Gedge: Present and correct!
F OR a failed chat a couple weeks ago, David Gedge was in France. And he's back there when we eventually catch up, but The Wedding Present have since been to Spain. Earlier this year they played across North America and Asia.
It's been a good two decades since they were at their peak but the indie heroes have never stopped touring and recording worldwide.
"We tend to do Europe every couple of years, then North America and Japan," says Gedge, 52, who lives between Brighton and Los Angeles.
"We went to Australia for the first time this year and we're possibly doing some concerts in Brazil next year, which will be the first time we've played there."
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In the UK the Leeds band are best known for the albums George Best (1987), Bizarro (1989) and Seamonsters (1991) but elsewhere it varies.
"At the moment our biggest shows in Europe have been in France. Two years ago with the Bizarro tour it was in Germany. In America it varies from state to state. We've played to a couple of thousand people one night and the next to 30 people in a bar.
"Everywhere in Australia was rammed because we'd not been there before and there was a demand. Turkey was a weird one. We'd not been there before so we put together a hit friendly set. It was Kennedy, Brassneck, My Favourite Dress... but it was when we played an obscure B-side from my other band, Cinerama, that the place was jumping. When we played Brassneck it was like 'yeah, whatever'. It's because Bizarro wasn't a hit over there."
He adds: "In America they don't know George Best at all. So they're like 'whose this soccer guy?' Seamonsters is the one they know best over there. In Britain I'd say it's Bizarro."
This year the Wedding Present released Valentina on their own label, Scopitones.
"We started out on our own label," says Gedge, who has an American girlfriend. "In between we were on RCA, Island Records, Cooking Vinyl... and now we're on our own label again. It's more work because you have to be involved in the business side of it but I don't mind that because you have more control."
It means he is free to release a 64-page book for the new album, called Valentina: The Story Of A Wedding Present Album – a behind-the-scenes account of the making of it, complete with lyrics, photographs, commentary, extra tracks and a 30-minute documentary film.
"Someone from Harper Collins asked if we'd be interested in it and I'm always interested in doing different stuff. It's why we did Ukrainian music, the monthly singles, Cinerama, a comic..."
A comic? Are you a comic book nerd?
"I wouldn't say it quite in those terms," he laughs. "I'm quite interested in the culture."
They'll be playing Valentina in its entirety at the Rescue Rooms next week along with Seamonsters, their classic 1991 album, produced by US post-punk giant Steve Albini.
"I think it works quite well, although it's a bit to confusing to people," he says of the gigs, where they'll be supported by all-girl Japanese rock band Toquiwa.
He says: "Of all the support bands we've ever had I think they go down the best because they're so entertaining."