Wedding Present frontman David Gedge tells Marc Evans about their latest album and tour

IT’S 30 years since the Wedding Present appeared on the NME’s infamous C86 compilation tape, featuring some of the brightest young names in independent music.

Loved by some, derided by others, the C86 scene helped set the template for jangly indie music. Not that founder member of the band, David Gedge, has ever been one to follow templates.

Nine albums and numerous personnel changes later (the Weddoes this year recruited band member No.23), they’re still going strong, creating music as fresh and challenging as ever.

This year’s LP Going, Going... has been hailed as one of their finest works, and now they’re back on the road, taking in Oxford’s O2 Academy next Thursday. But did Gedge expect to still be at it 31 years after forming the band?

“I never really thought that far in the future,” he tells me, shortly before taking to the stage in Bristol. “Getting our record played on the John Peel Show was the height of my ambition.

“On the other hand, I have been obsessed with this since and an early age, so it’s not surprising, but it is incredible.”

Going, Going... is their first new material since 2012’s Valentina. So why the wait?

“The new album became something of a project,” he says. “When we sat down to work on the next batch of songs, I didn’t want it to be just another album. It’s loosely based on a road trip across America through 20 states, from Maine to California. I thought the record should be 20 pieces of music. It took a lot more planning than normal and this one was more structured.

“But I don’t want to call it a concept album – that has bad connotations of Rik Wakeman in a cape!”

The album did, indeed, come in at a whopping 20 tracks, but you’d be hard-pressed to recognise the opening four songs as the Wedding Present at all. Gedge’s distinctive vocals and trademark thunderous guitars are replaced by instrumentals, samples, harmonies and keyboards for the album’s opening salvo.

“I hate those bands who make an LP and then make it again. I think ‘it’s good, but I’ve already got that’.

“Having 20 states gave me space to introduce the album,” he adds. “This time I thought I could do whatever I want. Having that space was a new thing for me and we were able to build into the narrative.

Some reviewers have seen the album’s title as a cryptic clue that it might be the band’s last? Could it?

“I don’t know,” says Gedge. “I never really know. It wasn’t a deliberate sign – it’s the title of a Philip Larkin poem. Maybe it will be. I’m keeping it vague.

“It’s hard to make an album these days. It’s a big emotional commitment and there’s no money it it. In the old days, we toured to promote the LP – now it’s the other way round.

“The cold-hearted business side of me says don’t make any more LPs!”

The Wedding Present have been a regulars at the O2 Academy in recent years, playing gigs showcasing past albums Watusi and Seamonsters. So playing new material must make a bit of a change.

“The tour’s going very well,” says Gedge. “I can’t complain. It’s always special because it’s a new album. There’s an extra bit of excitement.

“But I actually quite like doing the old albums,” he admits. “[Debut album] George Best is 30 next year and we’ve had an invitation to play it at some gigs – we’re not one of those re-formed ‘80s bands.”

Getting the band up to speed on the much-loved George Best tracks might be a bit tricky – one of the group’s members wasn’t even born when it was released.

“One of the new members [guitarist Marcus Kain] is younger than the band!” laughs Gedge. “He was born in ‘86 or ‘87.

“Changing band members often works quite well. It moves the band forward and it shifts the group’s alignment.”

Next Thursday’s show in Oxford reunites the Wedding Present with another C86 act who have stood the test of time. Primal Scream play the same venue on the same night, creating a dilemma for indie kids of a certain age.

But will it provide Gedge and The Scream’s Bobby Gillespie the chance to chew the fat about the state of independent music over the last 30 years? Well, don’t expect a summit from these two elder statesmen of rock.

“To be honest, I don’t think our paths have ever crossed,” admits Gedge. “We must have played the same places, and I’ve met [Creation records boss] Alan McGee a few times, but that’s it.”

Next month, the band release their first volume of Marc Riley sessions tracks, recorded for the DJ’s BBC 6 Music shows. As well as classic tracks from their back catalogue, it also shows off their eclectic taste in covers, with a version of Where Everybody Knows Your Name – the theme from Cheers.

“I’ve always liked doing covers,” he says. “It’s a way of learning new tricks and techniques. It’s good to stretch yourself.

“We’ve just been invited by a radio station in Seattle to do a Clash cover for their Clash day.”

Not included on the collection, though, is their delicious version of James Bond theme From Russia With Love, recorded for Riley’s show...but there’s good news for people who loved it.

“Here’s an exclusive for you – I’m putting together a compilation of bands doing Bond themes,” he reveals. “Loads of bands said ‘we’d love to do it’.”

Just remember, the name’s Gedge...David Gedge.

The Wedding Present play the O2 Academy, Cowley Road, Oxford, on Thursday, December 8. For tickets go to