The last time The English Beat released an album Time magazine named the computer its man of the year. Thirty-four years later, the next English Beat album will exist because of one. We’re referring mostly to the band—featuring southpaw guitarist/singer Dave Wakeling and no other original members—using Pledge Music to help fund Here We Go Love, its first album since 1982’s Special Beat Service. Already the album has well exceeded its Pledge seed-money goal, although Wakeling admits he takes issue with the collection process.
“Once you reach your goal, you get half of it and then you get the other half when you deliver the record,” he says. “That’s a difficult conversation because I was like, ‘no, that’s the amount of money you need to make the record.’ It’s a bit frustrating.”
Still, Wakeling says the band has nearly completed Here We Go Love, with an expectation that a first single (the leading contenders are the title track, “Every Time You Told Me” and “Redemption Time”) will drop some time this spring. They’ll tour, too, this summer, likely with a “big name” band that gained its popularity in the ‘90s.
The album was produced by Kyle Hoffman (who’s engineered albums for Rob Zombie, Bush and John Fogerty) at North Hollywood’s NRG Studios, and Wakeling says that a major hurdle prior to recording was determining what exactly an English Beat record-circa-2016 should sound like.
“I would like it to sound familiar enough to diehard Beat fans but also contemporary and ear-catching enough so that people who’ve never heard before could go, ‘oh, that’s good, who’s that then?” he says.
Also a consideration for Wakeling heading into next year will be his other enterprise, General Public, a band that formed when The English Beat originally finished in 1983. Originally the band featured Wakeling and fellow English Beat member Ranking Roger who, himself, captains a Beat of his own (without the “English” qualifier) in Europe.
“[Roger and I] had a nice conversation [when we were in Birmingham, England] and [General Public] was one of the things that came up,” Wakeling says. “I think there’s an interest in both of us doing something together. Maybe a safe meeting ground [between both versions of The Beat] might be to do some songs together as General Public.”
Wakeling is quick to say that General Public never officially split up, though it’s been 21 years since the band released anything. Wakeling usually plays at least two General Public songs when touring as The English Beat, including their biggest hit, “Tenderness,” which was featured in the John Hughes film Weird Science.
“All the members have expressed interest [in getting back together], at least to Roger,” he says. “They might be up for it. I was thinking that might be something we look at next year.”