If Dave Wakeling has his way, this will be the year some new English Beat music is recorded and released.
Wakeling, who's currently on the road with his latest version of the group, tells Billboard.com that he has 17 demos ready, including songs such as "The Love You Give Last Forever," "How Can You Stand There" and "Said We Would Never Die," which have become favorites of live audiences in recent years. "We've had a half-dozen songs picked out by various people as being hits -- then when you ask them what a hit is, they don't know anymore!" Wakeling says with a laugh. "But we're proud of what we have. It's an exciting time."
Wakeling, whose last English Beat album was 1982's "Special Beat Service," hopes to take the songs into the studio for formal recording in-between tour commitments, which includes a headline run into late July and then shows with Squeeze. The big question, he says, is how the new material will be released.
"I've been talking with some record companies, trying to compare that to going about it independently by ourselves -- and I'm sort of heading in the second direction, I think," Wakeling says. "It seems like the paradigm is in transition. The (labels) don't have the money to let you make a record anymore, but they still want all the rights that were theirs a decade ago. We've had a few offers to produce the record without the record companies involved, so that may be the best way to go."
Wakeling says he's also considering putting out EPs rather than albums, mixing new songs with live and acoustic tracks. "I'm tempered by realism," he explains. "A lot of my friends, the '80s peer group, have brought out albums 'cause they think that's what you're meant to do, but they forgot to check if there's an audience there ready to buy it. I never fancied making a vanity record. I don't want boxes of CDs in my garage or people embarrassed to talk to me about my new record. I think it's presumptuous to just put out a CD and wonder where the limo is at the airport."