Now Honey Please (Now Honey Please)

Now honey please (now honey please)
Now honey please (now honey please)
Now honey please (now honey please)
Now honey please (now honey please)
Now honey please (now honey please)
Now honey please (now honey please)
Now honey please (now honey please)
Now honey please (now honey please)      (Love U Til I Don’t)

Greetings From Shitsville readers! Come in, make yourselves at home, nod hello to Mick Ronson and enter the wonderful world of the Wildhearts, easily the coolest eight-legged hairy baseball-booted rock thing in 1993.  Seekers of objectivity, just jog on – there’s none of that hereabouts.  I loved this band and I’m not afraid to shout and get physical about it if I need to.

Now secure all loose objects in your vicinity, gently usher pets and small children out of the room and play this:

If that doesn’t get right to you, report to the nearest undertaker for burial.  That’s the pure essence of Wildhearts right there veering, umm, wildly between close poppy harmonies, a touch of reggae and some serious thrash crunching at the end.  Nobody else sounds, or has ever sounded, like this.  In one sweet 5:08 blast the Wildhearts just lay everything else to waste.  The playing is just immense.  Sadly we here on planet Earth never deserved a band this good hence, I guess, the title of their debut LP Earth Vs. The Wildhearts*.

This is where I got in on the act, cash flow problems** meant I was never able to get hold of the band’s earliest few 12″s but I grabbed Earth Vs. The Wildhearts the day it was released in late ’93.  For my coin I got what is, I think, by far the best British hard rock LP of the last 24 years.  The band’s membership was always wildly unstable but by the time of the LP release it had crystallized into main man Ginger, guitarist CJ, bassist Danny McCormack and drummer Stidi.  They were all damn fine, hard-hitting musicians and display some serious muscle on the album, but never at the expense of a good melody.

Too good to be true? consider the evidence.

Opener, ‘Greetings From Shitsville’ with its skewering of life in the cheap end of London ‘The paper’s hanging off the walls / There’s ‘roaches dancing in the halls’, but the real joy is the sinuous swing of the track and (it will be a recurring theme this) the marriage of easy harmonies and a great tune with some real rock grit.  Plus I share Ginger’s jaded view of our nation’s great capital.  Then slide straight into the hard bopping ‘TV Tan’, Ginger firing off more inspired melodies and tunes across the course of this tune than certain bands manage throughout their careers.  True story.

The big reference point that always gets wheeled out for the Wildhearts are Cheap Trick^ and, yeah, their way with a harmony and a tune definitely bear a close comparison at times but Wildhearts were far more of a nastier, punkier proposition – I certainly wouldn’t have left them unsupervised around the cupboard I keep the cleaning products in.  You can hear a certain post-grunge sadness in the mix too, sometimes just after a great swooping chorus and a thrashed out punk riff – try ‘Everlone’ for size, there is even a perfect Iron Maiden guitar coda in there too.  The only band as hyperkinetic and joyously ADHD as the Wildhearts that I can think of were the Minutemen; I can think of no higher praise.

The more I listen to Earth Vs. The Wildhearts the angrier I get that they don’t all live in solid platinum mansions on the moon, eating diamonds and unicorn on toast.  Take ‘Loveshit’, one of the lesser lights on the LP, it would have made a lesser band trillions – IT HAS EVERYTHING! Elegiac guitar solos, thrusting boogie rock, some talkie bits, a divine chorus and Mutt Lange’s ex-wife on backing vox.

Some more highlights for you:

  • The Miles Away Girl:  Sometimes one of my fave rock songs ever, tonight my third fave song on the LP.  Perfect harmonies and a lovely, romantic story.
  • Suckerpunch:  Motörhead but heavier with better harmonies.  No, really. Like, really, really.  Trust me.
  • News Of The World: (trot out tired old ‘Cheap Trick in a blender with Guns ‘N Roses and Megadeth’ comparison for the third time in the same post).

Special mention also has to go to, the awesomely titled ‘My Baby is a Headfuck’^^ which features Mick Ronson’s last recorded performance on one of the three guitar solos, that light it up … along with a sublimely groovy, rock ‘n roll groove and chants of ‘Headfuck, headfuck, headfuck!‘.  They just don’t make ’em like this anymore.

Sadly for the cultural history of our species the Wildhearts were a highly unstable concoction, the very hyperactivity and commitment that made all this possible, combined with an enthusiastic appetite for all manner of alcho-chemical excesses, record company squabbles and some mental health issues, all served to conjure centrifugal forces that tore the line-up apart.  The Wildhearts made a number of great LPs over a number of years, but never quite lined up all the elements again as powerfully as they did on Earth Vs. The Wildhearts.

Being an obsessive type of chap I bought a couple of singles from the album too.  TV EP was the first one, how awesome is that cover art?!

