Don’t Talk, Just Kiss

It was February of 1990 and things were about to change. The Wedding Present had recently come out of the studio with renowned engineer (not producer!) Steve Albini, he of Pixies, Nirvana, Black Flag etc. fame. According to David Gedge at the time, he might finally be able to reproduce the ferocious sound that the Leeds-based band had so far not been able to capture on record. The Brassneck EP [RCA ‎– PT43404] was the first result of that collaboration and it was a blessing from the gods. Four tracks of blistering and powerful guitars including the finest song ever recorded in the title track. Nestled comfortably on that EP was Don’t Talk, Just Kiss, a song of yearning and lust.

The protagonist is pleading with the girl to forget her boyfriend (“He’s probably not even there”). There’s a desperation inherent in the lyrics familiar to many a young male. Nothing is more important than this moment even if it involves cheating and infidelity. “Don’t talk, just kiss”: so simple and yet words that resound with anyone who has ever been drawn to someone they can’t or shouldn’t have.

The most striking thing about this song however and something that really comes across live is the tempo change between the verses and the choruses. Twice, the verse leads into a ferocious storm of guitar as the drums double up in speed and lead into the “If you’re worried he’s so near” segment. At a gig, this has always led to an uncontrollable amount of moshing, such is the excitement that this combination of speed and rhythm and noise create.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

Do you have any memories of how the idea first came to you?

DLG: I have a vague memory that “Don’t Talk, Just Kiss!” was the title of a novel I saw in a bookshop once and the idea of how lust can be so powerful that it can overcome the need for conversation immediately appealed to me!

Any general thoughts on the song now and whether you like playing it live?

DLG:  It’s an exciting song to play live, primarily because the fast bit is so frantic. Charles Layton [drums; The Wedding Present, 2005 onwards] agrees and adds: “I love playing this song live. It has a great driving and punky feel to it… from the two thumping drum hits at the beginning to the guitar driven verse and then the double time chorus. The bass intro back to second verse is a nice touch, too. An early precursor to Corduroy, I feel!”

Is there anything you would change about the song now?

DLG: From a boring technical point of view I think it should be in a slightly higher key because the vocal is right at the bottom of my range. The only other annoying thing is that the pop group Right Said Fred released a single the year after we released “Don’t Talk, Just Kiss” with exactly the same title… and theirs went to Number 3 in the British charts!

I remember hearing this song live for the first time. It was ferocious and hasn’t let up since. Do you deliberately play it as aggressively as possible knowing it will generate a massive physical response?

DLG: It’s not played like that just to generate a response, no… it’s just that a certain amount of aggression is required for the playing of some Wedding Present songs… and this definitely falls into that category!

Did a specific incident lead to this song? Some of the lines seem so spot-on that I can’t imagine any of it being ‘made-up’. Lines about missing trains and waking up “near you” put this in the sometimes-rare category of ‘Romantic Songs’. Do you find it as easy to write such happy, thrilling lyrics as this compared to the more painful, angst-ridden ones?

DLG: I find it difficult to write any kind of lyric, to be honest, which is why I spend a long time doing them. If an incident in a song hasn’t happened to me directly I’m usually writing from the point of view of… if this had happened to me, what would I think? What would I say? What would I do? Etc. In this case I wanted the lyric to match the urgency and impatience of the fast section.

At the time it felt wasted as a b-side. I remember people thinking it should be a single before it appeared on the Brassneck EP. Any thoughts to it being an a-side?

DLG:  I think that any song that reaches a standard high enough for us to consider recording has the potential of becoming a single. I guess we just thought Brassneck was the more appropriate song for the A-side on this occasion.

The tempo change for the chorus was a first for you I think. Any idea what inspired that?

DLG:  When we are arranging a tune we will try countless different ways of playing it until something clicks. That kind of tempo change technique only suits certain songs, though… so we don’t use it that often. But it when it does work it can really enhance an arrangement.

Official Lyrics:

He didn’t see me
He sort of looked uneasy but I’m sure he didn’t guess
Oh, he’s never liked me
And, yes, OK… it might be a bit better if you left
Oh, was it me who said that?
No please, come straight back
You’ve got to stay with me somehow
Well, say you missed your train
What have you got to gain by leaving here right now?

If you’re worried he’s so near you might as well go back
You were never here, oh, why would I say that?
Look, everybody lies about this
Don’t talk, just kiss!

If you’re worried he’s so near you might as well go back
You were never here, oh, why would I say that?
Look, everybody lies about this
Don’t talk, just kiss!

I want to wake up near you
Oh, yes, of course I hear you but you’re just off back to row
Well, put yourself above him
Look… if you really loved him I don’t think you’d be here now
Oh, come on, what do you care?
He’s probably not even there
Oh, yes, I’m sure he’d sit and wait|
It’s just whenever you touch…
Oh, God, I want you so much
And you can’t say it’s too late

If you’re worried he’s so near you might as well go back
You were never here, oh, why would I say that?|
Look, everybody lies about this
Don’t talk, just kiss!

If you’re worried he’s so near you might as well go back
You were never here, oh, why would I say that?
Look, everybody lies about this
Don’t talk, just kiss!

Don’t talk, just kiss
Don’t talk, just kiss
Don’t talk, just kiss
Don’t talk, just kiss

Written and published by Gedge. Gedge’s publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Music International.

Studio Versions:

1 – Brassneck EP version  released 05/02/1990  [RCA PT43404] TIME: 3:16

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass) and Simon Smith (drums) Engineer: Steve Albini;  Mastered by: Miles Showell

Live Versions:

1 – Shepherd’s Bush Welcomes released 2007 [SECRET RECORDINGS CRIDEBI] TIME: 3:26

Recorded 20/11/2005 at Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass); Simon Pearson (drums) Mixed & mastered: Roger Lomas; Live Sound Mixed: Christopher McConville

2008-03-04_brass

Shepherd's Bush Welcomes

Live:

Played regularly from 1989 to 1991 and then on and off since the reformation in 2005. In 1989, it often opened the shows such was its popularity.
It was finally officially released as a live version in 2007 on the Shepherds Bush Welcomes cd [Secret Records Limited ‎– CRIDE81] plus there’s the appearance on the video Spunk which combined live performances with promo videos (See below).

Video: 

From Spunk:

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