Every year was the same for Jay Aston and his Gene Loves Jezebel bandmates — James Stevenson, Pete Rizzo and Chris Bell. They’d play a gig, have a great time and talk about hitting the studio. “We’re all great friends, every year we do it, and they all say, ‘Yeah, we want to make a new album. We just did three encores and we’re such a great band,’” said Aston. “And it never happens. But last year in Portugal, I said, ‘Guys, I’m sick of this. We’ve been saying this for years. If you want to do something, let’s do it proper.’”
“It came together kind of in a miraculous way, really, because I was working on my own stuff,” he said. “The budget was tight, but we reached the pledge so we could do it properly. And bang, bang, bang. Everything seemed to come together at the right time. It was a very good experience. Intense, but very good.” The end result is better than very good. Sounding as fresh as any of their previous albums, Dance Underwater is a Gene Loves Jezebel record, but one relevant in today’s marketplace, which isn’t easy for a band that first hit the world’s consciousness in the 80s. Aston has seen some of his peers sounding a little worse for wear in recent years, and he feels fortunate that his group has avoided that fate.
“We’ve always been a band — guitar, bass, drums,” he said. “It’s fundamental, really. We’ve never gone too over the top with the production like a lot of the 80s bands, even though that was cool for the times. I think that’s why, weirdly enough, a lot of the rockers liked us back in the day, because we don’t really fit in any genre. Genres could be very useful, but we never quite fit into any.”
That’s why they’re still here. But now the question is, will they stick around? “I’m just chuffed that we made a record because I didn’t think there was ever gonna be a ‘real’ Gene Love Jezebel record as people call it. And we did and I’m really pleased we did. So we’ll see how this one goes. We’ve got a label, we’ve got an agent. Anything’s possible, I’ve got lots of songs.”