The Wildhearts Book

Interview with Jon Poole / Jase Edwards

13 NOVEMBER 2007


The God Damn Whores were supporting the Cardiacs at The O2 Academy (formerly The Zodiac) in Oxford. I got in touch with Jon Poole via MySpace a few days beforehand to try and organise an interview. I received this positive reply:

Hello Gary,

Yeah I’d be up for an interview. I’ll be milling around before and after the gig so come and make yourself known!
All the best,

Walking down Cowley Road I started to get a little nervous: as was the norm, before conducting an interview with someone I admired. Also, The Zodiac had been taken over by the Carling enterprise. The Zodiac had been like a second home to me, but I hadn’t been there since The Wildhearts in April, so this would be akin to going backpacking for half a year only to return and find there had been an extension on my house and an impostor had brought in new furniture and fittings. Nice and all that, but where was the home that once held all those memories?

When I got there, the venue looked huge. From the outside it appeared to be three times as wide as The Zodiac, with its big cinema front style glass doors. I popped into The Gloucester Arms (a great little pub) just up the way for a pint or two of courage. Around 6.30pm I thought I’d better see if Jon was ready for the interview before the punters came in at 7.30pm. I walked up to the band entrance and saw Duncan (guitar tech) talking to a guy who I later found out was Chris Catalyst. “Hi, my name’s Gary Davidson,” I said to Duncan. “I’m here to interview Jon Poole.” “Yeah,” he replied, “Jon said he didn’t want you in the Academy, or even Oxford.” Funny chap that Duncan, eh? He grinned and told me to go straight upstairs where I would find Jon. The first thing I noticed was Jon leaning against the barrier whilst Jase Edwards sorted out some problem or other onstage. I walked up and introduced myself. He didn’t seem to be in the most cheerful mood, but I put it down to the fact that he had a cold and they were having some sort of hassle with the kit. He said he thought it’d be better if we did the interview after the gig.

Speaking to Duncan on my way back out, I told him I was doing a book on The Wildhearts. He remembered me giving CJ the manuscript back in April. We also talked a little about Ginger going over to New York and deciding to stay there to live. Then I headed back to The Gloucester Arms to top up my alcohol level and wait for my friend Martin to arrive. By the time The Whores had taken the stage, we had had enough time to catch up on all things Ginger Wildheart and stood leaning against the barrier enjoying Jon and the boys.

“Hello, I’m Jon and I’ve got a cold,” Jon announced over his mic. I know, Jon, but well done for still managing to wreck the stage with your Punk-glam-rock frenzy.

When they’d finished, we milled around wondering if Jon was going to come out or not. After watching a couple of Cardiacs songs, we decided to go a-searching and managed to get the door staff to contact Mr Random, who then came to meet us at the front entrance.

Following Jon through the endless corridors and passing different rooms to get to where The Whores were chilling was a strange experience after being used to the smaller Zodiac backstage area. Eventually, we arrived in a small room with minimal furniture, where Jase, Chris Catalyst and the others were sinking a few Buds. After being introduced, we chatted a little, and I set the Dictaphone rolling…

Jon: “Do you wanna fuck?”

As we started, I realised Jon was a little too far away from the Dictaphone, so I’d asked him if he could move a little closer. His response was as above…

Jon: “Did you see Martin Fry? The bloke in the audience, I’ve seen him before. He looks like what Martin Fry looks like now.”

Martin: “I turned around and saw him and thought he looked a double. He had that haircut, didn’t he?”

Jon: “Yeah, that was fucking brilliant.”

Me: “Jase, if you wanna chip in anywhere as well, feel free.”

After I explained what Zealot was all about, I drunkenly rummaged around in my bag for the questions.

Me: “I can’t find my fucking questions?”

Jon: “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. This is the most disjointed interview I’ve ever done. Ha, ha, ha, ha, he’s scurrying; he’s a scurrying interviewer. Now he’s looking ’ard; he’s gonna hit me, I think.”

Me: “You’re gonna hit me when you hear these fucking questions.”

Jon: “Three minutes fifty-two and nothing’s been said.”

