by Ian Savage
Sav: Hi Ginger, so how was Japan? [the Hey! Hello! album launched a week ago in Japan and was supported by a couple of acoustic shows in Tokyo]
Ginger: It was magical. Japan have really reacted well with Hey! Hello!, which I had instinctively hoped they would love it but you can’t rely on things like instinct, you can only trust in it and hope for the best.
Hey! Hello! has been in the can now for over six months with only the odd teaser track being released; how difficult has it been to sit on the album for so long?
Not too difficult, for me, as I like to keep myself constantly busy. I find that if I have no time to think about things too much they seem to run smoother. I have no plans on slowing down any time soon.
Tell us – who IS ‘Black Valentine’ about?
It isn’t about anyone. With Hey! Hello! I finally got a chance to write fantasy lyrics about no-one specific. This is a rare treat for me, and being brought up on bands like Sparks, making up stories is always something I’d hoped to explore in my song writing one day. It’s fun as it confuses the fuck out of people.
Album track ‘The Thrill Of It All’ was originally written for Courtney Love; now that you’re stepping into her touring guitarist spot can you see a writing collaboration happening anytime?
We are already writing together. She’s very receptive and open to ideas, which is an absolute pleasure for me. I’ll let you know how we get on with new material, but so far so good.
The album artwork was done by Frank Kozik [legendary US artist who has produced posters and other artwork for Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, The Beastie Boys and Green Day, among many others] – do you have a favourite piece of his (apart, obviously, from what he’s just produced for Hey! Hello!)?
My favourite of all Kozik’s pieces is definitely the Smorkin’ Labbit. I had a sticker of it on my original Les Paul that I loved, and my little boy has become obsessed with those little plastic Labbit toys you can seemingly only buy in Ricky’s hair product store in NYC. Kozik is now a firm family favourite.
The last three Pledge projects [Ginger Wildheart Band’s ‘555%’, ‘Mutation’ and ‘Hey! Hello!’] all made many times their financial targets, and the ‘555%’ campaign was Classic Rock magazine’s ‘Event Of The Year’ – is it safe to say that the ‘record label’ model of album-making is dead for you?
I never say never, but I will say “what the fuck would I want to go back there for?” Record companies have historically been the bane of my existence, and I don’t know why I’d decide to replace something as fat free as pledge with a tired old model that has shown no interest in me for over a decade.
You’ve got a reputation for championing new bands (including my last one, cheers!) as well as challenging audiences with your choices of support acts – is there anyone in the pipeline you think we should be hearing in the back end of 2013?
I’m hoping to take God Damn and Raven Vandelle out for some December Ginger Wildheart Band shows. Both great bands that I can’t wait to see live. All I want to do, if I can, is to help new bands get noticed. And I honestly can’t understand bands and musicians who don’t do the same, given the opportunity.
Without being too overtly political you’ve never shied away from making a point with song lyrics – what still grinds your gears?
Currently my biggest beef is with magazines and sites that don’t go that extra mile to promote and help new bands and smaller artists who deserve the attention. Their laziness drives me insane. If you have the power to change the future for the better, and you don’t use that privilege then you are the enemy of everything I live for.
Back in the day the Wildhearts were known as much for being a hell-raising soap opera as for producing amazing music – is it fair to say that you’ve mellowed and/or reassessed priorities over the last fifteen years or so?
Yes, I’m a Dad now and sitting all alone smoking crack doesn’t really feature in my life’s priorities these days. If fatherhood doesn’t make you wake up and grow up then you’re the saddest kind of human on the planet. I’m not number one anymore, there are things in my life that are more important than my desires that I work to make sure are taken care of. Mellow?!? I used to sit in a stupor, not moving for days. I’d say that is the epitome of mellow, and that I’m the exact opposite of that now.
Are there any of the guys that you grew up admiring that you HAVEN’T had chance to meet and would like to?
Yeah, there are still a bunch of artists still on my “hope to meet one day’ list, but the world seems to be getting ever smaller, so I’ve no doubt that I’ll run into them one day. I’m going to live forever so there’s no hurry.
Is there anyone who you’d still love to tour with?
Probably, but I can’t think of exactly who. I’d have liked to tour with the Rolling Stones, but after they’ve broken my heart with these ticket prices, I’m kind of over that. I wouldn’t want to help them sell a single ticket.
Last one – we’re making the Ginger Wildheart biopic; who would you want to play you?
Can I have Megan Fox play me?