4 March 1997 3 Colours Red guitarist (and Danny's brother) Chris McCormack punches Ginger at an Ash aftershow party at the LA2 in London. Ginger had reportedly said something about Danny that Chris took offence at. Both Chris and Ginger are ejected from the venue. They make up soon after, pinning the blame on the vast quantities of alcohol they had both consumed.
late March 1997 The Wildhearts sign a four-album deal with new label Mushroom. A ceremonial signing takes place on the pavement outside the Kensington offices of their former label, EastWest UK. Danny tells Kerrang! that the label's Managing Director walked out while the signing was taking place and pretended that he didn't know who The Wildhearts were. The band have also reportedly parted company with Tribal Management and are said to be managing themselves.
1 April 1997 The Wildhearts are in the studio recording their version of Elvis Costello's Pump It Up, which they used to play live back in the early Nineties. Promotional copies of the track are sent out to various club DJs. The Wildhearts' name appears nowhere on the record and guesses as to the identity of the band performing the song are encouraged. The wildest guess is Paul McCartney.
22 April 1997 Honeycrack's split is announced to fans on the Internet. Fan club organiser Rob Winder forwards a letter from Willie Dowling to fans. Says Willie: "I am sorry to have to tell you... that Honeycrack is no more. There are many reasons for this, most of which are business related and would bore you..." Willie announces plans for his new band, Sugar Plum Fairies.
23 April 1997 Pump It Up is released on a compilation CD that comes free with UK music magazine Melody Maker. Ginger is quoted in the paper as saying that the band's new direction will be less melodic.
30 April 1997 The Wildhearts play a short set at Dingwall's in Camden, north London, as part of what Ginger describes as "an industry wank off". The gig is a showcase for the Mushroom, Discordant, Infectious and Flying Nun group of labels. The band appear in full drag, with Ginger sporting a shockingly short dress and fishnet stockings, Danny in a giant white wig, Ritch in a maid's outfit and Jef in a sparkly red number. Their set is made up of covers, including The Damned's Neat Neat Neat, Elvis Costello's Pump It Up and Cheap Trick's He's A Whore.
13 July 1997 The Wildhearts' appearance at Ilosaarirock Festival at Joensuu in Finland ends in a near riot when Ginger incites the audience to join him on stage after the band get involved in a fracas with an allegedly heavy-handed security guard. With the crowd invading the stage, the power is cut and the band are forced to abort their set, having performed only five songs. Danny dislocates his shoulder, and Ginger comes away from the gig with a broken rib, putting the band's forthcoming UK tour in jeopardy. However, despite being advised by doctors to cancel the tour, Ginger decides that the show must go on, and bravely forges ahead.
21 July - 31 July 1997 The band tour the UK. Support comes from Groop Dogdrill. CJ and Stidi's (and Jeff Hateley's!) new band, The Jellys, are added to the bill in London. Some shows are cut short when the pain of Ginger's broken rib becomes too much for him to bear. Wildhearts T-shirts on sale at the shows depict a bastardised Warner Brothers logo, with the usual WB replaced by WH. Disgruntled fans hand out leaflets at gigs urging other fans not to buy the forthcoming single, Anthem, in protest at the plans to release it as a multi-format package with six tracks spread across two CDs and a 7".
4 August 1997 Anthem, the band's first single for new label Mushroom, is released. Many fans are annoyed that the band have chosen to record cover versions for the first time for use as B-sides, but the band are unrepentant, issuing a press release defending their position. The band also stumble into the expected controversy over the multi-formatting of the single (having always been staunchly against it in the past). But Danny speaks out in defence of the decision, explaining that the price of the single's three formats will be kept as low as possible. Anthem reaches number 21 in the UK chart.
15 August 1997 The band perform Anthem totally live (vocals, guitars, everything) on Top Of The Pops. Wildhearts fan Jason Knight manages to blag his way in to the studio without a ticket and gets nearly as much screen time as the band themselves.
20 September - 25 September 1997 The Wildhearts play their third tour of Japan, beginning in Tokyo (Akasaka Blitz) and finishing in Osaka (Club Quattro).
24 September 1997 Kerrang! publish a letter they've received from Ginger berating fans who distributed the 'boycott' flyer on the band's recent UK tour.
6 October 1997 Urge is released as a single. Its video features footage of the band (with a weird 'wandering light' effect that was added in the editing), intercut with scenes of animals copulating. Two versions of the video are therefore released: one censored for daytime TV. The single reaches number 26 in the UK chart.
10 October 1997 Rumours that the band have cancelled their scheduled November UK tour start to circulate on the Internet.
15 October 1997 Confirmation that the tour is cancelled comes from the band's record company, Mushroom. The press release cites "insurmountable problems within the band" as the reason for the cancellation. It appears that The Wildhearts are once again on the verge of splitting up. Rumoured reasons include personality clashes, musical differences and - most worryingly of all - drug problems.
20 October 1997 The Jellys, CJ's new pop punk band (also featuring ex-Wildhearts drummer Stidi and ex-Stretch bassist Jeff Hateley), release their debut single, the Jelly Belly EP. The four-track single is only available via mail order from the band's fan club.
22 October 1997 Kerrang! publish an interview with Ginger in which the frontman admits: "I can't do this any more." Melody Maker publish a brief interview with Ginger and Ritch in which they tell of their plans to work together outside of The Wildhearts.
27 October 1997 Endless, Nameless, The Wildhearts' first album for new label Mushroom, is released. Ralph Jezzard's white-noise-laden production leaves some fans bewildered, while others sing the album's praises, pleased that The Wildhearts are still progressing and moving their sound forward.
13 November 1997 An interview with Ginger appears on UK TV station Channel 4's Teletext service. He announces plans to work with former Wildhearts guitar 'stand-in' Devin Townsend and says that all the members of The Wildhearts are currently working on other projects.
late November 1997 Metal Hammer publish a brief interview with Danny in which he confirms that The Wildhearts are no longer a working unit. The bassist also takes the opportunity to go public with news of his new band, The Yo-Yo's, as well as to reassure fans worried about the recent drug rumours that he is in fact in fine health.
4 December 1997 Devin Townsend admits himself to a psychiatric hospital in his native Canada so that he can be treated for Manic Depression. He is expected to remain there for two or three weeks.
24 December 1997 Ginger is released after spending seven days in a Thai jail. He had been getting fit in Thailand for the past month, but managed to miss his flight home. The next available flight wasn't for 48 hours, so he spent the time drinking... Upon his arrest, it was discovered that his visa was three days out of date, and he was taken to the infamous 'Bangkok Hilton'. Ginger tells Kerrang! that he didn't take his trousers off for the entire week in an attempt to avoid being sexually molested.
31 December 1997 The British music weekly NME publish their '1998 Almanac', a set of predictions for the coming year. The July 1998 entry reads: "The Wildhearts split up and reform again 11 times in two days. The trauma eventually becomes too much to bear, and they accidentally split up while already apart, imploding in on themselves and creating a single being. He is a small naked Italian man called Alfredo and he beats himself constantly." Wildhearts fans worry that the truth might be even stranger.