Tag Archives: Chris McConville

Boo Boo

In the Spring of 2008 when I first heard El Rey, a lot of the album was new to me. I’d heard a few tracks live, notably, ‘I Lost the Monkey’ and ‘Soup’ during a small Scopitones forum group visit to Barcelona. During this time I was going through some difficult personal moments and I felt a little disenfranchised from the band that I loved the most. A lot of the tracks were hard for me to connect to. Even now I’m not sure if it was me or the music that didn’t feel right.

Certainly I know people who love El Rey and everything on it. It ranges from spiky pop to layered anthems. And if there’s one song that gets universal praise it’s the penultimate track on the album, ‘Boo Boo’. As I mention below in one of my questions to David Gedge, It has a gorgeous structure with several different sections that flow organically like the emotions that the narrator goes through during the course of the evening meal. There aren’t many lyrics but what’s there cover lots of nuance and hidden angst.

The creation of the song is described below by it’s co-writer Terry de Castro. It might surprise people, who think of The Wedding Present as David +3, how much creative scope his fellow band members have had right since the beginning. Terry has co-written ten songs over the years for both this band and Cinerama. She still occasionally tours as a member of the band and of course has a music career in her own right – check out her solo work here if you are unfamiliar with it. https://scopitones.co.uk/terrydecastro.

I don’t think El Rey will ever become my favourite album but there are songs and moments that hit the special heights that no one else’s music can. The beginning and end of ‘Boo Boo’ are in that category. I love the hope and expectancy that the intro brings. I love the burning urgency and frustrated desire that the epic closing section ramps up into. There is only one released version of this song. I’d like to hear a well-recorded live version, that captures the power that it has at a gig, one day.

Commentary from David Lewis Gedge (DLG) and Terry de Castro (TdC):

‘Boo Boo’ was co-written with Terry de Castro. What was the sequence of events in the creation of this song?

TdC: When we were writing songs for El Rey, our method was a bit different to what it became later on. It’s more organic now, with someone presenting a riff to the whole group and everyone working on it together in the rehearsal room. But our song writing method back then was quite meticulous and painstaking. We [meaning any band member] would come up with a riff, usually on guitar, and then convert it into MIDI [Musical Instrument Digital Interface] using a MIDI-compatible keyboard and then send it off to David. He would work with it and manipulate it, to put together a song, and then we would transfer the piece back into a guitar / bass / drums arrangement. For ‘Boo Boo’, I’d come up with a verse and chorus riff on guitar in Los Angeles and then I sent it to David as an MP3 and in MIDI form. He then brought the semi-arranged piece back to the whole group which, at the time, was Graeme [Ramsay] and Chris [McConville]and me, and we worked on it at a rehearsal room in Scotland. Since Chris was the guitar player then, I had to teach him how to play the actual guitar riff, which was initially a lot faster and much poppier. It sounded okay, but we started to wonder how it would sound slowed down, and it was a lot better, so we made quite a perky little pop song into a slow, epic… masterpiece. Ha, ha! No, seriously, it’s much easier to make a song sound good when you slow it down, for some reason, but this one really did lend itself to a slower and heavier approach. And we just kept heaping sections onto the ending, loving the slow build-up to the final crescendo. It’s great fun to play live for that very reason.

Is there anything you can say about the inspiration behind the lyrics? I love the details in lines like the “waiter’s stacking the chairs”; is this something experienced, observed or just made up?

DLG: As usual, it’s a mixture of all those things. I used the idea of the waiter stacking chairs in the background because I felt that it was quite cinematic.

I’ve never heard ‘Boo Boo’ used as a term of affection but maybe I’m the only one. Do you know anyone who uses this name or is it just your tribute to the old Yogi Bear cartoon?

DLG: I have heard someone using Boo Boo as a term of affection, yes, but the fact that it’s a Hanna Barbera cartoon character – although they spell it Boo-Boo – was always going to appeal to me and my never-ending desire to include those kinds of pop culture references in the songs!

The song structure is very interesting. It clocks in at nearly six and a half minutes, starting with a half-minute, glorious, crashing intro, like the excitement leading up to a date. The sections that follow have very sedate verses and anthemic choruses. At 3:45 we move into a ramping instrumental section that builds and builds and it feels like it will lead to something more but then it ends, almost like the end of a night that one hoped would lead to more and doesn’t. How much do you like song structure to match the emotional feel of a song?

