The Wildhearts’ frontman reveals the ten punk songs he simply can’t live without
In a new regular feature, we speak to punk-loving celebs and ask them: “If you were only allowed to have ten punk singles in your record collection, which ones would they be?”
In this episode, the amazing Ginger Wildheart, guitarist, singer, and songwriter of The Wildhearts finds himself in the almost impossible position of choosing what records he’d keep in his collection.
Written by: Ginger Wildheart
10: THE DISTILLERS – The World Comes Tumblin’ (The Distillers)
Brody (Dalle) has the best female punk voice… the end. It isn’t even worth debating. She should be an American treasure and her face should be on their money.
Sing Sing Death Camp is such a blistering album, full of pissed off energy and venom. Their first, self-titled, album had the same energy too, although the band got better by the second record. I tuned out when Coral Fang was released and their sound developed a more marketable quality. I’m picking The World Comes Tumblin’ because we recorded that song on our covers album, Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before.
“Brody (Dalle) has the best female punk voice… the end. It isn’t even worth debating. She should be an American treasure and her face should be on their money.” Ginger WildheartTweet
9: RANCID – Time bomb (…And Out Come The Wolves)
Rancid seemed to always have the same timeline as The Wildhearts. Every time we toured we’d play the same venues as they were playing, like a day or two apart. Both bands started out around the same time and we’re both still going strong. There’s also a sense of family and unity that both bands share and a community that spans the world. If I could pick a band to tour with it would probably be Rancid… with The Distillers opening.
Ah shit, that’s not going to happen, is it? Okay, then I’d pick The Bronx to open up.
“If I could pick a band to tour with it would probably be Rancid… with The Distillers opening.” Ginger WildheartTweet
8: THE BRONX – Heart Attack America (The Bronx 1)
I’d pinched the album from an A&R man’s desk when I was in New York. He didn’t need it, he was into theatrical metal. The cover lured me in, a woman vampire’s blood dripping mouth, and their logo featured part of the Exorcist cover. And the album was called White Drugs (original title).
I already liked them, I just didn’t know how much until I played it. Amazing energy with a vocalist who sings like he gargles nails. To be honest, this was a coin toss between The Bronx, Alkaline Trio, The Replacements and Pixies, music is probably more ‘Alternative Rock’ than punk, but they all professed a very fuck-you attitude, which is punk enough for me.
“The Bronx, Alkaline Trio, The Replacements and Pixies music is probably more ‘Alternative Rock’ than punk, but they all professed a very fuck-you attitude, which is punk enough for me.” Ginger WildheartTweet
7: THE PLASMATICS – Butcher Baby (New Hope For The Wretched)
One look at the cover of New Hope For The Wretched, and I bought this album. They looked so great that I convinced myself they’d sound amazing and took the plunge. And, once again, the stylus revealed an amazing and under-appreciated band. Wendy O Williams sounded unlike anyone I’d ever heard, and the songs were fast… and they featured a chainsaw solo as it cut through the body of a guitar.
Admittedly they share a place in my heart where Hüsker Dü, Toy Dolls, Buzzcocks, The Fall, Chumbawamba, The Rezillos/Revillos Cardiacs inhabit. Is it punk? Who cares, it’s fun and they have great songs. Their aesthetic and attitude is way more punk than, say Green Day.
“Wendy O Williams sounded unlike anyone I’d ever heard, and the songs were fast… and they featured a chainsaw solo as it cut through the body of a guitar.” Ginger Wildheart.Tweet
6: NOFX – The Separation Of Church And Skate (War On Errorism)
I got into NOFX because my little lad absolutely loves them. Great fun, fast as fuck, catchy, and Fat Mike is a genuinely unique fellow. Their book (The Hepatitis Bathtub And Other Stories) and that Backstage Passport show revealed a side to them that is subversive and occasionally very dark. Nothing beats sharing a love of a band with your kid. Between us, we have everything they’ve recorded. Fat Mike is a genius lyricist too, which most people miss because of the cartoon nature of their presentation.
