Category Archives: Bizarro

Be Honest

Lyrics:

This is all because you didn’t like my mam
Well, I’m afraid I can’t get born again
Oh, it’s not just me who’s changed

And can you tell me what it is you think I said?
And are you sure that it’s not just in your head?
And when was this anyway?

And if we’re really, really going to be honest, we might as well be brief

And, by the way, I got your little
Along with a dryness in my throat
When I saw that it came from you

Oh, was it really too hard to tell me to my face that you don’t long for my embrace
The way you used to do?

And if we’re really really going to be honest, we might as well be brief

Bewitched

Lyrics:

I’m not sure and I’m not asking but I thought I heard you say: “I just walked past him”
But why can I never do anything before you go?
I don’t know

And outside, the streets are empty; there was no time then and now there’s plenty
Oh, why do I never get the chance to say a word when you’re on your own?

If there’s nothing that I want more, why do my steps get this small when I reach your front door?
And I wait outside for you to come back out and your light goes out

You don’t know me but I’m still here and, God, the last time I saw you, you were, oh, this near
And there’s a thousand things I wished I’d said and done but the moment’s gone

Granadaland

Lyrics:

Can’t you come up with something better than that?
Oh, I think I’d be more angry if your answers weren’t so daft!
Oh, you know I could, but do you really think I would?
When you go up to Granadaland on Sundays

Sally told me that you’re practically kissing his feet
Oh, but he hasn’t got a car and so your list of names brought you to me
Anda friend in need is a pest indeed
When she uses everybody in the way that you do

You know you’re breaking my heart
I can’t bear the thought of us being apart
You know you’re breaking my heart
I can’t bear the thought of us being apart

Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow, if you can spare me the time
Oh no, of course I didn’t mean it, I still keep hoping you’ll be changing your mind
Okay your choice is clear, but, please, anywhere but here
And stop trying to tell me that you know how I feel

You know you’re breaking my heart
I can’t bear the thought of us being apart
You know you’re breaking my heart
I can’t bear the thought of us being apart

What Have I Said Now?

Lyrics:

About what I said just before, you know, your clothes on the floor
I never meant to hurt you
I got carried away; I guess I’ve had a long day
Look, I’d sooner die than lose you over something like that
Oh, please, next time just shout back
And I didn’t say that I hate you
I think sometimes you forget and now look how we’re upset
Oh, let’s talk about it later

Why can’t I ever say what I mean?
Why can’t I ever say what I mean?
Oh

Oh no, I don’t know her name and no, it’s not just the same
I just thought she looked quite pretty
What do you want me to do, smile at nobody but you?
Well, if you’re going to be that petty
I’m not being unfair
Ok, I am, but who cares?
Well, now at least we’re talking
And what about all of those friends and all of those letters they send?
They can’t all be that boring

Why can’t I ever say what I mean?
Why can’t I ever say what I mean?
Oh

Of course I take it all back
I never said that
And I think you know
I said I’m sorry alright?
Look, will this carry on all night?
Because I think I’ll go

Of course I take it all back
I never said that and I think you know
I said I’m sorry, all right?
Look, will this carry on all night?
Because I think I’ll go

Kennedy

Lyrics:

Lost your love of life?
Too much apple pie
Oh, have you lost your love of life?
Too much apple pie
And now Harry’s walked away with Johnny’s wife
You’ve got to pick some people up
You’ve got to let some people go
But if Lee’s name does come up, oh, well I really want to know
Because everybody loves a TV show

Lost your love of life?
Too much apple pie
Oh, have you lost your love of life?
Too much apple pie
And now Harry’s walked away with Johnny’s wife
You’ve got to pick some people up
You’ve got to let some people go
But if Lee’s name does come up, oh, well I really want to know
Because everybody loves a TV show

Lost your love of life?
Too much apple pie
Oh have you lost your love of life?
Too much apple pie
And now Harry’s walked away with Johnny’s wife
Ah

Thanks

Lyrics:

I bumped into Joe on Victoria Road
And he told me something about last weekend
He knows your new boyfriend
He said he saw it coming
And those letters I wrote
So now I know what you do with them
Well of course he looked
You sliced me up and then showed it to him

He’s changed around the posters on your wall
And finished all but one glass of your wine
His head’s been on the pillows that I bought
And now he’s seen me say “I love you” all those times

And the old photos in those silly clothes
There must be much more
God, the poems I sent and that massive dent I left in your door
I don’t want them back, you can burn the lot
I just feel betrayed
Well it’s been this long and all the flesh has gone but the bones remain

He’s changed around the posters on your wall
And finished all but one glass of your wine
His head’s been on the pillows that I bought
And now he’s seen me say “I love you” all those times

I still can’t get mad at you, no matter how I try
I still can’t get mad at you, no matter how I try

No

Lyrics:

Why can’t you pick up the telephone?
Oh, I know that you’re at home
I’m really past caring how you think
I just want to know about him

And you’re so right, they don’t miss a thing round here
And how do you think I feel?
Oh, you can try but you’re not getting out that way
You’re just as much to blame

And if it didn’t mean a thing
And you’ve told him to go
And if you’re as sorry as you say
Why didn’t you just say no?

It’s strange that this room’s so different now
Oh I didn’t come to row
It’s just this razor; he’s left it on your shelf
I’ll throw it out myself

And if it didn’t mean a thing
And you’ve told him to go
And if you’re as sorry as you say
Why didn’t you just say no?

Crushed

Lyrics:

Somewhere, sometime, I’ve got to say this somehow
Oh no, it’s fine, I couldn’t face it just now

Oh, oh, please don’t use that voice, I think I’ve made my choice
I’d change it if I could
Oh, you know I’m crushed inside, but goodness knows I’ve tried
I think I’ve had enough

Oh no, I swear. there’s no one else I promise
The ‘phone? Up there
But please don’t leave here like this

Oh, oh, please don’t use that voice, I think I’ve made my choice
I’d change it if I could
Oh, you know I’m crushed inside, but goodness knows I’ve tried
I think I’ve had enough

You’re late, been where?
Worried sick about you
All right, take care
I’m sorry that I hurt you

Oh, oh, please don’t use that voice, I think I’ve made my choice
I’d change it if I could
Oh, you know I’m crushed inside
Goodness knows I’ve tried
I think I’ve had enough
Ah

Brassneck

It’s kind of an odd thing for me to write this entry. Brassneck is the song that epitomises my love for The Wedding Present more than any other song. To try and sum it up in mere words is very difficult. So I will keep it simple.

The first time I played Bizarro, I barely listened to the first track, so desperate was I to get to the others that I’d already heard live like What Have I Said Now? Seems inconceivable to me now but when a friend mentioned that Brassneck was his favourite song on the album I was a little surprised. The album version was great but the pace was a little pedestrian compared to some of the other tracks. Over time I started to invest in the lyrics a little more and realised they were hitting some pretty poignant personal demons right on the nose.

Interestingly (see Q&A below), David Gedge also thought the production on Brassneck could do with being beefed up. Having long-admired the American recording engineer Steve Albini, Gedge elected to make their first collaboration an EP with the lead track being a re-working of Brassneck.  The band and Albini would go on to work together again several times and it’s no surprise given the quality of that initial recording session.

The song was transformed into a powerful pounding beast of a record. Angry snarling lyrics dance on the edge of fizzing guitars and primal beats. The opening riff is one of indie rock’s most exhilarating. The angst-ridden rhymes burn with truth and pain. The song turns on a sixpence in the final furlong, spinning off into a dark moody coda. There’s a charge of electricity that flickers through every line and the song bows out on a desperate final line that breaks hearts.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the best song ever written.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

How did this song come about? Did you draw on one particular relationship for the lyrics?

DLG: As you know, I don’t discuss specifics… but I think we’ve all been in a relationship where the other person changes over a period of time and you don’t. I wanted to write a lyric which describes the way that someone can feel let down that the other person has changed. It’s not until the very end that you find out that that other person has ‘met someone else’, too.