DLG: I don’t consciously try to match the lyric with the arrangement of a song. I write the lyrics towards the very end of the song writing process, anyway, and the structure is usually in place by then. The musical arrangement probably influences the lyric writing in some way but I don’t think I would be able to describe how, because it’s different every time. Anyway, more often than not, I’m more satisfied when a ‘happy’ lyric is teamed with a dark soundtrack, for example. Or vice versa.

What lead to the positioning of this track on El Rey? It has all the hallmarks of a traditional final track but you decided to follow it up with the more atypical ‘Swingers’.

DLG: We have a history of doing that, though, don’t we? Even though we never play encores live, some of the albums have an extra atypical track added on, to follow what would you’d think would be the more obvious LP closer. We have ‘You Can’t Moan, Can You?’ following ‘Anyone Can Make A Mistake’ on George Best, ‘Be Honest’ following ‘Take Me!’ on Bizarro and ‘Hot Pants’ after ‘Catwoman’ on Watusi. I guess you could put it down to non-atypical Wedding Present contrariness!

The delicacies of the studio version are replaced with more power when played live. Are you happier with the studio version or when you play it live?

DLG: Is it that much different?! It’s not meant to be. We usually try to replicate the live version in the studio and listening to the album now that version seems to build nicely. The idea is that the drama heightens throughout the end section as the intensity increases. I think that outro is one of my favourite ever bits of Wedding Present music so I love playing it, even though my part is quite challenging!

Official Lyrics:

Well yes, it’s late; the waiter’s stacking the chairs
But, never the less, just wait; I don’t think he really cares
And if we leave now I’ll be kicking myself all week because we get so few chances to talk just like this
And I would regret just saying: “See you,” because this is something that I really miss
So I aim to detain you for as long as I dare

You just don’t get it at all, do you?
Boo Boo!
The reason I call is that I still love you

Your eyes are glistening as you fill my glass to the brim and, though I despise listening to you talk about him, seeing you being with that man is much better than not seeing you at all
And you can’t leave
Not when we’ve been having such a ball

You just don’t understand, do you?
Boo Boo!
That tonight was all planned because I still love you

You just don’t get it at all, do you?
Boo Boo!
The reason I call is that I still love you

Written and published by Gedge / de Castro [whose publishing is administered outside of the Eire and The United Kingdom by Kobalt Music except for in Canada and The United States Of America, where it is administered by Superior Music].

Studio Version:

1 – El Rey version recorded January 2008  TIME: 6:24

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Christopher McConville (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass) and Graeme Ramsay (drums) Steve Albini & Pete Magdaleno (producers)

 

Live Versions: none

Live:

‘Boo Boo’ wasn’t played live until several months after the release of El Rey. It debuted on 01/09/2008 at the Barfly in Birmingham as the set closer. It stayed throughout the tour that carried on until the end of the year. It continued as a fixture during the next tour in March 2009. it then disappeared from the set for nine years before re-appearing in March 2018 and was played on and off throughout the year with its last time out at the time of writing being 03/10/2018.

Below is a live version by the 2019 line-up of the band as recorded by John Marshall (who as of last night, the 06/04/2019, has now seen The Wedding Present 200 times. Well done Marshall!

What Did Your Last Servant Die Of?

It’s 30 years since I first heard George Best.  The whole thing was a blur. Both the album which rushed by in less than 39 minutes and the 30 years of my life since.  A bruising and occasionally joyous mish-mash of love, life and everything in-between. That’s the album and my life since.

There are times in your life when you stop and wonder where you are going and where you’ve been. When you wonder whether anything was ever worth it, whether your life has any real meaning. When you look back and count how many years of your life you’ve spent in a job or doing things for someone else’s benefit and for what? What did you get out of it?  Everything requires effort and all of us have to work you know. But sometimes you have to move on. Change is healthy, change is good. Time to make a new start.

Questions and Answers with David Lewis Gedge:

I know you don’t like to talk about specifics but does this song represent a real relationship and time that you can talk about?

DLG:  I think it’s well known that much of the subject matter on George Best is drawn from the period when I broke up with my first ‘serious’ girlfriend but I guess this lyric also touches on how I get annoyed with people who I think are being lazy! I think my parents are responsible for instilling some kind of ridiculously obsessive work ethic in me. The song’s title is actually a phrase my mum used to use when me, or my brother, would ask her to do stuff for us. When Graeme Ramsay was in the band he used to joke that ‘Of What Did You Last Servant Die?’ would’ve been a more grammatically correct title and I can never get that out of my mind, now!

