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| 29 November 2022 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners are proud to announce the release of their brand new single and video “Footprints in the Sand,” taken from their forthcoming debut album, released on October 7th on Wicked Cool Records. Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners were formed in August 2019 when Ginger joined forces with Neil Ivison and Nick Lyndon from the band Stone Mountain Sinners. The lineup was completed with drummer Shane Dixon (Tri-City Fanfare). There is a refreshingly familiar sound to every one of the songs on the album and it is a masterclass in how to write melodies that pull the heartstrings. Despite the turmoil in which we find ourselves, Ginger with his Sinners give us all hope. Get with it or get out.” We get band namesake Ginger on a Teams meeting to discuss touring, longevity of the band, and much more…

Toddstar: Ginger, I know you’re busy and there’s so much going on in your world. I don’t even know where to start because, again, I’ve been a fan forever. But the important thing to talk about now is Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners. This album is amazing and while sonically for me it was a bit of a left turn from most of your career, it still fits within the realm of Ginger. What was it about this project that really jumped out to you as something that you had to do? And take it beyond getting with the guys in the studio and having fun with it, but actually putting out a release, in this day and age?

Ginger: I’d always listened to Country music. But as a kid I was a huge Dolly Parton fan. And there’s always things on the radio like George Jones and Jim Reeves, Woody Nelson obviously. And then Glam Rock hit about 1972, ’73. And so I got into that and that dovetailed in Punk. But all the time, I was still listening to The Eagles or Fleetwood Mac, Rumors. Often a guilty secret, because a lot of punks wouldn’t let you listen to Little Feat and The Band and Credence. But I always liked it. So when Punk died off in the early 80’s, I was still full of the energy and vitality of Punk, but my heart was still in Country. And then I just had to find out, “Well, is there anything going on? Because Punk’s starting to smell bad now.” And then I discovered Jason & the Scorchers, The Long Ryders, Lone Justice. Then that led into my second life of following Country, which I’ve been on ever since really. So it never left me. But I’ve been actively pursuing it since the early 80’s and discovering bands like Wilco, Jayhawks. And going back, obviously, to do my history on bands like Deacon Blue that I never really… Bands like the band who hyped Deacon Blue… Steely Dan and Little Feat and stuff like that. So I’ve been hopping around the decades doing my history while looking for new things, as well. So it’s always been in my system to make an album like this.

Toddstar: One thing that struck me, and I tried to put myself in your shoes, is it’s easy for you to do another Wildhearts album or Silver Ginger album. It’s in your DNA. Do you think about lashback or anything from the critics or the fans because you didn’t do what they expect or they want?

Ginger: Nah. When the Wildhearts first broke up at the end of the 90’s and I had to make some money quick, so I did a thing called Clam Abuse, which was just a really weird, psychedelic dance album. And I learned how the critics could turn against you then, and that was quite a while ago. They’ve been doing it ever since. But the few people I knew who were into the same music as me were saying that was the most Punk Rock thing you could do, is release an album that wasn’t in any way attached to the Wildhearts or the music that influenced us. So see, I’ve been getting sick off critics ever since, and it’s part of the gig. But when I make an album, it’s almost like having a baby. I’m pregnant with it and I’ve just got to do it, treat it right, and I give birth to it and then it’s out into the open. It’s public access then. So yeah, I never do anything for the critics, ever. And often, I don’t even do things for the listeners, which is why I always issue a disclaimer before I release an album, “Okay, it might not be what you’re into, listen to it on Spotify first or check it out from a friend.” Because I do a lot of different albums in a lot of different styles. And I’m not sure I would trust anyone who likes all of those styles, because that’s a weirdo. But I’ve got a really eclectic record collection. So I’ll only tackle stuff that is in my DNA, so I know I’ve done a good job of it. You’ll never see me making a Blues album or a Reggae album, because I don’t really like the genres. I don’t know enough about them. But I can do Hardcore noise, like Big Black or a lot of that heavy industrial stuff. Or I can do a ballad album because I love Country ballads and stuff. So this album, Ginger & The Sinners, is my love for Georgia Satellites and Status Quo and The Stones and Flying Burrito Brothers. Again, all of which occupy slots in my record collection.

Toddstar: Sure, sure. Let’s talk about the album for a second. The lead single, I think, was “Wasted Times,” which grabbed my attention. It jumped out as a cool blend, hybrid of that Americana Country Rock sound that you’re talking about. But the song that really stands out to me with every listen and it was the second single I heard, but every time I listened through the whole album, “Footprints in the Sand.” There’s something about that song that just jars me to the core. I love listening to it. How easy was that song, from start to finish, as far as the writing and the recording was concerned?