Was the slowed-down coda always like that?

DLG: Yes, the end bit was always there as a respite from the muscularity of the main body of the song.

Did you realise how good that riff was as soon as you came up with it?

DLG: Ha, ha… well I wouldn’t’ve used it if I’d thought it was rubbish!

Do you enjoy playing it live? It’s certainly a favourite among fans.

DLG: Certainly… I think the tribal drumming really helps drive it along and makes it sound exciting.

This song, of course, has two pretty different versions on first Bizarro and then the single release. What were the reasons for recording it again?

DLG: I personally didn’t think that the album version captured the intensity the song had when we played it live. I don’t think the Bizarro version is bad, or anything… but around that time we’d become interested in the idea of working with the American engineer, Steve Albini, and so there was a feeling that perhaps we could re-record it with him as a way of seeing how an Albini / Wedding Present relationship might work. I think the Albini version of Brassneck added more colour and depth… and sounds more succinct than the Bizarro version.

Between the two versions you changed the final line of the chorus to “I’ve just decided I don’t love you anymore”. Why the change?

DLG: I never feel that lyrics are ‘finished’ and so if I think they can be improved, even after the song has been recorded, I have no qualms about changing stuff. In this case I feel that the alteration adds poignancy.

How did RCA feel about you releasing it as a single?

DLG: I’m not sure we ever asked them, to be honest. In The Wedding Present it has always been the band making those kinds of decisions.

I loved the artwork from this period of releases – how much say did you and the band have into that?

DLG: That was the period when we worked mostly with ‘Hitch’ who was interested in a specific style of graphic art. We felt that his style totally complemented and enhanced what we were doing and so he had pretty much free reign. I mean, he would show us stuff and we’d say “yes, this is great… not too keen on that”, etc., but, by and large, we all loved his work.

I may have mentioned a few hundred times that this is my favourite song ever, how do you feel when people say that about something you’ve written?

DLG: I obviously feel flattered. But then it’s also… kind of… just what I do, really…

Why were you so pissed off during that infamous Top Of The Pops performance? And… were you all equally as fed up filming the video?

DLG: I wasn’t! I was just following an old tradition established by some of my heroes… those punk bands who didn’t take Top Of The Pops seriously and who took the mickey out of the whole ‘miming’ thing. I started doing it during the TV rehearsals, fully expecting a producer or director to tell me to stop messing about but no one did. So with each run-through it became a little more… extreme, ha, ha.

The Brassneck video was the inspiration for the Top Of The Pops performance, actually, with the band looking bored and oblivious to the frantic, theatrical performance art going on around us. The two things aren’t that dissimilar…

Where did the odd title come from?

DLG: I’ve always been a fan of comics [to the point where I even have my own, now!] and Brassneck, the robot, was a favourite character of mine from The Dandy in the 1960s.

How do you feel about the version you performed with the BBC Big Band in 2009?

DLG: I love the sound of that version, even though I was nervous about singing it. I think of all the songs we collaborated on for that concert this works the best. It’s very Las Vegas!

Official Lyrics

No, I sent you that letter to ask you if the end was worth the means
Was there really no in-between?
And I still don’t feel better
I just wondered if it could be like before and I think you just made me sure
But then that’s typically you
And I might have been a bit rude but I wrote it in a bad mood
I’m not being funny with you
But it’s hard to be engaging when the things you love keep changing

Brassneck
Brassneck.
I just decided I don’t trust you anymore
I just decided I don’t trust you anymore

The first time you came over, do you remember saying then you’d stay for good?
No I didn’t think you would
Well we couldn’t have been closer
But it was different then, and that’s all in the past,
There…I’ve said it now at last!
You grew up quicker than me
I kept so many old things; I never quite stopped hoping
I think I know what this means
It means I’ve got to grow up
It means you want to throw up

Brassneck
Brassneck.
I just decided I don’t trust you anymore
I just decided I don’t love you anymore

Oh, I know you weren’t listening, were you?
Oh, just go, whenever you’d prefer to
I said it means a lot, when you use an old phrase
But then so what?
We can’t have it both ways
I know you’re not bothered are you?
Even so, I’m not going to argue
He won’t object; keep writing to me
Just don’t forget you ever knew me

Written and published by Gedge [whose publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Publishing BV].