“Well some of us have to work you know” – between University and being in bands, did you have any ‘real’ jobs? If you’d not become a musician, is there a job that you’d have liked to have done as a career?

DLG: I had a temporary job mailing out catalogues for a mail-order electronic components firm for a few weeks in order not have my unemployment benefit cut but I’ve never had an actual ‘real’ job, as my parents would call it, no. If The Wedding Present hadn’t’ve been successful I would’ve liked to have been a radio DJ, I think.

“Of course you’ve got things to wear!” – clearly you find sexual politics interesting, are you a believer in the ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ school of psychology that thinks the sexes are very different in how they approach situations and solve differences?

DLG: Yeah… I’m fascinated by the differences between the genders and the efforts to determine how much of it is nature and how much of it is nurture. I suppose the mathematician in me appreciates seeing behaviour defined by sets of rules but when I’m investigating relationships during lyric writing that rule book is often thrown out of the window. Whatever the reasons for it, I do feel that men and women are generally quite different, yes.

You’ve mentioned how George Best is just one theme/speed/dimension but some live performances change the dynamic and make this track almost sound mellow in comparison to the others. How changeable is this in a live environment?

DLG: Well, we wouldn’t change it consciously to play it live… unless there was a specific reason to do so. I can see why this one might appear laid back compared to some of the other, more frenzied, George Best tracks but it’s actually quite a strenuous one to play live, for me, because, for much of the song, I’m singing and playing a very fast strummy rhythm guitar at the same time. So mellow is the last word I’d use to describe it! Good job it’s only two and a half minutes long, then…

On the album, the song fades up and is placed between two upbeat/frantic songs in ‘Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft’ and ‘Don’t Be So Hard’. What was the thought behind such production and sequencing decisions?

DLG: Sequencing an album can be difficult. You need opening and closing tracks and then you aim to create a flow and momentum between them. And it doesn’t always make sense to increase variety by having a fast one followed by a slow one or a mellow one after a frantic one because that can sometimes sound disjointed. There’s a real skill to it, I think, and I remember having endless conversations about the sequencing of George Best during the album mix.

On the Swedish radio session version from 1988 included on the Edsel Records version (disc two), what is you say at the end of the track? Is it in Swedish?

DLG: Yes, it is… but I can’t remember what I was saying and I can’t translate it because I don’t speak Swedish!

Did you enjoy re-recording this and the other tracks on George Best 30 with Steve Albini?

DLG: I wouldn’t say ‘enjoy’ in as much as I don’t really do any of this for fun, ha, ha… but it was certainly interesting to re-interpret the songs with a group of musicians who were different from the people who originally recorded it. There was a definite attempt at re-invention coupled with a desire to honour the original album. We actually played it a lot quicker than the original, which is hard to believe. It’s also interesting that George Best 30 features the band playing completely live in the studio and being recorded onto tape… whereas the original involved drum programming, sequencing and sampling! So, weirdly, the recording techniques used on the new version actually predate those on the 1987 one!

Lyrics:

Is that a letter you’re hiding from me?
Well I think I’m being used again
Let me open it and see
That’s not what I wanted to hear
There’s a time and place for everything and that time is coming near

Do you have to spend so much time on your hair?
Well couldn’t you started earlier?
Of course you’ve got things to wear!
I didn’t pick up your coat on the way
Well some of us have to work you know
Have you been sitting there all day?

All that I’ve done for you
After all that I have done for you

All that I’ve done for you
After all that I have done for you

Written and published by Gedge [whose publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Kobalt Music except for North America where it is administered by Superior Music]

Studio Versions:

1 – George Best version [Reception LEEDS1] TIME: 2:44
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass); Shaun Charman (drums); Chris Allison (producer)
Released 12/10/1987

2 – Swedish Radio Session version TIME: 2:39
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass); Shaun Charman (drums)
Recorded at BBC Broadcasting House; commisioned by Sveriges Radio and broadcast on Bommen programme on 27/03/1988

Versions 1 and 2 were included on George Best Deluxe Edition [Edsel EDSJ 9004].

