THE WILDHEARTS guitarist CJ has told The Daily Yomiuri that the arrival of new bassist Jon Poole has served as the stabilizing factor for a band that was as notorious for their off-stage excesses as they were for their musical accomplishments. Poole stepped in earlier this year as a replacement for founding member Danny McCormack, whose long-term dependency on drugs and alcohol — which sprung from the band's early, anything-goes days — left him bouncing in and out of rehab and, temporarily at least, out of the band."THE WILDHEARTS were a band that had everything given to us," CJ said. "We were going to be the next big thing in British music: the new LED ZEPPELIN, the new ROLLING STONES. "But we fucked it up because we grew up on rock 'n' roll bands and we had just come off the dole and been given a lot of money. We spent it on abusing ourselves and that messed up the band. We should have done it like THE DARKNESS are doing it now." According to CJ, he and the rest of THE WILDHEARTS are happy to follow in the wake of THE DARKNESS, who have sold more than 600,000 copies of their debut album, "Permission to Land", in Britain alone. "THE DARKNESS have opened the door," CJ said. "They have made rock music popular again in England. A lot of kids who have got into rock music have done so because of THE DARKNESS. We've talked about touring in the U.S. and in the U.K. with them and if they offered it to us we wouldn't turn it down." As previously reported, THE WILDHEARTS will release a special version of their "Riff After Riff" CD in the U.S. through Gearhead Records in the spring. The group's first American release since 1993's "Earth Vs The Wildhearts" will contain all the tracks from the Japanese version of "Riff After Riff" minus "Vanilla Radio", plus several bonus cuts. THE WILDHEARTS will be performing at South By Southwest and undertaking a U.S. tour with THE DRAGONS beginning in March (dates to be confirmed).