The moment's gone (a tribute to The Wedding Present)

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New Musical Express 25 May 1991


"WE'VE JUST been to see this statuette along the main road. It's all covered in bullet holes but most of them had been aimed at her breasts".
David Gedge is both fascinated and breathless. Enthusing about his sightseeing, he suddenly catches a glimpse of the Alien Roving Back-Stage Fly-Hack lurking behind him and turns a gorgeous shade of purple. For this is The Wedding Present.
Whereas most bands would scream "Cor, she had her friggin' tits blown off", The Weddoes shudder with embarrassment at even the mention of women's things. And if personal issues like this make Gedge shrink away, how's he going to take being grilled about the truth behind guitarist Peter Solowka's recent departure from the band? Whilst I ponder the subject over a cigarette, Gedge hurls over a look evil enough to make Medusa close her eyes. There follows an hour-long lecture on the stupidity of smoking. That over with, Gedge can talk freely about the divorce.

Present day line-up (l-r):
Keith Gregory, Paul Dorrington, Simon Smith, Gedge
In February, The Wedding Present recorded their third album, notorious for being the 'difficult one', in a remote hut in Minneapolis, with obnoxious skinny git Steve Albini. Two months later the Weddoes begin their extensive tour minus Solowka, but plus new guitarist Paul Dorrington.
"People must think it's a bit weird, but to us it's the obvious time, because we have just finished the LP". Gedge leans back on his chair in a manner not too familiar with his shy reputation. But did he leave or was he chucked out?
"We asked him to leave. He was a bit sad but said he wasn't surprised, he just thought it was a bit sooner than he'd expected. I think he really wanted to play on this tour because he had worked on the LP, which was a fair point I suppose, but we wanted to make a clean break and start writing new songs. After an LP it seems an obvious time to make changes. And it's quite exciting really, like starting a new band all over again". The Wedding Present have always been renowned as a close group. Drummer Simon Smith is tour manager, bassist Keith Gregory looks out for support bands, David does all the interviews and Solowka handled all the merchandise. Four Leeds lads in total control. So what prompted the parting of a close pal and working partner? The real truth!"
Well I used to write all his guitar parts for him, it's stupid really, I just seemed to be doing too much. I thought after three LPs it would be nice to inject some new blood".
So you don't feel you've lost your right arm then?
"No, I feel I've got a third arm sewn on", he chuckles.
So, with his three arms dangling by his side, he prepares to face the enthusiastic Dubliners, minus his shorts. "They were too sexy, they made all the girls at the front faint". Who said this man was dull? The intro music begins, the dialogue from The A Team theme tune. The stage door is slightly ajar - enough to witness the hysteria outfront and want to join in.
Left: Wedded virgin, Paul Dorrington. Right: Gedge:
It's much easier with an electric one you know...
Left: Wedded virgin, Paul Dorrington. Right: Gedge:
It's much easier with an electric one you know...
Out in the wild and crazy jungle that is the crowd, the lights go down and out come the band. The theme tune merges into their first number 'Kennedy' and screams for more get 'Dalliance', their new single and taster for the album. It signals a more accomplished, controlled and extreme Wedding Present. Gedge's lyrics are still as subtle and mysterious as a black bra beneath a white blouse, but they sound more screwed-up; girls don't just finish with him now - they fuck-up his mind.
"We're called The Manic Street Preachers and this whole set is dedicated to Martyn Goodachre", Gedge grins. Tonight they play seven of the ten tracks off the album, gulped up by the crowd, but it's still their old numbers which provoke the most delirium. 'Bewitched' and 'Take Me', from 'Bizarro', send ecstatic fans screaming from the back to join the human soup at the front. 'Rotterdam' is apparently a "sexy, sultry number", and David's not wrong, it erupts at the end with frenzied guitars played so fast it's lucky Gedge has a spare arm to replace the one that just fell off.
A couple of 'George Best' tracks next, including 'Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft' and things are getting pretty hectic at the front. When the opening chords to 'Brassneck' begin, it's time to get out before you go home with somebody else's body.
"In case you haven't seen us before we never do encores", so instead they leave us with 'Heather' from the new album. Virgin guitarist Dorrington has injected fresh, wild blood into their sound. No cause for concern. The Wedding Present will never become bottom drawer gifts.
Gina Morris
©2005 Chester Severien (