So. I’m a ginger. Which means I hear a lot of ginger jokes. That I am thought to have no soul is a near-daily observation. As is my imagined capability for evil. Some wonder if I glitter in the sunlight. Others believe my freckles are an indication of the number of souls I’ve stolen. It is questioned about my level of ginger-vitis. I’m regaled as a Ginja (get it.. Ginger Ninja…well played, Ninja). My temper is blamed on the colour of my hair.
And I relish it.
Let’s face it, the world of Gingers is one of wonder. No one really knows what we’re like. We’re an enigma wrapped up in a mystery told as a riddle. A complete contradiction – we either have too much emotion or none whatsoever. We? Are an intrigue.
Who doesn’t want to be beguiling?
I thought today’s blog should be dedicated to my fellow Gingers. What better vehicle to express all our ginger-licious qualities than music?
But before we get to that, I thought I’d give up a few little spicy bits of ginger lore:
Gingers are mutants with special powers.
Don’t believe me?
Redheads have a mutated MC1Rgene, which produces a mutated MC1R receptor, also known as the melancortin-1 receptor. This mutation leads to the special hair colouration, paler skin and freckles. But, it has been found that it also leads to the super-ability to withstand much greater levels of pain that non-gingers.
I always knew I was superhero-like.
Beware the Ginger
In France, to be a Ginger is thought to be a dire fate.
In Greek mythology Gingers turn into vampires when they die.
During the Spanish Inquisition ginger hair was proof that someone had stolen the fire of hell and had to be burned as a witch.
A Russian proverb claims, “There was never a saint with red hair.”
A French Proverb states that “Redheaded women are either violent or false and are usually both.”
A Russian Proverb warns “There was never a saint with red hair.”
The Egyptians regarded Gingers as unlucky and had a ceremony in which they burned Ginger maidens alive.
Which leads me to assume that there were a lot of really dumb people living in France, Russia and Egypt.
And just so you know…Gingerphobia is a fear of redheads and Gingerism is the bullying or prejudice of Gingers. That said, us Gingers aren’t likely to boldly confront you. We’re sneaky sorts. We are less emotional. We have more sex than our blonde and brunette counterparts. Seeing a Ginger is said to increase your heartrate. And people are afraid of us. And, most of us would encourage a little mockery. We’re always on the lookout for new souls.
But, this is about music. The one thing Gingers have, if not a soul, is a strong sense of solidarity for other Gingers. We stick together. And we have a flair for the dramatic.
A Ginger-Licious Top 20
20.Dave Pirner, Soul Asylum
Misery, Soul Asylum
There is a bit of speculation about this one. I’ve always thought he was more auburn-ish than a true ginger. No site lists Dave as a Ginger. But he has Ginger-ish qualities. And he was originally a self-taught drummer. And we all know how I feel about drummers.
19.Mick Hucknall, Simply Red
Holding Back the Years, Simply Red
So, Mick Hucknall claims he is a sex addict. He claims that during Simply Red’s best years (’85-’87), he had, on average, sex with 3 different women a day. See? What did I say about the sex drive of a Ginger?
18.White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl”
Red hair with a curl
mellow roll for the flavor
and the eyes for peeping
can’t keep away from the girl
these two sides of my brain
need to have a meeting
can’t think of anything to do
Yep. Us Gingers drive the rest of you crazy.
17.Melissa Auf Der Maur, Hole/Smashing Pumpkins
Hole, Celebrity Skin
Melissa is a Canadian Ginger. She was the bassist for Hole for 5 years, leaving to go tour with Smashing Pumpkins on their 2000 tour. She got her gig with Hole after the death of Kristen Pfaff and because of her friendship with Billy Corgan (who she later toured with – note, she became friends with Corgan after apologizing to him after one of her buddies threw a beer bottle at the stage during a Pumpkin’s concert – she later opened for the Pumpkin’s in Monty).
Of course, her resume is as impressive as her bass stylings.
16.Mercedes Lander, Kittie
Kittie, Empires (Part 2)
Drummer for Kittie – for those that don’t know them, they are a delightful all-girl metal band out of London (Ontario). I have a soft spot for Kittie – angry girl angst music at its finest.
15.REM’s “Redhead Walking”
That red head walking
Red head walking
Don’t get close
She’ll warn you with her brow
She’s a bud cuttin
Leather fested gal
I think Michael Stipe pegged us. And I can’t find the video for this song anywhere. Very elusive.
Kate Nash, Merry Happy
I love Kate Nash. She’s quirky. Her music is quirky and a bit off-beat. And when she was tired of touring in 2008, she proclaimed she had a “proper breakdown”, didn’t apologize for it and got over it. Just as Gingers do.
Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins – Rabbit Furcoat
Jenny was originally a child star (yeah.. I will admit.. I watched Troop Beverly Hills a lot when I was a tween…). She turned into a bit of a rock star. Only a bit more folk-indie than rock. That said, she’s pretty stellar. As is her semi-biographical song, “Rabbit Furcoat”.
Willie Nelson (and his sons), “Just Breathe” (Pearl Jam cover)
Normally, you wouldn’t find any country music on my list. Ever. But it’s Willie. And like Johnny, it’s classic twang country, and, therefore, as a kudos to my Dad, I include it. Plus, I found this stellar cover Willie did of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” a few months ago. And we all know how I feel about PJ.
Blonde Redhead, 23
The irony of Blonde Redhead is that there is nary a Ginger to be found in the band. So, are they faking Ginger status, or just envious. Since I like their music, I’ll say envious. Who doesn’t want to be a Ginger?
10.Johnny Cash Spawned a Ginger
Johnny Cash, Hurt (NIN cover)
Roseanne Cash is a Ginger. She is also the daughter of Johnny Cash and a musician in her own right. But that the Man in Black spawned a fiery red head is hardly a surprise and is an interesting note.
9.Dave Mustaine, Metallica/Megadeath
Megadeath, Symphony of Destruction
Having a start in Metallica, until he was fired in ’83 for drug and alcohol abuse, Dave does what Gingers do – we maintain. He founded Megadeath and has yet to really fade in obscurity what with book deals, coffee to promote and this bucket list idea of a heavy metal supergroup (he approached his ex-Metallica members for that – don’t get excited.. they have thus far declined). Although Metallica does have that unfortunate concept album with Lou Reed… so maybe there is hope yet.
Tori Amos, Winter
Oh, the sometimes inspid and heartfelt warblings of Tori. She was the lighter side of a Ginger’s teen angst. A bit kooky and definitely left of centre, she was a fabulous Ginger role model to young Gingers everywhere.
Sweet Child of Mine, Guns N’ Roses
Quintessential 80s rock. Straighten my hair and I do an awesome Axl impression. What else can you say? The guy is slightly crazy. Crazy awesome.
6.Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age)
Queens of the Stone Age, 3s and 7s
The founding and only continuous member of Queens of the Stone Age. He’s been in hot water over his hot head (ha.. punny). He beat up the frontman for the Dwarves and lipped off to some random bottle-throwing punk (really, do we think that calling anyone a “twelve year old dickless fucking turd” is bad?! What if they are??). That said, he belies the typical Ginger-ish qualities by claiming to be fairly conservative. Which makes me wonder if he really is, or just has excellent PR?
5.Patrick Stump, Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy, Dance Dance
Okay, so a year or so ago Stump released his own solo stuff. And, well,it sucked. So he disappeared, made everyone wonder where he went and owned up to his emotionally pessimistic response to the criticism. Proof that Gingers aren’t devoid of emotion, we just don’t make it public.
4.Hayley Williams, Paramore
Paramore, Misery Business
Dude, she’s been rocking since the age of 13. Gingers don’t peak, we just ensure we have a head start.
3.Shirley Manson, Garbage
Garbage, Blood for Poppies
One of my all-time favourite Gingers. Manson and Garbage have been musical mainstays of mine for years. She’s Scot, she has beaucoup attitude, a rebellious attitude and makes damn good music. ‘Nuff said.
Extra credit given for being one of the few great 90s bands that managed a successful comeback without sounding overtly nostalgic or creating a “20 year” documentary of some variety.
2.Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut”
So, I know. A bit of an odd choice for #2. It has no direct reference to Gingers. That said, I was recently asked if a red-head could equal a veritable “devil’s haircut”. Of course, circumstances at the time may have led to an almost immediate agreement. I was thoroughly distracted. Although, upon further review, the purveyor of this interesting thought has an excellent point. What better association could we give this song? Besides, Beck songs are almost entirely non-sensical anyway. So this gives the song a bit of purpose.
1.Florence Welch, Florence + the Machine
Florence + the Machine, No Light, No Light
Flo gets top billing for a couple of reasons. I am days away from seeing my current favourite Ginger songstress live. Second, her album has been playing almost non-stop in preparation for the concert. Plus, she has mad style, stellar vocals and makes some of the best music I’ve heard in ages (if you haven’t listened to Lungs and the follow up album, Ceremonials, do so now!). Quintessential Ginger. Well played.
Of course, Gingers do like to have a little fun.. so I’ll leave you with one final Ginger Song.. Tim Minchin’s “Prejudice”. Just give it a listen. And learn. Spicy.