21st February 2000
Back to index
What exactly does 'Mondo Akimbo A-Go-Go'
It doesn't mean anything. We got so bored when people would ask this question that we made a literal translation of the title that came out as 'the world dances with its legs apart'. So, er... that'll be what it means, then.
Brian Eno once said that, at the height of his
career, his mother still harassed him to get a 'proper' job. Did your
mother or father support your choices?
My mother and father still see what I do as a glorified hobby that I haven't quite got the hang of yet. My dad thinks I shouldn't sing. But he's a rugby player and, I'm sure, not a major sales worry.
You haven't seen The Beatles live, have you?
You're not so old. What do you think of the Stones, that they still exist
as a band, releasing shitty albums and touring for the money?
Francisca De Paula Barbie Gosvalez
The Stones are still the greatest as long as Keef is still alive. I never saw The Beatles, I haven't lived through any World Wars, I don't remember life before electricity, and I wasn't around when dinosaurs were having it large.
Did you know that you are mentioned in the new
book, Tits Out Teenage Terror Totty, by NME hack Steven Wells? It's fucking
ace, and really funny. You are mentioned round about page 30, when genuine
satanic rock 'n' roll band Helen Keller's Iron Lung are
Swells is an old friend and just about the funniest bloke in the world of politico-journalism. And he has good taste.
What was your inspiration for the song Caprice?
It's a such a moving song, and some of my mates still reckon it to be your
finest. It moves me and I draw my own meaning from it, but I was wondering
about the lyrics, because they're a bit esoteric, and I was hoping you
could tell me about them, if they're not too personal.
I woke up one morning and had the word caprice in my head, so I got up and wrote a song about the way I was feeling, and just stuck the word in the chorus until I figured out a similar sounding word that meant swings of mood and behaviour. And, lo 'n' behold, when I looked up the definition in the dictionary it was... well, go look it up yourself! I really like that song, too.
If you're ever in need of a bass player then
I'm your man. I live across the road from a rehearsal studio!
I live across the road from a garage but I suck as a mechanic.
From what I've read, the favourite Wildhearts
songs are tracks like Sky Babies, Inglorious and Everlone - real epic
riff-changing rockers. What is your view on writing long material, and how come
you don't do it more often? I think there are too many bands now who just
write three- to four-minute songs, seemingly for quality airplay on the radio,
which I think sucks. What do you think of this? Any chance of any lengthy
material on the new album?
I gotta admit that writing really long songs is a little masturbatory, as most fans don't like it. It would be a little selfish of me to deliberately write stuff that I know people aren't going to like, even though I do end up indirectly doing exactly that sometimes. It's actually more difficult to write shorter songs and know what to leave out, than write real long stuff and keep everything in.
I see that you like to cover your guitar in various
stickers, paint and such crap. I'm thinking of chroming my SG. Will that
fuck up the sound too much?
It won't affect the sound, only your sex life.
The Super$hit 666 album is fucking fantastic. Is
there any chance of you touring it in the UK at some point, or playing as
SilverGinger with a S$666 support slot? We need good rock 'n' roll to
keep us healthy.
I'd love to tour Super$hit 666. I'd love to do a proper album too, but Dregen and Nicke are very busy boys (as am I). But I agree, a tour would be cool.
29 x The Pain is one of my most favourite songs
ever. I was wondering how many bands / artists are referenced in this song, who
they are, and what records of theirs you recommend the most. Sorry if
you've been asked this before.
There are so many bands featured in 29 x The Pain that I forgot just how many. But whatever bands are mentioned, I recommend their entire back catalogue wholeheartedly. Unless, in some cases, some of the albums made whilst on tour are very bad. In this instance I only recommend the good albums.
I've been asked a few times, yes.
Are you still reading Evil Ernie? And if you are,
what did you make of the conclusion and Armageddon story? I've always been
lead to believe that the Wildhearts symbol was inspired by Evil Ernie's
smiley badge. If this is not the case, what was the inspiration behind the
I never actually read Evil Ernie. I guess the similarity to The Wildhearts' logo put me off a bit. The inspiration was a tattoo I had when I was a kid.
