastic singer as, you know, he’s got a great voice, but he’s a fantastic guitar player as well. He also makes guitars. Ivison Guitars and they taken off now. So he’s really busy. [Click the link below for info]

https://www.ivisonguitars.com/

So he’s obviously a very good guitar maker. We used a lot of his signature guitars on the second album. It’s great being able just hang back and watch someone, you know, playing and it’s a bit like that, watching Neil. I really am a fan of this group. He and Nick are so locked in and so loose. It’s lovely. Yeah, I am completely in love with it all.

MGM: There must be a slight frustration with the fact that you’ve got your second album done? And you’ve got to hang back with it a little bit, because the debut deserves its time, it needs to breathe for a while I would imagine?

Ginger: Yeah, but it’s never a problem because I’ve got always got something in the barrel. And this time, it’s the solo album.  As soon as the Sinners thing goes off the boil for a while and there’s always a little bit of, not a dip, but a respite and then you latch on to the festivals and the Sinners are going to be doing that. When that happens I’ll stick the solo album to the front. That’s also really satisfying. It’s full of my love of harmony and pop rock and big arrangements and some ridiculous arrangements. Yeah, some totally ridiculous parts. That actually going out as a stream to everyone who’s pledged on it. Well, I say pledge, it’s not of course but it’s like the old pledge process. People have backed it, pre-ordered and there will be two albums. Everyone that’s pre-ordered they’re getting the digital version from a stream.

It will come out physically around March (2023) so you don’t need to be in a hurry to digest it all because there’s a lot to take in. Take your time. We still need to sort out the track list [there will be a main and a sister album from the tracks on offer] because I just can’t choose. I know some of the songs that are going to be on the main album, but both me and Dave [Draper – Producer] are really struggling with a few of them. I would like to know what everyone’s favourites are and not just the favourites but the ones that cohesively fit together on an album. We really, really will value everyone’s input on that one. I’m really looking forward to. I’m looking forward to everyone hearing it because we’ve been working on it all year off and on. 

MGM: Details about the solo album [Loosely titled ‘It Came From The North’] campaign can be seen here: 

 In addition to the music and the physical copy pre-orders, fans have been able to get regular updates on the site from Ginger about the songs, the recording process, giving the myriad of contributors the opportunity to feel part of the process [much like the original, before it all went wrong, PledgeMusic campaigns used to]. 

To read more and sign up, click on the link : https://gingerwildheart.net/

Ginger: I’m a fan of music, I’m a huge fan of music. I know what I would like. If Sparks did something like this, meaning you could be part of the process and you got to talk with other Sparks fans who were also excited to hear the new stuff, I’d be willing to support that. If you are a fan of music then it’s not hard to think about what would be a nice thing to get people involved in. And you know, I’m really, really fortunate. I think everyone knows that I’m really grateful for the position I find myself in. I feed my family doing this, I’ve got a label that I put all my music out with and it’s all a result of things not going to plan. There is a very good lesson in there, but all the mistakes that someone else makes will always affect you. I can’t get a record contract, therefore I’ll make a record label.

There are people out there that you don’t want to work with? Okay, well, I’ll get the mother of my child who’s a business admin expert to run the label and she’s amazing. And she’s not going to rip you off because all the money goes to her anyway [laughs]. Just because things didn’t go the way I imagined them when I was young, I’ve ended up in this very, very enviable position. It’s only because I didn’t sit down and and give up.

MGM: That’s that’s very true. I’d like to think at some point, I along with many others have done enough to contribute to your pension for when you finally, you know, decide to stop.

Ginger: Well, that’s not going to happen. So I’m that’s that was a waste of money.

Seriously though, you all, help in so many ways. You’ve helped me financially, but you have more importantly, helped me creatively and mentally. There’s a lot of people out there in our little community that are the experts on mental health. We can talk to each other on a different level than you can talk to a therapist or a psychiatrist or even your family. That’s helped me in so many ways. You don’t just help…… You make me, you make me able to succeed. That’s even better than help.

MGM: Speaking of success, Ginger was recently spotted on stage in Helsinki with Michael Monroe, celebrating his 60th birthday in a style reminiscent of the Birthday Bashes we’ve come to love annually. 

Ginger: I was glad to get invited to that. That was something else. It was with the original line-up of Hanoi Rocks so that was obviously really special because I’ve never seen the original. I know I saw them with Razzle, but this time it was [Michael Monroe, Nasty Suicide, Andy McCoy, Sami Yaffa and) Gyp Casino. They’ve still got that thing that is so hard to play, where it’s sloppy and tight.

I was met at the airport by Dregen (Backyard Babies) and then we headed down to see Sammy and Michael and all of them rehearse. Rich Jones, Steve Conte were there and then we did the gig. There were just other so many people there and it was such a lovely atmosphere. Everyone was was so supportive. He’s 60 years old. I think even Iggy Pop was calming down by then, no such behaviour from Michael.

He’s got a great, great, great voice. He really has. He doesn’t get a lot of credit for how good a singer he is. He’s so strong, you know, I’ve been a gigs where he’s hanging onto a balcony and I’m stood there thinking, ‘I hope he knows what he’s doing because if he falls……’, he’s a legend. He’s a, he’s an icon. He’s one of the few living icons

The gig will also be part of a documentary that’s been going on for for a long, long time with Michael, which is nearly finished. That’s going to be great documentary because, you know, I was reminded of stuff that he’s done that I’d forgotten about and some stuff I didn’t even know that he’d done. He’s led a very colourful life that fella and he’s looks like he’s in no, hurry to slow down,

MGM: Back to the current releases, you’ve got the Sinners tour coming up of course (dates are shown below) and of course fans will be hoping for a show of some sort on December 17th. Can we pencil in the date?

Ginger: Probably, there’s always something and let’s face it, I do try and play every birthday even if it’s not part of the plan. So, yeah, we’ll be doing something and it’ll probably be Sinners and I’ll probably just put an interesting bill together. You know, maybe some warm-up gigs as well because it’s going to be a real thrill to be out there playing when people are singing along. So I think we’re just going to try and do as many gigs as we can. And they’ll (The Sinners) probably hang me if I don’t play with them on my birthday.

The dates for the upcoming Ginger Wildheart and the Sinners tour are below. Tickets can be obtained here: 

If you want to get a sense of what to expect, check out our review from last December’s birthday bash where the Sinners performed at 229 The Venue in London. 

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