Studio Versions:

1 – Bizarro version recorded 1989 TIME: 4:53

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Simon Smith (drums);  Chris Allison (producer) and Steve Lyon (engineer)

2 – Brassneck EP version  released 05/02/1990  [RCA PT43404] TIME: 4:19

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 – Montreal single released 13/01/1997  TIME: 3:56

Recorded 25/08/1996 at Reading Festival
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Smith (drums); Simon Cleave (guitar) and Jayne Lockey (bass). Engineer: Miti; Producer: Sam Cunningham

2 – Cinerama – Live in Belfast released 06/10/2003 [TONE CD 015] TIME: 4:46

Recorded 05/09/2002 at The Empire, Belfast
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass); and Kari Paavola (drums).  Live Sound Mixed: Richard Jackson; Mastering: Guy Davis

3 – Shepherds Bush Welcomes…
released 2007 [SECRET RECORDINGS CRIDEBI] TIME: 3:42

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

4 – Live 1989 released 2010 [TONE CD 034] TIME: 4:41

Recorded 03/11/1989 at Batschkapp, Frankfurt
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass) and Simon Smith (drums). Live Sound Mixed: Joe Hickey; Mastered: Andy Pearce

5 – Live 1990 released 2011 [TONE CD 036] TIME: 4:00

Recorded 10/06/1990 at Maxwell’s, Hoboken, New Jersey
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass) and Simon Smith (drums).Live Sound Mixed: Joe Hickey; Mastered: Andy Pearce

6 – Live 1991 released 22/10/2012 TIME: 4:04

Recorded 30/11/1991 at Barowiak, Uppsala
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Paul Dorrington (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass) and Simon Smith (drums). Live Sound Mixed: Joe Hickey; Mastered: Andy Pearce

7 – Live 1992 released 2013 TIME: 4:16

Recorded 30/10/1992 at Paard, Den Haag
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Paul Dorrington (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass) and Simon Smith (drums). Live Sound Mixed: Joe Hickey; Mastered: Andy Pearce

8 – Seamonsters Edsel records re-release from 2014 [EDSJ 9006] TIME: 3:47

Recorded 19/01/1991 at The Brits, Wembley Arena

Video Versions:

1 – An Evening With The Wedding Present  released 2008
Live version – same details as Shepherds Bush Welcomes cd as above

2 – Bizarro – Edsel records re-release from 2014
Brassneck promo video & Brassneck Top of the Pops appearance (27/09/1991) – see below

Brassneck EP
Brassneck EP
Bizarro
Bizarro

Live:

As you can tell from the number of live versions available, Brassneck has been a staple of the live set ever since its debut in 1989. Even when Cinerama were in full force, this song was one of the first TWP tracks that returned to the set. Generally, unless it’s an album-specific set, it’s almost unusual to NOT hear Brassneck played at a gig.

Video:

Please enjoy the marvellous video for Brassneck:

 

and here’s the Top of the Pops appearance recorded off telly by yours truly:

 

Take Me!

In late 1988 as The Wedding Present toured with some new songs that would become familiar on Bizarro, there was one oddity. Up until now their songs had lasted between three and four minutes. When Take Me, I’m Yours (as it was originally known before being changed as David Gedge kept getting told about the Squeeze track of the same name) was aired it was a seven to eight minute epic. Not only was the length impressive but the fact that it isn’t a ballad, is. For the majority of its life, it is played at the usual breakneck speed so all four musicians were physically shattered  after playing it. Why they put themselves through this torture for art, who knows?!