George Best
George Best

3 – George Best 30 version [Scopitones TONE 74] TIME: 2:19
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Christopher McConville (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass); Graeme Ramsay (drums); Steve Albini (producer)
Recorded at Electrical Audio, Chicago in 2008. Released in June 2017.

Live Versions:

1 – Munich 1987 version TIME: 2:53
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass); Shaun Charman (drums); Mike Stout (engineer)
Recorded at the Alabama-Halle, Munich, Germany on 22/11/1987
Originally released on Live Tape No. 2 cassette, now available on Live 1987 [Scopitones TONE CD 025]

2 – Rotterdam 1988 version TIME: 2:47
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass); Simon Smith (drums); Mike Stout (engineer)
Recorded live at VPRO’s Party Doctrine, Rotterdam, The Netherlands on 30/03/1988
Originally released on Live Tape No. 3 cassette, now available on George Best Deluxe Edition and Live 1988 [Scopitones TONE CD 033]

3 – London Town and Country Club 1988 version TIME: 2:15
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass); Simon Smith (drums)
Recorded live at the Town and Country Club, London, UK for BBC Radio 1 on 11/10/1988
Available on George Best Deluxe Edition

4 – Valencia version TIME: 2:19
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass); Simon Smith (drums); Joe Hickey (engineer)
Recorded at The Arena, Valencia, Spain on 18/11/1988
Available on Live 1988

5 – Dublin 2007 version TIME: 2:11
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Christopher McConville (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass); Graeme Ramsay (drums)
Recorded at the Village, Dublin, Ireland on 23/11/2007
Available on Live 2007 [Scopitones TONE 30]

Live 1987
Live 1988

Video:

The above mentioned Live 2007 is both a CD and DVD of the Dublin concert so there’s a live performance on there.
Here’s a nice fan-made video though with footage of George Best and the (misspelled) lyrics:

And here’s a nice acoustic performance of the track from 2007:

Live: 

The song first appeared in the October of 1987 during the tour to launch George Best. and was a staple of the set through to the end of 1988. It then disappeared along with most of that album until the 20th anniversary tours in 2007. Other than some short runs in the set in both 2010 and 2013, it didn’t fully return again until 2017 for the GB30 tour.

[Thanks to Ben Cleverley for the suggestion]

Perfect Blue

2005 saw the rebirth of The Wedding Present. For some, including, it seemed, the band itself, there was little difference in the semantics. As Shakespeare wrote “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” but there was something special, something primal and tribalistic that was awoken when that change happened. The band from my younger years were back – even though they’d never really gone away.

On that return tour that would last 16 months, the band decided to end their set with the song that was ending the new album, Take Fountain. It was a beautiful song – a love song without any irony or bitter sweet taste. Just a song of innocent, wide-eyed devotion, pure and simple.  The lyrics include touches of lump-in-the-throat deprecation (“I’m not sure just what I did to deserve you”) and deadpan humourless conviction (“Because, when I’m away from you, it’s like something’s missing/That sounds drippy but I swear it’s true”). David Gedge even drops his voice to speak that middle phrase – just to emphasise how much she, and therefore the song, mean to him. As alluded to below, this song is real, it was not written for the sake of a needing a ballad to close an album, it’s from the heart. And as anyone who has ever been in love (or maybe still is) knows, when you feel this way, you don’t care who knows about it and you don’t care how it might look.

The song begins quietly with just guitar and vocal, with an aching silence after the “you’re staring” line. On the album, it gently builds picking up instruments along the way until by the halfway point, strings and horns are joining in. It ends in a gorgeous crescendo of noise that stays with you even after the needle lifts from the groove. Live, the song took on another life. Occasionally the band would attempt to mimic the orchestral feel of the original but most of the time, they set aside those thoughts and just filled the gap with guitars. Lots of noisy guitars. So, for many of the gigs in that period (and I went to a lot of them), the sets ended with several minutes of heart-surgingly powerful guitars. Gedge and co would take the song up several ratchets in their attempts to burst our eardrums and twang at our heart-strings. At the end of each gig, the fans were left exhausted but with massive smiles on their faces. Perfect.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

This debuted live as a Cinerama song in 2003. Did it go through any changes between when it was written and when it appeared on Take Fountain?

DLG: No, because, as you know, when we started Take Fountain we all thought we were making the fourth Cinerama album and so that’s how it was recorded. I think we decided it was actually going to be a Wedding Present album during the mixing.

