Wet Wet Wet Through the Eyes of a Fan: Sam Celebrates 'The Journey' of the Scottish Icons...
"It’s hard to say what being a fan of WWW means to me but their music has always been a big part of my life. Their music to me is timeless and I will never tire of listening to it." - Sam
Hi Sam, Thank-You so much for agreeing to share your story as a Wet Wet Wet fan! Before we begin, would you mind introducing yourself to our readers?
Hi, I’m Sam and I live in North Yorkshire. I’m a 49 year old wife and mum of two grown up kids aged 23 and 21. In my day job I’m a primary teacher but I also run a business baking and selling cakes.
Today we’ll be discussing all things Wet Wet Wet and looking at the impact they’ve had in your life. Let’s start at the beginning of your journey; how did you first become to discover Wet Wet Wet?
I’ve been a fan right from the start of their fame. Back in April 1987 I was nearly 15 and at home watching TOTP with my 10 year old brother. The guys came on performing WIWL. I’d heard it on the Radio a few times and loved the song. But then when I actually saw what the guys looked like as well, that was it! I had to wait until that Saturday to go into Nottingham to buy the single, thankfully I’d been babysitting the night before and earned some pocket money. I remember meeting up with my friend from school outside HMV and telling her I was going in to buy WWW’s new single. She started laughing at me and saying “Eww, no” as she was into heavy metal. But she did save her Wets posters for me if she ever saw one in a magazine!
Looking back on your time as a fan, how would describe the role the band has had in your life and how has this evolved over the years?
Back in 1987 as a teenager, you never think that over thirty odd years later, the band you follow and love would still have a massive impact on your life. As a 15 year old, it’s the typical teenage crush stuff with the posters all over the walls but as you grow older and life takes you in different directions, it has definitely changed. I guess the Wets have always helped me through the ups and downs of life. Looking back there has been a Wets album to mark each significant stage of my life. For example HBTR was released when I was studying for my A levels and my home life was difficult with my parents splitting up. I was really struggling with my mental health as I was so anxious about getting the grades to be able to go to uni to become a teacher. Sticking on the album through my headphones in my room was a way of cutting myself off and immersing myself in the music. In happier times, PT came out when I had just met my husband and had started dating. It was the background music when he used to come round for dinner. Ten holds really special memories for me as that was my daughter’s “womb music” At the time I had a long commute to work and played the album on the car stereo. In her early days I used to put one of the Wets albums on as a lullaby to help her sleep, it did the trick! I don’t know what it is about the music, but it makes me feel good.
I listen to lots of different music but it’s always the Wets I like when I want to calm myself down. I get anxious quite easily and have lots going on in my life. When I’m at home baking cakes for customers I stick my Wets playlist on and the music instantly calms me down and helps me focus in the moment. I also do the same with all Graeme Clark’s albums.
One of the things that really strike me about the Wet Wet Wet fanbase is the friendships that have formed as a result. Can you tell us a little about the friendships you’ve made through the band and what these women mean to you?
Although I was a fan from the very beginning, I was very shy and introverted as a teenager. I didn’t go to any gigs and it wasn’t until I went to uni that I came out of my shell and turned into the more confident person I am today. I was overweight and because of this I couldn’t find nice clothes to fit me. As a result I hid away at home as I thought other people would laugh at me. My parents also wouldn’t let me go out to gigs anyway.
Social media has helped a great deal for fans to get together from all parts of the world and talk about the band and their music. I’ve made lots of lovely friends through the band and in particular I have three ladies I am close to who live near me. We go to the gigs together and have formed a bond over the past 6 or so years. We chat regularly and even meet up when we can when there aren’t any gigs to go to. It’s a real tonic having a group of friends who also love the band as much as I do. It’s a bit of escapism in a busy life and the weekends away I have with my “Wettie mates” are the funniest and the best times of my life. I do the driving and as I’m usually at work when the tickets go on sale, it’s my friends who end up with the sleepless nights booking the tickets. I love all the excitement and the build up to when there are gigs. Such as just before Christmas when The Journey tour and the new album was announced. It gave us all a buzz after what has been such a rubbish year.
It’s fair to say that Wet Wet Wet have produced some truly fantastic songs throughout their time as a band. Out of all their releases, do you have a personal favourite? What does that particular song mean to you?
