Last year, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of ‘Bizarro’, The Wedding Present toured everywhere playing the record from start to finish.
I have friends who saw them in Michigan that said it was the best live show they had ever seen. Good music doesn’t suddenly go bad, but it’s a testament to the song writing that the record still sounds as fresh today as it did two decades ago.
This month the band are releasing a double CD edition of a recording from one of the shows from the 2010 tour. It features all 10 songs from Bizarro from a show the band played in Tokyo.
We spoke to David Gedge lead singer, and frontman for The Wedding Present to get the lowdown.
How was the Bizarro tour?
It was really good, thanks! So good, in fact, that it just expanded and expanded. We ending up spending the best part of a year playing live, from April up to Christmas.
Touring can be hard work and by the end of it you’re usually glad to come home… but I’m not going to moan about it because it was great to get around and meet people and see some new places.
What was your most memorable gig on the tour?
That’s a hard one to answer, but it was probably the one in Zagreb. When we arrived we had absolutely no idea what to expect, but, because The Wedding Present formed in 1985, there were fans in Croatia who had been waiting for a quarter of a century to see us play! When that happens you know it is going to be a good night! But, having had no previous contact with that area and then hearing the entire crowd singing along to the songs was pretty incredible.
Live in Tokyo?
Technically, it’s a Japanese only release, but you can download it from iTunes and, hopefully, from good record shops outside of Japan.
I’ve also ordered a shipment to be sent to the UK so that people can buy it from our web site.
We’ve played in Tokyo a few times and on the last visit we were just approached by a Japanese label who wanted to record and release the concert. And I thought… why not?
Going to Japan is so different from anywhere else you visit on tour. The whole culture is so unfamiliar; it really is like being in the future. I have a bit of an archivist mentality, I suppose, so I like to document where we are as a band at certain times. For the Bizarro tour, this was a good opportunity to do that…
Do you have any ‘new’ stuff on the horizon?
Yes. Since, we were essentially playing the same set for most of last year, we’ve had plenty of time to work on new material. We probably have about nine new songs and we’ve played them all live at various stages of the tour.
The plan is just to keep on writing and recording demos this year. I’m not 100% sure when anything will come out yet, but I imagine it will be early in 2012.
What sort of sound are you going for this time?
It’s different every time, but if the concerts are anything to go by it’s going to be rockier and darker than the last album. It kind of depends on the people in the band at any time. The current line up has a harder edge to it, I think, and is a bit more dynamic… and that definitely comes out in the new songs.
Do you have any advice for new bands?
I always say that when you start a band you have got to have something that is exciting and different or unique in some way. I made sure that our first single was an extreme record… something that leapt out of the radio and grabbed you by the ears.
In some ways, I’d say it’s actually easier for new bands now, because there are many more promotional outlets. When we started it was pretty much just John Peel and the NME type papers, but they weren’t anywhere near as far-reaching as MySpace and YouTube are now.
Also, it’s cheaper… you don’t have to spend as much money on marketing. The problem comes, though, when you try and make any money out of it. The same technology that enables you to record and distribute something more cheaply these days also enables people to have it without paying!
We’re quite fortunate, I guess, because we have fans who still want to buy our records, but for a new band trying to get to the point where you can sell enough legal copies to make a living… well… my heart goes out to them!
What do you think of X- Factor?
I don’t have a problem with the people who are on it, there has always been a history of artists going on talent shows in order to become successful… but I hate the actual idea of the programme, to be honest.
People talk about illegal downloading devaluing music but I think X Factor is actually worse. It doesn’t inspire people to explore new ideas or even write their own stuff, does it? They’re just encouraged to cover old hits, to make it less challenging for the audience…
What would you have done if you hadn’t been a musician?
It might sound a bit arrogant, but I always knew that I would do this. If I hadn’t have been successful with music I don’t know what I would have done… there are photographs of me aged five playing records on my Mum’s record player. It’s something I have always been obsessed with from an early age.
Because of that, maybe foolishly, I’ve never had a plan B, really.
Where is your favourite place?
There’s a diner called Swingers that I really like. There’s actually two, one in Hollywood and one in Santa Monica, where I am now. It’s like a classic American diner with great food but updated with Sonic Youth and The Strokes on the Jukebox. It’s one of my favourite places to go.
According to David, the surname ‘Gedge’ means ‘flighty wench’. Coincidentally, while the band are touring you can find him on Twitter documenting their adventures (he’s even been known to review the odd film). Let’s hope he’ll be tweeting about the 20th Anniversary of the NEW record in 2032.
Look out for an exclusive track from Live in Tokyo next week on the Flush the Fashion March Download sampler.To get our automatic update service via email (and never miss a thing) click HERE to activate.[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]