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Norfolk Tourism Awards

Newmarket: Marti Pellow did some of his best performances to my mum’s cooker, Wet Wet Wet’s Graeme Clark interviewed

Funnily enough, Wet Wet Wet’s Graeme Clarke was back in his mum’s kitchen, where the band used to rehearse more than a quarter of a century ago, the other week.

“I was thinking back and I’m looking at the cooker thinking ‘Marti did some of his best performances to that cooker’ man,” he laughs.

The 18 months they spent there learning how to be a band sharpened them up so when they eventually did write a couple of decent songs they had the grounding to go out and play.

“In our day it wasn’t really a career choice man, it was more something you wanted to do,” says Clark, remarking how the musical landscape has changed; with college degrees in pop music and countless TV talent shows giving wannabe performers a leg up.

“We all had a love for music, we were pretty much the same age, we grew up and shared everything together; it was a pretty amazing story. The only time I get to reflect on it is when I do interviews. When I’m talking about it, it sometimes feels like it’s part of somebody else’s life.

With the World Cup still in full flow and Wimbledon just around the corner when we chatted, a good portion of our conversation centres around Brazil’s brilliance and Andy Murray retaining his tennis title. Shows what we know.

Clark, joining Marti Pellow, Tommy Cunningham and Neil Mitchell at Adams Newmarket Nights on August 15, says performing to large crowds isn’t dissimilar to, say, a football team.

“No matter how long I’ve done this... God man I don’t really want to remember,” he laughs, “you never lose stage nerves... getting in front of people. You kinda know what you’re doing, you’re prepared, you’re waiting to go out and kick-off. That adrenaline going through you is a nice feeling you know?

“There’s nothing better than standing on stage and playing some of your history, that really is great, it’s a blessing. I really enjoy that part of it... We write songs so as people can hear them. If you’ve got an audience to play to all the better.”

It’s been a wonderful trip for the band. Clark is both amazed and thankful they’re still out there and people are still coming along in their droves. Although not one for looking back, putting together a tour set list means reviewing your history. He enjoys going over the back catalogue, balancing which songs they want to play with the ones fans expect to hear.

“I think some (songs) have aged better than others but at the same time I think we did a lot of hard work when these songs were being created, it shows because they still sound pretty good today.

“I like the obscure ones, the B-sides, the maybe not so successful songs. That’s just as a songwriter, as somebody who’s grown up with all these songs,” says Clark, also a successful solo singer-songwriter.

“The big hits are great (but) I’m trying to talk the guys into playing the more obscure ones,” he laughs. “Unfortunately that’s not the way they want to play it man, but I’ll keep trying, keep pushing. When we go out, the majority of the stuff will be hits with maybe a few curveballs thrown in there but not too many.”

Last year’s Step By Step – The Greatest Hits featured three new tracks but the question on most fans’ lips is when will get a new album?

“I’m sick to death of greatest hits man... there’s been three or four in the last 10 years man,” he laughs.

“It’s time for some new music. It would be disappointing for me to say to you ‘no, we’re not going to do any (new) music’. We’ve talked about it, we’ve got two or three ideas laying there we need to go work on.

“I’m hoping next year we can do some new music. We haven’t written a song in anger for a long time, a couple of years anyway. That’s the lifeblood of a band, if you don’t do new new music than you’re a nostalgia band; not that’s there’s anything up with that. I like to see it (Wet Wet Wet) as an ongoing thing, a current thing - that only comes by making new music.”

Check out www.graemeclark.co.uk for more about his solo stuff and Wet Wet Wet’s latest tour.

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