Tag Archives: Jayne Lockey

Spangle

In the September of 1994 I was on holiday, driving round Ireland in a battered old Capri with my girlfriend. Watusi was released while we were out there and not being able to wait until I got home, I picked up the cassette version in Dublin and spent the next week or so listening to the new album on a continuous loop. The songs were varied and sometimes challenging but the essential TWP-ness was there.

‘Spangle’ was a favourite right from the off with the otherworldly scratchy intro. Although I’d already heard the rockier version on the Peel show the previous Spring, this charming version had an affect on me. It brought out the yearning and the angst in the lyrics, it made me think of misty mornings and the pain in the heart when you wake up alone. It’s like a dream with its woozy Optigan and ancient sounding guitar but rooted in reality thanks to the ever-clever words of David Gedge.

There’s nothing quite so sharply painful as the feeling and words you get from someone that used to love you. You can tell they don’t care anymore just by their tone, their silence, their general disregard. But you deny it’s true, it can’t be. You push the matter, you ask again and again and then they finally tell you how they really feel and you wish you’d never asked.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

Most important one first, why is it called ‘Spangle’? I’m hoping it refers to the sweets!

DLG: Ha, ha… no, I was just thinking of something sparkling… maybe a piece of jewellery… that the narrator has, which belongs to the person he’s talking to. But I do remember those sweets. Surely if you were correct the song would’ve been called ‘Spangles’, though! There’s actually a Fall song called ‘It’s A Curse’ which does include a reference to those sweets, by the way.

I know that originally you planned for the ‘rock/electric’ version to be on Watusi and then you changed your mind and put the ‘acoustic’ version on there instead. Can you explain what lead to that decision?

DLG: We wrote and arranged the songs for the Watusi sessions in the usual way but in the back of our minds we had vague plans for recording alternate versions to use as B-sides for singles, etc. We were thinking of the usual ‘acoustic versions’ – basically recording them with acoustic guitars, drums played with brushes, stuff like that – but we hadn’t counted upon the genius of the producer, Steve Fisk! As well as being a keyboard player himself, Steve has an extensive knowledge of keyboards and synthesizers going back to early Rock ‘n’ Roll. And one of the instruments he introduced us to was the ‘Optigan’. They were made by a subsidiary of the toy manufacturer, Mattel, in the early 70s and got the name because the sounds came from pre-recorded optical soundtracks that came on discs. It had such a beautiful, haunting sound that we immediately wanted to experiment on a song and ‘Spangle’ seemed the obvious choice.

I love both versions but do you have a preference? The version on Watusi certainly helps make the album more eclectic and different from previous albums, which I know is always an aim.

DLG: It’s hard to say which version I prefer because although the electric version totally works as a rock song [I especially like the end section with the slide on the bass and the faded up guitar] the Optigan version has a poignancy that complements the lyric. Like you say, I’m always looking to push the band into different musical landscapes and I think once we’d come up with the new arrangement for ‘Spangle’ using the Optigan I don’t think there was any way that the original version was going to end up on the album!

How much of the Watusi version was down to you and the band and how much was Steve Fisk’s influence? I believe that’s him playing the Optigan at the start and during? Is that him on piano/keys at the end as well?

DLG: I can’t remember who played what! However, it could quite easily have been one of the band playing the Optigan because extensive keyboard skills are not required! It’s more a case of pushing buttons that operate the discs! But obviously that version of the song would never have existed had it not been for Steve so, yes, he was hugely influential.

How was the scratchy vinyl sound created?

DLG: That’s the sound of the actual discs. They’re from the early 1970s, remember. They get dirty and scratched with use… just like a 7” single. I love it, though… I think it adds to the mournful feel of the recording.

You’ve mentioned before that this song is one of your favourites. Why?

DLG: Well, I’ve always been happy with the melody and the lyric but also working with Steve introduced me to the Optigan and other vintage keyboards like Mellotrons, Moogs, Vox and Farfisa organs and, ultimately, the idea of recording a different kind of music from just guitars, bass and drums. I think you could almost say that ‘Spangle’ was the birthplace of Cinerama in that respect.

The lyrics follow the conversational style for which you’ve become famous. When you write these, is the whole conversation in your head [i.e. including the missing parts from the other side of the row?]

DLG: Oh, yes. The whole thing is meticulously planned out. That’s why it takes me so flipping long!

I was amused that in latter years you corrected the lyric “I’m not going to share you with no one” to the more grammatically correct “I’m not going to share you with anyone”. However, the official lyrics in the recent Watusi re-issue still show the old lyric. Do you have any other tiny changes like this on other older songs?