I think most people assume this song was written about your now-wife Jessica. Can you break your usual wall and say if that’s so? If yes, what does she think about having such a beautiful love song written about her?

DLG: I will just say that Take Fountain is one of the two most ‘personal’ albums I’ve written… the other being George Best. Take Fountain essentially tells the story of the end of one relationship and the start of another and Perfect Blue, along with its ‘sister’ song, Queen Anne are the optimistic closing tracks at the end of what is otherwise quite a melancholy journey.

The lyrics (especially the last verse), as are often the case, suggest a lot of self-deprecation. Is that really how you are as I find people have very differing opinions on your real personality?

DLG: Ha, ha… maybe I’m just a complex kinda guy. Talking of the lyrics… when we were sound checking this song at The Leadmill in Sheffield once the monitor engineer came over to me after I’d done the spoken “it’s like something’s missing” line in the second verse and put his head close to my monitor speakers as we continued to play. He thought I’d paused during the singing to complain about the mix he’d given me.

Halfway through, the song changes into a long instrumental for around two and a half minutes. On the record it goes from guitars into an orchestral coda. Live, of course, it was usually just performed with guitars. Both versions are magnificent but I know that a lot of fans loved the live version as it allowed them to dance wildly in the same way songs like Kennedy and Flying Saucer did with their noisy outros. I think the album version sounds more romantic and the live version more frenetic and exciting. Which do you prefer? How much do you love playing it live especially the last minute with the extra roaring guitar? Can you try and get a live version onto a nicely recorded official release please?

DLG: It’s difficult to say which I prefer. In the studio you have the luxury of being able to add extra instrumentation, correct mistakes, fine-tune the production… and all that appeals to me because I’m a perfectionist! But then there’s nothing quite like playing a song live to ramp up the intensity and the excitement in the arrangement. What we’ve always tried to do in The Wedding Present, of course, is capture that live power in the studio. With a song like Perfect Blue we wanted to create a huge dynamic shift from the beginning, where it’s just guitar and singing, to the end, where all the guns are blazing but there’s still room for a solo french horn to cut through with the final melody.

As music lovers, a lot of songs get intrinsically linked with our own real life events and of course that is why we hold them so dear and feel quite protective over our love for them. Do you ever feel protective over songs, for example ones which may hold particular personal significance? Playing Devil’s Advocate here – would you let Adele cover Perfect Blue?

DLG: It’s an odd thing… I feel very protective of the songs while they’re being written but once we start performing them or recording them I do feel like I’m letting them go in some way. It’s as if by that point I’ve done all I can to prepare them… now they have to fend for themselves in the outside world! And I’m always interested to hear other people’s interpretations of my work, yes.

Official Lyrics:

And when I turn round to glance at you, you’re staring
And your eyes are such a perfect blue that I can’t look away
Did I get shy?
Maybe I didn’t make it clear, but, darling, I think I’ll always want you near

Because, when I’m away from you, it’s like something’s missing
That sounds drippy but I swear it’s true
You just appeared and, no, it wasn’t rehearsed, there really was no warning
Now you’re the first thing in my head each morning

And the more I have, the more I want you
The more you smile, the more I know that I’ll never make you sad
But I should warn you that I just might never let you out of my sight

I’m not sure just what I did to deserve you
I’m not complaining, God forbid, I just don’t understand!
Tell me why haven’t you had enough of me?
How have I managed to you make you love me?

The more I have, the more I want you
The more you smile, the more I know that I’ll never make you sad
But I should warn you that I just might never let you out of my sight

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

Studio Version:

1 – Take Fountain version released 14/02/2005 TIME: 5:31

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass and backing vocals); Kari Paavola (drums and percussion); Jen Kozel (violin); Stephen Cressswell (viola); Lori Goldstone (cello); Don Crevie (french horn); Jeff McGrath (trumpet);  Producer/Engineer/Mixer/(other instruments): Steve Fisk
(Recorded in the USA in the Summer of 2004)

Live Version:

1 – Live in New York by Cinerama released 18/01/2010 (Scopitones, download-only) TIME: 6:30

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass and backing vocals); Kari Paavola (drums and percussion)
(Recorded on 28/06/2003)

Take Fountain51UCbkBBLHL._SL500_AA280_

Live:

As mentioned above, the song started off as a Cinerama song in their 2003 gigs and by the time 2005 arrived and the band had changed name back to The Wedding Present and embarked on a long tour, the song had become a firm live favourite. It reappeared in setlists in 2007, 2011-12 and 2014.

