Ric Blaxill, is a former Top of the Pops producer, current Music and Content Director at Bauer Media and longtime massive Wildhearts fan. Here he shares his memories of the band…
When did you first hear The Wildhearts?
The first time I heard the band was when I was producing the Radio 1 Breakfast Show and I got sent ‘Greetings From Shitsville’. I loved the full on energy and rock spirit of the track and was keen to support new British rock bands at Radio 1. Clearly the title wasn’t going to work on radio so when ‘TV Tan’ came out we started playing it on the show! Continue reading
The name Vanessa Warwick will be familiar to rock fans in the nineties through her 7 year stint as VJ on Headbangers Ball. Vanessa presented the show from 1990 – 1997, during which time The Wildhearts were featured numerous times through their music videos, live performances and album playbacks. These days, Vanessa runs her own property business – Property Tribes, I caught up with her to discuss her shift in career path and share her memories of The Wildhearts.
‘29 x The Pain‘ is a b-side on the ‘Suckerpunch‘ single where Ginger cleverly weaves his musical influences into the lyrics of the song. It’s likely the title is a nod to the Husker Du song ‘59 Times the Pain‘, there are a number of theories about the significance of the number 29. When The Wildhearts songs are listed in release order track, the song is the 29th track. Alternatively, it may have been Ginger’s age at the time of writing. The band’s A&R man at EastWest, Dante Bonutto, told Raw magazine “This was one of my absolute favourites. A lot of people ask me what the title is about and I thought it was either referring to the fact that there were 29 of Ginger’s favourite bands mentioned in the song or that he was 29 when he wrote it. I tried counting the bands but I don’t think it came to 29, so I reckon it refers to his age.”
Click the image below for an interactive experience…
You’ll be familiar with the wallpaper of this site, which is taken from Hunt Emerson‘s classic illustration from the ‘Earth vs‘ inlay of course. I recently caught up with Hunt to share his memories of it – although in his own words the album is “not really my style of music, I’m afraid… I like Bob Dylan and country“, he really enjoyed doing the drawing, adding “Ginger and the lads were a noisy, jolly bunch“. He was kind enough to spare me 10 minutes of his time to answer some other questions…
After profiling Snake on the blog, I recently caught up with Dunken Francis (aka Dunken F Mullett), another onetime frontman of the early Wild Hearts. In a less than obvious career move, Dunken is now an aikido instructor based in New Zealand. Although, he hasn’t caught up with Ginger since the Silver Ginger 5 tour in Japan, he was kind enough to spare me some time before he jetted off to teach aikido at a seminar in Australia.
The following article is an extract from an old issue of Raw magazine, written by Dave Ling. Thanks to Rob Firth for the scans.
One noteworthy day in 1992, Ginger of The Wildhearts clears a space among the cockroaches, then sat down to write a song – and came up with three! No change there! Even two years later, while many a lesser composer would be slowing down a little and letting the royalties trickle in, the band’s productivity has increased to the point where they’re now forced to release their latest batch of material, ‘Fishing for Luckies’, by mail-order only, as their record company also have plans to issue the follow-up to their ‘Earth vs The Wildhearts‘ début next March!
Although Snake had left The Wildhearts (or The Wild Hearts as they were called during his tenure) by the time they were signed to EastWest, he was a key character in the early days of the band’s story, yet is often overlooked when it is told.
From an early age, Stuart John Neale, was a fan of rock music and even filled his acoustic guitar with concrete in the hope it would produce a heavier sound. At school he was given the nickname Snake for his ability for getting away with bad behaviour such as having a crafty fag and generally being able to get out of any situation.
Out of the 11 tracks (12 if we’re talking about the 1994 re-issue) the oldest would be Love U Til I Don’t, the origins of which can be traced back to the very first Wild Hearts demos. Here is a demo version featuring original singer, Snake, plucked from the archived. It sounds quite different to the version on the album although you might be familiar with the chorus.
With thanks to Steve Coombe for uploading the track.
The following article is a preview piece from the 20th Anniversary shows by Mark Grainger. It was original published on the now defunct KYEO website and has been unavailable since the site closed, so I thought it deserved a permanent home…
This Friday I’ll be hopping in a car, turning up the stereo and heading West to Manchester in the name of live music. Y’see, this week, one of the North East’s finest rock exports, The Wildhearts, are celebrating the twentieth anniversary of their debut album. That album, Earth vs The Wildhearts, is to be played from start to finish during a run of four shows across the UK, and trust me, if ever there was an album that deserved celebrating it’s Earth vs The Wildhearts.
This excellent 5K’s out of 5 review is taken from an old issue of Kerrang! on the initial release of ‘Earth vs‘. Incidentally, the reviewer here, Jason Arnopp, is now a Doctor Who scriptwriter among other things.
‘I’m living on a landmine/The kind that never ignites…’– TV Tan.
This one just did. The Wildhearts have sat on the bastard for at least seven months since leaving the studio, and now it’s finally erupting. The Rock establishment must prepare to die.