Me: “At what age did you first start embracing music? Your first band, first instrument? When you were young did you get something for Christmas maybe?”

Jon: “The first thing I actually saw – and it really fucking scared me actually – I think it must have been ’74 or ’75, or something. I saw Sparks on Top of the Pops doing ‘This Town Ain’t Big Enough For The Both Of Us’. I was really freaked out by Ron the keyboard player. I thought there was something really scary about the gunshot on that song as well. That was where I first started to wake up and notice there was music going on. All my family were musicians, so there was always a lot of music in the house anyway. I think the first time I actually went out and bought a single was, umm, ’cause I started off liking a lot of black disco music, really. I was nine years old and this is where I decided I wanted to be a musician, and it was seeing Chic on Top Of The Pops doing ‘Good Times’. So the first record I ever bought was ‘Good Times’ by Chic which, weirdly enough, probably has one of the most influential basslines of any record; everyone was ripping it off afterwards, particularly Queen on ‘Another One Bites The Dust’ and stuff like that. But, yeah, that was probably where it all started, and then I went straight from that to The Police. ‘Outlandos d’Amour’ was the second album I ever got; the first was the Chic album ‘Risqué’. But yeah, because I was nine years old I liked pop music, whatever stuff was on TV at the time. So I loved XTC… umm, what else was around then? This isn’t very rock ‘n’ roll this; I got into all the new romantic stuff that was around like Gary Numan, Japan, and all that. It wasn’t till I was fourteen that I heard punk for the first time, and that sort of changed my life – I got into Adam & The Ants as well and listened back to their first album ‘Dirk Wears White Sox’ which made me sorta wanna get into New Wave music. So between the ages of, I guess, twelve and fourteen, I started listening to a lot of New Wave and punk… Wire, Slits.”

Me: “What are your views on band and fan interactions? At what level do you have to say no? Like Pete Doherty when he gets involved with the fans to a level where he has their numbers on his phone. I think you are interacting to a certain level with the things you say on your MySpace.”

Jon: “Actually, one of the things I enjoy about touring is going round and meeting people from all walks of life. Inevitably, if the same people are coming along to the gigs, you become friends with some of them. One friend I made in particular from The Wildhearts is a girl called Givvi.”

Me: “I recognise that name…”

Martin: “Yeah, she’s the one that’s sung Unlucky In Love”.

Jon: “Yeah, she’s great; she’s got a great haircut and a brilliant voice. It’s got to the point now where I’ve got her singing on my next solo album that’s gonna come out at some point. So I’ve actually ended up with friendships from certain fans. You do get people hassling ya, and you get people who are a pain in the arse. The people I can’t stand are the ones that sit on the internet and form opinions on us when they don’t know us, and slag us off for real shit reasons. Ya know, it’s like if you don’t like someone don’t go and see ’em or go to the bar and fucking ignore them. But why do you have to go round bitching on the internet? All I can think is, it’s an alternative to them sitting round wanking or having cups of tea made by their Mum. They’re cunts! I hate them and I tell you what; I would love to see the fucking shit kicked out of most of those cunts – I hate ’em! I mean, you see ’em all the time. They go on things like YouTube and they slag off people; it could be the hugest star in the world like David Bowie or something, these people act like they own ’im. They’ve always got an opinion. It’s alright to have an opinion, but this is all negative bollocks and it’s not serving anyone any good purpose. So yeah, line ’em up against the wall and fuck ’em – up the arse, sideways. Sorry I went off into the negative there. What I was gonna say is, on the other side of that coin is loads of fucking brilliant people that come to gigs, and I enjoy meeting them and chatting to ’em, and I’ll always have time for someone. I won’t ever be rude to anyone.”

Me: “Have you ever had any bad experiences when meeting any of your idols, or fellow musicians?”

Jon: “I’m trying to think… who is it? That bloke out of Iron Maiden was a bit short with me. What’s his name, that bloke that joined ’em years later?”

Jase: “Blaze Bailey.”

With that, the room erupted with laughter. For any one that isn’t aware, Blaze Bailey was the singer in Wolfsbane (with whom Jase plays guitar) before he joined Iron Maiden to then return back to the Wolfsbane fold.

