Past Futures

20 February 2013 | 7:15 am | Nic Toupee

“When the idea of playing our old albums was first suggested I was the biggest opponent of it; I thought as an artist you want to be thinking about your latest album."

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For a long time, Wedding Present fans were gnashing their teeth, wailing at the misfortune, the injustice, that the legendary Leeds garage pop band had never graced our shores. David Gedge has, with a varying roster of personnel, continued to release records under The Wedding Present since the late-'80s (with a break in the late-'90s, in which he recorded under the name Cinerama), but not until 2012 did he bring the band to Australia, touring last year with the mighty Seamonsters album.

It appears that – in a fittingly English way – it never rains but it pours with the Wedding Present: leaving it over 30 years to play Australia, and now they're coming back for the second time in a year. This time, they're playing their much loved 1987 debut album George Best, alongside some newer tracks.

David Gedge drags himself away from an episode of Celebrity Big Brother to speak with Inpress.

“I find it an interesting idea,” he laughs, “you cut people off from the world, cut off access to mobiles and TV, put them in a room and watch how they interact,” he says. In fact, Gedge quietly admits he'd give it a go himself. “Yes, I suppose I wouldn't mind,” he admits, “Although I probably wouldn't be very good – I'm too shy, definitely not the life and soul of the party.”

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Gedge's reputation as a shy, aloof character is decently accurate, as Gedge himself admits – too shy for Big Brother, at least. But the oddity, the contradiction, is that this shyness does not affect him at all on stage.

“It is quite odd, that,” Gedge acknowledges. “Strangely, I'm never particularly nervous when I go on stage I've played in front of 40 or 50,000 people at festivals. In fact, I look forward to it and am dying to get on there. I'm far more nervous speaking to half a dozen people – I find that terrifying.”

That's not to say that playing live is easy – for an introvert like Gedge it's not just semantics to separate 'confident' from 'relaxed'.

“I find it quite hard, the energy, the concentration – it's harder than people think. There's so much to think about: performing, remembering the words, remembering the music,” he laughs wryly, leaving us a little unsure whether he is joking or not. ”Performing to the best of your ability, guitar strings breaking, guitar leads that don't work – I find it quite stressful.” Not stressful enough to turn his back on it completely. Gedge continues to play live in the UK, Europe and the US regularly.

“I do feel compelled to do it, in a way,” he says. If I don't do it I do miss it, and am dying to get back. You get used to having the adrenaline; it's an exciting thing to walk on stage and play music to people who have paid to see you. It can be exciting, not enjoyable.”

Fans of the Weddoes' George Best album can look forward to hearing it in its entirety, as well as the A-sides part of their Hit Parade series.

“When the idea of playing our old albums was first suggested I was the biggest opponent of it; I thought as an artist you want to be thinking about your latest album. Against my best judgement I allowed myself to be talked into it and then found the process very interesting, quite surreal,” Gedge observes. “To investigate something you'd done 20 years beforehand is a bit like reading an old diary. I've gotten a lot out of it; in fact, I've come to a philosophical decision that maybe the past is as important as the future for an artist, and something that should be consulted every now and then.”

The Wedding Present will be playing the folloowing dates:

Tuesday 26 February - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC
Wednesday 27 February - Northcote Social Club, Melbourne VIC
Thursday 28 February - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW
Friday 1 March - Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW
Saturday 2 March - The Zoo, Brisbane QLD