Weddings Parties Anything, often known as WPA and Weddoes, were an Australian folk rock band formed in 1984 in Melbourne and continuing until 1998. Their name came from The Clash song ("Revolution Rock") and musicologist Billy Pinnell described their first album as the best Australian rock debut since Skyhooks' Living in the '70s.
An independent EP, and constant touring of Australia caught the attention of WEA Australia, who signed the band in 1987, and promptly released their debut album, Scorn Of The Women. Janine Hall left the band following the release of the album, and was replaced by Peter Lawler. It was that line-up that produced 1988's Roaring Days. 1988 also saw WPA winning its first ARIA award for 'Best New Talent', which was followed by another ARIA in 1989 for 'Best Indigenous Release' (Roaring Days). Dave Steel left the band following a tour of North America, citing exhaustion as the chief reason. He also noted in several interviews, at the time of his departure (1988), that he was feeling frustrated not getting a lot of his material on the WPA albums. He released his debut solo album, through WEA in 1989. He was replaced by Richard Burgman for 1989's The Big Don't Argue, and accompanying tours. In 1989 the band won a third ARIA for 'Best Indigenous Release' (The Big Don't Argue).
The band spent a great deal of time touring over the next three years, and managed to release only one EP in 1990, titled The Weddings Play Sports (and Falcons), featuring cover versions of the bands The Sports, and Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons. The band resurfaced, on CD in 1992, with Difficult Loves and yet another guitarist, Paul Thomas, replacing the departing Richard Burgman. The single "Fathers Day" reaching No. 42 on the ARIA charts, was nominated for 'Single of the Year' and won 'Song of the Year' at the 1993 ARIA awards). This line-up (Michael Thomas, Paul Thomas, Mark Wallace, Marcus Schintler, and Peter Lawler) remained intact for another two years, producing one more CD, King Tide in 1993. Following the world tour to promote that release, Marcus Schintler left the band for family reasons, with Peter Lawler leaving a year later to pursue a solo career.
Thomas reformed the band, and by 1996, the new line-up of WPA were ready for their first release, the independently produced Donkey Serenade. The band now included Jen Anderson (violins, mandolin)(formerly of the band, The Black Sorrows), Michael Barclay (drums), Stephen O'Prey (bass), as well as Michael Thomas, Paul Thomas and Mark Wallace. The music style shifted somewhat from folk to a more alternative country sound. The band decided at this time to concentrate on the Australian market, and did less touring outside of their native Australia.
WPA finished 1997 with a new release, Riveresque on a new label (Mushroom/Sony), and by 1998, the band decided to take a break and work on several solo projects, including Michael Thomas's musical Wide Open Road.
WPA initially gained a reputation as a hot new band through their constant touring in their early days, however they never really became a commercial success. They did however, form a fanatical supporter base, known as the "Wedheads" that continued to sustain the band for years. Upon the conclusion of the band several members continued on to other projects, with Mick Thomas creating Croxton Records with friend Nick Corr.
Renowned for their energetic live shows, WPA had a handful of live songs that were nearly always guaranteed to push the mosh pit into a frenzy, particularly "A Tale They Won't Believe", the story of Alexander Pearce, a cannibal in the convict days of Tasmania. Also known for the especially legendary Christmas shows which grew from one night on Christmas Eve to a full week of live shows at the Central Club Hotel in Richmond. The 1998 show was recorded and released as a double live album, They Were Better Live, which was nominated for an ARIA award in 1999 for 'Best Blues & Roots Album').
Musically, WPA were a combination of Australian indie and garage rock, sixties folk, punk and (later) country. They lead what later became known as the alt-country scene in Melbourne. WPA were often compared to The Pogues, though the two bands were actually contemporaries rather than one following the other; the two bands toured Australia together in the early '90s.
WPA reformed for the Community Cup Football match on July 2005and also performed at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne as a warm-up show two nights prior. The band reformed again later the next year for a one off performance at the Queenscliff Music Festival in November 2006.
In January 2008, WPA announced the March/April dates for the bands Ten Year Reunion Tour 2008, including an international performance at the Astoria (formally The Mean Fiddler) in London on April 25 (ANZAC Day). They sold out four consecutive shows at Melbourne venue The Corner Hotel, adding a 5th to surpass the record previously held by the Hilltop Hoods from 2004.