Jon: “Nah, that guitarist?”

Jase: “Janick Gers?”

Jon: “That’s the one, yeah. I was actually backstage. It was when SilverGinger 5 were sorta signed to Sanctuary, and they were as well, so I was backstage at one of their gigs. So I just went over to him to say I really enjoyed the gig, and he just, like, looked down his nose at me like I was a piece of shit. It was really embarrassing ’cause he was surrounded by a load of people who were looking down their nose at me.”

Me: “If they had any common sense they would have realised that he was the piece of shit.”

Jon: “Yeah, yeah. One of the nicest people I’ve ever met was Gary Numan who was one of the loveliest blokes – really patient as well. He would like sit there and listen to my stupid questions about old B-sides. Me and Lemmy didn’t really hit it off, I must admit, but I think that was because we’re just really different people. He didn’t like my quirkiness, and I’m really not that impressed with someone being a supposed cool figure-head and all that. But Ginger and the others won’t agree with me.”

Me: “How did you get on with Stidi?”

Jon: “Me and Stidi used to view ourselves as the Paul Cook and the Steve Jones of the band; we’d always be disappearing off and getting into trouble and stuff – that was when we were at our peak and having fun with it.”

Me: “What are your views on fans getting onstage with the band? I saw Biohazard on before The Wildhearts at Donington and they encouraged the fans on stage. It was like [I did an impression of being squashed].”

Jon: “I love it! The thing is, I love chaos and I love participation. This dates back to when I was at school. If I could get the whole of the class all doing something at the same time, I’d never be more fucking gleeful. It could be like everyone going ‘Aaaaaarrrrrrggggh!’; something which makes an incredible noise. It’s a spectacle, ya know, it’s fucking… it’s like what the Zulus used… ha, ha, ha, ha… it’s like what the Zulus used to do!”

The dressing room erupted with laughter once more. I then had a vision of Jon onstage holding a shield and spear while screaming to the audience.

Jon: “I used to play in the Cardiacs and I once sort of incited an onstage riot. We had loads of confetti and wind machines going round everywhere, and I just started ushering the audience up on stage – it was great. Some girl jumped on me and stuck her tongue down my throat and my girlfriend came on. I ran off arm in arm with her; it was like a Christmas celebration.”

Jase: “I think it’s one of those things where it’s good when it’s good. But, generally speaking, you don’t want people running around onstage. The reason is, they pull your leads out, run round all over your effects and knock your microphones over. Occasionally, we had one with Wolfsbane where everyone got onstage, literally till you’re pushed back on your amps and the crew are behind the amps stopping them from falling backwards – at that point you’ve just gotta go with it, ya know? Especially if you started it.”

Jon: “When I was about fifteen I saw this footage of Anthrax doing this song called ‘Gung-Ho’, and the whole of the audience gets onstage. I just thought it was fucking hilarious. I thought, ‘Yeah, I wanna do that one day.’”

Me: “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen or done at a gig?”

Jon: “Ummm, the weirdest thing I’ve ever done onstage was at one of Ginger’s acoustic gigs in Rugeley. I dunno why I did this, but I stripped off all my… I mean, think about it, an acoustic gig, unplugged, ya know? I took all my clothes off; I then realised that I needed a piss, so I got a pint of beer, emptied it out and pissed in it, filling up the whole pint glass. Then I drank it and spilt the rest over my head. And later on, some girl got on the stage and ki… oh I know, it was Givvi. She came on and sung with us, then I kissed her, covered in piss. It must have been horrible, sort of thing.”

Martin: “I saw you do that in Newcastle but Danny drank it.”

Jon: “Oh, yeah. That night was the first time I’d seen Danny after I joined the band, and I was really kinda scared and worried what he would feel about it. Because I’d always got on really well with Danny and loved him, and thought that he was a lovely bloke. I was really concerned that he would hate me for nicking his job, but I only ever saw the thing as a temporary arrangement till he was well enough to come back. And that night he literally took me under his wing, took me out, and we got fucked up together, had a real laugh. The next morning I thought I was gonna die I was so ill, and I was going round to all the people ‘I’ve been McCormack’d’ and he was going round to all the people ‘I’ve been Poole’d.’ I saw him the night after at the next gig and we got on. He was really, really fucking lovely though; he was such a fucking gentleman about it – this is a classic example of what a nice bloke Danny is. It’s like he wouldn’t harbour any resentment, and he would go so far the other way he would take me out for a night on the town in Sheffield and drink my piss. I mean, what other bloke would do that?”