It featured the excellent hyper ‘TV Tan’ and three new tracks.  The creative engine burned so bright right then that every single time they had an hour of studio time they must have returned with 6 new tracks^*.  For my money the best track here is the moody ‘Dangerlust’, where Ginger and CJ take us on home with a huge slice of style with some great, elegant guitaring.  ‘Show A Little Emotion’ is fine, choruses to die for and all that, it even goes a bit Rocky Horror Picture Show at one point, but just lacks a little heft.  On the other hand ‘Down on London’ bristles with intent and is a cynical sideswipe at the rock scene, all about not being used by your illusions.

Suckerpunch is 29.74% sexier than most singles simply by being a 10″ single in the first place, with 4 tracks on one side and a big logo etching on the other – that’s just how people rolled way back in 1994.  The three B-sides here are easily amongst the best tracks this band ever laid down.  The quality is unrelentingly, bewilderingly great.

First off the saxxy ‘Beautiful Thing You’, is a truly wonderful pop rocker which would have been the absolute highlight of a lesser band’s career – there is some serious channelling of Bowie going on here and Ginger’s best vocal harmonies too – great sax by Steve Hamilton*^.  ‘Two-Way Idiot Mirror’ is another hook laden monster, the superlatives well is starting to run a little dry here.  Best of all is ’29 x The Pain’, a fanboy homage to all Ginger’s manifold musical influences and a real Wildhearts fan favourite too – name dropping all manner of 1537 faves like Starz, Big Black, Stiff Little Fingers et. al

Here sitting in my room
With the Replacements and Hüsker Dü
Like a rebel without a clue
And the Beatles and the Stones
Get to hang out with Ramones

There is also an extra extra bonus track too ‘The Duck Song’. It’s very serious.  Here are the lyrics in full:

Be kind to your web-footed friends
’cause that duck might be somebody’s mommy
They live in the rivers and swamps
Where the weather is always damp
Well you may think that this is the end
Well it is

Did I ever tell you how much I love the Wildhearts?

793 Down.

PS: Ginger attempted suicide last month, I understand not for the first time.  I send him much love and admiration, hoping he can find some equilibrium from somewhere.  There aren’t enough Ginger’s in this world and we very much need to hold onto the ones we have.

PPS: Eat it up.

*SPOILER ALERT: Very sadly the Earth won.

**curse you eating and drinking! Damn you Abraham Maslow!!  (shakes fist)

^I only started exploring CT because Ginger kept banging on about Dream Police in interviews.  I owe him that.

^^normally worth huge bonus 1537 points, but the Wildhearts don’t need ’em.

^*Ginger remains peerlessly productive and creative to this day.

*^the man who makes the often sought connection between Tina Turner’s ‘Simply The Best’ and Kid A.  True story.

26 thoughts on “Now Honey Please (Now Honey Please)

    1. It’s a brilliant LP, they never got any traction over your side of the Atlantic which is a shame. I’ve just got tickets to see them next year for the first ever time.

  1. Brings back memories of that special time when punk and rock stood shoulder to shoulder at the beer-sodden bar. That was a good, short, wild night, but like all good things…

  2. I totally agree with you on all of this. And I listened to this today cause of this post so thanks! Much better than most the shite I usually put on…

    Can’t say I really kept up with the band or Ginger’s various/many activities but I did get heavily into the 2007 S/T album. That was a belter!

    1. I think they’re all belters from what I can gather. The man is scarily prolific.

      There are so many incredible tunes on the LP.

      You ever see them? I didn’t.

  3. Yikes! There’s a band I haven’t listened to since, eh, the mid 90s (Fishing For Luckies?). I love your enthusiasm, but I just never really got on board. Just a bit too much for me, I think.

    My brother was more of a fan than I, but I would insist he listen with his earphones on.

    I’m assuming the credits I obtained over mutual Public Enemy appreciation is dwindling…?

  4. Joe, I deeply admire your enthusiasm and extraordinarily energetic praise. It seems that this particular slice of the rock pie (guitarry, a bit punky, some attitude, swearing and peferably lots of hair) is a speciality of the 1537 house and I’m delighted for you that it continues to deliver. I like to imagine you pogo-ing around the kitchen playing air guitar with a soup ladle.

    1. Am I naked in that particular dream sequence of yours?

      It is a particularly adolescent mix of things I like, there’s a real excitement in that type of thing. At 45 I think I can consider my development arrested.

      I put the reference to Maslow in there just for you Bruce.

      1. Joe, I prefer to steer clear of psychological profiling of record collecting bloggers as it would inevitably lead to the kind of self-examination I’ve spent decades avoiding.
        Having said that, can I recommend staying with Abraham M’s pyramid rather than going down the slippery slope of Freudian theory? Let your Wildheart run in your own dreams.
        Much love,
        Dr Jung.

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