Ginger: It was really easy, criminally easy. In fact, if it hadn’t have turned out so well, I would’ve went, “Yeah. I didn’t expect that it would turn out so well” and no one would’ve heard it. We were writing the song outside of the studio and Neil and Nick had a verse and I went, “How about this for a chorus?” Came out with a song and we all thought, “That’s pretty good.” And then we went in and recorded it. And the whole thing was done half an hour, from writing to recording it. And then we go in and we play live. So recording it didn’t take very long at all. So that was pretty much the first or second pass of that song, what you hear on the record. And it was an important song for me because it made me realize that the Sinners can and do work really well together, which is just manna from Nirvana, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been looking for that working relationship with a band since I started playing, really. And this is the first time I’ve really found it.

Toddstar: I was going to ask that because I saw a quote somewhere. I thought it was a cool quote because it goes back to why… they say that musicians do this for love, money, sex, whatever. But this quote from you states that this music was the sound of friendship. And you just said that you’ve been looking for this vibe internally since you started. What about this group of guys helps complete you in that way?

Ginger: The fact that when we formed, there was no pressure at all. The Wildhearts was my main thing, which was my wife and it was a bit of an abusive relationship. So I had a bit on the side, which was The Sinners. And then when me and the wife got divorced there, The Sinners were still there.

Toddstar: Going through the songs, were there any songs… I know you said that this was a very fast process. Were there any songs that started out one way and wound up a totally different way?

Ginger: Yeah, I came in with 16 songs and I think we used 8, 7 maybe. Some of them sounded great, but we weren’t getting that kind of feeling that we were from these ones. So when we realized, well, that’s just got too many parts to it, that one’s just too long, we realized that we needed two or three songs. So we went outside, old school, strictly old school. Went outside with some booze and an acoustic guitar and wrote the songs that were missing from the album. And it was such a satisfying thing because everybody knew what they didn’t want. It’s a bit like chipping away at the stone for the… because there’s a statue inside and the artist knows what stone he doesn’t want. So he just chips the stone away that he doesn’t want and then he ends up with the statue. And that’s exactly what we did. We created an album that filled us with a feeling that music like this is supposed to fill you with. So it was easy to write the last few songs, one of them being Footprints in the Sand. Work in Progress being another one. Yeah, it was very, very organic. Very organic.

Toddstar: What was it about the Georgia Satellites track “Six Days Gone” that made it a reality that you had to put it on the album?

Ginger: I feel like I’m repeating myself because I tell this story a lot. But it’s a good one. I was in Los Angeles for Lemmy’s funeral, and I was staying with a good friend of mine. And I was just playing Iron Fist over and over and over again. And he is like, “Man, I love you. Got to change the record.” And so he brought out Land of Salvation and Sin by Georgia Satellites. I’d had the first Georgia Satellites album, the self-titled one. I didn’t know they had anything out before that. So we played the album and “Six Years Gone” came on. And I’m the kind of person I get obsessed with if I hear a song that I like. It’s literally falling in love with me, and I got to play the song over, and over, and over again until I get sick of it or the people in the house get sick of it, one of the two. And as soon as I heard “Six Years Gone,” I was like, “This is the sound that I want to make. This is the sound that my band is going to be like.” It was a real pivotal moment for me because I realized that instead of wanting to make an album like this, I then needed to make an album like this. And the obsession started then.

Photo credit: Shirlaine Forrest

Toddstar: Okay. But on the flip side, you got a Status Quo song on there.

Ginger: Yeah. Well, that was a great one because at one of our first gigs we were backstage talking about music, funny enough, like we usually do. And we’re talking about what’s your favorite Status Quo song. And I’d said, “Dirty Water.” Everyone was like, “Oh, my God. I love that song.” And these are the kind of musicians that we can just pick up a guitar. And everyone knows the songs so we can play the song. We don’t have to go away and learn the song. And we sung it. Did the harmonies. It was great. So we were like, “Should we have a go on stage tonight?” And so without any rehearsal, or anything, we played “Dirty Water” on stage. And that’s when me and Neil turned around to each other and went… Pardon me French, “Fuck, now I’m in my favorite band. How did that happen?” And it was literally because these guys are like seasoned pros. A lot of the old country players, you can stick them in a session, and they play perfectly. Because they can play. It’s kind of how things are supposed to be. I think in Rock with all of its auto-tune and all of the editing things in the box so to speak, there’s less and less of that, less and less of musicians who can jam. So it’s nice to be with a bunch of people that can hold their own and they don’t feel intimidated by playing something they don’t know how to play very well. But they know the song very well, which is that I’ve always been like that myself. It was a delight. It was a delight to do that one.

