Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Doting Rock Dad Ginger Cleans Up His Wild Act; Simon Rushworth Catches Up with North-East Rock Icon Ginger of the Wildhearts

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Doting Rock Dad Ginger Cleans Up His Wild Act; Simon Rushworth Catches Up with North-East Rock Icon Ginger of the Wildhearts

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Rushworth

LEGEND has it that Ginger, formerly of South Shields and once of The Quireboys, gambled his future on the strength of a bottle of Jack Daniels.

At a low ebb in the late 1980s, and without a band or a job, the story goes that he fell down the steps of a London Underground station while swigging his favourite tipple.

Ginger determined that if the bottle was broken he would kill himself and if the JD had survived the fall he would dust himself down and form a band. The glass was unbroken and The Wildhearts were born.

A lot of water (or should that be whisky), plus a string of pop metal hits, has passed under the bridge since that night. And almost two decades later there is no hint of the depressed and drug-addled Ginger who almost lost it all.

A seriously doting father-of-two, and in control of his perennially successful band's business affairs, he is an example to young musicians everywhere. Tonight The Wildhearts play Newcastle's Carling Academy with the world at their feet and the worst of times behind them.

"It's just a joy to be in The Wildhearts now," says Ginger, who releases a solo Christmas single on December 24. "We've got all of the things that I always loved about the band and got rid of all the things which made me hate it. We all like each other again, we all have responsibilities and we all have a mutual respect."

What Ginger hated about the band was an infamous overreliance on alcohol and recreational drugs. Now the band is clean and the music sounds fresh. These days a Wildhearts gig is even deemed suitable for a six-year-old boy - as long as he's wearing ear plugs.

"My son Jake is a real fan," explains Ginger. "Ever since he's been one-and-a-half. He'll listen to one of my songs and recite it straight away. He's got an incredible memory for songs and his sister, Jasmine, who's four, has real musical talent.

"The song that she sings on my new record is one that she made up herself but she's still got a little bit to learn about arrangements and that kind of thing! …

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