Videos:

No official video for this song although in 2011 MVDvisual released Drive [MVD5208D], a documentary and live video collection of 2005’s North American tour so there is a version of Perfect Blue on there which isn’t on youtube. Instead, here are a few versions. First up is the album version with a straightforward non-video.

Perfect Blue – album version

Next is an example of the noisier, more guitar-driven live version despite a guitar change halfway through the coda by Chris McConville.

Perfect Blue – live, Hamburg 2007

Lastly, an acoustic recording of the song which has had a video created for it.

Perfect Blue – acoustic by Gedge/Cleave, Amsterdam 2004

[Special thanks to Tracy Hopkinson & Hick Hallworth]

Octopussy

As the epic that is Seamonsters draws to a close, there’s one last grab of the heart to come. The setting is Winter and snow is in the air  (I always think of this song when I see snow fall). As alluded to in my last question below, I started just drifting off into a soft layer of love when I first listened to this song. But over the years, the song has changed somewhat, the same way snow can turn dark and mucky, as different potential interpretations of the song came to light. Mr Gedge’s answer doesn’t really help us much.

I think I still prefer to think of how I did with those innocent ears from 1991: a beautiful poignant love song, stuck inside with my significant other, curled up by a fire as the world turned white outside.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

I’m fascinated with sequencing on albums. You have tended over the years to end albums with quieter/gentler tracks. Is this something you favour and if so why?

DLG: I guess it has been something of a theme, ha, ha. It’s typically very ‘Wedding Present’ to not finish an album with the obvious album-finisher, I think! So we’ve tended to have something loud and dramatic as the penultimate track and then followed it with a softer track to act as a kind of a postscript.

The title references, of course, the James Bond film of 1983. Why did you choose this for a title? What is your favourite Bond film and who is your favourite Bond?

DLG: I’m fond of referencing popular culture and in this case this film title just seemed to fit the song. I’ve always thought it was a bizarre title, actually; it makes more sense when you read the original Ian Fleming short story.

It’s as hard to compare Bond films these days as it is to compare Wedding Present albums! The style has changed so much over the years that it’s difficult to compare something like ‘Octopussy’ with ‘Skyfall’ or even ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ for example. Likewise, a favourite Bond actor sometimes means he just happened to appear in your favourite style of films. Until Pearce Brosnan got the job Roger Moore was always my favourite Bond… even though some of his later films weren’t always of the, erm, highest calibre. Having re-watched the early films recently I’m now thinking that Sean Connery really did set the standard of actors being how you’d expect a ‘Bond’ to be. Daniel Craig, on the other hand, I think is the least Bondlike of them all.

What do you think of cover versions of your songs in general? There’s a version of Octopussy on one of the Dare albums (the Orange Slices cover albums), did you like it?

DLG: I like cover versions of any songs as long as they add something to the original.

Similar to your recent Valentina release by Cinerama, I’ve often wondered what some Wedding Present songs would sound like in alternate versions. I’d love to hear Octopussy done in the way Mystery Date was, just vocals and piano. Ever thought about doing something like that?

DLG: I have, yes. As usual it’s just finding the time. I was inspired to re-record Mystery Date with just piano because I really enjoyed the version of Don’t Touch That Dial I recorded with the BBC Big Band in 2009 and I have definitely have plans to do more so maybe I’ll add Octopussy to the list!

The line about the snow at the start is so evocative – do you write this in Winter or were you just conjuring up this image in the middle of a heatwave or something? 

DLG: My lyrics are generally written over very long periods [in that I will note ideas down in my little book and then possibly not use them until I find the right moment, which could be possibly be several years later] so I’ve no idea when I actually wrote that down!

At the time of release I just listened to this song as being a beautiful love song. So many romantic little lines and a sense of blurry wonder. Many years later and the song became corrupted for me somewhat by fans mentioning that the lyrics sounded to them a bit weirder and perverse.  Specifically, the lines about “you’ve become my family”, “you don’t take away my hand like you ought to” and even, “you laughed and pulled your knees up to your chest” all could hint at maybe something a lot darker. Would you comment on this and let us know what the song is really about?

DLG: Nope. As you know, I’d rather the lyrics speak for themselves. I personally think it’s more satisfying for the listener if they’re not having their hand held. I don’t really even like printing lyrics on sleeves, although I’ve started doing that recently, of course. But that’s as far as I’m going!