Me: “Question eight was ‘Why do they call you Random Jon Poole?’ I think you’ve answered that.”

Jon: “Do you wanna hear that? I played on the SilverGinger 5 album because Tim Smith out of the Cardiacs was producing it and Ginger said he wanted a bass player that could play like John Entwistle. Tim Smith said, ‘Well, our guitarist can play bass like John Entwistle.’ Ginger said, ‘What? A guitarist playing bass? That don’t sound right.’ So anyway, I went along, I had my head shaved, me Fred Perry, Cherry Red DMs and everything, not looking the part at all. I played on the album and he really liked my playing, but he wanted a character in the band that looked like Nikki Sixx. And, of course, he would have had to, like, paint tattoos on my arms and put hair on me head. So I didn’t look the part, but he did a bunch of auditions and no one could play like me. Ha, ha, ha, ha! So two weeks before the Japanese tour he was fucked, so he had to succumb to using me. I think he got the idea that I looked like the kind of person that was better suited to playing in Paul Weller’s band or something.

It wasn’t till we went out on tour when he realised there was another side to me. But, anyway, this all started when I turned up to the rehearsal. Ginger wasn’t there and Bladder, who was meant to be our drummer, wasn’t there. Conny Bloom was, and this was the first time I’d met Conny Bloom. So there’s Conny Bloom and the SG5 manager and we all went for a pint, but we were a bit pissed off ’cause we didn’t have a drummer. So Conny gets on the phone to his old mate Tom Broman who says, ‘Yeah I’ll do the tour.’ And it’s, like, ‘Great, the tour’s still on! We’re gonna do it, we’re gonna go to Japan!’ I was in such a good mood. Then ‘5:15’ by The Who came on, off the ‘Quadrophenia’ album, so I jumped up on the table of this pub – bearing in mind I’d never met Conny or the manager – I booted all the glasses off the table, and danced around and sang along to the whole song, then sat down and just carried on. Conny was pissing himself, but the manager looked really concerned and phoned up Ginger the next day and said, ‘Um, this bass player you’ve got in, he’s umm… very random isn’t he?’ Ginger was, like, ‘Random, Random Jon Poole!’ He was so desperate for me to have an identity that he decided to call me Random Jon Poole. The weird thing is, it gave a tag and a name to this weird alien-looking bald bloke in a suit who was jumping around onstage, so…”

Me: “I must say that, as much as I love Danny onstage, obviously you were a sort of revelation ’cause he didn’t move around much. I don’t know if it was because he did his knee in at Reading but it was lovely to see someone running around onstage as Scott does now.”

Jon: “Yeah, Scott’s really fit, ain’t ’e? The thing is it was so hard to fill Danny’s shoes, and I never intended to. So I thought, ‘I’m not going to go up there and be a shrinking violet.’ I thought I would go up there and do my thing. But I still think the ultimate bass player in The Wildhearts was Danny when he was well, ’cause I thought he played great and he looked amazing. He was such a character and he always brought the party with him. And the fans loved him. I could never fill in for him. I think Scott is doing a blinding job of looking the part and doing what he can with the situation and, if Danny can’t do it, Scott’s the best person they could have got.”

Me: “Do you know how Danny’s getting on at the moment?”

Jon: “Nah, but I tell you something though, I hope he’s well and everything ’cause I love the bloke to bits. Obviously living in Newcastle and everything, I don’t see him, as I live in Brighton.”

Me: “When I spoke to him about a year ago, he said he was gonna move to London. I thought that ain’t gonna help, but, umm, obviously that was a year ago now.”