I struggle to choose a favourite out of the Wets songs, but I’ve narrowed it down to two. The first is “I Can Give You Everything” as it is so upbeat. It’s always a great song to dance along to, it’s definitely a highlight for me at a gig. My other favourite is “Somewhere Somehow”. I wanted it as my first dance song at my wedding but my husband said no. He isn’t a fan sadly. But when I left my last permanent teaching role, the other staff knew how much I loved the Wets and put together a photo montage of me at work with the kids with Somewhere Somehow playing over the top of it. That meant a lot to me.
Let’s talk live music. How many times have you manage to catch the guys on tour over the years? What is it that makes Wet Wet Wet such a great live act and ultimately leaves you wanting more?
As I mentioned before, going to live gigs didn’t really happen to me until much later. Partly because of my social shyness and also because my parents wouldn’t let me go anywhere, so it was actually December 2013 when I saw the band for the first time. Even then I had no one to go with as my husband refused to come with me. So I braved it and went to see the guys in Nottingham on my own. That concert was part of their Step By Step tour and was a few days before Christmas. That was my Christmas and birthday all rolled into one and I couldn’t come down off a high from that. At that time we didn’t know when the band would go out on the road so I didn’t dare hope for more live shows. Since then I’ve made every opportunity to see the band. I don’t care whether I have to travel the length and breadth of the UK, so long as I can drive there I’m happy. It makes me feel good getting up and having a dance with my friends and showing appreciation to the guys for the happiness that their music has given us over the years. I would love to go and see the guys abroad as well.
Out of all your concert experiences, are there any that instantly come to mind as a highlight?
I have two concert highlights: one with Marti as lead singer and one with Kevin. My first favourite concert highlight has to be when the band played at Chelsea Royal Hospital. At that time (June 2016) it was the closest I had been to the front of the stage and the atmosphere at the gig was brilliant. It was lovely to see the Chelsea Pensioners watching from the windows. Even though it was quite a chilly evening outdoor gig, no one noticed how cold it was once the band went on the stage! More recently, I enjoyed the band’s Dundee gig at the Caird Hall on their Scottish Tour in November 2019. I don’t know what it was about that performance but they were on fire and a group of all my favourite friends were all on the front row. It was a really special gig.
You’ve been lucky enough to meet the bands on a number of occasions, can you recall your first encounter with the guys? Being a longtime fan, it must have been a special moment?
It wasn’t until May 2014 that I met one of the band for the first time. It was actually Graeme Clark, at one of his solo gigs which was at Selby Town Hall. I had recently discovered Graeme’s solo music and went to see him at a local venue to me. It was a fantastic, sell out gig and I loved it. He was chatting and having selfies with fans after the show. I was really nervous when I went up to talk to him. I was shaking like mad and I can’t even remember what I said to him, probably a load of old rubbish. But he couldn’t have been nicer. He was so friendly and down to earth.
A lot has changed in the Wet Wet Wet camp in recent years following Marti’s departure in 2017 which understandably has caused a divide in opinion amongst their fans. With that in mind, let’s not get too political and instead focus on the new chapter for both the band and Marti as a solo artist. What would you say to those who are sceptical about the changes for both the band and Marti?
This is a difficult one as you always think your favourite band are going to be the same and always around forever. I was heartbroken when the announcement came that Marti had left. It was a Friday afternoon and both my husband and I were due to go out for dinner for the first time on our own in months. He wondered what the matter was with me and I told him. He said anyone would think someone had died, but to me I told him the band had always been there with their music. After the initial shock I thought my husband was right, no one has died. We’ll still see Marti solo, we’ll see GC solo, etc. I guess it was like a bereavement for the amazing memories of their fab music and all the shows I had got to. At the time I didn’t know what to think for the best, do they get another singer in or does Graeme take over as the lead singer? Now I’m over the moon about Kevin. He’s fantastic and a perfect fit for the band. To anyone who is sceptical, I would say book a ticket and go and see the guys. You will have a fantastic time and I think Kevin has invigorated the band. He’s given us WWW back. If you go and see them and think, no that’s not for me then that’s fine. I think that the ones not willing to give the band a chance are definitely missing out.
Back in 2018, Wet Wet Wet welcomed Kevin Simm (formerly of Liberty X) as their new frontman marking a new era for the band. Speaking from a fan’s perspective how would you describe the overall changes since Kevin joined the band? How has he settled into his new role?