Official Lyrics:

Some bits of snow still hanging in the air but that’s outside
Take off your clothes and lie down over there (oh, that’s just right)
I sat by this window and just watched for you (no, you weren’t late)
There was a thousand things I had to do (they can all wait)

You don’t take away my hand like you ought to
You’ve become my family
I don’t want to understand why I need you
You’ve just become my family

I lay down there and watched you getting dressed (it’s still so clear)
You laughed and pulled your knees up to your chest if I came near
God knows, I’ve always had to fear the worst (but not that time)
You brought me home and then you kissed me first and you were all mine

You don’t take away my hand like you ought to
You’ve become my family
I don’t want to understand why I need you
You’ve just become my family

You don’t take away my hand like you ought to
You’ve become my family
I don’t want to understand why I need you
You’ve just become my family

We don’t have to do anything
We don’t have to do anything except watch the leaves turning in the wind
Say what you want to say
We don’t have to go anywhere
We don’t have to go anywhere (let’s just sit and talk about the usual things)
I couldn’t move anyway!

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

Studio Version:

1 – Seamonsters version released 28/05/1991 TIME: 6:19

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

Live Versions:

1 – Seamonsters deluxe re-issue released by Edsel Records in 2014 [EDSJ 9006] TIME: 6:13
(originally issued on Live Tape 10 Uppsala)

Recorded 13/11/1991 at Barowiak, Uppsala, Sweden
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass);  Simon Smith (drums) Joe Hickey (engineer)

2 – Live in Leeds version released by Scopitones  (download only) in 2010 TIME: 6:55
Recorded 06/06/2006 at Metropolitan University, Leeds
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Christopher McConville (guitar & mixing); Terry de Castro (bass);  Graeme Ramsay (drums)
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Live:

 After the song’s debut in the live sets of 1991, the next time it fully appeared was after the re-formation in 2006. It was also part of the set in 2012/3. It also featured as part of the fabulous French Black Sessions in 1992.
Covers:
There’s a version by Midflight on the Dare 2 tribute album. Also, have a listen to this version on youtube by Janelle LaMarche
Videos:
10/01/2012 – Paris Trabendo
08/11/2012 – Liverpool O2
11/02/2013 – Sydney Annandale Hotel

Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Drunk

Around 2007 The Wedding Present started previewing songs live that would eventually end up on the album El Rey.  One of which was entitled Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Very Drunk  and featured the lines: “she spoke a line of Holly Golightly’s from Breakfast At Tiffany’s, she said “Don’t take me home until I’m very drunk””. I loved the song and soon after watched the film to spot the line where the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn said this dialogue. Shock, horror. These words were not what she said in the film. What happened next is explained by David Gedge in his Q&A below. Suffice to say for now, that this was the closest I will ever get to co-writing a song with the master.

To the song itself – it starts with a lovely breathy vocal “The heaven’s were alive with stars” before the rest of the band comes in. The cute, romantic nature of the song is highlighted from the second line referencing the film mentioned above. It’s all coy and delicate and gentle. By the end of the song though the narrator has been dumped again and he looks back realising that ‘love’ for one is just ‘like’ for another.

This could almost be a late Cinerama song with it’s  melodic guitar play courtesy of Christopher McConville. Nothing too extreme, just a playful bit of noise in the bridge but overall this is a story rather than an explosion. Terry de Castro’s beautiful backing vocals end the piece highlighting the painful, possible truth that maybe no two people can ever love one another to the exact same degree

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

How did this song first come about?

DLG: I originally called this ‘Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Very Drunk’ because it’s a line that Audrey Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, uses in the 1961 film Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Or, well, at least I thought it was…

Leigh Hunt, the author of this very blog emailed me to let me know that the line from Breakfast At Tiffany’s was actually “Don’t take me home until I’m drunk. Very drunk indeed!” Leigh thought that I’d changed the quote to make it fit the song but, no, I’d just remembered it incorrectly. Accordingly, I altered the lyric and consequently the title so that it was exactly as it was in the film. On the recording, after the ‘very drunk indeed’ line you can hear the sound of a squeaky-voiced little Japanese toy that we brought back from Tokyo.

What are your thoughts on the song now?

