29 x The Pain – The Wildhearts

The DIY rock fans anthem, sung by the rock and roll star who did more than most to blur the line between bands and fans.

“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, And the Pistols shunning fame, as they sing the old refrain, as they always will again”

The fact that one of the best songs about hard core fandom ever written was tossed off as an obscure B-Side is just so fitting. The single was Suckerpunch, one of The Wildhearts signature tracks. But only the devoted, the obsessional and the curious would be able to sing the B-Side back to the band at their shows. This was back in 1994.

“I see Starz, and the Moon is Big and Black, There’s a full Sheer Heart Attack, But the Cheapest Trick of all is when I hear that London Call I need something and I need it fast, I need Jason Scorching past, I need to feel they feel the same, ‘cos when they almost know my name”
I was so taken with every aspect of this band, this album, this single and this song that the bands I didn’t know went on the ‘Wanted List’ for me to check out. Big Black and Starz owe my fandom entirely to seeking them out because Ginger Wildheart sang a song about having them in his record collection.

“Kiss my heart, like The Damned did from the start, c’mon make me feel like me, S.L.F. or B.O.C. Give me old, give me new, let me know you feel it too”

In testament to the love I have for this song and to the love Wildhearts fans have for Ginger I have an anecdote from 2016. I was at a bar last summer to see Ginger play when the power cut out. Rather than abandon the stage until the gremlins were exorcised, old Ginger just told a couple of jokes and got out his acoustic guitar. He then stood in the middle of the crowd and played the opening chords to a B-Side his band released 23 years earlier.

The entire room hollered every word at the top of their lungs including the weird bit at the end, twice, until the PA was restored.

That’s fandom for you. It was magnificent. That bar has been gentrified now only 16 months since. IT seems this stuff belongs in the past tense.

As an interesting (or geeky) historical foot note there are two studio versions of 29 x The Pain released on different formats by The Wildhearts old record label. They sound identical in all aspects except for a lyrical tribute in one line.

On the CD single the lyric is

“I’m up, I could not get down, well I get all my friends around and I can be there once again, I’m gonna miss Kurt Cobain”

On the vinyl Kurt is swapped for a missing Manic Street Preacher

“And I can be there once again Where you hiding Richey James?”

It’s like 29 times the pain


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