ALL THIS viral mess around us: it’s meant musicians have had to lock and load, get going as the going got tough. Plates, stepped up to. New ways adopted. New records made.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that David Gedge’s The Wedding Present wouldn’t sit back and let it wash it over them. They’re always busy, touring, recording: what the dearly departed Mark E Smith would’ve called “a proper working band.”
And they did, they set about the task: and to this end, on February 19th next year, they’ll be releasing Locked Down And Stripped Back via their own Scopitones label: 14 tracks for your delectation, including a dozen rerubs of diamonds from their back catalogue, recorded at home during the viral purdah; alongside two previously unreleased songs,”You’re Just A Habit That I’m Trying To Break” and “We Should Be Together” – this latter originally recorded, but never released, by Sleeper.
And in step with this announcement that’ll get all Weddoes fans tails bright and bushy, they’ve also dropped the Locked Down And Stripped Back version of “Crawl”, originally from 1990’s 3 Songs EP – with a lockdown video to go alongside. Have a watch down there at the end.
Each band member recorded and filmed their parts at home – not easy, but it all came together.
David has this to say about the year so far and the genesis of Locked Down And Stripped Back: “As the summer of 2020 wore on it became increasingly obvious that ‘At The Edge of The Sea’ – my annual festival in Brighton – was sadly going the way of other live music events.
“Following its cancellation, I decided to replace it with an online version, presented live from my own living room and featuring home-recorded videos from many of the artists that had appeared at the festival over the years.
“For The Wedding Present’s contribution, we picked twelve tracks to re-work in a semi-acoustic style, and it was fascinating to see how stripped-back arrangements brought out different aspects of the songs.
“The Seamonsters track “Blonde” was a prime example of this, with a just-two-guitars approach resulting in a naïve and moving interpretation.
And of “Crawl” itself, he continues: “People are always telling me that ‘Crawl’ is one of their favourite songs. So why didn’t we put it on an album? Well, in Wedding Present world we’ve never had throwaway songs that we bury on B-sides and this is a case in point.
“We wanted to make our 3 Songs EP as strong as possible and so we just put it on there. I think the interplay between the electric guitar and bass works really well. I played acoustic guitar on both the original, at the Chicago Recording Company, and on this stripped back version – 30 years later – in my spare room at home!”
Elsewhere on Locked Down And Stripped Back expect new life to be breathed into classics such as “A Million Miles”, “California”, “You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends” and “Sports Car”, on which bassist Melanie Howard contributes a sultry lead vocal.