Describe your time with The Wedding
Present in five words:
Four years in a van
Tell us why exactly you left the band
I had to get out of the van
In the first few months after leaving The Wedding
Present what aspects, if any, about being in the group did you miss most?
Nothing at all in the first few years. I sometimes miss the European and
American tours though. I loved playing gigs but the hanging about and
travelling between venues could get a bit tedious. It was very nice to
leave a freezing rainy Yorkshire on a Monday in March and by Wednesday be
in the south of France sitting in the sun drinking wine and eating stinky
cheese. Of course travelling around the USA was always pretty exciting
too. But then I remember what it was like to spend 6 weeks in a confined
space with 6 other tired moody people. In cold dark wet European winters
with no sleep...tour madness sets in.
Any regrets? Do you sometimes wish you were still
I regret we weren't more successful so that I could have bought myself a
huge house and a collection of cars and guitars. Not really, no regrets. I
was lucky to have done it at that time in my life, but I feel like it was
just something I did for a few years. It's not like we were some platoon who
all went to Vietnam together and got matching tattoos. Although I do wake
up some nights gasping, "The Horror! The Horror!"
Do you have a song, or performance that you consider
to be your defining
moment in The Wedding Present?
Performing 'Yeah Yeah Yeah' live on the 'Late Night with Conan O'Brien'
show at the NBC studios in New York was very much a once in a lifetime
event but, being British, appearing on TOTP meant more to me. Isn't it
everybody's dream to be on TOTP when you're a kid?
Do you have a favourite Wedding Present record that
(a) you played on, and
(b) you didn't play on?
(A) Probably Loveslave even though I freely plagiarised my guitar parts
from The Jesus Lizard and Fugazi. It was always fun to play though.
Sometimes I like Spangle, although most of it was played by Steve Fisk on his Captain Nemo-esque Optigan, I did play the keyboard arpeggio bit at
the end. That version of the song almost makes up for the production of
the rest of the album. That indefinable crapness of quality might have
something to do with the fact Fisk recorded the masters onto quarter inch
tape at 7.5 ips (inches per second, for those of you who are too young to
remember the days before everything went digital) instead of 15 ips.
Doesn't take a genius to see that it's going to be half the quality if
it's half the speed. There was a lot of communication trouble between us
and him. It's a shame.
The thought of which venue/festival performance sends
a shiver down your
When we did The Black Sessions in Paris live to an audience of 20 million
French people we were asked to play one of the cover versions from The
Hit Parade. We'd never played any of the cover versions live so it was
pretty nerve wracking. I had the chords of Rocket written down on a piece
of A4 paper by my feet and I kept imagining a gust of wind blowing it out
the window with me hopelessly watching it float down the streets of
Paris. I don't know whether the 4 pints of Kronenbourg beforehand helped
Tell us something that not many people know about
Telling tales on the internet isn't always a good idea. Not that I can
Have you been to see The Wedding Present or Cinerama
live since leaving
I saw TWP a few times after I left and I think I've seen Cinerama twice. I
would have gone to see TWP in Leeds this year but I'm too tight to pay.
What is your relationship with David Gedge like now
and would you ever
consider re-joining The Wedding Present?
I only ever see him if I go to see Cinerama/TWP, we don't have any contact
details for each other. I suppose that must be why I was never sent a
copy of The Peel Sessions CD or Hit Parade CD. Or knew about their
release until I saw them in HMV come to think of it.
Is there a Wedding Present to rejoin? It thought it was just Cinerama
renamed. I don't see why David doesn't just tour and record under the
name David Gedge, then he could play whatever songs he wanted. It's an
impossible task to reform TWP really, it became a bit of a revolving door
affair, unless you had about 15 people on stage.
What are you
doing now (what band are you now active in/what other career
do you have)?
After recording a Cha Cha Cohen album with Simon and Keith I took a break
from doing anything musical for a few years but last year I played bass
in Beachbuggy at The Bulldog Bash (The largest Hell's Angels Meeting in
Europe). I'm now in a band with Darren Belk called Walker. Apart from that I
make web sites and teach other people how to make web sites. There's just
not enough web sites in the world.
Have you got a box full of 'TWP stuff' in the loft?
Tell us what's in it...
Not a great deal really, I don't even have all the records I've played on.
Any chance of a Peel Sessions CD David? I've still got the original
artwork from the Hit Parade labels and a couple of t shirts. I took loads
of photos when I was in the band and I have a box full of them, which is a
really nice memento. And a video documenting the tour we did in Japan. I
also have a big road map of the USA I bought at the beginning of an
American tour, 1994 I think, where I drew a line on it every day to show our
route. Proof of the madness of our American booking agents! Minneapolis to
St. Louis in a day anyone? (650 miles in case you're
wondering, and I think Simon drove the whole way without stopping as far as
I remember, we just passed him sandwiches and coffee every 200 miles).
Paul Dorrington specific Questions:
How much influence do you think you exerted over the direction that TWP
took (sound wise) during your time in the band?
I suppose I had quite a bit to do with Watusi. A lot of the original ideas
for songs came from me, like Gazebo, Click Click and Big Rat. It is a bit
of an odd album but I remember we didn't want it to sound like any
previous TWP record, much as I would have loved to have gone down the
Seamonsters route again. We recorded several versions of the songs,
electric, acoustic, brass band accompaniment etc. and then had to decide
which version to use, and I really like the variation in sound we
achieved. I don't know how much of the sound was influenced by me really,
I was into the poppiness of it at the time but if I'd have stuck around I
would have wanted to play more discordant punk stuff. I was listening to
bands like Pavement and Drive Like Jehu and would have preferred to play
music like that. Judging by Cinerama, David was obviously getting more
into the lighter pop sounding stuff so I think I left at the right time.
Looking back, The Hit Parade...hit or miss?
Is that even an issue??!! Fantastic. We got in The Guinness Book of
records didn't we?
Although the series of singles was the main idea it was a shame that the
compiled LPs were a shambles. It would have been nice to have an LP of A
sides and an LP of B sides coming out after all the singles had been
released but major label employees don't think in the same way as normal
The best thing about it was doing TOTP. The set of Eastenders was round
the back of the TOTP studio so we drove our van round Albert Square. In
the true spirit of rock and roll, Keith and I wrote our names on the door
of the cafe.
What was your favourite a-side and b-side from the 12
Favourite A side: Either Loveslave or Queen of Outer Space. It was from a
great session with Brian Paulson who had engineered Spiderland by Slint.
He was an amazing producer/engineer and everything went really smoothly.
Because we'd been touring and rehearsing tons that year Simon, Keith and I
were able to record most of the tracks live, first take. It's a good
feeling being able to be that tight. Also we were recording in Rockfields
Studios where Queen recorded Bohemian Rhapsody. I think the spirit of
Brian May was in me.
Favourite B side: Has to be Pleasant Valley Sunday. Firstly because I got
to play backwards guitar like it was 1968 all over again. Secondly the
song became really popular in France so we got to do about 20 French
dates when we toured Europe rather than about 2 or 3, and I always really
enjoyed myself in France. And thirdly it was featured almost in it's
entirety in the penultimate episode of Dawson's Creek when Dawson finally
gets to make his movie. What could be better than hearing your own guitar
playing on your favourite American TV show?