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David Gedge; Photo Credit: The Wedding Present
David Gedge, the renowned British veteran musician/singer-songwriter, founder of the long-running indie rock/post-punk band The Wedding Present (and off-shoot Cinerama), and championed by music legend John Peel, is still going strong several decades into his artistic career.
This go-around for Gedge and company has taken the form of the double album Going Going…, Gedge’s always incisive and perceptive lyrics on human nature, a complementary run of videos that moves the auditory and thematic US road trip odyssey of the album into the visual realm, and an upcoming US and Canadian tour.
Hello David! It is such a pleasure to connect with you and to find out more about The Wedding Present’s ambitious and accomplished double album Going, Going…, which came out in the UK in early September and will release December 2nd in the USA. How are you doing and where are you at the moment?
DAVID: I’m very well, thank you. I’m in Exeter in the south west corner of England! The Wedding Present is currently on a mid-European tour and we’re now on the British and Irish legs.
You’re going at full speed and full out on Going, Going…, a collection of compositions that captures not only a transcontinental road trip of the US, but also, via your lyrics, the indecision, self-examination, convictions, realizations, and revelations of the person behind the wheel. I take it you literally went on this US road trip before creating the album. Or does this symphonically wandering to driving indie rock journey spring directly from your imagination?
DAVID: No, I literally went on the road trip… along with photographer Jessica McMillan. We started in Maine and meandered through twenty states until we reached Southern California… and each of the tracks on Going, Going… is named after a location we visited on the journey. The experience informed the music and the lyrics and we also made short films in each of the states…
Why the US and not England? What is it about the US that inspired the album or did the musical concept strike you before the actual trip?
DAVID: That’s a good question. I did consider the idea of a European version. Twenty countries from Iceland to Istanbul, or something? Maybe that’ll be Going, Going… 2, haha. But I think I see America as the home of the road trip! The landscape is so varied and remarkable… Cinematic, I guess… Inspiring, anyway!
Lyrically, you hit the big topics of Love, Death, and Meaning with your distinctive unabashedly exclamatory to pensively reflective vocal delivery. As the years go by, do you feel that the mysteries of love and life have revealed themselves more to you than before? Or is it still a bunch of fumbling around in the dark?
David: Definitely the latter. I think with maturity comes a certain amount of experience but, ultimately, I don’t think we ever really come to terms with those big questions. It’s kind of a good thing that we don’t, to be honest, or I’d be out of a job!
You’re in it for the long haul with 20 tracks comprising the album. Why did you decide to open with a run of symphonic instrumentals?
DAVID: Once I’d decided that we were going to record twenty tracks I realised that I had the space to work on an extended introduction. So I see those four opening instrumentals as setting the scene and, hopefully, instilling a feeling of anticipation in the listener.
Not only is Going, Going… an auditory odyssey, it will also be a visual voyage with each song to be accompanied by its own video. I see that vids for “Sprague” and “Rachel” are at YouTube. Where and when are you planning on releasing the rest of the videos?
DAVID: Every physical version of the album comes with a DVD containing the videos.
Does each video feature footage from your travels across the US?
DAVID: Yes. They’ve been described as “moving photographs” and they’re linked by the theme of movement in water.
Athens, Georgia-based record label Happy Happy Birthday To Me is handling the release of Going, Going… in the US. How did you hook up with this cool indie label? Is this your first release with them?
DAVID: No… They’ve now put out several of our releases on vinyl for North America. They just approached us and seemed like good people! I think they do it for all the right reasons…
And like the Energizer bunny, you’re still going, going as an artist ever since winding up in 1985 with The Wedding Present – and even before that with other endeavors. Are you constantly in creative mode, fiddling with musical bits, in your mind or on instruments, which interrupts the daily grind or can you switch off easily in order to focus on everyday life?
DAVID: Nope. I can never switch off. I think it’s probably the downside of being obsessed with something like this. You tend to always be in, as you say… creative mode… to the exclusion of lots of other stuff… like, erm, life! Not that I’m complaining!
You’ve set up a US and Canadian tour for April 2017. Will you be doing a complete run-through of Going, Going… or performing a selection of songs from your deep back catalog?
DAVID: It’ll be a varied set so, yeah… old stuff, new stuff… Our drummer Charlie Layton has been crafting the setlists for many years now, so I guess we’ll see what he comes up with. It’s a thankless task. With something like 250 tracks to choose from there’s inevitably about 230 that get left out… so whatever set we end up doing, there’s always someone who says, “You didn’t play my favourite song!”
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