Thirty years ago, the Wedding Present released a compilation featuring their earliest work, singles, b-sides and session tracks.

Sandwiched between their classic debut George Best and major label follow-up Bizarro, Tommy became a bit of a forgotten gem. But it is neglected no more, as the latest incarnation of the band under the only constant member David Gedge prepares to take it on the road to mark the anniversary, bringing the show to Oxford tonight.

The Weddoes have made a habit in recent years of celebrating their past works, with tours coinciding with the anniversaries of the likes of Seamonsters and Watusi performed in full for devoted audiences. So why did it take them so long to give Tommy – featuring the likes of classic tunes My Favourite Dress and You Should Always Keep in Touch With Your Friends – the live treatment?

“I’m not sure why we’ve never done it before,” confesses Gedge from his home in Brighton, “Probably because it’s not a proper LP. It never occurred to me before.

“Someone said it’d be interesting to do it. It’s early Wedding Present from when we were formulating the band.

“It’s weird how it works, it’s like looking through an old diary into what I was thinking at the time. Especially now with a completely different line up.”

Has it been a move that’s brought out the devotees?

“It’s been very popular so far,” he says.” I underestimated the appeal. There’s been a surprising amount of interest. I imagine it’s the same people who saw George Best live.”

Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkey recently admitted to wincing when he looked back at old lyrics. Is that something that he had experienced while revisiting Tommy?

“Totally,” he laughs. “Songwriting’s a skill. You get better with experience.

“The album sounds thin, but that’s the charm of it. I look at some of the lyrics now and I think I wouldn’t use that phrase -that’s a bit teenage, but that’s the charm of it.”

Despite more than three decades in the rock business, this year has seen them break new ground.

“We’re just back from our first Asian tour,” says Gedge. “We’ve done Japan and Hong Kong before but weirdly this year it all came together in Asia for the first time in 33 years.

“We did a gig in the Philippines and Taiwan and then played George Best in Thailand - a Wedding Present fan organised it. I gave him loads of instructions - a big list, and he just did it. But most of the audience were British, a load of his friend, I think.”

Another thing that keeps altering is the band line-up.

“It changes every year or two. Having said that, the people in the band are people we know. They’ve worked with us before. It happens all the time.”

And as one of the elder statesmen of the British indie scene, how does he approach touring these days?

“I’m more careful now, he admits. ”That’s not just age, but experience. I’m scared of getting a cold. As the singer, it ruins the gig. There’s hardly a tour in the past when I haven’t got one.

“I’m careful with what I eat and I don’t drink on tour. I used to have a glass of wine after the gig but that lowers the immune system. It’s about not being so crazy as we used to be - not that we were ever that rock and roll. I’m just driven.”

So does he still enjoy touring?

“I’ve never enjoyed it, to be honest,” he confesses. “You just see airports and vans, you don’t see a great deal of those places.

“Playing live is quite stressful to me. I have problems going through my head - the pedals, chords - but people don’t want to hear that. I’ve always found it hard, to be honest.

“But there are no signs of stopping,” he adds. “It just seems to continue, we’re already planning for next year. I wasn’t planning for this when we stated the band in 1985.

“I do miss touring if we don’t do it for a while. I don’t know if it’s some weird addiction. It’s what I do, I suppose.”

Despite the latest nostalgia-fest, the Wedding Present are not a band constantly looking backwards. They followed up 2016’s triumphant Going, Going.. with an EP of instrumentals last year. So have they got any new material lined up?

“We’ve got a lot of ideas flying around the group but haven’t had time to put them together,” he says. “We’ve got a bit more time this summer and I’m hoping to get some ideas down.”

This year has seen the death of Mark E Smith, and the idiosyncratic Fall frontman had a profound impact on Gedge.

“He was very influential,” he says. “Not so much musically, but in attitude.

“I saw the Fall more than any other band. I still can’t believe it. It’s like when John Peel died. Mark E Smith dying wasn’t the greatest surprise but when someone becomes such an important part of your culture it’s difficult to accept they’re not there anymore.”

As one of the pioneers of the indie scene – the Wedding Present started out by releasing singles on their own label and Gedge still curates his own At the Edge of the Sea festival in Brighton every year ¬– the onset on new ways of consuming music must have had a huge impact on them.

“With streaming you do get some income unlike the illegal downloading, but it’s just pennies unless you’re someone like Taylor Swift,” concedes Gedge.

But nothing will ever replace the live experience – will it?

“Until they make robots,” he jokes. “How long before the Japanese invent a technology for producing live gigs? That will do me out of a job! But there are advantages of technology. I can now make a really good demo on my laptop. Bands can now go on YouTube. That’s definitely been enhanced by technology.

“That’s why we’re lucky that it’s our generation who like to buy records. For a band starting up now, I wonder how they do it financially.”

  • The Wedding Present play the O2 Academy, Cowley Road, Oxford, tonight. Go to for tickets