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KOOL interviews

LOUISE WENER 27th October 1997 Norwich 15:30GMT

Louise Wener, lust object of numerous young loins! Youd think I would be looking forward to this one, but knowing Louises volatile relationship with large chunks of the music press, I was a bit wary. I got off on completely the wrong foot by nervously sparking up a much-needed ciggie as Louise joined me backstage at the Waterfront after cruising though a quick soundcheck. "Im sorry, but I cant handle smoking" was her stern reaction, and before the atmosphere chilled over completely, I stubbed my B & H out - immediately, without a moments hesitation. She has that kind of effect on you. It was plain sailing from then on as I chewed the fat with the small but deliciously constructed Louise.

Why do the music press hate you so much. Whenever you see anything about Sleeper - especially in the NME - I cannot believe you're so vilified on a personal level. There must surely be something personal about it, especially when you consider some of the real shit there is about.

I know. John Mulvey swore in print about three years ago that he'd do anything to destroy my career. I think women generally are hated in the music press. I can't think of any that are actually liked.

Who do they like?
I can't think of anyone. They fucking hate us - but we fucking hate them - and John Mulvey's impotent! I'm trying to think of anyone female that they've had time for

Sheryl Crow, they hate her don't they?
Tina Turner's like the Queen Mum so she doesn't count. But of Sleeper's kind of genre there's nobody.

There is Justine Frischman
Yeah she gets off the hook because she's incredibly rich and she has this rock history justified purely by whom she's been associated with.

Can you imagine, if you took three years, and counting, like she has, to come up with your next album what the press would do to you?
We couldn't have afforded to do that, and we'd end up even more vilified than we are by those kinds of people.

It must be very satisfying though to sell shitloads of albums despite how most of the music press seems to have it in for you.
It is. Smart went Gold, and the It Girl was Platinum.

What's in your record collection?
I always like to check out people's records, it gives you a bit of an insight into them. I listen to loads of different things. I have very eclectic tastes, anything from Blondie to old disco stuff to Tom Waits to the Jam.

Was it your choice to cover Atomic for the Trainspotting album?
No, it wasn't really. We just got offered the chance to go on the Album. We thought well if you're going to give us a few grand to do it well all right then!

You can't argue with that can you

How do you rate Norwich?
The only thing that I remember about Norwich was that Andy and John swum across the river when they were drunk at the end of the night and got very, very sick. They just jumped in and swum across in the nud and were sick for about a week afterwards! That's all I really remember about Norwich.

You don't remember much about the gig with the Manics and Dub War at the UEA then?
Was that here? Yeah I'm trying to work out when we played with them.

It was October 1994, and I was so impressed I bought the Bucket and Spade EP on vinyl at the gig. That's a bit scary, a scary record!
Yeah, it's live isn't it?

You've come along way since then haven't you!
I hope so.

Is the new musical direction that you've taken a deliberate attempt to mature?
No, I don't think it's deliberate. We've been much more deliberate in the past than we are now. I think the songs that I came out with justcame out! I just sat in my bedroom thinking of something to write, and they just happened. I'm not in the least bit dismissive of anything we've done in the past though.

I shouldn't think so. I still think Inbetweener, for instance is a great single. I think even the NME made it Single of the Week!
(Laughing) I doubt it! They might have liked us for a week I suppose. We soon cottoned on that they were cunt-ridden wankers!

Having read the NME for so long I find that you can read through a lot of what they try to do, like the Death of Rock article after Candle in the Wind was re-released. They were obviously just trying to stir up a debate. I just thought it was just a crap record - you're not a fan of the Royal Family are you?
No. I can say what I like then! Princess Diana was just a supermodel with extras wasn't she?

So why has the tour been postponed?
There's been a whole mixture of things. John did his foot in, damaged the nerves and tore something or other. That disrupted rehearsals, so we got another guitarist in who learnt a lot of John's lead parts, then john injured his hand as well. It was the last straw really. Then our Tour Manager couldn't get his green card together. Then our support band Symposium pulled out because their singer got injured. We got another one lined up, but they had all kinds of family problems so they pulled out. Everything was going wrong.

Who was the other band you had lined up to support you?
The Wannadies, but I'm not supposed to tell you! There's all kinds of stuff going onI think when we do get it together next year they'll be the best live shows we've done yet though. Today we've only got half the set together between the lot of us.

You've got a lot of stuff to draw on now haven't you?
Yeah, and I want to be able to choose from all of it rather than just do an hours worth of material that's all we can play! It's not been easy these last few weeks, and there's a lot of shit been written about it as well.

Which reminds me, are the NME here tonight?
If they are, I'll fucking have them filled in!

What are you doing in a dress?
I've never seen you in a dress before. (At this point I produce a publicity shot of Louise in a dress. She cringes!)

I did one photograph in a dress, and they sent it to every-fucking-body.

Its just not you is it?
No it's not. We did three days of photo's for the whole thing, enough that I wouldn't have to do anymore for another six months - which suits me fine - and at the end of it they're going "go on just one shot in a dress" and I think "Oh fuck you, alright then" and that's the shot they've sent to everybody. My mum really likes it, and I think thats just about where it should end.

You're not a dress person at all are you?
No, I'm really not. Ive never worn a stylish thing like that ever - a lesson learnt. Are they always trying to get you to do stuff like that? They blackmail us. Literally they tell us to do stuff or it's like "We won't pay to put your posters up" or whatever. There are limitations - you're always compromising. That's just the way it is.

Do you have any sympathy for George Michael taking his Record Company to Court?
I don't give a fuck 'cos he's really, really rich. It doesn't really matter. If your record company is screwing you, well fine, but don't come to me complaining while you're a multi-millionaire.

You must have done loads of gigs in your time. The year of the Manics gigs for instance 1994 didn't you gig yourselves into the ground?
Yeah, it was a very good year though that. I had a very good time. That was the last Richey tour wasn't it? He used to sit at the side of the stage and drink tea.

Did he say much to you?
No, they were all incredibly introverted really.

What are you? Blur or Oasis?
Oasisand Blur! I love Oasis. I don't think the last album's that great though. I like the spirit of Oasis, I like their stand, their charisma and their 'Don't give a fuck' attitude, but I also like a lot of Blur's music. I don't really like them as people; I just like their music.

Do you think it was an invention of the record companies, the Blur v Oasis thing?
Yeah, it's just to make money isn't it. You should either like the records or not, end of story.

Are you still good mates with Chris Evans? I like Chris Evans,
I think he's alright. He really flirts with you doesn't he?
Yeah, but he flirts with everyone though, it's just a game.

There seems to be some disputes over your age, in particular on the Internet. One site says you were born in 1967, 1968 or 1969 depending on whom you believe. How old are you really?
I'm 30.

Thirty's not old.
Yeah, it feels all right!

Were you in a band when you were a teenager?
No, I didn't start writing songs till I was 25. There's hope yet for anyone!

Are NME wankers?
They're not really worth being called wankers. They're irrelevant I think.

One last question, you've been quoted as saying you invented the Spice girls I fucking did! I bet you regret it now!
Yes, I do regret it now.

So you fucking should!

The editor and I returned later to catch Sleeper play a storming gig at the Waterfront, with Louise bouncing up and down in her usual style, in what was a low-key rehearsal for Radio Ones Sound City gig. Louise managed to dedicate Traffic Accident to you know who, so her sense of humour is intact! I have to disagree with the knockers theres plenty more to come from Louise and the rest of Sleeper catch them on tour in February.

Billy Bulldog


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issue 5