Interview: The Wedding Present's David Gedge
Founded in 1985, the Wedding Present were a bit of an anomaly right out of the gate: they were louder, faster, and generally more ill-mannered than their C86 counterparts, even as songwriter David Gedge's lyrics--make-ups, breakups, longing, etc--separated the group from similarly guitar-oriented acts like the Buzzcocks. They became, almost immediately, John Peel's favorite band, and remained so till his death in 2004. The excellent El Rey, the band's eighth studio album, was released in May, following Gedge's long hiatus with his other band, Cinerama, and the Wedding Present's 2005 reunion record, Take Fountain.
When we spoke, Gedge was in LA, preparing for a US tour. The Wedding Present frontman, who wrote El Rey in LA, no longer lives there, so he was holed up in a Super 8 hotel, from which he discussed, in a charmingly unreconstructed Leeds accent, Seinfeld, internet pornography, and the death of the 7" single.
The new record was written in LA, right?
It feels like an LA record.
It's funny because I could've never really set out to make it the LA album. Because I see that as a bit of a concept, and I kind of shy away from concept albums--in the same way of being a punk rocker, that always seemed a bit progressive rock to me. So I didn't really plan it that way, apart from--what I tend to do is put in a few little lyrical references into where I am at any one point. So there's a bit of that in there. But I think you're right, it does have a particular sound, and I guess that's just filtered through somehow. It definitely sounds different from other records we've done.
Well, there are some specifically American references in there. You have a Seinfeld reference...
Yeah--funny that, because I think Americans don't think it's a very cool reference. But in Britian, Seinfeld was not quite as big and mainstream and a bit more cult-y, in a way. It used to be on really late at night, on kind of a minor channel, so people don't really know it. So people in Britian have no idea what that's about. But then you come to America and people go, 'Uh, that's a Seinfeld reference.' It's not very cool. It's a bit too mainstream, isn't it?
Yeah, I think that song [the "No Soup For You"-quoting "Soup"] references probably the most popular episode of a pretty popular show here.
Oh, really? Right, OK--well I went straight for the salt [?] there, didn't I? But you know, I don't care--I just like to reference pop culture in general, really, and I've always been interested in North American culture as much as European culture, so I've kind of included references to both over the years.
Well, there are a lot of super-hero references in your work.
Yeah I'm a big fan of comics.