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Music / The Wildhearts

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L-R Ritch, Danny, Ginger, CJ
The Wildhearts are a British rock band, currently consisting of guitarist/vocalist Ginger, guitarist/vocalist CJ, bassist Danny McCormack, and drummer Ritch Battersby. Formed in 1989 by Ginger and CJ, the band went through a number of bassists before settling on Danny, while the drum stool continued to be vacated on a fairly regular basis until Ritch arrived after the release of their debut album.

In 1989, Ginger had been sacked by former band the Quireboys for being too drunk, and was told by Sharon Osborne that he needed to sort his life out. The story Ginger tells is that he went to a station in L.A. with a bottle of whisky which was his only remaining possession, and fell down the stairs. As he fell, he told himself if the bottle smashed he'd slash his wrists with it - if it remained intact, he'd form his own band. The bottle survived, and the first of many line-ups of The Wildhearts was formed soon afterwards.

Since then the band have fought, split up and re-formed many times, taken enough drugs to incapacitate a decent-sized army, and spawned numerous spin-off bands and side projects. They also released a series of albums which, for the most part, were full of catchy hooks, glorious harmonies, and massive riffs. These were generally seen as too heavy for the pop kids but too poppy for the metal crowd and the band, while retaining an incredibly loyal hardcore following, never hit the big time - although their tremendous capacity for drug-fuelled self-destruction has undeniably also played a part.


The band are still going strong though, with a couple of well-received recent albums under their belts, and that loyal hardcore following still sees them put on successful UK headline tours on a regular basis.

They don't seem to have fought with one another for a while either.

Members (selected former members in italic):

  • Ginger - guitar, vocals (1989-today)
  • Chris "CJ" Jagdhar (1989–1994, 2001–present)
  • Danny McCormack - bass (1991–2005, 2018–today)
  • Ritch Battersby - drums (1993–1999, 2005–present)
  • Andrew "Stidi" Stidolph - drums (1989–1990, 1992–1993, 2001–2004))
  • Bam - drums (1991–1992)
  • Devin Townsend - guitar, vocals (1994)
  • Mark Keds - guitar, vocals (1995)
  • Jef Streatfield - guitar, vocals (1995–1999)
  • Jon Poole - bass (2003–2004, 2012–2013, 2014–2017)
  • Scott Sorry - bass (2006–2009, 2014)


Studio Discography:

  • 1993 - Earth vs the Wildhearts
  • 1995 - PHUQ
  • 1996 - Fishing For Luckies
  • 1997 - Endless, Nameless
  • 2003 - The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed
  • 2007 - The Wildhearts
  • 2008 - Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before, Vol. 1
  • 2009 - ¡Chutzpah!
  • 2019 - Renaissance Men
  • 2021 - 21st Century Love Songs

Other notable releases:

  • 1992 - Mondo-Akimbo A-Go-Go - debut EP.
  • 1992 - Mondo-Akimbo A-Go-Go/Don't Be Happy... Just Worry - double EP including a remix of the debut EP and 4 brand new songs.
  • 1994 - Fishing For Luckies - Fan-club-only release featuring songs removed from PHUQ by the record company, which were part of the eventual full album release in 1996.
  • 2004 - Coupled With - Compilation of B-sides from the "The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed" singles.
  • 2009 - ¡Chutzpah! Jnr - Limited edition mini-album featuring tracks recorded for, but excluded from, ¡Chutzpah!.

Greetings now from Tropesville:

  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Girlfriend Clothes - "old Mrs Palm and her 5 young daughters is all you'll get tonight - right?".
  • Audience Participation Song: Many, although the "secret song" "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" from P.H.U.Q. being sung by the whole crowd while waiting for the encore is among the most popular.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Many songs, including "The Sweetest Song", the radio edit of which had to be bleeped so heavily that the verses are all but unintelligible, "My Baby is a Headfuck" with the catchy refrain "headfuck, headfuck, headfuck, headfuck", and "Shut Your Fucking Mouth and Use Your Fucking Brain", which is reasonably self-explanatory.
  • Country Matters: Their best-known song "I Wanna Go where The People Go" includes the line "I wanna be where the cunts like me are buried six feet underground".
  • Cover Album: "Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before Vol. 1"
  • Cover Version: Everything on "Stop Us If You've Heard This One Before Vol. 1", obviously, but also "The People Who Died" by the Jim Carroll Band on offcuts album "¡Chutzpah! Jr" and "Heroin" by the Dogs D'Amour on Endless, Nameless.
  • Darker and Edgier: After several albums of melodic, pop-infused rock, they shifted gears with the distortion-heavy "Endless Nameless" album. YMMV as to whether it is a noisy masterpiece or an unlistenable sonic mess.
  • Epic Rocking: They have a few longer songs, particularly the 11 minute plus "Sky Babies".
  • Fun with Acronyms: Second album P.H.U.Q. - they did bandy about several suggestions as to what it stood for, including "Partly Heterosexual, Ultimately Queer", but it is just an excuse to have an album called Fuck.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Got away with the line "baby can't you see I'm shitting brown water" on Top of The Pops by obliterating the lyric sheet and singing so fast no-one could make it out.
  • I Am the Band: He may not want it to be this way, but Ginger is the one consistent member through all incarnations of the Wildhearts.
  • Lighter and Softer: "The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed" was far poppier and more approachable than "Endless Nameless".
  • Long Title: "You Got To Get Through What You've Got To Go Through To Get What You Want, But You Got to Know What You Want To Get Through What You Got To Go Through".
  • Miniscule Rocking: Dancin' (1 min 8 seconds), S.I.N (In Sin) (1 min 34 seconds) and Shut Your Fucking Mouth and Use Your Fucking Brain (1 min 38 seconds) hardly hang around.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Usually sit between 5-7, although they have stepped down to a 4, and "Endless Nameless" is at least an 8 in places..
  • Must Have Caffeine: "Caffeine Bomb".
  • New Sound Album: Most of them have some degree of difference, to be fair - they were called "genre agnostics" by Classic Rock magazine for a reason. However, most obviously "Endless Nameless".
  • Revolving Door Band: Oh yes. The current line-up is seen as the "classic" one by many fans, but was only together for a couple of years in the mid-Nineties prior to reuniting in 2019. They've been going since 1989, and the longest they've kept a single line-up together as of 2021 is four years.
  • Self-Titled Album: "The Wildhearts". "Earth vs the Wildhearts" and "The Wildhearts Must Be Destroyed" also sort of count.
  • Shout-Out: Fan-favourite B-side "29 x The Pain" is one long shout-out to many of Ginger's biggest musical influences, from The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Big Black and Jason & the Scorchers.
    • "Tim Smith" from the "¡Chutzpah!" album is a tribute to the legendary Cardiacs frontman.
    • "Remember These Days" from "21st Century Love Songs" includes the line "we were bits of kids, trying to sing like Jake.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Although Ginger is the main lead singer, CJ, Danny, Ritch, Scott and Jef have all handled lead vocals on songs.


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