Back in September 2018 when GC was doing a solo tour, he brought his famous blue Paisley bass along to the gigs to put on display. I remember looking at that beautiful guitar at his gig in York and wondering if we would ever see Graeme play it onstage again instead of his acoustic guitar. But it was two weeks or so later when I remember the announcement about Kevin joining the band. I was in Canada visiting my family and was due to fly back that afternoon. I had to ask my friends to buy me a ticket as I was somewhere over the Atlantic when the tickets went on sale. My poor mum didn’t know whether I’d landed as I went straight onto messaging my friends in the baggage reclaim! Changes wise, I have only seen this from a gig perspective. The band’s set has been rejuvenated with songs that have not been included for years. I also feel as if the band is more alive having Kev there. There is friendly banter between the group members and it feels more equal instead of being just Marti who talks while everyone else gets treated like his backing band. At first I thought Kevin was very nervous but in later performances, he seems so much more at ease. Not just in talking to the audience but also in his own performance.
You were one of the lucky fans who attended Kevin’s first gig with the band at St Luke’s in Glasgow. What are you memories of that evening? At what point did you know the new lineup was going to work?
I feel so lucky to have been able to go to the band’s first gig with Kevin at St Luke’s in Glasgow. We wanted to be there to support the band and also to support Kevin. We got to the venue early and were lucky to see the band before the soundcheck and to have a quick chat. A few of us got to introduce ourselves to Kev, he had been warned about the Wets’ crazy fans! He was nervous but we just wanted to let him know that we were there to show him and the rest of the band our support. I remember afterwards, we heard the band sound-checking and they were playing a couple of songs from “Ten” That made me feel really emotional as we were going to hear some songs we had not heard for a long time.
Once on stage as soon as we heard Kev sing, that was it. I still love Marti but I didn’t miss him on the stage with the rest of the guys. I just knew Kev was right for the band.
The band recently announced ‘The Journey,’ their first album since 2007 followed by the news of a UK tour scheduled to take place later this year! Gaging from the brief sneak peaks the guys have released, how do you think their sound will have evolved since their previous album and what excites you the most about this new release?
The news late last year about The Journey was the best news I’d heard in 2020. I think their sound will still sound “WWW” but it will be a slight move away as they evolve. Hopefully there will be a mix of songs on the album. I want a few upbeat tracks and ones you can sing along to (badly in my case!) rather than slow ballads.
Since his departure, Marti has had busy few years with the release of new music, a solo tour, weekly lockdown sessions and the news of a musical in the pipeline. How would you describe the changes in Marti’s work over the past few years? What have you enjoyed the most about his recent ventures?
I have followed Marti’s solo career as well but not all the time. I’ve not been so keen on some of his album releases such as Love To Love. It’s just not my type of music. I have been to see him in Blood Brothers and Evita but I prefer his newer music such as his Mysterious album. Having said that, I do love his first album, Smile.
Marti recently returned to the music scene with the release of ‘Stargazer’ his latest album. There may be readers who haven’t had the chance to check it out so I’m curious ask your thoughts on his latest release? Are there any tracks that particularly stand out to you?
I love Marti’s new album Stargazer. Most of the tracks are well worth listening to and the ones which stand out to me are Urban Alligator and Black Horse. The album does have a Bowie vibe to it, which I love. I can recommend it.
Wet Wet Wet are widely known for hits such as ‘Love Is All Around’ and ‘Goodnight Girl’ but for fans like yourself, they are much more than that. To summarise thing, what does being a fan of Wet Wet Wet mean to you?
It’s hard to say what being a fan of WWW means to me but their music has always been a big part of my life. Their music to me is timeless and I will never tire of listening to it. I listen to PISO now and I can’t believe the album is over thirty years old.
And finally….if you could recommend one of Wet Wet Wet’s songs to someone who isn’t familiar with their music, what would it be?
As a recommendation I would struggle to pinpoint just one song to listen to. I would suggest a playlist of the band’s music throughout their career to put on and that people will be pleasantly surprised.
A huge Thank-You to Sam for taking the time to discuss the impact of Wet Wet Wet and for sharing her journey as a fan of the band! I've known Sam for a number of years now and have always loved seeing her adventures around the country catching the guys on tour and in solo endeavours so it's truly wonderful to capture a little of that magic here on the site. Sam is also an incredibly talented baker and her love for the Wets has even inspired a few of her bakes; be sure to stop by and take a peek at her website via the following link: www.smartcookiesam.com
Today also marks the return of Wet Wet Wet as they celebrate the long awaited release of The Journey! Be sure to check the album out on all major streaming platforms and why not purchase a copy from their official website by clicking here!