Jon: “Shit. He should… well, I dunno, as long as he can keep clean then it will be great. If he can keep clean and, like, pursue his music a bit more then I think it would be great if he went to London. I mean, everybody wants to see him up onstage doing what he should be doing, you know?”

Me: “I think being healthy is the most important thing.”

Jon: “Yeah, yeah of course the number one priority is getting well, then the number two priority is getting back onstage and getting seen again.”

Me: “What are your other loves apart from music?”

Jon: “I’m a keen uphill gardener.”

Me: “Are you chatting me up, Jon?”

Jon: “You’ve got a lovely beard; it gives me something to hoooold on to!”

At this point I was saved from Jon’s increasingly persistent advances by Martin having to take off to catch the last train home.

Jon: “So it’s just me and you then?”

At least, I thought I was saved…

Me: “He’s gotta go back to Newbury. Actually, we met two years ago. I was at Reading Festival…”

Jon: “Did you come together? Ha, ha, ha, ha!”

Me: “He was walking along with a Wildhearts smileybones t-shirt on and he was sound.”

Jon then pointed to the tattoos on my right arm.

Jon: “What did you say? Look at these, look what a twat I am?”

Me: “Yeah, and he ran away, but he can’t get rid of me now.”

Jon: “Ahhh, young love.”

Me: “What are your other loves apart from music? You didn’t answer that one.”

Jon: “Um, oh god. I’m quite a mean hand at mini golf. Actually, weirdly enough the only thing I like doing other than playing music is going out drinking, socialising, and having a ridiculously good laugh. You know, the sort of thing like being creative with humour and stuff like that really is my other love. And just having ridiculous, surreal conversations with people.”

Me: “Yeah, my lodger ended up with a ‘Market Square is closed’ sign in his bedroom the other night. It’s that fucking big [I then did the ‘this is how big the fish I caught was’ gesture]. Me and my mate nicked it after a night out on the lash and carried it into his bedroom. The poor bloke, he was going to work the next morning. He woke up and was, like, ‘What the fuck are you doing?’”

Jon: “Also, I like reading biographies by bands and musicians. It could be anything. I’ve read Martin Kemp out of Spandau Ballet’s biography. I even read a biography of the guitarist that sessioned with The Thompson Twins just as they were on their way up. I’ll read anything like that ’cause I just find the whole other peoples perspective on touring and stuff really interesting.”

Me: “What do you think music has brought to your life that you wouldn’t have had, good or bad?”

Jon: “Umm, god. Probably a bunch of people thinking they know you when they don’t. Obviously being in the public eye… I guess I’m on a small level but, when you come to a place like this and everyone knows who you are, it’s kinda strange. To not know these people, but they know you, sort of thing. You find ways of coping with it, but it’s a really weird thing. But yeah travelling. Why would I travel up the bloody Cowley road in Oxford? It’s like I would have never had any business to be here. So yeah, travelling I guess, yeah. Going to Japan – the biggest fucking eye opener ever.”

Me: “Yeah, CJ said that. He said about the tour going bad and I said, ‘Is there anything you were thankful for? There must have been something,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, Japan.’”

Jase: “Yeah, last time we went to Japan I took my family with me as well, and we were all piled in together.”

Me: “Is it a fun place.”

Jase: “It’s just such a different culture. Just to go and see something so alien, and it be so cool is just a hell of an experience. That was great having my family there as well ’cause I’ve been without them and with them – it was great.”

Me: “Is there anything bad?”

Jon: “Just drinking too much and getting sucked into drugs.”

With that, I had to nip off for a pee. That gave me a couple of minutes to get some clarity on the interview. When I got back, I started to mess around trying to work out what question we were up to. Jon commented on the ‘Earth Vs’ caricature era art on my arm.

Jon: “Is that Jon Pertwee as Worzel Gummidge?”

Me: “You’re talking ’bout Stidi, ain’t ya?”

Jon: “Oh, god.”

Jon went on to do a rather fine impression of Worzel.

Jon: “Sorry Stidi I just called you Worzel Gummidge. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!”

Me: “Are there any stories that wouldn’t upset anybody that you haven’t told anyone else before?”

Jase: “Has anybody got a cock?! Sorry, bottle opener. I always get those mixed up.”

