Danny McCormack, the bassist, singer and founding member of The Wildhearts, has struggled with debt and mental health issues for some time and recently put his famous bass guitar up for sale.
His dire financial, physical and mental state leaves Danny relying on universal credit, food banks, and rock fans’ charity. Writer Guy Shankland has been working with Danny since 2020 to tell Danny’s story of his life and times with The Wildhearts, The Yo Yo’s, Energetic Krusher and The Main Grains.
“It’s been quite sporadic dealing with Danny,” Guy says. “It’s finally coming together, but it’s still quite a way off being finished.”
Guy travelled to Newcastle last week to see Danny. “I was quite shocked at what I found,” he says, “and I thought I can’t really wait very much longer. We need to get something out. We need to get some product out, getting him some income if we can. We’re doing a Patreon, and then we will have a hardback or paperback release as well.”
Danny’s history with heroin has been well documented and combined with mental health problems, Danny is now in a very vulnerable position. Music is a business, and to be successful, a business mind is required, or someone paid to achieve this.
“Danny has made bad business choices,” Guy says, “and not kept his eye on the ball. Honestly, he is one of the most trusting people I know and expects it back. But it rarely comes back.”
Danny tells a story when, at their peak, the Wildhearts were presented with a cheque for half a million pounds for merchandise rights. The Wildhearts were an explosive band on and off the stage, so it is more than possible that the true version has been lost in the fog of time.
There is the perception that The Wildhearts are a gang, but the current situation is fragmented, and people on all sides are very hurt. “Danny keeps saying to me,” Guy says, “that he does not know when he will be playing again and that he does not know what is going on.”
Gigging and merchandise is the only way Danny has of earning a living. “Danny says he is clean,” Guy says, “His health is very poor, and he is incredibly thin. I think it shocked a lot of people because he was so thin and unkempt, but he is in good spirits. He is a fighter.”
A crowdfund was created when news broke that Danny was to sell his iconic bass guitar. This reached its target within seven days and was ended early to get the £1,082 quickly to Danny.
A Patreon account has been created, which will cover an exclusive insight into the progress of the new Danny McCormack, Once A Wildheart Always A Wildheart book, with exerts, interviews and chapters every month.
“It’s not about just about a book,” Guy says. “People want to support Danny and want to do things for Danny, and this is a way of contributing five or ten pounds a month and getting something back for it. It will help Danny to make that first little step into recovery and to get some self-confidence and some self-belief back.”
It is certainly good news that money has been raised to save the bass. “If he sells his guitar,” Guy says, “then that’s that. I mean, at some point, everyone has to draw a line under the past, and you know, he’s a person. He deserves help.”
For help, advice and support on mental health issues, visit mind.org.uk.