Toddstar: That’s awesome. You’ve played with so many people. You have friends all over the place. When’s the last time you were starstruck, Ginger?

Ginger: It’s funny. I was writing about this. It was the only time I’ve been starstruck and I’ve met Dolly Parton. And I had her autograph my ribs and then I got tattooed later that day. And even then, I was struck by how amazing she smelled and how lovely she was, how soft her voice was. But I was fascinated with her. It wasn’t starstruck. I was almost like stalkerish. But I was in love with her, where I think starstruck is a bit more of an obsession than love. It’s not healthy. But one time I got starstruck was at this gig where I went there. It was Trail of the Dead or as their full name is, And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. And this singer, Conrad Keeley, writes the songs and he does all of the artwork. And I was just so in awe of this guy. And when I met him, I was so nervous. I was thinking, “Fucking hell. This is like I must be starstruck with this guy that most of my friends haven’t even heard of.” But I was really nervous and didn’t know what to say and wanted to make a good impression of myself. I’m sure that was being starstruck. Anyway, I was so nervous that by the time they came on, I was already having a couple of drinks in to try and steady me nerves. By the end of the set, I was a lot drunker than I thought I was going to be. And someone threw a glass from the balcony. It landed on my shoulder, and it soaked me. So I run up the stairs into the top balcony and hundreds of people there. How I thought I was going to find one guy who threw a glass… And I run up the stairs and about thirty people were all pointing at this one guy. “It was him.” I grabbed a hold of the guy. We start fighting. I get turfed out the show. I’m on the sidewalk and Trail of the Dead comes out. They finished the gig. So I annoyed them for a while. Drunkenly walked home. Couldn’t find my way home. I’d just moved to New York. Couldn’t find my way home. So I slept in the street. And when I woke up with the worst handover I’ve ever had, I realized I was across the road to my apartment. I was less than a block away. And then the first thing I did was call a friend who was sober and said, “Take me to an AA meeting. I don’t want to be like this anymore.” So he took me to the AA meeting and the next day, my girlfriend called and said, “I’m pregnant.” And I’m like, “Okay. Well, it’s a good time to stop drinking.” And I stayed sober for about a year and a half. So that was a long-winded answer to very short question.

Toddstar: No, no. I love the insight. Ginger. I know you’re busy, so I’ve got one more for you. And this one gets a little more insightful into you. If you could go back and talk to young David when he picked up that guitar and decided, “This is my lot. This is what I’m going to do,” what piece of advice would you give him knowing now?

Ginger: I wouldn’t have listened to advice when I was young anyway. So it would’ve fell on deaf ears. But I probably would’ve told him to have more fun and to not give a shit what anyone thinks about you. And not that I really did, but I think there was an agenda there. I think I wanted to do well, but I didn’t want to play the game. If I told myself the game doesn’t exist. The music industry’s going to be in tatters by the time you get older. And you’re going to have your own label. You’re going to write and sing your own songs and, often, play all the instruments on those songs. You’re going to produce them. You’re going to market them. It’s all going to be down to you. These guys are going to be history, then I wouldn’t have been so angry I think when I was younger, angry at the corporates for trying to twist me into a pretzel shape when I wanted to be my shape. And I probably would’ve had more fun not taking it all too seriously. But I took the conflict very seriously when it was to do with music, and it didn’t matter. I could have just had a good time.

Toddstar: Well, trust me. You’ve given me plenty of good times, man. I don’t know if I’m more excited to get this interview as a guy who just loves rock and roll and likes to write about it or as a fan of Ginger because your music has gotten me through tons of shit back when I was in the military, gone through a divorce, just living life. And for that, my heartfelt thanks to you, my friend, because your words have spoken volumes to me.

Ginger: There’s nothing better a songwriter could ever hear. That’s a great compliment. So thank you very, very much, my friend. Thank you.

Toddstar: (Referring to some pre-interview conversation) If you get to Florida, I guarantee I’ll get you down to Gulf Breeze. We will have a pint or two, maybe a little whiskey back if you’re up for it and we’ll call it a day.

Ginger: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re going to have a good time. But like I said, you don’t say that to an Englishman unless you mean it because I will turn up on your doorstep with two bags.

Toddstar: When it comes to you, Ginger, I mean it. I hope you enjoy these UK dates you have coming up. I hope the fans get into this as much as you are, and I really hope this leads to some dates on this side of the water.

Ginger: Yeah, absolutely. Me too. You have a fantastic day.

Toddstar: Thank you. You too, sir.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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