Jon: “This is good stuff! Go on, tell ’em about your turds, Jase.”

Jase: “It’s impossible.”

Jon: “Sorry, I didn’t understand the question.”

Jase: “Dodgy stories about people.”

Jon: “Did you actually just candidly say, ‘Have you got anything dodgy to say that might just upset somebody else?’”

Me: “What happens on tour stays on tour, do you believe in that?”

Jon: “The code of the road, yeah. I haven’t said anything that I don’t wanna get out, so you can print the fucking lot.”

Jase: “Yeah, it must have been ’90, ’91 when they went on tour with us [Jase was talking about Wolfsbane]. But they did have a hard time ’cause the kinda music that The Wildhearts were playing was so new, so unheard of. Being a cross between Cheap Trick and Metallica it’s like nobody’s done that. Nobody was really singing big tunes and big harmony choruses at the time either – not in the way they were. It was interesting ’cause I’d go out and watch ’em and catch a bit of them here and there. Then, after a couple of shows when you’ve got your shit together, you go up and take a proper look at them. I remember, I think it was during ‘Church Of The Broken Hearted’, when my radar suddenly aligned to what they were doing. And, ’cause it was slightly less commercial if ya like and less riffy, it kinda tuned me in to what they were doing and then I got the rest of it. It was a big moment in my life, actually; I realised at that point how the world was changing musically. Ya know, kinda like he’s into rock, and he’s into something else, and he’s into something else, was gonna go. They were doing something new when doing something new at the time was possible, if ya see what I mean?”

It was great that Jase had joined the interview as it brought yet another opinion to the table. But it wasn’t long before Jon lowered the tone down a notch or ten.

Jon: “I’ve got a question for Gary. Why have you just dropped a condom?”

I glanced down at the floor and, lo and behold, there was a condom right beside my feet. Fucking hell, not only was Jon Poole a practical joker, but he also brought his own props on tour with him. Where the condom came from I will never know, but I was damn sure it never feel out of my pocket.
Jase brought the interview back on track, maybe even saving me from a randy Jon Poole, who was now bringing his title of ‘Random’ to the fore.

Jase: “The Wildhearts didn’t have a really good time exposure-wise on the tour. People weren’t getting into them in the same way you were getting into them, but they probably went on to be really big fans of the band. It was because it was all so different to what had come before, I think. Not what had come before historically, musically, but what was happening at the time. ‘Cause obviously they’re harking back to a lot of stuff which is very cool, but they were doing something that people just weren’t doing at the time. In a way they almost got lost ‘cause a lot of bands took that into the huge arena as it were, and they didn’t quite manage to do that. But I am sure, I believe that I do hear influences of The Wildhearts in other bands.”

Jon: “It’s like that Turbonegro track, the ‘Just In Lust’ one. Fucking ’ell!”

Jase: “Well, they did admit that, didn’t they? I mean, Foo Fighters for instance. David Grohl says that he’s into The Wildhearts and stuff. I’m not saying that they’ve influenced the Foo Fighters, but you can see the ripples of The Wildhearts in music. Then, in the next breath, he’ll deny that they’ve had any influence on anybody, and I think, obviously, the truth is somewhere in between.”

Me: “What’s your proudest moment from being in The Wildhearts and other related bands?”

Jon: “The birth of my son, ha, ha, ha, ha! I haven’t even got a son. Actually, one thing that makes me feel really proud is getting to play with somebody of that calibre. And it’s really nice to be asked to come back. Ginger’s been so kind with introducing me to people. Like I was saying to these lot here earlier, I’m so proud to have a fucking band of this calibre playing my music and stuff now – it’s the best band I’ve ever been in and it’s brilliant. This has all come about because of The Wildhearts and Ginger, obviously. I would never have known this lot otherwise. Me and Jase first met at the Rugeley Red Rose acoustic performance.”

Jase: “That’s coming out again, ya know?”

Jon: “Is it coming out, the whole lot?”

Jase: “The full two discs yeah. I’ll have to have long enough to find it and give it to Gav.”

