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Sleeper awake from deep slumber to play comeback gig in Brighton

posted Jul 21, 2017, 2:22 PM by Vu Nguyen

Sleeper awake from deep slumber to play comeback gig in Brighton
by Edwin Gilson
IN the 1990s Sleeper had three top ten albums, becoming one of the foremost bands in the Britpop movement. Frontwoman Louise Wener was something of a cultural icon for her charismatic stage presence, outspoken media persona and distinctive fashion sense. Now, almost 20 years after splitting up, the band are playing a comeback gig in Brighton with fellow 90s group My Life Story.

The city is home to Wener and husband Andy Maclure, Sleeper’s drummer who works at BIMM Brighton. Singer and author Wener tells EDWIN GILSON about coping with fame, Cool Britannia and why now was the right time to return.

Sleeper reformed to play a mini tour with other Britpop bands earlier this year. How long did it take to get back into the swing of things?

Longer than I thought. I thought we would be able to snap back into it immediately but it took a while. I hadn’t played guitar in years and years but the muscle memory from the older times came back. The most fun thing is just being in a rehearsal room where it is super loud. I realised that I love being in front of an amp more than anything else.

You’ve written about life in the 1990s in the novel Just For One Day: Adventures in Britpop. Did you think much about the band in the two decades you were away?

A lot happened. We had young kids and life was so busy. Recently there was a little window where it felt like things were calm enough to consider doing it again. This gig [Britpop tour] came up and I had a spur of the moment thought of ‘why not, let’s go and do that’. I thought it would be life-affirming. We’d been asked to do various things over the years but I don’t think anyone was super keen. The offer just happened at a time when everyone was ready to say yes. That was kind of a surprise to all of us, because we all thought that somebody wouldn’t want to do it.

Had you noticed renewed interest in Sleeper recently? Are you expecting younger fans to come to the gig?

I really don’t know whether that will happen. We haven’t got massive expectations. Back in the 1990s sometimes bands used to say that there were only in it for themselves and often that was a complete lie. But these days that’s true. It’s all about whether it’s enjoyable for ourselves.