David Gedge formed The Wedding Present in Leeds in 1985, quickly catching the ear of John Peel, who said: “The boy Gedge has written some of the best love songs of the rock’n’roll era. You may dispute this, but I’m right and you’re wrong!”
Gedge also formed the soundtrack-inspired Cinerama in 1998. Alongside his bands, he runs his own record label, curates his own festival and publishes an autobiographical comic book series.
The Wedding Present made history in 1992 by releasing a seven-inch single every month, equalling Elvis’ record of 12 top 40 hits in a year. To celebrate the 21st birthday of the Hit Parade this year, the band are touring the UK and releasing a new, limited edition seven-inch single.
What track do you associate with your first kiss?
‘Nutbush City Limits’ by Ike & Tina Turner. It seemed to always be playing at every school disco I went to. It doesn’t sound too great to me now but, at the time, after drinking some illegally purchased cider and dancing to this in my 1970s flares, how could those young ladies not think I was the epitome of ‘cool’?
With losing your virginity?
I’ve never understood the idea of playing music to accompany the act of, err, lovemaking… I think it’d actually put me off because I’d be thinking that the bass drum was too loud, or something. But I was really into progressive rock in those days so, if pushed, I’d probably associate losing my virginity with something like ‘Dancing With The Moonlit Knight’ by Genesis, which I was playing on a daily basis around that time.
With your wedding?
I’ve never been married, which is kind of ironic, given my band’s name. I’ve always been fascinated by weddings though; how all that archaic and sexist imagery has survived into this century. I remember ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ by The Gap Band going down particularly well at my brother’s wedding. Isn’t that the one where people used to sit on the floor in a line? I was the best man at that wedding and completely hopeless at it.
With your 50th birthday?
‘El Monte’ by Girl In A Coma. I celebrated my 50th birthday while The Wedding Present were touring the United States and Girl In A Coma were our support band for much of that outing. I never really liked the name of the group but they had some great songs, like this one. The singer, Nina, has an amazing voice and presence. She’s a star!
What is the last track that you bought?
‘White Horses’. It’s a hauntingly beautiful song, which was also the theme to a 1960s Slovenian/German TV series of the same name. My ‘other’ band, Cinerama, covered it for a John Peel session in 2004. The original artist was Jacky (and I already have that version) but I recently bought Cerys Matthews’ 2007 recording of it (for the album Songs For The Young At Heart) because I wanted to play it when I was DJing in London. Cerys has such a distinctive style that she takes the song and truly makes it her own. I was a guest on BBC 6 Music’s Round Table a few weeks ago and I went to pieces when I saw her presenting in the adjoining studio.
What track would you want at your funeral?
I’m going to go with 4′33″ by the composer John Cage. It’s four minutes and 33 seconds of complete silence. Ha, ha. I kind of like the idea of people wondering if there was something wrong with the soundsystem.
What is your ‘falling in love’ track?
I think ‘Gigantic’ by The Pixies is probably the best song about falling in love ever written. It’s erotic and evocative and yet still poignant. Also, once you’ve heard it, I think you’d always remember it. The fact that Steve Albini recorded the definitive version doesn’t do it any harm, either!
Your ‘heartbreak’ track?
‘Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa’ by Gene Pitney always used to make me cry when I was growing up after my grandmother had explained the meaning of the words to me. “What do you mean, Grandma? He’s met a new lady and he’s not going home? But what about his wife? Won’t she be waiting for him?” Hmm… come to think of it, perhaps this song has had a big effect on my own lyric writing style.
Your ‘private dancing’ track?
‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ by Taylor Swift. Though it’s not such a ‘private dancing’ track: one of our sound engineers plays this to test the PA system and it always gets the whole band and the crew boogying.
What track evokes your parents?
I was DJing at At The Edge Of The Sea (my annual indoor festival in Brighton) a couple of years ago and my dad came over and said, “Do you have anything by Jim Reeves?” He was a country star. Jim Reeves, I mean, not my dad. So let’s say ‘I Love You Because’.
I’d also go for ‘Yesterday Once More’ by The Carpenters. When I was growing up my mum would play The Carpenters all the time and I really hated them. It all sounded so boring and middle-of-the-road. In hindsight, of course, I now realise that the songwriting was brilliant and that Karen Carpenter had such a gorgeous voice. Cinerama covered this one, too, and we loved singing it and adding some melancholy sounding Mellotron flute.
Like those? Try these from our Track Doctor
Granted it’s not as easy to find a proggy soundtrack to romance as it was in the Seventies, but in lieu of Genesis, ‘Winter Dies’ by Midlake should suffice… The heartbreak takes a more macabre twist on model-turned-singer Karen Elson’s ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, but it owes more than a nod to Pitney-esque balladry… The gentle croon of Jim Reeves is ably updated by Sheffield songwriter Richard Hawley, whose ‘Baby You’re My Light’ should please Mr Gedge Snr… And chucking a decent pinch of the Pixies into proceedings are Texan indie outfit Spoon on 2010’s ‘Got Nuffin’…
The Wedding Present’s Hit Parade tour begins in Wolverhampton on Tuesday 22 October, with dates in Cardiff, Leeds, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leicester and Northampton, finishing at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Friday 1 November. A new single, ‘Two Bridges’, will be available to buy at the shows
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