Jon: “I’ve been very careful at keeping that close to me, actually. It’s really good. It’s got all the musician’s workshop thing on it as well. That was fucking genius, that was. Ginger has this fucking amazing comedy stand-up act that he can switch on every now and then. I can’t really explain this ’cause it’s probably not going to translate well.”

Jase: “Well, I can remember what happened. We turned up for that show and, by chance on the stage, there was a flipchart; written on front of the flipchart was ‘musician’s workshop’. We didn’t know what this was and, as you kind of turned the pages, there was nothing written on any of it. So Ginger – I don’t think he was really thinking about what he was doing – but he opened it up and wrote random words on each page in large letters like: ‘CUNTS’, ‘WILLIAM SHATNER’, and various other things. He then put it back and left it at the back of the stage and just went on. I think it was the second half when he came onstage and did this stand-up thing. Basically, starting from musician’s workshop, and then he kinda did a speech, didn’t he?”

Jon: “I think he had a pointer as well and then did a lecture. All I remember is, he goes through this whole thing and it involves a lot of swearing but is really coherent and amazingly delivered. And at the end he goes, ‘So thank you and fuck off!’”

Me: “How did you find it when Ginger played bass for you in The God Damn Whores?”

Jon: “Well, that was brilliant ’cause what it was is I did all The God Damn Whores first album on my own and I wasn’t sure if I was gonna bother putting it out or not, but Ginger said I could put it on his label. He said, ‘Get a band together, I’ll play bass for you.’ It was a bit of a laugh, really. We’d go out doing a Ginger tour and we’d support ourselves; but the thing is, I think we always knew it was gonna be a temporary arrangement. But now we’ve got Chris sort of thing, it’s more of a proper group now. But, yeah, it’s obviously flattering to have someone who’s a frontman of quite a successful band playing bass. But he did a great job. He had his little John Deacon bass and he’s like, doing his fucking Peter Hook thing with his mic down here and shaking his dreadlocks around. But it was good, yeah: it’s flattering and much appreciated, yes.”

Me: “Do you plan on working with Ginger again?”

Jon: “Yeah, I really hope so. I can’t imagine that we’ll never do anything else together again. One thing I’ve learnt from Ginger is, you can be a lot more spontaneous and not have to have everything fucking worked out till the end, ya know? He’s allowed me to be a lot more free-form; I mean, he’ll turn up not knowing what set he’s playing, but he can carry it off ’cause he does this charismatic frontman kind of act that he does. I’m not quite as confident as that, so I tend to have stuff a little bit prepared. But I think I did definitely take a certain amount of jazz from him; jazz being the past tense of jizz. He did jazz on me several times!”

Me: “Right, I was gonna say any last words, but I think we’ll leave it at that.”

Jase: “What would you like on your headstone?”

Jon: “Uhhh. Yeah, that’ll do, ha, ha, ha, ha! I’ve got my most loved one and my most hated one. My most loved one is ‘I told you I was ill’, and my worst one was ‘Here lies the body of Simon Le Bon, once he was here but now he’s gone, gone, gone’. My most middlest one is what God will say to you when you go up to the pearly gates: ‘What took you so long?’. Jack Reynolds said that. I’m gonna go and see if…”

At that point, I turned my Dictaphone off as Jon wanted to catch the end of the Cardiacs’ set. Before Jon and Chris left, I asked Chris if he would take a photo of me with Jon and Jase. After looking at the first effort, I asked if he’d take it again because I didn’t look rock ’n’ roll enough. Right, Gary: don’t smile, give it the devil horns, and you might just get away with not looking like a right spanner. It almost worked.

Sometimes I’m a great advocate for finding something bad in anything, even if I have to make it up (that’s pessimism, right?). But that interview didn’t have a blemish to its name… oh, except for completely ruining The Who’s amazing ‘5.15’. Now, instead of bringing back memories of being drunk on the train whilst heading to gigs in London, every time I hear it all I can think about is a bald guy dancing on a pub table wearing a Fred Perry top, Cherry Red DMs and a cheesy smile. Cheers Jon…


Read The Wildhearts: Zealot in Wonderland excerpts

Feature Categories
Join Mailing List