DLG:  I love playing this live. It obviously falls into the ‘poppy’ section of The Wedding Present catalogue, which is why we chose it for a single. But I think it’s a good pop song and has one of my favourite lyrics. My co-writer on this song was Chris McConville [guitar; The Wedding Present, 2006-2008] who’s one of the best musicians I’ve ever worked with and who has a real knack for coming up with some ingenious and catchy tunes.

Going to take a wild stab in the dark and assume you are a massive Audrey Hepburn fan? Is Breakfast At Tiffany’s your favourite of her films? Can you say what it is you like about her?

DLG: Well, I always like a good romantic comedy and Breakfast At Tiffany’s is one of the very best, although it’s totally different from Truman Capote’s original novella, which I also love, but which is considerably darker. And yes, of course, Audrey Hepburn is heartbreakingly cute in it! And there’s a Henry Mancini score, too, which is the icing on the cake…

It’s a pain that feels so real. Telling someone you love them and they reply back that they like you. Has it happened to you? Have you said that to someone else?

DLG: Without going into specifics… of course it’s happened to me! Hasn’t it happened to everyone?!

The song was highlighted on How The West Was Won with an acoustic version. Plus there was also a remix, something you don’t normally do. What was the thought process behind all of that?

DLG: I thought that the song would stand up to the acoustic treatment… they don’t always, it has to be said… so we did that… but then Chris, who’s also a recording engineer, fancied having a go at a remix, too. He called it the ‘Team Wah Wah’ mix after a comment Steve Albini had made during the recording of El Rey. It’s a pretty crazy version.

Any thoughts on the video?  Chris smashed a guitar – real or fake one? You all look pretty bored. 🙂

DLG: Well… it’s pretty boring making a video! You have to mime to the song over and over again, don’t you? It is a real guitar, yes… but just an old cheap one from a second hand shop in Bristol where we filmed the video.

The song sounds Cinerama-y in places and then occasionally a nice squeak of feedback comes out. Did any of this start as a Cinerama song?

DLG: No, it was always a Wedding Present song. We wanted it to build in intensity throughout, though… hence the later overdrive and distortion pedals. I think it sounds heavier when it’s played live.

Nick Hallworth asks: If the Holly Golightly quote was the seed for the whole tale, one wonders how long David Gedge sat trying to think of a rhyme for ‘drunk’. I wonder – did he consult another song telling a tale of relationship discord… ‘You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You’re Drunk’? Neil Tennant set the standard by coming up with monk, punk, sunk and junk.  Whereas David somehow managed to weave a tree trunk into the picture!

DLG: Ha, ha. I’ll have to listen to that song. That’s a great title. Well, I always spend ages on rhymes, far too long probably… but I think the trunk one works particularly well in terms of scene setting…

Official Lyrics

The heavens were alive with stars
She pointed out which one was Mars
Lying arm in arm against an old tree trunk
She used a phrase of Holly Golightly’s from ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’
She said “Don’t take me home until I’m drunk. Very drunk indeed!”

We talked about a second date
She said that meeting me was fate
And, though I don’t believe in that crap, I said “Yes”
We both knew where the night would end
But when we kissed, I won’t pretend, I still shook with apprehension, I confess

And then I said “I could fall in love with you”
But, as I recall, she said “I like you too”

And that little word was the warning sign
That little word meant she’d never be mine, as I discovered the next day
A text on my phone saying:
“I don’t know whether I mentioned him last night, but I’m getting back together with my old fiancé
I’m sorry, by the way”

And, when I think about that night, I wonder if perhaps I might not have done every single thing I could
But, deep down, I know I was blind; she just used me to make up her mind
But if I had to do it all again, I would

And then I said:  ”I could fall in love with you”
But, as I recall, she said “I like you too”
Yeah, I could fall in love with you
But as I recall, she said “I like you too”

Written and published by Gedge / McConville. Gedge’s publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Publishing BV.

Studio Versions:

1 – El Rey/How The West Was Won version recorded January 2008  TIME: 3:07

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Christopher McConville (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass) and Graeme Ramsay (drums) Steve Albini & Pete Magdaleno (producers)

2 – Team Wah Wah Remix (How The West Was Won) TIME3:44

3 – Acoustic version (How The West Was Won)  TIME3:33

Recorded by Ulysses Noriega

Live Versions: none

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Live:

The song was introduced throughout live shows in 2007. Since it’s release on record in 2008 though it’s rarely been played.

Video: (directed by Tim Middlewick)