DLG:  Ha, ha… probably. When I originally wrote that lyric I thought the ‘slangy’ version “I’m not going to share you with no one” suggested the narrator’s anger and frustration… but then when we played it live I thought it sounded a bit stupid. These days I tend to save the “no-one” for the final chorus but the ‘official lyrics’ should, I suppose, always be taken from the ‘definitive’ recording… which is the Watusi version in this case.

Official Lyrics:

I’m glad you found the time to ring
Oh, I just spent all day waiting
I need to know what’s happening
Well at least we both agree

I really don’t know where to start
Well, did you say you met some neighbour?
I guess I’m heading for a broken heart
Why are you doing this to me?

It’s all clear (I can hear)
And I’m not gonna share you with no one
Well surprise, I’ve got eyes
Now goodbye

How long have you had this planned?
Well I guess it shows how much you care
No, I understand
I just played the fool

Oh, sure, I’m going let you go
Well, I was wrong to ever trust you
But I don’t think that I’ll ever know how you could be so cruel

It’s all clear (I can hear)
And I’m not gonna share you with no one
Well surprise, I’ve got eyes
Now goodbye

It’s all clear (I can hear)
And i’m not gonna share you with no one
Well surprise, I’ve got eyes
Now goodbye

Written by Gedge / Smith / Belk / Dorrington and published by SM Publishing [UK] Limited.

Studio Versions:

1 – Watusi version released 09/09/1994 TIME: 3:11

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals); Steve Fisk (Optigan, keyboards, producer and mixer) John Goodmanson (engineer) [see DLG’s answer above as to nature of recording]

Recorded in the Spring of 1994 at Bad Animals studio, Seattle USA

2 – Electric Version (John Peel Session) TIME: 3:10

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Paul Dorrington (guitar); Darren Belk (bass); Simon Smith (drums); Mike Robinson (producer)

Recorded on 22/03/1994, first broadcast on 16/04/1994 on BBC Radio 1 John Peel Show

3 – Versions version TIME: 3:11

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Paul Dorrington (guitar); Darren Belk (bass); Simon Smith (drums); Heather Lewis/Carrie Akre (backing vocals); Steve Fisk (producer and mixer); John Goodmanson (engineer)

‘Rock’ version originally meant for Watusi

Version 1 and 3 are found on Watusi (Edsel Records reissue [EDSJ 9008])
Version 2 is found on The Complete Peel Sessions (BBC Records [CMXBX1447])

Live Versions:

1 –  1995 Phoenix Festival (acoustic version) TIME: 2:48

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals); Darren Belk (guitar); Jayne Lockey (backing vocals); Simon Smith (drums); Hugh Kelly Jnr. (keyboards)

Recorded at The Phoenix Festival, Long Marston, Stratford upon Avon on 14/07/1995, first broadcast on 15/07/1995 on BBC Radio 1 John Peel Show

2 – Live Tape 14 version TIME: 3:00

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals); Darren Belk (bass); Paul Dorrington (guitar); Simon Smith (drums)

Recorded on 17/03/1995 at L’exo, Rouen, France

3 – Cinerama : John Peel Sessions (Season 3) TIME: 3:16

Recorded as Cinerama by : David Gedge (vocals); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass); Kari Paavola (drums); Sally Murrell (keyboards and backing vocals); Rachel Gilchrist & Eleanor Gilchrist (violin); Sarah Harris (viola); Abigail Trundle (cello); Andrew Rogers (producer)

Recorded and transmitted live from Maida Vale on 09/01/2002 on BBC Radio 1 John Peel Show

Version 1 is found on The Wedding Present : The Complete Peel Sessions (BBC Records [CMXBX1447])
Version 2 is found on Watusi (Edsel Records reissue [EDSJ 9008])
Version 3 is found on Cinerama : The Complete Peel Sessions [BBC Records CMXBX1526])

Watusi

Live:

‘Spangle’ was played live in the Spring of 1994 in the months leading up to the release of Watusi and carried on into 1995. Cinerama incorporated it into their repertoire of occasional The Wedding Present songs around 2002. The first tour of the reformed band put the song back in the set.

Videos:

Cover:

In 1998, American alt-rock band Jimmy Eat World put out a cover of ‘Spangle’ which borrows from all the different versions in its tone.

[Special thanks to Tracy Hopkinson and Thomas (@scribbler81)]

Skin Diving

 

The mid-nineties were a time of flux for The Wedding Present but even though band members came and went, great songs continued to be written. Born in the same fire as the rocking tunes from Mini, came a few teasers from the next full-length album.

I remember seeing the band play at a record store in London where I heard this song for the first time. I recorded the ‘show’ on a massive camcorder and watching it back now, I remember the feeling that the new songs really stood out, full of energy and thrust.

