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Rock'N'Roll: Ginger

How did you discover rock?

Mine was a Sweet moment. Although I don’t recall the song concerned, the experience is etched in my mind. My family was watching Top Of The Pops and hated them – a major point in their favour. But what also made me fall in love with them was the sticker on Andy Scott’s guitar with an inverted smiley face and the word ‘Shit’. My parents’ response said: “This is for me.”

Is there a secret to playing good rock’n’roll?

It’s called honesty. People who love rock’n’roll can spot a faker a mile off. And the opposite applies – you can always recognise someone who’s pouring their essence into what they’re doing, whether they’re Joe Strummer, Iggy Pop or even Jack White. Or indeed Courtney Love. It’s about almost pathological honesty. I want to know someone really is investing in themselves before I invest in them. And if they are, then they’ve got me for life.

Do you understand the media’s fascination with sub-genres?

No. When thrash metal turned into speed metal and black metal it all started splintering off. It was ridiculous. Now they don’t call them genres, they’re called scenes. There are magazines and TV shows that don’t consider me a part of their scene. I’m going to be doing music for the rest of my life. And if you don’t like it, fuck you and fuck your scene.

Have you ever stepped over a line with a song or project and thought: “That’s not rock’n’roll any more”?

No. Nobody who does this properly cares about limitations. Rock’n’roll is the essence of what’s gone before plus your personality – boundaries don’t apply. I’ve made music that people have hated because all they wanted was loud riffs and heavy guitars, but I couldn’t be restricted to one genre if there was a gun against my head.

Is your friend and recent touring partner Courtney Love as rock’n’roll as she seems?

She’s way more rock’n’roll than she seems.

She was off her tits on Alan Carr’s show.

I didn’t see that, but my mum did and thought it was great. And therein lies the truth of the matter: my mum knows who Courtney Love is. The tour we did was for her to dip her toe back into touring, but I fear she’ll get Hole back together as a shortcut. I hope she doesn’t. Courtney doesn’t need the brand name of Hole.

_What’s the most rock’n’roll thing you ever did? _

How about devoting ten years of my life to crack or destroying the Kerrang! office?

What’s the truth behind the car in the swimming pool story?

It was a tractor, actually. The Wildhearts filled it with Special Brew and drove it up the motorway, not realising we had to stick to one mile per hour for twenty-five miles before we could turn it around. I drove it into the pool because I was on a hill and it wouldn’t stop. It sank to the bottom with me still in it. After it was towed out I turned the key and it started first go!

Dave Ling
Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.