I read that the SilverGinger album will be released
in March in Japan, but will come out in the summer in the UK. Why the
The album is contracted to come out in Japan first. They're paying for it, after all. Summer is a good time for a UK release, as the music is very uplifting and sunny.
Given that, a) you want big success with this album
in the UK, and b) it's going to be available in Japan four months (or
thereabouts) earlier, does it bother you that a lot of diehards are going to be
dusting down their credit cards and heading for the import section of their
No one need buy anything on import. By the time a release date in Japan is finalised, there will be a release date announced for the UK. I can't stop people buying imports, but maybe the diehards can chip in for a copy and tape it for each other. Japanese imports are always value for money anyway.
Since you started travelling, what's the
biggest thing you've discovered about the world and human existence in
general, and do you regret not doing the 'new age traveller' bit
earlier? Any particularly cool places you'd recommend for this
I've discovered nothing that helps when returning home. Everyone in the world is basically the same, some are just better at showing it. Love unites and unties. I've been travelling since I was born - I don't know how much earlier one can start. Thailand is very nice and cheap. Same with the Philippines. Japan is expensive but life-affirming. Mexico is great fun too.
I just wondered if you are homophobic in any way,
'cos I'm gay and have loved everything you've ever released, even
though my mates reckon I should listen to gay stereotype shit like Steps and
Love is all. Doesn't matter who it's with and how.
Have you, or have you not, appeared on Newsnight?
I've been hearing strange rumours that you've been on the programme
talking about drugs. What are your view on drugs?
I have indeed been on Newsnight. My views on drugs are the same as any normal, straight-thinking person's would be. Legalise anything that comes out of the earth, and monitor the medical use of the rest. Sadly, there's too much paperwork involved to think it'll be a reality.
What is an 'angel biscuit', as mentioned in
A tiny piece of heaven.
I just wanted to say that I got the Super$hit 666
album yesterday, and it was well worth the wait. It's amazing, thank you.
Can't wait for the SilverGinger record.
Brad Perry... one of many fans from Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Hey, where's the backlash? The SilverGinger album is a might more 'hi-fi' than S$666, but shit... it got to Pittsburgh, home of the zombies. Work done!
What are your long-term plans for the future
regarding your music career? A lot of excellent bands from the UK (such as The
Wildhearts and the Manics) have never been able to get a good foot-hold in
America. Do you intend to try and break that market with the new album? After
your stay in LA, would you be keen to return there?
I plan on touring the States extensively. There is no other way of making them give a shit. I wouldn't like to live in LA again. Happiness has found me in England, and for that I must respect it.
What exactly did you get on Tuesday?
'Got it on Tuesday' means getting the point a little late.
I'm in this band right now and I'm finding
it difficult to coordinate everything. Organising band practices is the
toughest thing because sometimes one member can't make it, which affects
everyone else. Did you ever have any problems organising band practices? How
much preparation and practice did you do before gigs when you were with The
Wildhearts? What about with the current band? Has the SilverGinger 5 band
played live yet?
Organising band practices? I was in the bloody Wildhearts! We were so bad at turning up that we never rehearsed... for tour, TV or albums. Honestly! If you're good, it doesn't matter too much. Not as much as the personality of the band anyway. Having said that, I'm going to rehearse the new band like a military operation.
I got my first Cardiacs CD, Samples. They are good.
How come they never made it big? Why is Robert Smith more popular than Tim
Smith? Speaking of Robert Smith, have you ever liked the Cure?
I never liked the Cure. They smell of orange-flavoured rubber.
Of all the songs you've ever released, which
ones were the hardest to record due to errors in drums, vocals, guitars (wait,
you're the perfect guitarist!!) or bass? Have you ever had to tell your
drummer to change a beat or change a fill-in? One big fear that drummers have
is playing at the wrong tempo (either too slow or too fast). If that happens at
a gig, do you try to correct the problem by signaling him, or do you play at
that same speed? Who, in your opinion, is the best drummer?
We never had any songs that were hard to record. We sort of just threw 'em down onto tape. If you can all play, why spend forever recording? It should only take a couple of goes, otherwise the song is tighter but much more boring to listen to.