“Fat Mike is a genius lyricist too, which most people miss because of the cartoon nature of their presentation.” Ginger WildheartTweet
5: BIG BLACK – Pavement Saw (Songs About Fucking)
In the ’80s no one was making more noise than Big Black. The attitude, the relentless attack and the fact that I could clear a room of punk, thrash and grindcore loving friends because they all considered Big Black to be too noisy.
I remember John Peel saying that only bands that he openly cried tears of joy for were Ramones, Cocteau Twins and this lot. I was in a taxi when I heard that, and within a few seconds, I had the driver pull over and turn it up. And I cried, this was the sound that I needed in my life, my anger and frustration now had the perfect soundtrack.
“In the ’80s no one was making more noise than Big Black.” Ginger WildheartTweet
4: DISCHARGE – Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing
Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing, the album, still sounds amazing today. In fact, I’d say that Discharge today, with JJ singing and Tez on guitar, is every bit as good as their ’82 lineup. And they’re sound blokes too.
I took my little lad, who was ten at the time, to see them at York, Fulford Arms, and they all signed his End Of Days album. He was straight into the mosh pit when they started to play. Obviously, now they’re one of his favourite bands. I keep hoping Discharge release a new album, so that I can keep feeling like a young fanboy again -which exactly what I am -only not so young.
“I keep hoping Discharge release a new album, so I can keep feeling like a young fanboy again – which exactly what I am – only not so young.” Ginger WildheartTweet
3: THE DAMNED – New Rose
The Damned share a DNA with The Wildhearts, probably more than any other band. That whole punk chaos approach registered with me immediately. All we wanted was to cause a bit of chaos and have fun, which was totally The Damned.
“People call it career suicide, but a career in music was the last thing on our minds. We just preferred to burn bright while it lasted. No one thought we’d carry on for decades, in fact, it was more about refusing to fuck off than staying together for success.
New Rose still sounds as exciting as fuck today. As we speak, the ink is drying on The Wildhearts playing with the original line up of The Damned this year. We very rarely get excited but playing with The Damned turned us all into kids again.
“The Damned share a DNA with The Wildhearts, probably more than any other band. That whole punk chaos approach registered with me immediately. All we wanted was to cause a bit of chaos and have fun.” Ginger WildheartTweet
2: STIFF LITTLE FINGERS – At The Edge (Nobody’s Heroes)
When I was young, we’d go to clubs that played punk and rock, and SLF were a band that got everyone, punks, skins, rockers, on the dance floor together. Only SLF and Motorhead could do that – join up all these people in one common love. Metal and mainstream punk would only get people fighting.
I loved SLF, still do, in fact, Jake Burns is a friend of mine now. I even named my first kid Jake.
When we started The Wildhearts we bonded through a mutual love of SLF, Ramones and The Damned. In fact, when we were auditioning for singers we were looking for someone with a Jake Burns-type rasp. Ironic that the closest we ever got is me!”
“When we started The Wildhearts we bonded through a mutual love of SLF, Ramones and The Damned. In fact, when we were auditioning for singers we were looking for someone with a Jake Burns-type rasp.” Ginger WildheartTweet
1: RAMONES – Today Your Love, Tomorrow The World (It’s Alive)
What can be said about Ramones? The band that turned a million Kiss fans into punks. So many musicians I respect have spoken about that pivotal moment, a Kiss loving kid, in love with the make-up and theatrics, and the music coming a very distant second, suddenly hearing this Ramones band, who spoke with their music.
Faster than anything anyone had heard before. I even looked like a Ramone, ripped jeans, bike jacket, long hair. I’d picked up an album at a store that let me take music home to listen to it, before buying it. I’d taken Rocket To Russia home because of the cover, but once the needle hit the plastic everything changed forever.
They didn’t seem like rock stars, more like extended family. Everything that Ramones stood for still resonates with me to this day.
“What can be said about Ramones? The band that turned a million Kiss fans into punks… I’d taken Rocket To Russia home… once the needle hit the plastic everything changed forever.” Ginger WildheartTweet
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Ginger Wildheart is an English rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He began his professional career as a guitarist in The Quireboys but is best known as the founder and leader of The Wildhearts. In addition, he has released numerous solo albums and has been involved in many other musical projects