Convertible

Early in 1996, The Wedding Present released their one and only mini album. It was called Mini and the concept was a collection of songs that were car-related. The band were going through a change of line-up and were in a transitional phase away from the surf-pop of Watusi.

Convertible was the poppiest and jolliest of the six tracks on Mini. It was a tale of adultery enlivened by a delightfully cute duet with new bassist Jayne Lockey. As evidenced below the introduction of a permanent female member of the band led to several other more songs written with duets in mind but this was the first.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

Any thoughts on the creation of this song? Did the Mini songs come after the concept of the album was created or was it the other way around?

DLG: The songs were written ‘to order’ once we’d decided on the Mini plan. There are always musical ideas knocking around, of course… but, once we’d decided on the album title and concept, the lyrics and titles were shaped around that.

What are your thoughts on the song now and what you would change?

DLG: I think it’s possibly a bit of a cop out that, although the Mini songs appear to be car-themed, they’re not really! So linking ‘convertible’ as it’s meant in the lyric with a particular style of car is a bit of a tenuous link, ha, ha. But then, ultimately, it’s just pop music… and I actually think that this is one of our best pop songs ever.

It has such a cool feel… a really full sounding guitar because of the way it’s tuned… and a great section where the bass and guitar double the same riff. The Hammond organ part is the icing on the cake! And I love the fact that it’s just over two minutes long, too…

There were some female backing vocals by Amelia Fletcher on some earlier tracks but this was the first proper duet in one of your songs. Any story behind this and was Jayne Lockey already a singer or did she have to be persuaded?

DLG: Jayne had already been a singer in her previous bands so I don’t think she had to be persuaded too much. I’ve always loved male/female duets and still do… but it wasn’t until we had a permanent female Wedding Present member that I felt confident about writing one. I just didn’t want it to be a studio thing… or a ‘guest’ vocalist type situation. I love Jayne’s singing on this, though… it’s so charming.

It’s a very jolly tune, very poppy but the tale is still one of disappointment. Are there any differences to you when creating happy/poppy music compared to darker/rockier tunes?

DLG: It’s a different mind set, of course, but it’s ultimately the same process. There are countless diverse ways of writing songs… which is why it’s always an interesting challenge.

Do you enjoy playing it live? Not sure I’ve heard it much over the years even with all the female bassist/vocalists you’ve had.

DLG: My guitar part’s a bit tricky, which adds pressure for me when we do it live. But that isn’t the reason why it’s rarely in the set… because I don’t do the set-lists! No… I think it’s a great little song to play live.

Have you ever owned a convertible?

DLG: Ha, ha… no… but we did hire one in Los Angeles… a Jaguar, actually… for the ‘Holly Jolly Hollywood’ video in 2008.

Official Lyrics:

His

You know that I could make you very happy and I warn you now that he won’t call
Sure, he said he’d try but he talks so much crap!
He never means what he says at all
Oh… yes, her, I’m still with her
But, I guess, I’m always convertible
Just flick the switch and I’m yours

I don’t want a friend because I’ve got friends already
I just want to go back home with you
Oh, I won’t pretend because I’m more than ready
Oh, please say you feel it too
Oh… yes, her, I’m still with her
But, I guess, I’m always convertible
Just flick the switch and I’m yours

Yours
Just flick the switch and I’m yours
Yours
Just flick the switch and I’m yours

Hers

But you’re still with her
But you’re still with her

But you’re still with her
But you’re still with her

Oh, yes, I hear what you’re saying but I’m afraid you’re not staying
Because I’m not as naive as you believe
Oh, yes, I hear what you’re saying but I’m afraid you’re not staying
Because I’m not as naive as you believe
Oh, yes, I hear what you’re saying but I’m afraid you’re not staying
Because I’m not as naive as you believe

Written by Gedge / Smith / Belk and published by Cooking Vinyl Publishing.

Studio Versions:

1 – Mini version recorded at Rockfield Studios, Wales in Autumn 1995 TIME: 2:14

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Darren Belk (guitar, bass); and Simon Smith (drums); Jayne Lockey (additional vocals) Producer: Cenzo Townsend

Live Versions:

1 – The Complete Peel Sessions  released 26/03/2007 TIME: 1:56

Recorded 12/04/1996 at Metropolitan University (BBC Sound City), Leeds
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Darren Belk (guitar); Simon Smith (drums); and Jayne Lockey (bass, backing vocals)

2 – Mini Edsel records re-release from 2014 [EDSJ 9010] TIME: 2:06

Recorded 21/03/1996 at Shelter,  Detroit
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Darren Belk (guitar); Simon Smith (drums); and Jayne Lockey (bass, backing vocals)

Mini
Mini

Live:

As mentioned above, this song hasn’t had that many outings over the years. Of course in 2014, Mini was showcased by the band so it got a few airings then.

Video:

Fan-made video:

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