Whatever speed the drummer starts the song live is the speed of the song. You don't have to take gigs that seriously. I'd have to say the best drummer is Blads from The Yo-Yo's, who played his heart out on my album. He's pretty amazing.
I'm looking forward to the new album and will
probably buy an import copy. When you tour the album, who do you think will
support you? The Yo-Yo's maybe?
I'd love The Yo-Yo's to support me on the next tour, but I have a feeling that even putting me and Danny on the same bill would prove to be hazardous to the health.
Silly one I'm afraid: would you rather eat
someone else's snot or your own earwax?
I'd rather eat anything of mine than anything of anyone else's. Exceptions do, of course, apply.
I was looking through my old copies of Kerrang!, and I was thinking how bloody right you were when you defended The Wildhearts when some "fans" moaned about the multi-formats of Anthem (five ace B-sides - c'mon, I'd like to know of another band that has done that). Didn't those people have better things to do than complain about a single? Haven't they got birds to shag or a band to play in? (Probably not.) Kerrang! then printed 'Ginger calls fans dickheads'.
How on Earth did you control your anger? You
didn't call your fans dickheads, you called the people who slated a single
dickheads. And they can't be fans, right? I'd just like to take the
chance to say thanks for putting yourself out for your fans and to say that
regardless of what people say, Endless,Nameless was (and still is) a
class album. Doing something starkly different is far more rock
'n' roll than giving people what they want or expect. Keep changing,
Ah, you make my day more bearable, Ben. I don't know why people complain when they get royally shafted by seemingly every band around. I guess it's the old 'give 'em enough rope' syndrome. The harder one tries to please, the easier they tend to displease. I try to appear as 'touchable' as possible by answering fan mail, etc, and some people will always use that closeness to insult you. These people always learn, but by then it's always a little too late for them and life has made another nobody.
Always complain to people's faces. Writing letters into magazines shows how weak-minded and spineless a person really is. And when life's problems come a callin', these people have no way of dealing with it face to face. And they go down with no one to help them.
Where are you living these days? Do you appreciate
the history of London or does it just get old and crusty?
I live in London, the most crime-filled place in the western world these days, I'd imagine. Since I got back from the States this place has turned into a war zone. Kids think that they're on TV these days. Violence is real, actors don't get hurt.
What's a 'two-way idiot
An idiot looking at an idiot.
"Sit yourself back while the enemy tire.
We're choking down fuel just to piss on the fire" (from Now Is The
Colour). What does that mean?
Gloating in what is wrong, thus adding to the problem. If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
What has happened to the art of playing the guitar?
Why is it that a lot of bands these days dare not even attempt to put in a
guitar solo? Is there any chance that on your new album you might help bring it
back, Ace Frehley-style?
Woah... you bet there's gonna be some guitar solos on the new record. How could an album be the greatest rock record of all time without a barrel-load of the tastiest licks this side of Axe-Hampton? To me, the sign of great rock music is when there are great guitar solos and riffs for kids to copy.
I've seen a lot of pictures of you in Newcastle United shirts, so I assume you're a fan of the team. You've just been drawn against my team, Tranmere Rovers, in the quarter final of the FA Cup, and I'm wondering if you're planning on coming down to Prenton Park to watch the match. (Steve Kendrick
Between recording and stuff, I never get a chance to see Newcastle play, except when they play Chelsea. But I have to stand in the Chelsea area, so it's fortunate that Newcastle always get beaten by them.
I heard that you were friends with Richey Edwards.
What do you remember of him? Are you or were you a Manics fan?
I wouldn't say we were friends of any real contact, but we were very fond of each other. He seemed fine.
What do you think of the post-Richey
Not as thin.
How much influence does love and romance have on
your songwriting? It doesn't seem like you write that many songs about
I write an awful lot of songs about the opposite genital group, but I used to hide the sentiment and think it was really cool. I'm more comfortable with writing direct stuff these days.
Did you ever have a liking for heavy metal music? I
know a lot of it lacks melody, but if you could pick a good heavy metal band,
who would it be?
I like thrash a lot. Metal leaves me cold unless it's got some rock 'n' roll in it. My favourite 'metal' bands are The Rods, Riot, Sabbath, Motorhead and Monster Magnet. I probably forgot someone, so ask me again, huh?