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Wet Wet Wet bass player: 'Why I love Coulsdon'

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HE MAY have been one quarter of an internationally-successful pop band, but not everyone in his adopted home town Coulsdon recognises Graeme Clark.

"Once I was in Waitrose and one of the people working there said 'Hey, it's Graeme from Wet Wet Wet', and the young checkout girl said 'Who are Wet Wet Wet?' It's usually people who are a little older that recognise me," he laughs.

Graeme may not be as recognisable as his former bandmate Marti Pellow – but certainly played his part in the Wets' chart domination, thanks to hits including Angel Eyes and multi-platinum selling Love Is All Around.

But when the group split in the late 1990s, Graeme swapped the bright lights for a quiet life in Coulsdon with his wife Beverley and son Alexander.

"I love living here," said Graeme, in his thick Glaswegian accent. "I think Coulsdon is a creative place for creative people. I love Art Rebellion, I love walking down the road and getting an idea for a song.

"I can come here to write it and shape it, and then go back home and record it.

"Living here you get the best of London and the best of the countryside."

Wet Wet Wet found fame in the late 1980s, with singer Marti Pellow up front and Graeme on bass and songwriting duties.

He said: "We had a relative amount of fame – we were doing well – but then Richard Curtis asked us to record a song for his new film, Four Weddings And A Funeral.

"I'm glad we didn't realise then how big it was going to be, because we would have felt we had to make this big song.

"Instead we just changed the chords of the old version, changed it a little, and we thought yeah, this sounds good. We never expected it to explode like it did."

The song Love Is All Around was the Wets' biggest hit, staying at number one for 15 weeks.

Graeme said: "It was so big, we were just in the midst of it and I don't think when you're in the middle of something like that you really realise what's going on.

"It's not until time moves on and you can step back and think 'Wow, OK'. We are still very close and have strong bonds; you can't go through what we went through together and not have that.

"I think the only thing I would change is I might not have taken myself so seriously; it started to become about furthering our career and money, when all it should really be about is music."

Now Graeme is making it about the music again, with his solo record Mr Understanding coming out last year, a new EP expected in March, and a tour booked for April.

He said: "Doing the tour last year was strange without the rest of the band. When we were doing the stadiums, it was great, but now I want something more intimate.

"It's so strange, because with the Wets I was standing to the side, three steps away from Marti who was in the middle, singing.

"Now, even though it's only three steps, it feels so strange and scary for it to be just me. But it's great, I love it, and I still get to play all the old Wet songs.

"I wanted to make it about the music again. Music is a very powerful thing and I think if you can tap into someone with your music, it can be very spiritual. I think I've gone back to it because it can be very addictive."

Graeme will be touring the country in April, and says he loves the intimacy of his smaller crowds.

He said: "I've had an amazing 25 years, I'm so lucky and blessed to be able to make music and have my hobbies.

"I get to use my telescope at home, and here in Coulsdon there isn't much light pollution, so that's great fun." Wet Wet Wet are from Clydebank, Glasgow, and their first UK number one was a cover of the Beatles' With A Little Help From My Friends, raising funds for Childline. In May 1994, Love is All Around topped the UK charts for an incredible 15 weeks, finally being knocked off the top spot by Whigfield's Saturday Night Over the band's 20 year career they had more than 30 hits, including three number one singles.

For more information on Graeme's upcoming tour and EP, visit www.graemeclark.co.uk

Wet Wet Wet bass player: 'Why I love Coulsdon'


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