January 1996 The band are holed up in a studio in Milton Keynes writing and recording new material. EastWest still plan to issue Fishing For More Luckies.
January 1996 Danny has keyhole surgery on his leg, to stop his kneecap popping out.
6 February 1996 In a quest to drum up support for an alt.music.wildhearts Internet newsgroup, Tara Wilcock sets up an unofficial email discussion group, THE WiLDHEARTS MAiLiNG LiST.
Feb - March 1996 Ginger takes a trip to Thailand with the band's security man to get himself into shape. He continues to take a daily run during the April UK tour.
March 1996 The Wildhearts record a live appearance for Hotel Babylon. They play their forthcoming single, Sick Of Drugs (in an oddly trunacted version). The show is to due be aired on 26 April, but is eventually broadcast on 3 May.
early April 1996 Danny has a major haircut. A nation weeps. Until everyone realises he actually looks rather snazzy with short hair.
4 April 1996 The Wildhearts, under the guise of their supposedly clandestine (the press announced it, of course) alter ego, The Moodswingers, play Wolverhampton's Wulfrun Hall. They open with Greetings From Shitsville and I Wanna Go Where The People Go, then ask fans to pick the songs they want to hear.
6 April 1996 The Moodswingers play the Highbury Garage in London. At one point during their lengthy set, journalist and cartoonist Ray Zell joins the band to take lead vocal on a Marionette song called Raise Hell (Zell was Marionette's frontman back in the Eighties; he's also an old flatmate of Ginger's). Other covers wheeled out for the evening include MC5's Kick Out The Jams, Hank Williams' Lost Highway and Cheap Trick's He's A Whore.
7 April 1996 The Wildhearts headline the opening night of the Sound City festival, at the Leeds Town & Country Club. The gig is broadcast on BBC Radio One's Rock Show and one live track, I Wanna Go Where The People Go, later appears on the Radio One Sound City Leeds 1996 compilation album.
8 April 1996 Sick Of Drugs is released as a single. A limited edition CD is available with 'free grass' - a mat which, when watered, sprouts grass. Of the common garden variety. The single reaches number 14 in the UK chart. Sick Of Drugs is the band's first on Round Records. Many fans note that the record still has an EastWest catalogue number, and deduce that the ties with the label haven't been fully severed. However, Round Records does allow The Wildhearts much more control over their destiny. EastWest are no longer responsible for the marketing and promotion of the band, having recently turned everything over to a man called Pete Winkelman (head of Bronze records and long-time Wildhearts consultant). Though budgets still have to be approved by EastWest, all decisions about what to release and how to release it are now being made by Winkelman and the band.
10 April 1996 Steph Taylor takes over the day-to-day administration of THE WiLDHEARTS MAiLiNG LiST, leaving Tara Wilcock to concentrate on the Frequently Asked Questions file and the Ginger Nuts web site. The mailing list boasts well over 100 members after just two months.
13 April - 22 April 1996 The Wildhearts tour the UK. Support comes from 3 Colours Red, whose guitarist is Danny's brother, Chris.
18 April 1996 The band perform Sick Of Drugs on Top Of The Pops. Their performance is cut short, though, prompting Ginger to sing the final line: "If you wanna hear the rest of the song, go and buy the single."
20 May 1996 With EastWest's plan to release Fishing For More Luckies binned (although copies have already surfaced in Scandinavia and the Middle East), another album called Fishing For Luckies is released. This time the record takes the form of a 10-track album, with two of the tracks from the original mail order release being jettisoned in favour of six brand new recordings. The vinyl version and Japanese CD include even more bonus tracks, including new track Beautiful Me, Beautiful You and re-recordings of 29 x The Pain and Weekend (5 Long Days). Honeycrack's debut album, Prozaic, is also released today.
1 June - 22 June 1996 The Wildhearts support AC/DC on their UK and European tour. During breaks in the European leg of the tour, they manage to record close to a complete album's worth of new material. The new songs include Abhoria, Ride The Wave, Tom Take The Money, Velvet Presley, State Of Nondependence and Stupid Things. A release is pencilled in for September.
12 June 1996 Ginger is named second 'Coolest Rock Star' in Kerrang! magazine. He is pipped to the top slot by Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson.
17 June 1996 Red Light - Green Light is released as a single. Its video is possibly the cheapest ever made for a major label release, consisting of nothing more than a light bulb flashing green and red in time to the music. The single reaches number 30 in the UK chart.
23 June 1996 The Wildhearts are third on the nine-band bill at the Sex Pistols' Finsbury Park festival in London. They sell bright yellow T-shirts that parody the sleeve of Never Mind The Bollocks..., bearing the slogan "Never mind the headliners - Here's The Wildhearts". 3 Colours Red are also on the bill.
19 July 1996 The Wildhearts play the main stage at the Phoenix Festival in Long Marston.
31 July 1996 The band play a brief, unannounced set at the Camden Palace in north London, taking the stage after 3 Colours Red.
August 1996 The Wildhearts begin touring in the USA for the first time ever, as support to AC/DC. However, they've recently severed all ties with the Warner company and find themselves without financial support. They are forced to prematurely return to the UK when they run out of money. Rumours that they intend to split up after the forthcoming Japanese tour are rife.
14 October - 21 October 1996 The Wildhearts tour Japan for the second time, beginning in Osaka (IMP Hall) and finishing in Sapporo (Pannylane).
13 November 1996 Kerrang! claim Ginger is the third 'Maddest Rock Star Of All Time'. He is beaten by Korn's Jonathan Davis and 'scary' goth metaller Marilyn Manson.
15 November 1996 The Wildhearts play a secret support slot to Ginger's long-time idols, Jason And The Scorchers, at the Mean Fiddler in Harlesden, London.
25 November 1996 EastWest UK issues The Best Of The Wildhearts. The album contains only one track previously unreleased on CD in the UK, Beautiful Me, Beautiful You. Ginger urges fans to boycott the LP. EastWest Japan, however, opt for a double CD compilation that takes in singles, album tracks and B-sides. They have the band's full co-operation and Ginger hand-writes the sleeve notes.
20 December 1996 The band play the Astoria in London's West End. Once again, rumours that they are to split up after the tour have been rife in the press. However, the band reassure fans that they're planning on sticking around, at least for the forseeable future. The Astoria gig sees the addition of various cover versions to the set: Danny sings White Christmas (but forgets most of the words), Jef sings Badfinger's No Matter What, Ritch takes lead vocal on a version of The Rubettes' Sugar Baby Love, and Ginger leads the band through a rousing rendition of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.
21-22 December 1996 The brief Christmas tour concludes with dates at The Garage in Glasgow and JB's in Dudley.