Carry on regardless
ITS NOT THAT David Gedge is tired, but being the sole member of an iconic 1980s guitar band for almost three decades does tend to wear one down. As frontman of The Wedding Present, the band that Gedge formed in 1985, he has been almost exclusively responsible for the input (there have been numerous line-up changes over the years) and output (that’d be the nine albums released since 1987’s George Best, not including his releases under the Cinerama banner).
Not that he’s complaining, mind. Now 52 and in full retention of the Leeds brogue that decades of touring worldwide has failed to erode, Gedge is fully accepting of his fate.
“I’m kind of obsessed with this now, I think,” he says with a laugh. “I think I probably suffer from a mental illness, or something, because I don’t even enjoy it that much; I find it quite hard and stressful, really, to write songs and make records. But as soon as I get to a period where I’m not doing it, I do kind of crave it – I wanna start writing songs, I wanna get into the studio, I wanna get out on tour again. It’s like a self-perpetuating thing, really. I’ve never felt otherwise other than ambitious to write songs and make music.”
Its no coincidence that the cogs have been turning on Gedges band for so long, given his fearlessness in shaking things up. The bands sound has changed quite dramatically from the jangly bounce of George Best to the strident snap of their latest Valentina, – released earlier this year – something Gedge admits is partly due to the aforementioned “revolving door” policy for members over the years.
“It’s weird, because I always feel a bit bad saying this – but if I’m honest, it actually has benefitted the group. It’s sad for whatever reason when someone leaves, but the band always goes through a sort of rebirth period, and we’re stronger for it afterwards. I feel a bit mercenary saying that, really, because it makes me not sound like a nice person – but it does help the band. But even within those line-up changes, it’s been a big thing for us that every record had its own style, sound and personality. I’ve never seen the point of those bands who make a record and then make it again two years later. I know that’s probably the more commercially viable way to do it, because people don’t like change so much . . . and we probably have lost fans because we’ve changed so radically over the years, especially with the Cinerama stuff. But, y’know, Ive got no excuses for that, really, it’s just what I’ve always felt was important – just to keep trying different ideas. There is obviously an underlying sound to The Wedding Present, because we are a guitar band and it is me singing, but that’s the only thing, really.”