The Wildhearts are my favourite band!
I say this safe in the knowledge that whatever happens within the band, my love for the band will never die. The Wildhearts shall endure! May have asked me why my favourite band have not been the subject of a retrospective. The answer is that I have never stopped listening to the band. I probably listen to at least 1 Wildhearts song every few days.
It has been a few days since the announcement that the band are on ‘hiatus’. How long this will last, nobody knows, but I have been a fan of the band since the early 90’s and so I know that, in one shape or another, they will return, bigger and better than ever!
Whilst this ‘hiatus’ is incredibly disappointing, especially considering the strength of their last 2 albums, I cannot say that it is unexpected. The Wildhearts are a band that have thrived on conflict and internal strife. Fights with record labels, trashing the office of music magazines, numerous personnel changes – the band has had it all, but through it all, the band has ultimately survived.
The Wildhearts have been responsible for some of my favourite moments in music. My favourite ever concert experience is seeing the boys at Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow. I met the band for the one and only time in Glasgow early in the afternoon. I tried not to say anything stupid and utterly failed. I was a gibbering wreck and I also refused to have my work-shirt signed, as it was my ‘good shirt’. Idiot!
I then drove home 20 odd miles, changed, and got the train back to Glasgow to meet a bunch of strangers in the Solid Rock Café – the best rock pub in Scotland – as my normal gig going buddy had retired due to hearing issues. I cannot adequately explain how great this day was. I met people from all over the UK, including a guy who came up from Birmingham. Now, I don’t have a ‘face’ picture on Facebook, my picture is me passed out in my tent at the Reading Festival. So, this bearded hero hung about in the pub trying to figure out who I was. We were joined by a girl from Aberdeen, an awesome dude from Falkirk (I think) and a dude from the Islands. I have left their names out as I haven’t asked if I can use them.
After introductory boozing at the pub, we piled in a taxi to the venue and drank even more. It was a fantastic gig, I was down the very front, have brilliant pictures of the band, including one where CJ and Danny actually posed for me, which helped this to be the greatest gig-going experience of my life!
The Wildhearts are also responsible for my second favourite song of all time. ‘The Trooper’ by Iron Maiden is the greatest song ever written by anyone, but ‘Everlone’ runs it close. It is one of 2 songs that can still give me goosebumps (Pilo Erect) when I listen to it. The other song is ‘Stinkfist’ by Tool. Any time I hear ‘Everlone’ live, I shut my eyes and the air-guitar appears to close the bad-boy out. I will always have this.
I have seen the band live more than any other….by a huge margin. I have never been let down at any gig, although I know that others have. I even heard CJ’s guitar in Glasgow. I’ve seen them at Festivals, indoor venues, posh bandstands, even ‘online’ gigs. I’ve seen several line-ups, different drummers, Jef Streatfield, Random Jon Poole spitting in the air and catching it again in his mouth, Toshi and Scott Sorry. I have nearly caught Ginger’s guitar (well, I was in the crowd watching them at Donington if that counts) and I have had a drink of Ginger’s JD and Coke in Southsea. I don’t like JD.
I have seen the band sober, and also very drunk. I have spent more money on Wildhearts merch than I can add up. I wish I still had all my t-shirts. More than half my ‘band’ t-shirts are Wildhearts related. I am lucky enough to have the fan-club release of ‘Fishing for Luckies’, and I still bought the update version of ‘PHUQ’, even though I could have put the tracklisting together to create the album proper.
I spent £25 for the ‘Caffeine Bomb’ EP on eBay back in the day, to complete my collection after they split up following the release of ‘Endless Nameless’, an album that I immediately adored, only for them to reform and release more singles. I was the President of the ‘Rock Society’ at university and knew the person running the University Radio Station. The upshot was that I was lined up to interview the band, only for them to split up.
I know people that ‘don’t get’ The Wildhearts. They are unable to understand the adulation that fans give them. Whilst I am by no means the ‘massive’ fan some folk assume I am (I know some fans that are incredibly intense), I am still a huge fan. I will never, ever understand why they are not huge and I do believe that they do not get the respect they deserve. I cannot understand anybody who doesn’t ‘get’ the band. It just does not compute.
For now, this hiatus gives the band time to get themselves together. Whilst we wait for this to happen, we can look forward to solo releases, gigs and all the other good things that allow the individuals to make the whole. I have complete confidence that I will be able to buy another new Wildhearts album. Until then;
‘Through edging greys, we remember these days’.