By Fraser Bryce
Ginger Wildheart is fast becoming the figurehead of an independent music revolution. In the past three years, he has released seven albums: one triple album; two extreme albums under the Mutation moniker; a debut album from Hey! Hello! with New York-based singer Victoria Liedtke (which reached number 1 in the rock charts); and a frankly bonkers solo album, all through the medium of Pledgemusic. Now, he has started “G.A.S.S.”, a fanclub-type project which includes demos, diaries, podcasts, videos, competitions and 36 new songs delivered over a year. Ahead of an upcoming UK tour, I was lucky enough to chat to Ginger about this tour, the G.A.S.S. project and crowdfunding.
- You’re currently at the half-way point of the G.A.S.S. project. How has it been going so far?
G•A•S•S• has surprised everyone involved, especially since we had nothing to compare it to. That’s what attracts me to new ideas, the freshness of them and the lack of any anti-climax whatsoever. If we’d have gotten 100 people to subscribe we’d have responded “oh, so that’s how many who are attracted to this? Well that’s a surprise.” The fact that we got quite a few more than that is a surprise and a delight.
- Are you pleased with the fans’ reaction to G.A.S.S.?
I’m amazed. I’m pretty used to people complaining, whatever I do. Nothing suits everyone, and my fan base tend to be pretty vocal, but this one has had a 100% positive reaction. Actually there was one person who wasn’t happy with the service but, when offered his money back, refused on the grounds that he might miss out on something. That’s kind of double the compliment, even someone who claims not to like it can’t drag themselves away!
- You’re heading out on tour next week, which includes your first solo headline show in Glasgow in two years. Excited?
Glasgow is always exciting to play, but this time we have Baby Chaos playing with us, and I’m playing guitar with them, so I’m doubly excited. Stick Eureka Machines on the bill and I’m a total fan-boy of all the bands playing. This kind of talent is as exciting as anything coming out of US, either big or small, and I’m proud to support such skilled musicians.
Of course there’s even more to playing Glasgow than this amazing line up. I get to taste deep fried Pizza & Mars Bar, and drink Bucky. Nothing makes me feel more at home than those treats. I swear I’m being 100% serious.
- What’s your opinion on the idea of crowdfunded gigs? Is this the way forward that the music industry needed?
I’m still to be convinced by the idea of crowd funded gigs. I still think I know my markets better than my markets know my markets, and I can’t see myself being tempted to play to an empty room in Scunthorpe because 12 people are hardcore fans as opposed to a rammed venue in an amazing city. I’d rather drag people out of the house, make them travel and give them a lasting memory to cherish.
Having said that I’m always prepared to have my opinion changed by a brilliant idea, every time.
- Finally, what do you think of Gene Simmons’ recent comments about rock music being dead?
Why would you listen to old farts telling you the future of music? Surely the future belongs to the people building it? Gene Simmons, bless him, is way past building anything culturally relevant at this point. Let the youth show you what the future looks like. And until they invent an instrument as exciting as loud guitar music then no, rock is far from dead.
As far as thrills go I think you can still rely on cars, sex and rock music for some time yet.
For more information on G.A.S.S, visit g-a-s-s.co.