This was a lyric that made me feel gooey inside. I loved the personal little touches like “orange slices and that Fall lp”. The Fall are a bit of a love of David’s and other than the cover of Jumper Clown and the occasional impersonation on tracks like Sucker, this is the only actual direct reference. “Orange Slices’ of course became the name of a major TWP/Cinerama fanzine created by Darren Bugg which your author today wrote many articles for.  The line “And when someone brings up your name/I can feel myself begin to change” is such an apposite description of the frisson when you fancy someone that it just can’t be bettered.  I never liked the line about washing hair on alternate days though – who doesn’t wash their hair every day? The other most swoonsome line is “And oh that feeling/When your hand returns to mine”. I know girls won’t believe this but some boys really like holding hands too.

After the refrain of “you get lovelier every day” we enter an instrumental section which is just delirious to listen to, especially live. Back in 1988, this used to end the set before the encore. Yes, you heard me right, The Wedding Present used to do encores no matter what Mr Gedge might like to pretend to you now. ;) By the time it arrived on Bizarro it was over nine minutes long and sometimes at gigs has gone beyond that. It is the longest song they’ve created and therefore remains for many, their magnificent octopus.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

Infamously, it was originally called ‘Take Me, I’m Yours’ but you were reminded of the Squeeze song and so changed it.

DLG: Ha, yes… you know, I had totally forgotten about that Squeeze song when I was writing this, which is a bit embarrassing, really. Then afterwards I thought, well, it’s too late now… and does it matter if my song has the same title, anyway? Finally, however, when we came to record it for Bizarro I decided that it did matter and retitled it.

Any alternate versions that never saw the light of day? This could be lyrically or musically. Some versions have it as “Guess I might as well stay out here” rather than “Think I might as well stay out here”

DLG: I don’t ever consider my lyrics as being set in stone, to be honest. I see the songs as living things, if that doesn’t sound too pretentious! Sometimes I change words because I feel they can be improved. But other times I’ve probably just remembered them incorrectly!

What do you feel about it now? Do you like playing it live? Was it always planned to have a 6+ minute instrumental coda? The Bizarro version is 9:14 minutes but the live versions seem to vary from 4:30 to 9.

DLG: Yes, we’d always planned to have the long outro. I love the interplay between the guitars and the bass and the ‘big’ guitar tune that comes in just before three and a half minutes and returns later. I think there’s so much going on melodically that, even though it’s just three chords, it doesn’t get boring.

I think we were revisiting the idea we’d had previously on ‘This Boy Can Wait’ but with the notion of doing it… better. Occasionally, depending on which live set we’re playing, some shortening may be appropriate, yes.

What made you make this song so long?

DLG: One of my favourite ever pieces of recorded music is the live version of What Goes On? from The Velvet Underground’s Live 1969 album and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that that song was influential in the making of this one!

Do some people balk at the length when playing it live? It’s always been a massive live favourite but is this offset by the any ‘pain’ at playing it?

DLG: Not really… I mean, I think initially it can seem a little daunting… but I find that band-members are usually very keen to rise to the challenge. It can be especially tough on drummers, though. I remember when we were rehearsing for the Bizarro tour in Los Angeles, Charles Layton [drums; The Wedding Present, 2005 onwards] made us turn the air conditioning off so that we could experience proper hot and sweaty ‘concert’ conditions! That was a very good idea actually; rehearsing this song is a bit like training for a sporting event.

Is there anything you would change about the song now?

I’m not too keen on the little scream I do after the final chorus, ha, ha. And sometimes I think that the ‘Status Quo’ section is a bit silly… but then it works well as a respite before ‘the onslaught’ returns. And I suppose I quite like the fact that it’s a little tribute to a band who I loved when I was in my early teens! In recent years we’ve used that ‘Status Quo’ section as a chance to ‘take it down’ – as they say in the rock ‘n’ roll game – which allows the song to re-build better and heightens the impact of the following bit even more than it does on the recording.