It feels like a neglected gem these days, hidden away on what was the band’s swan song (or so we thought at the time). When I hear it live now, it still sounds as fresh as it did twenty years ago under the garish bright lighting of the Virgin megastore on Oxford Street.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

I recall this song along with Snake Eyes being previewed live alongside the songs from Mini. Was it always planned to be on what became Saturnalia? I guess there’s no car theme for it to get onto Mini.

DLG: Yes, it was always destined to be on Saturnalia. It just happened to be one of the songs written following the release of Watusi, along with Snake Eyes, Dreamworld, Project Cenzo, Real Thing, Sucker, Jet Girl, Big Boots and the six Mini songs. Some of my favourite Wedding Present songs are actually in that list.

Any thoughts about the writing of this one, what the rest of the band contributed? It was written around that brief period you were a three-piece with Simon Smith and Darren Belk. By the time you recorded it, Jayne Lockey and Simon Cleave had joined and Darren had left. Jayne provided backing vocals, any other changes?

DLG: Of the dozen or so songs in that list above, Paul Dorrington [the guitarist on Watusi] contributed to only a few… Snake Eyes, Big Boots and Jet Girl. After that Darren moved from bass to guitar but wrote the bass lines for these songs as well as his guitar parts. I think that actually worked very well. The guitar lines are pretty simple and melodic but I think they’re written to work with the bass… so on Skin Diving, for instance, you get this big, driving, rocky sound.

To me, it sounds like the narrator is trying to get back with his ex and this liaison isn’t nearly as irrelevant as he’s making it out to be. He hopes it will lead to more and maybe even hopes the new boyfriend will find out. He doesn’t plan to disappear at all. Am I right?

DLG: I can see how you’d draw those conclusions as the song progresses, yes.

Likewise, the line “Oh, so then we both agree that this means you must be still a little bit in love with me”, is that arrogance or uncertainty? Who is he trying to convince, himself or her?

DLG: Ha, ha… I think that’s for you to decide!

The song title, one assumes, refers to the swimming mentioned in the lyrics but there is a ruder meaning to the phrase. Were you aware of that at the time?

DLG: I was most definitely not… but it does sort of work in the context, I guess!

As I write this, I saw you play this song last night. It still sounds fantastic. Do you enjoy playing it live? I think it’s one that gets a crowd going even if they don’t know it as well as others.

DLG: I think that’s because it just ‘rocks’… for the reason I gave above. It’s simple and effective. The current band always enjoys playing it.

Have you ever been skinny dipping?!

DLG: Yes! Very liberating!

Official Lyrics:

I know you said not to call
Well, so what?
I’ve lost you anyway
But, darling, that’s not all
I’ve got something else to say

Well, you pretend that I’m not here
So I guess you’re hardly pining
If you want, oh, I’ll disappear
But right now the sun is shining

So come on, just this one more time, then I’m gone
Well he can’t expect you to stay home
This is summertime
Besides which, he’d never suspect you

Sure, just take off your things
Because this is such a cool place to swim
We should go skin diving and just forget about him

So come on, just this one more time, then I’m gone
Well he can’t expect you to stay home
This is summertime
Besides which, he’d never suspect you

I’ll do it if you will
Oh, so then we both agree that this means you must be still a little bit in love with me

So come on, just this one more time, then I’m gone
Well he can’t expect you to stay home
This is summertime
Besides which, he’d never suspect you

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

Studio Version:

1 – Saturnalia version released 24/09/1996 TIME: 3:11

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Jayne Lockey (bass and backing vocals); Simon Smith (drums); Cenzo Townsend (and The Wedding Present) (producers)

Live Versions:

1 – Detroit 1996 version as featured on Mini – Deluxe edition (EDSEL EDSJ9010) TIME: 3:00

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

(Recorded at The Shelter, Detroit on 21/03/1996)

2 –  BBC Sound City 1996 version as featured on both Mini – Deluxe edition & Complete Peel Sessions  (BBC, CMXBX1447) TIME: 3:18

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Darren Belk (guitar); Jayne Lockey (bass and backing vocals); Simon Smith & Chris Cooper (drums);

(Recorded at The Metropolitan University, Leeds on 12/04/1996)

395153

Live:

First appeared around the time of Mini in early 1996 and was a feature in those final years. Sadly it’s only appeared rarely since the reformation in 2005 but it’s currently on the set lists again in 2016 thanks to the upcoming Saturnalia tour.

Videos:

No official video ever made so here’s a recent live performance from the Indie Daze festival on 03/10/2015.

Skin Diving at The Forum, London

[Special thanks to Dawn Bellamy & John Marshall]

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: