Camden Rocks preview: Ginger Wildheart

Camden Rocks will transform the London borough into a massive festival May 30, with over 200 bands performing at venues around the town.

This year’s line-up features headliners Bullet For My Valentine, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Richie Ramone, Glen Matlock, The Dictators NYC, Heavens Basement, Black Spiders, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Turbowolf, Feed The Rhino and more. Ginger Wildheart will bring his Songs & Words set to Proud during the afternoon. We caught up with him to find out what else he’s got in store for Camden Rocks and what the immediate future holds…

**At the time of writing, you’re in the midst of your Songs and Words tour, a rather unique and special under-taking: for those who might not know what this tour is about, would you care to explain please? **Ginger Wildheart: “It’s a spoken word performance, mixed with some music, chatting about the last 20 bizarre years of my life as a musician. Doing spoken word is something that has filled me with sheer terror for years. Just you and a microphone, naked. I never knew how guys like Duff McKagan, Scott Ian and everyone could just leap into that role after having a band to hide behind for their whole lives. Like everyone I’m fascinated by things that frighten me. Unlike everyone I usually want to face my fears head on, to see why they scare me. And that fear was my motivation for doing this”

Has working upon the Songs & Words book been a cathartic experience for you? Your career has had some incredible highs and lows… “Doing the stand up show has acted as its own catharsis, and showed me that we are capable to doing whatever we put our minds to. Writing the book hasn’t been as cathartic as much as it’s been like watching a movie of your most embarrassing moments, then putting the fucking thing out on DVD! I think that we screen block our most unpleasant memories as a natural survival technique, to save us from feeling like utter c*nts every day of our lives. Writing your memoirs is a good way of saying goodbye to some issues that you never fully addressed, but then there are other times where you just think “that was a pointless, cruel waste of time that fucked things up beyond repair”. Maybe it feels better when you’ve finished it? I dunno yet, but right now I’m in the thick of it and it feels fucking horrible for the most part!”

**You spent a chunk of 2014 on the road with Courtney Love, a collaboration which led to the release of a fantastic single, Honour, through your GASS community. Are there any plans to write more material with Courtney? **“I was supposed to be touring with her right now in fact, but I only got informed after we put the Songs & Words dates on sale and it was too late to reschedule anything. Of course, I’d love to write more with Courtney. She’s great, but she only really did that last single with me as a favour. She’s very generous like that. But would she want to write with me again? I have no idea. That’s like asking what the weather in the North will be like next week. I hope it’s going to be sunny. I like sunny. I like Courtney. I like writing.”

What’s the main focus for you in 2015? You’re bringing back Hey! Hello! for Download and have Hallowe’en shows with both Hey! Hello! and the Ginger Wildheart Band, but what else is in the pipeline? “I will always have more plans that I should safely talk about for fear of jinxing them, and 2015 is no exception, but if it all comes off then I’ll be a very happy man with a year even more action packed than last year! Doing Hey! Hello! again was a flash in the pan idea that happened at my last birthday bash, and has since taken off like no other project I’ve ever been involved with! We have some immensely powerful people already fully behind it and the timing seems paranormally good for everyone. Plus, I never got to record with the full band last time. Hell, there was no intention to make it a full band when I got the last album together. In fact there wasn’t even the intention of doing a full album! I wrote a single that was supposed to be available with the Mutation pledge, which, typically, turned into an E.P. and then ten songs. And my 6 year old son heard the demos when I was rehearsing the drums for it, on his little drum kit, and called it Hey! Hello!. It was intended to be a solo project until I lost my voice in the studio, and so I had my friend Givvi Flynn come sing some female vocals to see if I could even do an album in the first place. And it worked. I went and recorded the entire album myself, with the male vocal parts complete, and sent it to Victoria who had recently sang on my 555% album to replace Givvi’s vocal parts. Even at that stage I didn’t know if it was going to work or not. It was a total fluke, but people ended up loving it, so I formed a band with some of my favourite musicians, and we ended up sounding great together! We supported The Wildhearts on the last tour, and all the guys came to play at my birthday bash. Once again, it sounded amazing so I’d really like to hear what they sound like on the next album.”

Onto Camden Rocks then: given the huge range of material at your disposal, what can fans expect from your show? “Since I’ve been working so closely with Jase Edwards, a long time collaborator, and the guy who recorded the original demos that eventually became Hey! Hello!, I would like to appear with him. And since we have some incredible backing tapes that we’re using on this tour, and some we couldn’t fit it to the set, it would be fun to do something with them. I dunno, I don’t like knowing what I’m doing until that last moment. I work better that way.”

Ginger will play Proud Galleries at 4pm on May 30. For more details on Camden Rocks, click here.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.