As with so many other songs from this period, it has so many extremely personal touches of angst in the lyrics. How much is exact truth and how much was made up? For example a line like “Orange slices and that Fall LP” must be based on a real moment – how does that resonate today? Funny that Orange Slices was used by Darren Bugg as the name of the fanzine from the late 90s/early 00s. Was there a specific Fall album that this referred to?

DLG: I can’t remember which Fall album it was… but, yes, I do like throwing in bits of real life into the lyric from time to time… I think it makes a song more ‘real’. Orange Slices was a great name for Darren’s fanzine… and one I would never have thought of.

What was the book you were competing with? You keep asking her to put ’that’ down.  

DLG: No specific book that I can recall. I think I just put that in there as way of explaining that I felt ‘the object of my desires’ was being too… intellectual… about everything and that they should just throw caution to winds and run away with me!

Some of the lyrics combined with the vocal melodies in this song are just bliss. Lines like “It’s like a panic and a rushing sound in my head”, “And, oh, that feeling when your hand returns to mine” and “Can’t you kiss me once properly? Well of course I mean it” are all so full of bursting emotions that it’s hard to write about them objectively. Do those lines still make you feel how you felt when you wrote them?

DLG: Yes, it’s easy for me to recapture those feelings of desire and panic. They’re common emotions, aren’t they? I remember Peter Solowka [guitar; The Wedding Present, 1985-1991] thought I was singing about a ‘Russian’ sound in my head… or so he claimed at the time.

‘Take Me!’ is slightly unusual from this era in that it’s an out and out love song with absolutely no dark or negative connotations. When you write about the joyous moments of love and lust you seem to capture the perfect moments. Do you think about this sort of romantic perfection a lot? The final lines about “Warm hands and the things you say” is such a beautiful final image.

DLG: I think about every aspect of my writing a lot… that’s why it takes me so long!

Official Lyrics

I’ve spent all day trying to decide about the things that you said last night
Did they mean nothing or were they filled with hidden clues?
And can you really have stayed till three?
Orange slices and that Fall LP

I feel so lonely when I get back from seeing you
And when someone brings up your name I can feel myself begin to change
It’s like a panic and a rushing sound in my head
A huge weight pressing on my chest
And now I spend hours trying to look my best
But I still meet you the day before I wash my hair

Oh won’t you put that down and take me, I’m yours?
When will we have this chance again?
Oh, please just put that down and take me, I’m yours
We might never have this chance again

That must’ve been a knowing look, oh, when you moved to pass your friend his book
And, oh, that feeling, when your hand returns to mine
I think I might as well stay out here, oh but, can’t you kiss me just once properly?
Well of course I mean it!
I think about you all the time

Oh won’t you put that down and take me, I’m yours?
When will we have this chance again?
Oh, please just put that down and take me, I’m yours
We might never have romance again

Warm hands and the things you say
You get lovelier every day
Warm hands and the things you say
You get lovelier every day

Written and published by Gedge, whose publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Publishing BV.

Studio Versions:

1 – The Complete Peel Sessions recorded as Take Me, I’m Yours! 24/05/1988; broadcast 30/05/1988 TIME: 8:06

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass);  Simon Smith (drums); Dale Griffin (producer) and Mike Robinson (engineer)

2 – Bizarro version recorded 1989  TIME: 9:21

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass); Simon Smith (drums);  Chris Allison (producer) and Steve Lyon (engineer)

Live Versions:

1 – Live 1988 Disc 2 (Valencia)  TIME: 7:26

2 – Live in Leeds 2010 TIME: 6:25

3 – Live in Tokyo 2010 TIME: 9:14

220px-TWPBizarro
Bizarro
Complete Peel Sessions
Complete Peel Sessions

Live-1988-sleeveThe+Wedding+Present+-+Bizarro-+Live+In+Tokyo+2010+-+Sealed+-+CD+ALBUM-55095051N+ZPLXP4L._SL500_AA280_

Live:

Played a lot from 1988 to 1991 and was often the final song before the encore!  Was resurrected in 2006/07 and of course was part of the Bizarro gigs in 2010 onwards.

Video:

No official video so here’s a live version from 2010.